Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › AKG K3003... whats the difference?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

AKG K3003... whats the difference?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

i own the UE TripleFi 10's, the shure SE535's, and the westone 3's (naming the three driver IEM's). why are the K3003s so high priced? they are a 3 driver IEM. am i missing something here? because ive been meaning to upgrade. and with that type of money i can get a costumes. can someone take me through the details of this "special" IEM?

post #2 of 14

You have to ask yourself; “is leather worth more than pleather?”. “Are diamonds worth more than cubic zirconia?”. ----I'm just pullin' your leg. I have no earthly idea why the AKG K3003 cost so much.

 

In fact, I don't know why any U-IEM is so expense. You can at least imagine the specialized work put into each C-IEM. Here you have a 3-way (1 D/2 BA) costing $700-$900 more than some other well known brands. Maybe it just sounds that much better (and the sound alone justifies the price).

 

You know what? There just isn't enough writing on this site (and others) about the K3003 yet. That's all it is. I know, they've been reviewed (with accolades, yeah-yeah-yeah). But, it's not enough to permeate the zeitgeist. People who've never heard them have (to be compelled) to start posting with confidence that the K3003 are sooo much better than those cheapo fraud earphones by Shure/Westone/ Ultimate Ears or whomever.

 

Right now, if someone laid items of equal cost on a table to let you choose only one (or combo): the AKG K3003;-- or an iBasso DX100 plus Shure SE535—I suspect most people would reach for the DX100/SE535 combo for the same 1200+dollar value (or $300 DAP plus UM Merlin and $100 impressions). That's right now, but just wait.

 

Perhaps after the hype, the K3003 will look like a bargain. I mean, so what if it cost more than a good laptop or decent 50in 120hz LED HDTV? It might be more pristine sound (and expensive electronics in the K3003 earpieces) than 4 AKG Q701s. At least that's what the price suggests. Uhhhh, anyway.....

post #3 of 14

Setup-wise, the K3003 uses a hybrid combination of both amature and dynamic drivers, so safely speaking it has got all the merits of both designs in merely one pair. But yeah, if you only look at how many drivers it packs inside or the specs, you can never justify it being worth the price tag and obviously no "bang for buck" talking going on here. My 2 cent take on the problem is that AKG is aiming to a very, very niche market in the already niche market of IEMs, namely the kind of market squarely focused on people with enough money to purchase a high end custom pair yet do not want to do so for various reasons (resale value, waiting time, etc...) while still wanting to enjoy custom-grade sound quality. 

post #4 of 14

I have tried the K3003 on several occasions for extended periods.

 

Do they sound great? Yes yes yes, to jaw-dropping levels. Takes an "intimate" musical experience to its extremity, that's how I'd describe its sound. Soaring highs? check. Sweet, fluid mids? check. Tight, impactful bass? check, though it's not for bassheads. It is nothing short of heavenly.

 

So, would I trade my Compact Monitors Stage 4 for the K3003? Hell no.

 

There MAY be reasons for some people not wanting a CM even though they're prepared to shell out sums comparable to the costs of CMs - resale value, not used to the endless wait, no audiologists around to do a good ear mould etc. It's a REALLY niche market.

post #5 of 14

To sum up the story, taking the K3003 as an example, you get an universal pair whose sound quality could properly rival that of entry or even midrange customs at the price of high end customs for the benefit of resale value, no waiting time, availability, etc...(you fill in the blank). Sounds like a proper tradeoff for me. It's a really niche market but there is no denying that it's catching some attention and developing quite rapidly with pairs like the FitEar TO GO! or the upcoming IE800...It's a clean cut above even high end universal market, both in sound quality and prices.

post #6 of 14

I guess my question is simple - is the K3003 the single best universal IEM on the planet in 2012 ? I know the stock answer is 'that depends on what you are looking for', but if we are talking clarity, detail resolution, PRaT over subwoofer-like bass impact, the reviews that I have read would seem to indicate that it's at least as good as anything else out there, customs notwithstanding. CNET, hardly a headphone specialist site, gave the k3003 3 of 5 stars due to the price, but had glowing praise for the sonics: I picked this review because it's more concise than the standard audiophile reviews. 

 

 

The K3003s are, in a word, glorious. In our high-quality tests in the lab, the low-end sound was punchy and well defined, with an excellent level of warmth in the lower mid-tones. This was especially evident on Nero's track Doomsday, where the thumping kick drum and powerful basslines were almost enough to shake our bones to dust.

The advantage of the multiple drivers though is that the low end didn't come at the expense of the high end. The crack of the snare drum and shine of the cymbals in the beautifully-recorded track Watch Your Stepby Dave Weckl was superb, and the warm, jazzy bass licks still hummed their way through without any trouble, resulting in an extremely pleasant, balanced sound.

The same was true when we played tunes from our iPhone on the go. Powerful and warm bass, stunning high end and a warm mid-range, created a deliciously smooth overall sound that wasn't 'too much' or 'too little' of anything. Vocals were well separated on acoustic tracks and orchestral pieces were extremely open and airy -- although these more mellow pieces were sometimes difficult to listen to in noisier outdoor environments.

Where CNET's grasp of the current state of the art in portable gear falls down is that they see the AKG's being used 'on the go' from an 'mp3 player' like the iPhone they used in the review. I suspect that very few Head-Fiers would throw these into a backpack and try to use them at a bus stop - my Phillips cheapies fill that role admirably - and are far more likely to be using them in the manner CNET ascribes to fullsize cans.

Bang for buck, I expect that diminishing returns kicks in well before you buy that third pair of ~$400 universals on your way to the 1300 AUD asking price for the K3003, and many here would rather own 3 very good universals than a single pair of 'statement' earphones marketed to the FAD set. If I buy the W4+SE535+GR10 for the same outlay, I have 3 different sonic experiences at my fingertips - with the K3003, its just one. Horses for courses, I guess.  

 

 

post #7 of 14

"If I buy the W4+SE535+GR10 for the same outlay, I have 3 different sonic experiences at my fingertips - with the K3003, its just one."

 

Except for one thing, my fellow Antipodean - the K3003 has three different filters (Bass Boost, Reference and Treble Boost) which means that you do in fact have 3 different sonic experiences with the one 'phone. Some of the reviews have indicated that the impact of these filters is quite significant and appears to be better implemented than on other user-adaptable systems (the Phonak green and grey filters, the IE80 Bass tuning, etc). Just another element to mull over...

 

regards,

 

Giles


Edited by Gilles De Rais - 7/2/12 at 10:26pm
post #8 of 14

The CNET reviewer didnt have that experience with the filters - the best he could manage was that the bass filter made for a 'darker' sound signature. I guess its one of those things where the only way to find out is to part with $1300 .... 

post #9 of 14
Note the use of the word 'some'... If you look at the AKG K3003 appreciation thread on this very site, there are both reviews from Head-fiers and external sites which address this issue of filter impact. They also address the OPs 'question' of difference and value.

To the best of my knowledge the K3003s aren't yet available in Oz, supply has been coming since mid-May... Moreover the only version being imported is the in-line remote control one. Price is also 'negotiable'.

Regards,

Giles
post #10 of 14

Addicted to Audio are selling them to Aussies.

 

http://www.addictedtoaudio.com.au/AKG-K3003-Ear-Canal-Headphones-1#xml&utm_source=myshopping&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Headphones&utm_term=AKG+K3003+Ear+Canal+Headphones

 

From the image, there appears to be an inline volume control - is that a problem ?

post #11 of 14

Hi Estreeter,

 

Spoke to A2A today (whom I'm aware appear to be the only people providing the K3003 to Girt), stock now coming "mid-July"...If the delay is further extended and makes availability problematic, then I suspect they'll lose sales to the IE800 when it gets released later this year. I'd bet that in Oz, Sennheiser has a much bigger retail network for ultra-high end sales... 

 

Re the inline volume control, as the other Head-fiers have indicated, this seems to be the only version available in Europe and America, whereas in Asia both versions (with and without are available). Opinion seems to be it has no impact on sound quality. If it were me I'd take it without - on both aesthetic grounds and lack of need. 

 

regards,

 

Giles

post #12 of 14

Senn has the retail network - no question - but you  could count the number of retailers who would be willing to stock their top shelf phones on one hand. 

post #13 of 14
Got to disagree there Estreeter, I can think of at least six places in Sydney off the top of my head that stock the Hd800s or something equivalent in price. Melbourne, probably more. It's the outskirts (Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide to us Sydneysiders) where there may not be an option to purchase....

All we can hope is the strong Aussie dollar makes the price of these things competitive with o/s prices.

Regards,

Giles
post #14 of 14
Quote:

Where CNET's grasp of the current state of the art in portable gear falls down is that they see the AKG's being used 'on the go' from an 'mp3 player' like the iPhone they used in the review. I suspect that very few Head-Fiers would throw these into a backpack and try to use them at a bus stop - my Phillips cheapies fill that role admirably - and are far more likely to be using them in the manner CNET ascribes to fullsize cans.

Bang for buck, I expect that diminishing returns kicks in well before you buy that third pair of ~$400 universals on your way to the 1300 AUD asking price for the K3003, and many here would rather own 3 very good universals than a single pair of 'statement' earphones marketed to the FAD set. If I buy the W4+SE535+GR10 for the same outlay, I have 3 different sonic experiences at my fingertips - with the K3003, its just one. Horses for courses, I guess.  

 

Yes, but none of the three different "sonic experiences" would be, in my view, as good as the K3003 experience. I would rather have one flavor of great than three flavors of good, personally. The K3003 is expensive, but my take is that the most valuable commodity I have is time (when you are closing in on 60, you think this way tongue.gif ) and when I have time to listen to music I want to hear it as well reproduced as possible. Here's a possible Head-fi motto: "Life's too short for mediocre sound"...

 

And I use mine on the bus and the train (I commute to NYC for work). I throw them in my travel bag (in their tasteful carrying pouch, natch) and go, what's the sense of the investment if you don't get full use out of them?

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › AKG K3003... whats the difference?