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SoundMAGIC PL30 Earphones Review

"The PL30 was the earphone that got SoundMAGIC recognised as a serious contender in the highly competitive in-ear earphone market. This earphone has been designed entirely by SoundMAGIC engineers and is totally unique to the brand."

SoundMAGIC PL30 Review

The SoundMAGIC PL30 is an IEM (In Ear Monitor) style earphone with an over ear cable fit system and innovative bass control switch.  The PL30 is priced to compete directly with earphones like the Sennheiser CX300-II, Denon AH-C351 and Ultimate Ears Metro.fi 220.

SoundMAGIC earphones are a relatively new addition to the line-up at HiFi Headphones.  We originally took on the brand after trying out some samples sent directly from SoundMAGIC.  Our initial sceptisism about the fact SoundMAGIC earphones are relatively low cost was soon turned into surprise by the excellent sound and sturdy build quality.  Passing the earphones round the office we quickly decided that the PL11 and PL30 models would be the first we would stock.

The PL30 was the earphone that got SoundMAGIC recognised as a serious contender in the highly competitive in-ear earphone market.  This earphone has been designed entirely by SoundMAGIC engineers and is totally unique to the brand.

This is a review of the some of the attributes of the SoundMAGIC PL30 in ear sound isolating earphone.

What You Get

The first nice surprise when opening the SoundMAGIC PL30 is that you get lots of accessories included.  The following items are included:

  • High quality travel case made from high impact fibre material (very similar to Shure supplied earphone cases).
  • Many different types of ear tips, including small/medium/large silicone tips, double flange tips and foam tips (harder than Comply Foam, but worth a try).
  • 1x pair of silicone over the ear cable guides (for keeping the cable on your ear while running)
  • Soft silicone cable wrap for safe storage of the earphone cabling.

It's great to see a manufacturer really thinking about how the earphones are going to fit in the ear and also considering what is needed to keep earphones safe during every day use.

SoundMAGIC PL30 Package

Comfort and Fit

The PL30 features pro-style over ear cabling (to reduce microphonic cable noise and to provide a secure fit.

Initially the SoundMAGIC PL30's over ear fit system can take some getting used to if you'v never worn an earphone with this design before.  With the PL30 the cable is designed to run up over the ear and secured at the back of the neck with the sliding cable tensioner.  It sounds complicated, but it's dead easy with a bit of practice.

I found the fit easier with the PL30 than with earphones like Ultimate Ears Super.fi 3/Super.fi 5 Pro.  The PL30's earphone body is much smaller than these other designs and I found it simple to get the earphone snug in the entrance to the ear after just a couple of attempts.

Comfort is very good with the PL30.  I found the medium sized silicone ear tips worked OK straight out of the box, but the supplied dual flange ear tips gave me a better seal.  I also tried a pair of Comply Foam T-400 tips that I normally use with my Sennheiser IE8's and they worked very well with the PL30.  As with all in-ear sound isolating earphones, if you do not get a good seal in the ear then the bass will be seriously lacking.  Get the seal right with the PL30 and it's unlikely you will be disappointed by the punch of the bass.

Sound Quality

The SoundMAGIC PL30 offers a very well balanced sound, with good kick at the bass end, a forward midrange and good clarity in the higher frequencies.  If anything the lower midrange is a little too forward for my liking, but overall the balance is excellent.

Bass punch is superb and nicely defined.  Much better than the bloated and muddy bass you will find in many entry level earphones.  While this earphone is no bass monster it does represent lower frequency sounds very solidly and I found it very enjoyable listening to tracks with big basslines.  The bass response can be altered by tweaking the bass control rotating switch - I preferred the flat bass setting over the bass boost setting.

Sound stage and separation is something that is immediately striking about the PL30 - you can easily locate different sounds and instruments in the music, without it being analytical.  The PL30 is a very enjoyable listen and presents sounds in a very musical way.

Sound quality is far better than you might expect from an earphone costing less than £40.

Review Summary

For:

  • Brilliant sound quality for the price, with excellent clarity and good separation of notes.
  • Nearly zero cable microphonic noise and secure fit make the PL30 ideal for running or the gym.
  • Well made cabling with good strain relief.

Against:

  • Cabling can get tangled due to rubberized coating.

More Information

For more SoundMAGIC earphones and a selection of other earphones please visit HiFi Headphones.

About Shaun Gostelow

Shaun is co-founder of hifiheadphones.co.uk and spends most of his time dealing with the business side of running the store, but still loves listening to music with headphones just the same as ever.
Follow Shaun on Google+
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