Double Review - SoundMAGIC E11 & E11C

Double Review - SoundMAGIC E11 & E11C

SoundMAGIC made some major noise (excuse the pun) when they came out with the E10 earbuds all those years ago, and guess what? The E10 is still going strong.

Now with the advent of the E11 & E11C, comes a new era of low cost, high quality earphones from SoundMAGIC, and let's just say...they've taken it up a notch.

At Audio22 we love the SoundMAGIC E11s. Probably everyone in the office has at least one pair. OK, they aren't on the same level as the Campfire Andromeda series (RRP £1,049) but they do give exceptional sound quality and range, whilst remaining under the £40 or £50 mark. That said, for this review we thought it might be useful to consolidate and show you a couple of independent reviews from various UK websites to give you an all round overview of what the industry thinks of the SoundMAGIC E11 product.

Expert Reviews perform rigorous testing on a wide range of technology products. Here's what they had to say:

SoundMagic E11 review: The king of budget earphones just got better

Rating - 5/5
 

At under £50, the E11’s are among the best earphones money can buy; they’re considerably better than the popular E10’s, too

SoundMagic E11 review: What you need to know

The SoundMagic E11 and E11C are both budget earphones with non-removable silver-plated copper cables, and an elegant design to boot. The E11C, much like the E10C before it, has an in-line mic and a three-button remote, while the E11 doesn’t. Within the package, you’ll find a small hard carrying case and three sets of silicone tips.

SoundMagic E11 review: Build quality, design and comfort

In terms of design, the E11 is definitely an improvement over the E10. Instead of having a two-tone colourful design, this time around the earphones are housed inside an silver aluminium shell. Looks can be subjective, but I’m sure most would agree the design is more elegant over its predecessor.

SoundMagic doesn’t stop there: the non-removable cable had a facelift, too. Instead of having a braided all-black cable, you’ll now have a rather stylish 1.2m silver-plated copper cable that’s terminated by a 60° angled 3.5mm gold-plated plug. Not only does it look the part, but on a practical level the cable doesn’t get tangled as easily as before.

SoundMagic E11 review: Sound quality

With such a strong precessessor, the SoundMagic E11 was going to have a tough time becoming an essential purchase. I’m pleased to say that the buds surpass my expectations and eclipse the E10s with ease.

SoundMagic E11 review: Verdict

On the whole, the SoundMagic E11 is in every sense an upgrade over its predecessor the E10 – to the point where I’d suggest upgrading; it really is that much better. From the design to the overall sound quality, SoundMagic has created a true marvel.

It’s worth every penny and as a complete package. Although on-par when it comes to sound quality, I’d pick it over the Rock Jaw Alfa Genus V2 for its design and comfort characteristics. Suffice to say, the SoundMagic E11 is a must-buy and rightfully deserves Expert Reviews’ Best Buy award.

Pros -
  • Fantastic sound quality
  • Beautiful design
  • Comfortable to wear
Cons -
  • Microphonics when worn straight down
WHAT HI-FI? is part of the review group company What? Here's what they thought -

Another great pair of SoundMagic budget headphones Tested at £50

Score - 5/5
 

OUR VERDICT

A great pair of affordable in-ear headphones, complete with remote and mic

The SoundMagic E11C headphones are the latest addition to a range that represents one of the more surprising success stories of recent years. Founded in 2005, a relative flash in the pan compared to many audio companies, SoundMagic rose from obscurity to multiple-Award winners, most notably with its budget in-ear headphone range.

The E10 set the marker for sub-£50 excellence for a number of years, and following an E10C in-line mic and remote control upgrade, the E11C equivalent is new for 2018. And we’re happy to report, they’re still pretty magic.

Build and Comfort

SoundMagic E11C build and comfort

Clearly not scared of spicing up a winning recipe, the SoundMagic E11C earbuds have an updated driver, which promises improvements to the sound, and a new, silver-plated copper cable. The iconic red headphone cable is no more.

Otherwise, the E11C earphones look the same, with a typical cylindrical, aluminium casing design and a choice of small, medium and large silicone tips, also now in silver. There’s a storage case, too, should you be so organised as to use one of them. In case it now needs stating, they have the standard 3.5mm headphone cable connection, so you’ll need a dreaded dongle for connecting to USB-C or Apple Lightning ports.

On the cable for the left earphone are the remote control and mic. It’s a standard three-button that should work with Apple and Android phones, giving you volume and stop/start functionality. As has become the norm, the remote is light and unobtrusive, so you shouldn’t suffer from unwanted cable noise.

Sound

SoundMagic E11C sound

SoundMagic may have updated the driver but the company’s sonic signature remains familiar. Simply, the E11Cs sound really good. Make sure you choose the right tips for your ears – you should get a snug fit that not only isolates outside noise really well but ensures you hear their full sonic spectrum – and then you’re treated to a well-balanced, entertaining, energetic sound.

Listen to Drake’s God’s Plan and the deep, sub bass notes hit as they should, with decent depth and warmth, while the hi-hats tick along clearly at the top end. Drake’s processed vocals sit comfortably in the midrange, again clarity is a strength from these in-ears. Aphex Twin’s T69 Collapse proves a more challenging workout but thanks to a crisp, not-quite-too-bright treble, the track’s energetic drums are delivered with life and control.

SOUNDMAGIC E11C TECH SPECS

Type In-ear

Wireless No

Weight 11g

In-line mice/remote Yes

3.5mm connector Yes

Cable length 1.2m

A 4/4 dance track is always a good test of timing and Algol by Troy is no-nonsense pounder, complete with off-beat stabs to keep things interesting. The SoundMagic E11C earphones again deliver an enjoyable listen and only in direct comparison to the What Hi-Fi? Award-winning Beyerdynamic Byronearphones does the timing fall down just a fraction, the Byrons sounding a little more together and thus delivering a more engaging sound.

This is about the only small hole to be picked in the E11C earphones. Their full-bodied sound is certainly led by a clear, upfront treble, while the Byrons deliver a tauter sound with a bit more solidity to the bass, but this is largely personal preference.

It’s also worth pointing out the sensitivity rating of 112dB is pretty high, meaning the SoundMagic E11C in-ears can deliver plenty of volume. It also means they’ll use less of your device’s power at average listening volume, which is a bonus.

Verdict

Another great pair of SoundMagic budget earphones, the E11C in-ears continue the fine work of their predecessors and deliver an entertaining, upfront sound, complete with a remote control and mic. And we can’t argue with that.

SCORES

  • Sound 5
  • Comfort 5
  • Build 5

FOR

  • Entertaining sound
  • Remote and mic
  • Easy to drive

AGAINST

  • Timing isn’t perfect
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