Today I will be putting to test the basic entry level models from MEElectronics - the M2P and the M9. The M2P is a very low-priced entry level IEM with and in-line microphone for iPhones,Blackberry and other compatible phones. Similarly a non-mic version is also available under the model name "M2" .As you can notice the "P" is used as an identification for mic'ed version of MEElectronics earphones.
The M9 is a budget entry level IEM costing slightly more than the M2 but lot lesser than the M6. Lets check how these two entry level earphones perform and fair against some of the other offerings in their respective segments.
- Driver: 9mm drivers with neodymium magnets
- Housing: Solid alloy composition tuned bass port design
- Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20KHz
- Sensitivity: 93 dB (1mW @ 1KHz)
- Impedance: 16 ohms
- Connector: 3.5mm gold plated, straight connector
- Cable: 1.22m cord (4 ft) with attached shirt clip
- Driver: 9mm drivers with neodymium magnets
- Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20KHz
- Sensitivity: 95 dB (1mW @ 1KHz)
- Impedance: 16 ohms
- Connector: 3.5mm gold plated, 45 degree connector
- Cable: Designer 1.4m cord (4.6 ft) with attached shirt clip
Packaging and Accessories :
The M2P ships in a slim tube like transparent plastic packaging unlike the other MEElectronic IEMs.The accessories include 3 pairs of ear-tips (small,medium,large) and a user manual . There is no carry case or any additional accessories .Might be disappointing for some buyers but I guess its just one of the strategies for keeping the overall price as low as possible for an entry level earphone.
The M9 comes in rectangular box similar to the M6 . The upper half of the box is transparent and gives complete view of the earphones .The lower half holds the carry case along with other accessories .
Complete list of accessories for M9 -
-air line adapter
-8 pairs of ear-tips .Yes you read it right -8 pairs !!
The M9 basically comes with 2 different types of ear-tips . Theres a zip pouch marked as Enhanced bass tips which are black in colour and another pouch marked as balanced sound (clear/gray colour). Each pack contains 4 pairs of tips- small ,medium,large and bi-flange.
So one has the option to do a lot of tip-rolling before deciding which one suits his needs.
Overall the set of accessories with the M2P is satisfactory - if not a hard case , atleast a soft carry pouch would have been perfect to add to the package.
On the other hand MEElectronic has been extremely generous with the M9 in terms of accessories ,so no complaints there.
3.5/5 for M2P
4/5 for M9
Design & Build Quality :
The M2P drivers are installed in a conical plastic housing .The cable has alternate stripes of black and silver with a silver coating on it.The housing is very light weight and of good quality.There is lack of additional strain relief but the plastic housing itself has a very small rounded off part which provides protection to the cable entering the housing.
The M9 housing is metallic with silver coating and looks fantastic ! I love the classy metallic mirror finish on these. There's a nice fat rubber stain relief on the housing . The cables on the M2P and the M9 are same.It has alternate silver and black stripes like a Zebra and has a transparent coating over it .Medium thickness and easily manageable. Not signs of any microphonics as well.
The quality of cables is exceptionally good . I have mentioned this earlier in the M6 review and would like to repeat that MEElectronics without any doubt offers some of the best cables Ive ever come across in an IEM of any price bracket .
The build quality has always been great with MEE products and the M2P and M9 are no exceptions .Especially the M9 is built much better than some of the IEMs costing twice or thrice its price.
Comfort and Isolation :
The M2P are ultra light and quiet comfortable .The conical shape might take some time getting used to or to get the first fit right but other than that they do not cause any problems of fitting or extended usage. The M9 on the other hand have perfect snug fit .
The bi-flanges provide best isolation in terms of blocking out some heavy noise around whereas the other silicon tips do a mediocre job of isolation.
Sound Quality :
Before testing the earphones I gave them A 50-70 hrs burn-in with some listening in between. They didn't show any major post burn-in difference other than settling of the sibilance in M9.
To get a fair idea of the sound signature and avoid any added coloration by the source ,the IEMs were tested using different portable as well as desktop sources.
Test Setup used :
Portable : Sansa Fuze ,Cowon D2+
Desktop : NuForce uDAC II
*Both the M2P and MP easily driven ,so no amp was used during testing.
For testing I used my usual demo cd consisting of some assorted lossless/320kbps music of A.R Rahman,Bollywood OSTs,The very best of Enya(new age),Metallica,Poets of the Fall, Evanescence,Apocalyptica ,Bob DylanDamien Rice,Enigma and some electronica tracks.
The M2P's sound signature is balanced. Medium heavy bass ,slightly dark mids and a better than average treble.
The bass is well controlled with some decent punch . It isnt as heavy as the SoundMagic PL-11 or as muddy as the Creative EP-630 but it isn't as light as the bass on PL-21. To give you an idea of the bass quantity its more than SoundMagic's PL-21 but less than the PL-11 .The quality is what one would expect from any entry level IEM. Not much textures or detailed layers but the usual medium heavy bass. Perfectly balanced bass.
The midrange has slightly dark coloration . The vocals ,instruments etc are clear but lack that hint of naturalness in sound .Especially the female vocals lack the polish or finesse. But I guess expecting that from a super cheap IEM wouldn't be justified.For the price they are better than most average IEMs.Overall the mids are pretty neutral with a hint of dark characteristics in vocals.There's a hint of sibilance in some tracks but shouldn't bother unless you are too sensitive to sibilance.
The treble is fairly detailed and bright but doesn't extend till the end of spectrum.Also there's a noticeable roll-off around 15-16Khz.
Soundstage is again average with the usual width and not much depth. Nothing extra ordinary nor too congested or lack of imaging.
Overall the M2Ps provide an average sound but considering the price they can easily be tagged as an amazing value for money IEM for mobile phones, especially because it comes with a micrphone.The other alternative is the MP-21 but M2P is almost half the price and even though it isn't exactly as detailed as the PL/MP-21 , its pretty close and provides good detailing along with balance in sound.
For the price ,one shouldn't be expecting any extreme micro-detailing or super wide soundstage etc and keeping that in mind these provide amazing value for money sound. Especially for mobile phone buyers this one's a must have if you are on a low budget and a microphone is necessary.
Rating : If I had to rate them purely on SQ comparing it with much more expensive IEMs , I would rate these as 2.9/5 but considering the price and value they provide due to the microphone etc these deserve a 4/5.
The M9 supposedly has the same driver as the M6 and also shares a similar sound signature with some additions and differences . Also the complete sound varies a lot depending on the different tips .There are almost 8 different set of tips providing either balanced sound or enhanced bass .I will try and explain the differences I could perceive while comparing both types of tips.
Cosmetically there isn't much difference in the two types of tips other than thickness and the more rounded shape of the enhanced tips .
The M9s are very generous with bass . There's plenty of bass , enough to satisfy most BASS-heads.Even with the balanced tips the bass is a tad bit boomy . With the enhanced bass , there is a slight peak in the mid-bass and the M9 almost turns into a mini-boom box IEM. The ones who prefer heavy bass should stick to the balanced tips and the ones who want only bass should try the enhanced tips
Quantity wise these might come pretty close to the Hippo Boom which I had reviewed long time back. Quality wise these are on par with most entry level IEMs.
The mids on the M9 are more focused on the instrumentals than the vocals. The vocals sounds recessed .There seems to be a slight drop somewhere in the middle of the frequency curve .Not exactly a V curve but a small drop . Other than that small drop , the mids overall are smooth, clear and a little dark sounding. Not the best midrange for an IEM of this price but surely not the worst . Overall pretty decent. Also using the enhanced bass tips does take away some of the detailing from the midrange.
The treble on the M9s pretty enhanced compared to the M6 and M2P. Much better extension than the the M2P and almost as good as the M6. The treble is bright and a little shrill. There's noticeable sibilance in some tracks and this harshness in treble can cause fatigue at times. Overall the treble has enough energy and sparkle . They are lot more detailed than most IEMs in its price range .The bass and treble are so forward that they make the mids sound recessed .
Now this is where the M9s truly shine ! When I first heard them I couldn't believe these cheap entry level IEMs could offer such an amazing width in soundstage. The M9s soundstage is very wide and much better than some of the more expensive IEMs. One can't perceive much depth but the overall wide soundstage makes the music very enjoyable . There were times I literally turned my head around . The instrument separation is also much better than most sub 1k IEMs.
Overall the M9s aren't anything extraordinary . For the price they provide good enough detailing . It is perfectly suitable for most bass heads who define Sound Quality or music based on bass and only bass. If one is looking for very balanced and neutral sound these are not for you .If you want an IEM with lot of thump ,bass and something that lets you enjoy your music without concentrating too much on the detailing , the M9s are for you.
SQ Rating : 3.4/5.
Both the M2P and M9 offer one of the best build quality offered by any IEM manufacturer. A fantastic cable and lot of accessories in the box make the complete package really VFM for the super low price.M2P provide an amazing SQ at a very low price for mobile users.
VFM rating : 4.1/5.
The M9 on the other hand might not be the best in its price range but looking at the all the sales MEE offers once in a while these can turn into a steal deal .
VFM rating : 3.7/5