These and the PL50 are terrible quality buds, I went through both of them in less than 8 months. Both times they failed they left me in an awkward position where I really needed earbuds for working. Thus I would rate these as highly undesirable as I prize reliability and quality most.
Pros - Great Value Great Sound Quality Great Amount of Accessories Decent Build Quality
Cons - The Bass Knob is more of a Gimmick. The cable is flimsy. The clip is annoying. The tips dont fit well. Isolation using stock earbuds arent veru good.
In this review the Soundmagic PL 30 will be reviewed and compared to the Sony XB20EX. Both are around the 30 dollar mark.
Specs (according to Soundmagic)
100±3 dB at 1 KHz/mW
My initial impression of these earphones are the relative smallness of the earphones compared to the pictures of it. They are the size of a quarter. The package shows the tips and they seem very nice.
The Sound Quality is great the mids are great the highs are clear and defined and the bass provides a nice satisfying punch to it.
8.5/10 The highs are clearly defined but are bit quiet and are overpowered by the mids.
9/10 The mids are wonderful they are so clear and are very nice to listen to but can be overpowering at times.
7.5/10 The lows are unimpressive compared to the other sound quality they are almost non existant and too soft.
8.5/10 The Bass is very nice it compares nicely to other earphones such as the Sennheiser CX300 II and other over 70 priced IEMs. The bass rumbles nicely without being too muddy and the punch is nice. The feature of the bass knob with clear bass and deep bass is more of a gimmick and does not change the music much. The quantity and quality of bass is just right.
The soundstage is excellent on
Sound Quality Comparison with Sony XB20EX Highs
The Soundmagic PL30s win this round as the Sonys are more recessed in the highs
The Soundmagics also win here as the mids are also soft and recessed in the Sonys
In this department the Sonys win as the Lows are much clearer and defined while the Soundmagic is virtually non existant and muddy
The Soundmagic win here although the Sonys have more quantity the Soundmagic has a bit less quantity but great quality
The Soundmagic definitely won here with a very wide soundstage and i was able to hear almost every instrument clearly whereas the Sony had a small compact soundstage.
DJ Tiesto Squeeze It: The bass is great the rumble is so nice and its nice and punchy the jumps are nice and the highs sound really good
ACDC: Highway to Hell: The soundstage on this song is really superb you can hear every song in clear detail and the guitar sounds fabulous.
Adele Rolling in The Deep: The mids sound very good and detailed and defined and the highs sound very nice though a little recessed
The Soundmagic PL30s are a great earphone for new audiophiles who are looking for cheap yet good earphones. They also have great soundstage that can compare to popular earphones like Sennheiser CX300 IIs for less than half the price. The build is decent though after using it for 6 months of semi intense usage the left ear suddenly stopped making noise ): I would recommend this for anyone with a tight budget
Pros - Bass not too overpowering, great mids, amazing soundstage
Cons - Build quality, prone to hiss
Packaging is nice... great for display. Opening the flap in the front shows the frequency of these IEMs, but not representative of what you would hear. I think the package should make a good gift for your loved ones.
7 pairs of tips... amazing at the price I bought it... 37SGD (about 31USD). A pair of earhooks, which are very useful for keeping the IEMs at the back of the ear. Hard case which really protects the IEMs from damage. The shirt clip attached to the IEM also prevents microphonics.
Really a small IEM, not like the exceedingly large Altec Lansing UHP336. The design is not the conventional straight barrel I usually see, but the over the ear design which I find it to be quite comfortable. the red and blue strain reliefs make it easy to identify left and right. The curves of the strain reliefs make it easy to wear the IEMs in the dark. To be honest, my only gripe is the bass knobs, which I feel will get loose with use.
It is the first time I wore an over-the-ear IEM. At first I am not used to wearing it, but after a while it became more comfortable. Sometimes I don't even feel it inside my ear. It also seldom fall out of the ear.
I use bi-flanges provided to obtain a better seal and block out greater outside noise. Isolation is not very great, but should be sufficient most of the time.
Sound is just great for the price. Very different from the mainstream offerings, which usually has very (I mean very) heavy bass and recessed mids and highs.
Bass is tight and punchy, not boomy like mainstream sets. The bass they brought out is just sufficient. The knob at the side of the IEM adjusts the bass, with one being the clear bass setting and one being the deep bass setting. Adjusting to the deep bass setting makes the sound slightly warmer, which is the way I liked it.
If I were to say what is the best thing about the sound of the PL-30, I would say it is the mids. The mids are slightly forward, giving more prominence to the vocals. I like how the way the vocals are put out. The voices are warm (especially on deep bass setting) and full-bodied.
Treble is not sibilant or anything, lacking sparkle. It feel it is more laid back. The treble does not sound harsh at all.
Soundstage is just, wide. I like the soundstage, it does not make you feel like the song is playing in your head. It is more headphone like, but closer. The soundstage is also quite airy as well. I think it has one of the best soundstage for an IEM below 100SGD
A great IEM for the price. Good amount of accessories, great egronomics and great sound and soundstage to match. I would say those who like a more balanced sound should look at this. People who like a neutral sound that is slightly warm can take a look at this too.
They are exceptionally comfortable and light; when I wear them I sometimes forget they are in my ears. The quantity of accessories is more than enough, though the quality of which is not so. The tips seemed poorly made, and one of the bi-flanges even has some defect. I only found the olive-like foam tips to sit snuggly in the ear canals. Isolation is above average with those tips, but the sound would be darkened because of that. The cords tangle quit easily such that I had to separate them almost every time, but this problem improved after more than a while.
The soundstage is wide and airy, which is probably is the most noticeable aspect and one of the main selling points of PL-30’s. Bass is tight and controlled, yet light as well. With a lot of burn-in (100 hr mark), bass is even tighter, and better quantity-wise, still incomparable to many. Another feature of the PL-30’s is the adjustable bass knob. When pointed inwards to the strain relief that’s called deep bass, whereas clean bass when pointed outwards. Most people would prefer the clean bass, as everything is less-veiled. On the other hand, deep bass made little changes to the bass impact. The higher range is never harsh. I find the mids and highs well defined and likeable. The depth makes you feel near the stage rather than someone singing in your head. Like many budget IEMs, ultra-high treble is rolled off, which means anything above 12000Hz is inaudible. That's not really something of significance to the average consumer as the highest fudamental note that an instrument, namely piccolo/piano, can play is just about 4000Hz, anything above 6000-8000Hz is just harmonics.
PL-30’s were first introduced as Shure E4C equivalents, which is something many would disagree upon. I personally think the PL-30 could have been over-rated to some extent because the popularity died out after the initial spike. They were nevertheless one of the better valued IEMs around early 2009, since then there has been a lot of competition rendering PL-30 not as highly competitive before. This is not to say PL-30’s are no good, on the contrary, for about $25 they offer balance, detail and a massive (for the price) soundstage.