SoundMAGIC HP1000 Review

SoundMAGIC HP1000 Review

20 April 2020 0 By Petros Laskis

Pros: – Great balanced sound
– Very open sounding
– Build quality
– Value for money

Cons: – Proprietary detachable cable of mediocre quality
– No extra cable

SoundMAGIC HP1000

This headphone was kindly provided by SoundMAGIC to be featured in a series of unbiased honest reviews.
Thank you for the opportunity.
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Introduction

SoundMAGIC was founded in 2005 by engineer Mr. Tony Xu and very soon instead of being condemned to obscurity like many other small companies from China they managed to succeed by offering truly great sound at a budget price.
At the beginning was the much acclaimed E10 the iem that redefined the market stating that budget is not necessarily cheap or bad performing.
Since then SoundMAGIC never resting at their laurels they have tried hard to further improve by releasing many other good products like E50 and E80 and even expanding at larger headphones like HP150 and HP200.
The latest release is their flagship headphone HP1000 an over the ear closed back design being reviewed here.
SoundMAGIC team spend more than three years researching and developing the headphone considering greatly user feedback in order to fine tune it.
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Tech – build quality – comfort

At the heart of HP1000 we find a huge 53mm angled dynamic driver with a composite made diaphragm constructed with cavities of special design.
Nominal impedance is 66ohm with a sensitivity of 120db meaning that the headphone can easily be driven from low powered sources without peeking any internal noise.
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Build quality is excellent reaching well above it’s price point and all materials used are of top quality.
The adjustable headband is internally metal reinforced and covered with real sheepskin leather for comfort and durability.
The ear cups are made of matte plastic with scratch resistant coating and a very nice feeling to the touch.
The huge ear pads are user replaceable and made of breathable PU leather with memory foam inside.
Ear cups feature an adaptive aluminium spindle which can be rotated at 120° for easy storage inside the provided travel case and attach to the headband with aluminium yokes.
All in all really impressive and nothing to complain about.
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The cable is detachable with different left and right plugs located at the bottom of each ear cup.
There is only one 1.2m cable provided with a 3.5mm plug at the end plus an extra 3m extension.
Cable quality is acceptable but not great and surely not a match for a flagship headphone.
An extra longer cable would be much appreciated as extensions are not much to our liking due to the extra connection.
Oddly SoundMAGIC instead of choosing a usual generic plug for the detaching system they have opted for a unique plug design never found elsewhere.
It is something like an aerial plug as you can see at the photos.
To be honest it gets the job done as it is stable and allows for easy handling but it rules out after market cables or other plug options like 2.5mm balanced.
In our opinion this is a major let down and should be addressed at the next batch or at least we should be offered with an extra 2.5 mm balanced cable.
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Real use comfort is great as the headphone is not very heavy weighting 412gr and the headband does an excellent job distributing it equally at the head.
The ear cups are very roomy even for larger ears and cool enough considering this is a closed design so we were able to listen more than an hour without taking a break.
Clamping force is medium keeping the headphone stable without causing discomfort and providing good passive noise isolation.
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Listening

After the needed burn in we begun our listening sessions pairing the headphone mostly with portable gear like FiiO M9 and low powered amps like Lehmann Audio drachenfels.
Even from the start it was apparent that we were dealing with a very good headphone an impression made stronger after days of listening.
If we would like to summarize in a few words this would be an even well balanced presentation with natural tonality , amazing clarity , plenty of detail and excellent headstage although in the lean , monitor side of things.
The HP1000 is a well tuned headphone with great extension at both ends of the spectrum and great clarity throughout a perfect achievement considering how difficult is to tune properly closed headphones.
Bass extends well down to the sub bass region but without an extra emphasis.
This is fast , reference tuned bass focusing mainly in quality but lacking in body and depth.
Notes can be individually heard with great layering able to successfully portray low strings either being plucked or bowed with satisfying decay.
There is no bleeding into the mid bass which is heard even and linear up to the mids.
Talking of mids which are well behaved and lively sounding but a touch of recession is robing them out of presence and body making for a clear but somewhat restrained presentation.
Depending on the mix some voices and instruments of the region are heard sometimes far at the background.
Highs follow up with some extra boost enough to lighten things up contributing to a very detailed and clean presentation without causing sound fatigue.
But don’t be mistaken as the headphone will do no favors at all and poor quality as bright sources will be highlighted resulting in an over emphasized experience.
HP1000 is a very lively headphone but sometimes time decay especially in the higher frequencies is just too fast giving the impression of thin sounding instruments of the upper registers.
Dynamic behaviour is good able to portray with great sense of reality all the swings of the orchestra from whisper to full rise.
What impressed us most was the width of stage and sense of space making HP1000 one of the most open sounding closed headphones we have ever heard.
The sound stage is very wide with plenty of air between the instruments and pinpoint accuracy.
Aided by the amazing clarity and detail retrieval makes for a very persuasive presentation of the recording venue being it a small ensemble or a large orchestra.
It should be noted that this is more like a two dimensional projection than a 3D holographic stage because we found it lacking at height and depth.
Classical music lovers will find HP1000 much to their liking.
As mentioned earlier the headphone can play very loud from low powered sources so there is no need for an extra amplifier but dac quality is a prerequisite to fully enjoy it.
Pair it with a good dac/amp and be rewarded with great sound.
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At the end

HP1000 is a leap above the rest of the SoundMAGIC products taking sound and build quality to a whole next level.
Don’t let it’s “humble” origins and low price deceive you.
This is a great sounding headphone , one of the best closed in the market , able to compete with rivals asking two or three times more.
With a well balanced monitor type sound it is going to equally please casual and professional users alike.
Add to this the top notch build quality , great looks and very reasonable asking price and we’ve got a real winner deserving our full recommendation.

The test playlist – http://open.qobuz.com/playlist/5669033

Copyright – Petros Laskis 2020