Right off the bat, the PL 50 served up the effortless clarity and—of equal importance—the kind of “cut-from-whole-cloth” sonic integrity and top-to-bottom coherence that I have come to associate with fine, single balanced-armature based designs (one good example would be the classic Etymotic Research ER-4P). As is typical of some such designs (again, think of the sound of Etymotic ER-4P), the bass balance of the PL 50 can at first seem a bit lean, although the low-end is admirably taut and well-defined. But the longer you listen, the more natural and “right” the PL 50’s balance seems. The really impressive part, first and last, is experiencing this little earphone’s impressive clarity and articulation. Quite honestly, if you told blindfolded listeners that the PL 50 came with a three-figure price tag, no one would bat an eyelash over your claim. While I need more listening time to say for sure, it seems to me the SoundMAGIC PL 50 is well on its way toward becoming Playback’s sonic purity-per-dollar champion.
Are SoundMAGIC earphones the next (little) big thing from China? For music lovers—especially music lovers on a budget—they could well be. And besides, how could you not like a company whose stated ambitions are these three:
Watch for full-length reviews of SoundMAGIC’s E 10, E 30, and PL 50 in upcoming posts from AVguide/Playback.