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MEElectronics M9-BK Hi-Fi Sound-Isolating Earphones (Black)

Posted

Pros: Price, Very Good Sound When Modded, Build

Cons: Needs Modding

There aren't many sub-$10 IEMs in the market. With all the recent budget IEMs being priced at around $50, it leaves very little choice for people who are looking for a very cheap IEM. As far as I know, the main choice for many people is the Monoprice 8320 and having heard them, I certainly see why. They are the only IEM I have heard under $10 that actually sounds decent. It is not, however, good in all areas - the cable is a pain and so is the housing. Then I heard that Meelectronics had a new IEM that was going to be priced at $10 and I was certainly rather intrigued, having really enjoyed their A151. I would like to thank Mike for sending me a pair to review. 

 

**Disclaimer** These were given to me in exchange for an honest, unbiased review. 

 

 

Packaging, Accessories & Design

The packaging is very simple cardboard packaging and there are 4 pairs of tips, one of which are the Meelec double flange which are actually very nice. 

 

The design of these is very simple, but the build and look of these certainly makes them look like they cost much more. The housing is very well crafted and the cable is one of the better stock cables I have come across. Isolation is rather poor because of the vent but fit is very good. These can be worn over the ear or straight down depending on your preference but I prefer over the ear because there is a fair bit of cable noise when worn straight down. The cable is nice and soft, no problems at all. The strain relief and build quality on a whole is also top notch. Considering how little these cost, I feel like Meelectronics does fantastically here.  

 

 

Sound Quality (Stock)

When I first heard these, I was thinking that these are nice sounding V shaped IEMs, but they were not that special. Certainly not as good as the Monoprices. However, after listening to them for a while, I started hearing that the drivers were capable of a lot more. The stock sound is rather V shaped, bass boosted, mids recessed and treble a little shrill. The bass will probably satisfy many people out there who like big, loose bass, but IMO they were rather bloated and lacking in detail. The bass seemed to bleed into the mids a little and drowned out a lot of detail. The midrange was recessed, but bright. The upper mids have a little bit of a spike that seems to be there in all of Meelec's headphones that I have tried. It does increase clarity, but makes vocals sound a tiny bit off. The treble was actually rather nice, being a little emphasized, but having good detail and almost no sibilance. Soundstage and imaging were decent too, which is rare for such a cheap IEM. Most IEMs in this price range do not have a soundstage that expands past your head. Separation was lacking a little compared to the Monoprice and so was detail. Again, I felt like the bass heavy tuning was letting these down so I decided to try a very easy mod on them to see how they would try to respond. 

 

 

The Mod

I do realise that a lot of people will be put off by the idea of modding anything, let alone their tiny IEMs. Well bear with me, because this is definitely worth it and very easy. Some of you guys may have heard of the tape mod that some people have been applying to their IEMs. I have tried this on a few IEMs with differing results. The Monoprice because very bloated and smeared, but the A151P actually improved a little. I decided to give this a try on the M9 and man, I am glad I did. All you do is take a piece of tape and cover the vent, hole, port or whatever you want to call it. It takes literally 2 minutes. Best of all, it is completely reversible if you don't like it. 

 

 

Sound Quality (Modded)

Wow, it really is an amazing transformation. I'm talking like a 5 to a 7.5 on Joker's IEM scale. No longer do we have the flabby and bloated bass. Instead, now we have a bass with solid impact that is still on the heavy side, but staying relatively fast. The impact is very satisfying, for anyone worried that the bass will be very light, it definitely isn't. More impact than the A151P for sure. It hits pretty hard but I am not hearing any bass bleed whatsoever. The bass is definitely the section that has been the affected the most. The midrange is now crisper but the upper mid boost is still there and slight problem that we had in the unmodded M9. The vocals sound just a tad off. It doesn't affect male vocals as much as female vocals. The clarity of the entire midrange has improved so much, it is really as if a blanket has been lifted off and instruments no longer sound nearly as warm. Treble is not affected much, in fact, hardly at all to my ears, but I liked the unmodded treble so this is not an issue at all. Soundstage and imaging seems to have not changed either, I don't hear a significant difference. Clarity and detail has been improved dramatically, I kid you not. This IEM has really set a benchmark for the cheapest of budget IEMs.To be honest I really do not understand why Meelectronics even have this vent at all. It is pretty obvious that even though the driver is dynamic, it does not need the port anyway. Why put it there when it is detrimental to the sound? 

 

 

Conclusion

You may be scratching your head, wondering whether it is actually worth buying a $10 IEM and modding it. Well, I really doubt that you are going to buy anything better under $30, so I feel like it is completely worth it. The stock M9 is really not very good, but the modded one is amazing. Do we finally have that Monoprice 8320 killer here? Well I believe we do in not only the sound quality section, but in every single possible section. The packaging is better,cable is better, build is better and the fit and look is better IMO. And a little bit of advice to Meelectronics, try the tape mod on your IEM models that have a port and see what you think :wink_face:.

Posted

Pros: build quality, inexpensive

Cons: bad sound, uncomfortable

I was really looking forward to these because I'd heard a lot of great things, but I was very disappointed.

 

Could not get a good & comfortable fit with any of the included earpieces. One of the dual-flanges sealed but felt like somebody was jamming their thumb into my ear. Ended up using Sony hybrid tips, but still found these uncomfortable.

 

I can forgive some amount of discomfort if they sounded great. Unfortunately it sounded like I was trying to listen to music underwater. I did like the bass, very loud and tight, but other than that these headphones were unlistenable for me personally. Midrange was so awful it was nearly nonexistent and treble sounded like a badly encoded mp3 from the late 90's, all swirly and compressed sounding. The latter I managed to smooth out with liberal and creative use of Rockbox's brilliant parametric EQ. The former, well, there seems to be no hope for that.

 

In addition, the housings didn't match...the vent port on the left bud was twice the size of the right!

 

I did like many things about this set, the cord, plug and accoutrements are all very nice quality, sturdy and classy-looking. Other than the non-matching vent ports there are very well-constructed. Unfortunately I cannot get past the hollow sound. I could see these working out for electronic, hip-hop and other genres where the severe lack of midrange is not an issue.

Posted

Pros: Small form factor, metal body, good bass extension, good noise isolation, narrow jack insert, 45˚ angled plug

Cons: Sibilant, stiff/non-pliable cable, cable microphonics, scrunching sound upon insert, recessed midrange, small soundstage, lacks treble extension

 

First of all, a friend gave these to me since they were becoming infrequently used. As a result, I don't have the original packaging, nor the original tips. The primary tips I am using are old V-MODA BLISS (Bass Level Isolating Soft Silicone) tips, though I have tried other ones lying around the house.

 

 

 

 

Design

In terms of the earphone itself, the body is made of a metal material that seems very durable. I have dropped and stepped on them before and although scratches are evident on the surface, no serious damage is seen. On the back-end of the metal body, there seems to be some sort of hole possibly for air flow (see image below). On the front-end of the metal body, there is a felt filter where the sound goes through (see image below). The size of the metal body itself is also pretty small, so it won't stick out of your ears like Frankenstein's bolts as evident by the photo above as well as the photo below.

 

 

 

 

Moving from the body of the earphone, the cable strain relief right below the body (see above photo) seems useless in function. It's really stiff and hardly moves, and they can actually spin in place such that it spins independently from the metal body and cable. Why is this even here? I have no idea.

 

The cable of the M9 is pretty stiff and non-pliable since it's a plastic-coated cable. As a result a lot of cable microphonics is encountered and they stick out everywhere (see the first photo). To alleviate the cable microphonics, I've tried to wrap the cable around my ear instead of hanging them straight down and the non-pliable cable makes it very difficult to do so. Also, the plastic-coated cable makes the M9 a bit impractical for storage since a lot of the kinks in the cable remain after unwrapping and the stiff cable doesn't stay wrapped in a compact form.

 

You can adjust the length of the Y-split cable going to either earbud using the cable adjustor in the middle of the cable (see photo below).

 

 

 

Finally, down at the 3.5 mm terminated gold-plated jack, the insert has a long, narrow body so it will definitely fit in a device with a case. It's also at a 45˚ angle, which allows better cable management with a portable device over 90˚ ones and it prevents the strain encountered with 0˚/180˚ jacks.

 

 

 

The overall design of the M9 is good, but the cable is a real turn-off, which is a bummer since the cable matters a lot for earphones.

 

 

 

 

Comfort

Although the M9s have a shallow insert tip, they actually provide a good amount of noise isolation. Because of this, I think they make a pretty comfortable earphone for listening to music in louder environments. However, since the tips are silicone, they get very uncomfortable for me within an hour, leaving my ear canal a bit moist and itchy.

 

Speaking of the tips though, when you insert the earphones into your ear, they make a really annoying scrunching sound. It's as if you were crumpling a piece of cellophane in your ear and it is quite unpleasant to hear.

 

As is the nature of shallow insert tips, they're quite easy to yank out of your ear. The stiff cable sticking out all over the place doesn't help with that either.

 

 

 

 

Sound

My listening tests have been done on a variety of setups, but the main rig is:

  • iPhone 4S
  • FiiO L9 Line-Out-Dock
  • JDS Labs C5 or Objective 2

 

The M9's sound signature is pretty much your typical V-shaped sound:

  • Bass extension is good and the bass response is elevated; there is a ton of sub-bass
  • The midrange as a whole is really recessed and muffled by the big bass response and strident treble; the timbre seems to be pretty wonky, but it is warm on the other hand
  • Upper-midrange is sibilant
  • Lower-treble is harsh and lacks detail
  • Upper-treble is lacking in extension
  • The soundstage seems very cramped both in width and depth
  • Instrument separation is pretty poor; instruments seemed meshed together and not very well-defined

 

As a whole I don't think the M9 sounds very good. I'm sure there are plenty of alternative earphones out there that sound more transparent. Of course being a ~$20 USD earphone I wasn't expecting much, but I own a different set of earphones that sound leagues better in comparison for about the same price using the same tips. Likewise for a different earphone that I bought from a generic retail store that you find near the checkout stands; at least the midrange sounds much more realistic with those.

 

 

 

 

Conclusion

I don't know if it's the tips or what, but I would not recommend the M9 to most people who are looking for a < $30 earphone. Even with other tips I have at home, my observations remain more or less the same. I would only recommend the M9 for someone who listens to electronic music since the fat sub-bass response is nice for that genre. I'm glad I didn't have to pay money for the M9 because it really disappoints me. I use the M9 purely for testing equipment to make sure it works (such as a home-built CMoy amp), and not really for listening to music to.

 

 

 

 

Thanks

Thank you for taking the time to read or glance through my review. I hope it is useful in some shape or form. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave a note below. Thank you again!

Posted

Pros: Sound, Build, Cost

Cons: No Triple-Flanges

First I'll start by listing all the details:
Current Price: $10-$15 from amazon.com (MSRP: $24.99); $18-24 for M9P with microphone
Specs: Driver: Dynamic | Imp: 16 Ω | Freq: 18-20k Hz | Cord: 4’ 45-degree plug
Nozzle Size: 5.5mm | Preferred tips: Triple- Flange
Wear Style: Straight down, Over ear can be bothersome due to the deep fit needed for best sound.
Accessories (4/5) – Hard clamshell case, shirt clip, single-(3 sizes) and bi-flange silicone tips
Build Quality (5/5) – Rock Solid, One of the best cables on an Iem I've seen, better then Iem's costing 10x as much.
Isolation (4/5) – Longer housings and included bi-flange help achieve deeper insertion and greater isolation despite the vented design
Microphonics (4/5) – Low when worn cable down; nonexistent otherwise
Comfort (4/5)– Light Weight Construction adds to long term wear, This would be a 5 star rating but you really need Triple-Flanges to get the best fit for the sound.
These need deep insertion to sound their best.
Sound (4.5/5) First thing you notice is the Bass, It hits hard and has a very nice depth to it. At first has some "Boom" Factor to it but after about 50hrs of burn in it settles down quite nicely. It doesn't have any bleed into the Mids that I noticed. It stays right in line. Very nice at this price point. The Mids are a little recessed but not in a bad way, The Bass and Treble do not crowd them out, They have that slight V-Shape, but it works quite well. The Mids are nice and smooth with amazing detail for such a low price. Quite pleasing. The Treble has amazing crispness to them, it extends out quite far. It can step out on certain tracks but never is harsh.
Tip Selection helps here, to get that slight sizzle out...
Soundstage is decent as well, Not super wide or tall, It gives a lot of air around the sound. Very nice 3-D effect. I've used several MEE Iem's and these have just a fantastic quality to the space and air.
I must mention tho these do require a deep insertion to get the best sound. These are ported/vented and need it to sound their best. Try the include Double-Flange first, then move to a Triple-Flange.
Value(5/5) I Highly Recommend these. Meelectronics (MEE) is a little known company to most( average customer) But are hands down better then anything you can pull off the shelf at your local chain store. Top notice build quality, AMAZING sound, and a Customer Service Dept. that's second to none.

 

Posted

Pros: Great Bass Extention, Amazing Sound for Sub-$15 Headphone

Cons: Microphonic, Bass Bleed

I bought these as a replacement for my lost CX 300's, which IMO, were pretty good for the price I paid. These $10 earbuds quickly surpassed my memories of my CX 300's--they sound amazing for $10, and amazing, period. When I listen to these, they sound like they're worth easily 3 or 4 times the price.

 

The bass is very prevalent in these. For a lot of my music, that's a good thing but the few times I've ventured out of electric and rock genres the sound comes out kinda muddy. They definitely have a really mainstream signature - the bass is boomy, the mids are clear, but the highs are recessed. On a side note, getting a good seal is crucial with these. I replaced the stock tips with Comply's and wow, it really did sound different.

 

The cables are slightly microphonic, but the cable itself is really strong and doesn't tangle that bad. Overall though, it's a really good deal at $10.

Posted

Pros: Very nice build, Exciting Sound, Legendary Customer Service

Cons: Deep Insertion is Needed for Best Sound. Some might not like the amount of bass

Let me begin by saying that this is my first review, so try to be nice! redface.gif

 

Let's begin with build quality....
 

The twisted cable  is covered in a nice, thick, clear black cover that should fight against abuse very well.  The black metal housings should handle a lot . One thing I didn't like about the build is it's strain reliefs. It tends to get slightly loose. It shouldn't affect the durability much since it still covers the cables, but it can bother you.  Overall, the build is excellent, except for the strain reliefs..

 

Comfort and Isolation

 

Comfort was sort of a weaker part of the M9's. The stock single flanges are actually very comfy, but all existing isolation disappears and sound quality is slightly decreased. Very deep insertion is required for the best sound. The double flanges or the Sony Hybrids improves the sound and isolation, but neither of them have the same comfort as the stock single flanges

 

 

Microphonics

Yeah, it's still there, but isn't quite noticeable. No microphonics when worn over the ear however.

 

Sound

 

The M9's seem to do quite a difficult feat. They achieve a mainstream sound signature that non-audiophilics love, while still being able to appeal to audiophiles.

 

Bass:

Can be a tad bit excessive sometimes. Every once in a while, the bass shows up when uncalled for.  Should satisfy bassheads.

 

Mids:

The M9's is quite satisfying in clarity, though the mids might feel recessed or pushed back.

 

Treble:

Unsurprisingly, the highs of the M9's is its weaker point. Although of the astounding detail put out from the M9's, they can be quite harsh at times.

 

Soundstage:

Excellent, thanks to the M9's vented design.

 

 

In conclusion...

 

Mee might have released new and possibly better IEM's that probably beat the M9's in just about every way, but with the lowered street price ( I've seen newegg go as low as $10! ) these still can't be beat. It pretty much destroys anything near it's price range, ( like the Skullcandy Ink'd or the JVC Marshmallows ) 

 

 

Thank you  taking your time and reading my review, however amateur it may be, and I hope this helps..!

 

( Used Un-rockboxed Sansa Fuze with 320 kbps quality and no less. )

 

Posted

Pros: price, value, decent SQ

Cons: smell of cheap paint/plastic lingers even after 6 mths

It's been a long time since I've gotten these. Before these, I was using the more expensive mainstream IEMs like EP630 and CX300 (which, if you recognize these, are actually the same **** IEMs) and the disappointing CKM50. When I got these, its like I suddenly realized there were actually additional notes in the songs I had been listening for the last couple of years! The clarity is awesome for a under 20 pair of earphones.

 

SoundQ:

Bass: after reading other's reviews and personal experience, I'd say the bass is not for bassheads, but decent enough if you can get a good seal (this is critical). Unfortunately the double flange doesn't quite fit in my ears so I cannot get the maximum bass intended by the manufacturers and this might be why I don't understand the people who say M9s have too much bass, but I did a earplug mod on my pair, replacing the single flange with earplugs for a perfect seal on both ends, and the bass is still at acceptable levels.

 

Mids: Basically, there is some level of clarity for the mids, enough for you to discern individual guitar strings being plucked, but in some other parts they end up mashed together and you cannot, not really sure how to describe this.. However overall the mids are much better than the EP630's recessed mids. It's as if my songs became brighter and more lively.

 

TrebL: Rolloff is rather obvious here, the highs often sound diminished. More distressing is the sibilance that occurs in some songs, especially for those with a lot of cymbals or computer generated treble sounds (think korean pop). For female voices though, these M9s handle them quite well, altho the sound can become a bit bright at times.

 

Microphonics:

There is some cable noise, over the ear doesn't totally cut it out, but the shirt clip, when used, reduces the noise a lot, so that you won't notice it when the music is playing.

 

Price/Meelec:

its an outdated pair of phones with Meelec coming up with a new series of earphones, but that just means that the M9 is now even cheaper! I paid 23 after s/h for these off the main site, now they're selling for about 15 off amazon. While Meelec often has much overpriced MSRPs, their customer service was great. Also comes with a decent set of accessories (altho i use none of them)

 

In summary, if you're looking for an decent upgrade from brandless earbuds without throwing more than 25, consider the M9s. These also come with a mic in the M9P variant. 

Posted

Pros: Excellent Bass, Good Seal, Works Well with the Sansa Fuze EQ

Cons: Microphonics are still there

These Earphones are great with the Bass. Although the Microphonics is still annoying even after the first model of the AI-M9.

MEElectronics M9-BK Hi-Fi Sound-Isolating Earphones (Black)
Description:

M9 second generation delivers ultimate sound with stylish color options (black or silver). Improved cable to eliminate microphonics. Redesigned casing provides superb durability. Headphone offers clear, accurate sound from any portable music or DVD player. MP3 and iPod accessory blocks out ambient noise for better listening. Electronic device features comfortable in-ear sound-isolating design. Lightweight, in-ear design blocks out ambient noise better than many bulky battery-powered noise-canceling headphones. Enjoy the full dynamic range of your favorite music and movies without cranking up the volume. M9 in-ear headphones deliver rich, clean sound from your portable player. Aluminum casting produces deep clean bass. 9mm drivers with neodymium magnets. 48-inch straight cord with gold-plated stereo mini-plus. Frequency response: 20 to 20,000 Hz. Impedance: 16 ohms. Our earphones require proper seal to achieve best sound quality, please choose from provided tip sets that best fits your ears

Details:
DetailValue
BindingElectronics
BrandMEElectonics
ColorBlack
EAN0689076682886
FeatureMP3 and iPod accessory blocks out ambient noise for better listening
Height6.75 inches
Length48 inches
Weight0.25 pounds
Width3.75 inches
LabelS2E Inc
List Price$27.99
ManufacturerS2E Inc
Material TypeMetal
Material Type Set ElementMetal
ModelM9-BK
MPNM9-BK
Package Quantity1
Product GroupCE
Product Type NameHEADPHONES
PublisherS2E Inc
StudioS2E Inc
TitleMEElectronics M9-BK Hi-Fi Sound-Isolating Earphones (Black)
UPC689076682886
Models:
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC
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