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AKG K3003i

post #1 of 66
Thread Starter 

I wanted to know if anyone here has the AKG K3003i and could answer a couple of questions for me.


1. Does it require an Apple iPhone or iPod or a Google Android device to control the volume and mute functions? Can I use it with a regular hi-fi audio system?


2. How does it compare to custom IEMs?


3. How is the warranty and support from AKG?


4. Can I use other ear tips like Comply with them? Which ones fit other than the ones provided by AKG?


I have the money, but I am unsure if I should get them because I never heard them. What full sized headphones or IEMs does it compare to?



post #2 of 66

I can't answer to all your questions (never had custom IEMs and problems with the 3003 in order to deal with AKG customer support), but I'll answer to the other ones.


They require an iOS device for the volume and if memory serves me well, I think I was able to control my "old" (2009) macbook pro with them at some point, not 100% sure about that, however, the new macbook pro retina does not respond to the remote controls. I'm pretty sure the android support is missing.


I used Comply tips with them, there's a compatible model.


As for big headphones resemblance in sound, I have the T1 and while the sound signatures are different, with the proper source (I use a Lavry DA-10, which makes the k3003 sound outstanding), the detail retrieval is on a par with those, though I always found the BA based IEMs to compress the sound a bit compared to dynamic based headphones (less depth). They also share some similarities with the HD-800 (both are bright phones with tons of details but also fatiguing to my ears if un-eq'd), but overall the HD-800 has the edge. Anyway, IMO the 3003 beat the HD 650 in almost any aspect I can think of.


Compared with other IEMs I'm familiar with, they sound somehow similar to the FIBASS, though have better bass due to the dynamic driver and an overall slightly more refined sound. Compared to the W4, for instance, they surpass them in every way, making them sound flat (like in no depth) and dull.


If you are sensitive to high frequencies don't buy them, or consider from the start including an eq in your chain. The Comply tips tame the highs, but not the low treble (around 5-6kHz), which, like those of the HD800, are the most offending ones. You'll also lose the sparkle, especially if you'll use them with a modest source. With the right eq and stock tips they do sound beautiful though.

Edited by tumburu - 2/17/13 at 4:42am
post #3 of 66
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your opinions.


I don't worry about my source or headphone amplifier as they are more than enough to drive the AKG K3003i. I doubt that I would use them with my Motorola Droid Bionic so that is not a concern for me.


Are they neutral and accurate? I have the Etymotic ER-4PT with the 4S adapter and I consider these to be highly accurate. I know that there is a big difference between these two IEMs, but I am concerned with accuracy and neutrality.


I am considering the Sennheiser HD-800 with the CablePro or Cardas Clear cables, but it's a lot more than I wanted to get although I am not against getting them later for Christmas this year.


I was wondering if anyone tried these with the Audioquest DragonFly or Meridian Explorer. I have  System76 Lemur and I know the Meridian Explorer is compatible with GNU/Linux. I'm looking to build a transportable computer as source system so that I can go traveling.


Right now, my source music is 320 Kbps MP3s from Fraunhofer and a couple of LAME --preset-insane. I have a HD Tracks account and I bought a bunch of high resolution FLAC albums.


I'm still wondering if I should get the AKG K3003i or not. I like IEMs in general and I have the Ultimate Ears Ue-18 PRO custom IEMs, but I was looking for a universal fit model with top notch sound to round out my collection.


If more people could tell me more about these, then that would be helpful.

post #4 of 66

They'll be brighter than the ue18 in the treble and the dynamic driver doesn't keep up with the balanced armatures, so the bass sounds different and to me and a few others, not as good. Look at the new ASG-2. It should be a better designed alternative.

post #5 of 66

For me and others, OTOH, the dynamic driver sounds spot on.


They sound excellent with the Dragonfly. No hiss, and plenty of gain. Very good detail as well.

Edited by tumburu - 2/17/13 at 3:16pm
post #6 of 66
Thread Starter 

HeadRoom told me that the AKG K3003i is not worth the price that they are asking for. They recommended the Shure SE535 as an alternative because they said that if something were to break, then it would be easier to get support from Shure. Shure sells a replaceable cable with a volume control, mute, and inline microphone to work with Google Android, BlackBerry, and Apple iPhones. I was wondering if this would be another alternative or if it is a downgrade from what I already have. I would like to use my Bionic to make and receive calls so I guess that now that I have my answers to my questions about the K3003i, I won't get them. I have the Etymotic EtyBlu2, but I use that for Skype and Google Voice calls on my PC and Bionic. I kind of need to listen to my MP3s and take calls without switching headsets.


I thought that the K3003i would work with Google Android, but it seems that it doesn't work. Bummer.

post #7 of 66

The Shure will be a downgrade from the ue18 and a sidegrade from the er4t. Look at reviews of the IE800 to get a sense of its sound, keep in mind the personal preferences of the reviewer makes a big difference in how they perceive a given earphone.

post #8 of 66
Thread Starter 



I think I'll use my EtyBlu2 for now.


I think I will continue reading the forums before I get more involved and I spend a lot more money as a result. There's not much else that I plan to get for the next couple of months until Christmas or my birthday.

post #9 of 66

Take your time and avoid hype. Don't even look at an iem until it's been around 6 months. You'll save a ton of money and if you take the time to really understand what you want to hear, then you'll find what really suits you and be much happier.

post #10 of 66
Thread Starter 

That's hard to do if you spend more time here on Head-Fi. This place is famous for its hype. Seriously.


This is why I got the Etymotic EtyBlu2 and ER-4PT and 4S adapter. They've been around for decades.


I'm not really sold on my Ue-18 Pro. The bass is very strong to the point where it sounds a bit overpowering. It feels like I'm listening to Wilson Sophias in my ears, but with more bass.


I don't use them that much anymore. I get listener fatigue because none of my head amps have cross feed and my brain is interpreting too much sonic information with them. It's too involving to listen to music. These were designed for touring musicians that need to be a part of the live concert to hear themselves on stage.


There aren't that many top of the line IEMs that function as headsets in the same price range as the Ue-18 pro. I can't find any at all. They're all for touring musicians and bands or for audiophiles that sit and listen to music in one spot for long periods of time.


Thanks. I think I got what I needed to know for now. I might check out the Shure SE535 this upcoming week.

post #11 of 66

Just waiting is a great antidote to hype. Avoid anything where the reviewer seems to think the earphone is magic. The headstage arrow portable amp has a crossfeed switch.


In terms of fatigue, that might actually be from poor coherence--things can sound overly separated where each instrument sounds separately mixed in. That is often a problem with multi-driver armature iems and hybrid iems.


You might do a lot better with a single dynamic driver design like the ie800, MG6Pro, etc. The ER-4 is a single armature, so same rule applies.

However, the bass is said to be strong with the ie800 (it's adjustable with the MG6Pro). The AS-1b is another single dynamic custom that will have adjustable bass.

post #12 of 66
Thread Starter 

It seems that makes sense. I get this weird effect of hearing uneven separations in each frequency band with the Ue-18 pro when I listen to pink noise to test frequency responses. I don't get it when I listen to music normally, but my ER-4S sounds more logical if that makes sense than the Ue-18 pro for most music. I sing in a church choir so I bring my Ue-18 pro when I am practicing for Sunday church services because it helps me to hear myself in the mix, but that's just about what I use them for now. We have 30 women and about 25 men in the choir so it's important for us to hear ourselves individually when we perform.


I like my ER-4PT/S a lot. I don't find that the bass is deficient for my tastes. When I listen to our choir recordings, I use them. They help me to make suggestions to change our presentation or arrangements for our next practice sessions.


I find that I use my bionic a lot when I'm traveling and I'd like a high end IEM with headset features so I don't have to switch earpieces. I get a lot of calls from family and co-workers and it's a bit bothersome to switch from my EtyBlu2 to my ER-4PT just to take calls.


This was why I was so interested in the K3003i and I considered switching to an iphone 5, but AKG told me that it's not compatible because Apple made significant changes and it's up to them to make it compatible.


The Shure SE535 look interesting with the adapter cable for Google Android devices.


Is there anything else that is comparable? Most of the other IEM brands don't have interchangeable cables to convert their IEMs for different functions like listening to music, headset features, etc.

post #13 of 66
Hmmm... Another good IEM to look out for would be the Sony EX1000. It's not as neutral as the ER4s I think but close (see the inner fidelity review for commentary and measurements), does things most balanced armature IEMs can't (bass extension). By no means perfect but probably better than the 530 except for isolation and fit.
post #14 of 66
Thread Starter 

I forgot to mention that I need at least 26 - 30 or more dB of passive sound isolation if I am going to get another IEM. Our choir travels to different states every two or three months and I need to be able to listen to our recordings while flying on an airplane or when we are in a chartered bus.

post #15 of 66

Leslie - you mention the SE535s so I'll share my experience. I've been using 535s for almost 3 years now. Love them. My only comment would be that the Shure iPhone cable is a bit shoddy. It started to split at the IEM ends after less than a year (I would just shove the IEMs in my pocket when not listening, which might have been the problem). Shure replaced the cable for free. Now, I always store the IEMs in the case, but after about 1.5 years the replacement cable is starting to split near the 3.5mm jack. 



IMO Shure has always had cable issues - my e2c's and SE530s both had to be replaced due to cracked/frayed cables. In both cases I found their service to be very good.

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