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Maximo iM-590 / iP-HS5 / iM-595 Review

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Reviewed Dec 2009

Details: Maximo’s current flagship and one of my long-time favourite sub-$50 IEMs
MSRP: $59.99 (manufacturer’s page); $79.99 for iP-HS5 w/ mic & 1-button remote (manufacturer’s page ); $79.99 for iP-595 w/ mic & 3-button remote (manufacturer’s page)
Current Price: $70 from amazon.com for iM-590; $41 from amazon.com for iP-HS5; $35 from amazon.com for iP-595
Specs: Driver: Dynamic | Imp: N/A | Sens: 100 dB | Freq: 18-22k Hz | Cable: 4’ I-plug
Nozzle Size: 5mm | Preferred tips: stock fused bi-flanges
Wear Style: Over-the-ear or straight down

Accessories (4.5/5) – Hard carrying case with cable winder, 3.5mm to 2.5mm adapter, 2’ extension cable, airline adapter, shirt clip, and fused bi-flange silicone tips (4 sizes)
Build Quality (3.5/5) – The metal housings, nylon-sheathed cable, and molded rubber strain reliefs all give the iM-590 a quality feel. There is a bit of driver flex and the rubber molding could potentially become detached from the metal, but overall the iM-590s really feel like a quality product. The cable has a tendency to kink (even more than most nylon cables) but doesn’t tangle much
Isolation (3/5) – Quite decent with the fused bi-flanges and can be improved slightly with a simple mod (all credit to ClieOS)
Microphonics (3/5) – Microphonics are present when worn straight-down but nearly unnoticeable when worn over-the-ear. The included shirt clip helps as well
Comfort (4/5) – The driver-containing bulge on the housing is smaller and farther from the nozzle than on the lower-end iM-390. It is also concealed by the unique fused bi-flange silicone tips and as a result does not cause discomfort. Aside from the bulge they are relatively thin straight-barrel IEMs and are fittingly comfy

Sound (6.6/10) – The iM-590 first impressed me many months ago when I used a set as my primary day-to-day IEMs. I am glad to say that despite my now having a much larger IEM stable and far more experience under my belt, the iM-590 still sounds just as good today. The sound is smooth, natural, and very detailed. The neutrality of the iM-590 is uncanny when compared to the majority of the competition, yet they still manage to remain fun and involving. The bass is tight, precise, and just right in quantity. It is also quite deep and will go below 40Hz rolling off only slightly. Actually, extension on both ends is quite impressive – nearly as good as the RE0 on the bottom and pretty respectable at the top. The mids are realistic and well-positioned. The entire sound is quite wide and airy, with impressive clarity and good separation. The highs are fairly crisp and as clear as the rest of the range. If there’s one bone to pick with these is that they can be a tiny bit sibilant at high volumes due to some spikes in the upper mids/lower treble, but other than that they are an excellent choice for anyone looking for a more analytical sound from an IEM.

Value (8/10) – With an excellent accessory pack, solid build quality, and an extremely balanced and enjoyable sound the Maximo iM-590 remains one of my favorite sub-$50 in-ears. They provide an excellent value for money and have only small flaws – a bit of driver flex, a kink-prone cable, and slight microphonics – that keep them from beating out the Meelectronics earphones and the Soundmagic PL50s in user-friendliness. What I like most, though, is the innovation that went into the design of the iM-590s – from the unique housings to the fused biflange tips to the combined split-slider/shirt clip, the iM-590s seem anything but formulaic in the crowded land of budget earphones.

Pros: great accessory pack, great sound quality, solid build quality and comfort
Cons: some driver flex, need to be worn over-the-ear due to microphonics, cable can kink


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About Author

Living in the fast-paced city of Los Angeles, ljokerl has been using portable audio gear to deal with lengthy commutes for the better part of a decade. He spends much of his time listening to music and occasionally writes portable audio reviews across several enthusiast sites, focusing mostly on in-ear earphones.

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