SoundMAGIC P60BT

SoundMAGIC P60BT ANC is a new wireless headphone with a hybrid noise canceling on board and it’s priced at $189.

Introduction to the Soundmagic P60BT review

Reviewed headphones soundmagic p60bt anc

We have been reviewing audio gear for over three years, but it’s the first review of the SoundMAGIC earpiece on Ear Fidelity. So at the beginning let me introduce the company that was founded in 2005 by acoustic design engineer Tony Xu. They specialize in low and midrange headphones with a great price-to-quality ratio. I think that a couple of years ago many entry-level audiophiles were considering their earphones as a first step in the audio journey. P60BT is currently their top-of-the-line Bluetooth headphone.

Tech

Reviewed SoundMAGIC P60BT has Bluetooth 5.2 on board that supports SBC, AAC, aptX, and aptX HD codecs. It lacks LDAC support, which means you won’t be able to listen to lossless music wirelessly. But since it’s a portable headphone, it shouldn’t be a big deal – in commute, it’s nearly impossible to hear the nuances of the lossless compression. Additionally, more data to transfer and decode means more battery usage so I wouldn’t use it anyway (It’s totally not because I’m an Apple user and my iPhone supports AAC only). 

While we’re on the subject of battery life, the maker claims that P60BT can playback music for 50 hours in passive mode and 45 with ANC enabled. That’s pretty impressive since one of the most popular headphone in the market which is nearly twice more expensive, the Sony WH-100XM5 can handle less than 30 hours of continuous playback. That means if it will be your daily driver it can easily accompany you for the whole working week without the need of charging.

The next feature of SoundMAGIC P60BT I need to mention is the ANC. It’s on board and that’s the place I could finish this paragraph. The passive noise canceling is so good that the active one isn’t really required and it doesn’t help that much. I mean it’s a slight difference and in active mode the headphone blocks a bit more hum, but it affects sound and battery life, so for most of the time I didn’t use the ANC.

Package

The package contents of SoundMAGIC P60BT ANC are pretty impressive. Inside, apart from the headphone you will find a hard carrying case, a charging cable, a jack cable with an additional microphone, and a soft pouch for the accessories.

Since the headphone is foldable I think the case could be smaller, but fortunately, it’s low profile, so it’s easy to fit in your backpack along with a MacBook, or analog notebooks. The quality of the external microphone is good. It has some minor reverb effects and you can’t expect the quality of the legendary Shure SM7B. But you can be sure that your voice will be loud and clear during video calls, or blaming your teammates gaming communication.

Build Quality and Comfort

I have some mixed feelings here – on the one hand, the satin finish of the headphone looks awesome, but on the other hand, it was a pain in the ass when I was taking photos – it collects fingerprints more than Scuderia Ferrari F1 team collect failures. In a similar price range, I like the Final UX3000 more. It has a less spectacular, but way more utilitarian finish, so I didn’t have to worry it would scratch or get dirty thrown straight into the backpack without any cover.

What’s interesting is that on the right earcup of reviewed SoundMagic P60BT ANC, there is a touch panel that allows you to control playback and the volume. That’s a touch of modernity in the audiophile world, but that solution has some minor flaws. You can switch the track, or change the volume touching the panel by mistake. It’s not a big deal, but it happened to me a couple of times when someone started talking to me and I wanted to move one earcup without taking the headphone from my head.

Overall build quality and component fit are decent for the sub $200 headphone. It crackles a bit when folded hard, but in normal conditions when I was keeping it on my head I didn’t hear any unwanted sounds. The only issue is that the earcup tilting mechanism is so tight, that when I lent the headphone to a friend of mine, who has long hair, she complained it pulled out a few hairs when she was taking them off.

We always repeat in our reviews – the comfort is inseparable from the build quality, here the case is invariably the same. The clamping force is optimal, not too tight even for my huge head, but it’s not too loose for people with small heads as well. I think it can be a good companion for the gym. While climbing I fell from some boulders, and the headphone was still on top of my head.

Sound of the reviewed Soundmagic P60BT

Reviewed Soundmagic P60BT ANC

Reviewing lifestyle headphones for me as an audiophile is tricky because for me the sound is the most important after all. Unfortunately, it’s tricky to define what sound is good, I wish it was an objective way to do it. Some people would say that the Harman target can be the thing. Others would say that the most important is the resolution and how headphone reproduces the details in music. But for me, the crucial thing is that the given earpiece can bring joy from listening to the music and it’s very dependent on context.

I love to listen to good music with Meze Elite connected to Felix Euforia Evo, but I can’t bring it with me everywhere. To be honest it’s hard to bring it to the coach because it usually stands on my desk. And here comes the versatility of the reviewed SoundMAGIC P60BT ANC. I can bring the joy of listening to the music on a decent level everywhere I would like to do it, but in the following paragraphs, I will be writing about the headphone out of that context, as objectively as I can. One last note, before we move to the main point of that review, the sound I’m describing is in passive mode, I will write about the ANC mode later.

Let’s start the party with the bass because it’s the foundation of the music. The sub-bass is quite loose, it flows between punches of the foot stomp, so if you’re a fan of fast metal or electronic music, it can be a flaw. For example in Symphony of Destruction by Megadeth, I hear the lowest end merge into one rumble. The higher registers of the bass are faster and it has that tectonic punch, but overall it feels a bit lazy and clumsy. But when you add a context that you’re listening to the music in a loud place like a means of transport, or a busy street, it won’t be an issue, because thanks to that tuning, the bass line can break through the hum and exist over it.

The midrange is relaxed and smooth. It doesn’t engage too much, vocals exist somewhere, but the words aren’t addressed directly to the listener, but more like it’s sent into space around. That’s not the best case when you want to focus only on listening, but when the music is only a background to the tasks you need to focus on, then the unobtrusive sound is the thing you’re looking for. I love listening to HiFiMAN Arya Organic, but due to its direct presentation, I can’t use it while working, because things that require focus take more time than they should. In that case, reviewed SoundMAGIC P60BT ANC is a great pick, because it’s like smooth jazz in the elevator. It allows you to think about things you want or need to think about, but it also protects against awkward silence. A great example can be the guitar in You Need Me There by Rebecca Pidgeon. I can focus on it and then everything sounds very proper, but when I don’t want to do so it just can surround me without intruding my attention.

SoundMAGIC P60BT doesn’t feature the most detailed treble I’ve ever heard, but again – it’s not an ultra-sharp device for extremal audiophiles, but a companion for people who want to get a decent sound quality for daily usage. The quacky sound of John Frusciante’s Stratocaster in Snow keeps its character, but at the same time, it’s not as obtrusive as it can be while played on harshly tuned headphones. A perfect example can be Audio-Technica ATH-M50x BT, which features way more detailed top-end, but this overwhelms the sound and after a couple minutes of listening I can only focus on the fact that my ears are bleeding because of the details in the sparkly treble.

The last thing I need to mention is the soundstage of the SoundMAGIC headphone. To be honest I expected that the presentation would be… Typical for that kind of headphones – narrow, without any air between the sound sources, but I was positively surprised. Okay, the depth nearly doesn’t exist but as for not-that-expensive, closed-back, wireless headphone, the width is unexpectedly big. For sure it’s not the level of high-end or even mid-range headphones, but I don’t feel I was closed in a tiny barrel. The layers are well-defined, I can easily identify the foreground, the second plan, and the background. The channel separation is also very good. In Far Away Place by Xinobi, the sound of water splashing smoothly moves between left and right, but I can point out the moment when one of the channels gets quiet.

That’s all for the sound description in the passive mode, and now let’s quickly move to the ANC mode. Shortly speaking in that mode the sound is more compressed. Everything is louder and flatter. The bass doesn’t speed up, but it’s more pushed forward, so the sound gets muddy. The midrange becomes made of cardboard – flat and empty. The treble becomes more vivid, but unfortunately not in a positive way. It gets more harsh and unpleasant. The soundstage decreases and it sounds like more typical wireless headphones – I feel the sources are located inside my head. Shortly speaking the ANC is available, but I would use it only in situations that require it because the impact on the sound quality is negative.

Comparisons

 

At the beginning of this review, I’ve already mentioned the Japanese wireless headphone. The MSRP of Final headphone is $179. Since both headphones are featured with ANC and similar connectivity I decided it can be an equal fight.

Let’s start with the build quality. Both headphones are made mostly with plastic, and I can point out two main differences – the finish I’ve already mentioned above, and the controls. UX3000 has buttons only, while P60BT has a power/pairing button and touchpad localized on the right earcup. The touch panel feels more modern and robust, but I like the buttons more because it’s harder to click them by mistake. So until here, it depends mostly on your preferences. SoundMAGIC is cooler, but the design of Final is more useful.

In terms of the ANC, I feel the Final UX3000 does it better. When the noise canceling is on, the sound is different, but it would be hard to say which tuning is better, while the compression caused by switching it on in P60BT is very audible and unpleasant. Additionally, the ANC of Final headphone cancels out more noise.

Another thing non-related to sound can be the battery life. The unquestionable winner in this category is P60BT with 50 hours of continuous playback versus UX3000 allowing you to listen to music for up to 35 hours.

And now the sound comparison. The bass of UX3000 is tight and fast, which is a complete opposition to the one reproduced by P60BT. In terms of the bass, the Final headphone has much more amplified lows, especially in the ANC mode. The midrange is again very different, the one presented by UX3000 is very recessed, but it has a big amount of texture. While SoundMAGIC has very smooth and well-exposed mids. If I had to select the range where both headphones are most similar, it would be the treble. Again, the P60BT does it in a bit more relaxed way, while the Japanese headphone strikes more in-your-face, but both are tuned in a balanced way. Finally, the soundstage – width, and airness of SoundMAGIC headphone is just incredible in its segment, while Final UX3000 is just fine.

So as I expected this comparison did not emerge a clear winner. If you require better ANC, then you should pick Final UX3000, but the battery life of SoundMAGIC is also very impressive. But if you don’t care about any of the features, then your decision needs to be made based on your sound preferences.

Soundmagic P60BT review – summary

Reviewed SoundMAGIC P60BT is a good sounding wireless headphone, with an amazing battery life. If you’re looking for a Bluetooth headphone for work, but you need a good microphone for calls, then it’s a very good pick. It can perform well in loud conditions, but most of the noise cancellation is done passively, and enabling the active one affects the sound. 

Overall if the ANC is a key feature for you, then I would pick another headphone, but if you’re looking for good gear that will be your companion in everyday life. P60BT is not too engaging, to steal your attention while you’re getting the job done, but it can also introduce some emotions into the dull necessities. If you are looking for this kind of sound, then I would definitely go for SoundMAGIC P60BT ANC. 

Big thanks to John from Jackrabbit for providing us with the P60BT ANC for this review. I wasn’t paid or asked to say anything good or bad about this product, all of the above is just my personal, unbiased opinion.