SoundMAGIC now seem to be a little more concerned about aesthetic design with this pair of earphones referred to as the E80’s. This more level approach to audio dives under the £100 mark, with a price tag of £64.99.
Oddly, and we’ve never made this particular remark before about a pair of earphones, the cable's plastic is a bit latex-like in feel and made our hairs stand on edge whenever we touched it. To add more insult to injury, the vivid red colour scheme is just too gaudy for our tastes. Otherwise we were impressed that the literally cylinder shaped earphones are not constructed from cheap plastic but instead housed in real metal. Likewise so is the 60° angled aux plug and, from our neglect of using the supplied carry-case and mainly travelling with them in our pocket, they’ve faired well from everyday abuse, although the cable does tangle easily (yep, that means we reluctantly have to touch that strange plastic material all too often).
An area where we definitely can’t make any complaints, is comfort. Not only have SoundMAGIC included 3 sets of Comply memory foam tips in small, medium and large sizes, but they’ve also bundled 7 sets of silicone tips in various sizes and styles in an attempt to please every ear. We were partial to using the memory foam tips as they’re well insulated for muting surrounding noise decently when music is playing, and also feel incredibly light in the ears, with enough grip for the appropriate size tip when walking around so not to fall out.
A lot of people would try to review these earphones as a pair for audiophiles, but there is a problem with this generalisation. An audiophile nowadays seems to be considered anyone who likes balanced ranges reproduced, although it should be a label for anybody who enjoys premium sound equipment. We’d say that we‘re audiophiles but we wouldn't choose to listen to the SoundMAGIC E80 earphones for everyday music listening via streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music. This is because the earphones are trying so hard to be accurate across the frequencies and not to be at all peaky. This is a characteristic that our ears find lacking in thrills: it can work well if the rawness and true nature of the drivers promote the originality of the audio, but can fall flat on its face if the drivers noticeably don't deliver on what should be evident.
Highs sound clear and are evidently impressive for such tiny drivers. A fast tempo track which is all about highs that wowed us was ‘ Sea Lion Women’ by Fiest. They delivered awesomely sharp highs that nearly approached the kind of reproduction we obtain from the $179 RBH EP-SB bluetooth earphones. Moreover we could feel the drum beats travel back and forth within our ears, creating a mild amount of dimensional scope from just two drivers. On the downside, this pair can also be too blunt in the high ranges; more noticeable when lower frequencies are competing for the sound stage. ‘She’s Kinda Hot’ by Five Seconds of Summer is a prime example of this, with the swamping of electric guitars, drums and vocals, all at equal impact in the chorus, becoming a real wash-out; and all clarity unfortunately can be jeopardised occasionally when such parameters are met.
For our ears we often wanted more bass emphasis, but we understand that this would have weakened the bright style of the mid to high ranges. So basically, as a contest in engineering, the SoundMAGIC E80 earphones are just about on the money for the ears that want them, with balanced low to mid ranges in most genres. Although that mid range often makes the ’S’ sounds hissy in nature, in general the frequency range is quite calm.
An uncomplicated fit that’s bright in colour and sound style. For the £64.99 price tag we can’t argue with the value if you’re hunting for a near uniform frequency approach to your music library. If bass is what you want, these aren't for you; offering similar value for this demographic are the Spider RealVoice earphones.