The SoundMAGIC PL11 has pushed the boundaries of what can be expected from an entry level in-ear isolating earphone. For less than the cost of a Playstation game the PL11 offers high end audio clarity, with enough low end power to satisfy the biggest bass-head.
Looking and feeling like an earphone that comes from one of the established brands, the SoundMAGIC PL11 is a newcomer that deserves a second look.
Sceptical At First
Before we received samples of the SoundMAGIC range to try out we were sceptical about the way they would sound and even more doubtful about build quality.
How wrong we were! Like the rest of the SoundMAGIC range, the PL11 is very well made and sounds like an earphone with a much higher price tag. Holding the earphones in your hand you would be mistaken for thinking they are manufactured by one of the well established earphone brands.
SoundMAGIC PL11 with included accessories
Built To Last
With cabling and strain relief that has obviously been thought about by someone who understands how earphones are going to be used, the PL11 is built to a similar specification as high quality brands like Sennheiser and Beyerdynamic.
Here at the HiFi Headphones store we have a pretty good idea how well a headphone or earphone is going to last by looking at the strain relief on the cabling. Over 90% of faulty returns we receive are caused by cabling faults. In our opinion the PL11 is an earphone we are not going to see returned often.
The SoundMAGIC PL11 has high quality cabling with a rubberized finish for extra durability. The strain relief is also well thought through, with highly flexible support where the cable enters the earphone body and at the jack plug.
How Do They Sound?
Most importantly, does the SoundMAGIC PL11 sound any good? Yes, the PL11 sounds superb! When we first received samples I spent a week listening to the PL11 on my walk to and from the office. The sound is immediately appealing as there is plenty of warmth at the bottom end and the trebles are well balanced and clear.
The obvious comparison that is going to be made is with the Sennheiser CX300-II. In many ways the SoundMAGIC PL11 is very similar to the CX300-II, with plenty of bass and a clear high end. Just like the CX300-II, the PL11 has a slightly recessed midrange, which actually helps reduce long term listening fatigue.
Many headphone brands, including high end headphone manufacturer Grado, are known to drop the midrange frequency response slightly to provide a more enjoyable listening experience. The reason for this is that the human ear resonates at 2.9Khz, making it particularly sensitive to mid-range treble notes. If the headphone or earphone is less responsive around this frequency then the ear tires less quickly and you can enjoy your music for longer.
The SoundMAGIC PL11 is an earphone that is a very enjoyable listen. Good bass response and a superb degree of resolution at higher freqencies make the PL11 an earphone to be reckoned with.
The sound is similar in some respects to the highly regarded Sennheiser CX300-II and beats the Sennheiser hands down on price.
Good build quality rounds off a well thought out earphone package that we are happy to recommend.