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Audio-Technia ATHIM03 SonicPro In-Ear Monitor Headphones When Audio-Technica engineers...

Audio Technica ATH-IM03 SonicPro Balanced In-Ear Monitor Headphones

Rating:
4.75/5,
  • Audio-Technia ATHIM03 SonicPro In-Ear Monitor Headphones When Audio-Technica engineers developed the new SonicPro in-ear monitor (IM) headphones, they centered the design around the three most important components of a superb listening experience: 1) Sound, 2) Fit and 3) Functionality. With that in mind, the ATH-IM03 in ear monitor headphones were born. The complex tuning circuitry housed within the triple balanced armature drivers divides and distributes your audio signal for an ideal, accurate sound reproduction that is so pure you have to hear it to believe it. And the innovation doesn’t stop there – the headphones were specially designed to fit and seal within the ear for the ultimate in-ear monitoring. Each pair comes equipped with three sizes of silicone earpieces (S/M/L) and Comply foam earpieces (M) for a customized fit. Detachable cables with formable wire and a carrying case add additional convenience and functionality to the headphones, allowing you to easily take them wherever life takes you. Features & Specifications Tuning circuitry in the exclusive triple balanced armature drivers divides and distributes audio signal for an ideal, accurate sound reproductionSpecially designed to fit and seal within the user’s ear for ultimate in-ear monitoringDetachable cables with formable wire improves fit and adds convenienceType: Triplel Balanced Armature DriverFrequency Response: 18 - 18,000 HzMaximum Input Power: 3 mWWeight: 8 gCable: Detachable 1.2 m, Y-typeConnector: 3.5 mm (1/8") gold-plated stereo mini-plug, L-typeAccessories Included: Case, silicone earpieces (S/M/L), Comply foam earpieces (M)

Recent Reviews

  1. suman134
    A sidekick to ER-4P, Gentle and skillful.
    Written by suman134
    Published Aug 1, 2018
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Fantastic Balance, Quality bass, Beautiful mid range with exceptional layering and instrument placement, extended and gentle highs, Outstanding Sonicality, Stage, Build.
    Cons - Cable guides, can be prone to a bit of sibilance.
    INTRO:-

    This, most of us have heard of, was released back in 2013, it didn’t made much waves, neither got plenty of reviews or had loads of people talking about them. The one that caught the most attention from this Sonic Pro line-up was the ATH-im02. Even though the IM03 is more capable, no one really bothered about these as they were not available to reviewers, and when I reached Audio Tehnica, Guess what, they were not interested.

    Housing 3BAs (one for bass, mid and highs, each) is not a small thing from a power house like Audio Technica.

    So, I bought one, after 5 years, who in their right mind can deny a very good deal on an earphone which can be compared to the ER-4P, yes, succeeding the ath-ck100 is not a small thing on its own.

    I will compare this with other earphones Like the 64audio U3 and ER-4P. Fire in any questions you have.

    P.S. :- This is not a paid review, I bought the ATH-IM03, I am just warming up before I start writing the review of the Empire ears Bravado and some more.

    IMG_20180726_162728.jpg

    ACCESSORIES, AND MISCELLANEOUS:-

    There aren't many accessories to boast about there, a small carry pouch, 3 pairs of rubber tips and a pair of Comply tips.

    The stock tips are not exactly good, using a longer tip really brings the best out of this earphone.

    The cable guides too are not exactly easy to handle. But once molded, the fit is really nicely and isolation is very good. Can't give the ER-4P run for its money but man, its good.

    The build is totally plastic, but the shape of the Shell is nice, its doesn't hurt any part of the ear and is fairly comfortable.

    SOUND QUALITY:-

    Bass:-

    Bass is what one should expect from a mid tier BA based earphone, aiming for accuracy and precision, instead of going for fun and engaging presentation

    The bass quantity is just over what one can consider linear, thank fully its not as lean or as dry as the ER-4P and has slightly better details. The 03 moves slightly more air and has equally good depth, sub-bass has good amount of presence when compared to other flat sounding earphones and the mid bass is exceptionally controlled. Upper bass is not a problem either. It has a hair slower decay than the ER-4P, making the 03 sound juicier. It moves a bit of air, slam is acceptable too. If you are not a person who likes accuracy and details, please stay away, you will be heavily disappointed.

    Mid Range:-

    Its sonic abilities are uncovered here and man its mesmerizing, Its doesn’t sound as detailed as the ER-4P because the ER-4P has a more brighter and forwarded presentation. Let it be instrument placement, accuracy, layering, positioning, the 03 is not behind in anything. And Sonically, the IM03 is better than ER-4P. Till date ER-4P is my favourite earphone, but the IM03 is very very engaging with its sonic qualities. I would to give some more emphasis on layering, its exceptionally good, very accurate and precise.

    Vocals and instruments are accurate with natural tonality and the details is slightly better than the 64audio U3. U3 has more forward presentation and is slightly more engaging in comparison.

    When it comes to stage, its not very tall but has fantastic width and depth. Its more like a reverse cone. Big for an earphone irrespective of its innards and pretty big for BA based earphone.

    Highs:-

    It lacks energy in comparison but has equally good extension and details. You will not miss anything, but you might have to pay slightly more attention to it. There are no spikes one has to worry about but still it can be slightly sibilant.

    Transaction from upper mids to lower treble is not exactly flaw less, there is small dip and it gets more evident when compared to the ER-4P.

    It’s the highs where the IM-03 loses points. It needs a bit more refinement in this area, but still can hold its own with very precise layering and details with outstanding sonic abilities.

    IMG_20180726_162639.jpg

    IMG_20180726_162832.jpg

    IMG_20180726_162610.jpg

    Conclusion:-

    No I will not recommend anyone to buy this, cuz (I am selfish and) I don’t think many will like to buy something which is 5 years old. But if you get a chance to listen to this pair of earphone, don’t miss it.

    Who knows you might fall in love with its accuracy, precision and sonicality.

    I hope you guys liked it. Enjoy, Cheers.
  2. PinkyPowers
    The IEM Counterpart to the HD600 - A Review of the ATH-IM03
    Written by PinkyPowers
    Published Mar 20, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Controlled, textured bass, rich, natural mids, airy, easy treble
    Cons - Can be sibilant without the right tips. Needs a bit of juice. Picky of source
    IM03CayinN5.jpg

    ::The Review::
    The Audio Technica IM03 was my first multi-driver earphone. The Klipsch X7i delivered a satisfying sound, but I sought a less microphonic cable arrangement. Behind-the-ear wrap seemed likely to solve this. Plus, I admit to some curiosity as to the sonic benefit three Balanced Armatures might deliver.

    I first bought the IM03 almost a year ago, now. Two months shy, actually. I say “first bought” because I returned the first pair. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me slow this down and tell you a story…

    AK120iiIM03.jpg

    When the IM03 arrived, it was marvelous to behold. While significantly bigger than the Klipsch, it fit flush with my ear. I fretted over tips for a time. This was unsurprising. I considered myself a veteran of tip rolling, since I did much of that with both the Klipsch R6m and X7i. The stock tips for the IM03 were down-right painful, and did not seal well. If I remember correctly, I had prepared for this and ordered the Sony Hybrid tips at the same time as the ATH. They arrived a day or two later, since Amazon didn’t stock them.

    The Hybrids made the IM03 quite comfortable. As comfortable as the cable would allow (We’ll get to that later). By this time I was already using the Dragonfly DAC with my Galaxy S4. With proper amplification and a capable DAC, the sound quality of this earphone overwhelmed me. The layering and depth is outstanding, the timbre wholly superior to the X7i. Perhaps the IM03 has a little less detail, or maybe it just seems that way because it’s so much warmer and bassier. Audio Technica is the first headphone that gave me an understanding of what “air” meant in audio. The IM03 has a great sense of it, despite all the warmth and bass. I call them my Live Headphones, because they make you feel like you’re hearing the music live in concert. The tuning is spot on for this.

    IM03SilverX5.jpg

    All was not perfect in the Garden of Auditory Bliss, however. A snake did lurk, with a protracted Sssss. The IM03 produces sibilance on some music. Most of my library was free of this hateful noise, yet albums with a natural brightness to them (Art Pop, Master of Puppets, etc…) distorted into an unlistenable mess. Vocals, Cymbals, all turned grotesque at a certain pitch.

    It took weeks for this annoyance to become a source of depression for me, which climaxed when I bought my first DAP, the FiiO X3ii. On this machine, the IM03 sounds like the lusty cries of a deranged moose… underwater, and half drowned. By that I mean it sounds really, really bad. The Klipsch X7i works beautifully with the X3, but not my favorite earphones? What the F?! This, on top of that god-awful sibilance? No. Just… no. I loved these IEMs, but now I also hated them a little.

    IM03X7.jpg

    A whole day before the cutoff date, I decided to return the IM03 to Amazon, ordering a used set of IM04s to replace it.

    This solved one of my problems. The IM04 sounds fantastic on the X3ii. Also, most of the sibilance was gone. But not all. Not yet. A few days into owning the IM04, I ordered a box of JVC Spiral Dots, because when you’re knee-deep in the IEM game you’re always buying new tips with which to experiment. It’s a mini-game one must play or lose the war-proper.

    JVC’s Spiral Dots changed everything for me. I continue to use them with all my upgrades, including my top of the line earphone, the JH Audio Angie. That pesky sibilance fled like vermin escaping the fumes of an overly zealous pest-control specialist. Spiral Dots seal better, and stay secured in-ear. The wide bore opens up the sound in a remarkable way, expanding the soundstage and breathing air into the recording.

    The following month is a tumultuous affair, in which I upgrade DAPs to the FiiO X5 Classic, discover the X5>IM04 pairing too dark, leading to a return of the IM04, yet again, just before cutoff date, culminating in Pinky surviving two Amazon Assassins sent to neutralize an especially troublesome customer. For an in-depth look at this weird ride, read my X3 and X5 reviews.

    My heart could not deny the IM03 possessed the perfect tonal signature. It was warm and bass-y like the 04, but there was enough treble to infuse the sound with air and space. I missed it something awful. With the Spiral Dots in my arsenal, I thought just maybe I could tame these magnificent IEMs.

    So I reordered the IM03, this time opting for a used pair. Perhaps the very ones I returned. Wouldn’t that be cool?

    IM03X5.jpg

    All my hopes and dreams came true. The 03 made a tremendous pairing with the X5 Classic, and the JVC tips smoothed out those dangerous frequencies. This system is special to me. Even though I’ve moved on to bigger and more expensive things, I can’t imagine selling the X5>IM03 package. If a wrathful rhino ruined my AK120ii>Angie pairing, I would still have a miraculous system on the go. What a ******* shame they don’t see more use. I ought to be punished. Allow me to disrobe.

    You may have misgivings over whether or not the IM03 will synergize with your audio source. And you should. It’s not that they are obsessively picky. They aren’t. But when they find a source they dislike, these in-ears can sound vile. As I understand it, the issue lies with the output impedance of the device you’re plugging into. You want nice low impedance. If it’s too high, the IEMs sound dark, mucky and an all-around mess.

    However, you needn’t fear too much. Of all the devices I’ve tried, very few had a problem. The X5 Classic works perfectly. The X7 sounds every bit the upgrade you’d expect. The Cayin N5 was a marriage made in heaven. The AudioQuest Dragonfly was how I first fell in love with the IM03 in the beginning. Nothing I’ve yet tested quite reveals their potential like the Astell&Kern AK120ii. Even the Shanling M2, with its relatively high output impedance, rendered a splendid melody. Angie didn’t fare so well, but Audio Technica did.

    IM03SilverShanlingM2.jpg

    Only a few instances and pairings failed to please me. My old desktop amp, the Maverick Audio TubeMagic D1 Plus was altogether too much for these IEMs. Yet my current desktop unit, the Audio-GD NFB-28, is apparently civilized enough for the 03.

    One other area of concern with sourcing the IM03 is amperage. They don’t need much power to get loud, but they have been known to sound dull when driven by smartphones. I’ve tested this myself. From my Galaxy S6 they lose a lot of the dynamics that give them so much of their personality. From a DAP, really any dedicated source device, they have enough power to sound full and alive. By no means do you need a secondary amp to power these, not if you’ve got even a lower-midrange player.

    I have nothing against memory wire, but its implementation here is horrendous. It’s too thick, too heavy, and that bulb at the end causes more problems than it solves. It’s uncomfortable and awkward. I fought with it for two months, trying to figure the trick to it. Finally I just bought a cheap replacement cable from China, which was a disgrace to the IM03. I could hear them weeping, alone and disused. So recently I built my own Silver Plated OCC Litz for my dear backup IEMs.

    IM03SilverCase.jpg

    Yes, I’ve moved on to top-tier headphones. And yes, they are indeed better than the IM03. But let me tell you, each and every time I put them back in, I do not pine for the nicer earphones. The sound from the IM03 is so RIGHT my whole body relaxes into it and I want to just listen for hours. For me, there is a kind of perfection in them. They remain to this day the incorruptible paradigm of the signature I look for in audio equipment.

    -~::Pinky_Powers::~-

    IM03AK120ii.jpg
      twister6, B9Scrambler and hqssui like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. jon parker
      The IM03 I find very good for actual studio work, editing and so forth BUT the only tips that I found that made musical
      were the comply foam
      jon parker, Jan 20, 2017
    3. jon parker
      By that, I mean they are quite flat and neutral. They are not very musical !
      jon parker, Jan 21, 2017
    4. PinkyPowers
      If you find tips that give you a good seal, then the IM03 is very musical. When the seal is weak, the bass goes away, and they will sound rather dry and thin.
      PinkyPowers, Jan 28, 2017

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