Login | Register
SearchMy Stuff
My ProfileMy PreferencesMy Mates RSS Feed


Meelectronics


Meelectronics M6





Specs.
Single dynamic driver, 9mm
Frequency range: 20 Hz – 20 KHz
Impedance: 16 Ohm
Sensitivity: 95dB/mW
RRP: $49.99, now on sale for $36.49
Colours: Black, clear and maroon

Build quality and accessories.
Build quality is very good. The housing is made of plastic and the cable is 140cm/55in, with a 90 degree jack. The cable has a so called ”memory wire” built in where it runs over the ears. This means that it has a bit of metal wiring attached to it, which can be bent into the shape you wish, to help them stay put. The cable is quite soft and smooth with a good quality feel to it and it looks very nice in clear, it also has a shirtclip attached.
The included accessories are, four pairs of different sized silicone sleeves (S, M, L and triple flanges), a pouch, airline adapter and a cable manager. All in all a generous amount of accessories.

Comfort and fit.
The M6’s are light and about average size. They are to be worn with the cable running over the ear. The memory wire can be an advantage as well as an disadvantage, unfortunately I’m in the latter group, I find it too fiddly and generally unnecessary for comfort and fit, but that’s just me. Isolation from ambient noise is good and microphonic noise is minimal thanks to the clip.

Sound quality.
Being a dynamic IEM they require time to settle (burn in) to sound their best. Once settled the M6 offer a dynamic sound experience, with a tight and punchy bass that does not over-power the rest of the soundspectrum, the mids are lively, the highs are crisp and the soundstage is wide. The laidback and pleasing warmth is very nice sounding and one can listen to them for hours on end, without any fatigue. The detail in the overall sound is impressive for a dynamic IEM in this price range.
The M6 will make all music styles sound lively and enjoyable, with their dynamic sound nicely wrapped into a large soundstage, they make for a great listening experience that soon will have you tapping along to the music. It can also be noted that they respond well to the use of DSP’s and EQ’s.

To sum up.
The good: excellent and involving/fun sound, build quality, design, price.
The bad: the memory wire (but that may be a good thing for some).

Verdict: for the price they offer a combination of well thought out accessory pack, overall sound quality and glorious looks/design, especially for the clear model, that is very hard to beat. Highly recommended.


Meelectronics M9





Specs.
Single dynamic driver, 9mm
Frequency range: 20 Hz – 20 KHz
Impedance: 16 Ohm
Sensitivity: 95dB/mW
RRP: $24.99, now on sale for $17.49
Colours: Black

Build quality and accessories.
Build quality is very good. The housing is made of aluminium and the cable is 120cm/48in, with a straight jack. The cable has a more rubbery feel to it than the one on the M6, and feels softer and smoother in use.
The included accessories are, four pairs of different sized silicone sleeves (S, M, L and double flanges), a semi-hard zippered case, a airline adapter and a cable manager. All in all a generous amount of accessories.

Comfort and fit.
The M9’s are light and quite small. They can be worn with the cable running over the ear as well as straight down. Isolation from ambient noise is good and microphonic noise is minimal thanks to the clip.

Sound quality.
The M9 use the same driver as the M6, and sound identical when used with same sleeves.
Being a dynamic IEM they require time to settle (burn in) to sound their best. Once settled the M9 offer a dynamic sound experience, with a tight and punchy bass that does not over-power the rest of the soundspectrum, the mids are lively, the highs are crisp and the soundstage is wide. The laidback and pleasing warmth is very nice sounding and one can listen to them for hours on end, without any fatigue. The detail in the overall sound is impressive for a dynamic IEM in this price range.
The M9 will make all music styles sound lively and enjoyable, with their dynamic sound nicely wrapped into a large soundstage, they make for a great listening experience that soon will have you tapping along to the music. It can also be noted that they respond well to the use of DSP’s and EQ’s.

To sum up.
The good: excellent and involving/fun sound, build quality, price.
The bad: may not offer best fit for all ears.

Verdict: for the price they offer a good overall sound quality and generous accessory pack as well as a build quality that, I dare say, no other IEM can match. Highly recommended!!



Meelectronics M11





Specs.
Single dynamic driver, 7mm with a tuned bass-reflex system
Frequency range: 20 Hz – 20 KHz
Impedance: 16 Ohm
Sensitivity: 95dB/mW
RRP: $49.99, now on sale for $44.49
Colours: Black, red, silver

Build quality and accessories.
Build quality is very good. The housing is made of aluminium and the cable is 140cm/55in, with a 45 degree jack, and a shirtclip. The cable is not quite as soft and smooth as on the M6, but it is of high quality and looks very nice in clear.
The included accessories are, five pairs of different sized silicone sleeves (S, M, L, double and triple flanges), a pouch, a airline adapter and a cable manager. All in all a generous amount of accessories.

Comfort and fit.
The M11’s are light and small. They can be worn with the cable running over the ear as well as straight down. Isolation from ambient noise is good and microphonic noise is minimal thanks to the clip.

Sound quality.
Being a dynamic IEM they require time to settle (burn in) to sound their best. Once settled the M11 offer a dynamic sound experience, like the M6 and M9, but with added detail and more forward mids. They offer a tight and punchy bass that blends perfectly with the rest of the soundspectrum, the mids are smooth, detailed and forward, the highs are crisp and the soundstage is big. They are not as laidback as the M6 and M9, but they do sound excellent, and they can be listened to for long periods without any fatigue.
The M11 suits all music styles, and will make them sound lively and natural. The dynamic sound with a clear mids focus offer a detail that is normally found only in much more expensive IEM’s. Overall the M11 are highly enjoyable and they have a great combination of detail and energy wrapped into a big soundstage. Just as the M6 and M9 the M11 also respond well to the use of DSP’s and EQ’s.

To sum up.
The good: excellent and involving/fun sound, build quality, design, price.
The bad: very subtle L and R marking is easy to miss.

Verdict: for the price they offer stylish build and sound quality, that can match much more expensive IEM’s. Highly recommended.



Top M6, left M9, right M11





Meelectronics M-Duo





Specs.
Dual dynamic drivers
Frequency range: 10 Hz – 20 KHz
Impedance: 16 Ohm
Sensitivity: 101 dB/mW
Price: $79.99
Colour: black/chrome

Build quality and accessories.
The build quality is very good and the materials used are high quality. The housing is made of metal and the 130 cm long cable, with its 90 degree jack has a nice feeling to it. On the left hand side there are call and music management buttons and a built in microphone.
The accessories included are, six pairs of different sleeves (S, M, L, normal sleeves and S, L triple sleeves and one set of dual sleeves), a shirt clip and a zippered pouch.



Comfort and fit.
The M-Duos are light and about average sized (they are remarkably small actually for being dual dynamics), so they should fit most listeners well. Comfort, to my ears, is very good and the isolation is very good for a dynamic IEM. They can be worn both with the cable running over the ear as well as straight down. The microphonic noise is well under control, and it can be pretty much eliminated by wearing the cable over the ear.



Sound quality.
The M-Duos require time to settle (burn in) to sound their best. Once settled they offer a very musical and powerful sound in a very large soundstage. The bass is tight and very deep, the mids are detailed and smooth, and the highs are crisp and detailed without being sibilant. The soundstage is big and very 3D in its character, the imaging and positioning is impressive as well as instrument separation.

The sound is quite neutral, but still powerful and dynamic. My test tracks sound excellent, the altering drums in Hotel California sound magnificent and the overall musicality is top notch.

The strongest point of the M-Duos is the life-like sound and the dynamic range of the dual dynamic transducers, and of course the soundstage that is on par with a stadium concert.



To sum up.
The good: exceptional musicality and overall delightful and enjoyable sound, large and detailed soundstage, sound per pound.
The bad: depending on the source a very slight hiss can be heard when volume is cranked up, but this is really nit-picking.

Verdict: the M-Duos are very good and offer great value. Highly recommended.





Minerva


Minerva Mi-3



First of all, a big thank you to Lee at minerva-hearingprotection.co.uk for excellent service and first rate know-how.

Minerva Hearing Protection is a UK based company that has been in the hearing protection business since 1952, they are one of the largest actors in Europe with more than 8 million custom earmoulds made since the start.
Now Minerva are breaking new ground and expanding into the custom earphone market with their new line of custom earphones, the single driver Mi-1, dual driver Mi-2 and the triple driver Mi-3.

Today I will have a closer look at their flagship model, the Minerva Mi-3.



Specs.
Three balanced armature drivers with a passive three-way crossover.
Frequency range: n/a
Impedance: n/a
Sensitivity: n/a
Colour: For the customer to choose
RRP: £356.42

Not many specs are known, but from what I can hear they cover the full frequency range, and by estimation of the sound and volume setting, I would say that the impedance is higher than average and/or the sensitivity is lower than average.



Build quality and accessories.
As these are custom made, the customer can quite freely specify how to build them by choosing different cables and connectors, different colours and custom artwork. To buy the Minerva Mi-3 you need to have ear impressions done at an audiologist, this is already baked into the total price when ordering from within the UK.

The build quality is top notch, excellent craftsmanship. The housing is made of medical soft silicone, which is moulded to the shape of your ear. There are no marks or irregularities on the housing. The cable is 130cm long with a 90degree jack.
The included accessories are, a cleaning tool, a soft pouch, a shirt clip, ear gel and a instruction leaflet with a test certificate. Then one can add as many extras as one wants, mine came with an excellent personalised hard case.



Comfort and fit.
The size of the Mi-3’s depends on your ear size, but tends to be bigger than the average universal IEMs. If you get the impressions made properly you will have a very, very comfortable fit with the Mi-3’s, they are easily the most comfortable IEMs I have tried. They can be made for cable over ear or straight down use. Isolation from ambient noise is easily the best I have experienced, these will be perfect for frequent flyers. The cable is very low on microphonic noise, and there is the clip to further reduce it as well.

There is a slight learning curve for the proper insertion of the silicone custom shells, but once you master the technique, the comfort, fit and isolation is absolutely on top!

Sound quality.
The Mi-3’s are triple balanced armature IEMs, and do not really need time to burn in, we can go straight to the heart of the matter, the sound.



I plugged the Mi-3’s into my player and hit play. Wow! These are very, very good.
The attack and sub bass these deliver is impressive. The mids are detailed and very smooth, the highs are well extended and airy, without ever sounding shrill or sibilant. Soundstage is very nicely layered and expands nicely.
The sound signature is natural, with a slight emphasis on bass and treble, but this is only very slightly and it is very well done as not to hide the glorious mids. The entire sound spectrum is fully audible, and reproduced in a brilliant way. The Mi-3’s take the music, and really make the most of it, without adding or leaving anything out. If there is no bass in the music, then there is no bass in the reproduction, if there is sub bass, then that will be clearly audible, without distortion or muddiness.
Minerva has really made a wonderful IEM in the Mi-3.



Even if I have been listening to some of the very best universal IEMs on the market, I was not prepared for the huge difference in presentation that a custom IEM can offer. I am able to pick up small pieces of detail that have been drowned out before.

My test tracks, and all other tracks I have tried with them sound like I have never heard them before. If I concentrate on the music it’s like I am on stage with the guys, and in the first row if I take a more relaxed stance to listening. However I choose to listen, critically or enjoying the music, I never feel like I would want more of anything, or less for that matter, it’s all there, in a perfect mix and a perfect musical presentation that I haven’t heard before.

Since I got the Mi-3’s I have probably spent more time with them in my ears listening, and reinventing my music library, than I have spent not doing so. Lucky they are so comfortable, as it would soon become painful to listen to music for 10 hours at a time if they were not. In fact, I get drawn into the music so much so this review is getting hard to keep on track.

Let me just round it up by saying that the level of detail and sheer musical enjoyment the Mi-3’s offer has set a new standard for me.


To sum up.
The good: the magnificent sound, perfect fit and comfort, price compared to the rivals
The bad: nothing really stands out



Verdict: Absolutely! Highly recommended.




Nocs


Nocs NS400 Titanium





Specs.
Single dynamic driver, 8mm
Frequency range: 20Hz – 20KHz
Impedance: 16Ohm
Sensitivity:106dB/mW
Microphone and music controls for iPhone/iPod
RRP: $99

Build quality and accessories.
Build quality is excellent, the housing is made of titanium as the name suggests. The rubbery cable is 120cm and it terminates in a straight jack. The driver is titanium coated, which means it is very stiff and delivers a clear sound free from distortion.
The included accessories are, three pairs of different sized silicone sleeves (S, M and L) and a shirt clip. A pouch of some sort would have been nice, but still everything needed is included.

Comfort and fit.
The NS400 are about average both weightwise and sizewise. They can be worn with the cable running over the ear as well as straight down, for best mic use straight down is preferred. They are very comfortable and unobtrusive in use, even for prolonged hours. Isolation from ambient noise is very good for a dynamic IEM and wearing the cable over the ear and fixing it with the shirt clip can eliminate any microphonic noise.



Sound quality.
As a dynamic IEM the NS400 require time to settle to sound their best. That said, they do sound very nice straight out of the box as well.
They offer a powerful sound with a nice analogue feel. The bass is strong yet very well controlled, the mids are a little in the background but have great detail and lush sound, the highs are very nice and clear without being harsh or sibilant. The soundstage is open and nicely layered.



My test tracks sound absolutely fabulous, the powerful yet very detailed sound really makes for a very relaxing and enjoyable personal concert. Bass driven music really comes to its right with these, but they are more than a one trick pony, they are very well suited for all music thanks to the dynamics and detail in the presentation.

I must just add that a 8mm driver seems to be the perfect compromise between earth shattering bass and fine detail across the spectrum. The titanium-coated diaphragm has surely got a thing or two to do with the clarity and the distortion-free sound of the NS400 as well.
For the asking price they are very, very good, well done Nocs!



To sum up.
The good: powerful and detailed sound, build quality and materials used, performance/price, headset.
The bad: not easily available to purchase, headset can be off-putting for some.

Verdict: one of the best performance/price IEMs I have heard. Highly recommended.





Nuforce


Nuforce NE-700X





Specs.
Single dynamic driver, 8mm
Frequency range: 20Hz – 20KHz
Impedance: 16Ohm
Sensitivity:105dB/mW
RRP: $65

Also available as a headset, NE-700M, $79.

Build quality and accessories.
Build quality is great. The housing is made of machined aluminium, the slightly plasticky feeling cable is 135cm and it terminates in a straight jack. The driver is titanium coated, which means it is very stiff and delivers a clear sound free from distortion.
The included accessories are, four pairs of different sized silicone sleeves (S, M, L and triple flanged) and a soft pouch. Maybe not the most generous amount, but still everything needed.

Comfort and fit.
The NE-700X are about average both weightwise and sizewise. They can be worn with the cable running over the ear as well as straight down. They are very comfortable to wear, but may not fit small ears, due to the bullet design. Isolation from ambient noise is very good for a dynamic IEM and microphonic noise can be minimized by wearing the cable over the ear.



Sound quality.
As a dynamic IEM they require time to settle (burn in) to sound their best. That said, the NE-700X do sound very nice straight out of the box as well.
The NE-700X offer a warm and powerful sound with a nice analogue feel. The bass is strong yet very well controlled, the smooth mids have good detail, the highs are very nice and clear without sounding harsh or sibilant. The soundstage is open and nicely layered.
My test tracks sound great, drums and bass slam just as they are supposed to and guitars and voices blend in nicely to create the smooth and laidback sound, I can listen to these for hours and be totally absorbed by the music. For the asking price they are very, very good.



To sum up.
The good: excellent and powerful sound, build quality and materials used, exclusive looks, price/performance.
The bad: somewhat plasticky cable, not easily available to buy.

Verdict: excellent sound, excellent build quality and exclusive looks at a really affordable price. Highly recommended.




Phiaton


Phiaton PS200





Even if Phiaton are a newcomer on the high-end earphone market they are part of Cresyn Company, a very well renowned name on the audio scene. Their new Phiaton PS200 dual balanced armature IEM is ready to take a share of the market.

Specs.
Dual balanced armature, one for low and one for mid/high frequencies
Frequency range: 8 Hz – 30 KHz
Impedance: 39 Ohm
Sensitivity: 95dB/mW
RRP: $249 / £150

Build quality and accessories.
The housing is all aluminium as well as the splitter, the build quality is very impressive, to say the least. The cable is 120cm/47in with a straight jack, the cable itself is quite stiff with what appears to be a plastic coating. The included accessories are, three pairs of different sized silicone sleeves (S, M and L), a airline jack/adapter and a excellent case with cable management and accessory storage.

Comfort and fit.
The PS200’s are quite large but the shape of them makes the fit perfect, they are light and thanks to the design they are very comfortable. The PS200’s can be worn with the cable running over the ear as well as straight down. Isolation from ambient noise is very good and the cable has minimal microphonic noise.

Sound quality.
The purpose built dual armatures, that are specifically designed for handling the lower and upper frequencies with the help of a passive crossover, produce a full bodied sound. The PS200’s have a nice rumble and attack down low and smoothly involving mids as well as clean and sparkling highs. The high quality bass is tight and fast but even so, the amount may not be enough for the bass lovers. The detail in mids and highs is good, but the most impressive feature of the PS200’s sound is the soundstage. The soundstage is very wide and has good positioning with a nice presentation and a clear instrument separation. One could say that they sound more like full-sized headphones instead of IEM’s. My favourite tracks, and any other music that I tried with the PS200’s sound crisp and full of energy, and big so to speak. As an added bonus they respond very well to the use of EQ and DSP.
Overall the sound they produce is highly enjoyable and has a great combination of detail and energy wrapped into a big soundstage.

To sum up.
The good: sound quality and soundstage, build quality, comfort and noise isolation are all top class and the excellent case deserves a special mention.
The bad: they are not cheap, the bass response may not be enough for bassheads, they are not easily available to purchase in store.

The Phiaton PS200 are rather expensive, but at the $250/£150 pricepoint they offer a combination of sound quality, build quality, comfort/isolation and accessory pack that very few, if any, other IEM’s can match.






Phonak


Phonak Audeo PFE 02x (Perfect Bass)


The real name is Audéo, but for some reason the parsing will not work with the é.



Specs.
Single balanced armature with sound tuning filter
Frequency range: 5Hz – 17KHz
Impedance: 32Ohm
Sensitivity: 107dB/mW
RRP: £99 (with mic) £89.90 (without mic)


Build quality and accessories.
Build quality is excellent. The housing is made of plastic, the cable is 120cm and it terminates in a straight jack. The cable is rubber coated, thick and quite stiff, and it feels very solid.
The included accessories are, three pairs of different sized silicone sleeves (S, M and L). Not the most generous amount, a pouch would have been nice.



Comfort and fit.
The PFE 02x’s are about average both weightwise and sizewise. They are to be worn with the cable running over the ear, but can be used straight down as well. They are one of the most comfortable IEM’s I have used. Isolation from ambient noise is very good and wearing the cable over the ear can minimize the microphonic noise.

Sound quality.
The PFE 02x’s uses audio filters for different sound characteristics, green for a full bass sound, black for a more natural sound and grey for a more analytical sound. The PFE 02x’s come fitted with the green filters and this review is done with them. The other filters can be purchased separately.

As a single balanced armature IEM the PFE 02x’s could sound a bit flat and lifeless, but they do nothing of the like. In fact if I had not known, I would have guessed them to be dynamic IEM’s or multi armature ones for their wonderful bass presence and full sound.
As already said, they have a warm and powerful analogue sound, without sacrificing the detail and speed that a balanced armature can deliver.
The bass is both high in quality and large in quantity, the mids have great detail and sound very smooth, the highs are very nice and clear if a little in the background. The soundstage is open and nicely layered, if not that big.
My test tracks sound wonderful in every single aspect, involving, fun and simply irresistible.
The warm and bass heavy sound is very relaxed and laid back, the finer detail is all there from the lowest bass note to the highest pitch. Simply amazing sound, especially when it can be had from just one armature and at this price.
I still cannot believe how good they sound, not to mention the fullness of the bass, Phonak have just got a new fan in me.


Pictured the microphone and call/media management pod on the right earpiece cable.

To sum up.
The good: superb sound, superb comfort, price/performance, headset model available, different sound filters can be installed.
The bad: somewhat plasticky cable, few accessories.

Verdict: in one word, excellent! Highly recommended!



Phonak Audeo PFE 232


The real name is Audéo, but for some reason the parsing will not work with the é.



Specs.
Dual balanced armatures with sound tuning filter
Frequency range: 5Hz – 17KHz
Impedance: 47 Ohm
Sensitivity: Grey filter 109 dB/mW, Black filter 107 dB/mW, Green filter 104 dB/mW
RRP: £399

Build quality and accessories.
Build quality is excellent. The housing is made of plastic, the cable is 120cm and it terminates in a 90 degree jack. The detachable cable has a mic and a music/call remote built in.
The included accessories are, three pairs of different sized silicone and foam sleeves (S, M and L), a set of sound tuning filters (grey, black and green) and a tool to change them with, a cleaning tool, a soft pouch, a set of earhooks and finally an extra cable (without mic). Impressive.



Comfort and fit.
The PFE 232s are about average both weightwise and sizewise. They are to be worn with the cable running over the ear. They are one of the most comfortable IEM’s I have used. Isolation from ambient noise is very good and wearing the cable over the ear minimizes the microphonic noise.



Sound quality.
The PFE 232s, just like their smaller siblings uses audio filters for different sound characteristics, green for a full bass sound, black for enhanced bass and treble, and grey for enhanced mids. The PFE 232s come fitted with the grey filters and additional grey, black and green ones in a box.

Remembering how much I liked the previous Phonaks, I was really looking forward to the 232s,nearly to the point that I wasn't sure if they could live up to my expectations.
I shouldn't have worried about that, the 232s are probably the best universal IEMs on the market today, they certainly are the best ones I have used.



With the grey filter they have a warm sound signature, but still provide the best treble of the IEMs I have heard, not shrill or bright but very natural and with excellent detail. The mids are warm and full, very smooth with great detail, and the low end is full of energy, it can provide both deep base as well as punchy and hard hitting “club base”. The low end is truly remarkable for a balanced armature IEM, quality and quantity in abundance, very impressive. The soundstage is on the larger side and instrument separation and imaging is excellent.

With the black filter the sound becomes more V shaped, the mids take a step back while the low and high end take a step forward. The sound signature is still warm, but there is a significant cool breeze in the treble. The highs are more aggressive, while still not being overly bright or becoming sibilant, while the detail remains very high. The low end gets more energetic, and with this a small amount of the excellent detail is lost in the sheer thumping power. The soundstage is large, maybe even a bit larger than with the grey filters , separation and imaging is excellent.

With the green filter the sound becomes very warm, the low end takes a step forward while the mids take one, and the highs take two steps back. The sound signature is warm, dark and soothing.
The highs are dampened and mellow but still well detailed and clearly audible, the mids are thick and toned down yet very well presented even if the micro detail is lost in the warm and lush sound. The low end is pumped up, but it comes across as more more chill out than attack if you know what I mean, and the detail is way behind that of the other filters. The soundstage is smaller than with the black or grey filters, separation and imaging is excellent, even if a bit harder to pinpoint.

To have three so different sound signatures in one IEM is of course brilliant, everyone will find their own favourite filter, and mine is the grey one.

My test tracks sound fantastic, full stop. As I have already said, the 232s are the best IEMs I have heard.



To sum up.
The good: superb sound, superb comfort, superb accessories, headset, different sound filters.
The bad: the price, but you know the saying “you get what you pay for”.

Verdict: Possibly and probably the best universal IEM on the market today. Highly recommended!