Having scored three, four and five stars recently, Soundmagic is a rather unpredictable beast. Its HP100s earned good reviews in 2013, so we’re hoping for consistency from their replacements, the 150s.
The HP150s don’t have to be confined to the home. For starters, they’re closed-backs so won’t leak sound like their open-back rivals.
The chunky, well-cushioned headband has good give in it and the jumbo earcups and cushy pleather pads collapse inwards and are conveniently lightweight too.
The plastic may not look as plush as rivals basking in metal and velour, but they are housed in a hard-shell carry case. It also comes with a 6.3mm jack, flight adapters and a 3m extension cable if the 1m wire doesn’t give you enough free reign.
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If you like your music clear, balanced and animated (and who doesn’t?), these should be in the running for your next pair of headphones. Their direct, straight-up sound walks the tonal tightrope confidently.
Bass is ample, albeit could do with more punch, and treble has bite.
The introductory bells in alt-J’s Ms glisten, the discrepancies between them distinct, and are precisely pinpointed in the soundstage.
The HP150s don't have the size or openness of open-back headphones, but music doesn’t feel cramped either.
They blitz through the rest of the album’s jittery rhythms and bassy drones with enthusiasm and rigor.
Expressive mids get right under the nasal vocals, though a lack of dynamic attention means they overlook its subtle lifts and jerks. More solidity in the middle would secure that prestigious fifth star too.
The HP150s aren’t perfect, but if you’re after decent-sounding over-ears that are as happy at home as they are on transatlantic flights or even the daily commute, bear these in mind.
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