SoundMAGIC E50S In-Ear Headphones - Review
Escaping the shadow of a famous parent or sibling may be a challenge for some, and the SoundMAGIC E50S is in a similar situation. Given the extraordinary success of the E10 model in recent years and the similarities between these two designs, what can the E50S offer to convince us that it both deserves as much attention and can bring something different to the table?
Design and appearance (e.g. attractiveness, feel)
The SoundMAGIC E50S conforms to the same basic design as the E10, with the small barrel-like capsules and glossy braided cable but now instead of the straight connection where the cable meets the jack, the E50S sports a 60 degree angle between them, to cut down on stresses which both straight and 90 degree connections can be susceptible to.
The metal capsules, button enclosure and jack casing are covered by a matt powder coating which gives an attractive impression without being too flashy. The capsules can be worn with the cable going up and over the ear, or down from the ear.
Durability & build quality (e.g. cabling, connectors, materials)
The best thing about this design is its simplicity and its tried and tested ruggedness. The cable is coated with a strong rubber material which is neither sticky or too stiff, allowing the cable to move and flex whilst avoiding tangles.
Everything about the E50S is solid but light, a perfect combination for the purpose these earphones will no doubt be put to. The included carry case will ensure they are safe and dust-free when stored between uses.
As with the E10, the SoundMAGIC E50S will offer no limitations for those with non-standard ears who may have run into problems with other designs. The generous selection of eartips included with the E50S should have something to suit anyone, and help them achieve a good fit for as good a sound as the E50S can provide. This includes a pair of Complyfoam tips, consisting of memory foam for an almost custom fit.
The diminutive and stylish design makes the E50S an ideal companion in all scenarios and weathers, with little to worry about in terms of susceptibility to particular conditions and temperatures. the single button and microphone can be used with both Android-based handsets and Apple products - the switch on the cable's yoke (where left and right cables meet) can be operated for perfect compatibility.
The E50S, like most IEMs sold in Europe now, are subject to regulations limiting the maximum volume from portable devices such as phone handsets. Therefore the E50S (like the more recent E10) has an impedance of around 46 ohms. Most handsets will still offer enough volume with a majority of music, and if more volume is required (some classical music can be very quiet) then there is always the option to get a separate portable amplifier.
Being dependent on the fit achievable with the ear, experiences may differ as far as isolation is concerned (as with all in-ear models). But with the wealth of eartips options included, a good level of isolation can be achieved.
Bass (e.g. punch, low extension):
As regards bass, the SoundMAGIC E50S gives as good as it gets and remains faithful to the original music. Where the E10 increased the bass a bit for more volume in the bass region, the E50S gives more impact and provides a richer, mnore immediate impression of basslines, drums and the like.
Mids (e.g. vocals, acoustic instruments):
Being a relatively neutral earphone, the E50S provides a little more of the midrange without any peaks. Harmonics are clear and vocals are pristine and backing vocals are distinct. Atmospheric effects such as reverb can be easily picked out and followed, giving a clear sense of space.
Treble (e.g. high hats):
There is as much detail at the top end as most of us require; it's never an easy job balancing between a sound which some might think is an overly bright and uncomfortable one, and a sound which others might describe as muddy and dull. However the SoundMAGIC E50S hits the right note and makes a great complement to the midrange for clear and comfortable retreival of detail.
Soundstage & Separation
The increased midrange response makes harmonics shine, bringing instruments to life and giving greater definition. For earphones at this price point, separation is fantastic and with it, soundstage is very good for an in-ear model.
Being good all-rounders, there is ample scope for the SoundMAGIC E50S to be enjoyed with all genres but the relatively flat response or neutrality of the E50S makes it a perfect earphone for vocals; particularly when accompanied by backing vocals. Percussion gets a nice lift also, as does any distortion effect.
Simple, modest design
Superb clarity and neutrality
Good range of tips
Sturdy carry case
Switch for greater compatibility with a wider range of smartphones
Single button control only, no volume control functionality