Soundmagic E30

  1. thelostMIDrange
    Ideal for music listening .......
    Written by thelostMIDrange
    Published Jul 29, 2013
    This is an update to the review after living with several sets of these beauties for 3 years....I now have acquired 7 sets of the e30.

    A quick synopsis of my resume. 30 years of hardcore interest and investment in hifi, instrument building, musician. I've owned many decades of home stereo equipment and have a definite preference and fondness for Vinyl.

    The soundmagic e30 have proven non-fatiquing and thoroughly enjoyable.

    Past headphones I've owned range from $1000 LCD, several $500-$200 of nearly every brand from the most current back through headphones from the 1980's and 90's.

    Generally I have found many full size over the ear headphones disappointing and colored. Many have odd sound and/or a falsely exaggerated upper end clarity aspect that mimics high fidelity. I personally have spent (wasted) lots of money on these poorly designed headphones by companies who seemingly do not have a solid grasp on what instruments sound like in real life and so have no unwavering reference point to create musical and realistic gear.

    Generally, I'd say the e30 is neutral/warm yet detailed with a pleasing full bodied sound and a moderate bass boost that varies depending on the particular pair (individual headphones vary even within a particular model)

    The e30 is 'hi-fidelity' in the sense that it imparts virtually no sound signature/sound stamp of its own onto your music collection with the exception of the already mentioned bass and also a modest and enjoyable lushness of the midrange of 2 of the 7 pair I own. That being said I enjoy 5 of the 7 sets I own with the other two a bit less balanced.

    1. chrislangley4253
      Interesting :)
      chrislangley4253, Jul 31, 2013
    2. fleasbaby
      I preferred the last version of this review... :)
      fleasbaby, Sep 21, 2013
    3. thelostMIDrange
      Its gone off into the internet ether where all good things go
      thelostMIDrange, Sep 21, 2013
  2. danikus
    Very good for the price
    Written by danikus
    Published Apr 17, 2013
    Pros - Balanced, warm, not fatiguing sound
    Cons - Low isolation
    After few weeks of researching decided to buy these earphones, because everyone stated them to be balanced and not faiguing. And I was not dissapointed by my pick.
    Sound is very qualitative and balanced, soundstage and imaging are also good, instruments have distance between them. Isolation is not the best but acceptable for me. Very comfortable and well built, but maybe not the best looking earphone.
    Bass is not very fast but rather punchy. It's just slightly dominating in the sound signature, just perfect for me. 
    Midrange is a little warmed by bass but still clear and sometimes seems a little laid  back and distant.
    A little recessed treble allows to listen these earphones for hours not getting headache. The same as the rest of the sound signature treble is well detailed but not too revealing.
  3. akshayshah12
    Great headphones that have uncomfortable fit.
    Written by akshayshah12
    Published Nov 29, 2012
    Pros - Value for Money, Dynamic sound stage, good for many genres
    Cons - uncomfortable fit
    Slightly better than E10. Sound very similar to E10 just with more balanced sound. Tricky to get a good fit but for price and the quality they present, it is not that big deal.
  4. biter snake
    Great earphones for the price. controlled sound which still feels big and fun
    Written by biter snake
    Published May 14, 2012
    Pros - amazing sound, cheap as sh*t, comfortable like all Soundmagics
    Cons - Design and build quality questionable- feels plasticy and cheap, poor isolation
    Okay so even though i'm not an audiophile in the sense that I don't necessarily look for the most neutral, flat IEMs, I do want to enjoy the music I listen to (mainly rock/ classic rock) the best I can and have spent many hundreds of dollars over the last 3 years trying out different IEMs ranging from shures to etys UEs etc. 
    I never cared much for earphones that cost over a 100-150 because i never really manage to stick with a pair so I probably havent yet tried the better sounding IEMs on the market just yet but of all the ones i've ever listened to, E30s have been the most pleasing to my ears by far.
    I have a couple of pairs of PL 30s and PL50s so I'm not very new to soundmagic's design philosophy and do not intend to discuss any of those aspects here. Very quickly but, I dint instantly like the way they look. Plastic feels cheap and the chrome bits on the phones with the shiny aluminium embellishments at different places on the cable are a step down from the low-profile, professional feel of their other monitors. 
    They are still almost as comfortable as the PL50s (which are the most comfy phones ive tried) and the shallow fit which they offer makes it easy to keep them on for hours together without fatigue and makes them my first choice for casual listening or when working out etc. Isolation, quite simply is VERY ordinary and even though using Complys makes them a bit more comfortable, the fundamental design of these prevents all measures to improve isolation from truly delivering. 
    Now here's the best part which really makes me loves these suckers- the audio quality. 
    Before I turned to these, I was using amped Altec Im716 for almost a month because they had a very balanced sound, clear tone a extra bass on demand. Plus they worked well with my guitar so i wasnt switching between phones so often. First thing I noticed about the e30s was the bass. The best bass, most controlled bass ever produced by things so small. very clear, very punchy, no signal bleeding, and added colour on just the right frequencies helps them pick up on the most subtle basslines. Rock music really comes alive with thumping bass drums and sturdy upper bass frequencies. 
    I'm not sure if this affords them the "neutral" tag, but they are too much fun for anyone to bother picking on these technical aspects to beyond a certain extent. 
    The bassy sound makes them sound warm whn compared with BA driven phones like the im716s or PL50s. The mid range through treble is fairly neutral but by no means recessed. Again, the clarity is good and the densest of guitar gatherings are well accommodated with no distortion or aliasing.  Frequencies towards the top end of the spectrum may occasionally sound somewhat subdued when listening on lower volume but a good sound source where you can keep the post-processing volume fixed at max and control noise level through a pre-amp will prevent any low-volume roll-offs and the phones would sound great without any EQ settings. Else, a linear gain starting at 2dB for 3000Hz going upto 5 db for 16000Hz sorts out the minor tendency of the upper range to hold back and makes the E30s shine. 
    Great phones for the price and the warm sound, awesome bass and gravely mids make them a great choice for listening to genres such as rock, metal and grunge. Nice, raw earphones love them.
  5. lvrhs
    Normal Guy review
    Written by lvrhs
    Published Mar 30, 2012
    Pros - Sound, comfort, durability
    Cons - Almost none- materials used could be better
    These are realy great IEMs, one of the best sq(balanced with plenty of bass).
    greatest thing of these is comfort- same as pl50, so perfect. i can't notice that im wearing them.
    Sq is like Xears TD4, Pl50 and e10, so near top tier.
    i only wish that materials used would like pl50, not pl30 type.
  6. sunnymushrooms
    Non-Audiophile Review
    Written by sunnymushrooms
    Published Mar 29, 2012
    Pros - Sound, Comfort
    Cons - Isolation, unsure of build quality
    This is a review for those non-audiophiles out there. Just someone who likes their music. I listen to pop, electric, trance, techno, jazz, and classical (well, synth classical, soundtracks for movies, games, anime...)
    My unamped iPod touch 2G. No Equalizer app.
    I have been using the JVC Marshmellows for a long time (since they are pretty good for throwing around. I mean, I am mildly abusive to my iems, I bring them with me everywhere.) But recently they broke and realized I couldn't get them locally anymore without the microphone attached (for phones).
    So I got the MEElec M6 instead from Newegg. Those were okay... but the bass was too overpowering for me. It felt like the bass surrounded the whole... sound, with only the treble part piercing through that circle of bass. Anyway, I did a bit more research and finally bought these E30s.
    (I also owed a pair of Denon AH-D1001 headphones, which are apparently identical to the CAL! For those who have those headphones... If I recall the sound correctly, they are quite similar, both have a somewhat V-shape, but the mids are more forward in these E30s I think. Maybe because as In-ears everything sound closer? I might be wrong, but that's from what I remember.)
    And from where I was coming from, I like them a lot. I think everything is clearer in these headphones just because the treble and bass is more balanced (so you can actually hear the mids). And because of that, I think the soundstage is easier to hear.
    I mean, I might be delusional, but seriously I feel like I just hear the instruments coming from different directions (sometimes just above and leaning towards the back of my head, sometimes in front. And when a sound is sounded, it "expands" from only the sides to the back and front... if that makes any sense at all), and different distances (but the previous IEMs I had did that too... I am not too good and judging whether these distances are 'farther' in comparison or not). It might just be because my ears like the balance more than the MEElec or JVC Marshmellows, so when I listen to music from these, my ears instinctively listen with more attention.
    I can listen to these for a long time without fatigue or boredom. Sometimes even with my D1K, the treble made me just stop. Might be just me.
    I have small ears (apparently, in comparison to the rest of the Head-Fi community...?)
    EDIT: But still, after walking from school back home, I can't help but notice the cars, and sometimes the wind... their isolation is definitely quite weak... not "open" exactly, but if you're moving, and they don't fit well, it's a bit of a problem.
    Isolation-wise, they're not as good as the Marshmellows, or even tighter fitting portable headphones (I am referring to my friend's Urbanears*). I can hear outside noises (which is great if you don't want to be hit by a car, bad if you're waiting for the bus and you can hear the cars) but they are IEMs, so they're better than, say, the PX-100s which are just open.
    *... incidentally if you have the Urbanears Plattan and you are considering switching, I think the sound signature is completely different. The Urbanears are "U" shaped, I think. Bass, treble, and... just everything flat in between. I prefer the E30's more balanced --"more colourful everywhere"-- sound more. 
    Build Quality
    I am not too sure. As I have mentioned above, I'm pretty rough with my IEMs (bring them around everywhere, sometimes sleep with them on). I have only been listening to these for a week or two... I think they are going to be definitely more fragile than my Marshmellows that can take a beating. The wire feels less thick, although it's not completely flimsy either.
    If you didn't read the review, or you couldn't tell by the review, basically I want to say I love these headphones. They sound really great from where I am coming from. I guess I'm just lucky I don't need $800 headphones for my ears to be like: Oh what is this yummy noise?! Let me listen to it more eagerly! (I say this with full respect to the audiophiles here. I just can't afford that though.)
    They're pretty good for commuting, for safety and all that (I think someone once told me open headphones are good because it's less dangerous... but I think it's slightly inconvenient because I can hear outside so clearly) because they're not completely isolating. But if you want to be in your own little world, maybe not so much... unless you crank up the music.
    So this has been my newb review. Hopefully it helped out some of those who are just looking for a casual pair of headphones.
    (Free-advertisement, not paid: I got them from MP4nation. They ship to Canada, which is godsend, as I am sure my fellow Canadians know.)
    1. lvrhs
      i agree 100%, e30 is best allrounder nonaudiophile iem. its so comfy and good sounding. for build quality- it is realy good, but materials could be better.
      i have heard more expensive iems, for example, sunrise xcited, which i think would be superb, but they isnt- bit harsh treble, grainy sound, and detail isnt better.
      i always getting pissed off from expensive headphones, because they are much more expensive and in best case only 10% better sq.
      Ath-m50 costs $150, but they have only bit better detail and soundstage than $20 soundmagic es18 or e30.
      lvrhs, Mar 30, 2012
  7. keanex
    SoundMagic E30, A Great Budget IEM
    Written by keanex
    Published Aug 16, 2011
    Pros - Pros: Sound is phenomenal for the price, packaging is great.
    Cons - Cons: Build quality is lacking, comfort is an issue, slight microphonics
    The SoundMagic E30 come in one of the best packaging jobs I've ever seen. This is before I'm even able to see the packaging mind you. The E30 came securely wrapped with a brown cardboard box wrapped tightly around the actual package with either end having a label telling the user to fax a picture to SoundMagic if it had been tampered with or opened. With all of the fakes around SoundMagic is definitely making it almost impossible to replicate these and I find that to be amazing.
    After opening the authenticity wrap I was greeted with a white cardboard box with a somewhat minimal design. On the front the user is presented with a window to view the IEMS. Above the window there is a SoundMagic logo. Below that is a quick description of the E30. On either side of the packaging there's not much, one one side a slogan, "Listening magic sound, feeling SoundMagic" on another side it shows the IEMs in other colors. The back has specifications such as driver size, frequency range, impedance, cable length and accessories. On the back on the bottom there's also a authenticity seal and inside the box a thick paper sleeve has a serial number, which includes manufacture date. When you buy these new, you will be absolutely positive that they are authentic, which I like. I really like the box, it's pleasing to the eye and neither tacky or gaudy. 
    Inside the IEMs are held carefully by clear plastic and included is a pleather pouch with a nicely designed SoundMagic logo. Three pairs of mushroom tips are included and a pair of bi-flanges. The accessories are definitely a nice addition and I feel that SoundMagic is slightly above average with the packaging.
    Design and Build Quality:
    My first thought is that these are tiny. I thought the tips that came on the E30 were just for show they were so small. It turns out they're actually the small. I normally wear medium tips on every other IEM, these I was forced to use the large. The IEMs themselves are tiny as well which makes them difficult to insert into the ear, combine that with the shallow insertion it made for a difficult time getting a decent seal. Neither IEM shows a right or left, though they have a red and blue color on each which is used to determine. The pictures on the box would suggest the blue is for the right and red for the left, with this I've been able to get a decent seal and fit, nothing spectacular though. These are over ear IEMs, with the A151's being my first over ear I was expecting good comfort, I was wrong. It took me about 5 minutes to get them a good seal and I'm not entirely happy yet with the comfort.  They don't hurt, but I definitely notice them in my ears and they don't feel so great during extended listening sessions. There's also slight microphonics which I did not expect with over ear IEMs.
    The IEMs seem rather sturdy themselves. I feel like they are built well, the cord is a bit stiff but I feel like it will hold up through some wear and tear. There's a shirt clip to help with microphonics, which works sort of, but it made the IEMs feel a bit awkward when walking around so I opted out. 
    Isolation is decent at best with them. I definitely hear outside noises rather clearly with no music playing, it's blocked out slightly of course, but due to the shallow insertion there's not much. With music playing it isolates decently, I couldn't really hear much on the outside when driving or walking, but I definitely could hear some slight noise. I feel this would be fixed though with a deeper insertion provided with tri-flanges or bi-flanges. Unfortunately no tri-flanges are included and the bi-flanges didn't fit me.
    Overall they have a decent build quality to them, but they are too small for my liking and the cable feels a bit cheap. I would put them on par with similarly priced IEMs for this section, nothing spectacular either way.
    Sound Quality:
    I want it to be known that these headphones blew my mind the second I heard them. The clarity has me thinking of my Ad900s. The sound actually reminds me slightly of them. I'll try to explain without sounding ridiculous. These headphones have a fantastic mid-range, slightly forward, clear and very musical. The highs are clear and extended without being fatiguing, though some sibilance is noticeable. Now here's the part that differs from the Ad900 and may even sound silly. The bass is definitely pushy, it lacks some impact, but is definitely quality. It extends well, but sometimes over exerts itself into tracks making it the main focus. I know I said the mids are slightly forward and that these are relatively balanced/neutral headphones, so how can the bass be slightly pushy/prominent? Well overall the miss and highs are well tuned to work together, neither pushes the other out of the way, and they both sound wonderful and present. The bass though is definitely pushy. It doesn't muddle up the mids like one would expect, but it makes itself a prominent feature in most songs, sometimes a bit too much.
    The soundstage is typical of an IEM, nothing special. The sound is a bit congested at times, but overall it sounds great. 
    I hope that makes sense. Overall though these headphones are hard to beat for the price. If the A151 were similar to the HD5XX series, then the E30 are similar to a bass heavy Ad900. Funnily enough though, as much as I love my Ad900, I think I prefer the A151 over the E30 overall. These are definitely top notch headphones though that bass lovers will love, without messing up the other frequencies or sounding muddy.
    Rage Against the Machine - Renegades of Funk
    I chose this because there's a reason many professional audio companies use this to set up speakers. Rage has amazing mastering and production value while hitting every frequency area while being very balanced. The vocals come in crystal clear with the high frequency guitar being very present, but not pushy. The drums come in and I feel like I'm in the room with them as they're recording, the bass is slightly pushy but clear and quality. The crunch of the distorted guitar comes in with amazing clarity and impact. I may eat my words, but I'm not sure I've ever heard a guitar sound this good. Overall the bass is a bit prominent over the rest, but not enough to ruin the song, not even close.
    Sara Bareilles - Between the Lines
    It's no secret I love female vocalists. I chose this track to test for sibilance and to see how the E30 handled an acoustic piano. The piano sounds lovely and warm, the vocals do as well, but unfortunately there is some sibilance. It's not terrible, but it is turning me off of this song. The bass sounds warm and lovely, the piano and guitars sound a bit congested, but good overall. Unfortunately though the sibilance turns me off too much for this song.
    James Blake - Limit To Your Love
    I chose this because of the deep bass, it will more than likely be my track to forever test bass because of the quantity. The vocals and acoustic piano sound fantastic off the bat, but let's see the bass. The wobbles come in and it's definitely well extended, I even feel it. It's not rattling my head, but I feel this amount of bass would suit any bass head. The bass is strong and I feel it. In some tracks the bass has a problem being a bit pushy, but here it's very welcomed. 
    Brazil - We
    I like to pick Brazil when I look at a headphones instrument separation capabilities. This song and album has fantastic instrument separation with any instrument being able to be picked out at any given moment. I also like to choose this album because many songs are fast paced and have a lot of attack to them. Right away the dual guitars are easily separated from each other, with the drums and bass easily discerned as well. Throughout the song I'm easily able to pick out anything even the subtle piano riffs. The distorted guitars sound crunchy and these IEMs definitely keep up with the quick pace of the song. The bass is a bit pushy though again. It doesn't ruin the song, but it's definitely present. 
    Radiohead - The Bends
    I chose this because I love alternative rock and this is a classic alternative rock song. The guitars are crunchy, clear and sound fantastic. The bass is slightly pushy again, see a trend? The vocals sound wonderful no matter what range Thom Yorke hits. The drums have a nice sound and impact to them. This track sounds wonderful with these.
    For $40 these are very hard to beat. They have great clarity and each range of frequencies sounds wonderful. Unfortunately the bass is a bit too pushy at times and there's some sibilance. The comfort issues also are a concern. Even with that said, for $40 I think you'd be hard pressed to find a better IEM. I highly recommend these.