Thursday, 27 January 2011

Maximo iMetal iM-590 Review

Maximo iMetal iM-590 Review

First Impressions: Ooooh how slick does the box look, très posh. This box has clearly been planned to take their apple esq named product to the shelves of an apple store. These things really really look the part packaging wise, in a shop these will certainly go down well. Opening them up and lot and lots of bits and bobs here and they all look and feel good quality. However I do want to moan about the extension cable, if you are going to include an extension cable then please make the cable attached to the IEM short. Maximo isn’t the only company I have seen this from but it just renders the extension useless to me and I much prefer modular IEMs. Everything looks pretty, the case is a bit silvery though isn’t it even though I live in the most liberal city on earth in the middle of the world’s greatest hippy fest, going out with that case is still going to be daring the questioning of one’s masculinity (actually wearing a sequin crop top wouldn’t raise an eyebrow in this city but you get my point.) Colour aside it’s just like the old style Shure cases, smacks of quality and useful too, I like it.

Hmm the tips are really strange and unusual on these, fit me fine on first go but just look weird. Hmm driver flex, I hate that but did right itself fairly quickly so no big deal. Ooh a little tag on them telling me they like a little burn in, oh I greatly approve. Sound alright but off to the burn in machine you go.

Source is 5Gipod via icon mobile or the icon mobile as a dac

Lows: The lows and bass on these are fine. It’s of a good and decent quality, nicely controlled fairly deep with enough punch there to satisfy most. It’s really pretty good in every way but it doesn’t stand out or distinguish itself in any way. Its good clean neutral bass, not too much, not too little. If your after some bass monsters look elsewhere but they certainly have no problem spiting it out if a song calls for it.

Mids: The mids are definitely happier with a male voice if a touch distant in comparison to the female voice. Mids at first sound good, clean and forward but after a while it becomes evident that there is an upper mid spike that on some tracks certain ladies really blast it out at you. A little Faith Hill there and ye gods woman calm down. She vocally just takes that upper mid spike and runs with it, she never sounds terrible but it certainly has me reaching for the volume control. Its rather a shame as it makes the mids feel a little compressed but otherwise pleasant enough. On male vocals the spike is missed and things are much more controlled and the mids are much more in balance with the lows and highs, Kristian Leontiou sounds just perfectly as he should with these. “Story Of My Life” is exactly the right song for these male voice and nothing too dramatic going on elsewhere. Calm vocals that’s what these want or else they may take a note and run with it.

Highs: Highs are quite reasonable in fact, fairly nicely done. Again I feel like they are fine, good but nothing spectacular going on here like the lows. I feel I ought to be saying more here but there just isn’t that much to say about them. They are nicely in balance and reasonably detailed and clear but nothing special. A fraction recessed compared to the mids and a fraction hard for my liking.

Soundstage: Again another area where they are pretty good but again nothing magical going on here. Definitely on the better than average side though.

Comfort: Hmm they gave me no problems but they did always feel present, I never really forgot they were in like I do with others, don’t get me wrong they never hurt or were actively uncomfortable in any way. I just was always aware of their presence that’s all. Possibly could be due to my choosing to wear these up rather than down which they were clearly designed to be worn as.

Fit: When I first put these in I though oh no, driver flex, crap. Thankfully they weren’t too hard to get them sitting so they were happy. It wasn’t perfect as driver flex annoys me big time but it wasn’t really a significant issue and after a few minutes they were in and sitting fine.

Cable: First impressions of the cable are “oooh quality” it’s braided and looks lovely. To those of us in the know think “I’ve seen this somewhere before” it so reminiscent of the cable the Klipsch custom series use but not quite as stiff. The cable really really looks the part but if you are wearing these down then you had better make use of the shirt clip and the neck slider thingy. Microphonics otherwise is a bit of a bugger. The cable really is pretty though, the silver Y-splitter and jacks look really very nice and I really like the slight angling of the jack. Aesthetically they are absolutely first class and being metal should be equally durable. On the whole I have to say I like the cable but I really would have liked it more if it had been modular like say Shure or Denon, a minor niggle though.

Unamped: Next to no difference whatever I used to drive them, run absolutely fine directly out of the ipod hp or the computer

Value: An RRP of us$60 but seems to be available for about us$50. Note that I couldn’t find anywhere in the UK with these for sale other than e-bay where one shop had them for us$60 or £36, pretty cheap but their postage charge is us$30 or £18!!!!! For us$60 yeah these are pretty reasonable, sound wise you can find better but these are aimed at apple users so aesthetics matter and these look great, they look very much a quality product and have a very good accessory bundle to go with them. Yes I’m not a fan of the colour of the very very metrosexual silver case but that is nothing more than a minor quibble. The sound quality too is perfectly good for the money and while I have no hesitation in saying I think the PL-50 is better the iM-590 has more than enough to keep it a worthy contender for your money. Compared to most things its likely to be sat next to in an apple store then for a similar price it’s going to be the better sounding id bet. What this will really really shine in is the gift market, the whole package looks great and it sounds good.

So while if you hunt you can get better audio quality for the money, this is close and comes with a kickass package so it definitely represents very good value for money.

Isolation: For a dynamic it’s rather good, enough to block out most outside noise you would rather not be hearing. It’s not a Shure but it’s certainly good enough to block out traffic or commuters or for you not to be pissing of co workers with your secret passion for Lady Gaga and her waxing lyrical about desiring to ride on a “disco stick,” whatever one of those may be.

Final conclusion: On the whole I like these, they aren’t special and magical but they are a good solid quality item. Acoustically they are good but nothing that makes me go “ooooh” everything is adequately good if a little to dynamic and shouty in the upper mids at times which while that may bother me a little it is not a massive problem. The highs are fine too but they like a lot of things get a little uncontrolled and harsh at volume and when things really get going in a song. It’s nothing terrible it just makes you turn down the volume a bit.

Overall sound wise they are good, not great but definitely good maybe even pushing towards very good. These would represent a good solid choice, certainly a vast jump up from the likes of iBuds or other bundled bits of junk you get with dap’s.

What makes these really stand out to me is the accessory bundle and their looks, they really do look nice. I especially like the inclusion of a 2.5mm to 3.5mm adapter if it’s of use to you then it’s a godsend, really the 595 (the 590 but has a microphone on it) is the version that’s going to sell I think and its inclusion will be most welcome to those who listen to music on their 2.5mm jacked mobiles. Edit: the mic version is actually called the iP-HS5, and the forth coming mic and remote control version will be the iP-595.

All in all these are a nice, good value bundle with a pleasant, fairly balanced slightly bright sound.

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