From my penthouse view at the MajorHifi Review Headquarters, I can see the hustle and bustle of Midtown’s denizens. Yuppies and tourists frolic in the streets and a cool Spring breeze blows, carrying the scent of halal food and $20 hotdogs.
Sitting on my review desk is the Soundmagic E10, a plucky little earphone that has jumped to the top of my review list. At a super-cheap $40.99 price point, and with a solid following on Amazon, I know it will sound phenomenal. But just how phenomenal?
Soundmagic E10 Review
Despite the low price tag, the Soundmagic E10 comes with some solid accessories. Besides the earphones, the box also holds a carrying pouch and seven pairs of eartips.
Design-wise, the earphones themselves feel solid, with a 4 ft (1.2 m) heavy-duty cable terminating in a standard 3.5 mm plug. The low-profile design seems to get lost in my giant, radar-dish ears, but Soundmagic deserves mad props for cramming such a good driver into such a small space.
Really, though, the overall appearance is an unassuming one, and it might be all too easy to dismiss the E10 as another chi-fi earphone. But that’s simply not the case.
Frequency Range: 15-22,000 Hz
Nominal Impedance: 46 ohms
Sound Pressure Level (SPL): 100 dB
As you can see from the specs, the E10 sports a fairly standard frequency range, but with a little more action in the lows and highs. The relatively high impedance (for an earphone, at least) could benefit from some amplification, but still seems to cope with low-power devices like phones and computers. Sound pressure level is a pretty common 100 decibels, and you’d be hard-pressed to not find adequate volume in most listening situations.
The low end on the E10 delivers strong details while still maintaining an excellent level of fidelity. There’s plenty of energy, but that same energy remains tempered and precise, with no bleeding or sloppiness. Bass lands with impact, giving the lows a definite driving edge. While Soundmagic labels the E10 as a part of their Reference Series, this low end seems a little too emphasized to be truly reference-minded.
Slightly recessed but still boasting a wealth of resolution, the mids on the E10 could come across as a little more forward-leaning. This earphone still packs whopping good clarity and contrast for the price, but again the sound skews a little more Rocking and little less Reference than I thought it would.
Bright but only just so, the high end on the E10 sports a clear, well-defined edge to it. Meshing well with that fat, fat low end, the resultant dynamic sound intoxicates as you listen. Throw some classical on, throw some rock on, throw some Crystal Castles on and kiss the sky. At once sharp and precise, but never verging on too piercing or uncomfortable, this is the kind of high end I would expect to find on an earphone that costs two or three times as much.
With plenty of depth and decent placement to boot, the soundstage on the E10 sounds real. Sure, it won’t hold a candle to an over-ear, open-back set of cans from AKG or Brooklyn’s Finest, Grado. But at $40.99, this headroom delivers incomparable value for money.
The Reference Series moniker sticks in my craw. I wouldn’t recommend the E10 for reference in ANY situation. But for anyone who needs a dynamic sound for under $50, hot damn, the long, tough search is over!
As a recovering Basshead, I can definitely appreciate that treacly sweet low end. The E10 has me going back to all my rock tracks so I can hear them over again – that crawling, seething, roiling bass gripping me in its primal folds. Sweaty.
If you need reference earphones, skip this model and shell out the money needed for the Mackie MP-120 at $99.
For listening enjoyment, though, I really can’t think of any scenario where you shouldn’t buy the Soundmagic E10. Maybe if you’re from the past, and don’t feel comfortable buying it from an online retailer. Or maybe if you’re the kind of person who simply detests quality sound.
But it’s 2018, and cheap earphones are a-dime-a-dozen. Except the E10. The E10 is the best cheap earphone you’ll ever listen to.
Running you a super-affordable $40.99, the Soundmagic E10 offers high-quality sound at a bargain-bin price. With plenty of detail, sweet highs, and a phenomenal low end, this is the kind of Gateway Earphone every casual listener should hear.
Buy the Soundmagic E10 for the best price here: