I ordered from atrio.me, the headphones arrived in exactly 1 week from canada to southern illinois(rather quick factoring in customs). All in all, im very impressed with the website as they have a 50% off coupon floating around right now which is "CostProg50%" without quotes. That brought the total from 210 down to 110 as you could imagine.
Packaging: The packaging is rather cheap, but afterall they are saving the environment with the 100% eco-friendly packaging. Id take it over the over-glorified sennheiser ie8 package which is comparable to cracking a safe. On a side note, the headphones were very easy to open and would definitely be safe during shipping.
Accessories: These headphones come packed to the brim with tips. 8 hard style foam tips, 8 soft style foam tips, along with 3 L/M/S silicone double-flange buds. If you cant acquire a good seal with these iem's then its definitely a personal issue. I find the foam tips to be extremely comfortable and great for isolation. The carrying case is another plus side to these iems. It may look cheap, but it feels like it is practically armor plated. It is also completely economically designed so you can carry it around campus, jogging, high-school, pretty much anything you can imagine.
Comfort: This category is a large factor in whether or not I will buy a headphone. The shure se-215 hurt my ears terribly, these on the other hand... I have been wearing them for over 3 hours and I do not have a single feeling of fatigue or soreness in my ears. That's surely a great quality to have on a pair of iems. The interchangeable option of being able to wear them down or behind the ear is a great idea. I always feel awkward walking through school with wires running behind my head(Thats just me:P).
Sound: The opinions of sound on the m5's seem definitely spread across a wide spectrum. Some love it, some hate it. I can safely say. I LOVE them. I had no idea what to expect when I purchased these, but they did not disappoint when they arrived. To summarize the sound before I get into the detail. The m5's are warm, analytic when asked to be, accurate powerful bass, deep sub-bass(rumbling), and overall just a very exciting headphone to listen to. When compared to the ie8 as most people seem to... The m5's stand in a category of their own. After owning both headphones, I prefer the m5's over the ie8's due to their more accurate and non sloppy mid-bass, which on the ie8... can drown out ALL of the detail you need to hear.
Highs: To my amazement, the highs are very clear even with such a deep powerful low end. They are very accurate, non fatiguing, and I find them very nice, clear, and in some cases, I am noticing details in songs I have never heard before. Overall, the highs are nothing but UNGODLY amazing for a dynamic driver.
Mids: The mids are average and maybe maybe just maybe... a bit above. But you can definitely tell the selling points are the highs and lows. The mids are just perfect. They are not upfront, they are not terribly cold sounding, but they are surely not warm such as the ie8. Luckily this is my preference on music. I find the mids to be slightly more accurate and analytic sounding as opposed to the ie8 which is warm and exciting. The mids overall: just perfect, not to cold, not to warm.
Lows: Oh boyyy... haha... the most amazing sounding low end I have ever heard in their category. The lows are accurate, audible at nearly any level. At some points I had a puzzled look on my face as I heard a bass rumble that I had never noticed with any other high end headphone. Whether the m5's just decided to make that frequency up or actually picked out something most IEM'S cant reproduce, I found it very nice and added an extra touch. The sub-bass on this IEM is unreal. Its powerful, its noticeable, its loud, its deep. Most of the time I would prefer a more accurate low end with quick punches. But these are just down right exciting to listen to. The rumble and thump has never been matched by another IEM in my opinion. The lows are almost to good to be true. Overall, they are accurate, loud, punchy, tight when needed to be, and the sub-bass just adds a little topping to an already great IEM. (although I may seem to be a basshead, I actually enjoy a more analytic style IEM. If I liked them you will to.
Sound Stage: The m5's present themself as an average to a slightly above average sound stage width. The soundstage is not going to WOW the heck out of you by any means, but it also is not going to ruin the experience for you. After listening to the headphones more and more, I notice the stage beginning to open up.
m5 vs ie8/80: You may find strange that I add this category, but it seems to be a trending topic to say the least. This is strictly my opinion after owning all 3 of the headphones. I prefer the m5. The ie8/80 is advertised as being bass heavy, which it is. But in my opinion, the ie8's bass is very sloppy considering nearly ALL of the bass is in the mid frequency range as opposed to the low frequency. I feel as if the ie8/80 has a terribly sloppy low end with a huge mid-bass rumble which is not needed. The m5 also pushes a more accurate bass sound without such goofy mid frequency rumble. Comparing the two. The m5 has a punchier/deeper bass with a low end rumble, while the ie8/80 has a punchy/sloppy mid bass rumble. The ie8's mids surely outdo the m5's. The ie8's mids are very upfront and warm. The m5's are a tad bit more recessed and colder sounding. Which is my personal preference as I stated. The highs on both of the earphones are practically identical. But I feel like the detail inside of the atrio m5's were greater than the ie8/80's highs. As far as Sound stage is concerned. I think it is extremely clear who will win this one. the ie8/80 wins in soundstage by a long shot. Not surprising as I consider the ie8 to have the widest soundstage on the entire market. the m5's soundstage is VERY narrow out of the box. As I continue to listen, I notice the soundstage beginning to open up more and more. Right out of the box I found both headphones to be pleasing, but the ie8/80 definitely had a fuller soundstage upon unboxing.
Verdict: You would be mad not to purchase these headphones for 99.99!!! They are absolutely fantastic and they stand up to a 450.00 headphone for sure. It all comes down to preference. all I can say is, you will enjoy these headphones regardless of your personal preferences. These are exciting, bass heavy, and just plain fun. And ugly looking... But who honestly cares since they sound THAT GOOD.
Thanks for reading guys and girls! Please leave your opinions and what you think of your m5's! feel free to ask questions as I would be glad to answer. Next week hopefully I should be doing a review on the vsonic gr07 flagship model. thanks again!