Review of low-cost in-channel SoundMAGIC headphones (ES18 and PL11 models)

    Today I will tell you about the headphones of SoundMAGIC, a little-known company in the CIS, namely ES18 and PL11 models that belong to the lowest price range (up to $ 20). Both models belong to the class of plug-in type dynamic headphones and are designed to replace the complete headphones of the phone, player or completely take up empty space.

    ► Declared specifications

    SoundMAGIC ES18SoundMAGIC PL11
    Electro-acoustic transducer Dynamic, diameter 10 mm, based on neodymium magnet Dynamic, diameter 9 mm, based on neodymium magnet
    frequency range 15 Hz - 22 kHz 20 Hz - 22 kHz
    Impedance 16 ± 10% Ohm 12 ohm
    Sensitivity 112 ± 2 dB per 1 mW 100 dB at 1 mW
    Cable length 1.2 m 1.2 m
    Plug 3.5 mm, "G" -shaped, gold-plated 3.5 mm, "G" -shaped, gold-plated
    Body material Plastic Plastic with aluminum insert
    Weight 11 g 10 g

    ► Packaging and equipment

    The headphones come in white cardboard boxes. In the upper part there is a window, inside of which on the peculiar podium are the headphones themselves, and in the lower part there are accessories.
    On the right side are possible color options.
    On the back are the characteristics, as well as a sticker with a scratch coating, erasing which, we get an eighteen-digit verification code. To make sure that the headphones are original, enter it (without spaces) on the official website of the company in the Security check section . As a result, you should receive a confirmation of the authenticity of the products and thanks for the purchase. :)
    The delivery set for both headphones is rather modest, while for ES18he is completely Spartan. In addition to the headphones themselves and the medium-sized nozzles already dressed in them, the box also has a case and additional large and small silicone earbuds.
    In addition to all of the above, PL11 has a clip that can perform at least two useful functions, which I will discuss later.
    The package bundle is directly proportional to the price, but on the whole, everything you need is there, with the exception of the SoundMAGIC ES18 clip.

    ► Appearance

    ES18 do not stand out in terms of design, they are made of black plastic, with a tiny metal insert in the middle. 3 color options are available: red, green and orange. The case itself has the shape of a barrel.
    The sound guide, like the entire case - plastic, is covered with a metal mesh. On the other hand is the company logo, headphone model, as well as the inscriptions L and R. The cable along the entire length consists of a double wire. The slider and the splitter have the same shape, only the latter is fixed with glue and raises doubts in terms of reliability. PL11 looks more attractive. The main part of the case consists of metal, which is the hallmark of this model and can be made in gray, gold, red or blue.


    Sound guides are plastic, covered with a metal mesh. On the other hand, hard rubber pins, on which the L and R markings are located, due to the fact that the marking is made by extrusion on the ponytails and accordingly merges with the color of the rubber, it is simply impossible to distinguish the right earphone from the left one in the dark. In this model, the main part of the cable is in a rubber braid, and the splitter looks more impressive. The plugs are similar in both models, they have a “G” -shaped shape and are gilded. This is convenient if the connector on your phone / player is on the side.



    ► Comfortable to wear

    Both models of headphones fit perfectly in the ears, except that in winter, under the cap, it will be more convenient to wear the SoundMAGIC ES18, since the length of their body (with medium tips) is 20 mm, while in PL11 this figure is 24 millimeters.
    The clip that comes with the PL11, in addition to its standard functions, can act as a cable tie, as a result of which the headphones are not confused during transportation.
    Soundproofing is at an average level. And if it’s enough for the street, then in the subway I don’t advise you to meddle with either one or the second headphone. The microphone effect is present, but less pronounced in PL11 due to the "correct" cable structure.

    ► Sound

    To evaluate the sound quality, I used the following equipment: SanDisk Sansa Clip + MP3 player, FiiO E10 DAC / amplifier , Jiayu G2 smartphone and lossless recordings.
    The sound of the headphone models presented in the review is about the same. In both, emphasis is placed on the lower frequencies, the mids are well expressed, but the high ones sound dull. Headphones are not friends with fast genres (you can’t listen to metallics in all their glory) and they don’t digest a large number of musical instruments, but they can easily cope with various types of calm music, thanks to pleasant and well-defined bass, as well as clean mid frequencies.
    Due to the high sensitivity and low resistance, the headphones will play without problems even with a very weak source. In fairly noisy places, 8-9 divisions (out of 14) of the volume level on my smartphone are enough for me. More is pointless, as the sound turns into porridge, and it’s bad for the ears.

    ► Summary

    SoundMAGIC E18 and PL11 are inexpensive in-channel dynamic headphones that noticeably “replay” their price. They are great for watching movies, podcasts or easy genres of music. Considering the meager price difference, I advise taking the PL11 model due to a more interesting design, metal in the case, better wire and clips, but keep in mind that due to their long length they will be uncomfortable to wear under a hat, while ES18 are deprived of this lack of.

    ► Cost

    In Ukraine, you can buy headphones from the official distributor of SoundMAGIC company Era in ear . Model ES18 will cost you $ 15, and PL11 $ 19. Where to buy in Russia - I won’t tell, but nobody has canceled Ebay or Aliexpress yet.

    ► Related links

    SoundMAGIC ES18 on the manufacturer’s website
    SoundMAGIC PL11 on the manufacturer’s website

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