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Magaosi K3 Pro In Ear Monitor Review

One thing that immediately stuck me about the K3 Pro’s was their build quality which is truly excellent. Made from metal rather than plastic, they are of a smooth construction and look far more expensive than what they actually are. The K3’s come supplied with an additional cable which features a Play/Pause/Answer/Hang Up button and a microphone. This additional cable is made from a different material and also has a straight jack plug - I personally prefer the angled jack plug so I haven’t bothered to test this.

The K3 Pro’s are designed to wrap the cable around the back of your ears rather than hanging straight down. I personally prefer this style of in ear monitor as they tend to stay in place better when you’re moving around and this results in a more stable sound quality. Unfortunately they also feature MMCX connectors on the headphones which, although offering the advantage of easy cable change, do tend to unplug far too easily which can be somewhat frustrating. This problem is made even more annoying as I tend to have them unplug on me just about every time I put the headphones on.  The good news is that they can be plugged back in easily enough but I’m sure the resulting wear and tear on the plugs and sockets will cause problems in the future - I suppose only time will tell.

I previously owned the excellent Shure E500 in ear monitors and the K3 Pro follows the same basic design but with a couple of exceptions. Firstly the K3’s are considerably smaller and secondly the K3’s sound one hell of a lot better. The Shure’s sounded nice and full with wonderful mids but the top end was significantly recessed and this did spoil the sound somewhat. What I did really like though was the way the headphones fitted and I have been looking for a pair of high quality in ear monitors which use a similar form factor - I was hoping that the K3 Pro’s would fit the bill.

One thing that’s immediately apparent though is that the K3’s are considerably smaller than the old Shure E500’s and this creates a bit of a problem for me because I have to fiddle about with them quite a bit in order to get them to fit in my ears which in turn tends to loosen the connections. After more than a few attempts though I have come up with a ‘routine’ which seems to work quite well and the cables tend to stay put now - well for most of the time. I still have a problem regarding fit though as the insertion depth on the K3’s is somewhat shallow when compared to to original Shure’s for example. The end result is that the headphones don’t offer the same degree of isolation from the outside world. This is something that takes some getting used to. After much experimentation I think I’ve found a pair of tips in my rather extensive collection that offer the best combination of fit, isolation and easy insertion. Perhaps I just have crazy-shaped inner ears.

Sound Quality

As far as I’m concerned, it’s all about the sound quality. I can tolerate a degree of minor discomfort if the sound’s good enough. The good news is that, as long as you get a reasonable seal, the K3 Pro’s are bloody outstanding!

The first thing that you really take in when trying these out for the first time is the sheer bandwidth these things kick out. They offer an outstanding degree of detail and it’s so easy to decide which instrument you want to listen to and then effortlessly follow it all through the song. Chorus or massive crescendos no longer mask micro details and it’s easy to pick out individual voices if you wish. The headphones are pretty efficient - being easily driven from your mobile phone or any regular portable electronics. I got some truly excellent results pairing them up with the AgpTEK H01 and Benjie S5 MP3 players. I wouldn’t want to listen to these headphones on any more than about 50 - 60% on either of these players though - it would be just too loud.  I pretty much got good results with anything I plugged them in to including the Acer Chromebook, Moto G4 and Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5.

Initially I was tempted to class the K3’s as ‘slightly bass heavy’ but the more I listen to them the more I feel that it’s just the additional bandwidth being beamed into your ears. They’re pretty flat - right across the board - it’s just that the board is longer than most - does that make sense? There’s an incredible amount of detail being presented with these headphones and as I have recently been focussing on bluetooth headphones (with all of their limitations) and as a result, the K3 Pro’s sheer degree of detail has come as a bit of a shock to me.

I know it’s a cliche but these headphones show new details to familiar tracks. Whilst this can sometimes be overwhelming, it’s also surprisingly relaxing. What I mean is that it takes so little mental effort to immerse yourself into the soundstage and follow whatever element of the track you like, it’s really quite a revelation.

Comparisons:

K3 Pro vs Ultimate Ears Triple Fi 10
I shall always like the Triple Fi’s - they’re my first experience of truly excellent in ear monitors but are perhaps now showing their age somewhat. Whilst good quality sound never goes out of fashion, they don’t have the excellent analytical details that the K3’s have. Insertion depth and external noise reduction is definitely better with the Triple Fi’s but the K3’s appear to have more ‘bandwidth’ and dynamic range.

K3 Pro vs 1More Triple Driver IEM
I do like the 1More’s. The cables hang down from your ears rather than wrap around which results in a less secure fit. Like the K3’s, the 1More’s tend to let a fair amount of external sound and again, like the K3’s appear to have a nicely extended bass. The treble is very nicely controlled on the 1More’s and they are certainly nicely detailed but I think the K3’s offer just a little bit more top end detail and also a greater sense of depth in the soundfield.

K3 Pro vs V-Moda Crossfade Wireless
It’s fair to say that in many ways these two headphones are chalk and cheese. Their differences far outweigh their similarities. Strangely though they do share a similar deep bass with ‘slam’. One thing I really like about the Crossfade Wireless headphones is their ability to project music with a real sense of power - both when used wired or wirelessly. The K3’s also possess this drive but also offer far more detail to the mids and top end. All said and done though I still like the Crossfade Wireless a lot.

Conclusion

The K3 Pro is an outstanding in ear monitor. I still feel that the perfect tip for them is out there somewhere and I strongly suspect I will continue to look for some time to come. I personally would have preferred a deeper insertion and better noise isolation from the outside world (or better seal perhaps). The sound quality is truly first class and very highly recommended - especially for their price. They’re very easy to drive and sound like they tend to make the most out of any player you can throw at it. I found that they paired really well with the tiny Benjie S5 MP3 player and offered some of the best sound I’ve ever heard from a portable system.

Due to their shallow fit, I personally wouldn’t want to use these headphones outside. I suppose if you’re paranoid about being able to hear traffic then they may be a good idea but I can’t help thinking that all that external noise would spoil the listening experience. This is where a more bass-heavy headphone like the V-Moda Crossfade Wireless is more appropriate in my opinion. Sat at home with your favourite music player by your side, this remarkable little IEM really is an excellent choice.  Very highly recommended.

Update:

After trying out a wide assortment of different eartips I think I just might have found the combination which works best - the largest foams (supplied with the headphones) but with a couple of rubber rings scavenged (cut up) from another set of tips slipped onto the stems first to push the tips out a little more which, in turn, enables the tips to go slightly deeper into my ears. Comfortable and, more importantly, creates an acceptable seal which has improved the bass and consistency of sound.  I’ve also learned to put them in my ears a different way which makes less strain on the cables and stops them from disconnecting. I still prefer to use the K3’s whilst stationary as their super sound quality is wasted when outdoors.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06X1FHH9N?th=1  from amazon.uk
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06X415QTR     from amazon.com