SoundMAGIC HP1000

General Information

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Latest reviews

Pros: Massive outside of the head holographic soundstage for a closed back headphone or even headphones in general, layering and imaging is spot on, analytical cold signature done right: no harshness and balanced across the spectrum, bass does not bleed into the mids and is well controlled, mids are detailed and revealing, highs are well extended and controlled, very detailed and textured for their price range, makes you hear extra hidden layers within soundtracks you haven't heard before, beautiful and comfortable build quality and in case problems arise Soundmagic provides good customer support.
Cons: Nitpicks: The massive soundstage can sometimes alter the timbre of vocals, instruments which on other headphones sound close can sound far away though detail is not lost, can get fatiguing at higher volumes, some ringing in the lower and higher mids at higher volumes but this is common for closed backs, sub-bass is slightly rolled off and could use a hint more body, coloured upper midrange enhance soundstage, texture, details and layering but create a signature which is not necessarily easily accessible: thus better for active listening, highs could sometimes use a bit more air and bit less sparkle, not forgiving of a bad source or compressed file, proprietary cable though I like the design philosophy behind them
A daring headphone: The biggest soundstage and best detail in a closed back headphone in its 300$ price range category, and maybe even beyond.
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The Soundmagic HP-1000 is the new flagship over-ear headphone from Soundmagic which I will be reviewing here. I come from a background that mostly consists of closed backs, so I am very excited to review this one.

As a hobbyist I try to keep improving my use of sound jargon in order to correctly and accurately describe the headphone I am reviewing, criticism is always welcome. I am no professional by any means, and other than hearing frequency sweeps do not own any measuring equipment to fortify my arguments with, nevertheless I consider myself an experienced listener. I do think measurements are an useful extra tool in order to confirm perceptions, or expose some inherent technical flaw. However, I also believe that headphones are more than just measurements, which is where I can bring an experienced viewpoint that can inform you on whether a headphone has as special quality or is a must buy for everyone. I will be comparing it mostly to Soundmagic's famous predecessor, the HP151, but will draw comparison to other headphones as well.

I clocked in around my usual 50 hours with this headphone, listening to a variety of music genres, watching movies and playing games. My music preferences range from Trip Hop such as Bonobo or Emancipator, to movie soundtracks such as Blade Runner 2049 or The Dark Knight and ambient track such as what Moby or DJ Shadow can provide. If you are curious of my tastes in headphones you can further check out my profile page where you can see other reviews of headphones or the gear that I own. As an extra here is my current Spotify playlist 2020:

MY SPOTIFY PLAYLIST

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What exactly is Soundstage?

Soundmagic is discovering their headphone house sound. Namely soundstage in closed back headphones that start to rival their open backs. This headphone totally aims at layering all the elements without overruling one or the other, aims at sound positioning and aims at soundstage. Does it deliver?

Let's first start with soundstage. But how exactly can we define soundstage anyways? Defining this term further I find is necessary with these headphones as only then can the signature be understood. If you are interested bear with my rambling otherwise just skip right on ahead to the page "how does the HP1000 achieve this soundstage" underneath.

On Head-fi I have seen soundstage being defined in terms of XYZ depth. As I try to continue to grow in this hobby I am more conflicted about it defining it. I think the X width I can be pretty sure about. For example, a warm signature can sound closer or more intimate on the X-axis than a cold one, as the body of sounds can sound closer and weightier when warmer. But a warm signature also might not, depending on which frequencies are lowered or raised by the headphone. For example a warm headphone with raised bass and lower mids can still have certain peaks in the upper mids or higher frequencies which could help emphasise soundstage. Inevitably a warm or cold signature could have an effect on the X-axis perception of the soundstage but it doesn't totally define it either. Consequently, I think the X width is largely dependant on the center image which is dependant on the way the left and right sides are balanced out. The better balanced the left/right drivers are, the better center image and less wonky positioning on the X-plane sounds have. Then there is the Y-axis, or height, I think is more dependant on the size of the driver. In-ear earphones will for example never reach the Y-axis height of a full sized over ear headphone that is larger than 50mm. The sheer size of the driver is more likely to make the image of a sound image bigger but that is also timbre dependant. That's why some large headphones don't have any soundstage whatsoever.
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But what exactly causes this image to be sensed coming from infront, so from the Z-axis? Is it that the drivers are angled? Is it the transient speed of the driver? Is it that the headphones are open? Is it that the Timbre of the frequency response creates this sensation that a sound is coming from further away? Is it that from memory we recognise sounds being either far or closer depending on the frequencies we receive? My current vision on this thinks this has to do with a combination to all those questions, with each affecting the other if one is more or less present. Though, I also think it mostly depends on the frequency response tuning and how the detailed and correct timbre then operates within the shell of the headphone. So when multiple instruments play at the same time and some I can hear further away than one and another, a mental Z-depth is formed. The greater the Z-depth, the deeper the soundstage. A great Z-depth doesn't need the soundstage to be high on the Y axis, but alongside a wide X-axis it will become a lot easier to segregate instruments in a soundtrack. But if on top of that there is also a high Y-axis to the image, then it begins to image sounds holographic. Though in order to be completely holographic sounding, the layering needs to be excellent, which I think happens through high transient attack and a good timbre.

But then there is the aspect of "in your head" vs "out your head" soundstage.
Keeping the aforementioned aspects in mind, the "in your head" soundstage is dominantly present on closed backs, and "out your head" soundstage on semi-open to open headphones. Though, "out of your head" doesn't instantly imply a big soundstage. The Fostex X00 Purpleheart is the perfect example of how an out of head soundstage can sound so close and intimate, it's like sitting with a chair right in-front of the band that is playing. But when sitting in the back of a concert hall, which frequencies arive at which intensity? If a headphone get's that timbre just right, it could just imitate the feeling of being in the back of such a concert hall. Though will the concert hall feel like a closed hall or an open air one? That also depends on the design of the drivers, with open ended headphones mostly being the ones achieving the open air feeling, though that could be the bias that originates from the less warm sensation open headphones create around your ears: They feel cooler so airier? Or it could be because open headphones have less ringing within the chamber of the headphone thus create a cleaner overall sound. But I digress, smaller drivers also tend to sound more as if the sounds originate from within the listeners head, bigger drivers tend to minimise this effect but most closed headphones never truly sound outside of your head until they reach a semi open design. The Soundmagic HP-151 was my first closed over ear headphone that gave me the feeling the sound originated out of my head, which is a big reason why I found it to be quite a bit better than the famous Beyerdynamic DT-770, which sounded inside my head. The Sennheiser HD25 does render it outside my head as well but to a much lesser degree and has a much smaller soundstage at that.

Unlike speakers however, headphones only truly allow us to listen to the left and right side independently with each ear. But depending on the mastering of the recording, by mixing both channels correctly the sensation of depth can still be perceived if the timbre of the headphone portrays a sound exactly like how it would sound from far away. But on certain recordings which have some sounds only originating in either the left or right channel at a time can end up sounding more flat than speakers because of how our brain creates the perception of depth and localisation through the difference of volume being perceived in both ears and through said timbre. So not only are the frequency response and the design of the headphone important, but also which recording that is being played is. In the case of the angled 53mm drivers of the HP1000, with the right recording, I feel it has a very broad, very tall and very deep "out of your head" holographic soundstage. It succeeds the HP-151 in every way and is a worthy successor in that regard.
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How does the HP1000 achieve it's big soundstage?

The HP1000 achieves this is in various ways. First of all it's a cold analytical headphone, but it's not peaky enough anywhere on the spectrum for it to be invasive, harsh or bright. This cold sensation is only ever so slightly present however. Listening to a frequency response sweep reveals this as well. The lower mids are linearly present from the 200hz-500hz area but slowly roll off to the 1khz mark and soon drop right after. This creates the warm side that balances out the upper mids and enables the sense of space by not giving the sound elements too much body. The upper mids are coloured in such a way that there is a scoop in the middle of the 1khz-2khz area. This scoop makes the sound less fatiguing, but results in some instruments and vocals especially males sounding further away than you might be used to on other headphones. There are also these slight peaks in between the 2khz-4khz area. These peaks create the slightly cold and very revealing nature of the headphone. But these peaks don't particularly stand out to me during normal listening so they don't overshadow detail and don't sound fatiguing on normal volumes. There is this sense of smoothness that is welcoming though it is not as smooth as the E-MU Teak of course. The separation of layers that I thought was only common on planar magnetic or open headphones is definitely here. And let me stress again that the cold sensation leans more to neutral than to actually sounding too cold or too coloured.

I believe the way the mids are tuned here is what sets the stage, no pun intended, for this enormous soundstage. That in combination with the way the bass never interferes and the way the the highs never sound too bright or harsh enables the listener to hone in on the many nuances hiding in soundtracks or soundscapes that headphones around lower price ranges never dream of even imaging. The amazing soundstage enables the amount of air and space that the many layers can breathe in, and so it can flawlessly image them all at once which is truly astonishing for a closed back. It is then a very transparent clean experience. This can only be truly appreciated if your only activity is actually paying attention to the music or soundscape that it's playing. In other words, the HP-1000 signature asks for you to be actively listening to it. Furthermore, the body of the instruments might seem too distant and muffled at first, but after the 10 hour burn in mark I noticed the headphone became smoother, got a better timbre and thus became more neutral. So I absolutely recommend you take a good amount of time letting both the headphone and you settle in with the signature. It's a masterful signature then at that.
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Diving deeper, from Bass to Mids to Highs

Sub-bass (20hz-80hz) and upper Bass (80hz-200hz)


While the HP151 is a more in your face U sound signature which can be quite energetic and sometimes overwhelming in it's brightness, the HP-1000 is more of a w sound signature where each part of the frequency response is balanced and which approaches neutrality, with a coloured upper mid-range as mentioned before, that emphasises soundstage and texture and is thus leaning on the slight cold and analytical side. Unlike the HP151 there is no raised sub-bass. The sub-bass is actually slightly rolled off after the 40HZ mark. At the lower volumes it is a very clean and controlled sub-bass. But there is a nice texture and tightness to it with a hint of physical rumble. The bass is speedier and has better decay than the more boomy HP-151. It's great for tracking bass lines of bass guitars though at times I felt it could use just a bit more volume in busy passage ways. This might have to do with the fact that I come from a background of headphones with quite prominent sub-bass. The upper bass is also quite linear and manages to kick hard enough to allow for the tracking of drum kicks or impacts. There is a great sense of body and tightness from the upper bass and I can describe it as quite ideal for bass guitar or weight to strings or instruments. The best part is that there is no hint of bass bleeding or interfering with the rest of the spectrum, which can be quite prominent on other closed back headphones.
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Lower mids (200hz-1khz) and higher mids (1khz-4khz)

As mostly described earlier, the mids are coloured to enable the soundstage to be so large. They can be quite detailed and very revealing. I hear elements I never heard before from my other headphones in my collection. In comparison to the E-MU Teak for example, I found the HP-1000 to be more revealing but not necessarily more detailed. The Teak is still more detailed but is more forgiving and more laidback which means it's not as analytical as the HP-1000. There were many background noises, effects or voices that became clear to me on the HP-1000. Switching back to the Teak I ended up noticing them too but in a more relaxed fashion which makes you less likely to hone in on the texture of those layers. The HP-1000 presents all these details so evenly that you can start to dissect them better from one and another. Little nuances in singer's voices such as sighing or breathing can be noticed faster, or secondary singers in the background stand out easier. Piano keys really feel like they are being pushed in and have great texture. Electric guitars have plenty of body and bite and can sound actually quite upfront if the track calls for it. Acoustic guitars are imaged very natural and little nuances of chord switching or string pulling are all sonically portrayed here. Trumpets sound very crunchy, have a nice bite and thus sound beautiful. Though it is important to keep in mind that the spaciousness can also negatively effect the sound and can get rid of an intimacy that some might always prefer while listening to their recordings. Especially with vocals, which can almost seem a bit hollow at first, especially males as mentioned before. The vocals can be very detailed though, it's just that the vocals are now placed in a further away space that they were not before unlike some other headphones. But vocal textures are impressive even if they are distanced away. I do enjoy vocals on these but they won't win the most natural award here. This has to do with the analytical side of this headphone.

In busy passage ways such as orchestra I also noticed that all the instruments were more separated than most dynamic offerings can do. The speed and decay is quick. It was easy to localise each instrument when many of them fired at once, but each axis of the soundstage is so wide that you really need to actively listen to the soundtrack in order to accurately localise each element in your mind. This again is due to the less intimate and far sounding nature of the headphone, and requires one's full attention. Though the beauty of this large soundstage is that some sounds truly feel like you are in the back of a big concert hall. There can be this nice howling decay to instruments or sounds that create this feeling of great depth. Though it's not too artificially big by any means, recordings that are intended to sound smaller are still in a realistic space.

I read in the other reviews that they found the timbre to be a bit off. I can not agree with that statement though I understand where they come from. This is not a headphone with warm mids, and if one is used to the scooped upper mids most headphones have these HP1000's can come off as quite cold or coloured. And as in comparison to the HP151, the HP1000 have much more dimensionality and detail to the mids. I found the HP151, while having ok timbre, sounding less detailed and more peaky in comparison. Though still good for it's price range, the midrange of the HP-151 ended sounding one dimensional in comparison.
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Highs, Presence (4khz-7khz) and Brilliance (7khz-20khz)

The highs on these are also very detailed. The timbre is well done, I get a very natural sensation from instruments their energy and body. This means that there are no peaks in the highs that annoy or interfere with the rest of the spectrum or that would cause harshness or sibilance. I wouldn't call the highs bright but they are extended enough for a certain crowd whom are used to rolled off highs to find them bright. They do roll off slowly after around the 13khz mark. I normally don't mention recordings in my reviews as everyone listens to different music, but "Take Five" by The Dave Brubeck Quartet is so excellently portrayed here with the snares sounding impactful, natural and highly detailed. Actually all the instruments sound spot on but that's another topic. There is a sense of volume and depth to the highs that most other closed backs portray as artificial, thin and brittle. The highs while being articulate don't miss a hint of body. Sometimes the body is a bit exaggerated, probably by the raised 5khz area. But this never is too intruding to my ears. Rarely I missed the air of an open headphone but sometimes in order to feel less grainy the highs could use just a bit more openness to breathe in. Open headphones simply will have highs that sing a bit more due to being cleaner and a tad smoother. I found the E-MU Teak for example, which is semi-open, to sound smoother and also cleaner in the highs. But the Teak is in another price bracket so there is that. Finally, there might be a peak in the presence region that slightly sticks out on some recordings as I do hear a tad bit too much sparkle from for example tracks containing a tambourine jamming through them. But this is mostly remedied by improving your source, amp and playing an uncompressed format. This is also nitpicking in what I would call great highs from a closed back, especially for the price range.
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Final Conclusions

The HP-1000 is a full sized closed back that can effortlessly image a multitude of sounds at once and does so with a phenomenal soundstage, great timbre and high amount of detail.
The HP-1000 are quite versatile but perform best with certain genres such as those containing many layers as with orchestra, movie soundtracks, Trip Hop or classical. It also excels at acoustic or at Jazz because of the correct timbre for those instruments: it makes Jazz sound like it's being played live. Rock sound excellent too, it can have a nice bite to the guitars but can sound a tad distant compared to ideal. Bass heavy soundtracks can sound good with tight kicks and a hint of physical rumble but I don't expect bass-heads to be completely satisfied here. Movies sound of course spacious and can be quite engaging because of this. For gaming these headphones do a great job at positioning but perhaps lack a bit of impact to accurately track shots coming from certain directions, probably due to the 1.5khz scoop. During video editing I could notice anomalies in the sound easier than I would with other closed backs. Soundmagic delivers on its promises which advertised an expensive soundstage and an audiophile signature, and for the price probably overdelivers on those statements. The sound revealed textures of sounds to me that my more expensive headphones not necessarily do, which is amazing for the price these go for. Being so versatile in their sound, these are now my go to main closed over ear headphone.

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Build quality is also amazing for it's price. The cups are much better coated and scratch resistant than the HP151. The achilles heel of the HP151 has also been remedied: The yokes are now made entirely of very thick metal. The headband is made of sheepskin leather and the pleather pads are much more comfortable and durable because of the perforated air holes in them and the better pleather material that is used. The clamp force is tight enough for them to easily seal on the head, but can be worn for hours on end due to the weight being so evenly distributed. You get a beautiful flat headphone case, which is cleverly designed to save space in your luggage as the headphone lays flat on it's cups in it. The thick 1.2m proprietary cable itself is also very nice. It smoothly is inserted in the headphone but doesn't seat with a click despite sitting firmly. I prefer this design, as when the cable accidentally gets yanked the cable unplugs itself instead of pulling on the headphone. The downside is that only through Soundmagic will you be able to order a new cable. You do get a free 3.0m extension cable however. Lastly, if you have trouble with any of your drivers inside the HP1000, Soundmagic is willing to help you under your warranty if you can clearly communicate what your issue with the sound with one of the drivers is. In the end not everyone can appreciate this style of signature as it's not an easy listen, with no frequency in particular sounding with an upfront nature anywhere in the spectrum. But for those that take their time, deep dive in the signature while sitting back and relaxing to the soundscape are in for a magical ride.
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Attachments

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VilMo
VilMo
Really great review written with a lot of consideration and focus, great observation skills!
As a fan of both brands - happy owner of Emu Teak that you mention in the review and Soundmagic E10 and E11 in-ears as well as the TWS50 that I enjoy a lot, could you possibly comment of the soundstage of HP1000 vs Emu Teak? I have followed HP1000 for some time and am curious how they compare as Emu Teak are mu current point of reference.
Thanks and again - great job!
The Third
The Third
Thank you for your kind comments. But to answer your question. I would consider the soundstage of the HP1000 a fraction bigger in all directions, but it lacks the open back design to make the highs feel airier and cleaner than the Teak. The Teak is like sitting in the mid row in an open air orchestra. The HP1000 like you are in the backrow but in a closed hall. Sometimes the HP1000 can achieve that open feeling though it is track dependant. The depth on both is more or less the same it's just the timbre of the HP1000 sometimes make sounds be able to sound further away due to it's mids.
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misteral201103
misteral201103
Not just an excellent, in-depth review of these headphones but an engaging and enjoyable read. Nice one!!
Pros: - Great balanced sound
- Very open sounding
- Build quality
- Value for money
Cons: - Proprietary detachable cable of mediocre quality
- No extra cable
SoundMAGIC HP1000

This headphone was kindly provided by SoundMAGIC to be featured in a series of unbiased honest reviews.
Thank you for the opportunity.
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Introduction

SoundMAGIC was founded in 2005 by engineer Mr. Tony Xu and very soon instead of being condemned to obscurity like many other small companies from China they managed to succeed by offering truly great sound at a budget price.
At the beginning was the much acclaimed E10 the iem that redefined the market stating that budget is not necessarily cheap or bad performing.
Since then SoundMAGIC never resting at their laurels they have tried hard to further improve by releasing many other good products like E50 and E80 and even expanding at larger headphones like HP150 and HP200.
The latest release is their flagship headphone HP1000 an over the ear closed back design being reviewed here.
SoundMAGIC team spend more than three years researching and developing the headphone considering greatly user feedback in order to fine tune it.
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Tech - build quality - comfort

At the heart of HP1000 we find a huge 53mm angled dynamic driver with a composite made diaphragm constructed with cavities of special design.
Nominal impedance is 66ohm with a sensitivity of 120db meaning that the headphone can easily be driven from low powered sources without peeking any internal noise.
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Build quality is excellent reaching well above it's price point and all materials used are of top quality.
The adjustable headband is internally metal reinforced and covered with real sheepskin leather for comfort and durability.
The ear cups are made of matte plastic with scratch resistant coating and a very nice feeling to the touch.
The huge ear pads are user replaceable and made of breathable PU leather with memory foam inside.
Ear cups feature an adaptive aluminium spindle which can be rotated at 120° for easy storage inside the provided travel case and attach to the headband with aluminium yokes.
All in all really impressive and nothing to complain about.
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The cable is detachable with different left and right plugs located at the bottom of each ear cup.
There is only one 1.2m cable provided with a 3.5mm plug at the end plus an extra 3m extension.
Cable quality is acceptable but not great and surely not a match for a flagship headphone.
An extra longer cable would be much appreciated as extensions are not much to our liking due to the extra connection.
Oddly SoundMAGIC instead of choosing a usual generic plug for the detaching system they have opted for a unique plug design never found elsewhere.
It is something like an aerial plug as you can see at the photos.
To be honest it gets the job done as it is stable and allows for easy handling but it rules out after market cables or other plug options like 2.5mm balanced.
In our opinion this is a major let down and should be addressed at the next batch or at least we should be offered with an extra 2.5 mm balanced cable.
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Real use comfort is great as the headphone is not very heavy weighting 412gr and the headband does an excellent job distributing it equally at the head.
The ear cups are very roomy even for larger ears and cool enough considering this is a closed design so we were able to listen more than an hour without taking a break.
Clamping force is medium keeping the headphone stable without causing discomfort and providing good passive noise isolation.
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Listening

After the needed burn in we begun our listening sessions pairing the headphone mostly with portable gear like FiiO M9 and low powered amps like Lehmann Audio drachenfels.
Even from the start it was apparent that we were dealing with a very good headphone an impression made stronger after days of listening.
If we would like to summarize in a few words this would be an even well balanced presentation with natural tonality , amazing clarity , plenty of detail and excellent headstage although in the lean , monitor side of things.
The HP1000 is a well tuned headphone with great extension at both ends of the spectrum and great clarity throughout a perfect achievement considering how difficult is to tune properly closed headphones.
Bass extends well down to the sub bass region but without an extra emphasis.
This is fast , reference tuned bass focusing mainly in quality but lacking in body and depth.
Notes can be individually heard with great layering able to successfully portray low strings either being plucked or bowed with satisfying decay.
There is no bleeding into the mid bass which is heard even and linear up to the mids.
Talking of mids which are well behaved and lively sounding but a touch of recession is robing them out of presence and body making for a clear but somewhat restrained presentation.
Depending on the mix some voices and instruments of the region are heard sometimes far at the background.
Highs follow up with some extra boost enough to lighten things up contributing to a very detailed and clean presentation without causing sound fatigue.
But don't be mistaken as the headphone will do no favors at all and poor quality as bright sources will be highlighted resulting in an over emphasized experience.
HP1000 is a very lively headphone but sometimes time decay especially in the higher frequencies is just too fast giving the impression of thin sounding instruments of the upper registers.
Dynamic behaviour is good able to portray with great sense of reality all the swings of the orchestra from whisper to full rise.
What impressed us most was the width of stage and sense of space making HP1000 one of the most open sounding closed headphones we have ever heard.
The sound stage is very wide with plenty of air between the instruments and pinpoint accuracy.
Aided by the amazing clarity and detail retrieval makes for a very persuasive presentation of the recording venue being it a small ensemble or a large orchestra.
It should be noted that this is more like a two dimensional projection than a 3D holographic stage because we found it lacking at height and depth.
Classical music lovers will find HP1000 much to their liking.
As mentioned earlier the headphone can play very loud from low powered sources so there is no need for an extra amplifier but dac quality is a prerequisite to fully enjoy it.
Pair it with a good dac/amp and be rewarded with great sound.
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At the end

HP1000 is a leap above the rest of the SoundMAGIC products taking sound and build quality to a whole next level.
Don't let it's "humble" origins and low price deceive you.
This is a great sounding headphone , one of the best closed in the market , able to compete with rivals asking two or three times more.
With a well balanced monitor type sound it is going to equally please casual and professional users alike.
Add to this the top notch build quality , great looks and very reasonable asking price and we've got a real winner deserving our full recommendation.

Copyright @2020 by Petros Laskis (@Ichos)
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Pros: Excellent build quality
Comfortable enough for over-ear set
Very good bass quality
Detail
Cons: Very proprietary detachable cable option
Cable ergonomics
Everything else in Sound quality is missing (midrange, treble, stage, timbre, etc)
SoundMAGIC HP1000 – Closed back over-ear headphones

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Website – SoundMAGIC

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Price
: ~U$300.

HP1000 product page

The HP1000 unit was sent directly by SoundMAGIC for purpose of review. The following impressions are based on the limited amount of time of about a month.

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Design


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The new HP1000 are over-ear closed-back headphones. Price goes higher than any previous product from SoundMAGIC, being the current flagship, and as such has excellent build quality and nice elegant design without fancy looks. There are no plastic parts that can spotted on the HP1000, at least not on the outside, all made of tough aluminum in a very smooth finish. The top main headband may not have a broad curve, however it is flexible enough and easy to adjust with slider mechanism on both sides. Moreover, the round cups and yokes are all aluminum too, can rotate to both front and back sides so the whole design sits very securely atop of the head and around the ears. The design only allows to fold flat to be stored inside the hardcase. The headband is well covered by real sheepskin leather, being very soft with plenty foam material inside. The ear pads are made of PU leather and have good amount of foam too. While the headphones weight is about 400g it is very well distributed and with the soft leather and thick enough foam, all results in a very comfortable over-ear set. The isolation is fairly good for a closed back design too.

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The cable is detachable and connects to both cups unlike the previous SoundMAGIC headphones models. The HP1000 introduce their own proprietary connectors, instead of standard 3.5mm / 2.5mm audio plugs. The connectors are long but are easy to install. They connect securely and can be remove from the cups without much effort. The proprietary design works fine, but logically limits any possibility to try other cables and, more importantly, balanced outputs. The cable itself is quite thick with a kind of rubber sheathing. While not noisy it is not very soft and less comfortable for dedicated portable use. The plugs are very well covered by metal parts and well relieved on both cable ends. The y-split is simple, made of two attached plastic parts. The main cable is of standard length of 1.2m for portable use. The extra extension cable is of same build quality and adds extra 3m, suitable for desktop or more dedicated large music systems.

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Sound Impressions
Temporarily edited.
Sources: iBasso DX220, HiBy R6 Pro & R5, Shanling M5s, Aune X1s Pro.

While build quality is worth some praise on the HP1000, keeping good ergonomics and comfort for over-ear closed headphones, it wouldn’t mean much if the sound quality is not matching. Well, I could not find the HP1000 very positive. Again, the allowed time to try the HP1000 was limited, and further burn-in time may (or may not) improve this further; moreover, there could be (less likely) a chance of receiving a faulty unit as well. Anyway, after trying with various and good sounding DAPs, like iBasso DX220 and HiBy R6 Pro, and even a desktop Amp/Dac like the Aune X1s, the sound presentation on the HP1000 follows the same formula, and faults. The P55 Vento, on its third iteration could be still easy to recommend as one of the best sounding products from SoundMAGIC. The first and second versions were quite uninspiring, and while the HP1000 is not as bad, it is still far from being worth the V3 Vento high rating.

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The HP1000 presents a mild v-shaped signature; not by having very elevated bass and treble, but rather a distant and cold midrange. There is undoubtedly a lot of potential on the large dynamic drivers inside as the HP1000 is capable of showing good dynamics and speed and a particularly high level of detail for the price. However, it is the final tuning and lack of separation what seems to break the whole listening experience for the HP1000. The lack of power is not an issue as it is an easy to drive set for an over-ear option.

The bass actually is very good on the HP1000. There is good extension for a closed-back set with fairly good sub-bass reach. Mid-bass is a bit more punchy though keeps a nice balance. It is nothing heavy or too thick; the attack has speed and decay is natural. There is not much of bass rumble but it is well textured without having a sense of warmth.

Midrange is where things start to get wrong. A v-shaped signature is not something I’d dislike when it’s well tuned, even more on an over-ear set where there is more room for stage and separation. The mids are a bit distant, which is fine, but are somehow uninspiring. Technically, there is lot of detail and each instrument is clearly heard. The negative side is the cold tonality and a bit thin texture. There is no emotion and timbre is quite off. Vocals lack natural-ity, especially male vocals, and while female are more forward still miss in texture and can be a bit sharp.

Treble is pretty much as prominent as the bass – a bit elevated to the bright side, nothing overdone. Quality, however, it is not as impressive as the on low-end. There is not a certain peak that can be noticed at moderate listening volumes. Still, not a smoothest response; it is a sizzling kind of treble, energetic, sparkly and decently extended, very even quantity-wise from low to upper treble. The tonality is again quite off, feels very unnatural and lacks focus.

The detail is there, and a high level of micro detail for the price, but it is missing coherence. Soundstage is around average in width, limited in depth and low in height. The presentation is somehow congested; while instruments are detailed, there is very little space and all arrive together from a same position.

hp1000 (12).jpg

Overall, while the build quality on the HP1000 is excellent with fine selected materials, elegant design and comfortable enough, it is ultimately missing in the main part, the sound. Trying other cables is impossible with these so proprietary new introduced plugs – they might become a good option later, but right now limited to the stock cable and single ended output. It is not difficult to see there is a potential on the drivers inside the HP1000, and unless this is a faulty unit, a new tuning would be needed to start recommending them.
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Ichos
Ichos
Yes it must surely be as my experience is totally different.
Review is going to be up in a few days.
Zelda
Zelda
I only can share my thoughts on what I got.
Looking to read your impressions
ostewart
ostewart
See I heard an early HP1000 and agree with your thoughts Zelda. I also know one other person who also had the same opinion here on head-fi.

I think the frequency graph below highlights the issues you heard, and are in line with what I heard.

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