Soundmagic PL50 review, Great sound but build quality is horrific.

Discussion in 'Portable Headphones & Earphones' started by Musicalmadness, Oct 14, 2009.

  1. Musicalmadness

    Musicalmadness Well Balanced

    Oct 8, 2009
    So after my fantastic experience with my soundmagic pl30 i was torn as to get myself a backup pair of the 30 as i loved them very much or try the flagship pl50 of which i had also heard were fantastic but better quality,so after much deliberation i decided to go for the top model, Unfortunately this was a mistake.
    Anyway let's go from the top,once again many thanks to the guys at hi-fi headphones,a really pleasant shopping experience and delivered perfectly,thank you.
    So to the review.
    Well after the joy of the pl30 i must admit i was rather excited when i received these,so i couldn't wait to try them.
    First impressions of them however wasn't good, i had read in many reviews that the cable was better than the pl30 but personally i thought it was awful,very tangly and with a very cheap feel to it and certainly not as good as the 30 but i didn't let that cloud my judgement and i popped em in my ears.
    First thing which struck me was the level of isolation which was much better than the 30s but i found these very difficult to fit and they needed a lot of fiddling to get right but finally i managed to so i plugged in my walkman and hit play.....
    Boy these are quiet, they really needed some upping of volume,usually i have my player at about 9 to 12 but using these i had to turn up to 15 to get a satisfactory level so maybe an amp would benefit these greatly.
    Anyway Sound wise they instantly sounded like the shure se420,controlled bass with nice (ish) mids but with more definition to the treble than the shures and an overall warm sound to them, So once again i was peetty impressed with the sound quality for the price but to me i still preferred the sound of the 30s.
    However i wasn't really keen on the foam tips so i decided to change to the medium silicone and this is where they really dropped in my estimation.
    I was about to put the silicone tips on when i noticed that the right nozzle had something stuck to it,on further examination it turned out to be glue which had been used to stick the wire mesh with.
    And there was loads of it,all round the inside of the nozzle and over the mesh, of course if i had noticed this i wouldn't have even put them in my ear,not good at all.
    Anyway after cleaning my ears and making sure i had no glue in them i got one of my cleaning tools to get rid of the glue.
    After ages of trying i finally managed to get most of it out but it still looked a mess,and then the mesh came off too,seriously by this time i'd had enough.
    Yes i know they are not the most expensive iem out there but for nearly £60 i do expect better workmanship than that,besides had i have got glue in my ear or the mesh had fell off in my ear i really would have been in trouble.
    I'll admit i was thankful that none of this had happened and i just threw them away, i was just relieved i was ok.
    So to sum it up yes for the price they are good and are very reminiscent of the shure se420 which costs much more but the build quality is seriously suspect not to mention quite dangerous and for that reason i wouldn't recommend these to anybody.
    I'm still very happy with my pl30 but now i'm even a bit dubious about using them again now so i think in the future i will give soundmagic a miss.
    Once again a big thank you to you guys,it's a great place to shop but i just wanted you to be aware of this problem.
  2. Saiyajin

    Saiyajin Dynamic Driver

    Sep 8, 2008
    Thanks for your review. I never heard of your issue before or had this myself, in fact I've had different build issues with this one. I agree if the small grill that protect the nozzle from earwax simply drop inside your ear you would be in serious trouble - perhaps I should remove mine, just in safe.
    Also perhaps, keep in mind that SoundMAGIC is a small Chinese company that currently growing fast mainly by feedback on The world just opened for them and they probably got much to learn yet. Though I wished they had made slightly better work of the PL50. These are actually looking really nice and small and looks pretty solid at first, but somehow by end, there are still some drawbacks about the housing shows up. The 2. batch of PL50's gave several people trouble by build quality. I know Shaun was selling some of these here. I know that from one of my Danish friends that also brought them from here. As what happened to me, the housing just split in two pieces in. In that, it's important that you contact the seller if you not satisfied with your purchase.
    Just it's not all of them that do have those issues. The company also fixed most of the issues already so new better batches should be on it's way. Just not much info I know about that.
    Other than that, the Pl50 is pretty good performer by comfort and mostly on sound too.
    I would say I maybe hear a bit sibilance on PL50, that the main reason i maybe don't like them that much compare PL30. The tips provided don't really bring the sound to the level I want. I feel they got some hidden potential. :) I hoping I can bring it out by other ways.
  3. Musicalmadness

    Musicalmadness Well Balanced

    Oct 8, 2009
    Yes i prefer the PL30 as well,much better sounding.
    As for the build quality on the 50 i just count myself lucky that i noticed the glue when i did and i was very happy to just get rid of them.
    unhappily my Pl30 is now starting to show the same problem with the right earpiece,bits of dried glue are appearing around the nozzle and the wire mesh,just like the 50's and since i saw this i haven't used them since.
    I understand they are a small company and the sound that comes from their earphones (pl30 in particular) is spectacular and very high end so it's a great shame that issues with build should affect this.
    I wouldn't mind if it was a slight defect here or there but loose parts and glue is rather dangerous and soundMAGIC need to address this problem because as you say i or indeed someone could be in trouble if a piece of glue or part of the phone were to fall off in the ear.
    It's a shame because they are a nice phone, As i recall the only other problem i ever had with build quality on iem's was sleek's Sa6 which were a superb sounding phone but terrible build, i had my Sa6 break the first hour i owned them and many others i found particularly on head-fi had the same problems, I understand that they have now changed the design but the problem is that it puts one off a product.
    Same goes for the soundMAGIC,their phones are great sounding but i doubt i would chance the company again, i dont mind too much with the relatively cheap 30 but nearly £60 for the 50 is a high price to pay for it to be un-useable.
    I think in the future i will stick with what i know,i am a great fan of shure,ok the trademark treble roll off isn't exactly what i like but i can put that aside as i have used shure iems for many years and have never had a problem.
    Etymotic are another superb company (er4 being my favourite earphone) and although their products cost a bit more they are well made and last me a long time.
  4. Shaun-HiFi

    Shaun-HiFi Administrator Staff Member

    Aug 30, 2008
    We've been in contact with the guys at SoundMAGIC and they did have an initial batch with overly hard ear tips that are very hard to remove. Especially if the foam ear tips are cold this can make them nearly impossible to remove. This has now been fixed. We have had some returns with this problem and they are going back to SoundMAGIC. SoundMAGIC have been very quick to react and offer replacements.

    Musicalmadness, please do get in touch with us and we'll sort you out with a replacement (with another brand if you like) or refund.

    Our experience with SoundMAGIC is that the returns rate is very low compared with some other much bigger brands. Overall the build seems very sturdy, even compared with a Shure or Sennheiser. So far we haven't had a single PL30 back faulty.
  5. Musicalmadness

    Musicalmadness Well Balanced

    Oct 8, 2009
    Thanks for the reply shaun,unfortunately my 50's are now long gone as i threw them away a while ago, i guess i really should have boxed them back up and got in touch but i'll be completely honest with you i was just glad to see the back of them.
    It's good that they are quickly dealing with the problem but with an issue that i consider quite dangerous and now on my 30's as well i'm going to give them a wide berth.
    I will certainly be geting some other phones from you soon,and once again i thank you for your reply.

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