Geek Wold is a new name in the world of Chinese HiFi and today we’re looking at their debut product, the Geek Wold GK3 earphone. The GK3 is a tripe driver IEM with 3 dynamic drivers per side. For a budget earphone, the GK3 is outstanding in some aspects and less than stellar in others. Ok, let’s get started.
Excellent build quality and unique design
The earphone is extremely comfortable
It has a lovely braided cable
The upper midrange and lower treble are out of proportion
This sample was provided for the purpose of an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own, based on my experience with the product.
Package and Accessories
The GK3 arrived in a small black box with the brand name and the slogan “Born for Extreme Audiophile” embossed in gold print on the top. Over on the back are some company details and a white sticker listing the specifications.
Inside we find a warranty card and underneath that the GK3 earphones seated in a black foam insert. Just above the earphones are some silicone eartips which pretty much sums up the entire package. Let’s take a look at the contents in list form:
1x Geek Wold GK3 earphones
3x pairs of silicone eartips (S, M, L)
Yep, that’s all you get and is fairly standard for a $20 earphone bundle. As per usual the supplied eartips are befitting a lost tribe of miniature pygmies but hardly suitable for my ears so I used some extra large silicone tips from my personal stash.
Build Quality and Design
One thing that really makes the GK3 stand out is its design and aesthetic. For something in this price range, the Geek Wold GK3 is a great looking earphone and is built really nicely too.
The housings are plastic and have a smooth, polished finish. They’re lightweight but feel strong and well put together. The faceplates have a carbon fibre pattern with the brand name embossed in gold. Covering the faceplate is a transparent resin that adds depth and gives it a premium look.
On the inner side of the shells is a single bass port which is located near the base of the nozzle. The nozzles have a solid ridge to hold eartips on securely, as well as a metal grill cover to keep out debris and ear wax.
The join between the faceplate and shell is seamless and there’s no sign of glue residue or inconsistencies. Rounded, smooth edges characterize the GK3’s shell and in fact, its built very similarly to the KZ AS10 but is significantly smaller.
The fixed cable is quite nice too. It’s a glossy, black, braided cable that looks good and feels great. Starting at the top we have a rubber strain relief where the cable joins the earpieces. This is followed by pre-formed ear guides made from a clear heat-shrink tubing. These ear guides are nice and malleable and sit on the ears really well.
The Y-split is a simple metal cylinder and the cable terminates in an L-shaped, hardened rubber plug. Overall it’s a really nice cable for a budget IEM but the one thing that bothers me is the Y-split. It’s positioned too far down the cable and that in conjunction with the hooked ear guides makes for one tangled mess!
Comfort and Noise Isolation
I find the GK3 to be an exceptionally comfortable earphone. The shape of the housings and smooth, rounded edges feel perfectly natural in my ears and I could easily wear these all day long.
In terms of noise isolation, the Geek Wold GK3 is slightly above average due to the way its shells fill a good part of the outer ear. You can still hear what’s going on around you when listening at low volume but bump up the sound a bit and you’ll be transported to your own little world. Sound leakage is also minimal so it’s suited for public transport and quiet office areas.
This is the second unit of the GK3 that I received. The first one I got didn’t sound anything like what other people were describing and when I informed Penon Audio of this they sent a replacement unit. However, the replacement unit sounds exactly the same as the first so I’m just gonna go with it.
At just 8Ω impedance and with a sensitivity of 102db, the GK3 is super easy to drive and will work with any smartphone or low-powered source and doesn’t require additional amplification.
The Geek Wold GK3 has a bright tonality thanks to the large peaks in the upper midrange and lower treble (around 2.5kHz-4kHz). Due to the strange tuning/defective unit, it’s quite harsh and unpleasant to listen to.
On the rare occasions when I hear the bass it sounds okay but it’s usually pushed well behind the upper mids and lower treble. Mid-bass has some impact but is a little on the slow side and lacks definition.
The sub-bass can get a nice rumble going and extends quite well but has a slow decay and isn’t the cleanest. It can dominate and bury the lower midrange if given a chance.
The midrange sounds recessed and sits behind the lower treble. The lower midrange and male vocals sound thin and hollow while the upper midrange is more forward but lacks tonal accuracy. Male vocals in particular lack density and intelligibility.
Separation is poor and music hits you like a singular flat wall of sound while at the same time inducing grimaces and will have you reaching to lower the volume.
Sadly, things don’t get better as we move into the treble. The GK3’s treble is splashy and diffuse, coming across as artificial and lifeless. It falls off steeply after the lower treble peak and all but disappears except for a narrow band that peaks around 11kHz.
Cymbals lack sheen and the treble in general lacks airiness and solidity. Not only does it sound unpleasant but it fails to provide any detail.
With the main bulk of its sound coming from the upper midrange and bass the GK3 creates a confined and cramped soundstage. The lack of airiness and heavy falloff of the treble does nothing to alleviate the issue either. Separation is below average as is imaging and positional cues. Everything just blends together into a congested mass.
Geek Wold GK3 Conclusion
The GK3 is Geek Wold’s first attempt at making an IEM and while I applaud the physical aspects of this earphone its sound leaves a heck of a lot to be desired.
The actual design and build quality of the Geek Wold GK3 and its cable are excellent for a budget earphone. But until they (Geek Wold) get their manufacturing process or tuning (whichever it may be) up to speed I would recommend you look for alternatives.