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- 4.00 star(s) 7 ratings
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Magaosi K3 HD
- 4.00 star(s)
Pros: Small size and ergonomic shape that provides a very high comfort.
- Presentation and contents: transport box, two cables, multiple tips.
- Filters to modify the sound.
- Presentation and contents: transport box, two cables, multiple tips.
- Filters to modify the sound.
Cons: The sound differences using one filter or another are big. An intermediate filter would have been ideal.
- Compared to other IEMs of similar price, they are harder to move.
- Compared to other IEMs of similar price, they are harder to move.
Magaosi is another well-known brand located in China. It has multiple series covering a wide variety of prices. One of the most famous series is the K. The model I currently present belongs to it, is the K3 HD, very comfortable and small IEMs, which have a simple hybrid architecture: 1 DD + 1 BA.
The K3 HD start the price range above $100 and this implies a more careful presentation. In this sense Magaosi does not disappoint and includes a meticulous presentation, with quality elements.
- Type of Drivers: 1 Dynamic Driver + 1 Balanced Armature
- Frequency Response: 20Hz - 22kHz
- Sensitivity: 99dB
- Impedance: 32Ω
- Channel Difference: ≤2dB
- Maximum Input Power: 10mW
- Cable length: 120cm±5cm
- Jack connector: 3.5mm gold plated
- Capsule Connection Type: MMCX
The Magaosi K3 HD come in a large box, wrapped in a cardboard sleeve, white background. On its main side there is a photo of the outer part of the capsules, among other texts. The back shows an exploded view of the inside of the IEMS, as well as their features, specifications and content, both in English and Chinese. Once the cover is removed, a dark box is shown, which can be opened like a book. After doing so, it can be seen that the contents are protected by a transparent, rigid plastic lid. With the help of a handle located at the top, the protector can be removed, exposing a large block of foam protector. In it, are embedded the capsules, 3 pairs of foam tips (SxMxL), a pair of silicone tips (M), with dark channel and translucent exterior. Finally, there is a large transport box, located at the bottom. If the block is removed, the instruction leaflet can be accessed.
The contents do not end here, as the other accessories are included in the excellent zipper cover:
- Two MMCX cables, one copper, braided and the other silver plated, plain.
- Three pairs of red core and dark outer silicone tips, sizes SxMxL
- Two black threaded filters.
The capsules are fitted with large translucent tips and Silver filters.
The presentation is well taken care of, the protection is excellent, as well as the transport box, one of the best I could see in this price range.
It is a good detail to incorporate two cables, but I would have preferred only one of better quality.
Construction and Design
The capsules are made entirely of aluminium of great hardness and minimum weight. There is not much more information about the type of dynamic driver used, as well as the BA driver. What you can see in the exploded view is that the BA driver is located close to the nozzle. This is something that can be seen with the naked eye, when the filters are removed. These filters are threaded. Each pair is a different color: silver and black. Each provides a different pitch, where the differences are expressed in a greater emphasis between 1000Hz and 10,000Hz, for the black filter.
The shape of the capsules is oval and quite flat. The MMCX connection is located at the top. Inside another oval, marked on the outside of the capsule, is the brand. On the inside, the name of the model is written in white letters. The shape of the capsule is not completely regular, as in the area near the nozzles, the edge is flattened to even improve comfort. Close to that edge, on the outside face, there are two small holes. The nozzles are wide (5.8mm) and long (6.8mm approx).
The surface of the capsules is textured, providing a softer and more pleasant contact.
The design looks simple and not unlike other models. But it has several details that make it more original and, above all, more comfortable. In this sense, its size, thickness and weight favor this virtue.
Adjustment and Ergonomics
As I have already pointed out in the previous section, the adjustment is very good. The ergonomics of the K3 HD is one of the strong points of this model. I could even say, what by their reduced thickness, could be used to sleep, as they protrude very little from the ears.
The good ergonomics also favors the use of multiple tips. I have been able to use them with tri-flange, simple silicone and foam tips, and all of them offer an excellent and pleasant fit. But, as I've been saying in the last reviews, I'm using the tri-flange tips, for sound immersion and for greater isolation. Although it is true that it is not the most comfortable option for long listening.
If you are looking for IEMS, prioritizing fit, ergonomics and comfort, the K3 HD are one of the best options within this price range.
The profile of the Magaosi K3 HD is in V. But thanks to their interchangeable nozzles, which act as filters, the frequency response can be modified. This modification is noticeable between 1kHz and 10Khz.
With the Silver filters, the tendency is to a V, but with the highest media more neutral. With them, the K3 HD, are warm, with a greater predominance of the lower zone. They also have a point of greater darkness, although they are more balanced and, in my opinion, pleasant. With the black filters, there is a very clear gain, which can reach up to 6dB, between 4kHz and 5Khz. In my opinion, this filter takes the mid zone out of control, making it more aggressive, too much for my taste.
The ideal would have been a filter just in the middle, so the balance would have been much better.
If one isolates oneself mentally, the lower zone is perceived in the same way with both filters, since their response is the same. The lower zone has a clear predominance, from its middle part onwards. However, the sub-bass decays quite rapidly below 50Hz. This point limits the extension of the range, but also prevents hearing fatigue, allowing longer use. Be that as it may, the hit of the mid-bass makes us forget this relative deficiency, since its power is perceived, and enjoyed, with clarity. In terms of resolution, detail, speed and definition, the K3 HD are simply good, but not much further. This feature provides a feeling of even greater warmth, as it is also accompanied by some darkness. To a great extent, all these aspects, condition a good part of the sound of the K3 HD. At first, this sound polarization can cause some surprise, even something negative, if you don't expect it. But with the passing of time, it's easy to get carried away by the pleasant mist of the low notes, while tasting the rest of the details of the other ranges.
In short, the Magaosi K3 HD, have a bass that are appreciated with the passage of time, more, even, in long sessions, without technically being the best in the range. But they have a color and a texture that makes them quite attractive.
With the black filters, the K3 HD are shot in high mids. Listening, for my personal taste, becomes less comfortable, as the greater presence in this sensitive area, crisps the sound. It is true that there is greater brightness, clarity, even detail. But the use of this filter accentuates too much the character in V of the K3 HD, losing part of its attractiveness. I must say that this is a personal appreciation based on my own tastes, here I am not being objective.
With the silver filters, the mids are somewhat more trimmed than desirable, but I find them much more balanced, within the warm profile of the whole. It is true that the profile is still in V, but now the tendency shifts to the lower part, but in a more relaxed way, without the imbalance is perceived as blatant.
Thus, the voices have a rather soft and pleasant timbre, more natural and, above all, less forced, more analogical and exciting. Darkness is also revealed, but not as a lack of transparency, but as that absence of final brightness, due to the cut that these filters make. It is absolutely clear that there are no wheezing or hissing voices.
Another curiosity of the K3 HD is that despite their V-character, the voices are not embedded, quite the opposite. They're not in the foreground, but they're perceived closer than farther away. This is due to the fact that the bass has that foggy character, which floods the sound in a wide way, with a depth that, rather than muddying the voices, accompanies them and sometimes pushes them forward, especially the masculine ones. I think that on this occasion, the positioning of the drivers has an influence on this particularity.
Instruments do not have the same treatment as voices and it is true that they are perceived more or less close, depending on their main tone. For example, guitars have a tendency to sound a little farther away than voices, as they strike around the gain valley.
The K3 HD, with black filters, offer their greatest gain around 5kHz. This incidence is very noticeable and can be somewhat irritating to some listeners. The sound with them is really crunchy, there's no doubt about that, but also somewhat focused. With the silver filters, the peak is totally filed, starting the highs in a more relaxed way, but also trimmed (the difference is more than 5dB). Black filters offer more treble extension, although their tendency is downward. But as they start from a higher gain, the extension is kept above the sound offered with the silver filters. When the highs reach 10kHz, the curve of both filters comes together.
Again, the choice of filter will depend on our tastes. But the differences in this range are still large. A third intermediate filter, more neutral, would have balanced so much polarization in both profiles.
The lower zone of the K3 HD causes a liquid sensation, which floods the sound, expanding it in width, as if it were a dark background. On that mantle, navigates the rest of frequencies, sometimes very superficially, others clearly above. Filters help to make that difference.
In this way, the scene is perceived as moderately wide, but not very high or deep, which limits its definitive expansion. The scene sensation improves with a more powerful font. It follows that the K3 HD, require some extra power, to provide an improved response.
As it could not be otherwise, the clarity, separation, resolution and level of detail, increase as you raise frequencies. It is when entering the BA territory that these parameters take off, standing out against the fluid background. Even so, the details remain infected by the persistent warmth of the dark magma, which weaves all the sound of the K3 HD, especially with the silver filters. But it is strangely contagious, to perceive as the definition of the nuances, jumps over the patina of the lows, offering an almost remarkable level.
Reference classic hybrid model. The profile of the DN-1000 is also warm, but with more power in the lower zone, especially in the sub-bass, generating greater depth in the sound. The definition in that band is greater, as is its precision, in contrast to the foggy bass of the Magaosi.
The tone of the voices is very similar, with the silver filters. Although they still seem a little darker and more veiled in the DN-1000. While in the K3 HD, they have more sparkle and clarity, which makes them feel closer and more intimate, especially the female voices.
The upper zone of both IEMs has a similar extension, but the greater presence of the initial part, in the K3 HD, gives the sound more detail, life and intelligibility. Although the Dunu seem to have a better balance, despite their comparative shortcomings, as they do not sound in V as the Magaosi.
The greater depth of the DN-1000 provides more sound planes, giving it greater height and three-dimensionality. At the level of separation, for the same reason, you can see more resolution in the Dunu. But there is an extra brightness in the K3 HD, which provides more nuances than in the Dunu.
Dunu are heavier in the ear. Magaosi require more power to match volumes.
The Anew U1 are single DD. Their profile is also in moderated V. The mids are somewhat irregular, as you can see in their graph. However, they have, in general, quite good definition. Starting with its lower zone, it has greater authority, resolution, level of detail and more sub-bass presence. Its texture is also better, more realistic, without that foggy feeling. The Anew are perceived lighter, if that glimpse of darkness that the K3 HD do show. Male voices are more vivid and dynamic, too. Although the K3 HD, they present them with greater warmth and a thicker body, feeling thinner in the U1. At the level of detail, above, is when the Magaosi win the game to the Anew, offering more micro details and nuances. Although, later, the highest zone is very similar.
In scene and separation, given the improved clarity in the Anew, it is perceived greater than in the Magaosi.
The Anew U1 is easier to move than the Magaosi K3 HD. The U1 have larger and less comfortable capsules than the K3 HD, whose ergonomics and comfort are very difficult to beat.
The Magaosi K3 HD are the IEMs that have the shape, size and ergonomics that many people claim: they are small, quite flat, the fit is almost excellent, their weight is very light and their touch is pleasant. You can also choose between three bright colours: grey, blue and orange. The presentation and accessories are above their price, providing one of the most appropriate transport boxes I have seen. Its sound is perfect for those who want to buy their first IEMs, in this price range: They have a V profile whose emphasis can be modified, thanks to its filters. In this way, the K3 HD, can be adapted to personal taste. The basses are powerful and surprising. Their sound is warm, pleasant, with a point of darkness, but detailed and with a good level of definition and nuances. But its best feature is that its sound becomes more revealing the more you use it.
Sources Used During the Analysis
- Burson Audio Playmate
- Fiio Q1
- Sabaj DA3
- F.Audio XS03
- Construction and Design: 90
- Adjustment/Ergonomics: 91
- Accessories: 85
- Bass: 80
- Mids: 75
- Treble: 75
- Separation: 75
- Soundstage: 70
- Quality/Price: 80
You can read the full review in Spanish here:
- 4.00 star(s)
Pros: Nice packaging, Sturdy housings, Great fit, Tuning Options, Good Hybrid Sound.
Cons: Lack of refinement, Can sound a bit too bright on some recording, Silver Cable has a memory cable issue.
I am a simple person that is after a few goals. There is one goal in particular that makes my heart race. The Ultimate Sound in Portable Audio. I will keep hunting for it. It seems like an endless goal. Although that's the fun of it. The journey.
Penon Audio and Head Pie gave me a chance to review the K3 HD. Thanks to the both of you.
Not worried about this at all. These IEMs are very durable. The shell is made out of metal. It has a neat capital A that looks like a Radio Tower on both shells. The nozzle is angled pretty well. There are two cables. The normal Gun Metal Black Cable and the High Quality Silver Cable. I like the Gun Metal Cable. It looks very stylish. The Silver Cable looks even better. The problem is that the Silver Cable has a memory cable issue. It tends to curl up after properly wrapping it up a few times. Not a good thing at all. I hope that gets fixed if Magaosi is planning to do a revision or a Flagship Model.
· K3 HD
· Leather Clam Case
· MMCX cable (L-shaped plug)
· MMCX silver-plated upgrade cable (straight plug)
· Tuning Filters (Silver and Gunmetal)
· Silicone Eartips (S/M/L)
· Foam Eartips (S/M/L)
Stratovarius – Abyss (FLAC 16/44) (UPPER MIDS/TREBLE)
Stratovarius - Dreamscape (FLAC 16/44) (UPPER MIDS/TREBLE)
Radical Face – Secrets (Cellar Door) (FLAC 24/96) (MIDS)
Razihel & Aero Chord – Titans (MP3 320 KBPS 44.1 KHZ) (BASS & LOWER TREBLE)
BASS: After careful listen. I’ve noticed that the K3 HD has more bass presence and slower decay with the Silver Filters than the Gunmetal Filters. The Gunmetal Filters have more agile bass. Wasting almost no time transitioning to other bass tones. This resulted in a less present bass for the Gunmetal Filters. There is however more bass impact with the Gunmetal Filters. Probably due to the lower sub bass and heightened mid bass. As a result. The bass impact sounds more hammer like with the Gunmetal Filters and more cushioned impact with the Silver Filters.
MIDS: Now because of the varied effects of filters. The mids take on a rather semi typical approach on their response of the implications of the bass from both filters. The Silver filters have less present mids. Basically recessed. The vocals take a bit of a beating with the detail rendering. Not so much the lower mids. So this is a saving grace for the male vocals. Although the female vocals sound a bit washed out. Yet still very present. It won’t sound terrible. It just won’t satisfy critical listeners. The Gunmetal filters on the other hand is far better at presenting vocal reproduction. It’s still not quite there for critical listeners. Although it will still be impressive for those that wish to hear more forward vocals. While there isn’t a lot of micro detail. It’s still more superior to the Silver filter. Very adequate for picking out macro detail.
TREBLE: The enhancement of the upper midrange is making the lower mids a bit too hot. Almost sizzling. There’s a lack of control here on both filters. Yet even more so on the Gunmetal Filter. The Gunmetal filter makes it a bit hard to listen to treble centric songs for extended periods of time. The Silver filters have a more bearable treble response. Which makes it more suitable for long listening sessions. Best thing to do for the Gunmetal filter is to use eartips that enriches the frequency. Basically eartips that introduces more bass and smooths out mids. Foam tips and SpinFits will do the trick. Also make sure that the volume on your source is adequate. Otherwise it can get a little painful.
SOUNDSTAGE/CHARACTERISTICS: Overall pretty well rounded. There’s good imaging with both filters. Although the Gunmetal Filters do better with overall imaging, dynamics and sense of space. While the Gunmetal Filters are better with a more accurate Soundstage. The Silver filters have a relatively better sense of naturalness. Mostly due to the warmer atmosphere of the soundscape. It’s not extremely natural. Although it doesn’t sound nearly as bright and tactile as the Gunmetal Filters.
Conclusion: For an IEM for around $100 to $125 dollars. I found the K3 HD to be a rather nice approach into the world of IEMs in the midranged price bracket. It’s great for interchangeable sound. Has great comfort. Although that comfort and Capable Sound comes at a price. Which is the hot treble from the Gunmetal Filters. As I said before. It can be remedied easily with Foam Eartips. If you don’t mind interchangeable sound/filters and slightly hot treble and you need tough IEMs with great and capable sound. Then this is your perfect match. Otherwise if you don’t want to spend $110 and you are sensitive to enhanced treble. Then you may need to look elsewhere.
COST: 110 USDs
WHERE TO PURCHASE: https://penonaudio.com/magaosi-k3-hd.html
- 4.00 star(s)
Pros: Well built
Cons: Not the most natural tonality compared to single dynamic IEMs
Silver-plated cable is a bit springy and noisy
Missing eartips selection
Silver-plated cable is a bit springy and noisy
Missing eartips selection
- Drivers: 1 Dynamic & 1 Balanced armature
- Impedance: 32Ω
- Frequency: 20 Hz ~ 22 kHz
- Sensitivity: 99 dB
- Cable: 1.2m, MMCX connectors
- Plug: 3.5 mm
Price: $110. Available at Penon Audio and the Aliexpress/Ebay stores.
The K3 HD arrives inside a standard sturdy black cardboard box with an extra outer paper box with all the technical specifications and description of the earphone. It’s a hassle free unboxing, nothing too fancy but not cheap looking. The box itself is about average size, if maybe a bit larger than needed for the included contents.
Inside you’ll find the 2 earpieces nicely arranged at the top without any of the cables attached, which is a bit unusual though some can find it as a nice touch. There is the medium size set of eartips already attached to the nozzles and in my case the black nozzle was the one installed. Below are the 3 pairs of foam tips in the usual 3 sizes and an extra pair of small size silicone tips; for whatever reason the company decided to skip the large size silicone pair. While the silicone tips are of decent quality with a large bore and core to fit easily to the K3 HD nozzles, the foam tips do not give the same quality feel, but more importantly, they are very hard to install due their very narrow and tight core.
At the lower part of the box there is a small zippered carry case with a leather look texture. It is not too large to fit a good DAP inside but roomy enough to carry the IEM without any issue. Inside the case there is an extra set of nozzle filters (silver color here), and the 2 cables.
One cable is OFC copper, made in a 4-wire setup, very soft and easy to wrap. It is ended in an L-shape 3.5mm TRS plug, has a proper y-split and cable slider and at the top has well relived MMCX plugs.
The other cable, probably meant to work as an ‘upgrade’ cable, is made of silver-plated copper wire. The plug is also 3.5mm standard but with a straight plug, and while also a twisted cable it has an outside coating that while makes it more sturdy it also has a more springy and noisy effect and unlike the first cable this one is missing a cable slider. The MMCX connectors are identical to the OFC cable, and both have a solid grip to the IEM socket. Also, both cables have a fixed molded earguides installed; personally, I think the guides would be necessary only for the silver-plated cable due to its stiffer quality but for the OFC it’s not needed at all. (There are some slight sonic differences between the cables that will covered in the sound section.)
Design and build quality
The design of the K3 HD takes a very friendly oval shape form, made of aluminum material that at first glance and even after some regular use looks quite solid. It is made of two earpieces that are well assembled without any glue residue to be spotted. The finish is very smooth with zero sharp edge and completely symmetric in its rounded shape. The HD model now is available in 3 color options, orange, blue and gray, with a shiny matte surface that looks both cool and elegant to the eye.
The earpieces are very light and with the low profile shape and angled nozzle they can sit very comfortable on the outer ear. The nozzle is a bit wider than average, and after removing the filter you can see the BA unit close to the tip of the nozzle. This may prevent a deeper fit and with the addition of the small vents on the outside part of the shell, the isolation level is a just bit above of average.
The IEM utilizes standard MMCX sockets, though the connection with any of the included cables is quite solid without rotating too freely. As usual, proper care should be taken when removing or attaching the cables, and if not needed it is still recommended to keep the cable attached.
Before describing the sound itself, there are some notes worth mentioning regarding the nozzle filters and also on the 2 cables. While differences are not day and night when alternating between the ‘cable & filter’ setup, they are still noticeable enough to take in count. If the 2 cables differ in their inner wiring and outer design, the nozzle filters are identical with just an added thin mesh layer beneath the metal shrill. The result, as expected, is a less bright, warmer and more laid-back presentation, with a little extra punch towards the lower frequencies. Technically neither of them is better over the other, and probably will depend on a personal listener preference or source synergy. As for the cables, the silver-plated does help in giving a very slightly more effortless sound, and a tiny bit of better layering, resolution and control. With more budget DAPs I’d prefer the OFC cable, for the simple reason that the more effortless effect on the silver-plated cable tends to bring a more v-shaped sound with more mid-bass presence and sizzling treble. On the other hand, the silver cable works better with a more dedicated source that can take advantage of the tighter presentation and airier sound overall. As for the filters, I didn’t have any preference on one set, but only opted the black (no-mesh) ones for darker or bassier tracks.
Overall the Magaosi K3 HD offers a V-shaped sound with a bit warm and darker tonality with extra emphasis on the bass region, slightly distant midrange with a full texture and good clarity for vocals and pleasant treble quantity that prevents it from sounding dull or off.
The bass is very present, with a dominant mid-bass response which is thick but not overwhelming or muddy for its single dynamic driver. It is still quite powerful if called for, with good control and decent speed that manages to avoid a driver incoherence with its BA side. Layering is well achieved, though separation is not best in class, when compared with something like the Pinnacle P2 which is faster and technically stronger. However, the K3 HD is smoother and more musical and fun with nice sub-bass rumble if just limited a little in extension.
The AAW Nebula One has more sub-bass reach, but overall it is more powerful and less controlled next to the K3 HD. The new Vsonic VSD5s has a similar balance through its bass response, but smaller in overall quantity and more limited in reach.
The midrange may not be the heart of the K3 HD sound, though it’s well done within a slight v-shaped type of sound. For whatever reason Magaosi decided to leave the dual BA driver and put a single BA unit instead for its 'HD’ model, the combination of both drivers’ type is nicely tuned on this model. You get a mix of warmth from the upper-bass that the dynamic driver carries and good resolution and accuracy of a typical single BA driver at this price. Focus towards instruments is not too much with the more laid-back nature of the K3 HD tuning, sounding somehow dry or soft and not as lively as I could like. However, the voices are nicely positioned and manage to sound sweet enough, if still distant on the whole. The upper mids are slightly more elevated but there’s no peaky region, keeping sibilance checked, with a mellow presentation that can be listened for long time. The well-known Vsonic GR07 (even the Bass Ed.) is still leaner in the midrange next to the K3 HD, and while has a more air on it and better positioning and balance it is less forgiving on lower quality files, and has that common upper mid/low treble emphasis resulting in more sibilance.
The treble goes from very neutral, laid-back and smooth with the silver filters, to slightly bright with the black ones, providing a bit of more v-shaped sound, but still not at the same quantity level of the bass response. The sliver filters act also as a damper that cuts any potential harshness, though the single BA driver inside is not really bright per-se. With the black filters there is more clarity and obvious micro-detailing, if just a bit of grain at the lower treble. The K3 HD does not have a ‘hot’ treble, and has a nice natural timbre (at least for a hybrid setup), and is also more forgiving with the record quality.
Stage is not too large, though still good and the K3 HD doesn’t try to sound too unnatural despite the kind of v-shaped signature where you may expect a wider and more surrounding effect. The image is not the most coherent putting the voices a bit more forward over the of the acoustic and string instruments, but still gives an enjoyable effect for a less critical/more casual listening on the go.