SoundMagic E10C review

Our favourite budget headphones get a new universal remote and they sound as good as ever... Tested at £40

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

A unique universal in-line remote sees the best get even better


  • +

    Unique universal remote

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    Streamline design

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    Clear, entertaining and detailed sound


  • -

    Nada, zilch, zip

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If SoundMagic came up with even better sounding versions of its multi Award-winning E10s for the same money, we’d have to pinch ourselves to believe it.

Fortunately, we don’t have to because the new SoundMagic E10C in-ears sound the same as the model they replace.

That homogeneity may not be what you’d expect of a successor, but we’ve been here before, the Japanese company is not averse to making purely functional improvements for its upgraded models.

There’s clearly no dust settling on the SoundMagic engineer’s motivation, because once again they’ve managed to squeeze even more into a £40 in-ear headphone.

MORE: SoundMagic E10 review

Video review

Build and comfort

The C stands for ‘compatibility’ – and unsurprisingly this is where we see advances.

While the E10Ss came with an in-line one-button remote and smartphone compatibility switch for manually switching between Android and iOS devices, the E10C model features a three-button remote that automatically switches the poles on the jack for compatibility with iOS and Android. And it works.

MORE: SoundMagic E10S review

SoundMagic claims it is the only company to do it (and no, we can’t think of another) – which isn’t a bad thing to shout about.

The universal remote not only makes things easier for you, the extra buttons giving you volume controls as well as pause and skip tracks, but without a switch, the design is more streamlined than ever.

As was the case with the E10s and E10Ss before them, you won’t mind splashing out a couple of twenty notes for their angled metal 3.5mm jack, twisted cable and ‘gun metal’ details.

MORE: Best in-ear headphones 2016


Technically we could just rehash the equivalent section of the E10S review here, but the E10Cs inspire us to say some more about how good they are.

Still, that doesn’t stop us repeating words like ‘energetic’ and ‘expressive’ and phrases such as ‘impressive dynamics’ and ‘even balance’, which we used before – because all those observations still stand.

From the pummelling guitar chords that open PJ Harvey’s The Ministry Of Defence, they aren’t afraid to empty their tank from the off, throwing their weight and enthusiasm behind the track’s thunderous metal-heavy orchestration.

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Her wily vocal basks in the clarity and openness of the SoundMagic’s midrange with pleasing insight, and the detailed frequencies bookending it keep the tonal scales level; the bass is as tenacious as the guitar playing, and highs are lucid and crisp.

An entertaining all-round listen, the SoundMagic’s energetic, expressive and agile performance gives consumers no excuse for settling for (mostly average-at-best) in-the-box earphones.

MORE: Best budget headphones 2016


C for ‘compatibility’? More like ‘consistency’.

For five years, Soundmagic’s E10s in some form or another have been our go-to budget headphones, and although sound quality hasn’t taken a leap forward this time, it’s still remarkable that Soundmagic finds ways to implement improvements without bumping up the price.

How could the next version possibly be better? Well, we said that about the last pair…

See all our SoundMagic reviews

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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