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Product Review: Maximo iMetal Isolation Earphones IM-390

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I am no sound connoisseur, but I appreciate good sound when I listen to my music or watch my movies. Headphones have never been a big concern, although I have had my share of lousy phones over the years. Lately I have resorted to using the ear buds that have come with my iPods when I am on the run. Now I have an alternative. The iMetal IM-390 isolation style earphones from Maximo deliver exceptional sound.

Prior to receiving these buds I primarily used two different sets of headphones, depending on what I was doing. When I am on the move I have found the iPod ear buds to be very good. They offer decent range and for the "in the ear" style they were surprisingly comfortable. I have never been a fan of those. I never found them to be all that comfortable, they would fall out easily, and were just more of a hassle than they were worth. They other is a pair of Sony Psyc clip-ons. These I use when using my laptop, watching movies and such. They are comfortable for long periods of time, don't fall off, and have decent response for a cheap set of phones. I would use these with my iPod but with the case I have the opening for the headphone jack is too small for the plug on the Sony set. Anyway, these earphones could replace both my sets.

The IM-390s arrive in a blister pack containing the buds and a few accessories — a spiffy little zippered case, an extension cable (the main line is bit on the short side), a 2.5 mm adapter for use with cell phones, and an air travel adapter. The case says that it comes with three sizes of ear tips, but this package only had one set (judging by the image on the package I would guess these are the medium ones). When you open the case there is a cup inside that the line wraps around while the ear buds are protected in the center; inside the lid is a little netting where you could put the extension cord, or the adapter. The ear buds are pretty snazzy looking — the main body is a polished metal with a more satin like finish when you move towards the driver. They have a solid, well constructed feel.

As nice as they looked, I also got the feeling they would be uncomfortable or at least feel heavy. I was wrong. They were inserted in my ears with ease and I scarcely noticed they were there. They also stayed in place giving me no worries that they would fall out. I have used them on my laptop and on my iPod for a few hours each, and they are doing a very good job (yes, the plug is small enough to fit through the case).

When compared to the iPod buds and the Sony set there is no competition. Despite their small size these ear buds deliver a very good range, including bass. The package rates their frequency response of 18 Hz – 22 KHz. This is also my first experience with isolation-style phones, and I have to say that when I am not trying to do more than one thing they do a good job. They aren't so good when I'm watching a movie on the PC and have the ball game on in the background. That's more my problem than the phones', but they do a nice job of muffling the outside world so I can focus on the matters at hand.

Bottom line. These earphones are very nice, and at the price they are being offered are a very reasonable deal for the sound quality. Given a little bit more time these could prove to be a permanent replacement for my existing phones.

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