Customer Review

4.0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings - really strange strengths and weaknesses, 9 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: SoundMAGIC E10 Earphones - Silver/Black (Electronics)
First, I'm not a big user of earphones, so bear that in mind with my comments. I'm also a very late adopter of mobile technology. I eventually realised that I needed earphones to make better use of my recently acquired smart phone and I've always thought the 'speakers' on my iPad mini were tinny beyond belief. So I searched for recommendations on the web and these earphones were praised everywhere. Some reviews even suggested you'd have to spend 3-figure sums to get better sound. So I took the plunge.

APPEARANCE: They do look good. I know that shouldn't be a major factor, but the packaging, presentation and the 'phones themselves all contributed to a value-for-money feeling. Here they're described as 'silver/black', but there's no silver visible anywhere - they're a gray/black combination. Personally I find it attractive.

CONTENT: At this price I think I expected to receive a pair of earphones and nothing else. I was surprised, pleasantly so, to see what else was provided. There's a really tidy hard-shell storage case. It's about 2.5" square - jet-black with a bright red zip closure all the way round the middle. Inside, each half-shell has a mesh net pocket extending full-width and about half-way up its open height. Looks well constructed and very useful.
In one of the mesh pockets was a small SoundMAGIC spring-clip, presumably for attaching the earphone cable to a collar or other item of clothing.
In the other was a plastic bag with the writing
"SoundMAGIC
Ear hook
Comfortable rubber earhooks for cable back to ear"
Through the plastic I could see what turned out to be 6 different pairs of rubber tips for the earphones (different sizes and shapes) and what looked like a small pair of bent plastic rods. I assumed they were the 'earhooks'.
Surprise! When I emptied the bag, I got rubber tips, but it turned out the earhooks were actually an image printed on the clear plastic bag. Very strange. I still can't explain this. Nevertheless the different sized tips have provided me with a really comfortable fit, and I don't feel like I need any hooks or clips to keep them in place.

SOUND: The earphones themselves are surprisingly, to me, very good indeed. Since I got them I have listened to classical and jazz music, solo instruments and large ensembles, and the 'phones are genuinely very pleasing and satisfying. However, the cable is incredibly noisy! I don't know if this is a characteristic of all earphones of this type or only these. When I move around, or even just turn my head, the cable brushing against my clothes or head generates thumps and rumbles that are incredibly distracting. To get some idea of what I'm talking about and see if your own 'phones have the same issue try this test: pinch the cable at any point really tightly with one hand, using your thumb and one or two forefingers; now, using the other hand, flick the cable with your forefinger above where you've pinched it and again below where you've pinched it. I find these two conditions massively different. The 'below' flick causes no problems - all the cable vibrations and noise get trapped and damped out by my pinched thumb and fingers. But the 'above' flick produces a massive thump in my ears as all the cable noise is transmitted straight to me ears. It's as if the cables were acting as a microphone. It may be, but it's not clear, that this is exactly why the spring-clip is provided - to anchor the cable as close to your head as possible.

SUMMARY: Build, appearance, extras, basic sound quality, all seem 'good' verging on the 'excellent'. But until I've resolved this cable noise I can't say this will be my preferred method of listening. I'm happy to persevere because the positive impressions of everything else in this purchase make me feel there has to be a way around it.
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