Details: Straight-barrel Soundmagic IEM slotted just below the E30 in the lineup
MSRP: $34.99 (manufacturer’s page); $44.99 for E10M model w/mic & 3-button remote (manufacturer’s page)
Current Price: $35 from amazon.com / $35 from mp4nation.net for E10; $44 from amazon.com / $48 from mp4nation.net for E10M
Specs: Driver: Dynamic | Imp: 16Ω | Sens: 100 dB | Freq: 15-22k Hz | Cable: 3.9’ I-plug
Nozzle Size: 5mm | Preferred tips: Generic bi-flanges
Wear Style: Straight down or over-the-ear
Accessories (3.5/5) – Single-flange (3 sizes) and bi-flange silicone tips, shirt clip, and soft carrying bag
Build Quality (3.5/5) – The E10 is available in a variety of color options and features two-tone metal shells with metal nozzle filters and Soundmagic’s usual color-coded strain reliefs. The materials of the strain reliefs and cable look a bit cheap but do the job. The rubbery cabling and well-relieved y-split and I-plug are similar to those on the E30 model
Isolation (2.5/5) – Being a more conventional straight-barrel design, the E10 isolates slightly more than the E30 does
Microphonics (4/5) – Surprisingly low when worn cable-down considering how rubbery the cord is. Nearly nonexistent when worn cord-up
Comfort (3.5/5) – The E10 uses a conventional straight-barrel design. The housings are a bit wide at the front and have short nozzles, preventing deep insertion. The stock tips aren’t particularly great, either, but switching to softer single-flanges allowed for good long-term wearing comfort
Sound (7/10) – If Soundmagic’s new E30 is the long-awaited upgrade to the balanced and neutral PL30 model, the E10 is a spiritual successor to Soundmagic’s bass-heavy entry-level sets of old. More forward and aggressive than the E30 on the whole, the E10 offers up gobs of bass power and impact on cue. The low end of the E10 is well-extended, reaching deep and hitting hard. It stops just short of the impact offered up by the MEElec M9 but boasts greater clarity, control, and resolution. The nature of the bass is slightly soft and the punch is diminished by the rounded note presentation but, as with the E30, the notes have good weight. The low end of the pricier E30 is a bit leaner and bleeds a touch less but on the whole the E10 does a good job of preserving the quality despite much greater bass quantity.
The midrange of the E10 is slightly less prominent than the low end but it is still more forward than that of the E30. The bassier nature of the E10 brings on a slightly warmer tonality but on the whole the two earphones share more similarities than differences in the mids and treble. Despite the bass emphasis, midrange clarity of the E10 is good and resolution nearly matches that of the E30. Treble extension is again highly reminiscent of the higher-end model, as is the nature of the treble – clean and clear but not hard or edgy. The top end is not entirely smooth but nothing offends which, with rare exceptions, seems to be the norm for the better earphones in the price range.
The E10 is a fairly forward earphone but that doesn’t stop it from possessing a surprisingly spacious soundstage. Compared to the E30, it sounds a touch narrower and less airy but still manages to impress, retaining the ability to throw sonic cues a good distance and sounding more convincing than almost all of my other reasonably-priced bass-heavy IEMs. The Blue Ever Blue 866B, for example, seems very small and congested compared to the E10. Lastly, it is worth noting that the E10 is more sensitive than the higher-end E30 and will reach louder output volumes. At extreme listening levels the bass does begin to distort very slightly, but one would have to either be deaf or highly interested in becoming deaf to turn them up that loud. Background hiss is slightly more noticeable than with the E30 but still nowhere near as much of an issue as it was with the old PL30.
Value (8.5/10) – Soundmagic has been in the business long enough to know what works and what doesn’t. It is no surprise, then, that the E10 complements the pricier E30 model perfectly, pairing a more consumer-friendly form factor with a more consumer-friendly sound signature. The bass grunt of the E10 is impressive and yet has little negative effect on the overall performance. Likewise the aggressive presentation does not completely sacrifice the spaciousness that has made certain Soundmagic IEMs so popular in the past. There are earphones that offer a bit more for your money in the way of accessories, build quality, and isolation but few can compete with the E10 when it comes to providing impactful and enjoyable sound at a very reasonable price.
Pros: Low cable noise; pleasant, bass-heavy sound
Cons: Tubby housings may be difficult to fit for some; stock eartips could be better