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Review: SoundMAGIC E11C in-ear-phones

  1. notaris
    Review: SoundMAGIC E11C in-ear-phones

    In 2011, SoundMAGIC presented E10, which really impressed me with its articulate presentation for a set costing just $40.00.

    Fairly recently, SoundMAGIC upgraded E10 to E11. The first thing that crossed my mind was how much improvement a set as good as E10 could take. However, with the boom of the last years in smartphones, more and more people pay attention to the quality of their earphones. So, I thought why not put E11C, which is essentially E11 with a microphone, to a test.

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    The sample of E11C was received a few weeks ago. As soon as you open the box, you find:
    1 pair of E11C
    4 sets of silicone eartips and double flange silicone eartips of various sizes
    1 travel pouch

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    On a first sight, E11C looks similar to E10C; for my taste, E11C is a bit “classier”, although this is personal. Nonetheless, the quality of E11C is at least as good as, and to my opinion a little higher, than that of E10C. It is a robust construction that is made to last, which goes along with the philosophy of SoundMAGIC products. The aluminium housing, the microphone and the cable are all of top quality and seem very solid, something you don’t expect from earphones at this price range. My sample was in what SoundMAGIC calls “gunmetal”, which is of a very nice color. One thing that deserves a special mention is the cable of E11C, which is new and of better quality than that of E10C. Initially, it might give you the impression that it is also anti-tangling, but it is not; however, it looks, feels and it actually is better.

    So, aesthetically, E11C is nice looking, but what about confort and sound? I have tested a lot of SoundMAGIC earphones, and I don’t ever remember to have had any problem with comfort. In a matter of minutes you can find the right eartips that will make E11C to stay comfortably in your ears for as long as you want. Isolation is quite good, too; maybe not as good as, say the Klipsch X10, one of the references in the market, but hey, lets not be picky! E11C costs the humble price of $50.00, compared to $279.00 of X10!

    Now, what about the sound? Here SoundMAGIC had a difficult task; E10C was (already) so good, and one would naturally wonder how much improvement could take, while retaining about the same price tag. Of course, nowadays, good quality drivers and precise tuningcan give amazing results.

    The main characteristic of E11C is tonal balance, which is outstanding for a set of earphones costing that little. E10C was tonally balanced as well, but E11C has a more full-bodied and expressive presentation. The tuning is different in E11C: The bass has been increased, but in a soft way, without though sacrificing the mids and highs, so, the tonally balanced character of the set has been retained, but the presentation is more articulate.

    Listening to “O Vazio” of Jim Brock & Doug Hawthorne, by the Jim Brock Ensemble, from the album Tropic Affair, RR-31, which is a very complex piece, varying from some kind of “test” tones at various frequencies to some very powerful parts with a lot of alterations, one is quite impressed on how well E11C handles the alternations between the heavy drums parts and the more quiet passages. Going to something more casual, like “Fly me to the moon” by Diana Krall, from the album The Very Best of Diana Krall, Verve, the voice of Diana Krall stands out, just above you, in a very natural and pleasing way, which shows how good is E11C in the mid area.

    The separation and image are also pretty good, and the soundstage, although not huge is more than adequate.

    Selected comparisons

    Comparing E11C to E10C, the first thing that crosses your mind is that E11C is a bit a higher quality, eventhough the quality of E10C is excellent for earphones at this price range; the housing of E11C is classier than that of E10C and both the cable and phone jack are also better. The sound in E10C is tonally balanced and detailed, but appears to be a bit lean compared to that of E11C, which has more soft bass, and this results in a more full-bodied and expressive presentation. Furthermore, E11C has a better separation and maybe a little better soundstage than E10C. The latter, on the other hand, is a bit more dynamic, due to its very low resistance of 16 Ohms compared to the heavier 42 Ohms of E11C.

    Now, lets compare E11C to Final E3000C, which is a little more expensive but roughly in the same price range. E3000C has a minimalistic and sleek design, with a beautifully machined stainless steel body. Soundwise, E3000C has less and better-controlled bass, giving the impression of clearer mids and a more detailed higher end that results in a more tonally balanced and relaxed presentation. On the other hand, E11C, due to its bigger driver of 10mm compared to the 6.4mm driver of E3000c, is more dynamic.

    In conclusion

    With E11C, SoundMAGIC succeeded to improve over E10C in almost every aspect, and that alone is not a small feat, given how good E10C is. E11C’s tonal balance remains outstanding, while its sound is more full-bodied and articulate, and it will be very pleasing to those listeners who want a little more soft bass, but not at the cost of balance. The cherry on the torte: A classier design. If you own E10C, you would certainly be happier with E11C; and if this is your first time with a SoundMAGIC product, then E11C would become your everydays happy companion. It has become mine for over a month now.


    Specifications and price:
    Driver: Dynamic 10mm neodymium magnet
    Frequency range: 15~22000 Hz
    DC Resistance: 42±10% Ohms
    Sensitivity: 112±2 dB at 1KHz/mW
    Maximum input power: 20mW
    Cable length: 1.2 m
    Connection: Stereo mini jack plug 3.5mm gold plated
    Weight: 15 g
    Microphone
    Frequency range: 20~16000 Hz
    Sensitivity: -42±2 dB at 1KHz/mW
    Price: $49.95

    soundmagic.com.cn​
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2019

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