Pros - Unbeatable female vocal tonality , Decent detail and soundstage for a price.
Cons - Treble can be harsh with unmatched amp.
I'm not going to review this,so just put honest comment here.
Comfort is decent, Isolation is so that I can't hear my mother yell, Light bass but punchy and tight ... I don't care about bass so just put it as that ,
Detail and soundstage is decent for a price (I except a big upgrade from SHE3590 and RE400 but for IEM I guess it can't be as Dramatically as Speaker or Headphone),
Natural sound treble wise, not so Analytical as monitor headphone thought.
But what stand out the most is Vocal, especially Female Vocal! Female vocal tonality is so beautiful so that I take a big smile when I'm listening to my JPop Singer track,
I dare you to say which IEM can do vocal as beautiful as this, it even put RE400 to shame!
Oh and male vocal are quiet handsome too (but more gay-lish thought)
Just beware that treble can sound harsh with high impedance output thought.
Out of Ipod Classic is sound queit good
Out of AK100ii is sound Excellent Good
Out of Dpx1 Balanced out is sound I hope that I know it! (someday)
You can find many IEM that has better SQ than this, But for female vocal This is the Unbeatable Queen!
Pros - CLEAR! Vocals are very forward sounding. Just enough bass. Wide Soundstage. Solid Build Quality. Solid detachable Cables.
Cons - Bass might be too little for some. Not a True negative Profile. Fit might be a bit cumbersome. Price.
Disclaimer : Im no professional audiophile or a audio critic. I consider myself an enthusiasts that is trying out new equipment and also demanding of my audio products. Please go easy on me.
Songs i listen to : Mainly Pop, acoustic versions or just vocal-centric.. Muscials, sometimes classical music for studying.. EDM sometimes on good days
Introduction : So i was looking for a new earphone, an upgrade from my Klipsch R6, saw some SE215 LE's and was about to purchase them, i was worried about the fit, so as we all say 'Try before you buy'. I went to the local store to try it out. The shop representatives also passed me some Westone UM10 PRO's to have a go at it. Verdict, I found the signature on the 215s similar to my R6, nothing much to shout about, a fun sounding earpiece. The Westone's waslacking in bass but was very clear. So the representative took out these IM-02's and got me to try. PHEW was i blown away. However, i found the price a tad hefty and had to leave for my appointment anyway. Man.. was i impressed by these Earphones.
So i found a second hand pair from a fellow headfier and proceeded to purchase one promptly. Process was smooth
So on these IM-02's
Build Quality - Solid. Feels solid in your fingers. Cables have a good feeling to them and they have these memory segment where it loops over the ear. Some people dont like it, But i personally dig it. They allow me to forgot that these were in my ears after awhile. Taking the weight off these beasts.
Cable Security - They never once disconnected and never felt loose in anyway
Sound Quality - Here goes. The Clarity would hit you right off, making Sam Smith's voice sound so clear, even on songs from musicals such as Phantom, Les Miserables, Miss Saigon, voices from the cast are just so distinct. Since i'm listening to some musical songs, soundstage is wide and imaging was good, having that theatre feel all over again. I found that after since acquiring these, i felt the need to listen to more vocal and acoustic songs, just to take advantage of the clarity. The Mids are very forward sounding, and have lots of detail. Highs are clear, does not have any sibilance effect too.
About the Low ends, thats where these might lack. Don't get me wrong. These beasts do pack a punch, just that it doesn't have all that rumble that some of those EXTRA BASS earphones have. Bass doesnt really cross over to the mids, getting clean, punchy bass that performs even on some EDM track. I like to listen to hip hop songs sometimes such as 50 Cents' 'Candy Shop' and they still give me a very sweet sounding bass response. Not overwhelming and still enjoyable.
Accessories - They come with the standard 3 sizes of stock tips, plus a pair of COMPLY ISOLATION T-500 tips. There was a case too.
Verdict : stock tips were fine. nothing much to shout about. Not a real fan of foam tips and the stock tips gave me enough comfort and isolation to not want to change to the foam ones. The Case was a disappointment though. As these tips have a 'memory' cable, i don't want to squeeze them into the case and then remodel them to the contours of my ears again. I bought a Pelican 1010 to resolve this issue.
Verdict - These pair may not be for everyone, but i sincerely vocal and acoustic lovers to give them a shot. Try to find one off the bay or from your local marketplace with the right price for you and these might work out just fine.
Purchased some Spinfit's off the bay' and was curious about how they sounded.
These were how they looked like
So i was quite excited about these tips, hoping they improved my listening experience, but they dont seem to stay in the ear as well as the stock tips! Sometimes they slide out after awhile and doesnt have the isolation of the stock tips.
Pros - Colorful Sound, Great Stage, Optimal Mids[Best In Class Mids For Price!]
Cons - Can Irritate Certain People
Color! Because I feel in the mood for it. No, not really, this is just for the comparison. So, Red, & Green? Red - Not For Me. Green - Solid, & something I personally like.
Comparison is going to be the first part of this review. IM50 vs IM02
IM50 - Comfort of tips, Thick Mids(Sometimes so thick sounding it they become congestive), Shell can be hard to fit in some ears - Great Upper Bass response, Highs are light(You get the required ting, without piercing through other layers), Great Vocal Iteration
Opinion?: I feel these are a SOLID choice to anyone who's into spending $50 and being surprised. Some layers aren't as exposed as others which makes this hard to recommend to just anyone. They feel solid, look solid, and are quite durable. Replacement cables can be found, and I'd highly recommend some if you wanted to color your sound a bit. They go OK with an Amp. Personally at 10 Ohms I feel like they're being pushed enough. If you wanted to use an Amp, I'd suggest the Mayflower Electronics CMOY Portable Amp, it'll increase the camber of the Mids and slightly helps redefine the Soundstage. Great piece. I recommend getting them as a "stay at home", or "bed bound" experience as the warm sound satisfies just that.
IM02 - Comfort, A Bit Open, Bright at times, Flattened Low End Bass - Acoustic lovers dream piece, Poppy Highs, Fantastic HiFi Mid Range
Opinion?: SOLID, possibly the only way to give pure definition. If I were asked by someone if they should buy the IM50, or the IM02, I'd have trouble though... The Low End Bass may not be enough to cure what Bassheads like and isn't well rounded enough in general to be a Warmer Earphone like its younger brother, the IM50. If I were approached in need of reason to chose them over the IM50, I'd go along with this.
The IM50 is Dark, Smooth, similar to the likes of the SE215 with a bouncy, robust, almost dark chocolate like warmth, it's bombastic, and shares the kind likes of a "fun" Earphone. Vocals are sharp! A killer Mid Range sound is complimented with almost fuzzier genres, leaving Hip-Hop out of the question, it can work, but it's not the IM50s' forte. Highs are there, but are drastically flooded out in genres that need that extra boost in the Low End Bass to preform. It's a risk if you want HiFi, but a steal if you like warmth.
Now the IM02, what's different? It's an upgrade for an IM50 user, though nearing Mid Bright Sounding. Highs are pitched for this piece. Why? Highs come off beautifully, and I'd argue this heads into the HiFi level of things. Almost Monitor Earphones. Tings, shambling, riding, and withering Highs make this come of extremely dry.
As the IM50 is compared to warm, and east to melt dark chocolate. The IM02 is just like Peach Mango, a tasteful Earphone, fulfilling enough for some Warm Sound lovers, juicy, almost mouthwatering quality to anyone trying to enter High End Earphones with a $100 puch. As I said, Highs are pitched, they enter Mid Range HiFi Standards of this new era of Audio Standards. They aren't as bombing or competitive with specific genres. I wouldn't argue this is full sounding, as the Mids are covering most of the ground for these with Bass Guitar lines mainly filling up the space. Classical works moderate for these and is a certain expression point for good trial music to test their Acoustic Surroundings. Soundstage is something I could argue as accurate for this Earphone, not accurate to where band members would be standing, but accurate in coordination points to other listening devices with Open Range Soundstage. Lows are BUMPY, and really that's the only way a friend, & I could describe them. They aren't Bass Fulfillment Earphones, but give a thunderous Bass that's more like a rumbling than anything else.
Who would I recommend these to? I'd argue that someone who wants a Clean Monitor Sound might enjoy these.
Up next, Burn In:
Now I'm not gonna layer it into your skull if you don't believe, but read this otherwise.
Only Burn In with your Music Library!
I believe some people get too much placebo effect from trying to commit to a Burn In, using Pink Noise, then expecting better outcomes.
These Earphones will need a Quality Burn In nearing 100+ Hours Burn In for whatever you choose to buy.
IM50 Burn In Expectations:
Just expect a thump to the Bass.
Relaxed High Pitch Frequencies that don't slam into your Eardrums.
Thicker Bass, a bit more surrounding, but a more rapid pace.
IM02 Burn In Expectations:
Highs become more mellowed out.
Brighter Mids, detailed almost Bright Sounding Guitar Play.
Crash Rides gain a bit of detail.
Drums become Highlight Points.
Pros - Detailed and accurate sound, balance from the whole spectrum, Isolation, tight fit with over the ear design, solid build quality, removable cable
Cons - Tips provided didn't do it for me ,cable a bit on the short side, sub bass is a little behind in my opinion
Until now I was in the haunt for a great IEM with very detailed and accurate midrange as well as balanced bass and treble. I looked at some hybrids, and some of the westone options, and a guy in head-fi recommended these to me. I didn't know much about these because they aren't well known IEMs but the reviews were promising and the guy seemed pretty confident about these as he said they could outmatch very higher priced IEMs. So after a little more research I bought them and trust me, I feel that I have done the right thing.
In terms of sound, these stand out from the crowd. I have listened and owned several IEMs like IE80, se215, Ma750 and I 've got to tell you, these beat them all overall and by a lot. The sound signature of these is for some boring, but it's what suits my preferences. It's a balanced signature with a little treble spike which makes it just perfect and not boring like a complete flat frequency response. Not that am saying flat is boring but for most people it is, and this can appeal to more ears that completely flat while still maintaining the detail high and the bass quantity at a reasonable level. Lets start from the bottom. The bass is present, they are not thin sounding and lifeless as I expected them to be compared to my previous IEMs (IE80). The bass is just right for me and its enough to make you enjoy the music while not leaking through the spectrum. But as a con sub bass in not there at all in my opinion and it also lacks texture, its not as detailed as lets say the mids and treble. Maybe because is a mid-treble focused IEM, but although the bass quantity is just perfect for me the quality in not as high as the other parts of the music. Its not a big deal because its not that bad but its surely something worth noting. Moving to the mids, mids are perfect. Female and male vocals shine (especially male) and are very forward and detailed. Its obviously the focus of these, clean accurate midrange that brings your vocalists even closer to you. If you are into songs with great lyrics and not the mainstream hip-hop rap bass head genres these IEMs are perfect for you. Not that they can't handle well these genres but they don't shine as much as they do in rock ,jazz ,metal ,classic, pop. Finally the treble of these as I said before has a little spike that makes it perfect. The peak makes it more interesting that being completely flat and its what makes female vocals sound superb on these. Also the sound stage is nothing fancy. It's ok, but maybe am tough with them coming from the dynamic IE80 aka king of soundstage xD. Because of the BA nature of it and the high isolation I didn't expect an impressive wide soundstage, but it was better than I expected so its a plus. Overall I feel ok with my purchase because they do well what they are supposed to do well, accurate mids and interesting treble with little bass overall.
The comfort of these is a lot better than I expected, because they are on the big side but they are indeed very comfy. As I mentioned earlier the included tips didn't work for me, but they never do in any IEM. Currently I am using comply foam tips the comfort plus ones and they work perfectly fine. The over the ear design of the cable makes them fit snugly and don't fall of at all. I have used them in the gym with no problems with the fit and comfort. To my ears with the comply tips they are comfortable for a good one and a half hours of use, which is more than any other IEM I have used in the past. So comfort wise they are depended on the tips. Design wise they are comfortable but having the wrong tips will of course make them super uncombable like any IEM.
The cable on these is very good for a stock cable of a 150$ IEM. Its rock solid, no micro phonics, its removable, gold plated. Can't say much about it, it's a decent cable never had problems with it but it's on the shirt side which for some might be a problem, but because it's removable it won't be a big issue.
The isolation of these is superb. It's not the best I have ever encountered because the shure se line is very well known for their extreme isolation and I have used a shure IEM for a long time. But these don't fall short and keep their ground on the isolation side. Because of the BA drivers the isolation levels are more that your average Dynamic driver IEM and for me it's a plus. I am using these in the gym or in the army and the isolation does the job for these situations. Not the best but definitely very high isolation levels.
The accessories is not something impressive not extreme. Just a hard carry case and some tips. Note that I don't use the case because its kind of bulky so I rather use the shure se215 case.
I used these most of the time straight out of my Lg g3 and ipod touch and out of the Fiio E17 (Alpen 2). Haven't noticed an extreme change and I don't think these need a lot of power rather that a good dac to provide them with the clearest signal. Because they have big resistance changes with different frequencies you should be careful about the amp you will use but my knowledge doesn't help me go further because I don't know what to recommend as far as amps go.
I am very pleased with these IEMs as they do their job right and are simplistic and out of the box ready for you to enjoy your music at great detail. If you have any questions or disagrees with me tell me in the comments or message me because I wanna share my opinions with anyone interested. Cheers
INTRODUCTION After recently purchasing a pair of Sony MDR-XB70AP's (see next review), I was greatly disappointed by the terrible overall sound quality on the "Extra Bass" earbuds. I guess it should have occurred to me that earbuds named and marketed as "Extra Bass" would be pretty bad, but I fell into a beginner's trap and was suckered into the earbud's aesthetics. Undeterred, I sought to find a pair of better earbuds, a search which quickly introduced me to the world of the audiophile. I don't want to turn this into a tl;dr post, so if you want to know more about how I actually got to the ATH-IM02, see the Miscellaneous Things section. Before moving on, a quick shoutout to Stereo Singapore for letting me audition 5 IEMs for over 2 hours.
Overall, the packaging on the ATH-IM02 is what you would (and should) expect on a pair of IEMs in the 200-300 dollar range. A smooth black box with precision cut foam inspires confidence, and helps to boost the overall packaging quality past some competitors. In particular, I like that the earbuds are not placed in a simple clear-plastic holder and prominently displayed in a cut-out on the front of the box. However, I am a bit of a stickler for details, so I'm not sure how applicable my comments are in this regard.
With regards to the included "value-added" items, you get a solid hard-case in which to carry your IEMs. Audio Technica's included box is a good compromise between the soft top Shure carrying case and the ABS orange plastic Westone "vault". It adds good protection without looking over the top in terms of demonstrating its ruggedness. 3 sets of silicone tips and a single set of Comply T500 tips are included. This is an area that could honestly have been improved. The inclusion of a few more tips and a triple-flange would have made for a much nicer fitting package. However, it's also good to know that most of the money I paid went into actual hardware. So, reader gets to decide on this issue.
The IM02 has a solid build quality. With a clear plastic housing, relatively comfortable memory wire, and decent "heft", it doesn't cause much doubt in terms of durability. In addition, the use of a new proprietary 2 pin cable will help to lessen the impact of cable failure. The jack is well built and features good stress relief. However, the one gripe that one could have is the relatively large size of the IEMs. With larger ears, the IM02 should be no problem. However, with smaller ears, the IM02 might go from leaning towards a negative profile to sticking out of the ear slightly. In comparison, the fit isn't as good as the Shure Tru-Fit design used by Shure IEMs. Both fits still lose solidly to Westone's truly negative-profile IEM design. That said, with a bit of tuning, most users should be able to achieve a good seal.
Sound quality is excellent. As has been said in many past reviews, the ATH-IM02 sounds well beyond its price point. To start, the bass is solid. It is tight and punchy, and is capped at a very good level. In Espoir by Darius, the IM02's demonstrate their ability to start the song with clear, controlled "punches" of upper bass, before gradually transitioning to a slow decay sub bass. For bass-heads though, the IM02 might spell disaster, as the quantity of bass is not particularly generous. For me, it's great that there's a tight leash on the bass. But for others, this might be a deal-breaker.
To test the mids, I utilized one of my all-time favorites, Africa by Toto. For me, the ability for a pair of IEMs to play this song can be a deal breaker/maker. Testing revealed forward mids that were rich and full. While definitely not the smoothest nor warmest sound out there, the IM02 makes its stamp on the mids through a very analytical interpretation of the pieces it is tasked with playing. I really appreciate the ability to hear one of the band members laugh softly at the 2-3 seconds into the song. That to me is simply worthy of commendation.
The trebles are sparkly/bright, but can be somewhat harsh. This is one of the things that the IM02 is not forgiving about. Poor file quality will spell certain doom, and imperfections will be handled with the same clarity that otherwise makes the IM02 sound so great.
FINAL THOUGHTS This is a truly great pair of IEMs. At the current price, you can enjoy amazing clarity and rich sounding music through dual balanced armature drivers. I have to commend Audio Technica on being brave enough to not dumb down the clarity in hopes of creating a more forgiving sound that would appeal to a wider audience at this price range. As stated before though, if you are a bass head or are looking for a more relaxed sound, this might be the wrong pair of IEMs for you.
MISCELLANEOUS THINGS I started out my search with the W10s, UM Pro10s, SE 215s, and SE 315s in mind. However, after 2+ hours of auditioning, I was thoroughly convinced that the IM02 was the winner at the pricepoint given. To start, the W10s are just too mild. Westone didn't want to alienate casual listeners, so the earbuds were tuned to be a little more forgiving. However, they are in many ways, far too forgiving and a little soft too. The UM Pro 10s just sounded wrong. An odd emphasis on mid-high notes and a lack of bass make for a floaty sound that just didn't feel right. The SE215s were bassy and warm. However, they had even less clarity than the W10s and were quite soft. In comparison, the SE 315s were much louder, but lacked a clarity that would warrant the 315 dollar price tag. After trying out the IM02, I believe I had found a clear winner out of these few "entry level" earbuds.
Pros - Detailed treble, mid and bass. Great build quality. Replaceable cable. Very high isolating. Comes with hard carry case.
Cons - Fit a bit awkward until you get used to it. Not enough bass for a basshead.
Comfort & Fit
First thing to note, these earphones use balanced armature drivers rather than dynamic. Because of this getting a good seal is critical for the sound. Without a proper seal they sound tinny with no bass.
Straight out of the box the fit is awkward as you have to sit there fiddling with the memory wire that sits around the ear so that it sits firmly. Once the memory wire is shaped for your ear the fit becomes much easier and just a matter of sitting the cable over your ear and getting a good seal. I used the medium size silicone tips. The comply tips that come with it suck and ruin the sound. (Just my experience).
The build quality is excellent. The cable is strong, with a really good strain relief on the end where the jack is. The cables are detachable from the ear pieces and sit very securely in the socket. So secure that quite a bit of effort is required to take them out. You can be assured that the plugs will not wiggle around at all when you are wearing the earphones. The ear pieces themselves are very solid too. The cables are reasonably thick and finally the little tie-up thingie that comes up from the Y split doesn't press down on the cables it sits perfectly between them so it won't damage the cables like Hifiman RE-400.
When attaching the cables to the ear pieces you get a very tactile click to let you know it's locked into place.
The included hard carry case is extremely solid and feels like it could protect the earphones from a high amount of force.
The overall sound signature of the IM02 is quite balanced with a hint of warmth and light bass.
Highs are detailed and apparent, but never sibilant. I wouldn't call them overly smooth or rolled-off either, they are just a strike in between. Compared to the RE-400, the highs of the IM02 sound clearer and less veiled to me, which is to be expected as the RE-400 is warmer than the IM02. The treble extension did catch me by surprise. I tested the IM02 side by side with the Apple EarPods and the highs of the IM02 go so much further. Listening to Jetpacks Was Yes! by Periphery with the IM02 and the EarPods it became very apparent that the high vocals sound much "lower" on the EarPods, as if the person is singing with a deeper voice. Listening to a vocal heavy song will be very satisfying with IM02 as you will be able to hear the full extension of vocals that soar high.
Mids of the IM02 are clear. Listening to some Dream Theater to test the vocal strength of the IM02, I decided that the mids are definitely less warm than those on the RE-400, and clearer. Keep in mind that the IM02 are fairly neutral, but leaning on the side of warmth. The vocals of James LaBrie sounded very clear and definitely have some of the "intimate" sound of a smooth mid-centric earphone/headphone.
Bass sounds tight and punchy to me. Personally, I can't comment too much on bass, as I usually don't care about bass and I don't go out of my way to hear how the bass sounds. But overall it sounds tight and punchy to me, and definitely not boomy. Without a proper seal the bass is nonexistent.
Separation of these is quite great, and definitely better separating than the RE-400, which is no surprise as these are more neutral and less smooth than RE-400. The vocals are usually quite easily discernible from other mid-region elements of a song with the IM02. With the EarPods I find that vocals often sound like they are "combined" with the other mid-region sound in a song and this causes the vocals to sound pretty noisy. With the RE-400 this was still the case to a much lesser extent due to their warmer sound, but the separation on those was quite good. With the IM02 however the separation is definitely better than the RE-400 and now most vocals sound detached from the others instruments and never sound like they are "fused" to the other instruments.
For an average price of $200, these are definitely an excellent value. Sound quality is a noticeable step up from the RE-400, and build quality of these earphones is probably the best in the price range. (SE series from Shure use more impressive build materials but are renowned for point failures).