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Maximo iMetal iM-390

Maximo iMetal iM-390 / iP-HS3 Review

Maximo iMetal iM-390
Reviewed Dec 2009

Details: Maximo’s entry-level earphone
Current Price: $39 from (MSRP: $39.99); $45 for iP-HS3 with mic
Specs: Driver: Dynamic | Imp: N/A | Sens: 100 dB | Freq: 18-22k Hz | Cable: 4.3’ I-plug
Nozzle Size: 5.5mm | Preferred tips: stock single-flanges
Wear Style: Over-the-ear or straight down

Accessories (4/5) – Hard carrying case with cable winder, 3.5mm to 2.5mm adapter, 2’ extension cable, airline adapter, and single-flange silicone tips (3 sizes)
Build Quality (3/5) – Housings are metal and feel pretty solid. The biggest problem is the lack of strain relief on housing entry. The cabling itself is on the plasticky side as well, but doesn’t seem too thin. A cable cinch is auspiciously missing and driver flex often rears its ugly head.
Isolation (2.5/5) – Slightly above average isolation even with stock silicone tips
Microphonics (3/5) – Present when worn straight-down but much better over-the-ear
Comfort (2.5/5) – The big metal bulge on the housings hurts my ears after I wear them cable down for more than an hour. Over-the-ear is much better but I still prefer straight-barrel designs

Sound (4.6/10) – The sound of the iM-390 is fairly run-of-the-mill as far as budget dynamic-driver IEMs go. It is lively, punchy, and warm. The warmth can sometimes cause the tonality of instruments to be a bit unrealistic and the overall lack of detail doesn’t help, but other than that I don’t find them lacking in anything. The tight, impactful bass is fun; the soundstage is about average and features decent positioning; the balance doesn’t seem biased much in any direction, though the treble is slightly recessed. An enjoyable signature overall, and one that bests the similarly-priced and similar-looking Skullcandy Titans in my book.

Value (6/10) – With a solid set of accessories, decent build quality, and good overall sound the Maximo iM-390 is a competitive earphone in its category. However, the $40 price is too close to that of Maximo’s higher-end earphone, the iM-590, which bests the iM-390 in every way. I can’t help but feel that the iM-390 would be better off competing at a lower price point, not because it can’t run with the big dogs, but because it’s being pummeled by its own big brother.

Pros: great accessory pack, good sound
Cons: driver flex, can be uncomfortable when worn cable-down





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.


October 21, 2022


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