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[REVIEW] Maximo iM-590 *56K!!!*

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 


Right about the end of last year, Andrew @ Maximo Product contacted me asking if I would like to have a listen to the demo unit of their upcoming flagship IEM and perhaps give some opinions, naturally I agreed. To cut things short, it was one of those IEM I really like in first listening but couldn't tell anyone due to confidential agreement. That IEM was later announced at CES2009 as iM-590. Since I had reviewed iM-590's little brother, the iM-390, right about the same time, I have high expectation for iM590's debut. Personally, I think iM590 is taking Maximo to a higher level as a headphone manufacturer, separating them (SQ wise) from only offering consumer grade products to a more serious audiophile market - that kind of remind me a comment I made 6 months ago on iM390's review which still holds true today: "Obviously Maximo have good confidence in their IEM and are willing to prove themselves to be more than just-another-accessories-maker."

That said, let get into the real topic.



[Specifications]
• Earphone drivers: 9mm neodymium
• Frequency response: 12Hz-22KHz
• Sensitivity (1KHz, 0.1V): >100dB
• Maximum SPL output: >120dB
• Impedance: 17ohm (estimated)

Included:
• 4 sizes of proprietary eartips (S, M, L, XL)
• 2.5mm stereo plug adapter
• Airline dual-plug adapter
• 2-ft extension cable
• Shirt clip
• Carrying case
• User guide
• 2 year warranty



Packaging, Accessories and Build Quality
The packaging on iM-590 is a genuine improvement over the old iM-390 blister pack. Nothing is sealed hard so there is no need to cut around. Definitely one of the best packaged sub$100 IEM in the market. Needless to say, you will find pretty much all the goodies in front of your eyes as soon as you opened the front cover. The only thing missing is the extra large eartips which hide inside the hard case. AsI had commented before (on iM-390's review), the included case is one of the best quality hard case included with any IEM.



The eartips themselves are Maximo's proprietary design - kind of like fusing the two 'skirts' of a bi-flanges into one continuous piece and shortening the inner tubing at the same time. This new 'fused' flange places the transducer closer to the ear while using part of the earpiece housing as the flange's support to form a second seal, giving a tighter fit without resolving to a significantly deeper insertion (like normal bi- / tri-flanges). Overall I find the design to be comfortable. One of the plus side is the short nozzle will still take UE style aftermarket silicone eartips that has a tigher inner tubing (Sony hybrid for an example), but you can't use Comply T400 or loosely fitted eartips on it anymore. The nozzle is simply too shallow to have the proper grip needed for those eartips.



One extra thing that worths mentioning is the design of the cable slider + shirt clip combo. For your choice, you get to use them normally or combine them together.



Overalll, the build quality is quite good and consistent with their previous products. The cable is the fabric sleeved 'knit' type - extra soft and generally less microphonics but sometime they will tangle if you didn't store it correctly. All of the plastic pieces (Y-splitter, strain reliefs) are actually the same kind silicone that made up the eartips. I'll think a more conventional hard rubber type could provide better contrast and give a classier look but it doesn't really matter function wise. The white version which I review is 'fully' white - for those who are a bit scare of dust and dirt, you might want to get the black version instead.

Sound Quality
I burnt iM-590 in for 50 hrs but didn't really notice any significant change in sound quality. Like iM-390, the impedance is not listed on the official spec but I did a quick measurement and it turns out to be about 17ohm, which means iM-590 is quite easy-to-drive and no need for amping. Isolation is by far the biggest weakness of iM-590. The fused tips themselves are not quite as isolating as normal single flange which means isolation is slightly worst than single flange shallow inserted IEM like the CX300 or EP-630. There is also a bit of wind noise in windy condition since there is a vent underneath the earpiece, but not bad enough to consider as a turn down. Though still decent for daily use, you might need to invest in a pair of Sony hybrid eartips (EPEX10A) for noisy environment, granted that it will never be anywhere close to as isolated as a pair of Etymotic.

iM-590 is on the analytical side but still quite balanced overall. Bass is not particularly strong and a bit roll off at the most bottom end (40Hz and below) but it has good attack, control and presence overall. Upper mid / lower treble is a bit more forward, Etymotic-like but not as piercing. Pretty good on vocal most of the time but there is a tiny bit of harshness on brighter recording. Treble is well presented and quite detail but not the best I have heard. Soundstage is above average, airy and specious especially in term of depth. In sum, iM590 is a well balanced, detail sounding IEM.



Conclusion
Though not the best sub$100 IEM I have heard, iM-590's overall sound quality is well above its asking price of US$60. Coupled with the fact that it comes with a wide range of accessories and a good 2 yrs warranty, it is hard to not consider iM590 as one of the best sub$100 IEM package around.

You can read the quick sum up here.

*Here is a simple mod to improve isolation: Read this.
post #2 of 30
Wow, i expect USD80 or more for these kind of packaging/finishing. Nice review bro.

No black version?
post #3 of 30
those look very nice, nice review too

still never understand why things are made in white though, just no.
post #4 of 30
Thread Starter 
I only got the white version for the review. The black version is more gray-ish translucent black (beside the cable) than actual through-and-through black on the strain relief and Y-splitter.
post #5 of 30
Great review! sound's like a great pair for the buck...

"Though not the best sub$100 IEM I have heard"
Which one is the best?
post #6 of 30
I just ordered these (in white) and I'm just hoping my fiio e5 with the bass boost on gives the low end some extra substance... otherwise I'm excited to hear how good the instrument separation is and the detail!
post #7 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiranV View Post
Great review! sound's like a great pair for the buck...

"Though not the best sub$100 IEM I have heard"
Which one is the best?
For US$100 or less, I like Crossroads Woody 2 the best, but it is not really a good on-the-move IEM and wasn't designed to be used as such..
post #8 of 30
Nice work ClieOS! I never thought of it since I have the black model but you think that white cable is gonna end up dirty like an old shoe lace?

I agree that only the treble lacks a tiny bit and only compared to more expensive phones. Those who bought one will be quite happy.
post #9 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by jant71 View Post
I never thought of it since I have the black model but you think that white cable is gonna end up dirty like an old shoe lace?
I'm a little biased of course, so take it with a grain of salt. But I've been using a white one in the gym pretty regularly (a couple miles on the treadmill, 2.5x /wk) for at least a few months. And it (sorry, can't think of how to put this without grossing everyone out) has been exposed to plenty of sweat. Setup is Sansa Clip on the waistband, cable run under the t-shirt, with the slider clipped to the t-shirt's collar. Then you can go pretty high-impact. (You may hear your feet banging a little due to your ears being sealed, but the cable becomes pretty unnoticeable.)

However, we have not sent one to Mike Rowe yet, for the "Dirty Jobs" test. (But maybe giving one to my 8-yo would be about the same thing?)
post #10 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClieOS View Post
One of the plus side is the short nozzle will still take UE style aftermarket silicone eartips that has a tigher inner tubing (Sony hybrid for an example), but you can't use Comply T400 or loosely fitted eartips on it anymore. The nozzle is simply too shallow to have the proper grip needed for those eartips.
Tai, do you have the Comply T200 to try? The iM-590 has a slightly smaller nozzle diameter (as well as shorter length, as you mentioned), so the T400 definitely is too big. The T200 is the right size. (Although my personal preference with Comply tips is to install them "backwards", so that the plastic sound tube extends all the way out. Otherwise, any sound exposed to the foam seems to attenuate the treble a little.)
post #11 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jant71 View Post
Nice work ClieOS! I never thought of it since I have the black model but you think that white cable is gonna end up dirty like an old shoe lace?
Not as bas as shoelace but probably not going to be pure wire as well. My q-JAYS certainly isn't as white as it used to be despite of my caring. Not much you can do to oxidization

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew H View Post
Tai, do you have the Comply T200 to try? The iM-590 has a slightly smaller nozzle diameter (as well as shorter length, as you mentioned), so the T400 definitely is too big. The T200 is the right size. (Although my personal preference with Comply tips is to install them "backwards", so that the plastic sound tube extends all the way out. Otherwise, any sound exposed to the foam seems to attenuate the treble a little.)
No, I don't have any T200 around to try, but I can always mod a pair of Shure olive to fit if I want to - maybe I will try that out later.
post #12 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClieOS View Post
For US$100 or less, I like Crossroads Woody 2 the best, but it is not really a good on-the-move IEM and wasn't designed to be used as such..
BTW does anyone know if we can get the crossroads woody in the US? I checked the Jaben store and didn't see anything.
post #13 of 30
I'd buy it just for that included case to use with my other IEMs lol
or do they sell it seperately?
post #14 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by casper View Post
BTW does anyone know if we can get the crossroads woody in the US? I checked the Jaben store and didn't see anything.
You'll have to call them to order it.
post #15 of 30
I noticed on your mega review thread that these compare favourably to the much praised NE-7M.
What are the significant differences in your opinion, ClieOS?
Is this a direct contender for the best ~$50 IEM (as the NE-7M holds it atm)?
I'm tlaking usual new retail price.
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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › [REVIEW] Maximo iM-590 *56K!!!*