SoundMagic is a force to be reckoned with in budget earphones. If you're looking for an affordable pair but haven't checked these guys out yet, put doing so at the top of your to-do list. The SoundMagic EH11 are the sportiest of their headphones, with built-in adjustable ear clips, an anti-microphonic cable and a startling orange-and grey design.
When we recently looked at the rather-fantastic SoundMagic E30, we weren't great fans of the design. And it's a similar story this time around. The glossy plastic has been replaced with matt-finish plastic and shiny metal, but it's more the colour combos we're not convinced by. Dull orange and grey don't make us want to get up and start running.
However, in truth they're not much worse off than many sports earphones - the Ultimate Ears 300vi use an almost-identical colour combination. Maybe we're just miserable.
It's not just the colour that's tailored for sporty types, though - the entire design is. These headphones use a non-removable clip that gives the rubber tip much less responsibility for keeping the earphones in place. As such, they can withstand more knocks and movement without falling out of your ears.
Fit and comfort
The SoundMagic EH11 frames move in three ways that makes them easy to fit for just about anyone. First, the earbuds swivel freely horizontally around the two part metal pole that helps to give the frame a feeling of solidity. This pole is formed of two cylinders - one inside the other - that extend telescopically to let you secure the flexible ear loop over your ear lobe.
In, out, shake it all about...
The loops maintain their shape when left but are flexible, letting you mould them easily. This part is very important, as it means the high-friction rubber outer won't sink back onto your ear, which could cause discomfort while you're running/working out.
SoundMagic has also dialled back noise isolation. Blocking out the outside world is great, apart from when you're running around a car-infested urban sprawl. The isolation is limited on two fronts. The clip design means the seal with your ear is less tight, and there are two sound ports on the bud, a standard one on the inner side and a larger grill'd one on the outside. The SoundMagic EH11 still take the edge off ambient noise, but are less effective than the range's non-sport models.
For use in the gym, with its lack of fast cars and abundance of often-offensive music blaring far and wide, we'd probably opt for the SoundMagic E30, which offer optional rubber ear loops.
The SoundMagic EH11 come with the standard array of accessories - tips, clip and carry case. Their tips selection in particular is very good, though. Where some supply just three sets, you get seven here - one pair on the earphones themselves and a further six grey rubber tips in a wide array of sizes.
The carry case and clip are entirely unremarkable, but complete the set to make sure nothing serious is missing. The cable uses a light rubber finish, and is coloured with the same orange as the inner side of the buds.
The cable join and the jack end are both armoured with a column of orange metal, for that bit of extra strength.