I was searching for some good value earphones to replace these Shure Se210 Sound Isolating Earphones- Black
(my review of which explains why I wanted something different) and found the PL30s. I did some further research and found that the SoundMAGIC earphones have been raved about on Asian and American forums for their incredible sound for the money. I was still a little dubious as they are a little known Chinese brand, but for the money I thought they were worth a try.
Ordered them from HiFi Headphones (based on Seller Ratings) on Friday afternoon and received them Tuesday morning. The packaging is good, looks a bit dated and the manual is just a sheet of A4, but you get plenty of accessories and the earphones themselves look good. The cable is thinner than the Shures, the same as most other earphones, but I've found that this does not necessarily mean it is inferior (again see SE210 review). The earphones themselves are well built; the strain relief and bass knobs both feel good quality. The over the ear guides are softer than I thought they would be and are comfortable, even worn with glasses, they also do an excellent job of stopping microphonic noises, which (like any In-Ears) are loud otherwise. The tips are decent quality; there are small, medium, and large in black and grey (subtlly different) and one size foam and double flange. It didn't take long to find the tips that fit the best (double flange in my case). The PL30s are light and very comfortable and provide decent isolation, although definitely not as much as the Shures (which are very good for this).
The PL30s are quite easy to drive and straight from the box they sound good; the soundstage is much wider than any other In-Ears I've heard and the separation is excellent. Initially the highs are a bit harsh and the bass is a bit weak, however after about 20 hours burn in (I left mine running some pink noise one night and then a selection of music for another) they really start to sound good. The Shure SE210s are available for £70 and have a RRP of £125, but the PL30s sound much, much better. On the Clear Bass setting, that they come supplied in, bass is just right (not too heavy or bleading into the mids) and is lovely and crisp. The Extended Bass setting makes a noticeable difference, although it is less clear (unsuprisingly), and if you can crank up the bass on your equalizer the PL30s can certainly deliver. The mids are probably the best part of the sound; very clear with brilliant separation (acoustic guitar sounds fantastic) and the highs are nice and clear too. Overall the sound quality of the PL30s is way above the price point, I've read that other reviewers have found them as good as Shure SE310s which have a RRP of £210 and I can easily believe it.
I did not expect to be this impressed with the PL30s, I also didn't expect to have to transfer all my MP3s to my player again; the PL30s highlight the short comings of my previously excessive compression (I'm even picking up some clipping on a couple of albums, which I hadn't heard with the SE210s at all).
In conclusion, the PL30s are amazing value for money; although they don't just sound great for the money, they sound great fullstop.