SoundMagic E10BT Bluetooth Earphone/IEM review

Discussion in 'Headphone Reviews' started by dalethorn, May 20, 2017.

  1. dalethorn

    dalethorn Obsessive Auditor

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    Photo: http://dalethorn.com/Photos/iPhone7p/Headphone_Soundmagic_E10bt_01.jpg

    Sources: iPhone7-plus, iPod Touch, iPad Pro Mini, Macbook 12-inch.

    SoundMagic indeed - wow! OK, I've had more than a few IEMs that were brilliant, but not one (let alone Bluetooth) that had a perfect** response right away, or I should say, after a few hours of burn-in. The midrange and soundstage are as good as I've heard from any headphone or earphone, at any price. Note that this doesn't mean that the E10BT has the greatest detail from top to bottom, since I have heard better bass detail from a couple of headphones. But the bass is well done, balanced just right, and doesn't interfere with the glorious midrange. The treble is excellent with great separation of instruments, although again I have heard treble in a couple of headphones that, while not as well balanced, did have slightly superior detail. Still, the overall sound is purely amazing, it's Bluetooth, it's not expensive, and I don't expect anyone to believe this, but there you are.

    **Your experience in bass and treble balance will vary according to the eartip fit you get. I see no reason why a user should expect less than a terrific sound with the E10BT, comparing to anything up to three times the price, if they get the right eartip fit. There are a lot of eartips included here, but other options from the likes of Comply etc. are available at a reasonable price.

    I hadn't planned on ordering or reviewing this E10BT Bluetooth IEM, but it was included as a perk with a full-size headphone that I ordered. When I finished reviewing the headphone, I casually picked this up and paired it with my music player just to see if it worked, and oh my goodness - it was clean and clear with zero Bluetooth issues, and the sound totally unremarkable - neutral in a way that classic "neutral" headphones never are. Music tracks vary a lot in quality, unless you listen only to the best, but even with my lesser-quality tracks this earphone is a pleasure to listen to.

    Isolation with the E10BT is good, but not a high isolation. That is, good enough for most outdoor use, but it may or may not be enough for the bus or the tube, depending on the ear-canal seal you get. Leakage is so low that even when playing the E10BT in a very quiet office or library at audiophile volume levels, people sitting next to you won't hear anything, unless they press right up to your ears. The E10BT is extremely light - less than one ounce total, and the wires going to the earpieces are fairly thin, but likely very strong and they have strain-reliefs, so not a worry thing. The E10BT has its electronics in a tiny box with a metal clip - it looks like a tiny money clip - and I find this design the best I've ever used. Those black plastic clothing clips I've gotten with other earphones are a nuisance, but this one is ideal.

    The controls box is about half the size of the battery box, has on/off/pairing and volume up/down, which work perfectly on my iPhone 7. Since this is Bluetooth the volume controls should work on any Bluetooth player. Standard issue with the E10BT are 10 sets of eartips in several sizes and ribbing, a very nice small round zippered hardcase, a charging cable, and the usual literature and warranty. In previous reviews I've included music examples with comments about how the earphones sound with each track. My suggestion is instead of reading each one as an absolute unto itself, you could compare my notes here to other reviews and see how the E10BT compares to other earphones with each track.

    Final note: My caveats above about the bass and treble - I have to say them to keep it honest, but none of that really matters to me. This E10BT is so good and so uncolored that you'd have to be super-critical to need better. I can be that critical myself, but I don't need to be with an earphone this good, if that makes sense.

    Above & Beyond - We're All We Need (feat. Zoe Johnston): A very nice tight but impactful bass with crystal clear vocals - the E10BT plays this with great ambiance.

    Anamanaguchi - Planet: A complex mix of percussion sounds and hummed vocals. The bells and other high-frequency percussion are highly detailed, the bass line has a moderate impact, and the bass detail is surprisingly good.

    Armin van Buuren - J'ai Envie de Toi (Orig Mix feat Gaia): Decent bass impacts, breathy vocals, lots of fun noise - the E10BT makes this sound just amazing.

    Avicii - Feeling Good: Classic female vocal in movie-theme style - the E10BT brings this to life like no other earphone I've heard.

    Carl Kennedy-Tommy Trash ft Rosie Henshaw - Blackwater (Original Master): Nice strong tight bass impacts, female vocal, rendered delectably by the E10BT.

    Crystal Castles - Wrath of God: Atmospheric tune with vocal sound effects and strong bass line, plus some interesting treble percussion sounds. The E10BT brings these unique sounds to life.

    Digitalism - Pogo: A driving beat with a detailed bass synth and great vocals ("There's something in the air...") - the E10BT makes this very enjoyable.

    Dino Lenny-Lino Di Meglio - We Will Make It: Atmospheric tune with mixed vocals and a good beat - the female vocal is a special treat with the E10BT.

    DJ Shadow - Building Steam With A Grain Of Salt: High-pitched tones and strong deep piano chords with a hummed female vocal - ultra-cool with the E10BT.

    Fairmont - Poble Sec: Awesome detailed bass impacts with some nifty pingy guitar/synth effects. I discovered this tune at the time I purchased a pricy full-sized headphone - the E10BT renders this perfectly.

    Giuseppe Ottaviani - Lost for Words (On Air Mix feat Amba Shepherd): Strong bass impacts behind a female voice - a large-scale sweeping sonic image reminiscent of epic adventures in an exotic land. The E10BT delivers this experience in an unforgettable way.

    Hecq - Enceladus (With Skyence): Prodigious deep bass and clean at that. This tune's melody is more abstract than most of the others here, but the E10BT makes it a real adventure.

    Katy B - Crying For No Reason (Tom Shorterz Remix): Oh myyyyy, I love Katy B. The vocal mix here is awesome and the bass is solid. This is the E10BT at its best.

    Ladytron - Destroy Everything You Touch: I first heard this in The September Issue film and soundtrack, as the backdrop for the opening catwalk (watch Andre grinning at 1:51 - all you need to know) - the E10BT plays this amazing tune perfectly.

    Lee and Malinda - Truth Will Set You Free (V-Moda Mix): Lee Kalt is the master, this is the masterpiece. The drum (or tom-tom) hits here have a very realistic skin-tone, the female vocal is seamlessly integrated into the driving beat, and the synth effects also blend well - the E10BT just owns this.

    Markus Schulz - Mainstage: The granddaddy of bass is in this track, and the E10BT plays it smooth and clean.
     
    Steve-HiFi and TonyW like this.
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