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Old June 3rd, 2014, 09:56 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Review of Audio-Technica ATH-IM50 in-ear headphones w/lots of pics!!!

This is a review of Audio-Technica ATH-IM50 in-ear headphones. Audio-Technica ATH-IM50 Dual Symphonic In-Ear Monitor Headphones (Black) - AccessoryJack

I was excited when Audio Technica announced their new line of multi-driver headphones, ATH-IM01/IM02/IM03/IM04, and already had a chance to review IM02 and IM03 models. In addition to these Balanced Armature multi-driver units, they also released two additional ones, ATH-IM50/IM70, with dual dynamic drivers. Unfortunately, a decision was made not to release it in US. When you go on Amazon, you can find dozens of sellers from Japan offering these models, but prices vary all over the place and I'm not sure how reliable some of these sellers are. Searching the internet for the best deal, especially when it comes to popular headphones, is no longer an easy task because of a lot of shady sellers with questionable quality products. If you want to have a peace of mind when purchasing ATH-IM50, try to deal with an authorized Audio-Technica distributor, such as Buy Audio Technica Headphones, Sennheiser, Shure, Sony, Marshall, JAYS, Urbanears, Penpower Tablet at AccessoryJack - AccessoryJack where I got my IM50 from, which also happens to have one of the best prices including shipping. Now, let's take a closer look to find out more about ATH-IM50.

Doesn't matter if you are dealing with headphones under $70 or over $400, Audio-Technica always presents their product like a flagship model. The illustration of headphones on the cover of the box is detailed, they always provide English and Japanese text, go into great details of product description, list of accessories, and a detailed picture of all the internal components (my favorite part!!!). Besides included headphones, you also get a signature AT silicone eartips (S/M/L), a pair of medium size premium Comply eartips, and a very nice drawstring pouch. I know they list detachable cable as an accessory - but its just a SUPER BONUS!!! This is probably the ONLY pair of high quality headphones you can get for $67 (shipped to US) and WITH detachable cables. The closest one is SE215, but it cost $100 and doesn't have the same balanced sound signature (more about it later). The detachable cables have the same build quality as those included with IM0x series. It has a very sturdy 2-pin snap on connector, a memory wire which goes behind your ear, a chin slider down to y-splitter, and gold plated 90 degree 3.5mm connector. This headphone cable has heavy duty shielding, while still being flexible and relatively tangle free. Audio Technica also sells replacement cable with in-line mic/remote so you can always update your setup to pick up phone calls. Also, since the cable attachment is the weakest point where it usually breaks in headphones, you no longer have to worry about it since cable is replaceable.

The shells of earpieces are smaller than IM03, more on par with a size of dual-driver IM02, and the nozzle a little bit longer in comparison to IM0x BA multi-driver series. They still have a great ergonomic fitment, and with a right selection of eartips you can get amazing sound results and a decent passive noise isolation which can be enhanced even further with included Comply foam tips. I do like original AT eartips, but for a better fitment in my ears (due to an extended nozzle design) I actually found Sony hybrid eartips to be more comfortable. Behind the ear wire fitment is very secure, thanks to flex wire, and sliding chin strap up helps to keep wires together. Also, the microphonics effect was down to minimum. Now, with all these details out of the way, they move on to a sound quality test!

If you have a craving for extra bass and still want to keep your mids balanced to get a perfect rendering of vocals - this pair of headphones is for YOU!!! I don't want to use "basshead" label, but IM50 can really satisfy that craving! The bass delivery is big and powerful with a fast punchy mid-bass and deep rumbling sub-bass, all that while under control without overpowering the rest of the frequency spectrum. The bass sounds clear and well separated. With such low frequency delivery you would expect a typical v-shaped sound with recessed mids. But NO! You will be in for a big surprise how well mids are balanced to deliver smooth vocals with a great clarity and details. Vocals/upper mids sound full bodied, a little bit warm, without any harsh high frequency peaks, and perfectly suited for extended listening period. Treble is also extended and detailed. Soundstage has an average width/depth, and you feel like you are very close to the performance stage. Also, these headphones paired up really nicely with all of my sources, either driven from laptop or smartphone or from dedicated DAPs like X5 and AP100.

Overall, I believe these headphones just went up to the top of my highly recommended list! So many times I have been asked to recommend a set of headphones with a great bass, with a detailed sound quality, without sacrifice of recessed mids to deliver beautiful vocals, and with a great build quality and secure fitment for everyday use or during exercising - all that without costing arm'n'leg. Now I have a perfect answer with one solution that can meet all these requirements and still cost less than $70, not to mention the removable cable that will extend longevity of use. Especially if you are looking for an excellent pair of in-ear headphones to use during your exercising or other demanding activities - the powerful rhythm of ATH-IM50 bass will drive your energy up!

Here are the pictures.


















































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Old August 15th, 2014, 11:57 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Review of Lunashops replacement cable with in-line remote for ATH-IMxx headphones.

This is a review of Lunashops replacement cable with in-line remote for Audio Technica ATH-IMxx series headphones. USD$20.00 - Earphone cable with Remote Mic iphone Android to audio-technica ATH-IM50 ATH-IM70 ATH-IM01 ATH-IM02 ATH-IM03 ATH-IM04 - lunashops online shop

After my last review of Lunashops silver-plated audio replacement cable for ATH-IMxx series, I would like to look now into another replacement cable with in-line remote for calls and music controls when connected to your smartphone.

Available at a faction of the OEM in-line remote cable cost (only $20 shipped), this is another high quality cable for those who are on a budget and don't want to sacrifice the performance. Arrived in a plain small ziploc bag, it was carefully packaged and taped in a bubble wrap and mailed inside of a small bubble-padded envelope to ensure safe delivery. Cable itself is a little bit longer than stock, 1.3m, but uses the same OFC copper wires as OEM and similar color-coded 2-pin connectors with red designated for a right side. Furthermore, each connector is labeled with corresponding L/R marking and L one has a dimple to id it in the dark.

The cable has a soft cotton braided net shielding which resembles shoe lace, and it actually feels very nice to the touch and when placed over the ear. Just make sure to keep it away from velcro, it will pull it apart At first I was a bit surprised that cable cinch wasn't included, but once I tried these on, I found it wasn't even necessary since the soft nature of the cable shaped naturally around my ear. It also makes it easy when you need to wrap the cable for storage. For anybody who has IM01-04 and IM50-70, you know very well that between memory wire loop and heavy duty cable you need a large headphone case for storage, especially if you want to keep the shape of memory wire. Here, you can use any compact small headphone case. The 3.5mm plug has TRRS gold plated connector, and the housing of the plug is straight with a small diamond cut ring area toward the end (enhances the grip when you pull the connector out) and also a strain relief.

Of course, the star of this cable is in-line remote with microphone which also serve as y-splitter for the cable. The mic opening and multi-function button is on the same side, with a button being slightly raised and easy to locate by sliding a finger without even looking at remote. The button has functionality to pick up and hang up a phone call with a single click, and also to control the music playback with a single click for Play/Pause, double click to skip next and triple click to skip previous, all tested successfully on my Note 2. Long press starts Google NOW. In addition, there is a switch to ensure compatibility with different smart phones. As some of you might aware, common multifunction button in different headphones work well with Galaxy, LG, HTC, and iPhone, while sometime it doesn't work as expected with Moto, Sony, Nokia, and some others. This switch ensures full compatibility with all smart phones. Another important point, though remote/mic is located farther away from your mouth down by y-splitter location, the mic has an excellent sensitivity without a need to raise remote to your mouth. The reason I'm bringing this up because Pistons headphones cable has remote/mic in the same location, and I always have to bring it up to my mouth for people on the other side to hear me. This cable doesn't require that.

As you can see, cable has a great build quality and robust remote/mic functionality. So how about the audio quality? I have tested it on IM03 and IM50 comparing to stock cable, and can tell you with 100% certainty - the audio quality is IDENTICAL! Don't expect an enhancement since this is not silver plated cable, but rather OFC replacement cable. But the fact that adding remote/mic inline didn't affect the sound quality means a high quality workmanship since the continuity of the wire was interrupted to add the remote/mic while sound quality still remained unchanged. Also, I sensed no microphonics effect.

Overall, for $20 this is a fantastic cable that enhances functionality of your Audio-Technica ATH-IM series headphones, helps to get rid off memory wire (for those who are not fans of it), and adds call and music playback control when used with your smartphone. Unfortunately, there is no volume control, but considering how volume control varies between Android and iOS and even between different Android phones, looks like Lunashops decided to use universal remote control to cater to most of the smartphones. I definitely recommend this cable!

Here are the pictures.























With IM03









With IM50









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Old September 1st, 2014, 10:34 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Review of Lunashops silver-plated OFC cable with in-line remote/mic

Here is a mini-review of Lunashops silver-plated OFC replacement cable for ATH-IMx series of Audio-Technica in-ear headphones. USD$30.00 - 1.3m Silver Plated + 5N OFC 3.5mm Earphone cable with Mic Foraudio-technica ATH-IM50 ATH-IM70 ATH-IM01 ATH-IM02 ATH-IM03 - lunashops online shop

Just over a week ago I was excited to share with your about their OFC replacement cable with in-line remote/mic (USD$20.00 - Earphone cable with Remote Mic iphone Android to audio-technica ATH-IM50 ATH-IM70 ATH-IM01 ATH-IM02 ATH-IM03 ATH-IM04 - lunashops online shop) which is still a great value for $20 shipped, without a memory wire, and with in-line mic/remote while retaining the sound quality identical to a stock OFC audio only cable. I also reviewed their silver plated audio-only cable (USD$40.00 - Earphone Cable For audio-technica ATH-IM50 ATH-IM70 ATH-IM01 ATH-IM02 ATH-IM03 ATH-IM04 - lunashops online shop) which had a noticeable sound quality improvement for $40. But what if you don't want to sacrifice benefits of silver plated OFC cable and still want to retain universal in-line remote/mic to use ATH-IMx IEMs with your smartphone? The answer is a lovechild of these two cables in a form of a new USD$30.00 - 1.3m Silver Plated + 5N OFC 3.5mm Earphone cable with Mic Foraudio-technica ATH-IM50 ATH-IM70 ATH-IM01 ATH-IM02 ATH-IM03 - lunashops online shop cable currently on sale for $25 (their introduction offer).

This cable is truly the best of both worlds. It has a twisted 5N OFC wire with a silver plated coating which improves conductivity of the signal, and as a consequent action improves the sound quality. This is a very consistent performance with every single silver plated wire I have tested on all of my mmcx and other removable cable IEMs. The sound gets brighter, more detailed, and improves perception of the soundstage width, though not necessary makes the sound wider. It also helps to improve the low end perception, making it crispier and less veil. In case of this cable, you can definitely hear the benefit of sound improvement over the stock cable and the replacement OFC w/remote cable. It's not at the same level as audio only silver plated cable, but comes close. The cable shielding is soft and easily folds behind your ear. The in-line remote is universal without a volume control, but with multi-function button for a Play/Pause/Call with a single click, skip next with a double click, skip previous with a triple click, and activate Google NOW (or SIRI) with a long press. 3.5mm plug is slim and straight and has gold-plated finish.

Overall, I think it's a no-brainer for $5 more than original OFC only replacement cable where you get a higher quality silver-plated wire and the same in-line remote/mic control. This one gets another high recommendation from me.

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