Headphone Review: Maximo iM-590 Enhanced Definition Earphones

The Maximo iM-590.I’ve spent the last week with the Maximo iM-590 Enhanced Definition Earphones. Maximo, though not a major player in the earphone market, has put together some welcome surprises. The earphones are fantastic for casual listening and offer excellent sound for the price. As with many earbuds, I would not recommend them for active use but they’re great for most other uses.

Appearance/Build Quality
Straight from the box, Maximo is trying to win customers with smart packaging and design. The box has a flap that opens to a transparent view of the contents within. The headphones are smartly organized for a quick view of the contents within. On pulling them out I loved that they weren’t sealed, only to be opened with an army knife or worse.

The earbuds come with just about all of the accessories you’ll need. You get four sizes of earbuds (more on this as it relates to sound quality), a 2.5mm adapter, an airline adapter, a clothing clip, a cable extension, and the earbuds, which peek out of a round, zippered case. The phones are well-built, with none of the physical blemishes you might find on your average pair of $60 headphones.

The cable is braided, instead your standard rubber or vinyl. This a great feature with regard to tangling. It’s nearly impossible to knot these things, and the braided coating means they wrap into the provided case without any twisting. The only problem with the cables has to do with movement.

As with a lot of earbuds, any thump on the cord sounds like someone punching the business end of a stethoscope with the earpieces in. It’s loud, and it kinda hurts. The braiding also provides a texture so that when rubbed against itself or piece of clothing you get the same inner ear noise. This can be alleviated by two methods. The first is a smaller earbud fit, but that’s not really great because it means your bass isn’t nearly as good and the earbuds occasionally find their way out of your ears. That’s why Maximo included the clothing clip. The clip allows you to shorten or lengthen your free cable at will, reducing the amount of free play involved. Still, any movement on the cord will produce some noise in your ears. This is why I would recommend the phones for casual listening, like watching a movie on your laptop or listening to music in a coffee house.

Sound Quality
As far as sound is concerned, I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a pair of headphones that sound as good with all of the included accessories. I bought a pair of over-ear Sony buds for working out and they sound roughly half as good. The lows don’t have nearly the presence of the iM-590 and the highs are rough and tinny when compared to Maximo’s headphones.

I would follow the advice of a small tag that comes attached to the cord. It recommends you “burn in” your headphones by pushing 8-10 hours of moderately high volume noise before your first real listen. Before the burn in the highs were insanely crisp, like they’d been run through a sharpening filter 3-4 times. At anything above 50% volume on my laptop they were blistering. The burn-in took the edge off, leaving the highs crisp and clear but without the aggressive, ear-bleeding edge. The bass also got a touch deeper, producing quality you would expect from an expensive pair of Shure phones or the like.

A note about earbud fit – make sure you get a decent seal around the inner ear. With earbuds that’s what gives the impression of heavy bass. With the iM-590 it also produces some level of passive noise canceling. With an improper fit the phones lose a lot of their quality. Play around with the different sizes to see what suits you best.

The Verdict
Maximo has put together a strong pair of earbuds with the iM-590. They sound great, they look great, and they come fully accessorized for just under $60. If you need a great pair of headphones for watching movies or casually listening to music I would highly recommend the iM-590s. You can find Maximo’s full list of specifications on their website.


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