Best earphone for the value

I bought the earphone after reading rave review on it.

SoundMagic E11C review | What Hi-Fi?

The review is spot on.

The most remarkable difference between this and free earphone distributed by Delta Airline is detailed treble.

I also compared this with Grado SR80E headphone that I have.

Grado have slightly more open bass but this one seems to have more details.

Due to the limitation of luggage, I would rather bring earphone than regular headphone  for long travel.

This one fit my need at the cost of 60$.

I found that the music through Youtube or Amazon prime using SoundMAGIC E11C earphones is quite enjoyable.

I highly recommend this for travel.

7aeeb429 76a8 4040 a90e 93802cf27573shkong78
I had a pair just like those. They work okay. Better than ear buds anyway.

I love my Shure SE535, for many years now. But if I were ever to replace or upgrade it would be to these
Come on Shure-Se846 is too expensive for earphone.

I use earphone only if I travel out of town.

Yeah my SE535 seemed expensive at the time. Now after I forget how many years (5? 10?) it seems a bargain. The 846 sounds like another one where you cringe once when you pay for it then smile, and smile, and smile more and more every day for years and years.... but then I use mine every day on the commute, every time I watch a movie on the laptop, and every time the way it shuts out the world, it makes your iPod into a portable $100k listening room, your laptop into a home theater. Worth every penny.
Somebody also recommend  Etymotic Research ER4P-T microPro.

I may order it through Amazon to compare it with Soundmagic.

If Etymotics is better than Soundmagic by 50%, I may keep it, although the former is two and half times more expensive.

But 1K$ earphone is too much for me since I use it only during travel.
Agree with you @millercarbon since getting the 846 and a cheaper A&K DAP listening when traveling has given me an entirely new insight into my music collection. However I quite quickly swapped out the 846 for the Campfire Audio Andromeda -- a much more neutral and clear transducer even which made the 846 sound rather tubby and bloated. 

@shkong78 you might want to also investigate the CA Comet or Io -- similar prices to others you are looking at but great sound and US build quality
The SE846 is worth every penny. I bought it the year it came out. Absolutely ground breaking.
I notice the Campfire seems to use a higher quality wire. My SE535 sounds a lot better when upgraded to some I got from Moon Audio. Do you know a better aftermarket MMCX type cable to use with these?
I did try the Moon Audio on my 846 but hated it and sent it straight back. CA make their own upgraded wire (which I have on my Andromeda's) which is more open and natural sounding than the (good) stock cable
@ folkfreak

I am going to try out  Campfire Audio Io after being back to my home.

Thanks a lot for your recommendation.
I have owned a few pair of the better Etymotics, including newer ones with the increased bass response. They're good but I thought too tame and polite. Not exciting to listen to music. I was amazed when I bought a pair of  KZ ZS10s for less than $50 that blew the Etys out of the water.
per jaybe, earphone technology is evolving at warp speed, and (mostly chinese) manufacturers are cranking out incredibly cheap models which far surpass mainstream models from just a few years ago. the headfi website is ground zero for all things headphone related and you'll find innumerable recommendations there
@ jaybe 

Thanks a lot for recommendation. 

There may be many affordable choices.

I actually bought a pair of those zs10 earphones a few weeks ago for $45 to replace a very old pair of in ear Klipsch that were 10 years old.

I was honestly shocked how good they sounded for any price never mind $45.
Admitted never hear $1k in ear phones and likely never will but hard to imagine them being 22.2 times better!

I hate to bring this up again in a way but the SQ I have now with a humble Sony Walkman and Sony Walkman headphones, those yellow and gray jobs, is well beyond what I used to have with a conventional set-up - all tube Class A Woo Audio headphone amp, extensively modded Oppo 103 and naked Sennheiser 600s. I find the problem isn’t so much with the headphones but with the players. You know, scattered light and vibratory CD. I wish you could hear what I’ve heard with my ears. What’s coming out of untreated CD players I don’t want to hear with any headphones, much less expensive ones. 


Is sound isolation on those good enough for most of the planes?

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This one has enough isolation in the airplane.

The most important thing is that  its sound is musical with classical music like violin concerto.

I can live with this one for at least one year.

There is no need to rush into rabbit hole of earphone since I use earphone only during travel.
I owned a pair of Etymotics a few years back.  Good amount of mid and high end detail, but really lacking in the bottom end.  It's a single Balanced Aperture driver, so.... Also, it required a deep insertion to get good isolation.  Replaced it with a pair of CA Lyra II's which I really like, but they require a lot of drive.  Also have a pair of CA Vega's which are really nice also.  Finally, Picked up a pair of CA Solaris a few weeks ago.  These are the best of the bunch; loads of detail, smooth mids and really tight and fast low end.  I guess you can tell I'm a CA fan.

If you're searching for something inexpensive, look at the Periodic Audio Mg's.  They retail for $100 and they occasionally they put them on sale for $70.  I use them at the gym a lot.  If your willing to spend a little more, also check out the Periodic Be's.  They retail for $300, but I see them on sale for $240 occasionally,

I also own a pair of JA Audio Layla's, but the CA Solaris is better.

I guess you can tell that I'm a CA fan.  I haven't tried any of their entry level stuff, but the build quality of the units I own are first rate.  
@ prpixel

Thanks a lot for your recommendation.

300$ may be sweet spot for earphone newbie.
I also own a pair of Be's, Ti's and their Nickel headphone amp.  The Be's are not quite as good as the CA Lyra II's.  At half the price, they are a real bargain.  In addition, they don't require a headphone amp to make them sing; you can just plug them into your phone and enjoy.  When I use the Lyra II's, I have to use a headphone amp to get the most out of them.  

Hope this helps,
BTW - Underwood HiFi (Underwood Wally here) has the Be's on sale for $259 delivered.
@ prpixel

Periodic Audio Be and CA Io are almost same price around 300$.

I may want to try one of them.

Do you have any preference between them?

You may not have tried CA Io yourself but you know their lineage sound.

Thanks a lot in advance

I haven't heard the CA Io and because it uses dual Balanced Armatures, I don't know if it will have the same sound signature of the CA IEM's that use dynamic drivers or hybrid designs.  A lot of people love the CA Andromeda's, and they've developed a quite a following.  

I do own the 12 Balanced Armature JH Audio Layla's.  They are very good, but not my go to IEM's.  It's hard to make an analogue here.  I guess it just comes down to personal preference.  

The build quality of the CA's are better than the Periodic's.  The Periodic Be's should be slightly easier to drive than the CA Io's.  It's easier to get a good fit with the Periodic than the CA's.  The Ca's really require a deep fit to sound there best.  Sometimes I have to fiddle with them to get them to fit just right.   If you don't get the fit correct they can be a little uncomfortable over time.  The Periodic's are real easy to insert in your ears and they are more comfortable over a longer period of time.  Disclaimer: I have small ears and your experience may be different.

It's really going to come down to your personal preference.  I would recommend that you try before you buy.  CA has a 15 days from receipt, no questions ask, return policy.  I believe Periodic has a 30 day return policy.  

I hope this helps, but I've probably just made the decision harder.
@shkong78 you really need to try them to see, this is where attending an audio show like the upcoming T.H.E. Show in LA is a good idea so you can see and try a bunch of options. 
@ folkfreak

It will be good idea to attend T.H.E. show in LA to experience various earphones.

There appears to be 4 or 5 nice earphones at 300$.

I would like to choose one or two and compare them at my familiar settings.


If you ever want earphones that, to me, seem to have no signature sound and are in your price range, you may try SONY MDR-EX800ST. I do not know how to describe their sound. They are not bad, don’t get me wrong, they just exist. Check the reviews. They are a little older model so it is likely that these new guys may outdo them, but for a bit over $200, I think they are really good. I know, not an esoteric headphone-focused brand. I would buy them again.
If you get a chance, Final E4000 and 5000 fall under $300 and are worth giving a listen. E4000 is around $150.

Too many choices for you. All are probably good.
I've had pretty good luck with various Etymotic models. They are durable, more-or-less noise cancelling, sound pretty good (especially for the money). The major problem is that they require deep insertion and some people can't tolerate them for long (or short) listening sessions.  $1000 for earphones doesn't work for me. ~$300 is my price point a super-compact/portable item I use mostly for travel.
Since I use earphone only during travel, I will limit the budget to 300$.

It seems that there are many good ones including "Final E4000".

I wish to choose one which fit my needs of soothing mind during travel.

I was also looking/listening for something for the plane. Final E4000 (I did not get to hear 5000) seem to like more power than many of the cellphones would provide. They were not that loud even through a dedicated music player. You may need an amplifier with them which than makes it a bit less convenient for travel. Sound isolation is ok, but not fantastic. It will, of course, depend on your ear anatomy etc. Otherwise, they are fine piece of equipment.

SONY MDR-EX800ST sound fine, are not too expensive, do block a decent amount of outside noise, but may not be for travel. They are comfortable but protrude out of your ears just enough that you cannot lay on the side without them bothering you. Once you are on your back, they are fine.

The best improvement in sound via earphones that I noticed while travelling was trying to pick Boeing 787 whenever possible. They are somehow quieter. I do not know any measurements, just my small-sample impression. The rumor is that A-380 is the same way.

So far SoundMAGIC E11C meet my needs pretty well.

The only downside of it is not enough bass.

But it could be blessing not to hurt my hearing.

Thus I am not in a rush for new earphone.

It appears that there are many good ones under 300$.

I will audition one or two earphone after being back to my home using my laptop, Samsung Note and Lyngdorf 2170.
Glupson, the main problem with Sony headphones is they don’t support their products. I’ve got an older set of really nice Sony studio headphones on which the pleather ear pads have disintegrated into a nasty, goo-like mess. Sony product support politely gives you the middle finger if you call them looking for a way to order replacement ear pads by telling you to contact one of their retailers. Really. You’d think 🤔 they’d be in a better position to support their own products than their retailers who just mass market the stuff with the biggest profit margins at mslp. 
As someone who does a lot of air travel on company planes and commercial, a must-have on every trip are my Bose QuietComfort headphones. They cut engine noise by half or better, but they are terrible for sound quality if listening to music. They are passable for hands-free phone calls though. I’m not about to start travelling with two sets of headphones though - gotta draw a line somewhere. 
Grado GR10 or whatever this model is called, $400 in the ear headphones, are listenable but..I would still take on the ear Audeze Sine any day. Youtube or not the difference is striking. This comes from someone who generally prefers Grado RS1 Classic wooden headphones. Planar headphones have their appeal. Those Audeze are closed back so you won’t disturb the others, and they don’t completely isolate you from the environment which is a good thing too. So that’s what I would travel with.

Your experience with SONY customer support is about the same as mine. I actually do not consider it exists. Not even warranty. If I buy something from them, I consider it a total loss when broken, regardless of when it happens. Calling them, even for warranty repair, is waste of time and nerves and is rarely worth the trouble. Well, little by little, I am taking similar approach with everything I buy. I wave the white flag. They win.

Earphones I mentioned are Japanese model and I am not in Japan so their warranty would not apply anyways. It makes me feel less of a loser to know that.
..another Entymotic user.....I've had these for about 10 years or so....always delivers music and isolates the surrounding noise.
With so many choices of nice earphones, it is hard to choose one for another audition.

Some of earphone has a good reliability record, while some other excellent sounding earphone may not have good reliability.

I am not considering any on ear headphone right now since it is going to take too much space during travel.

I am going to choose one more earphone to compare with the sound of SoundMagic at the end of this month.


Let us know the results, please. If you do not mind, could you pay really good attention to isolation from the outside sounds (to evaluate for flight/train-worthiness)?

Earphones are harder to get to audition. Over-the-ear can be found in many places, but earphones tend to stay in boxes.
After using Soundmagic 11 earphone with Dell Laptop for 1 week, I had got more favorable impression.

I am listening to the above Youtube music.

Violin sounds natural without too much overtone.

Orchestra sound also balanced.

With this kind of highend demo music, this one work well with natural details.

After going back to my home at the end of May, I will order one more earphone around 300$ from Amazon(it is easy to return using Amazon if I do not like it) to compare it  with Soundmagic.

But now I am quite happy with Soundmagic earphone for overall performance at 80$.

Did you check HeadFi or reddit/r/headphones first?

They have a lot of opinions about headphones. I used to have Denon IEMs but they went missing and now I use KZ ZS3 which are good enough for me when out. At home I use larger headphones.

I had already been looking up  to find review of some nice earphones around.

I found one candidate and will compare it with Soundmagic after being back to my home at the end of this month.

After listening to earphones for a while, I wish to compare it with decent headphone.

I pulled the trigger for Hifiman Sundara
Thomas, headphones can be a rabbit hole!  Headphones of course give you an entirely different listening experience than speakers, eliminating all the room and placement issues of speakers, but you lose the visceral impact that speakers and subwoofers can impart.

The great thing is that you can have multiple headphones and it's like having the ability to easily switch to different sounding speakers without all of the placement issues.  I agree with those that say a good set of speakers should be able to play any kind of music, but with headphones I find myself using different headphones with different types of music.  My LCD-4 can impart bass in a way that almost matches the visceral impact of speakers while my HD-800 can deliver remarkable detail.

I have the Hifiman HE-560, which the Sundara is supposed to be very close to, with some reviewers liking the Sundara better.  The HE-560 require a powerful headphone amp to get the most out of them.  Of all the headphones I own, the Hifiman are the hardest to drive.  It sounds like the Sundara might be a little easier to drive, but not much.

Please share your impressions once you have them.
@ big_greg

I fully understand that headphone could be big rabbithole.

Thus I am not willing to try expensive ones.

I will drive Sundara with Lyngdorf 2170 which will have enough drive.

I also may drive it with Chord Dave for test.

Let us see what happens.