SoundMAGIC Vento P55 On Ear Headphones Review

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The SoundMAGIC Vento P55 On Ear Headphones were kindly provided to me by KS Distribution free of charge in exchange for a fair and unbiased review on Amazon.co.uk. No additional compensation was given in exchange for posting this article on my blog.

The SoundMAGIC Vento P55 On Ear Headphones are available in the UK from Amazon.co.uk at a cost of £149.99 with free P&P . At the time of writing the Vento P55’s do not appear to be available on Amazon.com (Prices correct at time of posting).

To enlarge an image and view its description, please click on the image.

 

PACKAGING & CONTENTS.

The SoundMAGIC Vento P55’s come supplied within a high quality retail style cardboard packaging. On the front is an image of the headphones along with SoundMAGIC branding, some product bumpf, a QR code and a SoundMAGIC authenticity sticker.

 

On the left side of the box there are two diagrams of the headphones and on the right side there is a little background history of the SoundMAGIC brand alongside specification information for the P55’s.

 

Opening the box up you are greeted with a canvas carry case the same size as the retail packaging, which contains the headphones with some additional padding/protection in the form of a neoprene insert around the cups and a sheet of foam inside the lid.

 

Along side the headphones inside the carry case is a separate canvas accessory pouch which contains the following accessories….

  • A 9cm long Y splitter cable.
  • A 9cm phone adaptor.
  • A 126.5cm long 3.5mm two pole jack to 3.5mm two pole jack cable.
  • A 131.5cm long cable with a two pole 3.5mm jack to connect to the P55’s on one end, an inline remote and microphone and a 3.5mm three pole jack that connects to a tablet or phone to provide microphone functionality on the other end.

 

These accessories will be described in detail further in my review. All measurements exclude connectors and connector housings and are of just the actual cable.

 

SPECIFICATIONS.

  • Transducers: 40mm Neodymium dynamic driver.
  • Frequency Range: 15Hz ~ 22KHz.
  • DC Resistance: 35Ohms (+/- 10%).
  • Sensitivity: 110dB (+/-2dB).
  • Maximum Input Power: 20mW.
  • Connectivity: Wired 3.5mm.
  • Weight: 285g.
  • Microphone Frequency Range: 20Hz ~16KHz.
  • Microphone Sensitivity: 42dB (+/-3dB @1KHz).

 

THE ADAPTORS.

Two separate adaptors are supplied with the P55’s, the first adaptor is a Y splitter with a single 3.5mm three pole female socket on one end and two 3.5mm two pole male jacks on the other. This adaptor is designed to be used with the cable bearing an inline remote and microphone and is used to separate the audio in and microphone out into two separate 3.5mm jacks.

 

Used in this way the 3.5mm two pole jack on the inline remote cable connects to the P55’s and the three pole connector on the other end connects to the adaptor. The adaptor then separates the microphone output and the audio input, providing a 3.5mm jack with light brown contacts for microphone output and a second 3.5mm jack with green contacts for the audio input allowing use of the P55’s and the inline microphone with a PC, Mac or laptop.

Perhaps one of the more interesting possible uses of the splitter is that it allows you to record with the inline microphone as well as monitor recordings as they are made with dictaphones and audio recorders such as the Zoom H1.

This adaptor is identical to the splitter supplied with E10S and E10C earphones and in my review for the E10C’s I noted the quality of the adaptor as average. With a pair of cans such as the P55’s however the adaptor certainly does not match the quality of the cables or the headphones and nor does it match their looks/style, while the connectors are gold plated the connector housings are still just plastic.

The second adaptor is a phone adaptor of the same quality as the first adaptor and has me slightly perplexed. The E10C’s I recently reviewed also included a phone adaptor (that was of better quality than the one supplied with the P55’s) and in that review I found that the hardwired 3.5mm three pole jack worked with my Android devices and the adaptor did not (it caused audio to be routed through the devices on board speakers rather than the earphones).

 

As such I assumed that the phone adaptor provided compatibility between different devices, although I had no idea which. In the case of the Vento P55’s both the hard wired 3.5mm three pole jack on the cable bearing an inline remote and the phone adaptor both worked with my Android devices (Motorola Mot G 2nd Gen and Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1″) with audio coming out of the headphones in both instances.

That said the audio from the P55’s using the phone adaptor most defiantly sounded underpowered and I have made additional notes regarding this in the section of my review covering the controls.

 

THE CABLES.

The Vento P55’s do not have a hardwired cable they simply bear a 3.5mm two pole gold plated female socket on the underside of the left ear cup with two separate cables provided and the option to use your own aftermarket 3.5mm jack to jack cable.

The first cable is a vanilla 3.5mm two pole jack to 3.5mm two pole jack cable measuring 126.5cm long excluding connectors and connector jacket. The cable measures 2.13mm in diameter and has a smooth black PVC outer sleeve, gold plated connectors and dark grey aluminium connector jackets.

The connector at one end is straight with a 16.5mm long, 7mm diameter housing and a 7mm long section of PVC cable reinforcement at the rear. At the other end of the cable the connector is set at a 60 degree angle with a 15.5cm long, 7mm diameter housing and a 9mm long section of black PVC cable reinforcement. Both connector housings sport a series of very fine milled / machined groves running around the cylinder to provide a useful grip for when removing the plug.

 

This cable as noted is a two pole jack to jack cable and is simply used to provide a means of audio input to the P55’s from any conceivable device such as a phone, tablet, laptop, mp3 player, portable DVD player etc.

The second cable is visually very similar to the first cable with identical connector housings and cable sleeving. It does however have three differences, firstly it is slightly longer measuring 131.5cm long, secondly the connector on the bottom of the cable is three pole while the top (which connects to the device) remains a two pole connector (which connects to the headphones).

 

The third difference is that this cable bears an inline control box which is located 13.5cm down from the connector that plugs into the P55’s and I have to confess I find  this to be a little too close to the ear cup (at 6’1″ I would have preferred it to have been about 5cm further down).

The control box is on the larger side measuring 38.5cm long and 6mm in diameter being made from aluminium and sporting the same finish as the connector housings. On the rear is a pinhole microphone and on the front a cut out in the aluminium cylinder contains three buttons which are covered with a recessed piece of black PVC.

 

While a simple feature I like the inline control box a lot, a small dimple on the centre button allows easy identification of all three buttons accurately (which is needed given how far up the control box is as you will never be able to see the controls while the P55’s are worn). As for the PVC cover this waterproofs the buttons preventing any potential damage from prolonged, repeated operation in a damp environment or with sweaty hands.

Upon closer inspection of the PVC cover on the control box along with a dimple indicating the middle button, although very hard to see a very faint “+” symbol is noted on the top button and a “-” symbol on the bottom button.

The more keen eyed of you may have noted in the contents section of my review that there was no mention of any instructions with the Vento P55’s and this is sadly true. While SoundMAGIC have seen fit to include at least some basic instructions on the box with their E10 series, there sadly seems to be an omission with regards the P55’s inline controls on the box.

In all honesty the controls are not hard to work out and for my benefit at least the control box on the P55’s cable is identical to that which is found on the E10C’s which I am as noted am familiar with.

Using the cable with an inline remote and the audio / microphone Y splitter adaptor when the P55’s are connected to a PC or a laptop the inline controls offer no functionality. Further testing while playing World of Warcraft (don’t judge me, I’ve just started it again for the 3rd time after an 8 year absence) again found that the buttons offered no functionality and that the microphone was always active.

Testing on a Moto G 2nd Gen (without any adaptor) found that pressing the centre button pauses music playback and pressing it once more resumes playback. Sadly from within the Google Play Music App the “+” and “-” buttons offered no functionality, although when on the Android desktop pressing the “+” opened up the first App on the page/tab.

Switching over to using the phone adaptor found that the audio output became very weak, totally lacking depth and even sounding slightly tinny. Again the “+” and “-” buttons did nothing and this time when the centre button was held down audio output quality returned to normal although pressing it did not play or pause the track.

Now, as previously noted (more than a few times) I have recently reviewed the SoundMAGIC E10C’s which have the very same inline control box and during my testing I had a similar problem. Using the hardwired cable with inline control box neither the “+” or “-” buttons offered any functionality on the E10C’s with either my Moto G 2nd Gen or Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1″.

That said, when I read through the 39 odd reviews for the E10C’s I found that only 4 of us were having this problem (the only person to note the device they were using them with other than me said it was with an iPad Pro) and reading through the other reviews on the P55’s no one else has noted this problem.

To rule out an unlikely problem with my devices I have also tested the P55’s inline remote with a Samsung Tab S2 and Nvidea Shield K1 and to my surprise the volume controls function exactly as they should without the use of the phone adaptor.

The previous devices tested with were running older versions of Android and while this summation is not definitive the likely cause might be because and older version of Android. As for call handling functionality the centre button does at least answer and end calls with my Moto G 2nd Gen but again there is no volume functionality.

Both of the cables supplied are individually coiled up and are secured using a high quality reusable Velcro strap. These cables have no memory what so ever and when they are uncoiled and held from the connector they dangle completely straight without any kinks.

Thanks to the very smooth PVC sleeving the cables offer very little resistance against the skin and more importantly, absolutely none when rubbed against clothing, even woolly jumpers. Sadly, however while the cables look similar in design to the cable hardwired on the SoundMAGIC E10C’s unlike that cable both the cables provided with the P55’s tangle very easily and quite badly unless stored coiled up using the Velcro ties.

 

THE CASE.

The main carry case is a very good quality item easily worth fifteen to twenty pounds as a standalone product. It is constructed from black canvas measuring 23cm long, 21.1cm wide and 5.5cm deep and is a semi hard shell design.

 

On the top (outside of the lid) a rubber SoundMAGIC branding logo is stitched in place and on the back edge is a rather narrow canvas loop forming a carry handle. A zip runs around the front, both sides and the back corners of the case with a single metal zip head and pull providing access with a canvas hinge allows a 180 degree opening of the lid.

 

The inside of the lid is devoid of features such as pockets or other storage options and it is lined with a material that resembles Lycra. The base of the case has a non removable insert formed to fit the shape of the P55’s that is again covered with a material believed to be Lycra.

 

Sitting between where the cups and the headband rest a second case is found which stores the P55’s bundled accessories. This is again made from black canvas, but is just a crescent shaped pouch rather than a hard shell case. At its greatest points this measures 12.8cm wide, 8.2cm high and a depth of 1.6cm when empty.

 

Even containing all the supplied accessories there is even room for more which will be handy for those wanting to use their own larger/longer aftermarket cables with access provided by a zip with a single metal zip head and pull. This case is of a good quality and easily worth a fiver on its own.

 

One final point of note is that both of these cases are waterproof. Run under a tap for 15 seconds over the main body of each case there was no ingress. There is a risk of water entering via the zip but a canvas bias tape has been fitted on both cases to reduce the risk of this happening.

 

HEADPHONE BUILD QUALITY & MEASUREMENTS.

A very easy summation of the build quality and construction of the P55’s is that they both look and feel above and beyond expectations for their price. I have had the pleasure of demoing a pair of Momentum 2.0’s which are 25% more expensive than the P55’s and quite honestly the P55’s both look and feel like the superior quality product.

Firstly, starting with the headband, this is made from a 0.6mm thick, 25mm wide, 29cm long band of non magnetic metal (believed to be aluminium) that is gun metal grey in colour. On the outside edge on the left side is a small metal, dark silver badge bearing the lettering “P55” and in the same location on the opposite side is an identical badge bearing “SoundMAGIC” branding.

 

On the inside edge of the metal band the first 6.8cm on each side is fitted with a black firm rubberized silicone panel creating a total thickness of the headband of 7mm. On the inside of the right section is the letter “R” indicating the right cup along with additional writing stating “Designed and manufactured by SoundMAGIC”.

On the inside of the left section is the letter “L” indicating the left cup along with a CE symbol and made in China label. All of the lettering on the rubberized silicone sections is in small white characters which are undetectable to the touch (the characters are not raised from the surface).

In addition to the L indexer on the inside of the left rubberized silicone section are three small raised dots, these dots allow you to correctly identify the left cup from the right without looking which is obviously useful in the dark.

I did initially have concerns that either the hard rubberised silicone sides on the band or the small dimples indicating the left side might be detectable skin while worn but the design of the P55’s mean that these sections are held away from the side of the head by approximately 18mm and so is a non issue.

 

Between the two sections of rubberized silicone on the inside of the headband is a padded section covered with PU leather that is as wide as the metal band and approximately 1cm thick. The padding is a medium firmness foam and the PU cover is silky smooth to the touch.

 

With the headband retracted the distance between the top of one ear cup to the other measures 28.4cm and each side of the headband extends by approximately 3.1cm via a non magnetic metal ratcheted extension.

 

Each extension offers a total of 14 locking positions with the distance between each position being between 2mm and 3mm. The resistance offered by the mechanism does slightly vary, the first 12 extensions are suitably stiff in operation, but the final 2 are if I am honest a little limp but only when the P55’s are held in the hand.

 

When the P55’s are worn on the head and the headband is stretched open, the resistance offered by the ratcheted mechanism is significantly increased, requiring the use of both hands on the headset to keep them in place and adjust the length.

The circumference of my head over the tops of my ears measures 24.5″ and I find that extending both sides of the headband by 12 positions each offers a perfect fit.

 

Attached to the bottom of the extending sections of the headband is an articulated non magnetic metal wishbone onto which the cups are mounted that matches the colour of the metal headband section. Articulation of the wishbone mount is 90 degrees forwards (which allows the headphones to lay flat within the supplied storage case) and approximately 30 degrees backwards to allow for a contoured fit for different shapes of head.

 

The cups when pushed against the wishbone mount sit at an angle of approximately 45 degrees outwards and rotate on the vertical angle by 180 degrees (The left cup rotates slightly less due to the protruding 3.5mm female socket on the underside). With the exception of perhaps children under the age of 13, very few people if any will find that the P55’s do not provide a suitable fit regardless of their head shape or size.

 

The cup surrounds are made from a 1.4cm deep, soft firmness foam and are fitted with a PU leather cover matching that found on the inside of the headband and are removable/replaceable (although I have been unable to locate a suitable replacement source). The internal surround gap is entirely circular measuring 45mm in diameter, that said as they are foam there is clearly a degree of stretch afforded.

 

My ears measure 69.5mm high and I have a dangly lobe and about 6mm or 7mm of the base of my ear protrudes from the bottom of the cups. I can tuck my lobe into the cup, but it is very uncomfortable to do for even for a very short period of time. Honestly, it is insurmountably more comfortable to have the cups sat on my lobes as there is very little clamping sensation on the bottom of the cups.

The remainder of the cups are made from a black rubberized silicone running around the outside edge and a non magnetic metal (matching the remainder of the metal on the headphones) fitted on the back of the cups providing a closed cup design.

The right cup is devoid of any additional features and as noted earlier the left cup sports a 3.5mm female socket which is gold plated and slightly protrudes from the bottom of the cup. There are no other features directly on the P55’s, there is no built in microphone, no built in noise cancelling feature nor do they operate wirelessly via Bluetooth etc.

 

FIT, ISOLATION, LEAKAGE & COMFORT.

Firstly leakage, at a distance of 1m from another person in a room with an ambient sound level of 23dB only a faint noise was heard when the volume level was at 90%. At a distance of 50cm the same level of sound was heard leaking from the P55’s at a volume level of 70%. To put this in context a sound level of 50% is what I would consider comfortable listening in a quiet room.

Next up is isolation, sat in front of a TV at a distance of 3m with the volume of the TV being at the usual level for such a distance with no audio playing through the P55’s isolation is almost non existent, the sound of the TV is at most reduced by about 10% or 20%.

 

With the TV at the same level and sat at the same distance with a song playing at 50% volume the TV could be heard, although at a significantly reduced level during a piano intro and during the remainder of the song it was heard briefly at 3 other points during the song. Sadly the P55’s are perhaps not the most suitable solution to on the go inner city life, that said those with small ears may well find better isolating performance.

Finally, we come to fit and comfort, well just comfort as I covered fit in the previous chapter noting that anyone over the age of 13 should find the P55’s provide a suitable fit. Comfort is very good, even surprisingly so given my slightly large head and ears and are easily better than expected.

 

Firstly, I wore the P55’s for about an hour while doing chores around the house and found they were very secure and while there is minor clamping it is well distributed and there were no noticeable detrimental effects. In the next section covering sound quality there are some further notes regarding comfort where I found they started to be a cause of minor discomfort and slightly fatiguing after about 1 hour and 45 minutes. A brief 10 minute break, however allowed me to comfortably continue listening for another hour and a half.

 

SOUND QUALITY.

Prior to conducting any sound testing with the P55’s they were first left to burn in for approximately 40 hours on a pink noise loop. The following sound quality testing was conducted using 320kbps MP3 tracks with the P55’s connected to a Samsung Galaxy Tab S2.

Levellers, Julie – Bundled cable with an inline remote.
Before writing this review I will confess to having read the review written by the site TrustedReviews who claimed that the mids were harsh and the sound was fatiguing a claim I found rather odd given the performance I had just listened to. As such a second and even a third back to back performance was required.

At first I did not notice anything of detraction, the second time I noticed something and the third time confirmed a minor anomaly. There does appear to be a very narrow frequency band towards the upper end of the mid range where both the acoustic guitar and vocal do sound a little sharp.

Nothing during the song plays for long within this range and it is literally just a evident for a millisecond as the vocals / guitar passes through on a handful of occasions and if I am honest had I of not read the claims prior I quite likely would not have noticed. Based on what I heard, however, I would not exactly call the mid range “harsh” and after three loops of the song it most defiantly was not fatiguing.

Other than this odd detraction the performance was enthralling with excellent clarity and separation with the bass (the stringed instrument) being the highlight of the performance.

Levellers, Julie – AudioQuest Tower 3.5mm directional cable.
This cable opened the performance up, although to be honest the bundled cable hardly produces a flat or dull performance, and I actually found with the AudioQuest cable I had to turn the volume down slightly.

This time around the small frequency band producing a sharp response was most defiantly not evident, I listened to the song twice back to back and even went back to the bundled cable to note where it was evident and I was unable to detect it with the AudioQuest tower cable. Clarity and separation which was far from disappointing to start with was notably improved that said the bass (the stringed instrument) at times did sound like it was playing underwater.

Wax Fang, The Majestic – Bundled cable with an inline remote.
Overall the performance was fantastic, even mesmerizing, especially the guitar riffs. There were however two slight faults, firstly the deepest lows clearly suffer from a closed back design, secondly vocals did slightly waver on two occasions again the culprit appears to be a very narrow band towards the upper end of the mid range.

Wax Fang, The Majestic – AudioQuest Tower 3.5mm cable.
At 1:33 when the drums kick in, however, I again had to turn the volume back down slightly compared to using the bundled cable. The clarity and separation most defiantly benefit from using this cable, not that it is disappointing to start with. Sadly, however, I can’t say this performance was actually better there was notable harshness across the mid range and this performance slightly tiring.

Journey, Don’t Stop Believin’ – Bundled cable with an inline remote.
Separation could have been better in the first quarter of the song, but improves further in. Bass response feels and sounds very natural, the electric guitar in places does sound a little coarse but vocals were very much flawless. Overall an excellent, but not quite perfect performance.

Journey, Don’t Stop Believin’ – AudioQuest Tower 3.5mm cable.
Honestly, after three back to back performances I can find zero fault or point of detraction. If I were being picky the electric guitar towards the latter part of the song was slightly harsh, but this is being very picky.

*At this point I had now been wearing the P55’s and listening to music for 1 hour and 45 minutes straight and there is a minor pain on the inside top edge of my left ear and I have a very mild headache specifically behind my eyes. A 10 minute break from the headphones and both had cleared and testing was resumed. *

 

Fugees, Ready or Not – Bundled cable with an inline remote.
Snare highs were slightly over emphasised which did slightly detract throughout, bass response however was easily the best of any song thus far.

Fugees, Ready or Not – AudioQuest Tower 3.5mm cable.
Separation was very slightly improved otherwise I could find little difference in the performance. Overall very impressive, enjoyable performance, but the highs were fatiguing second time around.

Stone Roses, I Wanna Be Adored – Bundled cable with an inline remote.
Deep lows during this intro sounded slightly distorted, the mids and highs were fantastic, but the bass really made it a struggle to appreciate them.

Stone Roses, I Wanna Be Adored – AudioQuest Tower 3.5mm cable.
Fantastic clarity and far more distinct separation, again, I had to dial the volume down a notch with this cable, the bass still came on a little strong, but I was at least this time able to lose myself within the performance and appreciate what the P55’s had to offer.

 

MICROPHONE.

The P55’s do not have a built in microphone and offer no phone functionality unless the cable with an inline remote is used which houses a pinhole microphone on the rear of the control box.

For testing the microphone I opted to connect the P55’s to the Y adaptor and connect the microphone jack only to a laptop. Music was then played through the laptops onboard speakers at 25% volume (distance was 50cm from the mic) to simulate background noise and I then proceeded to make an audio recording using the microphone on the P55’s of me talking.

Playing the recording back on the laptop at a volume of 50% the only sound evident was my voice which was crystal clear but a little quiet.

I then repeated the test, this time with the sound playing on the laptop during the recording at 50% volume. Again the recording was played back at 50% volume and again the only thing heard in the recording was my voice, it was however noted that I sounded even quieter than before.

Repeated testing implies that the louder the background noise level the quieter my voice sounded, although at all times the only thing heard was my voice and the quieter the background noise level the louder my voice sounded.

For those wondering in a blind test, calling my mother first using the inline microphone on the E10C’s and then switching to the inline microphone on the P55’s she did not detect any difference in either the quality, clarity or volume of my voice. Again, I somewhat suspect that the microphone and inline controls found on both are one and the same.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read this review, I hope it has been helpful to you. If you have any questions or comments regarding this review, please post a comment below and I will do my best to answer them.

SoundMAGIC is a registered trademark of Shenzhen SoundMAGIC Technology Development Co. Ltd

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