on 30 November 2014
Amazing sound for the money. Where these ES18 earphones impress is on overall balance. I was getting tired of either bass heavy or high, mid-range emphasized earphones. These earphones give a delicious balance with both bass and mid-range exceptional. Treble is still good but without the amazing detail of the most expensive earphones. The whole sound is very musical. I had bought a pair of Brainwavz M5 earphones, but they have NO bass experience in the listening and although the treble chimes nicely it is on the borderline of harshness. Build quality is good on the ES18 but not exceptional, at the price top build quality is not possible. It is easy to find a good bud for the ear and they are extremely comfortable to me. They have fairly good sound isolation and volume levels can be made loudish and without any noticeable distortion, but they do not play at ear shatteringly loud volumes. Because of the well balanced sound they will out perform many more expensive headphones, and because of their musicality will give joy. Not to be underestimated.
on 31 July 2014
You may notice I already reviewed SoundMAGIC's E10 a couple of years ago. I am not affiliated to the company, but I may be a bit of a fanboy!
So what can you expect from the much cheaper ES18? Well, a carrying pouch for a start, a set of ok silicon earbuds and, if you choose the black/red ones, a fairly subtle styling (red cable aside). Build quality feels pretty much what you'd expect for the money, and on a par with your Skull Candy's and Gumy's - they have a plastic body and cheapo feeling cable which seems to come with its own, dedicated tangle fairy.
I think I might have long ear canals; I certainly have trouble getting earphones to fit properly and get a decent seal (for the bass to work), but the combination of light, thin body and not bad earbuds means I can get a good seal and keep these in for hours.
And now to the important bit: the sound. What emanates from the ES18 is warm, deep (but not overbearing) bass, clear sibilance-free treble and just enough top end "sparkle" to stop it being too neutral. In fact, very similar to the previously mentioned E10, I'm guessing they contain the same drivers as the "family" sound is so close. If these were a much more expensive product I'd probably be a bit more picky and say the bass occasionally gets a little "flabby" (but never overwhelmingly so), while the upper range can sound a touch recessed (turning it up to eleven can help this a bit). What this does mean is you can listen to them for a long time without fatigue. It also makes women's voices much nicer to listen to, none of that shrillness that can creep in with a brighter treble. SoundMAGIC's engineers seem to have gone for what I would call an easy-going, not overly exciting sound, yet they are still hugely enjoyable and somehow very engaging: they make you want to listen to music through them.
While I'm being critical I'd also say that they need quite a lot of volume to drive them, much more than the E10, and I can't really understand why unless they've fiddled with the impedance to tune them for the plastic body, or turned them down for possible health and safety reasons. Or something.
I am amazed that a pair of headphones this cheap could genuinely sound this good; you can see where they've shaved the cost off, and I can only wait and see how robust they'll be, but once you plug them in all that is forgotten. I've given them 5 stars because of the incredible value to sound clarity they offer. These are not pro-quality studio monitors, they are enormously likeable chuckarounds that you won't feel frightened to go out and about with. So throw away those shockingly bad tin cans on strings that came with your expensive smartphone/mp3 player and begin to enjoy your music collection again without pain to your wallet - or your ears. At this price you'd be mad not to.
on 14 November 2014
Received the parcel next day, they were half price. My 2 year old JVC XFX earphones packed up (One speaker went KAPUT) so after some research these came top on of every budget range earphones under £50. Anyway got them in a tidy box and with nice leather pouch also. I am hooked them up with my Sansa Clip 8GB MP3 and when I put them into my ears the sound was amazing. My MP3 plays FLAC (Loseless) and the clarity was instant, you could hear every string, mid and bass instrument ...The XFX were too heavy on bass ..not these the balance is prefect.
I will buy another..maybe the E20 range if affordable.
My advice.. Just buy them.
on 8 March 2015
I have no idea what some reviewers are talking about, these headphones can be very loud and with the right size of plugs they isolate perfectly well. I had them at 50% and I couldn't hear the door bell or the bangs on the door from 10ft away, the delivery guy had to call me on the phone. Bass is good too.
Now I won't pretend they are true audiophile stuff, but for 20 pounds and listening to music on your phone on the go they are quite excellent. Balanced, well-rounded sound, with no glaring omissions. I do recommend using a good equalizer and fiddling with the controls, it can really make a difference in things like perceived loudness, stereo "spaceness" and fine tuning bass.
Yeah they transmit thumps and rubs on the wires up to the earpiece (all wires do that) but you can only hear that when there's nothing playing. Wearing them upside down (wire going over the top of the ear) will help with that, and will also make it much harder for them to shake loose.
They don't mark left and right as such but they do have different stuff printed on them, so after listening to a test track for left/right channel you can tell them apart.
I like the right-angle plug, and it has a ridge you can grip when you pull it out. Another very nice bit is a sliding brace on the earpiece wires, which you can use to raise or lower the separation point.
EDIT: Good durability, still in perfect condition 1 year later. I should note I put them in the included pouch whenever I take them off, never directly in the pocket or bag.
on 10 December 2014
After reading lots of different reviews, I decided to go for these SoundMagic earphones, as I wanted some earphones for when I am at the Gym. The sound is good, and they help to cut out other 'Gym Noise', ie their music, banging of weights, and the thumping of other people on the treadmills!!! They are comfortable to wear, and stay in the ear, so I don't keep having to push them back into the ear.
on 26 November 2014
For the price - excellent value for money. Good quality sound (tone / base), comes with a travel pouch and several buds for optional ear fitting. The actual lead does not feel flimsy (as if it may snap at any minute) and though I cannot go into more detail as some of the other 'pure connoisseur's' who wrote a very in-depth (and helpful) account of this product - I would definitely recommend!!
on 12 January 2016
It's always hard to know at the lower end of the budget market how well a set of headphones will work. I needed a cheap but half-decent set to use with my iPod Shuffle at work, and these seemed from the description and reviews to fit the bill.
On the positive side, the sound is pretty decent. At this price you're never going to be blown away by the subtle, nuanced soundscape they provide, bit I'm pleasantly surprised by the reproduction - in that sense they're better than the Apple earpods I was using before. They're well-balanced, with excellent clear mid-range and treble, the latter of which never grates.
Where they're let down - and honestly I wasn't expecting much at this price point - is at the lower end. The bass is not particularly deep or punchy. It's there enough that the music I listen to (which tends to be quite balanced and doesn't rely on complex bass lines) is delivered nicely, but I suspect someone listening to lots of dubstep, for example, will be diappointed. It's worth noting that the high compression rate I use to cram in as much musix as possible will be at least partly responsible for this, but other headphones have reproduced bass far better from the same device.
The only other downside is the cable, which absolutely refuses to lose the kinks from being packaged. That sounds like a minor gripe, but it's so bad that the cable sometimes winds itself up trying to return to its old state. The rubber on the cables is also a type which rubs incredibly noisily against your clothes, so perhaps these aren't the choice for your daily commute.
All in all, though, quite impressive for the price.
on 10 August 2015
These IEMs are both incredibly high performing, and ridiculously cheap, two attributes very difficult to marry, but SoundMAGIC does it near flawlessly.
Your mileage may vary, as I've found It's signature to depend on which kit you pair it with, and how you have said kit configured. I can wholeheartedly recommend them nonetheless.
My initial impressions, using Spotify on a Moto G were not grand, however this was more than likely down to Spotify (and perhaps the budget hardware), however when I moved to both the iPod Nano 3G and 5G I was pleasantly surprised. On my Rotel amplifier, I was blown away. Offering an impressively broad soundstage, and a surprisingly decent attempt at isolation the ES18s punch well above their weight. Sound quality is by and large the most subjective part of an IEM, but I found It's reproduction of bass up through to upper mid-frequencies incredibly pleasing; treble was not always as impressive but more than palatable.
Frequency response is largely consistent across the board. At home I use a pair of B&O Form 2i, of whiches softer and considered tones compliment the raw and powerful signature of the SoundMAGIC
The included tips cater for the 95th percentile, and come in three sizes. They are comfortable, and suitable enough for most usage cases but you are more than welcome to swap them out for an aftermarket set should you so with.
They can, however, be suspectable to a level of microphonics, which disappears at higher volumes.
The 90° jack is a welcome inclusion.
I say this comparing the ES18 to much more expensive and well known headphones. They punch far far higher than their weight would suggest. Pick up any Sennheisers and see, I preferred them to the Momentums. When you compare them to IEMs of a similar price, or 'fashion-first' designs much more expensive, the SoundMAGICs well and truly blow them out of the water.
on 13 August 2015
These in-ears have brilliant sound quality. Coming from sound magic. However I've only had my pair for at least two months and already needed to order a new pair. The sockets where the buds go on are weak. So often when I take off the ear phones the buds come off and I lose them. The casing is quite weak. Both ear pieces case split and needed glueing back. And eventually the wiring inside gave up. This is all from regular use, being inside trouser pockets etc. Would be a 4 maybe 5 star if it wasn't so weak.
on 14 December 2014
Good quality budget earphones. Nice small size for comfort. Rugged build should have them lasting a while.
A little cheap and plasticky on the jack cover and on the buds. Not too bad considering the price. These sound more than good enough paired with my Cowon M2.
Don't hesitate to buy these over anything else in this price range or maybe even slightly above.