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SoundMagic E11C Review

SoundMagic's E10 headphones are considered one of the best budget pairs ever, but can they be even better with the E11C? We find out in our full review.

Should I Buy The SoundMagic E11C?
Headphones under £50/$50 tend to be pretty underwhelming, but SoundMagic has stepped things up with the E11C.

These in-ears are a grown-up version of the popular E10, with a more stylish design, in-line control, microphone and a decent upgrade in the sound quality to boot. There's little more we could ask for from an affordable pair of headphones.

Price When Reviewed
  • $49.99
SoundMagic is well-known for making some of the best cheap headphones you can buy, but are the E11C in-ears up to the task? Here’s our full review.

Price
Although the E10 headphones were a very reasonable £34.99, the E11C are a little more expensive at £49.99/$49.99. They're available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

But that justifiable considering the upgrades you get, namely an in-line control.

Scraping in at just under £50$50, might not make them the cheapest of headphones but if you can stretch your budget then you’re unlikely to regret it.

If you really can’t stretch the you can opt for the regular E11, which don’t have the in-line control. They’re £10/$10 cheaper.
Design & Build
When comparing the E11C to their predecessors, a fair bit has changed in this department. The tweaks are individually quite small, but some are significant.

For starters, the E11C in-ears are only available in one colour option - it’s the silver you see in our photos or nothing. They look nice, but with four colours previously (albeit not as stylish and grown up), it’s a shame if this style isn’t to your taste.

Other changes include an angled jack - somewhere between straight and 90 degrees - and they don’t have small coloured plastic bits to indicate which is left and right. This wouldn’t look as nice, so now you’re best off remembering that the in-line control is on the left.

Speaking of which, the in-line control is the biggest design upgrade. It’s got a microphone and three buttons for volume and playback. It’s annoying when an in-line control only works with some phones but the E11C’s controls work seamlessly with iOS or Android.

Build quality is decent with machined aluminum housings for the earbuds and a 1.2m silver-plated copper cable that has an anti-tangle design. It really works, too.

You get a basic but solid case to carry them in. The only thing we’re a little disappointed by is the small selection of tips. You just get small, medium and large when SoundMagic often provides more, including dual-flanged options.

With the right tips, you should find the E11C comfortable for long periods of listening. Unlike some rivals, the earbuds are compact and lightweight.

Sound Quality
Despite being so small and light, SoundMagic manages to fit large 10mm Neodymium drivers into the E11C headphones. We’ll accept the basic selection of tips considering the upgrade in sound.

Once again, the E11Cs have solid bass and treble without overly favouring one or the other. This is what we found with the E10 earphones and means they will suit a lot of music and listeners.

The sound quality is better though, with a lot more clarity and dynamics. For once, the manufacturer’s description sums them up very well - “Balanced, accurate sound with rich bass and extended clarity” says SoundMagic.

Just about every aspect of the headphones sounds great, whether it’s detail, soundstage or otherwise. Bass is warm and tight and the top-end is bright, but the mid-range is more forward than previously giving vocals more prominence in the mix.

These are grown-up sounding headphones that are versatile, with sound punching above the price tag.

Verdict
They might be a little more expensive than the older E10 headphones, but the E11C are worth the extra money. And you can buy a cheaper version if you need to.

Not only are these in-ears more stylish, they come with an in-line control and mic that works with both iOS and Android. We also find them comfortable due to the compact and lightweight design. The anti-tangle cable is a boon, too.

A basic set of tips is a shame, but we don't mind too much considering the upgrade in sound quality. The E11C headphones sound amazing for a pair so affordable, with a more dynamic and powerful sound that's still balanced and considered making them very versatile.

Specs
  • Driver: Dynamic 10mm Neodymium
  • Frequency range: 15Hz - 22kHz
  • Impedance: 42?
  • Sensitivity: 112dB at 1kHz/mW
  • Cable length: 1.2m
  • Connection: Gold-plated straight stereo 3.5mm
  • Earphone body material: Aluminium
  • Weight: 11g


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