Using a ported design, the SoundMagic E30 don't offer ultimate noise isolation, but can handle public transport with ease. And although the sound port also stops them from attaining a suction-like grip in your ear canal, it makes them easier to fit. We found that we could simply shove the things in and go.
SoundMagic promises "balanced, accurate sound" with these earphones, and - for the most part - it comes up with the goods. These are perhaps the very best-sounding earphones you can get for under £40.
They boast smooth, well-integrated sound that - as long as you get along with its sonic leanings - just sounds right. There is a slight emphasis on bass and warmth, but low-end handling is tremendous at the price. Sound is full and rich, but they steer clear from any boominess or bloating.
A slightly warm signature means the SoundMagic E30 don't have the sparkliest of treble, but top-end detail is nevertheless excellent within its class. It's also significantly more energetic than that of the also-great E10. While the styles of the two earphones are comparable, treble is more clearly prominent in the E30, with bass a little more reserved.
The result? Greater overall clarity and a more high-end sonic personality. And while you may assume reducing the bass would make them less fun, added dynamism make them all the more punchy and musical-sounding. It's an upgrade all-round, aside from a slightly reduced stereo image - although this isn't a clear deficiency of the SoundMagic E30, rather something that comes out in a direct comparison.
A well-balanced signature lets the E30 skip between genres easily. The only real criticism we unearthed is that the warm sound can make complicated arrangements sound a little more congested than the detailed top-end might suggest. However, if it sorted this out, it would comfortably be able to compete with the best sub-£100 earphones. And that would be plain dangerous.
The SoundMagic E30 are class-leading performers, improving-upon the E10s and the similarly-priced CX 300 from Sennheiser, with greater top-end detail. To get significantly better sound, you need to spend at least £25 more. And to reach that "next level" of fidelity with a similar signature, you're looking at spending £80 on the Phonak Audeo PFE 012. Like the geeky kid at school who doesn't really know how to dress, the E30 earphones may not look as cool as they hope to, but they're brimming with genius.
SoundMagic has done it again. The SoundMagic E30 are some of the best earphones you can get for under £50 - and probably the very best at their price. With a well-balanced and detailed sound that leans just the right amount towards warmth and bassiness, they comfortably one-up the E10. We weren't entirely convinced by their look, but we soon forgot about that once the tunes started playing.