Pros: - Smooth and relaxed sound signature
- Good levels of detail and clarity
- Wired and Bluetooth
- Great battery life
- Very comfortable and stable during exercise
- Quality carrying case
- Nice assortment of ear tips
Cons: - Larger tips are necessary for best fit
- Only one size of double flange and no triple flange ear tips
- Outdated micro USB port
- Inner body and nozzle are made of plastic
- No app
The ST80 was kindly provided by SoundMAGIC free of charge.
SoundMAGIC never asked for a favorable review and this is my honest and subjective evaluation of it.
SoundMAGIC is one of the best known value for money manufacturers of iems and headphones.
Founded in 2005 by acoustic design engineer Tony Xu, SoundMAGIC designs and manufactures products that aim to deliver performance beyond customer expectations.
By utilising the latest technology and best materials, SoundMAGIC are continuously improving and updating these products based on customer feedback.
With awards and recommendations from What Hi-Fi , Stuff magazine, T3, Trusted Review and AVForums, SoundMAGIC headphones deliver immersive sound quality, outstanding durability and stylish aesthetics, consistently outperforming similar products from established competitors.
The ST80 is a sports iem with interchangeable cables that can be used wired and wireless thanks to the extra bluetooth cable that is included in the package.
You can buy it from the SoundMAGIC store
Technical and physical parameters
This is an older model that is now updated and revised in it's second edition.
The construction is the same featuring a large 13.5mm dynamic driver with neodymium magnet that has an impedance of 16ohm/100db.
The differences lie down to the better quality of the included cables and the bluetooth adapter that is upgraded with a brand new chipset from Qualcomm which supports
Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX , AAC and SBC codecs.
The Bluetooth cable - adapter can be charged from the micro USB port which is to be found in the small three button remote control.
The small Bluetooth module with the internal battery is located at the middle of the cable and can be clipped to the back of our T-shirt.
It measures 4.5x2cm and the whole Bluetooth cable is very lightweight , weighing 15gr.
The included battery has a capacity of 200mAh that can be charged in one hour to offer 400h of standby and about 20h of music playing with actual duration being a little less as we managed to get about 17 hours of payback with aptX enabled.
The ST80 is an iem with an embedded non removable - elastic ear hook that can be freely rotated and is height adjustable for better fit.
The main body of the iem is attached to the ear hook system with an aluminum band and can be slightly adjusted up and down.
The outer shell is made from aluminum but the inside part and the nozzle are from plastic.
The cable is removable with a unique screw type plug that is of good quality and can be tightly screwed but it is not compatible with after market options.
The included cable is of typical quality with a microphone and a multifunction remote control with a length of 1.2m.
Both wired and wireless versions of the ST80 offer an IPX-6.0 waterproof and sweat proof rating.
Except from the two cables we can find a big hard carrying case of good quality that can accommodate everything inside it , a USB cable for charging and a nice assortment of ear tips.
There are four pairs of specialized sports ear tips that are breathable and allow some of the environmental sound to pass through in order to ensure safety while doing outdoor sports.
Then there is one pair of double flange ear tips that offers more snug fit and a lot better isolation for listening to music and two pairs of oblique ear tips that offer painless fit for extended wearing comfort.
Fit and comfort while exercising
The ST80 is very lightweight and small but the nozzle is too short so while it is comfortable and fits very well at the outer ear canal it can be problematic regarding the insertion into the inner part of the ear canal.
Users with deep and larger diameter cavities will find out that they need one or two sizes larger ear tips than they usually use.
We managed to get proper and snug fit only with the double flange ear tips which also offer good noise isolation but are unfortunately provided in one size only , so be prepared to seek for larger or even triple flange ear tips.
The good news is that after you get a proper fit then the ST80 is very comfortable and super stable.
You can run , cycle or hike and the ST80 stays always in place without even slightly moving.
The Bluetooth cable is lightweight but while running there is a slight movement of the clipped module that is not annoying.
The sports ear tips are breathable and cool so at the end we were very satisfied with the overall fit and use while exercising and the ST80 passed all the tests and can be highly recommended as a sports iem.
We have tested the ST80 in both modes using the SoundMAGIC A30 for the wired sessions.
This is a balanced and well tuned iem with an easy going sound signature.
Bass is well extended and although it can't offer sub bass rumble the performance is good and most users will be left satisfied minus the hardcore bass lovers.
It is not the tightest bass but aided by enough clarity we can sufficiently hear all the bass instruments with a mild effect of masking
Dynamic behavior is surprisingly good and the ST80 can hit when it is needed to.
Mid bass to mids transition is linear and we didn't spot any signs of annoying bleeding or excessive coloring.
Mid range is neutral and voices with related instruments sound rounded and well articulated with good presence and a balanced , natural timbre.
Higher frequencies are not the most extended but we do get satisfying detail retrieval and brilliance levels while everything always sounds under control and without harshness.
Soundstage is good enough in order not to sound overly congested and cope even with symphonic music.
A well blended and smooth sounding iem that while nothing stands out as special it nevertheless manages to sound very enjoyable and pleasurable with all kinds of music.
The wired performance is certainly better with added clarity, extension and increased dynamics but the Bluetooth adapter with the aptX codec is not that far apart.
Considering that it is going to be used while exercising or for casual listening then it is more than acceptable and gets the job well done.
At the end
The SoundMAGIC ST80 V2 is another great budget offering from the company who literally invented the budget category.
For a very competitive price we get a waterproof sports iem with wireless and wired connection that is comfortable and stable while exercising and above all with a very enjoyable sound performance.
What else to ask?