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May 8, 2008 • Reviews

The Maximo Products iMetal iPhone Headsets Review

As anyone who owns an iPhone can tell you, a slight problem becomes apparent when you want to replace the stock stereo headset; namely that the iPhone’s headphone jack is deeply recessed, and the average 3.5mm plug simply can’t fit inside without trimming the rubber shielding the plug. When you are considering dropping some serious coin on a headset, the idea of butchering it simply doesn’t appeal; that’s when a model made specifically for the iPhone is the only “right” choice.


the culprit: the iPhone’s deeply recessed headphone jack

Today we’re going to take a look at two moderately priced headsets from Maximo Products, the iP-HS1 iMetal Stereo Headset for iPhone and iP-HS2 iMetal Isolation Headset for iPhone. The iP-HS1 is for those who prefer the traditional earbud style, and the iP-HS2 is for those who prefer a noise isolating in-ear headset.


It should be obvious, but I will state it anyway: both headsets will work just fine with any audio device which accepts a 3.5mm plug.

iP-HS1 iMetal Stereo Headset for iPhone

You can see in the box’s photo that the HS1’s follow the traditional earbud style, but instead of milky white plastic they are composed of metal, and they have a microphone separate from the clicker used to switch between music and calls.

Included in the box are the HS1 headset, a silver travel bag, a set of earbud covers, a 2′ long 3.5mm male to 3.5mm female audio extender cable, and a user guide.

The HS1 earbuds have an aluminum alloy body which makes them feel more substantial than the stock earphones; they measure approximately 1.5″ long, and the bud is 0.6″ across. If you generally enjoy wearing earbuds, then you will most likely like the upgraded styling of the HS1s. The ubiquitous white cable measures about 35″ long from plug to clicker (add an additional 14″ to the earbuds), and it has a “soft-touch button” for answering or ending calls, as well as for pausing or skipping music tracks while listening.

Specifications:

•  Earphone drivers: 15mm neodymium
•  Frequency response: 18Hz-22KHz
•  Sensitivity (1KHz,0.1V):>100dB
•  Maximum SPL output:>120dB
•  Microphone Sensitivity: 44dB +/-3 dB@1KHz
•  Microphone Frequency response: 20Hz-16KHz
•  Microphone impedance: 2.2K Ohm
•  Signal-to-noise ratio:> 58dB
•  Headset cable length: 4 feet
•  Extension cable length: 2 feet
• Connection: 3.5mm with stereo audio & mono mic

I like the slightly industrial design of the HS1s, in particular the way Maximo gave the back side of the buds an art-deco spin. Even so, I have never been a big fan of the earbud style, mainly because the buds never seem to fit securely in my earbowl; these were no exception. Perhaps the biggest problem for me was that I kept fidgeting while wearing them, never quite sure that they were securely in place. Does anyone really jog when wearing earbuds? Do they ever feel really secure? Is it just me? Enquiring minds want to know.

Worth noting is the placement of the microphone on the left earbud’s cable versus being integrated into the clicker; I felt that this location led to less fumbling and clearer communication. When listening to music, I found the HS1s sounded rich and full, although I could hear some bottoming out in some of the more bassy numbers. While I can’t honestly say that this headset sounds substantially better than the stock version, I do think they sound at least as good, and they definitely look better. This headset does not block out background noise, and because it is not an in-ear speaker it doesn’t make the music seem any louder than usual; this is a good thing for anyone who needs to be alert to background noises while listening.

If you like the earbud style, and you would like to upgrade or replace your original iPhone headset, then the Maximo Products iP-HS1 iMetal Stereo Headset would definitely be a stylish and reasonably priced option.

The Maximo Products iP-HS1 iMetal Stereo Headset for iPhone is available from various retailers.
MSRP
: $69.99
What I Like: The metal case and Art-Deco design gives an immediate style upgrade to the tried and true earbud form factor; the headset’s microphone is separate from the clicker; music sounds rich and full
What Needs Improvement: Some bottoming out when listening to bassier music

iP-HS2 iMetal Isolation Headset for iPhone

The HS2 follows the familiar in-ear style, which traditionally adds extra bass response and a more secure fit. Once again, as you can see on the box, the microphone is conveniently located on the left earphone’s cable instead of being incorporated into the clicker.

Included in the box are the HS2 headset, a silver travel bag, three sizes of rubber in-ear tips, a 2′ long 3.5mm male to 3.5mm female audio extender cable and a user guide.

Instead of an earbud, the HS2s have a 0.5″ cylindrical aluminum body which holds a removable and flexible ear tip. This headset’s cable measures about 35″ long from plug to clicker (add an additional 14″ to the earbuds), and it also utilizes a “soft-touch button” for answering or ending calls, as well as for pausing or skipping music.

Specifications:

•  Earphone drivers: 9mm neodymium
•  Frequency response: 18Hz-22KHz
•  Sensitivity (1KHz, 0.1V): >100dB
•  Maximum SPL output :>120dB
•  Microphone sensitivity: 44dB +/-3 dB@1KHz
•  Microphone Frequency response: 20Hz-16KHz
•  Microphone impedance: 2.2K Ohm
•  Signal-to-noise ratio: > 58dB
•  Headset cable length: 4 feet
•  Extension cable length: 2 feet
•  Connection: 3.5mm with stereo audio & mono mic

Allow me to gush for just a moment: I really like these earphones! They came with the medium tips already installed, so they were the first I tried. The fit was perfect, but it was the sound when I started listening that blew me away! As expected, the bass response was much better than the previously tried earbud style (deep, and it didn’t bottom out), and as expected the noise isolation was very good because of the in-ear design.

I am not sure exactly what I was expecting as far as musical clarity or all-around excellent sound, but since I am used to reviewing earphones which can cost $100 and up (some way up), I really didn’t expect these to be all that earth shaking or anything…but they were. I thought they easily sounded as good as some of the most expensive I’ve used. They were comfortable, too! Wow…just wow.

I listened to the new Nine Inch Nails album which I had downloaded the other day (for free!), and it sounded amazing. I was also pleased to find that Natasha Beddingfield’s vocals were clear and sharp, and Modest Mouse was exceptionally clear with no muddy mid-range. And yes, calls made also sounded exceptionally clear, partly because of the in-ear design and partly because the microphone ball hangs almost even with my mouth.

Although I am certain that there is an audiophile out there who will find fault with my conclusion, I’ve got to say that for the money the iP-HS2 has got to be one of the best headset values I’ve seen. This is the headset to get if you want noise reduction (near total isolation), great fit, and excellent sound. Check out the price, too… it’s nice!

The Maximo Products iP-HS2 iMetal Isolation Headset for iPhone is available from various retailers.
MSRP
: $69.99
What I Like: Inexpensive; sound quite impressive for the price; very attractive design; the headset’s microphone is separate from the clicker
What Needs Improvement: Nothing, these are a great value

One Response to " The Maximo Products iMetal iPhone Headsets Review "

  1. William Miller says:

    This company does not respond to customer service inquiries. Their lifetime warranty is useless.

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