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AKG K3003I Reference Class 3-Way Earphones with Mic and Control (Black/Silver)

There is something in every one of you that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in yourself. It is the only true guide you will ever have. And if you cannot hear it, you will all of your life spend your days on the ends of strings that somebody else pulls. As a listener, though, the rare relationship of appreciating music is proactive rather than passive. It’s all about subtleties and nuances that you adore. You are really going to be enthused about this AKG K3003.

There’s a certain bias and discrimination that music listeners achieve, based on their experiences over time. Is it an idiosyncrasy or is it a developed, refined perception is difficult to determine. For those people, the AKG Reference Class 3-Way Headphones K3003 is worth getting. There’s no option. It’s a necessity. This earphone is for a person who really CARES ABOUT THE SOUND OF MUSIC.

The housing of the K3003 is chiselled out of one piece of brushed stainless steel. This robust housing not only protects the earphone body from scratches but also safeguards the K3003s’ inner workings from physical damage.

The combination of dynamic bass and dual balanced-armature drivers gives the K3003s excellent audio performance as well as matchless mechanical design. Due to the positioning of the speakers (the dynamic driver is behind the dual balanced-armature driver), the K3003s don’t need any additional frequency switches. The result: less potential interference.

K3003 earphones provide you with one-of-a-kind personal sound-tuning capabilities. By changing the sound-tuning filters, you can adjust for three precise sound-output preferences directly into your ear. These adjustable, precision-machined mechanical filters allow for bass, mid or high frequencies to be modulated.

Frequency range 10 Hz – 30,000Hz Sensitivity 125dB SPL/V – Highest available Input impedance 8 ohms Max. input power 15 mW Ne

Product Features

  • Balanced armature (BA) drivers present high audio performance and acoustic efficiency for more sound from less power.
  • BA drivers, exquisitely crafted for the K3003s, are distinguished by the outstanding performance on midrange and high-frequency sounds.
  • Due to the diaphragm’s high excursion level, the K3003s’ dynamic drivers represent good bass quality and support the balanced-armature drivers for reference-quality audio.
  • Design In-ear
  • Color Stainless steel & black

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3 Comments

  1. M. Baik says:

    Amazing sound for an astronomical price The AKG K3003I is a pretty amazing piece of audio gear. As far as universal fit IEMs go, it’s comparable with the FitEar ToGo 334 and the Sennheiser IE800s (I own both) but slightly more revealing. Imaging and soundstage are fantastic. Works well without benefit of headphone amp (compelling sound straight from iPod/iPhone)In a different league than Westone 4, Schure 535 and Sennheiser IE80s but not by 2x (i.e., law of diminishing returns: price vs performance.)The downside? Price, cabling (seems delicate/not user-replaceable) and therefore IEMs that you might not want to use in a mobile context for fear of breakage.

  2. Shane Sideburns says:

    Brassy and Bold Originally written August 2012 (The K3003 is not my personal set but a loaned set for review):Before jumping into the sound, I want to make a few comments on build and accessories, which I feel are important to discuss, due to how they may affect the sound and/or durability of the product.Accessories include 3 pair of stock single flange tips that are very comfortable and well made with a good combination of thickness and flexibility. My only issue with them is that I require a bit deeper insertion due to the shape of the housings and tip length; I can’t quite reach optimal positioning. I had some extra Meelec triple flange (trips) tips lying around and these solved the fit issue. Achieving optimum fit smoothed the treble out, improving its tone and realism, while tightening up the low end a fair amount. Another benefit was the expansion of soundstage from left to right and improving imaging. I would like to see AKG offer some dual and triple flange tips of the same quality of their single flanges as the changes I heard in sound were significant for me.Other accessories include screw on swappable filters (bass, treble and reference). The bass filter is basically useless. It really muddies up the sound, wrecks clarity and timbre and just plain sounds bad. The treble filter offers a very nice analytical sound that is very reminiscent of the Audio Technica CK10 and is overall more neutral. The reference filter, which is my preference, slightly pulls back on the treble presence, while adding a very satisfying bass presence. The build quality of the housings and filters are excellent and beautifully crafted. I love the smart screw-in mechanism of the filters. The housings are surprisingly small and tastefully minimalistic in overall design.If there is anything to fault or complain about, it is the cable; in particularly the section of the cable above the Y split. On the microphone version, there are no strain reliefs around it and I find where the cable enters the strain reliefs on the housings concerning as well. Perhaps it is unfounded concern but these do appear to be weak points in an otherwise well built and very expensive, top of the line earphone. I think I would have preferred the upper portion of the cable to be covered in the same nylon feeling material of the bottom portion, allowing for more flexibility without kinking at strain points.Also suspect is the winding case. While very attractive looking, I find winding the earphone in a large square shape to be impractical and creates odd memory to the cable; but more importantly the method for storing the housings in the case seems overly complicated and could lead to kinking or damaging the cable, if one is not very carful. An aftermarket case, like a Pelican, Otterbox or UE hard case is recommended.Enough with the cosmetic and on with the sound.Being that the K3003 is a hybrid design, coherency between the differing driver technologies seems to be one of the biggest concerns; so let me start by saying, to me, it is a non-issue. I think the driver technologies are blended very well and I did not find anything distracting or disjointed during my listening sessions. Instruments sounded smooth and cohesive from the bottom of the scale and up, contributing to excellent timbre. Coherency Schmoeherency. Just enjoy the music because it sounds damn good from the K3003.The treble of the K3003 is simply fantastic, nicely weighted and has a very nice brassiness about it. It is highly reminiscent of the CK10 treble, albeit a slightly tamed down version of that treble. With the Meelec trips, I’ve had no issue with undo sibilance or issues with peaks or harshness. Just airy, brassy and extended goodness.In comparison the Merlin and UM3X treble are much more subdued and laid back. The UM3X treble is not only more laid back but also sounds less realistic, with less detail retrieval than the K3003. Upon switching back to the UM3X, it’s takes a moment to readjust, making the UM3X seem a little too dark and smoothed over. The Merlin treble is also more laid back than the K3003 but is certainly crisper and more present than the UM3X. Both the Merlin and K3003 high end come across as highly detailed and resolving, especially when amplified with the cleaner signal of the Leckerton UHA-6s mk2, but over all I enjoy the treble presentation of the K3003 more. It’s the CK10 like brassiness and realism that won me over.The midrange of the K3003 is slightly forward and aggressive with a flavor I would term as sweet. Vocals are very engaging; strings sound lifelike and distortion guitars have excellent bite. This energetic midrange presentation is right in my wheelhouse of preferences and is one of the most likeable traits of the K3003; in fact I think I’d call the K3003 mildly mid-centric.In comparison to the UM3X, the…

  3. Sky Blue says:

    Sound is a bit “thin” for my taste I think you can get better sounds with much, much lower prices than this: consider some Shure or Triple.fi models. Even at this price range, individual taste determines preference to a significant degree, and you should definitely demo this before deciding to buy. Obviously this was not my cup. To be sure, it is extremely comfortable to wear and the sound quality is up there. But I did not feel sound was “filling” enough; it had a flimsy feel to me.

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