SoundMAGIC P23BT Review: Casual Indulgence

  • Lightweight
  • Gesture controls
  • NFC connection
  • Easily replaceable pads
  • Long battery life
  • Supports aptX HD

  • Mids sound slightly muffled
  • Treble lacks extension

SoundMAGIC has been in the audio business for more than a decade now. The company was founded in 2005, and they were made famous by their bullet type IEMs. It was only recently that they ventured into headphones and true wireless IEMs. The P23BT is SoundMAGIC's follow up to their previously released P22BT. The P23BT currently retails for 55 USD, and was provided to me at a discounted price by SoundMAGIC in exchange for this review.

Driver unit: 40 mm dynamic
Impedance: 32 ohms
Bluetooth version: 5.0
Continuous playback: up to 60 hours
Standby time: 50 days
Weight: 156 grams

Poco X3 paired with FiiO KA3, iBasso DC03, Shanling UA1, Tempotec Sonata E35 and Zishan U1

Test tracks:
Africano - Earth Wind and Fire
Dark Necessities - Red Hot Chili Peppers
Gurenge - Lisa
The Chain - Fleetwood Mac
Monsters - All Time Low
Ours - Taylor Swift
Stay - Mayday Parade
Snuff - Slipknot
Yesterday Once More - Carpenters
So Slow - Freestyle
Aurora Sunrise - Franco
Attention - Pentatonix
Blue Bird - Ikimono-gakari
You're Still The One - Shania Twain
Anyone Who Knows What Love Is(Will Understand) - Irma Thomas
Salamin - Slapshock
AOV - Slipknot
Hey Jude - The Beatles
The Way You Make Me Feel - Michael Jackson
...and a lot more.

Unboxing and Accessories:
The P23BT comes in a large white box that opens at the top. Removing the thin outer packaging will reveal a thick brown cardboard box. On top of everything there is the user manual. Below it is the soft carrying case with a thin sleeve that contains the USB C charging cable, a splitter for computers with split audio and microphone jacks, and the 2.5 mm to 3.5 mm auxiliary cable with a flexible microphone. And finally, the headphones folded and inserted in a molded plastic sheet.
The P23BT has an all plastic build, with the exception of the metal inside the headband for its length adjustment. The headband has a silicone cushion at the top portion. The pads are made of synthetic leather with a very soft foam inside. On the left earcup, there is the 2.5 mm jack for the auxiliary input, and next to is the power button that also acts as a multifunction button. At the top, there is the female USB C port for charging with a rubber dust cap. SoundMAGIC also decided to put the gesture controls on the left side only. You can double tap to play and pause, swipe up or down to adjust volume, and swipe left or right to go to the previous or next track respectively. The right earcup has the NFC logo, which means you can tap your phone on this side to connect instantly.
Now let's get to the sound.

The lows have a fairly balanced attack. The subbass has good depth but it can be felt that some very low frequencies are missing in action in bass centered tracks. The decay is somewhat adequate and leans partially to the quick side. Midbass has an average thickness and presented harmoniously with the subbass.

Overall, the P23BT has surprisingly well-controlled lows. Having heard other SoundMAGIC products in the past, they surely focus on the low end most of the times, but they seem to have gone a different route here.

The mids are recessed with an added touch of warmth. This makes the male vocals more forward and highlighted more than the female vocals. In conjunction to the bump in the lower mids, the upper mids are toned down a bit, causing the female vocals and instruments in this section to sound slightly muffled or veiled.

Overall, the mids of the P23BT can feel slightly bland especially on vocal centered tracks. But, playing around with the equalizer, and giving the 3-8 kHz section some two to three notches significantly improves the mids.

The highs have a laid back reproduction. Treble reach is slightly below average and dissipates rather quick. The focus of the highs is more on the lower treble, causing instruments in this section to have a bit of a soft attack.

Overall, the highs of the P23BT slightly lacks the reach and the decay to be able to output minor details in every track and to give instruments a solid blow. Although this can be good for treble sensitive people, because this means that fatigue will never be an issue for the P23BT.

Soundstage and Imaging:
The stage of the P23BT has a slightly below average expansion. The height noticeably expands a lot more than the height. Imaging is good; has sufficient accuracy and clarity. Same thing can be said with the instrument separation and layering, with both having adequate magnitudes. There are occasional hints of congestion in busy tracks especially when instruments like cymbals gets shrouded.

The SoundMAGIC P23BT is an affordable pair of wireless headphones that is packed with great set of features and accessories, and I do see it to be one of the better options in the price range, considering most other options sound extremely bassy or V-shaped. While it seems that the build quality is not the best you can get for the asking price of these, it is nice to see SoundMAGIC drastically improving especially in the performance of the lows.

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