7 months ago someone asked a question (in a different thread) which is related to yours. I'm copying and pasting the question and answer (see two quoted posts below). If you wish to continue discussing the issue of whether these IEMs are worth their asking price, I suggest you do so in this thread. In that thread the price issue and other related issues (e.g. a set of high-end customs may be a better option) were discussed. Some of the claims made in that thread were simply ludicrous. Such posts, and a discussion which would resurface again and again, were part of the reason I decided to start this thread.
Your question is a valid one, so maybe you should take a look at the thread I linked to above and perhaps also read some / all of the reviews and impressions added to the first post on this thread.
@music_4321: would you declare these a clear step up from the EX1000, or merely a different (and not necessarily better) offering?
A clear step up? No, definitely not, if by that you mean a night and day difference. But, like so many things in life, a small difference to some may be a more significant difference to others. Well, I happened to pay £1000 ($1,550 USD at today's exchange rate. I know the K3003s currently go for $1,300 in the USA). I paid $500 for my EX1000s. Here, the law of diminishing returns is a very, VERY real thing, ie to these ears you do get an improvement in SQ, but I'm convinced most people (ordinary people, that is, and even some so-called audiophiles) would not be able to easily find the K3003s that much better sounding, let alone twice or three times better sounding.
You are well aware of my stance on custom IEMs which, on the whole, I consider downright overrated, ie I strongly believe there's too much hype and exaggeration just as there is, in my view, too much hype and exaggeration when it comes to bitrate differences and the seeming mandatory use of lossless files, or at the very least the need, according to some, to listen to 320 kbps files when it comes to using higher-end phones. Same [or (much) worse] goes for aftermarket cables and, to a lesser extent, portable amps.
Then, there's the usual variables such as sound preferences, fit issues, and so on. Already someone's said they prefer the 'treble' filter on the K3003s to the other two - to me the 'reference' filter is by far the better sounding of the three. Someone else said they found the treble on the AKGs rather 'troublesome' - so, here we have the usual differences we find in almost every IEM we talk about.
Yes, the K3003 is a very, very good sounding IEM, and it'd better be at that price! But, inevitably, expectations by some/MANY people (because of the price) will inevitably be very, very, VERY unrealistic. I'm sure in a blind test most people would very likely enjoy the K3003s, but there would be those who'd say they find a different, and (much) cheaper IEM better or similarly sounding. Some would just say: "Yeah, it sounds nice/great, but I wouldn't pay more that $100 - $150 for it.
There are people who will buy any and all high-end IEMs because they can afford them or for other reasons. There are also people who are very good at regurgitating audio jargon causing many to think that a particular IEM is truly something else. There are people who are prepared to pay a [very (high)] premium for a small increment in SQ…etc., etc., etc.
The EX1000 remains, in my view, an amazingly good sounding phone.
Edited by music_4321 - 8/6/12 at 2:42am