SoundMAGIC ST80 Bluetooth Earphone Review
The SoundMAGIC ST80 is the perfect companion for sports enthusiasts, with a big helping of bass, yet crisp and detailed mids and non-fatiguing highs they are sure to keep you motivated on the move.
- Overall sound quality
- Build quality
- Possibly a bit too much bass for some
Aesthetics, Build Quality and Accessories
The SoundMAGIC ST80 looks like most other earhook sports headphones, with a rotation behind the ear hook to securely hold them in place, and a small housing that goes into your ear. There is a battery pack on the cable, with a clip to clip it to your clothing, and a small remote. I think they look great for a sports headphone and do not stick out too much, I also like the black and red cable linking the headphones to the battery pack.
The build quality feels sturdy and these should hold up fine to daily sports activities very well, the cabling feels good, the headphones themselves are a mixture of metal and plastic. There is good strain relief on the connections and being Bluetooth means less cabling to fail, the cable is detachable though (screw on) and also included is a regular audio cable with controls.
Accessory wise you are spoilt for choice, with a nice clamshell carry case, 2 cables (one Bluetooth, one regular with mic and controls), an adaptor that splits the audio and microphone cable for use with computers, USB charging cable, phono adaptor that changes the pinout for apple/android, cable clip, S/M/L Comply foam tips, XS/S/M/L sports silicone tips, S/M/L regular silicone tips and also a pair of bi-flange tips. This amount of accessories and tips means you are guaranteed to find a secure fit, but also have something to store them in when not in use.
Comfort, Isolation, Cable noise and Ease of use:
The ST80 take a while to get used to fitting, once you get the hook behind your hear it is quite easy to get a good fit. The fit is nice and secure due to the earhooks keeping them in place, but the earhooks are soft enough to not cause discomfort. I find them to be very comfortable once you get a good fit and would not have problems wearing them for extended periods of time.
Isolation is good, not as good as fuly sealed units, but enough to block out most of the world around you when you are out jogging, just be careful when crossing the road or are around cycle paths. The good isolation also means they won’t leak sound outwards and annoy people near you.
Cable noise is very low on these, which is important for a sports headphone.
I found the ST80 paired over Bluetooth quickly and easily, I had no transmission issues and the remote was easy to use, if you long hold the volume up it changes track, instead of the usual double tap of the middle button. Something you will need to get used to, but nothing problematic; They charge easily via a microUSB port on the battery pack.
READ MORE: SoundMAGIC E10BT Bluetooth Earphone Review
The low end is slightly boosted on the ST80, keeping an upbeat and always present bass line keeping you motivated when out at the gym. Luckily the bass is not a bloated mess, it can extend low and you can feel it as well as hear it, but it does not veil the mid range too much. I find the impact of kick drums to be very impressive, and bass guitars are also very articulate, the only thing they don’t do so well is fast paced heavy metal.
The mids are slightly behind the bass in overall quantity, but they are still easily heard, female vocals sound a little better than male vocals. Overall though, the crunch from guitars is aggressive when called for, and there is a good amount of crisp detail. What is very good in the mid-range is the spacial cues and separation, being quite open and expansive.
The treble is very well reproduced here, again it takes a slight back seat in the overall sound but it still retains good clarity and air. It does not sound up front, leaning towards a darker, bassier sound. These won’t be for those who want the clearest sound, but for those looking for a fun sound whilst out and about they are perfect.
The soundstage is intimate, but the separation is good.
The SoundMAGIC ST80 can compete with the big boys, like the Sennheiser HD1 in-ear wireless, the ST80 have a bass oriented sound signature but with good clarity overall. The bass is the driving force behind these, but the mids cut though the mix very well offering excellent detail retrieval. The highs are slightly dull which leads to an easier listening experience but not the best overall balance.
The design lends itself to sports use, and the sound for that use is perfect, a nice big bass beat to keep you motivated, but without masking the rest of the sound.