Pros: Balanced sound, connections between lows-mids-highs, inexpensive, beyond excellent custom service, fit + finish
Cons: A little more bass rumble could be good, dynamics are lacking compared to higher end models
I have Music One for a while now, I already wrote some impressions in the Custom Art thread in here. So I decided to combine them and do a proper review. It is a little gem that punches way above its price point, so definitely deserves a review in my view.
Starting with the design. Single BA per side, silicone earpieces, permanent or optional detachable cable (with a little extra cost). Mine uses the detachable system. It is an industry standard 2 pins configuration so if you are willing to use any aftermarket cable, it is not gonna be a problem for you. Also I should add the earpieces have horn nozzle system. You can choose between black, clear and white cable options. I chose the white and it is not braided but it is quite user friendly. The memory wire part is very soft and up to some point you can bend and give it a shape. It is nice. Though I have one small complain, the Y splitter is positioned pretty high, I wish it was a bit lower. It stays very close to my chin/face. Most of the time I keep the cable behind my head, next to my back so it is not a problem but sometimes I use the monitors with my computer and I let the cables go straight down behind my ear, in this case the Y splitter feels very close to me. Apart from that, I have no issues. The cable looks durable too, so all and all, no big problems here.
Accessories, you get a 1010 Pelican case, which is practically indestructible, a very small zipper case (blue), desiccant and cleaning tool. The desiccant is a nice addition, I didn't receive it with my SE5way purchase from Spiral Ear, which is something like 10 times more expensive product. The cleaning tool has 2 sides, one with the brush and one with the metal wire. As for the blue zipper case, man it is quite tiny and I am not sure I would use it. It is a nice addition but in order to put the earpieces and cables in it I would spend clean 5 minutes I guess. So Peli case is way to go for me.
Fit / Finish, well obviously your fit depends on how good were your ear impressions. Turned out my impressions were pretty good. My left ear has a fit like glove, perfect. Not tight, not loose. I wished a little bit tighter because silicone is forgiving and it doesn't cause any discomfort but now I am happy with it and I don't think I will ask for a refit. The right ear has a tight seal, which I prefer. For me, it couldn't get any better than that. Thanks to the forgiving nature of silicone, I don't have any discomfort and I get a perfect isolation. Compared to my old SE5way (which I had fit issues and now it is being remolded by Peter) my fit is absolutely perfect. Finish is also good. I choose special colors, lime metallic for the left and claret violet for the right. While I like the colors, one thing I would suggest you to do is, ask Peter if he made any ciem with the colors you are interested in because the real colors are a little different from the colors you see in the website. This is of course understandable so in order to avoid surprises, you can contact and ask Peter to see what they look like in real life.
Now, the sound section, which is why we are making all the fuss about audio gears I am happy to report, the sound is extremely nice, considering it is a single BA design and very inexpensive monitor. I will separate this section into 4 part, bass-mids-highs and presentation.
Bass: Very linear, it goes pretty deep, sometimes lacks the dynamics and power but let's you feel some things are happening in the low region. We have a clean bass here, it doesn't kick like a mule but it is not bass shy either. If you are listening to bass heavy tracks, sometimes you wish for a bit more deep rumble from these little gems but for the rest, I believe the bass should be satisfying. Bass extension is good, maybe not perfect but it can reach quite deep. So, to put it simply, you get a nice, clean, linear, deep bass. It is not on the bass heavy level but it should be more than enough for many of us. Peter did a very good job tuning the bass in this monitors because considering they have only one balanced armature to handle all frequencies.
Midrange: Oh boy, this is the best part of Music One. Mids are forward. It has an exceptional balance. The thickness vs clarity is set in a very good point. You get rich mids but don't lose from the details or clarity. It is not overly bright or overly warm. The tonal balance is good, the naturalness of the sound is very impressive. Being a mid centric monitor, they really create the music with emotion in here. Definitely the shining part of the presentation. What I like most about the mids is, the passages where you link the lows to mids and the mids to the highs are beautifully done. Again, a wonderful tuning here. Getting this midrange in this pricepoint, I take my hat off in front Peter. In summary, exceptional balance, emotional, forward, clean and detailed midrange.
Treble: Surprise surprise! The treble definitely caught me off guard. I am a person with a problematic treble hearing. I am quite sensitive to it and anything that goes hot, ear raping, very bright is completely turn off for me. Good news is, I am very happy with the treble in Music One. It has a slightly, very slightly bright character but in a very polite way. Never gets fatiguing and never becomes disturbing. The best part is, the note decay is awesome, treble sounds extremely natural to my ears. Very, very enjoyable character in here. Like the rest of the spectrum, the beautiful balance and emotional presentation are also here. You get a little bit sparkly flavor and some air in between the instruments. I couldn't detect big peaks or dips in here, so another success for Music One. In summary the treble is musical, natural, detailed, airy and balanced. It doesn't disturb my ears at all, instead it just lets me enjoy the music.
I was expecting mids to become the best part of the show but treble definitely caught me by surprise. I am in love with it. Very musical and very enjoyable without going hard on my ears.
Presentation: Let's be honest from the beginning. We don't have the largest presentation in here. It has a touch more depth than its width. So the presentation is lively, 3D. The whole spectrum is balanced in here. From a single BA, we are talking about a hell of a tuning in here. Mids are forward, it blends perfectly with the lows and the highs. Those combinations are so lovely. Transparency is not excellent but note weight and note decay are definitely perfect. You wouldn't expect it from one BA. Sometimes I ask myself, is it really a single BA design There are shortcomings too unfortunately. Music One might not be your best shot against fast paced, complex musics. I am not saying it is doing a bad job but you feel that things could be better. It lacks the dynamics. Of course considering the price, I don't expect it to perform like multi-BA design or well tuned dynamic drivers. It doesn't sound congested or muddy, it just makes the music more simple with complex tracks. Good news is, tuning is perfect with this product. The emotional sound can match against hundreds of euros more expensive products. From musicality point of view, I can't find any single shortcoming here.
In summary; Music One doesn't only recreate the audio, it gives an emotion to it, which is something that many high end products are missing. It has a balanced signature, perfect combination of frequencies, musical presentation, 3D soundstage, detailed and mid centric. When you put it in your ears and turn the music on, you can feel that the ciems are just calling you to chill and enjoy the music it reproduces.
This is my journey with Music One so far. As you can see, I am really enjoying it and it is surprised that how a single BA, inexpensive monitors can sound that good. From the value point of you, we might be looking at the bargain of the ciem history.
Last but not least, I should talk about the customer service. As we all know, especially in custom-iems the customer service is very important. Again, I am happy to report that Peter does an outstanding job here. I mean, there is no single point that I wish it was better. It is already at the top point. I can't recommend him enough. He is extremely helpful, listening and understanding your questions. Giving you detailed answers and more than one solutions. Always offers new options and provide new opportunities. Heck, we exchanged hundreds of emails, I changed my ciems design countless times, he always responded politely and nicely. I am a person who can't decide easily when there are multiple options. Well, thank you so much Peter for bearing it with me and always being so understanding as well as polite. You earned more than a customer. If you ever come to Belgium, your beers will be waiting for you
For more information, please visit:
Daft Punk - Discovery + Random Access Memories (Édition Studio Masters)
Thom Yorke - The Eraser
Lana Del Rey - Born to Die (The Paradise Edition)
Black Sabbath - Paranoid (The Black Box Remasters)
Jay-Z - The Blueprint
Eminem - The Slim Shady LP + The Marshall Mathers LP + The Eminem Show + The Marshall Mathers LP 2 (Deluxe Edition)
Aerosmith - Aerosmith
Lorde - The Pure Heroine
The Notorious B.I.G. - Ready to Die (The Remaster 2006)
Snoog Dogg - Doggystyle
Dr. Dre - The Chronic + 2001
A Tribe Called Quest - Beats, Rhymes and Life
Milky Chance - Sadnecessary
Metallica - Ride the Lightning + ...And Justice For All + Metallica + Load + Reload + S&M