High-quality audio performance with rich, deep bass and strong clarity in the highs. Ships with several eartip options.
No inline remote control. Nondescript design.
- Bottom Line
The Periodic Audio Mg is a well-balanced, no-frills earphone pair that delivers powerful deep bass and excellent clarity in the higher frequencies.
By Tim Gideon
Periodic Audio made its debut with three of pairs in-canal earphones, all named after the periodic table abbreviations for the element used in their transducers. The $99 entry-level Mg, therefore, has a transducer made from a high magnesium-content alloy. (The other two models, Ti and Be, use pure titanium and beryllium, and cost significantly more.) While some listeners will miss the inline remote control that has become more or less ubiquitous in this price range, the Mg succeeds at delivering excellent audio in a comfortable, secure-fitting design.
//Compare Similar Products
If Periodic Audio's goal is minimalism, the Mg has that down. The cable is thin, there's no inline remote control, and the earpieces themselves are fairly nondescript. A metallic cap on the end of each earpiece is emblazoned with the company's logo, and that's about it for design flourishes.
However, Periodic Audio doesn't go light on the accessories, which is nice to see. There are three pairs of single-flange silicone eartips, three pairs of double-flange tips, and three pairs of memory foam eartips—all in S, M, and L sizes to ensure you'll find a fit that's secure and comfortable. The earphones also ship with an airplane jack adapter, a 0.25-inch headphone jack adapter, and a gold-colored metallic tin for storage.
The earpieces are demarcated left and right in a very subtle manner: one grille (inside the eartip) is gray, one is black. The black grille represents the left earpiece. It feels like somewhere in the design process, Periodic Audio forgot to label the earpieces and came up with this solution, which would make more sense if it were protecting the integrity of a stunning visual design—but as we've mentioned, there isn't much going on here.
On tracks with intense sub-bass content, like The Knife's "Silent Shout," the Periodic Mg delivers powerful low frequency response. At absolute maximum volume (using an iPhone 6s as the sound source), the earphones flirt with distortion, but this is an unsafe listening level, and even dialing the volume back one notch (still an unwise listening level) alleviates any real hint of distortion. At loud, but more reasonable, volume levels, the bass response is robust, and well matched in the highs.
Real Life. Real News. Real Voices
Help us tell more of the stories that matterBecome a founding member
Bill Callahan's "Drover," a track without much deep bass in the mix, gives us a better idea of the Mg's overall sound signature. The drums on this track can sound overly thunderous through heavily boosted earphones, but the Mg handles them wonderfully—the drums have a heaviness and depth to them that is pleasant, while Callahan's baritone vocals are delivered with an ideal low-mid richness. The high-mid and high frequency presence adds some pleasant treble edge to Callahan's vocals, and allows the guitar's strumming to shine, as well as the higher-range percussive hits. The Mg provides a solid balance between lows and highs—no particular part of the frequency range seems favored here.
On Jay-Z and Kanye West's "No Church in the Wild," the kick drum loop gets an ideal high-mid presence, allowing its attack to remain sharp and slice through the many layers of the mix. The sub-bass synth hits that punctuate the beat are delivered with plenty of deep low frequency push. The high frequencies on this track also seem to be boosted and sculpted slightly—we hear more of the vinyl crackle that is typically relegated to the background than usual, while the vocals have a very crisp, upfront presence, with just the slightest extra hint of sibilance. It's a bright, rich, powerful sound—perhaps not completely transparent, but certainly well balanced.
Orchestral tracks, like the opening scene in John Adams' The Gospel According to the Other Mary, sound excellent. The lower register instrumentation gets an ideal level of sculpting and boosting, while the crisp presence of the higher register brass, strings, and vocals owns the spotlight. This is a bright sound, for sure, but never brittle—when there's low frequency presence in the mix, it's well represented.
In our current era of bass-forward earphones, the Periodic Audio Mg is a fine example of how to have a somewhat bass-forward sound signature without sacrificing balance or clarity in the highs. If there's deep bass in the mix, you hear it, and it sounds powerful, but the lows don't own the mix—the higher frequencies play just as strong of a role, and no part of the frequency range comes off as overly sculpted.
The Mg is a strong debut for Periodic Audio. But this is a popular price range, and there are many excellent alternatives that offer more in the way of features or audio quality. If you're looking for wired in-ear audio, but want the mobile inline remote controls, consider the pricier Bowers & Wilkins C5 Series 2. If $100 is the top of your budget, the 1More Triple Driver In-Ear Headphones is your best bet. And if you don't mind the lack of remote, we're also fans of the RHA CL750. At $100, the Mg represents a solid value—it offers a secure fit and excellent audio, but the above-mentioned options, particularly the 1More Triple Driver, are slightly more compelling.
By Tim Gideon Contributing Editor, Audio
Contributing Editor Tim Gideon has been writing for PCMag since 2006. He specializes in reviewing audio products, and is obsessed with headphones, speakers, and recording gear. More »
More Stories by Tim
- Blue Satellite
The Blue Satellite headphones delivers an excellent Bluetooth audio experience and solid noise cance… More »
- Phiaton BT 100 NC
The Phiaton BT 100 NC earphones check off a lot of boxes—wireless, noise canceling, water resistant,… More »
- B&O Play Beoplay P2
Though pricey for its size, the B&O Play Beoplay P2 delivers a strong, rich Bluetooth audio experien… More »
Subscribe to the newsletter news
We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe