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AKG K3003 High End 3 Way System Headphone - Page 108

post #1606 of 3717

The low treble spike won't get better, no matter the source or 'burn-in' hours. They have it and we have to live with it. I simply use a touch of eq and love the result. Regarding the bass, I also find them a bit 'light' especially in the first octave, that's why I like to add a low shelf on the aforementioned eq, to compensate for that. 

 

Lately I find myself using the 'HF boost' filter in conjunction with the Comply tips and I think I like this combo more than the 'Reference' filter + stock tips.

post #1607 of 3717
Quote:
Originally Posted by tumburu View Post

The low treble spike won't get better, no matter the source or 'burn-in' hours. They have it and we have to live with it. I simply use a touch of eq and love the result. Regarding the bass, I also find them a bit 'light' especially in the first octave, that's why I like to add a low shelf on the aforementioned eq, to compensate for that. 

Lately I find myself using the 'HF boost' filter in conjunction with the Comply tips and I think I like this combo more than the 'Reference' filter + stock tips.

How about taming the low treble spike by adjusting fit? I know with the DBA-02, also a TWFK design, insertion depth and angle has great effect on the position and strength of its treble peak. For me it's normally around 8k or so on the DBA, but a deep secure fit with triflanges brings the peak down to about 5k.
post #1608 of 3717
Quote:
Originally Posted by azureaura View Post

I'm cranking the volume a bit, these now are gaining a nice taut low end. Granted the bass is not like a TH-900 or a sony MDR-7520. I hope these scale well with source, as the timbre is superb. Unfortunately there is a low treble spike, which other listeners have noted which I hope reduces with burn in.

They must be very source dependant, as straight out of the iphone 5, they sound shrill. Definitely a need for a dac like the microstreamer. Who wrote they sound best straight out of a cell phone or CD player?

Check out the sibilance on "the sweetest girl" by scritti politti, on gartside's voice.

k3003 doesn't have the th900's bass emphasis. doubt that many other cans would but it goes just as deep and is better defined imo. listen to the k3003 out of the iPhone 5 and it sounds just fine to me.
post #1609 of 3717
Quote:
Originally Posted by gnarlsagan View Post


How about taming the low treble spike by adjusting fit? I know with the DBA-02, also a TWFK design, insertion depth and angle has great effect on the position and strength of its treble peak. For me it's normally around 8k or so on the DBA, but a deep secure fit with triflanges brings the peak down to about 5k.

 

Because of their design you can't have a deep insertion with the K3003.

post #1610 of 3717
Meelec tri-flanges sound very nice on the k3k. The deeper insertion pushes the treble peaks further up the FR, so it sounds a little tamer. It's not as comfortable through and I prefer the more sparkly highs with stock tips.
post #1611 of 3717

I have got a good seal with the small tips. I put the shrillness down to the bad seal, and they sound A+ with the iphone 5. I will now get a spare set of tips from AKG, and get some christmas tree tips from etymotic? Super iem, and the treble spike is settling down.

 

I will experiment with the tri flanges.

post #1612 of 3717
Etymotic trips will not fit. You'll need a larger bore tip. Check meelec.com and the trips for the a161p model.
post #1613 of 3717

I wear them over the ear, due to the hump in the housing digging into my ear. Is this a problem ocurring with others?

post #1614 of 3717
Quote:
Originally Posted by shotgunshane View Post

Meelec tri-flanges sound very nice on the k3k. The deeper insertion pushes the treble peaks further up the FR, so it sounds a little tamer. It's not as comfortable through and I prefer the more sparkly highs with stock tips.

lurv the sparkly highs. out of all the cans i've tried the k3003 gets closest to my perfect sound signature.
post #1615 of 3717
Quote:
Originally Posted by azureaura View Post
 

I wear them over the ear, due to the hump in the housing digging into my ear. Is this a problem ocurring with others?

yep, same here. The only bad thing about over the ear is it (the remote/speaker) gets caught on my 5 o'clock shadow:mad:

post #1616 of 3717

As promised...

 

SONY MH1 vs. AKG K3003

 

Intro

I've been waiting a long time do this review, and many thanks go out to Mr. Outta Sync for his tenacity in sticking with this mini-tour. It's had it's share of snags, including a rather lengthy RMA, but he stayed true to his word and got the alleged King of Incoherence out to our eager ears. 

 

These are two very capable iems. As noted in a previous review, I find the MH1 to offer very literal top-tier sound. I've placed it up with the UERM, ER4S, IE800, etc. and at the still available price of about $20. It really is unbelievable. So here I sit with a new contender, the over $1200 AKG K3003

 

Build

Let's just get this out the way: the cable on the MH1 sucks. It's been said 1000 times, so no need to rehash the details here. It sucks plain and simple. In contrast, the K3003 sports a beautiful cloth cable. It's light and doesn't tangle easily, while its pliability allows for an easy and comfortable over-the-ear fit. It's basically the complete opposite of the MH1, so if usability is your number one priority, the MH1 is not your iem. But if you put sound above all other criteria, then read on...

 

Bass

Quite simply, the K3003 beats the MH1 in the bass department (imo and ymmv of course). The K3003 renders bass lines with less emphasis and tighter detail, while more clearly delineating the start and stop of each bass note. This is compared to a stock MH1 with the bass vents covered to reduce bass by 1-2dB. The relatively more boomy bass of the MH1 likely has something to the do with a distortion figure approaching 1% towards 20Hz. Regarding emphasis, I'd put the K3003 about 3dB below the MH1 at 50Hz. 

 

The K3003 flaunted its bass superiority on every track I tested it with, making for a very consistent showing. Mid-bass bleed is very minimal, less than or at least very close to the MH1. The K3003 is not a particularly warm sounding iem, not only because of its bass characteristics. It has a few things going on the mids and treble affecting it's overall tonality.

 

Mids

Despite having some pretty glorious bass, the K3003 loses to the MH1's flawless mids. Let me explain. I haven't listened to the seriously MH1 for quite some time prior to this review. That duty has fallen on the giant shoulders of my ER4S, which has been getting 99.9% of my listening time for a few months now. The mids on that iem are imo the most accurate available on any iem, especially with the red filters. So upon switching back to the MH1 last night, it was natural to expect a little compromise. Not so. The mids on the MH1 are every bit as natural and clear as they are on the ER4S, with the slightest hint of warmth from the emphasized bass. A minor MH1 bass reduction eq produces perfectly linear mids to my ears.

 

Vocals on the K3003 are a bit strident, and switching back to the MH1 brings a welcome smoothness to vocals, especially for females and voices that tend toward sibilance. AKG's 6k bump is the likely culprit here, accentuating certain sibilance oriented parts of speech, while it's 3k dip takes away some body and emphasis in songs like Damien Rice's Silent Night live from the Union Chapel. Lisa Hannigan's voice sounds just plain colder and more clinical on the AKG. And vocalists like Jeff Buckley and Freddie Mercury who struggle with sibilance affliction sound smoother and less strident on the MH1. The K3003's less linear mids aren't always a problem, but they often are, especially in comparison to something as flat and smooth as the MH1 and ER4S, and especially when the mids in question belong to an iem with a $1279 price tag. 

 

Treble

The same issue that affects the mids of the K3003 also affects its treble, namely peaks around 6k and 9k. This can add a bit of excitement and a perception of increased detail, but sometimes at the expense of accuracy. Cymbals can tend towards splashiness, being just a bit over emphasized for my taste, although this varies greatly from track to track. I should add that this is an overall minor complaint, as the peaks are minimal, especially compared to treble peaks on quite a few top tier iems. It's only the comparison to the relatively peak-free treble of the MH1 that makes the K3003's treble emphasis so obvious. However, the differences here will very much play to individual preferences imo. Both iems convincingly portray high frequency sounds like cymbals and violins to my ears, just the MH1 slightly more so in most instances due to its smoothness and more neutral presentation of all the frequencies of those instruments. The small AKG peaks add just a little more coldness to those sounds, and put the AKG squarely behind the MH1 in the treble department imo. 

 

Other observations and wrap-up

The differences in sonic character described above add up to an overall difference in presentation between these iems. The K3003 definitely throws sounds farther out than the MH1, giving off a larger sense of space. In my opinion this is usually a function of how mids are portrayed. Less mids emphasis equals a wider perceived sound stage. Concerning detail, I find both iems able to retrieve detail in equal amounts. Small background nuances are no less apparent on the MH1 than they are on the K3003.

 

If money were no object, which one would I choose? That is a very tough choice, as both iems have their drawbacks. The MH1, even with its beautiful mids and treble, has bass emphasis and slight boominess that bugs me on some tracks. The K3003's bass is just clearly better to my ears, and even its issues in mids and treble are pretty minor and don't normally detract from my enjoyment of the music. Sonically, I give the edge to the MH1 for most music, and to the K3003 for some music, but usability is a real issue here. I even opted to spend $100 to get my MH1 recabled at ZMF Headphones, since the stock cable is so terrible. 

 

The bottom line is that these are both very good earphones. Taking price completely out of the equation, the MH1 keeps up with and even beats the K3003 sonically in some key areas. Putting price back into the equation, it's absolutely astounding that phones at a $20 price point can compete with a top-tier product at the forefront of sound technology. Yes, it's my opinion that the MH1 offers true top-tier fidelity. 

post #1617 of 3717

I don't get this, why does this iem need more volume than the apple earpod, to sound as loud? it's 125dB sensitivity and 15mw. I thought it would get louder sooner.

 

maybe the 8ohm impedance is the culprit, needing more current. in which case one could drive it from the auralic taurus.


Edited by azureaura - 3/13/14 at 5:12pm
post #1618 of 3717
Does anyone know how these compare to the denon ah-c400 ?? Specially in the mids and highs ? Thanks smily_headphones1.gif
post #1619 of 3717
Thanks for the comparison gnarlsagan. I can certainly agree with and understand many of the points you cover. I enjoy both of these phones immensely.

I would certainly take my 2 recabled and eq'd mh1's over most so called TOTL iems and indeed the mids and treble are fantastic. That being said, if I could only keep one iem out of all that I have owned, borrowed and auditioned, it would be the K3K. It's simplicity of design, ease of use and fantastic tonality make it one of the few keepers in a sea of compromises. It really is brilliant.
post #1620 of 3717

I beg to disagree, it's why i'm selling some with just limted use. I respect viewpoints, as we all hear differently. Especially in metal, I think they render the snare drum too prominently, and the downtuned guitar bass is not full enough for me. Different strokes for different folks.

 

They are ment to be detailed, and they are, but I like more fullness. though I felt the ie800 is not far behind, and I can live with the wierd treble that some reported on the ie800.


Edited by azureaura - 3/13/14 at 6:09pm
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