Soundmagic ES18 Review – Low cost In-Ear Headphones Review

SoundMagic ES18-Review - Featured-Image
Review of: Soundmagic ES18
In-ear Headphones:

Reviewed by:
On August 1, 2014
Last modified:December 7, 2016


Soundmagic ES18 is an in-ear headphones manufactured by Chinese Pro Audio company Soundmagic. Soundmagic are known for their Pro audio devices which offers great quality but at rock bottom prices.

There are really high chances that you might haven’t heard about SoundMAGIC brand till now but its the one audio brand I advice you to remember. SoundMAGIC originates China from are primarily known for producing high-grade audio products cheaper price. Do not under-estimate them by hearing the name of the country from which it originates. Talking about the product SoundMAGIC ES18 is a low-cost noise isolating in-ear headphone. It sports a 3.5mm jack and sits in the low-cost budget segment. Read on to know if they’re really worth the money you pay?

Product Packaging and What’s Inside?

Packaging of SoundMAGIC ES18 is fairly OK for they price they come in and can’t complain much as it is sturdy; it can surely prevent the product from normal drops or improper handling.

SoundMagic ES18 Review - Product Packaging

But you have to be careful while removing SoundMAGIC ES18 earphones from the package, it took me almost 5 minutes to get them completely out of the box. The package consists of SoundMAGIC ES18 earphones, 2 extra silicone tip (small and large), flexible storage pouch and some literature.

SoundMagic ES18-Review - Whats inside

Let me tell you no other brand is offering a flex storage pouch at this price. So more love to SoundMAGIC for providing extra accessory.

Features and Build Quality

SoundMAGIC ES18 is a 3.5mm noise isolating in-ear headphone. It offers excellent features at the price demanded by the manufacturer. A 10mm driver is enclosed within its cans, much better as Creative EP630 offers 9mm drivers at the same price.

It offers frequency range between 15Hz – 22KHz, FYI an adult human ear is capable of hearing sounds ranging at a max frequency of 13-15KHz. The earphones have a perforation at its back so as to allow free movement of air. The cable is 1.25m and is fairly long to satisfy the average human height. The 3.5mm jack is L-shaped (more love there) and is gold-plated so as to reduce noise contamination.

SoundMagic ES18-Review - L-shaped Jack

Talking about its build quality, SoundMAGIC ES18 are pretty lightweight but not sure if it could last long (like 6 months). The earphone cables are very slim and has a very small girth; with a little harsh pressure they could break off easily. Though are sturdy enough to withstand normal day-to-day stress. The one which I’m reviewing is red in color, color on the cable is bright and doesn’t looks cheap at all. The cables are rubber coated and prone to get slightly tangled if stored without proper folding.

The best thing about these earphone is that they come with an L-shaped connecter, this reduces the chances of internal wire break at the stem of earphones; which is a common problem.

The mid-sized silicone ear tip ensures proper seal and reduces a lot of unwanted noise, so noise isolation works great here. When you move around with songs blaring through them, everything else seems quiet. Whereas you can still hear sharp noises like car or train honks. Since these weigh only 11 grams, you wont feel its weight. A little niggle that is prominent with SoundMAGIC ES18 is when you walk with these on and you stop a song, you’ll hear the vibrations from the rubber-coated wires but it disappears as soon as you start playing music.

SoundMagic ES18 Review - Ear Cans

One major problem I have with these are that the left and right marking is very small and is hard to see in normal light too and in pitch dark only guessing works.


As I said above, the mid-sized silicone tips offer great seal and cancels lot of external noise. This really helps you to enjoy only your favorite music and nothing else except sharp noises. SoundMAGIC ES18 offers excellent performance compared to its competitors and that’s what the company motto claims. There are really very few earphones that offer such quality in this sensitive price bracket.

Mid-range sound is where ES18 can beat any other earphones priced more than Rs.1500, even the low-range sound is exceptional for the price, so expect good bass response from these. The sound stage I felt is much better than Cowom EM1, so you could precisely hear and differentiate what kind of instrument is playing in your music. Never heard such great clarity in sound even from the ones which costs twice its price. These are made for sound precision and its does offer it.

Acoustic, jazz, soft-rock and blues is where these in-ear headphones shines bright. Even screencast videos with voice over are pleasure to hear without hurting your ears. Listen to modern rock songs at full volume and the sounds crackles a little bit at high pitch frequency. You can only identify this only if you listen to it carefully. Adding a microfiber mesh seen in Cowon EM1 could have eliminated this.

“I am not comparing these in-ear earphones with the likes of Skullcandy and Sennheiser in the similar price because SoundMAGIC ES18 is million leagues ahead than these good looking poor sound knock offs”

SoundMAGIC ES18 are compatible with every device sporting a 3.5mm jack. Though you might feel sound difference on different devices. Most smartphones have low-powered cheap amplifiers, using it with a sound card or an headphone amplifier will do all the justice. To get great sound output, play with the equalizer settings of your smartphone or laptop until you get a perfect balance between vocals and music.

IMPORTANT! Must Read: Use in-ear headphones properly, Prevent hearing damage.

All You Need To Know About Using IEMs Safely

SoundMAGIC ES18 are however not bass heavy like Creative EP630, they have distinctive sound with warm signature and the one that audiophiles appreciate.

Final Verdict

I pretty much appreciate how SoundMAGIC ES18 offer best sound quality without spreading off too much. They’re like the silent warriors. I’d recommend these to anyone who has a tight budget and want bang for every buck paid.

“It should rather be made illegal to compare Soundmagic ES18 with JBL, Skullcandy and Sennheiser earphones as products from these brands offer way too low quality sound for a similar price.”

I loved every bit of SoundMAGIC ES18 but there are tiny niggles that didn’t go down my throat very well. The build quality is pretty average, I believe SoundMAGIC recognized it and hence provided a carry pouch. Even the left, right markings can annoy you, as they aren’t quickly visible.

SoundMAGIC ES18 has an overall excellent sound quality. Well if you want a thumping bass response then I’d suggest you go with Creative EP630 and if you want a better and ruggedly built in-ear headphones then Cowon EM1 is your best choice.

Rest is all upto you! Have a great day!

Build Quality: 3
Features: 4
Performance: 4.5
Value for Money: 5
Overall: 4
Similar Options: Melos Aeido Electronics Lyra 001, Cowon EM1, Creative EP630

Author: Abhishek Tavasalkar

Abhishek is founder of AllTechTrix, CEO and founder at Auracle Infotech, Computer Engineering Student and a complete geek. Get in touch with him at Facebook | Twitter | Google+

21 thoughts on “Soundmagic ES18 Review – Low cost In-Ear Headphones Review”

  1. I had a Sennheiser cx180 which I bought it for Rs.1400 going by the brand name . It was way too bright. It left my ears ringing. Later I purchased ES18 with bit of a doubt, what the heck Rs.600, let me take a chance. The ES18’s are much better than the cx180s. Very balanced, not bright, but the clarity is almost there. The bass is enough for me. 4/5

  2. Yeah Soundmagic ES18 really are better Vivek than compared to Sennheiser CX180 or any other budget or mid-range earphones from Skullcandy and Sennheiser.

    A lot of people avoid Soundmagic because its lesser known brand name and originates from China but people who have experience about VFM earphones swear by SoundMagic.

    Thanks for leaving such awesome response and making me believe that there are other few who go for quality rather than brand name when it comes to choosing Quality Earphones

    Have a great day!

  3. Can you suggest me which one is best among soundmagic es-18, aoundmagic es-18s bs and creative ep-630 deep baas.

  4. I was looking for all the reviews all through internet after my Sony MDR EX60 got repaired just a week before, Sony MDR EX60(990 INR) was a great in ear ear phones i nearly used it for 3 years that impressed me even i put it in washing machine unknowingly with a pant in side it. That was all the story and now i am in need of new earphone with budget and great sound quality. Ive just gone through so many reviews and got positive about this ES18, One thing i just need to clarify is Does ES18 lasts longer, Few said this will work good only for 4 to 5 months then one side you will not hear the sound, Is that TRUE ??????????? Also the after sale service is not good enough for this brand too…Just clarify my so that I can decide myself on which earphone i can buy for my phone- Thanks in advance 🙂 cheers

  5. Hey nice review!

    But can you please make a CRISP DIFFERENCE SUMMARY between ES18 and EM1 ??

    Also how is “Sony MDR XB30” different from these ?

    Please would be helpful. THANKS !!

  6. i’ve had my es18 for almost 1 1/2 year and all i can say is that it did not let me down whenever i plug it in to my phone and listen to delivers a rich,clear sounds especially when it comes to vocals.its bass is just right to go along with all the frequencies to make the listening a pleasure to my ears.i accidentally pulled it off from my phone a couple of times and it didnt break or damage the wires.the build quality is quite good and may last long for about 2-3 years as per my usage.i plan on buying two more of this just in case my current one breaks.overall this iem is fantastic and theres nothing bad i can say about it.i would definitely recommend this to everyone.

  7. I have used them all, creative ep 630, soundmagic es 18, soundmagic pl11, phillips she range, senheiser cx180. All of them havegreat sound but average build quality, with creative being worst followed by soundmagic, senheiser compensates with unbelievable 2yrs on the spot replacement warranty, which i have used many times. Personally i thingk cx180 are too harsh, phillips she range sound the best, ep630 for bass lovers. Today i am ordering cowon em1 with mic, great reviews, flat wires plus i have a brand connect with them as i have used their pmp players and also cowon jet audio software.

  8. Prabhjit my friend, Cowon too are best. SoundMagic ES18 and Cowon EM1 are the only two major competitors in the budget range.

    As per my experience using both for good amount of time, Cowon EM1 are a little low on bass whereas ES18 has a balanced sound!

  9. Can you suggest me good earphones for Rock music? I was thinking to buy soundmagic and audio technica earbuds. I couldn’t decide which one i should buy.

  10. Im using soundmagic es18 from 7 8months. Its awesome earphones. Now im planing to buy Panasonic RP TCM 125. Can u please review this headphones?

  11. I have iem of sennheiser cx 180 street 2, creative ep 630, soundmagic es 18, cowon em 1 and latest mi piston 3. I regularly use all of these and I love iem. Believe me soundmagic es 18 is just overhyped it doesn’t have bass at all and very low on volume so please don’t be misguided just stay away from it.

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