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Old 03-30-2009, 08:17 PM
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samueljesusfreak samueljesusfreak is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Ellendale, North Dakota
Posts: 758
Default SoundMAGIC PL30 - A second opinion

I've been on the hunt for new new IEMs lately, and through the suggestion of pros1n, and many positive opinions at the forums, I decided to give these phones a shot. Granted, it took me 5 weeks to get them, and I've had a few problems at first(burn-in apparently fixed the problem), they're shaping up to be quite a nice phone for the price.

Packaging(10/10) - Wow. A headphone costing $20 isn't supposed to come packaged like this. A nice, small box, with a nice little ribbon to pull out the inner box, exposing the awesome gift inside. The headphones wrapped in a nice hard-ish zipper case, 8 pairs of tips(more on them later), some weird ear-guiding wrap thing that I'll never use, and a cable wrapper which is about 72% useful

Build quality(8/10) - Put plainly, it's not going to fall apart anytime soon. Granted, stepping on them or feeding them to a cat will completely destory these, I can't see 'wear and tear' becoming a problem for at least a year. My only issue is that the cable going from the Y-split to the earbud is kinda thin. Be careful there. The little cable guider protruding from the IEM seems like it will help the connection stay put. The jack is very small, so be careful you don't tug on that too much. And I mean, they look so much cooler than my Marshmallows..

Comfort(9/10) - Inserting these will be very weird and uncomfortable at first, even if you're used to IEMs like the JVC Marshmallows. These are made only to go up and around your ear, and doing otherwise just isn't smart(I've tried). The cable has some trouble staying put behind your ear, but if you make sure it is straight and untwisted when you put them on, it should be no problem. The bi-flanges made my ear canal itch a little at first, but that seems to have gone away. Haven't tried the single flanges, but they're you're run-of-the-mill silicone tips that come with almost every IEM. You also get these foam inserts. They seem to darken the sound signature and bring the low-end forward. I don't seem to like them because after a few weeks(or days), they get gross. Real gross. Yeah, these are all complaints so far, but if you were able to stick with me, wondering why I gave them a 9, it's because once you're used to them, they nearly become a part of your head. Twice, I forgot they were there. Comes with enough fitting tips for everyone! 2 tips each of S, M, L, and a pair of bi-flanges and foamies. Isolation is nowhere near my Marshmallows, but is ok once you have your music turned on. A few more clicks on the D2 and we're happy.

Sound Quality(10/10 - For The Price) - This is where the purchase is usually decided for most people here. Obviously, you can do so much better than these phones for sound quality, but I've heard you might need to get up to the $80-$90USD range before it happens. So I'll try and break it down. Testing was done with a Cowon iAudio D2 and Sansa Clip, all music encoded ~192kb/s VBR LAME(3.98)
Clarity(9/10) - Things are seriously clear. There are nuances even in low percussion that I haven't heard before. It seems all my music has had something added to it.. and to my ears, that's true. Not only are strings of the guitar clear, you can tell(and feel) when the guitarist simply slides his fingers up the neck of the guitar. Never happened with my Marshmallows. Even the KSC-75 doesn't reveal like this, but that might be because these are closed.

Soundstage(8/10) - This is one of the hardest things to judge in headphones, espeically IEMs. With the Marshmallows, it really felt like when a guitar and drums were playing, that was it. One speaker. With my PL30, it honestly feels like each instrument has it's own channel, on it's own speaker. There's true separation here.

Highs, Mids, Lows - The lows are there. Not as much as other phones, and if you're a bass head, I would recommend closing this review right now. Nonetheless, the bass is clear, and present. I like it. Mids are pushed forward quite a bit, and I didn't like it at first, but I'm adjusting(this is brain burn-in). It's really growing on me. Highs are sparkly, and after a couple days the sibilance is gone, and they just sparkle. These phones make me want to get my hands on as many jazz cds as I can.

Note: D2 with flat EQ leaves a lot to be desired with these phones: Seriously, the BBE effects are needed.. the D2 just isn't nice to them until you turn that up. No problem with the Clip on Flat EQ. But I'm not complaining, here

Overall - For the price, and if you're on a budget, these get a 10/10 and two thumbs up. If you're looking at headphones and you have $150 to spend, might want to step it up. These are amazing IEMs if you can get them for under $50

Player: Generic Philips GoGear 4GB(Sounds decent though)
Headphones: Koss KSC-75 and JVC Marshmallow
Wow I'm poor..

Last edited by samueljesusfreak; 04-28-2009 at 09:52 AM.
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