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The Microphone version of ES18 which can double up as a PC or laptop headset too!!

Soundmagic ES18S

Rating:
4/5,
  • The Microphone version of ES18 which can double up as a PC or laptop headset too!!

Recent Reviews

  1. suman134
    The Headset all-rounder.
    Written by suman134
    Published Sep 17, 2015
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Nice bass, good build, doubles up as a PC headset with provided adapter.
    Cons - Not the best sounding earphone for its MRP.

    Intro:-
     
     We all know SoundMagic as one of the strongest budget player in the market. They make some of the best sounding budget earphones and have many to choose from. PL11, PL21 were their best budget earphones a few years ago, since then they have had many earphones but none of the excelled like ES18, I think SoundMagic E10 is the only earphone that could have sold more units than ES18.
     
     I personally love this earphone, one that is easy on our pocket and big on sound, comes with a MIC version too named ES18s. I have this particular MIC version for review here, priced close to $18(1099rs), retails for something like $11(689rs), hard to beat for that price.
     
     Most of you guys who are reading this might know that I had an ES18 earlier. Sadly I ended up gifting it to one of my brothers. Here I would like to thank Romeo and SoundMagic for this sample unit.
     Now few days ago I went back to him and brought it for a day. There are some changes in this MIC version, addition of MIC is the obvious one but this time you have a switch in this earphone’s 3.5mm plug!! And a PC adaptor!! Awesome!!
     
     Now it has heavy competition in the market from other brands, especially from Philips and pistons, I will compare these with Philips SHE3570 (yes, I have one), SHQ2305 and Piston 2.

      IMG_20150915_111507.jpg   IMG_20150915_111516.jpg
     

    Accessories and Miscellaneous:-
     
     It’s standard as always, like every SoundMagic earphone this too comes with a draw string carry pouch which has been a standard act since this brands inception I think, which is a really nice thing for budget earphones. Have a pc adaptor and standard 3 pairs of eartips, nothing fancy there. I am using stock single flange tips for this review, nice tips, wide bore too. It would have been nice if this had a cable clip but its okay.
     
     This has a different cable than the vanilla version, better thankfully, not as bouncy or rigid looking. It’s suppler and doesn’t have much memory thankfully. Microphonics is low but still annoying when you run with this. Thankfully you can wear these over your ear. Y splitter is the best you will find on an earphone, barely there, helps to keep the weight low, there is a cable slider too. Nice 3.5mm plug, on the bigger side but 90 degree angle means it’s not a problem.
     
     It is still not easy to see the L/R marking but this time around you can simply put the side with MIC in your LEFT and other in your right.
     Build is all plastic still good. Nice stress relievers all around, at the earpiece end, MIC, jack end, all have enough protection. There are two vents, one at the back and one under the nozzle.

     
    IMG_20150915_112627.jpg
     
     

    Remote and MIC (pc use too):-
     
     This section is an interesting one. Firstly, this earphone works with every Smartphone, all you have to flick the switch in the 3.5mm jack and you are good to go, 2ndly most of the headsets that comes with mobile compatibility are not compatible with PC or laptop. But this is!!
     
     ES18s comes with a single button remote, nicely guarded by stress relievers. That single button will pick calls and end, play and pause music, double tap will skip forward and triple tap will move back, you can’t control the volume from remote. MIC quality is better than average, sounds slightly grainy when compared to more expensive MIC units.
     
     PC use: - Now this earphone works with PC and Laptops too, you can use it as usual but the mic will work when you will use the adaptor provided in the box. Audio quality and MIC clarity is acceptable but not as good as my Steel series Siberia MIC.
     
    IMG_20150915_111633.jpg   IMG_20150916_121108.jpg  ​
     ​
     
     Okay, business end now, SQ.

     Sound Quality:-
     
     I am using stock tips, decent sounding one, burned for over 70hrs.
     This earphones sound sig is V shaped, highs had some spikes and elevation before burning but after that, it’s smoother, not as smooth as E10 but less spiky for sure.
     ES18s doesn’t need an amp to sound best and can be easily powered by our everyday Smart phones. Just plug in and enjoy.
     Let’s start with bass.
     
    IMG_20150915_112943.jpg   IMG_20150915_112926.jpg
     ​

     Bass:-
     
     Initially this region was under control, sounded more balanced but after burning, things changed. Bass opened up after burning. Typical SoundMagic budget earphone’s bass but better.
     As usual for dynamic drivers, this doesn’t lack air or rumble but not to the limit of sounding boomy or muddy. Decay is not that fast but its okay, the bass stay a while, lets you enjoy the rumble and air. I won’t call it bass heavy but its bassier side.
     
     Details are good for an earphone at this price, better than most let it be SHE3590 or hje-120/5. SHE and HJE don’t have even bass across the board, mid bassy and not as detailed, even though ES18 has some mid bass emphasis its nothing to worry about. Bleeds slightly into the lower mid but it’s nothing unusual for earphones at this price.
     
     Extension is good for an entry level earphone. Enough rumble till 30 Hz.
     
     Mid range:-
     
     Even when this part of the spectrum is slightly less emphasized its not the one to disappoint. Filled with serious amount of instrument and vocal details, clarity is really nice. Not good with micro detailing though, then you has to look at its price tag.
     
     Vocals sound nice, especially female vocals sound awesome, male vocals sound blunt, lacks that much of energy and depth. This is may be because of some upper mid emphasis and less emphasized male vocal region.
     
     Most instruments sound good but they lack depth and bite. Dosent sound as exciting as the Jive then Jive is twice as expensive.
     Sounds good with other genres but lacks pace with house and trance though.
     
     Highs:-
     I love spark, it had some, but after burning, its gone, good for some though, eliminates any scope for sibilance. It’s still not lacking energy but I like it tingling and sharp and this earphone is not as detailed as other expensive earphones, just okay for beginners.
     
     Layering and separation is acceptable, instrument placement is not good. One should not expect these things from an earphone at this price.
     Sound stage is big enough for this earphone, lacks some depth and width but its okay.

     Comparisons:-
     
     VS SHE3570:-
     Sound signature is seriously V shaped, there is a mid bass hump, has okay amount of sub bass though, moves more air and has more rumble, can sound muddy. Bass bleeds into mids a bit more, decay is worse, lacks details, sounds monotonous in comparison.
     
     Mid range even when in the V, are sharper and dose better than bass when it comes to details, has better vocals, instruments are fairly clear. Highs are more energetic and sharper, slightly splashy. Layering, separation and placement are similar. Sadly its sound stage is really flat, lacks fair bit of depth.
     
     Okay for $6 earphone though. ES18s is better earphone with more usability and better balance.
     
    VS SHQ2305:-
     Sounds more V shaped, has faster and more detailed bass with enough rumble and air, not boomy or muddy. Has slight mid bass emphasis but nothing serious. Minimal bass bleed.
     Mid range is left in the valley but don’t lack details, sounds clear, spacious, sharper and has enough details and clarity. Vocals sound slightly more energetic, instruments sound nice and sadly tonality is slightly edgy and unnatural. Highs do lack some extension but has enough energy. Sound stage is bigger, layering and separation is better too.
     
      It comes with a huge one button remote, super easy to use, microphonics is under control, and you can use the cable clip to bring even lower. Best thing about this is its sweat resistant, has Kevlar coated cable and man, this has the best stress relievers I have ever seen on an earphone ever.
     
     SHQ2305 is not as easy on ears as ES18s, but when it comes to SQ it’s a better sounding earphone.
     
     VS piston 2:-
     This is an earphone far superior when it comes to clarity and details and even with build but MRP is lower than ES18s.
     Bass has bigger impact, moves more air thanks to the rear vent, faster decay and has more details, has a mid bass hump but its nothing serious. There is some bass bleed sadly, but nothing major.
     
     Mid range has more details, instruments are clearer and has more micro details too. Sound stage is bigger with better height and width, depth is slightly better too. Have better separation, layering and imaging too. Sadly piston lack some high end spark and extension but its not a deal breaker.
     
     Piston 2 all the way, easily beats ES18s with its class leading clarity.

     Conclusion:-
     ES18s is a multi talented earphone, works fine with mobiles and doubles up as a headset for PC and Laptops too. With flick of a switch it will be compatible with most of the mobile devices. Features I haven’t seen on an earphone till date.
     
     Not an excellent sounding earphone for its retail price but at its selling price it’s a really good earphone, I will not recommend it to those who are looking for better SQ, there are better options at $20 but for $11, this has some serious all-rounder capabilities.
     Thanks for reading guys.
     
     Cheers!!

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