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Old 11-14-2011, 02:38 PM
kilermachinegun kilermachinegun is offline
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Default SoundMAGIC P30 review

Introduction
Once again I would like to show my gratitude to Michael Lin from SoundMAGIC whom without this review would be impossible.
As you may already know, Soundmagic is no unknown brand to audiophiles who are on a budget. This company success goes way back, beginning with the success of the bang for the buck headphone, the PL30.
The P30 was released in this year’s spring, along with other products, including the E10, the Eh11 and the E30. The P30 is the first time SoundMAGIC has released a product in the portable headphone sections. As I said in my former reviews, my primary musical choices are electronic music, dance, drum and bass and some dubstep. I was quite anxious to hear what SoundMAGIC had achieved with these and I think they made quite a product.

Description
“SoundMAGIC P30 On-Ear Headphones
The SoundMAGIC P30 is a serious portable headphone featuring an on-ear, closed back design with soft, comfortable ear pads that also ensure maximum noise isolation. Take the concert with you without disturbing those nearby when travelling with your portable audio player.

The P30 is compatible with MP3 players, DVD players, computers, mobile phones and all portable audio devices fitted with a standard 3.5mm jack socket”

Technical Data
Driver: Dynamics 40mm Neodymium Driver
Frequency range: 20Hz~22KHz
DC Resistance: 324.8 Ohms
Sensitivity: 1083 dB at 1KHz/mW
Maximum input power: 100mW
Cable length: 1.2 m
Connection: Stereo 3.5mm, I style Gold-planted plug
Weight: 85 g
Packaging
Even being bigger than its IEM brothers, the packaging goes along with the new SoundMAGIC box designs. It’s a white cardboard box with a plastic windows in the middle, that allows to see the headphones, keeping the presentation really sleek looking. As with its brothers, it has a warranty seal, that certifies the product authenticity, in order to prevent fakes.



Accessories
As we open the packaging, after we slide the headphones out, we can find a carrying pouch for the headphones themselves. That’s the only accessory and the usual that manufacturers usually include with portable headphones. Nothing of much relevance in this chapter.


Build Quality
Starting from below, the jack is a 90 angled plug with the name SoundMAGIC engraved on the plastic. The plug is made of plastic and the jack is a gold plated 3.5 mm jack, with what seems a quite good stress relief. Going up, we find that the cable has a slight rubbery feel to it, but feels solid overall. Now the most convincing part of the P30 on what concerns to build quality itself is the upper part of the headphone. Metal is applied on the surfaces of the earcups, giving them a solid feel, alongside with the use of solid plastics on the headband and metal in the opening mechanism. The folding feels solid, and it seems there will be no problem whatsoever with the hinges due to stress or something. The padding is soft and it is where it’s needed. Only slight negative note is the driver flex when you press the driver against your ear, but I think we weren’t supposed to be pushing the earcups against our ear, so it isn’t a major design flaw. A good overall note to the P30, on the build quality.




Comfort/Isolation
On what concerns to comfort, the P30 are comfortable enough, but not as near as the Sennheiser HD228. Luckily, what the P30 have lost in comfort, they’ve put it in maximizing their isolation. The clamping force is a lot bigger than the one put by the HD228, but on the bright side of it, you get an enormous isolation for a portable headphone. Alongside the clamping force, the padding also helps a lot in increasing the isolation. On overall, the comfort of these may be tiresome for some, but the isolation is worth it (at least for me). Also the clamping force, allows you to run without making the phones being loose on your head, unlike the HD228. What you get on one side, you take from the other, so it’s up to the buyer to decide whether to give primacy to comfort or isolation. These cans almost don’t leak any sound while they’re on your head.
On a short note on the microphonics, you’ll just notice it a bit on the side of the earcup that has the cable attached.


Sound
Source – Rockboxed Sansa Clip +, laptop (LG R400), TMN A1 (Huawei Pulse)

Files Used – 256 to 320 kbps and FLAC

During the burn-in period, there was no noticeable difference in sound apart from the usual small touches (a little bit more of control on the opposite ends), and I think they won’t change much from this point onwards.

Burn-in
My burn-in consists in pink noise along with a playlist that is composed of the songs I usually hear on my daily basis.

I’ll start by saying that, overall, these are cans that pack a certain punch, while maintaining quality on both the lower and higher part of the sound spectrum.

On the lower end, the P30 are characterized by having a quite decent bass punch, while maintaining some texture to the bass. You can feel not only the bass kick, but the bass presence. While it has some emphasis on the bass, this emphasis can be sometimes the cause of some lack of resolution on the bass, but only when complex sequences of music are playing.

Going further to the midrange, this is where I sense this headphone is lacking. I mean, it can reproduce it well, but I feel a lack of clarity in it. For example, in comparison with the HD228 (Astroid mod), the midrange feels a little bit veiled. Not to say that it is by any means bad, but I feel it would be better a little bit more forward mids or mids that didn’t sound this veiled.

Regarding to treble and the higher range, these cans can reproduce it well, and the cymbals feel good. It has the slightly recessed upper range that all this price point cans have, but in my opinion it’s good, because the P30 is meant for someone who wants to have fun on the move, not one who can sit on the couch and listen to every tiny detail of music.

They have a fairly wide soundstage for a closed headphone, and with a fairly good positional accuracy.

On overall, I prefer the sound signature of the P30 (more aggressive, packing punch) when I’m on the move, and prefer the sound signature of the HD228 (more attention to detail) when I’m somewhere calm (like the library). Besides this, I can’t really choose the best headphone (based on the SQ) between these two, because it really depends on the mood I’ve got while listening to music.

Conclusion
While comparing to the HD228, on an overall note, these win due to better build quality. But when it comes to sound, I think you should choose barely on your taste concerning to SQ.

The P30 is a powerful portable headphones, packing the punch that many bass heads desire. Their build quality is one of the best for the price, making sure that these can be thrown at your bag, without suffering any major damage. The isolation makes them good for those who want isolation, but do not want IEM’s, making them perfect for places with loud noises. The only deal breaker may be the somewhat doubtful comfort, due to their clamping force, and the veiled midrange. But if you want a portable headphone to be headbobbin’ to your bass heavy tracks, this is a good alternative. SoundMAGIC tuned the cans for them to be fun, so now it’s up to you to enjoy them.



References
Price: about 75$ (MSRP)
Link to the manufacturer’s site: Soundmagic P30
Manufacturer’s warranty : 1 year

Last edited by kilermachinegun; 11-14-2011 at 03:04 PM.
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