What would be more OK is if you told us what IEM's are NOT flawed...
Don't forget it's an expensive IEM. People are going to be more sensitive to any aspect they think is less than perfect at its price.
Just about every pair of top-of-the-line IEMs I've tried over the last few years has either a: had a stupid frequency response, eg: vastly excessive bass or treble, and/or makes drum hits sound more like someone thumping a table. The only pair that has got it close to right for me was the Sony XBA-3 (and now XBA-30 as Sony quite promptly responded to feedback and fixed a few things). I've even rejected the FitEar 334. I almost forgot the TDK Magnetic Armature (not a typo) IEMs which are remarkably <$100. Reminds me that I should pick up a pair sometime for a serious evaluation.
I am fairly under-confident that I'll have a positive impression of the K3003, but expecting the worst, if anything, leaves me a lot of room to be pleasantly surprised.
And they bloody well should!
However, in my view, what's happened with the K3003 bashing, unfortunately, hasn't always been exactly what you suggest, but I won't go there — but I'll say this, some of the very harsh criticism has been unwarranted and severely exaggerated, IMO, even for a $1,300 product.
I have myself been very critical of (very) expensive products, products I've owned and tested thoroughly, and even mentioned a couple of aspects where I think there's room for improvement on the K3003s, particularly on the remote/mic version of it (known as K3003i).
EDIT: Just noticed you added the following to the above post:
Test them properly and note that these IEMs do NOT require a deep insertion (one problem with a couple of the people who rated them so slow). Although people refer to these as "In-Ear Monitors" (IEMs), several people are still fairly unfamiliar with different types of, er, IEMs (perhaps only having owned the Etymotic type that requires a deeeep insertion to sound its best); there are MANY vented IEMs that do not benefit sonically from a deep insertion (vents may be blocked, or nozzle does not lend itself to that sort of insertion), they require a shallow-ish insertion, like the K3003s do. Also, NOT all IEMs are meant to isolate as much as customs or Etymotics (or even a Westone/Shure type of IEM), something even some experienced people (used to full-sized phones and/or speakers mostly) do not seem to be fully aware of — note also that not everyone is looking for the most isolation they can get (there are downsides to such very isolating IEMs / customs).
Bear in mind, too, there are three filters that come with the K3003s; most people seem to prefer the "reference" filter, followed by the "treble" filter; most did not seem to care for the "bass boost" filter — try and test ALL of them.
If you take note of the above and test these IEMs properly, then be as merciless as you like, if need be, in your comments / impressions / review.
I haven't heard or likely will hear these so no comment on sound but I really don't understand dropping a rating due to isolation. Some folks like more and some less. As long as it's not too difficult to get the device acoustically coupled, isolation is a footnote. Should be mentioned but not criticized. I like more but many like to hear a car horn before they get hit. That said I'm sure it would have enough for me if I thought it best otherwise.
^^ Some people also work in fairly quiet environments and want to be able to hear the phone ring, alerts from their mobiles, etc. (I've worn mine for years at home and always preferred less isolation to be able to hear the phone, doorbell, etc.).
Also, vented IEMs, in general, are healthier (or less unhealthy) as they allow the ears to breathe a little. Let's not forget that wearing IEMs is not something natural for the ears, specially for hours on end — there seem to be people who use their IEMs at work for 4, 6+ hrs daily! Many people, also, cannot stand something shoved deep down into their ear canals, one of the biggest complaints of Etys. Then, there's also earbuds/canal phones...
I just had a listening session of the 3003 at Jaben in Shanghai. Great ergonomics, build and fit for sure. These babies sound awesome out of the DX100. Great space, separation and dynamics. Great tone and timbre. Tight bass. Something sounded weird somewhere ON SOME TRACKS but I could not pinpoint it. Maybe the mids being too separated from the rest ? Anyways there are great sounding iems and I could sport that immediately. I still slightly prefer my 1plus2 as they have a "bigger" sound but they fight more or less in the same arena I would say.
Ah, but you do realise the problem lies with some of those (awful!) tracks you were feeding the K3003s, don't you? ;)
Hm... don't you really think it's that infamous incoherency again (its most characteristic trait to most people)? "mids being too separated from the rest" Hm... sure sounds like it!
There are no IEMs which have no flaws. It's just that some flaws may be worse than others, and even then it's very much dependent upon personal tastes. For example, James444 has stated that he prefers the dynamic bass driver implementation and that he does not note any substantial coherence issues. That's fine. I totally understand where he is coming from because I also feel that dynamic drivers produce more finely textured bass which sounds more "real" for lack of a better term.
To me, the downsides of combining rather different sounding dynamic and BA drivers for the bass and mid/treble respectively was too much of a trade-off for better bass quality. From personal sensitivity and ear-training from over 25 years of DIY speaker building, I have come to strongly value driver coherence - that a transducer system act as one. I would very much prefer maintaining very good blending between the drivers rather than trade that for gains elsewhere. It's a balancing act where compromises must be made.
I would refer back to the assertion I made about the K3003 driver integration being similar to the Martin Logan speakers (electrostatic panels mated to poor quality bass drivers). Some folks absolutely love the ML's and don't hear the integration issues. Many others hate them (at the THE SHOW in 2012, I saw the ML reps taking the subwoofers offline from their TOTL panels after a few listeners complained.) In the end, it's my opinion according to my sensitivities that the K3003's driver blending is one of the worst I've ever heard from a commercial transducer - reminding my very much of the ML Aerius speaker circa 1994. We all know many of you disagree, and that's fine.
Secondly, I can't quite fathom why AKG couldn't dial-in a smoother (that is non-peaky) response in the upper mids / lower treble. Even some advocates of the K3003 have acknowledged this irregularity. I think one even stated that he applied EQ, and another stated that while it was there, it was well tolerable. Again, this is where personal sensitivities and preferences may differ. I found the treble peak an enhancement with recordings of acoustic / natural instruments (orchestral works, chamber music); yet found it beyond my tolerance levels for modern adult contemporary or popular records. While I don't necessarily have an issue with purposely tuned elevated treble, I find treble peaks, i.e. non-smooth response, very objectionable and quite unfathomable for any transducer, TOTL or not.
So hopefully, this explains why I find the K3003 highly flawed. It happens to hit on two pet peeves of mine (driver coherency and response smoothness). I can't say how its weaknesses are going to affect others, if others will even perceive them as such. It's there for me, but it may not be for others. Heck, maybe we can all take a vote on it.
P.S. I'll name a few IEMs which I do not consider to have serious flaws with driver coherency and response smoothness (although they all have other flaws):
I think the bass of the 1+2 is one of it's many strong points and found the bass of my jh13FPs slightly more natural and intuitive though a bit lower in amplitude. I could see others disagree but that's not the point. I wish we could stop being predisposed. It's likely harder to do with BAs but tendencies aren't absolutes.
Anybody on this thread that was tried out the K3003 vs the Sennheiser IE800? I am about to buy one of them but I can't make up my mind. I guess they are both
fantastic IEM its just a matter or taste...or is it?
I know what you mean by the drum hits being false on most iems, its something I tend to listen for as well. For me though the killer is acoustic bass - so far only 2 iems can capture the body and sustain of that instrument, the K3003 and, by far the best, the Stax Sr001 which should be no surprise. Other contenders I've had/have/auditioned including the 535, TF10, Eq7, Heaven S, CK100pro, (and the XBA3) etc all failed to present to me that instrument and instead gave me an artificial rendering - in some cases, no reverb, in others a flat, short sound. I'd note that only some 20% of my music contains this instrument - I just think any competent device should be able to reproduce it.
I see the issue of flaws more related to the concrete reproduction of an instrument, than to so-called 'technicalities', which I think relate more to driver cross-over points or extremes of driver performance. The nature of the dynamic driver bass in the K3003- like that of the bass armature in the XBA3 - captures the peculiarities of a particular instrument well due to it encompassing the performance of that instrument in tone, texture, speed and impact. I would be unsurprised if this was not what the designers were aiming for...
I think the answer is yes. Its a matter of taste. The k3003 has wider soundstage and more sparkle treble. The ie800 is a relatively bass heavy IEM.