Audio-Technica ATH-IM50 personal impressions

*Constantly editing*
Place of purchase: Amazon
Price when purchased: ₹4100
Playback devices: Ipad Air 2(primary), Galaxy S7 Edge, Dell Precision 5510
Source: iTunes purchases and Apple Music.

Backstory: I was looking for a replacement to my Sennheiser CX-300ii and Sony XBA-H1, until a few days ago my 300 finally failed on me. Now as impatient I'm, without consulting digit forum, I went on a search for a IEM under 5K, and was referred to rather "excellent" FiiO EX1 and RHA MA600 by reviews and friends, both perfectly falling under price bracket. I do have a Sennheiser 3.0 as a backup, which I honestly don't like. My personal impression with XBA-H1 was also mixed, it was rather too sharp for my ears. Somehow 300ii clicked that "perfect sound". Anyways, I found an ATH-IM50 while searching in Amazon listings, which looked like a wrong decision from every angle. Small drivers, Japanese brand with virtually no support in small cities and...a bad looking design; and lack of reviews; more established alternatives. Anyways I purchased it because I like Japanese brand and it had a detachable cable(don't judge me!).

So, here are my impressions:

Packaging: No seal(which scared me a little), very basic and doesn't feel like one for a 5K range IEM. Contents are meager: A cheap carrying pouch, 3 silicon bud pairs, and one medium comply bud(which I don't like anyway).

Build: The build is OKAY. I was not expecting precision crafted metal housing, but the plastic in piano finish is not that bad, the IEM overall look just okay. The cables are cheapish, but so far I haven't noticed any tangle or cable noise. A plus for detachable cables. Another controversial aspect of this pair is the design. Personally I don't find them uncomfortable at all, and they fit just perfectly in ear. I'm not a big fan of this design myself, and as of now, it takes me a minute to put them properly but I guess I can get used to it in long run.

Sound: Now the most important part. After listening for straight three hours, I can safely say that this might be the best IEM under 5K. I have not listened to FiiO EX1 that much, but comparatively, I find the sound of IM50 more pleasant. There is clear separation between mids and highs and the bass is highly controlled; this being the first thing I noticed. The Sennheisers now feel too much bass heavy by comparison. The vocals are never sharp, i.e. they are clear without getting over emphasized like in XBA-H1. I was surprised how clean they sounded compared to my previous IEMs. Tight bass coupled with clear mids and precise highs, this sounds rather perfect and indeed it is in case of IM50.
Now a fair bit of warning, this one is not meant for those who are looking for bass heavy earphones. Bass is there, but not in abundance (like Sony/Sennheiser)
Also I feel that small ears might have a bit of problem in wearing them. The sound signature is certainly a mix between XHA-H1 and Sennheiser Momentum(I used them for a month or so).

Bottom line: Best IEMs I have ever used under 5K so far (and a relief that even small drivers can produce rich sound). Good sound signature combined with a rather controversial design. I would recommend this pair for sound prowess alone; and certainly it doesn't require any other reason. Other than that, there is nothing special about the set, no inline controls or mic or fancy design.

Note:- I'm still confused about the driver mechanism though, since I really don't understand how they use dual drivers. I mean, if pure specifications are to be considered, the IEM can be classified having dual drivers for each channel, but without any crossover......I don't know.

For pictures, I would recommend this review(I kind of disagree about his view on the bass): Review of Audio-Technica ATH-IM50 in-ear headphones w/lots of pics!!!
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