SoundMAGIC EH11 review
I would like to begin this review by saying thanks to Michael from Soundmagic for making this review possible.
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 EH11 was released in this year’s spring, along with other products, including the E10, the E30 and the P30. The EH11 is the in-ear version of the older product of Soundmagic, the EH10. As I said in my former reviews, my primary musical choices are electronic music, dance, drum and bass and some dubstep. But as these IEM are meant to be used “on the move”, I will also hear my running soundtracks.
“SoundMAGIC EH11 Clip-On Headphones
The SoundMAGIC EH11 is a rugged sports headphone designed for serious everyday use by sports men and women. Made from a lightweight metal frame the EH11 headphone stays in the ear no matter how hard you are training thanks to the over ear design that can be adjusted to fit you perfectly
The EH11 is compatible with MP3 players, DVD players, computers, mobile phones and all portable audio devices fitted with a standard 3.5mm jack socket.”
Driver: Dynamics 10mm Neodymium Driver
Frequency range: 15 Hz - 22 kHz
DC Resistance: 16 Ohm
Sensitivity: 107 dB at 1KHz/mW
Cable length: 1.2 m
Connection: Gold-plated straight stereo 3.5mm
Weight: 19 g
The packaging presented in this product goes within the same line of the newer packages of Soundmagic. The white cardboard box along with a plastic window, that allows to see the phones themselves, is simple and sleek. Also the box comes with a seal that certifies this product as genuine, in order to prevent fakes.
After opening the package, inside we find a cardboard box that contains 5 pairs of tips, 2 pairs with a bigger tip opening, and 3 with a narrower tip opening. The phones come with another pair of pre-installed tips with the bigger opening. Each type of tips comes with 3 sizes (S/M/L). Besides the tips, Soundmagic also included a carrying pouch, and a shirt clip to use with the EH11 (already comes pre-installed).
Starting from below, these phones have a metal coated plug with the jack itself being gold plated. Going up, the cables have a nice rubbery, feel, instead of the “plasticky” feel of some cables. Also it will be interesting to know how this cable will withstand heavy usage and sweat, as these are meant to be used as sport phones. But I think these will be able to take some abuse without any heavy drawbacks. As the jack, the Y-splitter is as well metal coated. After that we see the housings, that are made in plastic themselves, but the part where the housings connect to the clip is made in, what seems, metal. Also to be noted is that the vents on the back part of the housing, as well as the nozzle mesh, are made of metal. Now the clip, we can see that the post are adjustable and made out of metal as well. The rubbers clips that you can adjust to your ears are made out of rubber. On the overall, it seems that these phones are built to resist, which is good, according to the public it is directed to.
On what concerns to comfort, I think that the ear hook included help a lot in this area. Of course it isn’t the most comfortable IEM I have ever used (that honor goes to the little RE-242), it gains a lot with the ear hook, because it helps securing the phone as you run (for example). Also a quick notice on how the securing system works. First you rotate the housing away from the hook. After that you put the hook onto your ear, and adjust it to your liking. On last, you rotate the housing to your ear and then voilą, you have the EH11 on your ear. Of course this method of securing won’t impress those deep insertion lovers, neither will provide the best seal, but that’s not what you’re looking for in an active IEM. Now that leads me to the second point, the isolation of these. Although, as I’ve said, these don’t provide the best isolation these provide just the right amount, so that when you’re on the street you’ll be able to hear the cars passing by, and some that usual, but muffled, “buzz” that you’re able to hear in the streets. One bad thing though is that these phones are extremely sensible to microphonics, something that the included shirt clip attenuates, but should be improved.
Source – Rockboxed Sansa Clip + and a laptop (LG R400)
Files Used – 320 kbps and FLAC
One quick heads-up, the IEM didn’t change drastically over burn-in so I won’t include my usual before and after burn-in. Maybe just a little bit more control but that’s all.
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 these phones are mid-centric, with a bass that hits when needed, and treble that could be better, as it suffers from lack of extension.
Now in better detail, I’ll start by the bass that these put out. It hits hard and quick when prompted to. They are by no means “bass monsters” as they are constantly telling you to pump up the volume in order to get a bigger thump, but a bass addict won’t be disappointed when he hears these. The thump these deliver are just in the right amount to boost you out through your activity. While it lacks some micro-detail, it hits quick and hard.
Now to the main emphasis of these, the mids. Listening to female vocals (like Dido) in these is simply astonishing, as they let pass to the listener a great amount of energy. Not only female vocals, Queen, for example, sound good as well. White flag, by Dido, due to their mids, sounds very good, although it lacks some detail in the upper frequency range.
As said before, the upper range of frequency is a bit lacking, with not so extent treble, but this also has it’s positive side effects, as it grants that the sound signature will not become fatiguing to the listener, and being these advertised as sport phones, it’s extremely important that these don’t have a fatiguing sound signature.
On one last note is the soundstage. The vented designs of these grants it a good soundstage, but it could have been better as the mids, drown some of the soundstage capacity of these. In terms of positional accuracy they’re pretty good.
Short note: Tips with bigger opening offer smaller bass thump but a little bit more mids, and the inverse happens with the tips with smaller opening. I prefer the smaller opening tips.
I think that if you’re looking for a new mate for your matinal jogging, running, workout, or other sporty activities, look no further. The EH11 is capable of allying good natural sound, with a good fit. Also, being fully adjustable to your ears, with the ear hook, it grants these won’t fall when it will be most inconvenient to be disturbed by something. So these seem a great value for “on the go” activities. I myself have found in these a new mate to my workout races. Soundmagic strikes again.
Price: about 50$ (MSRP)
Link to the manufacturer’s site: Soundmagic EH11
Manufacturer’s warranty : 1 year
Last edited by kilermachinegun; 10-12-2011 at 04:34 PM.
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