The IEX-1 is Audio Technica’s latest flagship IEM featuring a 2DD 2BA configuration. The dynamic drivers are arranged in a push-pull configuration, with one in full range and the other to boost the lows. The two BAs function as tweeters for the highs and ultra highs respectively. It is a coaxial design housed in a titanium which certainly helps with its low weight.
The cables are a bit reminiscent of the Sony IER M9/Z1R’s, but are much stiffer and the ear guides don’t work as well. Not a fan of the cables. The IEM is rather small in size and goes deeply into my canal easily but I find that some edges are too angled which causes discomfort (not pain!) after 30mins or so.
Now onto the most important aspect: the sound performance. Seeing that the IEX-1 is ATH’s latest flagship IEM, I expected a lot more. The previously launched CK2000Ti was a massive letdown with its tinny, metallic timbre and I hoped that ATH would address that. This time with the IEX-1, ATH has went for an unconventional V-shaped sound. There is quite a big bass boost with warmth. To balance out the bassy tuning, ATH has decided to implement massive upper midrange spikes at 2 & 3khz. While the peaks are not harsh nor sibilant, it lends the overall midrange a very honky tonality, similar to turning up the “presence” knob on the guitar amp far too much. The peaks makes any instruments such as vocals, guitars, trumpets and pianos sound unnatural and too forward.