It’s amazing that with the SoundMAGIC HP150 headphones, SoundMAGIC have yet again shown how they can raise the bar.
The market for full-size headphones costing £200 and below provides more shining examples of incredible sound quality. And helping all this along is SoundMAGIC, which has impressed all and sundry with its offerings of all types and sizes.
Perhaps most notable is the HP100 released in 2012 – a full sized and very comfortable closed back, offering a well balanced sound and good isolation. Summer is no stranger to super sequels however, so will we be jumping for joy in the aisles, or blubbing into our popcorn?
- Superb Comfort
Plain Good Looks
- Unique cable connection shared only by the HP100 Headphones
Some sound leakage
The HP150 headphones remain loyal to the previous HP100 design in terms of headband, padding, drivers and accessories. The most noticeable change is the driver housing; the previous ‘Tron’ style has been superseded by a matt black rubber coating which matches the rest of the HP150’s look.
Features are only what’s to be expected from a headphone in this price range – just good sound and the usual accessories. There’s a 3m extension cable for Hi-Fi listening which is a bonus, as well as flight adapter and 6.3mm adapter. The case has undergone an improvement in that it affords greater protection; there’s more space for padding so that the headphones are safer in transit.
As mentioned above, the HP150 headphone is the sleeker, sexier descendant of the HP100. The shiny parts on the earcups and yoke joints are gone, and matt black is now the uniform colour.
The cable has undergone a slight change too, the previous model was shipped with a coiled 1.2m cable. This has been straightened, and together with the 3m extension cable should provide a bit of slack in most tight situations.
The best bit of the HP150 headphone is of course the sound – heads are scratched and price lables are rechecked – are we sure there’s no mistake? The HP150 sounds like a headphone three times the price! They are well balanced with a little drop in the midrange, but it’s nothing which gets missed. Think of them as giving a little boost to both ends of the frequency spectrum.
Bass is fully representative of what’s there without getting its own ideas, and treble has a brightness which doesn’t cross into strident territory – even for those like myself with a sensitivity to these frequencies.
The soundstage of the HP150 is very impressive for a closed-back headphone. I wouldn’t say that the HP150 has the feel of an open-backed equivalent, but the breadth of the presentation is certainly comparable. Imaging and separation are pristine with details standing up to be counted wherever they are.
SoundMAGIC has stated that the drivers in the HP150 are the same as the HP100 – the change in earcup material has been balanced with padding within the earcup so that the sound is as close to that of the HP100 as possible.
With possible burn-in still to go on the HP150, the bass appears to be a tiny bit higher in volume against the rest of the presentation but with the same qualities. Treble seems to be a little bit smoother but not at the expense of detail. Midrange appears unchanged.
Even with newly-introduced headphones getting better and cheaper year after year, the models put out by SoundMAGIC seem to thumb their noses at the competition. The HP150 headphone is quick, light and nimble; jester-like in its ability to handle any genre with fun and merriment.
If you have £200 and a need for closed-back full size headphones, a few minutes’ delay is a tragedy. Do your ears a favour and resist no longer!
You can now check out our unboxing video of the Soundmagic HP 150 on our youtube channel.