SoundMAGIC E30 review
I was looking for some new earphones that were pretty cheap but good, that I could use as an alternative to my Shure E500s (old version of SE535) and Etymotic er6i’s. I was originally looking for a good sounding earphone with good sound isolation. The chaps at http://www.hifiheadphones.co.uk recommended the SoundMAGIC E30s, which I purchased from themselves.
Sound and Isolation
I have to say that I was initially disappointed with the sound isolation of the E30s – in comparison to the ‘uber-isolation’ of the Etymotics and the very good isolation of the Shures (both using the Shure Olive tips). Even with comply T-400 tips, the isolation was significantly inferior(* 29/5/12 -see ‘Postscript‘ comment), but (and it’s a big but !), the sound was really very good. A really detailed and neutral / non-fatiguing sound. The bass is very present but not bloated and the mids are very smooth, very balanced all round I would say.
Soundwise, in comparison to the other headphones / earphones I have:
Bass much better than the Etymotics, but perhaps not as detailed generally.
The E30s make my Sennheiser HD280s sound ‘odd’ – not as neutral and they are supposed to have a very ‘flat’ frequency response.
Not as detailed as the E500s, but without the low-mid peak and better low bass extension (surprisingly).
I initially found them tricky to insert, but over time I’ve found a method that works for me (put in ‘lightly’, wait for the foam to expand, then push in deeper) and once they’re in, they stay put and are comfortable. I can’t comment on the included sleeves as I used the comply ones (large) instead.
Looks and Build quality
Their looks are a tad unusual, but they have a certain charm. I went for the pale blue version – see pics, rather fetching looking with the blue Comply tips ! They’re solidly put together and the metal mini-jack plug is a nice touch. I like the cable, it feels to be of a good quality.
I’m a musician and I think I will be using them when working on mixes / mastering. I like to audition my material on a number of different phones and I think these will be a pretty good reference. So, for £40, they’re certainly recommended. If you require very good sound isolation whilst out and about, perhaps they’re not your best bet (Etymotics are great for that), but for sheer sound quality, they’re exceedingly good.