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Maximo iMetal IM-590 Earphones

post #1 of 89
Thread Starter 
Hi all. I just received a sample of these earphones yesterday courtesy of Andrew H, General Manager of Maximo products and a member of Head-Fi. These are the latest offering from Maximo. Some might be familiar with the IM-390 and IM-490 from some buzz they got last year on Head-fi.

I am running these in at the moment. I'll start with the specs and some pictures.

The Specs:
Drivers: 9mm neodymium
Frequency Response: 12Hz - 22KHz
Sensitivity: >100dB
Maximum Sound Pressure Level: >120dB
Cable: 4' knit cable plus 2' extension, both with 3.5mm plug

The Description
Lightweight isolation earphones with alloy metal housing and enhanced definition audio. Proprietary isolation eartips and high quality knit cables.

--> Acoustically tuned to focus on highs having enhanced definition while maintaining full bass

--> Combination alloy/plastic body for lighter weight. A slim design with good balance, stable fit, and good grip toward the back for easier insertion/removal.

--> Proprietary eartips designed for both function and improved looks.

--> Knit cable resists oils and sweat better and is more durable.

--> Clip that can attach both below the Y joint and also to a loop on the back of the cord slider for more versatility.

--> Two color choices; platinum white or graphite black.

--> 2-year warranty; available May 2009 with an MSRP of $59.99

Some pics:




The zipper case has a mesh pocket and winding spool.



Accessories include: a case, 2' extension cable, cable clip, 2.5mm adapter, airline adapter, 4 pairs eartips.


The tag says to burn in the earphones at moderately high volume for 8-10 hours.



Size and shape(from left to right): RE0 -> AI-M9 -> IM-590 -> Kingmass earphones.

Impressions to follow. There are a couple of reviews on the web already for you to read. iLounge, for example, favors the sound of the IM-590 over the Klipsch S4.
post #2 of 89
Thread Starter 
So I have gotten to know them and burned them in for a bit over 50 hours.

The Package
Typical Maximo if you've had any experience with them. A nice set of accessories for the price. A nice clip, an extension cable, plane and 2.5mm adapters and a decent case round out a nice package. Everything is well constructed and more than just cheap throw in stuff.

Build and Design
The IM-590 are shaped like an ETY ER4 with a bulge in the middle that fits a dynamic driver. They have an alloy body, metal mesh grills, metal plug and Y-joint coverings with silicone strain reliefs. The reliefs coming out of the housing are a thick grey silicone material also. The cord slider is also a thick silicone similar to the plug relief; he silicone slider is pliable so it allows mounting on to the included clip.

The cable is thin and light with a knit cloth covering. It is 4' long. Like other cloth covered cables it tends to kink up a bit. It does resist tangling very well and is excellent with bone conduction(foot step thud). It is a bit more microphonic than others but with the clip and also the ability to wear over the ear most all of it can be aliminated. The trade off is that the cloth will resist oils better which may harden some cables when worn over the ear. The cable is light and quite comfy and the cord slider with clip attachment ability is a very nice touch.

The overall build is solid but still lightweight. The finish is perfect, nothing loose, crooked or uneven. They seemed to be made well enough to justify their 2-year warranty.

The Fit
Fit is subjective very often but there are designs that work. This is one. While somewhat shaped like an ETY they will not penetrate as deep due to the "bulge". The thin design allows for both over-the-ear and straight down wearing styles. The silicone reliefs give good grip and make for easy insertion and removal.

In my experience they have higher isolation than canalphones and similar to more isolating IEM style earphones. Not Ety isolation but more than you might think. This is due to the specially designed tips. They are a single flange with a silicone skirt. This skirt goes over the bulge to essentially make a bi-flange. Nothing touches the ear but the tip since it covers the bulge and behind the bulge becomes thin again.

**I find the fit can fool you. I need to use larger size tips than usual with the 590 to get the correct sound. They may seem to fit well and sound good but, as is mentioned on the tag on the cord, I encourage trying all the tips out. When you find the right size there will be more pronounced bass and treble. If they sound really neutral and a bit dark they might only be sealing well toward the back part and not enough in the front. The tips work well and the wrong tips seal better than other tips might. This leads to a diminished performance that is not as immediately obvious as with other tips.

A well thought out design and a nice improvement from the IM-390 which was difficult with fit for me.

The Sound
Maximo seems to have a balanced house sound. Similar to the IM-390 the IM-590 is well balanced through the whole range. The 590 improves on the lower model with more extension, detail, and resolving power while maintaining a similar tone, image size, separation, and smoothness.

The sound is good on all fronts. A nice amount of detail. Nice extension on both ends. Slightly warmer than neutral. Good clarity and transparency and a soundstage that is larger than average. A slightly smoothed over and non-fatiguing sound that should appeal to many people. The only thing I might want is a bit more crispness in the high end. I still leave them on the flat setting though. In fairness I am used to the RE0's treble. I guess Ety fans/treble heads might add a notch of treble EQ. Overall a good full, complete, coherent sound with nice quality bass, mids, and treble.

In performance it is above the likes of the PL30's/ J2's/ CX300's and below the $100 plus phones like the Phonaks/ Turbines/ IE7's etc. They leans a bit more towards the higher/better models. The IM-590 are another good total package from Maximo that anyone will be happy with.



.
post #3 of 89
I have a listen to iM-590 before, and I must say I like what I heard.
post #4 of 89
Thread Starter 
My impressions are up.

ClieOS, any thoughts on the NE7 and IM-590. Never felt the urge to go the NE-7 route after having the very similar CX95 but the NE7 would be the more well known phone to compare to.
post #5 of 89
It has been a while since I listen to iM-590 so I can't make any accurate comparison, but I think it is safe to say it should be able to compare well with NE-7M's level of performance.
post #6 of 89
I'm very interested in how these compare to the NE7 or CX95/550 as well. Looks like these are less bassy, which wouldn't help most of my electronic music. But there is a lot to like about these IEM's, like the accessoires and build quality.
post #7 of 89
Thread Starter 
I would say that the level of performance is as good as the CX95 although they are different. CX95 has less detail. These would be less bassy than the CX95 and probably the NE7 but they have a bit more bass than the Phonaks(black filter), the RE0, and PL30( similar amount but more impact) to name a few popular ones.

The amounts of bass and treble are trying to please everyone which is good. Not too much for the neutral people and not too far for the basshead to put enough EQ . I can see them working with most amps. The treble would work with the brighter Icon mobile without getting too bright while it still has enough bass for it. Warmer amps would give more bass but not get too boomy.

They seem to respond nicely to amping, at least with a Penguin Caffeine Ultra. Some more separation, a little more sparkle on the treble, more detail and a good punch that does not need the bass boost switched on like Ety's or J2's or RE0/RE2 and other lighter impact phones.
post #8 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by jant71 View Post
I would say that the level of performance is as good as the CX95 although they are different. CX95 has less detail. These would be less bassy than the CX95 and probably the NE7 but they have a bit more bass than the Phonaks(black filter), the RE0, and PL30( similar amount but more impact) to name a few popular ones.

The amounts of bass and treble are trying to please everyone which is good. Not too much for the neutral people and not too far for the basshead to put enough EQ . I can see them working with most amps. The treble would work with the brighter Icon mobile without getting too bright while it still has enough bass for it. Warmer amps would give more bass but not get too boomy.

They seem to respond nicely to amping, at least with a Penguin Caffeine Ultra. Some more separation, a little more sparkle on the treble, more detail and a good punch that does not need the bass boost switched on like Ety's or J2's or RE0/RE2 and other lighter impact phones.
That would mean that the IM-590 is a better overall buy? It does appeal to me. I like the design and having a good overall IEM is very important for me, since I'm not planning on having several sets at the same time.

Only thing left to ask would be: can these be ordered from the Netherlands?
post #9 of 89
Nice Review. Are those the first earphones that actually tell the user to burn them in?
post #10 of 89

As usual, the picture that's missing...

... is that of the IEM being worn.
post #11 of 89
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Belabor View Post
That would mean that the IM-590 is a better overall buy? It does appeal to me. I like the design and having a good overall IEM is very important for me, since I'm not planning on having several sets at the same time.

Only thing left to ask would be: can these be ordered from the Netherlands?
Andrew H can probably answer whether there is/will be international shipping from somewhere. You can PM him.

I would say they are a better buy then the CX95 since the CX95 don't fit so well over the ear and don't have a cord slider that would help with that. I prefer the 590's cable for the slider, the length, less tangling and seemingly sturdier build. Taken that the CX95 are about $60 now and the IM-590 MSRP is $60 so the price is the same. If the selling price will be lower than the MSRP then they would be cheaper and a bit better in my view.

Sinocelt, I just took a quick look and the other reviews don't have wearing pictures either. Can't get to do one right now but a quick look from straight ahead would depending on the particular ears show part or most of the gray strain reliefs are what you would see. The silver body should disappear. People are different and if you have larger canals they can be inserted deep like Etymotics with only cables coming out of the ears. I can do it with certain size tips and have seemingly average canals as far as size goes. The do have the potential to lie down with them on depending again on canal size/shape. So actually there is not much to see anyway, lol.
post #12 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sinocelt
As usual, the picture that's missing... is that of the IEM being worn.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jant71 View Post
Sinocelt, I just took a quick look and the other reviews don't have wearing pictures either.
Yup. Exactly what I said. That's the most important picture (after all, what matters most: how the earphone looks in the palm of your hand, or what it looks like where it belongs, in your ear?) and the one that is generally omitted.

But thank you for your description.
post #13 of 89
@Jant, thanks for your thorough review. Glad to hear especially that you feel the iM-590's eartip design works well (a detail likely to be missed by "professional" reviews).

@Belabor, for availability in Holland, we are working with distributors in Europe to get placement there soon

@Sinocelt, for a photo of the product being worn, there is one on Cnet. However, I think jant is correct in that for most users, you'll mainly see the rubber "tail" (strain relief) and of course the cable. How much silver metal is exposed will depend on the individual's ears.

Andrew H
post #14 of 89
Thread Starter 
Yeah, there are pictures and descriptions but they aren't much help that I have found. I can look at the pic of the guy wearing SF 5's straight down but when I got them no way that was working for me. Or how Ety's will stick out which was not the case for me. In ear pics do not tell enough of the story as ears are so different and different tips change fit also. For a real test you can try something, maybe a finger or pen and cover with a tissue or something, mark where the object starts to protrude and measure how much finger or whatever object didn't protrude. ~12mm is the length to the angle where the cable exits and prevents further insertion. I can insert them to the bend myself but that might not be the case for someone else. The Cnet pic and what they look like in my ear are way different!

As for the eartip design, I read the Crunchgear review and they say that the eartips are similar to the ones you get with just about every other earphones of the type. They are proprietary and I have never had any like them before. At least they said that the larger ones give the better sound which is correct.
post #15 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew H View Post
@Sinocelt, for a photo of the product being worn, there is one on Cnet. However, I think jant is correct in that for most users, you'll mainly see the rubber "tail" (strain relief) and of course the cable. How much silver metal is exposed will depend on the individual's ears.
Thanks! The CNET photo shows more than the "tail" protruding, but it's pretty visible that the earphone hasn't been inserted as deeply as it could be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jant71 View Post
For a real test you can try something, maybe a finger or pen and cover with a tissue or something, mark where the object starts to protrude and measure how much finger or whatever object didn't protrude. ~12mm is the length to the angle where the cable exits and prevents further insertion.
Thanks! I tried with a Q-tip and got 18 mm (as far as I could make a mark with a pen) and 24 mm (closer to the outer edge of my ear canal, where the cable would stop the insertion). Promising... even though Q-tips are thinner than any IEM ever made.

You mentioned the Etys: how much do the IM-590 isolate, in comparison?
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