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AKG K3003 Reviews

Positive Reviews


Phenomenal sound. Makes other good IEMs sound low-fi. My reference IEM.


Pros: Expansive soundstage, extremely articulate and detailed, musical, lightweight and non-obstrusive

Cons: Cables not detacheable, bass may be lacking for some

I must admit, the AKG K3003 was not something that I ever wanted to purchase when they first came out.  At $1,600 CAD ($1,200 USD), they were probably the most expensive IEMs available at the time.    In a world where you could buy custom IEMs for less money and have more drivers, I (like many others) dismissed these initially.  A pair of JH Audio JH13 was much more appealing to me at the time, although I had never bought one (more on that later).   Enter 2015, when the price of the K3003 could be found for about half of MSRP.  The K3003 thread here on Head-fi, combined with the more accessible MSRP had really gotten my attention, and so I finally bought...
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At 76% off MSRP, good value


Pros: transparency, portability

Cons: in-line remote is a delicate flower, MSRP, isolation, clinical

Aperatif:  Let's get this out of the way first. The MSRP is a joke. $1299? Ha! Thankfully, on the secondhand market, prices have plummeted below $500, and I got mine on ebay (less warranty, less case, less the two other "sound filters"—I'm not sure which I got, but I think it's 'reference') for $312 including $5 shipping. AKG seems to have admitted this, putting them on permanent sale for $999, and amazon has them for a little over $700.   At $300 secondhand, they're about what my QC25 cost, and although they lack the noise attenuation that ANC brings, I am amid my own internal crisis about whether I like ANC and whether to drop the cash for the PXC 550 or, more...
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Negative Reviews


AKG 3003 Serious FAIL (considering price)


Pros: It's OK

Cons: Poor value

    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY   1.      Not coherent throughout the audio band: a. Overall neutral, but but but b. What’s up with the peaks in the upper mids/lower treble?* c. Little bit bloated in the bass d. Bass not keeping up with the mids/treble 2.      Little bullet design = comfort/fit that blows monkey chucks 3.      Mid-fi resolution 4.      Aren't IEMs supposed to isolate?   Significant sonic issues indicated in red.     * Pop and rock do not sound good. However your results may be better with classical or music with acoustic instruments.

An Enjoyable, But Flawed Earphone Not Worth The Price


Pros: Great Tuning--These Are Fun To Listen To, Good Detail In the Midrange And Treble

Cons: Incoherency Between The Drivers Is Noticeable, Harsh treble with best detailed filter, detail loss with others, High price, Reliability is a concern

Short Review: All observations made with the high pass filters. Naturally I listened with each of the three filters, but the high pass was my preference.   Pros: I really liked the tuning of these. With the K3003, you get an approximation of a neutral sound in terms of a good balance between treble, midrange and bass and the filter system gives you a means of adjusting this balance (at a cost of slightly loss of detail with the non-reference filters). What's great is that the sound is still very fun. I'm not sure I can put my finger on exactly why, but these were great to listen to. I think the combination of the brightness of the treble with the full bass give the fun of a...
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More Reviews


Truly excellent; a laser etched, yet involving, insight into the music


Pros: Real reference transducers. Very rewarding and involving. Completely addictive and immersive. Clarity, separation, dynamics and response all excellent

Cons: Nothing worth mentioning

(edited note - for some reason I am giving these 10/10 for Audio Quality, but they are appearing as one notch less. Not sure why!)   Introduction   To begin, would like to explain a little about my self and what makes me "tick" as regards audio equipment.   First off, I am no head-fier. I have enjoyed audio reproduction for the last 30 years or so, and specifically enjoy an out-of-the-box soundstage experience with conventional loudspeakers; kit which just disappears and leaves the music behind.   I purchase audio equipment for the sole purpose of listening to music, music, music. That's all, not for looks, not for caché or impression, or for boom and tizz....
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Excellent reference IEM-similar signature to HD800


Pros: very natural- if you like HD800 then this is it as IEM

Cons: To get the best out you need to pair with better

I had K3003i with a custom cable. I bough it used and the cable had been replaced and the seller assured not sound different to original   I loved it. I used it with Fiio X3 2nd Gen. I liked the sound- very flat, great mids, highs and tight base. When compared to AKG K812 with Mojo I could not hear much difference. I thought K3003 was flatter sounding and tad more clearer that K812.    When I connected K3003i to Mojo only I noted what I was missing with Fiio X3. It is much better overall with Mojo direct   I sold my K3003 (which I regret now) and the later bought HD800. My first listen reminded me one thing. How similar K3003 and HD800. Both have no body- dead...
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Pros: Beautifully crafted, very comfortable, clean sound, different filters to choose from

Cons: Piercing treble, lack of warmth, very overpriced

These shiny, luxurious little in-ear monitors that come in a very exclusive box sure feel very expensive in terms of look and feel. They shells attach behind your earlobes and rest comfortably there. This is the most comfortable in-ear headphone I've worn.    They can be driven from an iPhone as well as an amp, sound will not be any different.    The sound of these didn't impress. They have that clean, clinical sound yet lack the clarity to sit at this price range. The midrange is fairly neutral, but also quite flat sounding. The treble extends very high but is a bit piercing. Fatiguing to listen to for extended periods of time.  The bass can be...
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About as good as it gets for universal IEM's



The AKG K-3003 is at least close to a landmark Universal IEM, in my view. Pricey, yes, but one of the first Universals to aspire to the heights that the best of the Custon IEM's aspire to. They are well built (though some may not like the idea of non-detachable cables) and attractive enough. But the real issue is, of course, the sound, so let's get right to it.   The first thing that hit me about the AKG's is that they invite comparison to full size phones in certain ways more that other IEM's. The combination of excellent coherency top to bottom, excellent but not hyped detail and resolution, low distortion, good dynamics and relative neutrality show up even good...
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Very impressive IEM


Pros: Beautifully crafted, natural signature, wide soundstage, balanced sound

Cons: cable not detachable

This is the best IEM among all my gears! The sound is balanced and natural. A big CON is about its undetachable cable... I think switching to balanced output will make it sound even better, but simply cannot try it unless cutting the cable, which will be a hard choice :(

Sound from Heaven.


Pros: Beautifully crafted; outstanding isolation and comfort; easy to drive; natural signature.

Cons: cable are not detachable.

AKG K3003 is an important milestone in the development of IEM. It’s the first universal fit IEM that successfully combines dynamic driver and balance armature technology together. After owning them for 3 years, K3003 never fail to move me.   K3003 is hand crafted in Vienna with the highest standard of precision engineering. Its main component is made out of one single piece of stainless steel, this ensure an outstanding durability of the earphone. It terminate in an 3.5mm mini jack with rose gold plating. The build quality of K3003 is a 10/10.   Since K3003 is a combination of two different audio technology, I want to talk about each one of them briefly.   First...
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One Great sound


Pros: Overall sound, clarity, Very wide stage, fun yet balanced sound .

Cons: price, none detachable cable, cable above Y split, carrying case is bit small to fit it in, isolation is not as good as other IEM


Great IEM


Pros: natural tune, full of detail, beautiful crafted

Cons: a little overprice

Treble: a little bit piercing, especially on IPC. However, if connet this with the Hifiman player like HM-602, HM-603 or HM-801, the treble would be bright but not piercing.   Mid: clean and natural. Some might say it's lack of warmth, but with a warmth sound music player, the mid will be warm and full of emotion.   Bass: when I bought this, I thought this IEM lack of bass. After run for longer than 700 hours. It has much better perfomance on bass, especially the depth of the bass.   Soundstage: the only word to discribe the soundstage of this IEM is UNBELIEVEABLE. I just can't imaging an IEM can have this range of soundstage.    Imaging:...
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The best universal IEM I have heard so far.


Pros: overall sound quality, transparency, imaging, sound stage

Cons: price, sound quality is critical to your gear

Gears used: HiSoundAudio Studio V, iRiver AK100   Tracks used: SoundProLab Absolute Sampler Album                     Kamikazee's Maharot                     Mary Stallings, Sunny                     All in Lossless CD Quality 44khz/16bit   Value: I think this is a great value for an IEM, to have this kind of sound quality yet very portable to carry around is just amazing. If you...
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Expensive Fun


Pros: Dynamics, low volume listening, timbre

Cons: price, cable above the Y split, price

AKG K3003       Before jumping into the sound, I want to make a few comments on build and accessories, which I feel are important to discuss, due to how they may affect the sound and/or durability of the product.   Accessories include 3 pair of stock single flange tips that are very comfortable and well made with a good combination of thickness and flexibility.  My only issue with them is that I require a bit deeper insertion due to the shape of the housings and tip length; I can’t quite reach optimal positioning.  I had some extra Meelec triple flange (trips) tips lying around and these solved the fit issue.  Achieving optimum fit smoothed the...
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