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Old 03-30-2009, 08:17 PM
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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 head-fi.org 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)
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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

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Last edited by samueljesusfreak; 04-28-2009 at 09:52 AM.
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  #2  
Old 03-30-2009, 08:31 PM
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Nice review If you like Blues, you can try listening to Canadian Brass. Their very good, well at least to my ears.
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Old 03-30-2009, 08:43 PM
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Thanks I just basically want to try nearly every kind of musical style out there, just to experience them on here. These are truly leaps and bounds above any IEM in it's price range. I'm experimenting with tips, and the SQ changes so much(for the better), with the medium sized tips. My ears don't like the bi-flanges too much.. thought I'd get used to them

EDIT: I even A/Bd' these with my friend's Bose Triport inears(~$150), and what overpriced junk Bose is. There's no high end at all. Haha.
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Last edited by samueljesusfreak; 03-30-2009 at 08:54 PM.
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Old 03-30-2009, 09:44 PM
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If you listen closely to the SoundMAGICs, they don't really have much highs. Other than that, it's nearly perfect for me
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Old 03-31-2009, 07:56 AM
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Oh, the highs are there. The thing with these SoundMAGICs, they're very picky. I can tell what recordings were made not-so-good. With the pushed mids, these don't work well with heavily hard-limited music.. can't wait to try these on Metallica's new album, haha!
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  #6  
Old 03-31-2009, 09:37 AM
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There's a new album!? I better check my local stores for it!

Edit: The pl-30 is in fact very picky. In some songs, I notice the sub melodies a lot more.
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Last edited by pros1n; 03-31-2009 at 09:39 AM. Reason: edit
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Old 03-31-2009, 09:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samueljesusfreak View Post
Oh, the highs are there. The thing with these SoundMAGICs, they're very picky. I can tell what recordings were made not-so-good. With the pushed mids, these don't work well with heavily hard-limited music.. can't wait to try these on Metallica's new album, haha!
Have you tried the E3 with them yet?
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Old 03-31-2009, 10:16 AM
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They don't do much with the D2, basically the same thing, but the bass is improved with the Clip. Can't find much justification to carry around the E3 with it, though, if that means anything. Amazingly, very little to no hiss.
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  #9  
Old 04-01-2009, 10:13 AM
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So how's the burn-in coming along?
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Old 04-09-2009, 07:51 PM
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It's been about 2 weeks since I got these and they're even more beautiful. Midrange has suppressed(or it's just my sq tastes adjusting), and the problem with the mono channel cutting out has completely disappeared. Also, there is a VERY CLEAR SQ difference between my laptop, clip, and D2 with these. Just tried them with my JVC and they sound the same through every source. E3 does barely anything, maybe brings up the bass a little, or it's just my ears again.
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Old 04-09-2009, 10:17 PM
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Good to know cause if you continue with your burn-in, the highs will clear up even more. If your hygienic like me, I'd clean the earphones with some cotton swaps, soak them with water and carefully wipe them. After, I would use a dry cotton swap and clean it up
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Old 04-20-2009, 12:44 PM
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Ha - about that.... the problem got worse.. I speak so fast.. haha. Shipped them out Thursday, maybe I'll have them in a couple weeks I'll experience burn-in again
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Old 04-20-2009, 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samueljesusfreak View Post
Ha - about that.... the problem got worse.. I speak so fast.. haha. Shipped them out Thursday, maybe I'll have them in a couple weeks I'll experience burn-in again
Did you ever send your original KSC75's in for warranty replacement?
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Old 04-20-2009, 12:57 PM
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Did you ever send your original KSC75's in for warranty replacement?
No, I never have, actually.. after unsuccessfully trying to repair the cable, it's to the point of being just plain dumb to send in. It's in about 298 pieces, and half of it's cable is being used for my semi-usable Sennheiser HD201. Haha.
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Old 04-28-2009, 09:26 AM
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What has happened now? Were they not getting better?
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Old 04-28-2009, 09:52 AM
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They were, then they weren't. Shipped them back a week and a half ago and have heard nothing from mp4 nation. Emailed them twice telling they're shipped and asking what they're planning to do (once to the admin that I've been talking to about my problem(2 weeks ago), and once to the sales dept. (this morning). Have yet to receive anything. Oh well, it was only 34 dollars and I got a free amp out of it.. I hope they get it and replace my pair. >=[
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Old 04-28-2009, 10:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samueljesusfreak View Post
They were, then they weren't. Shipped them back a week and a half ago and have heard nothing from mp4 nation. Emailed them twice telling they're shipped and asking what they're planning to do (once to the admin that I've been talking to about my problem(2 weeks ago), and once to the sales dept. (this morning). Have yet to receive anything. Oh well, it was only 34 dollars and I got a free amp out of it.. I hope they get it and replace my pair. >=[
I hope so too.
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Old 04-28-2009, 10:28 AM
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Ok out of anger(and pure frustruation of missing any midrange at all) - I completely destroyed my $5 RCA 'IEM'.. so lame. So right now I have my KSC-75 and im wishing for my SoundMAGIC. Haha
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Old 04-29-2009, 10:09 AM
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Ha! So how's the RMA coming along?
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Old 04-29-2009, 10:31 AM
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Don't know. Awaiting my email(or my phones, would be nice to get those soon), it's been 2 weeks as of tomorrow that I shipped them out so I'm sure they have them by now. Can't really call it an RMA, I don't know why I did. It's more a "Complain until they agree to take my peice of crap headphone off me and replace them" I am using the box to fit my new DS lite and it's games.. works pretty well So something good came out of it so far. (It's been 3 months since I first ordered these things.. .ughh)

I'm losing a little faith in Mp4nation. I emailed them 2 weeks ago that im returning them and have got nothing. They apparently have great service.
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