Who likes to rock the party? We like to rock the party!
I love music and chances are, you do as well. I’ve used a lot of different headphones over the years and have started to get quite picky about which headphones are resting on my ears. Maximo recently sent me a pair of the iM-390 iMetal Isolation Headphones to review. I was skeptical of these headphones at first, mostly because I’ve never heard of Maximo and these headphones only cost around $20 online. But what the hell, sometimes there’s a cheap piece of equipment that doesn’t suck.
The packaging for the iM-390s is nothing fancy, just your standard plastic fare. A case with a built-in wraparound is included, making them easy to carry around. By easy, I mean if you don’t mind having something the size of a yo-yo inside your jeans pocket, then it’s all cool with you. But who uses a case with a $20 pair of earbuds? These are iMetal! Surely Steve Jobs put countless hours of R&D into these earbuds for Maximo. It’s worth mentioning that Maximo includes travel adaptors and a 2.5-foot extension cable as well, so props to them for thinking of people who might use these on a laptop.
Three different sizes of removable earbuds are available and they fit quite nicely. Not only are they a snug fit, they’re quite comfortable as well. I’m not a fan of the material companies like JBL and Sony use for their removable earbuds, so already Maximo has my blessing for keeping my ear canals blister-free. These feel like “true” isolation earbuds. Oh, and the metallic casing makes you look badass to boot.
Enough with the styling though, what matters most here is the music and how it sounds. I fired up some Ozzy (Randy Rhodes-era stuff) and something sounded strange right away. After a few verses, I noticed that the bass drum has a real dull-sounding kick to it. Thinking it was just Ozzy being shitty, I switched over to Van Halen and then some Genesis. The results were varied, with some tracks sounding better than others, but overall the bass wasn’t fantastic.
Disappointed, I decided to go to the electronica and rap. This is where my ears took a complete U-turn. Fake kick drums sound incredible on these $20 earbuds. Tight bass and no distortion make artists like The Prodigy, The Chemical Brothers, NWA, and Fiddy sound like a SACD through a pair of $900 Sony cans.
Another thing that Maximo hooks you up with are 50 free downloads from eMusic.com. Decent site, DRM-free tunes. A decent bonus for such an inexpensive pair of earbuds.
So once again, we must decide whether a pair of headphones warrants a purchase. In this case, I’d highly recommend picking up the iM-390 iMetal series earbuds. They kick the hell out of the stock iPod earbuds Apple supplies you with and fans of tight bass sans distortion will most likely agree that you can’t get a better mix of quality sound and price. Maximo may not be as established as other players in the market, but give them a try. I doubt you’ll be disappointed.