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Universal Fit item created by rainy nights, Jun 25, 2011
Pros - large soundstage; engaging sound; price
Cons - stiff cable
Soundmagic is building up quite a reputation for budget-fi products. Their latest entry into the fray is the E10. It is a barrel styled dynamic driver offering at just $35. Is it a giant killer? How good can a $35 phone be? Let’s find out…
Soundmagic seems to have phased out the hard case they used to include and instead offer a pleather pouch with drawstring. While I know many prefer hard cases, I really like nice pouches for toting in a jacket or jean pocket. This pouch is very nice but a little larger than necessary, so I plan on using it with my new custom Merlins when they finally arrive. Also included is a nice selection of various tips. For most IEM’s I’ve found larges to give me the best seal but with both the new E10 and my old PL30, the mediums work best to give me a deeper fit and better bass response. I’ve yet to try any different tips. The cable is the standard SM offering. It is pretty stiff and rubbery feeling and tangles fairly easily but at this price and with the kind of sound quality the E10 offers, I’m not complaining.
Bass is nothing short of spectacular for its class. It’s the perfect blend of mid bass punch and sub bass rumble. Kicks sound off with authority and bass guitars thump their driving beats. The bass is tight and extended, if a bit on the soft side with respectable speed and nice decay; which works really well with the overall sound signature. I find it just right for my preferences.
The midrange is pushed forward of neutral. Bass does not bleed into the midrange, leaving you with a nice and clean vocal. Distortion guitars have nice forward bite (nowhere as good as the GR07 or FXT90 but good in their own right). Pianos sound very good and are placed forward in the mix.
Treble has very nice sparkle but does take a slight backseat to the bass and midrange. However it isn’t what I’d call recessed or laid back. I’d say its presence is somewhere between the Atrio MG7 and GR07, leaning much closer to the Atrios. Perhaps slightly relaxed with sparkle is good descriptor for the treble.
Soundstage is pretty wide and depth is good. Dynamics are very good and the E10 sounds great for low level listening as well as ‘rocking out’ levels. Instrument realism isn’t on the level of my favorite JVC offerings but it is no slouch considering its class bracket. Clarity is great for such an inexpensive, bass oriented phone.
The E10 just sounds great with any recordings I throw at it, from classic rock, metal, pop and country. It has a fun, punchy and clear sound that is certainly better than anything at $35 has a right to be! I cannot recommend the E10 enough. This one is a keeper.
Meelectronics extra long single flange. They come in Meelec's M11+ 10 pack but if you contact Meelec, they will sell them in 4 packs.
See link for a picuture: http://www.meelec.com/MEElectronics_Original_Eartips_for_M11_Earphones_p/tipset10-m11-bk-mee.htm
I get a deeper fit and better seal, resulting in better sub bass response while maintaining maximum clarity.
I purchased these earphones specifically for my pocket rig, I was looking for something that could be used every day and my buying requirements were simple. First they needed to cost less than £30, and second they needed to sound as good as the stock set from Sony which, as stock earphones go, sound pretty impressive. I was reluctant to pay more than £30 as they were going to be used solely for my pocket rig and would therefore take quite a battering.
I had never tried Sound Magic earphones before and the E10's had only just been released so there were no reviews to guide my decision. Despite being a little over my budget I decided to take a chance and I purchased them from HiFiHeadphones for £34.99 they arrived the next day well packed and with a free Chupa Chups!
Inside the box were three sets of single flange black eartips; small, medium and large, one set of double flange eartips, a nice black draw-string pouch and the earphones. The colour scheme also factored into my decision to purchase these earphones. I really like the red cable and aluminium housing, they look great and I can find them easily in low light, which saves me using starglow paint.
In the image below you can see how well made these earphones are, the aluminium casings are machined and finished to a very high standard. The body of the driver casing measures just 12 mm excluding the eartip stem, and they are 10 mm wide. Inside the earpiece there is an interwoven grille to protect the membrane and located on the outside are two airflow ports. The cable is good quality, almost impossible to tangle and transmits very little noise.
I decided to test the E10's with a track called Magic Sunset Street from the album Housego Remixes by Yoshinori Sunahara using a flat equaliser. The first thing that hit me was how detailed the E10's are. The best way I can describe the sound quality is like this. Imagine you are going to a night club, as you approach the building you can hear the dampened bass resonating through the walls but nothing more (my iPod stock earbuds), then as you enter the building and walk down the corridor the bass becomes much more tighter and you can hear the mids and treble clearly (the Sony stock earbuds), finally at the end of the corridor you reach the door to the club, you open it and... boom, the bass hits you, thump thump thump thump, very tight and controlled, everything is clear and detailed, you feel as though you are in the music.
From what I have heard so far, straight out the box, I would have to say these earphones are excellent value for money and they have far surpassed my expectations. Based on my buying requirements alone; a good sounding budget set of earphones costing less than £30, I would give them 10/10 for sound quality and 10/10 for design and build quality. For a more technical description of the sound quality and photos of the packaging please read ClieOS review here, and visit Sound Magic using the link on the right.
StargateRecords, Aug 13, 2011
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