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AKG K3003 Universal IEM Review: Challenger to the Custom IEM World? - Page 4

post #46 of 77

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post #47 of 77

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post #48 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by average_joe View Post

Fit, Seal, Tips, and Comfort

...  In addition to the triple flange tips, the Sony hybrids and HiFiMan large bi-flange tips also worked; basically anything that sat further down the nozzle and would stay put allowing for a deeper insertion.

 

Impressive review! Thanks!

 

If it's not too much trouble, can you provide links (or some hints) to where the tips you mention can be bought? I've been looking around (some) but haven't able to find the "5.5mm nozzle diameter" size.

 

Thank you!


Edited by Aero Dynamik - 3/4/13 at 11:50pm
post #49 of 77
I'm sure AJ will answer soon but I thought I'd recommend these:
http://www.meelec.com/MEElectronics_Eartips_p/ts1-tf-l-35-bk.htm
They were my favorite with the K3003.
post #50 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by shotgunshane View Post

I'm sure AJ will answer soon but I thought I'd recommend these:
http://www.meelec.com/MEElectronics_Eartips_p/ts1-tf-l-35-bk.htm
They were my favorite with the K3003.

Thanks, I'll order them while waiting for my K3003 to arrive! Listened to the K3003 for a few hours friday and today and was so very, very impressed by the musical joy it brought me. I just had to have it!

post #51 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aero Dynamik View Post

Thanks, I'll order them while waiting for my K3003 to arrive! Listened to the K3003 for a few hours friday and today and was so very, very impressed by the musical joy it brought me. I just had to have it!

If you like comply tips, the ts-500 fis perfectly, much shorter than the t-500 and provides a great seal. I much prefer over silicon tips personally.
Edited by Turrican2 - 3/4/13 at 11:11pm
post #52 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by Turrican2 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aero Dynamik View Post

Thanks, I'll order them while waiting for my K3003 to arrive! Listened to the K3003 for a few hours friday and today and was so very, very impressed by the musical joy it brought me. I just had to have it!

If you like comply tips, the ts-500 fis perfectly, much shorter than the t-500 and provides a great seal. I much prefer over silicon tips personally.

Great tip! Yes, conceptually I do prefer comply tips because of the better isolation (I guess), but have so far not been able to find any large enough. I'll definitely try the "ts-500" and will let you know what I think. Thanks!
 

post #53 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aero Dynamik View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by average_joe View Post

Fit, Seal, Tips, and Comfort

...  In addition to the triple flange tips, the Sony hybrids and HiFiMan large bi-flange tips also worked; basically anything that sat further down the nozzle and would stay put allowing for a deeper insertion.

 

Impressive review! Thanks!

 

If it's not too much trouble, can you provide links (or some hints) to where tips you mention can be bought? I've been looking around (some) but haven't able to find the "5.5mm nozzle diameter" size.

 

Thank you!

Well, missed this post: (Quote average_joe) "The triple flange ear tips I use came with my Monster IEMs, but MEElectronics also sells them on their site."

 

The other (Sony hybrids and HiFiMan large bi-flange tips) shouldn't be too hard to locate. Thanks!

post #54 of 77
Kinda mixed I reckon - a fantastic universal that can't mix it with the custom big boys.
post #55 of 77
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aero Dynamik View Post

Well, missed this post: (Quote average_joe) "The triple flange ear tips I use came with my Monster IEMs, but MEElectronics also sells them on their site."

 

The other (Sony hybrids and HiFiMan large bi-flange tips) shouldn't be too hard to locate. Thanks!

 

Sorry I am late to the party, but looks like you found it.  Enjoy!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by up late View Post

Kinda mixed I reckon - a fantastic universal that can't mix it with the custom big boys.

 

That is what my ears tell me bigsmile_face.gif

post #56 of 77
And that's cool. I guess I'm a bit surprised by how big the gap is between a top flight universal and custom earphones.
post #57 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by up late View Post

And that's cool. I guess I'm a bit surprised by how big the gap is between a top flight universal and custom earphones.

 

What do you intend by "gap"? Thanks!

post #58 of 77
Sound! I kinda expected a fantastic sounding universal to compete with customs soundwise that's all.
post #59 of 77

After having read through your review again, this time quite carefully, I find it somewhat trying to praise it the way I did having browsed it through the first time. Although well written and very informative I think it’s problematic that it isn’t clearly conclusive. On one hand you praise the AKG K3003 as the best UIEM you’ve heard to date, but on the other hand it doesn’t seem to win out to any of the compared IEMs except the SM3, which you then disqualify as being too low-cost to be compared with in the first place. I do get the distinct impression that despite your clinical approach and praise of the AKG K3003, you are after all promoting CIEMs in general both sound-wise and otherwise before the AKG K3003? Well, maybe that was your intention and clearly obvious from the start to everyone but me!? As evident in your review both CIEMs and UIEMs in general have their advantages and disadvantages. I would like to add the following comments to your review in this respect.

  1. It is more common that audio stores carry universals (than customs) that can be tested and compared before they are bought.
  2. Comfort, sound and isolation of CIEMs (at least in my experience) depend on the position of the facial muscles and the body as a whole. Reading your review I see a possibility that readers with no previous experience of CIEMs may be lead to believe that CIEMs are the be‑all and end‑all in IEM design. For those readers I think it may be of value to know that acrylic CIEMs are rigid, very rigid (think glass), while ear canals are not. This, at least for me, limits the use of CIEMs. As soon as I move my facial muscles (like when smiling) or deviate too much from the position of the body as it were when the impressions were made, like when laying down on my back in bed (my preferred position when listening to music), the shape of the ear canals changes and consequently affects the isolation, sound and comfort. I would say that (at least for me) CIEMs are ruled out whenever I’m not keeping my head in the upright position it was when the impressions were made. In this respect I find the flexibility of UIEMs to be a major advantage.
  3. It’s a bit of a shame that the stock ear tips didn’t work for you as it hard to completely ignore the suspicion that it might somehow have affected your perception of some of the AKG K3003’s sonic abilities. The AKG K3003 was no doubt designed to work very well with the stock ear tips. As reported by some, the stock ear tips seem to work very well for comfort, isolation, and sound. Anyway, what I want to say is that what happened to you in this respect probably wouldn’t be the typical situation or even a somewhat common problem for most buyers of the AKG K3003.

 

Because of some really negative reviews and some rather critical reviews of the AKG K3003 I had no intention of even trying it. However, as faith had it in my way, I happened to try it (perhaps to get my preconceptions confirmed) in my audio store when I was really there to give the Sennheiser IE 800 a listen. I began to realize that there must have been something wrong with my preconceptions when suddenly my breathing stopped and I developed goose bumps all over. I actually had to take it out of my ears to make sure that it was really the AKG K3003. I occupied the store’s headphone room for about two hours with the AKG K3003 in my ears and then again a couple of days later to compare it to my reference headphone (Sennheiser HD 650). After that I realized that my (still rather modest) collection of headphones would be incomplete without the AKG K3003 and I just had to order it and I’m now impatiently waiting for it. I thought to myself: “the hell with the coherence issues, treble peaks, dips, flaws, etc., etc... I know what I hear, and I know when I like it.” I also thought: “from now on I will read less (or at least be more critical to what I read) and listen more for myself.” And as already mentioned this is fortunately more often an option with universals.

 

Of course I can’t blame you for having and expressing the opinions you have. On the contrary, your reviews are most often very clinical and a great balance to much of the hype found here and elsewhere. However, being the IEM authority you are I think you have a special moral responsibility to point out that there are other authorities in the field that do not share your conclusions about the AKG K3003 versus CIEMs in general. For example, Steve Guttenberg at CNET thinks the FitEar ToGo! 334 (UIEM) is: “the best I've heard from an in-ear headphone of any type”, and there is testimony from several people owning both the 334 and the K3003 who say they are on par although having different signatures. To be sure, that does not mean to say in any way that you are wrong, but that there indeed are authorities having a different and in many ways opposite opinion. (I know Steve Guttenberg isn’t considered very highly by some here on head-fi, but for the sake of the example I hope I will be excused!)

 

What’s problematic the way I see it is that there is a very real risk that people who are looking for a high end reference UIEM are a lot less likely to even try the AKG K3003 after having read your review as it in its entirety conveys a feeling of the AKG K3003 being inferior to CIEMs in general, sound-wise and otherwise. If so, I think that’s really sad! One evident example is the comment of "up late".

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aero Dynamik View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by up late View Post

And that's cool. I guess I'm a bit surprised by how big the gap is between a top flight universal and custom earphones.

 

What do you intend by "gap"? Thanks!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by up late View Post

Sound! I kinda expected a fantastic sounding universal to compete with customs soundwise that's all.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by average_joe View Post

When compared with similarly priced custom IEMs, a frequency coherence issue becomes apparent in the region where the dynamic driver and balanced armature drivers crossover, which is most evident with the Reference Sound port.bass and midrange drivers

 

I have counted the number of times you return to the AKG K3003’s “coherence issue” in your review. Guess how many times? 10 times! I only have a vague notion of what is meant by coherence in general and what you mean by it in regard to the AKG K3003 and hybrid CIEMs in particular, so if you could elaborate on this in some more detail and perhaps give me an example of where this is “apparent“ when compared to my high priced all BA driver CIEM, the EarSonics EM6. I’d really appreciate it!

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by average_joe View Post

If an average acrylic shelled custom IEM is a 5 of 10, then the AKG is well below, around a 2.5/10.

 

So what you’re really saying is that the isolation of the AKG K3003 is about half that of a CIEMs in general, and CIEMs have very good isolation in general, right? Anyway that sounds a lot less bad than 2.5 out of 10, doesn’t it?

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by average_joe View Post

It is, of course, the brightest of the three, but the bass and midrange remain untouched from the Reference port.

 

Did you really mean to say: “the High boost port”, or, “with the High boost port the bass and midrange sound the same as with the Reference port”, or maybe something entirely different?

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by average_joe View Post

But, when I jump into critical listening mode, the K3003 isn’t perfect, and there are some issues that jump out at me. This is not to say the issues will jump out at you, but they do to me because I am a frequent high end custom IEM user!

 

 

Is there some way you can rephrase that to make its meaning (which I don’t really get) more clear?

 

Quote:

 

Originally Posted by average_joe View Post

This issue isn’t unique to the K3003 as my CIEM hybrids have this issue to some extent as well, and I can forget about it when I am just listening to music and not critically listening.

 

So, are you saying that this issue is more, or less prominent with the AKG K3003, or basically the same in any hybrid (universal or custom)?

 

Thanks!

post #60 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aero Dynamik View Post

 

 

 

 

Did you really mean to say: “the High boost port”, or, “with the High boost port the bass and midrange sound the same as with the Reference port”, or maybe something entirely different?

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by average_joe View Post

But, when I jump into critical listening mode, the K3003 isn’t perfect, and there are some issues that jump out at me. This is not to say the issues will jump out at you, but they do to me because I am a frequent high end custom IEM user!

 

 

Is there some way you can rephrase that to make its meaning (which I don’t really get) more clear?

 

Quote:

 

Originally Posted by average_joe View Post

This issue isn’t unique to the K3003 as my CIEM hybrids have this issue to some extent as well, and I can forget about it when I am just listening to music and not critically listening.

 

So, are you saying that this issue is more, or less prominent with the AKG K3003, or basically the same in any hybrid (universal or custom)?

 

Thanks!

 

To be fair, all reviews need to be read with a pinch of salt. For starters, everyone has a different hearing perception, and because of that, it skews testing. What you are experiencing is what you believe sounds best to your ears, and that's great. Remember, AJ is sharing his opinion i.e. his and his alone and it isn't meant to be taken as gospel. We need to read expansive reviews with caveats e.g. who hears them, how they hear them, what they hear them through etc. 

 

All that aside, it is good to have alternate views. And yours, as is AJ's are welcome views :)

 

What's the most important though, is that you enjoy your music! 

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