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Soundmagic E50 review: Great budget headphones

Katharine Byrne
16 Aug 2016
Expert Reviews Best Buy Logo
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
45
inc VAT

Not the prettiest in-ear headphones around, but the Soundmagic E50's brilliant sound quality more than makes up for the lacklustre design

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Specifications

Headphones subtype: In-ear, Plug type: 3.5mm headset jack plug, Weight: 13g, Cable length: 1.2m

The Soundmagic E10 is one of the best budget in-ear headphones we've ever tested, but for those that want a slightly more upmarket sound, the E50 could be just the ticket. For a very reasonable £45, the E50 not only promises a clearer, more balanced performance, but also comes with a much wider range of eartips, making it easier to find the perfect fit.

Design and features

As well as two types of small, medium and large silicone tips and double-flange silicone tips, you also get a pair of Comply foam tips in the box. The latter offers excellent sound isolation and often costs at least £10 for a pack containing multiple pairs, so the fact you get a pair for free with the E50 only makes them even better value compared to the £30 E10.

You may not need them, of course, as I found the default pair of medium silicone tips were perfectly comfortable and rarely found them sliding out of my ears while walking. They also created a more than sufficient seal, but they still let in just enough ambient noise to make me feel confident about crossing the road safely or not missing train announcements on the commute home.

Like the E10, the E50's earbuds are made from aluminium, which is still pretty rare for sub-£50 headphones, and it makes a welcome change from the cheap plastic buds you usually see at this price. The design isn't particularly eye-catching, but the design is sensible. The coated, woven cable causes less microphonic noise than most in-ear headphones, and you can reduce this even further by using the supplied clothing clip.

Sound quality

With an impedance of 51 ohms, I found I had to turn the volume up quite high on my music player before I reached a comfortable listening level, but I wasn't disappointed with the resulting sound quality. With its super-clean, full-bodied sound, the E50 coped brilliantly with my test tracks, handling everything from delicate piano to energetic pop tracks with ease.

Some types of music, such as the bass-heavy Batman vs Superman soundtrack, could sound a little restrained at times, so bass fiends will probably be better off with the more bombastic Soundmagic E10. However, for those who prefer clarity, the E50 are a significant step up from the cheaper models in the range, and for my money provide a far better balance of sound overall.

Verdict

For a measly £45, the Soundmagic E50 are a great pair of in-ear headphones, and well worth the upgrade over the entry-level E10, particularly if you want a wider choice of ear tips. There’s stiff competition from the £45 Rock Jaw Alfa Genus V2, which comes with three tuning filters for different sound profiles, but these require a fair amount of time and fiddling to set up correctly. The Soundmagic E50, on the other hand, comes ready to deliver great-sounding music straight out of the box, and rightly wins a Best Buy award.

Hardware
Headphones subtypeIn-ear
Headphones driverNot disclosed
Active noise-cancellingNo
Power sourceNone
Headphones sensitivity102dB
Frequency response15-22,000Hz
Headphones impedence51 ohms
Plug type3.5mm headset jack plug
Inline volumeNo
Weight13g
Cable length1.2m
AccessoriesSilicone tips, Comply foam tips, cable clip, hard carry case

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