Originally Posted by lalala6
Someone asked me via PM about the IM02s and I thought I might share my impressions here...
Before I bought the IM02 I tried out the IM02, IM03 , IM04. Out of the three it surprised me that the IM02 has the highest clarity and the best mids. The mids of these are amazing. It is very detailed, clear, and sounds great with both male and female vocals. No 'veil' of any sort. It has a tinge of sweetness that makes female vocals sound especially good. The best part is the vocals stand out and has great presence, such that you will always feel like the singer is in front of the instruments. It is not overly forward, but it presents it in such a way that makes it very easy to just focus on the vocals, which is a good thing. The IM03 and IM04 pales in comparison to the IM02's mids.
The bass is tight and punchy, and is capable of hitting hard when called for. The highs are crisp, airy and bright, typical of AT, but may get harsh on poorer recordings. Soundstage is smaller than both IM03 and IM04, but I feel that it is just the right size. Overall an excellent IEM with no obvious flaws. I'm really impressed at what AT managed to achieve with this IEM.
If you are looking for mids the IM02 is definitely the best option out of the whole ATH-IM series. I find that it even outperforms flagships that I have (UE900, W4R) when it comes to vocals. So unless I come across an IEM with even better mids, I'd wholeheartedly recommend the IM02 for mids-lovers.
Let me also agree and add my thoughts on it from the discovery thread. (also, add your post to that thread so we can get some hype for this iem ).
The bass is phenomenal on the im02, it's pretty textured, nicely bodied (but not full bodied like the xba-h3s), and has great tonal balance. The speed and attack are awesome for this iem, it has decent impact for a dual ba phone (better than the ortofons and ck10s that I have), as well as the rumble. Unfortunately, it is not up to par with the m200s or h-3s obviously, and does fall behind the dynamics that I own. Thankfully, the speed and quality of the bass makes me forget about the impact, especially since the bass is pretty clear, but still somewhat smooth and warm. Drums sound awesome with the im02 as I can hear the impact of the drums and the snare that comes from the hits. The ck10s drums sounded smoother, and lacked presence in comparison. I find the bass lacking though, and I am not disappointed since I expected that, but it does have a bit more bass than the ck10s did, thus, making the whole sound frequency more balanced.
The mids are my favorite in this IEM, it's airy and open, pretty resolving in detail, and contains the smoothness that the ck10s had, but adding a bit more of a solid feel to it (the ck10s had a liquid type of midrange, the detail was still there as words were clear as day and the vocals were prominent despite the spicy treble, but the ck10s whole spectrum was pretty thin because of that, and it felt as though the sound was lush and dry.) The voices are also somewhat forward in the im02s, just like the ck10s were. Its midrange is more lively than the ck10s, and more importantly for me, sharper and refined as the voices from the beatles, pink floyd, Maccabees, Goo Goo Dolls, Muse, The killers, and the Frays had weight to them. I remember kiteki ranting about the ck10's liquid smooth midrange messed up the bite to the guitars, drums, and string instruments. Well, the im02s remedy that and make the sounds of instruments come a bit more alive. The timbre is better with the im02s than the ck10s.
The Highs are a mixed bag unfortunately. This is the ONLY area where I dislike the im02s in regards to SQ. Both the ck10s and the im02s have a similar texture to them as I can hear the reverb on the cymbals, splash, and bite to them as the stick strikes them. The difference between the two is again, the weight of the hit. The im02s come once again to the top as they render the cymbal's tones and timbre quite beautifully. The ck10s were silibant in their highs, and the im02s unfortunately inherited that trait. People stated that the ck90pro mk2 and the im02 share the same driver, but the mk2s were not bright or silibant, yet this im02 is bright and sometimes borderline silibant to my ears. They're not silibant as the ckn70s though, which is why I enjoy these a lot more than the ckn70s.
that term is basically what I forget about the im02s, but I will describe it as the most mundane, grotesque, and most disappointing thing I've experienced with the most revised audio technica ba up to date.
It's plastic, has a weird shape, and feels fragile...I do not like that...
but on the plus side, it has removable cables, which was the sole purpose I bought this over the doppios. That and the driver flex of the bassos made me reconsider purchasing the doppios.
The fit is great (not as good as the xba-h3s, but close) and definitely not as close as the ck10s. That's all I believe.
Now awaiting my ath-re700s. Those things are for gentlemen, men! It's already heading towards tenso. I will provide an hourly update of my cold, lonely, and fragile headphones since we all care about that. (and in case people don't see it, this is a joke).
Also, the sounds from the im02s are clean, CLEAN as a whistle. The ck10s didn't sound as clean for some reason, but I think it's the tip change I made with those. The ck10s currently have the M UE900 tips.
I forgot to mention how sweet vocals were, but then again, they sounded more great than sweet to me, lol.
Originally Posted by quartertone
Tom said the IM02 is just the CK90PRO in a new exterior. Can anyone confirm this? Because joker's review of the CK90PRO, while good, isn't quite as enthusiastic as people seem to be about the IM02.
EDIT: I notice the one he reviewed wasn't the MK2. At any rate, this phone is currently rather cheaper than the IM02.
Ok, you got me actually, I just revisited amazon.co.jp
The ckpro mk2 is $135, vs $184 for the im02....
DANG IT! Last time I checked, the pro mk2 were similar in pricing to the im02s...
Originally Posted by tomscy2000
Oh, my statement wasn't at all directed toward you specifically.
There were several people who stated they disliked the IM04, and it was confusing for me to read. Indeed, the IM04 does not have the Audio-Technica "house sound" --- I may have mentioned that in one of my older posts. In a way, the IM04 is more like the FitEar TO GO! 334 in overall sound signature. There are multiple models in ATH's new lineup that stray far from their classic sound signature, and yes, indeed only the IM02 has preserved the original sound, but perhaps it's that it is a direct transplant from the previous CK90PRO MK2. Ergonomic changes may actually cause the IM02 to "sound better" than the CK90PRO MK2, but in essence, the two have the same acoustic design (same horn system, same damping, same drivers, same impedance/sensitivity).
So, while the IM04 is a different beast from the classic Audio-Technica sound, it is nevertheless a very capable IEM, and at $450 (or whatever the street price is), I'd readily take it over the Westone W40.
Bass-wise, there is more bass in more of ATH's new models than ever before, and that may be strange for some people. I actually EQ down the bass on the IM50 (which is also why I'm mulling over selling it, because I don't like to EQ and then have to change settings when I use other earphones) up to -7.5 dB! The IM04 does not need as drastic a change, but indeed it has enhanced bass. In the midrange, it actually has fairly accurate midrange, without enhanced lower treble resonances.
I believe there are four reasons as to why people dislike the im04, or rather hate them...
1. Build quality is subpar compared to the ck10s and ck100pro(people were disappointed with the whole lineup).
2. The SQ was expected to best the im03 in clarity, detail retrieval, soundstage depth and width, and have it balanced. Well, it wasn't expected, but people wanted it to be the overtaker of the ck100pro.
3. The fit, this has to be the most love it or hate it earphone when it comes to fit.
I'll wait until it's $300 or $350 like the xba-h3. I will sell all my iems and one headphone for it. Well...not my awesome iems anyways.
Edited by vlenbo - 1/20/14 at 9:41am