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[Review] MEElectronics A151

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Introduction

 

Ever since MEElectronics came into the head-fi scene they have been known to provide good quality bang for your buck products. However up until now their products have all been focused around dynamic drivers. That has changed and the A151 will be their first official release into the Balanced Armature (BA) driver technology. As someone who has enjoyed many BA based earphones I just had to get my hands on a pair of them and that is exactly what I did.

 

Review Gear

 

Source: Audinst HUD-MX1, Cowon J3

Phones: MEElectronics A151

Bitrate: A mix of mp3 to FLAC

 

Specifications

 

Frequency Range: 15-20000 Hz

Sensitivity: 111 dB

Impedance: 27 Ω

Maximum Power Input: 25 mW

Cable: twisted black 120 cm cable (or 47 inches)

Connector: 3 pin stereo 3.5mm gold plated straight plug

Driver: single micro balanced armature

 

Accessories

 

Like the previous products from MEElectronics the A151 gives you a good amount of accessories as well and all of them are useful. You have a various assortment of tips and the same case that came with my M9. Of the included tips you get a set of three different sized single flange tips, a pair of biflange and lastly a pair of triple flange tips.

 

Build Quality

 

MEElectronics is one of the few companies that I have encountered that constantly updates their products to have better quality. The many revisions that the M6 and M9 have gone through is proof of that. The cable of the A151 is different than my last encounter with MEElectronics in the M9.

 

The A151 has a twisted black cable very similar to the Fischer Audio DBA-02 and they probably use the same manufacturer for the cable since it basically is the same thing. There are strain reliefs in the places where there should be one. It has a straight plug which I have come to enjoy and a chin slider which is helpful when wearing over the ear since a twisted cable such as this one makes a shirt clip not needed. The housings are built well and there are markings for the left and right although you can easily figure out which one is which without looking after some time if you are not used to over the ear.

 

IMG_1623.jpgIMG_1622.jpgIMG_1621.jpg

 

Sound Signature

 

To start things off with the bass you get what most would expect out of a single driver BA in the bass. It has good clarity, speed and decent impact but not the type that you can feel like you can with dynamic drivers. The bass is well controlled and for the most part I do not feel that it is out of place. There is a slight emphasis in the mid bass area which gives the A151 a bit more warmth than your typical BA. The bass extension is not the greatest but keep in mind that these are not meant to compete with the best. The A151 does an admirable job up until the point of its roll off and does struggle quite a bit at the lowest of lows which is essentially the sub bass.

 

The midrange of these is a tiny bit recessed but should not be too noticeable unless you have something that is relatively flat to compare them to. That aside the midrange has good clarity, detail and there is a bit of warmth coming from the mid bass but do not mistake that for lack of detail or the presence of a veil.

 

The upper midrange and treble smooths ever so slightly. Usually there is some kind of peak in the upper midrange (when dealing with these type of sound signatures) where it gives the perception of more detail and at the same time making it prone to sibilance. However these do not have that peak and I would call it laid back and sibilance should not be an issue within reason of course (overly sibilant recordings cannot be saved by the A151). Detail and clarity is good here however very much like the bass the upper limit of the A151 struggles to keep up in resolution. This is most likely due to the single BA driver not being able to offer the full frequency range. Also very much like the bass it does a good job up until it reaches the limit of their extension.

 

Sound stage is about average here but it is pretty coherent without too many gaps of space. Instrument separation and imaging is slightly above average as locational cues are fairly accurate and you get the general idea of where things belong.

 

Conclusion

 

So all in all the Meelec A151 is a good sounding earphone while not lightening the wallet too much. I consider the A151 a fairly good all rounder that does have a bit of warmth added to it which gives it an overall pleasing sound. It retails for $74.99 which makes it a great value. It also comes with a complete package in sound, build quality, accessories and even better they are backed by a company that stands behind their products and has great customer service.

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #2 of 8
Nice review. I've owned a pair of these for about a week now, and I must say I'm enjoying these thoroughly. My Monster Turbines are being neglected at present, and I don't regret making the switch. While the bass isn't as much as you'd get with a dynamic pair, for me it's sufficient, and the clarity is simply outstanding.

As a first time BA IEM owner (my TF10s are on loan, with a friend), I am very impressed with these. The comfort levels are simply fantastic. I've experienced very little fatigue while listening to music with my A151s and the build quality too is very impressive.

I actually like the fact that the treble on these isn't bright, because it suits my ears nicely. The sound is slightly warm, but overall it's pretty fantastic. Glad I took the plunge and bought a pair after reading Joker's review.
post #3 of 8

My take: I recently tried the A151 and I just cannot get in to the sound/signature. Also, I've been having fit and isolation issues. The M6 has been my daily commuter for a little while now and, though they are far from perfect, they have been very forgiving and excellent workhorses. Once I finally fit the M6 with the Sony hybrid tips they have been fabulous.

 

Looking for something a little different, and being so happy with the Meelec brand so far I gave the A151's a shot and, man, I tell ya...not happy. I went through every tip I have and couldn't get a good seal or decent isolation, nor could I get the fit anywhere acceptable. Sonically, they were hardly forgiving for the majority of music I have on my iPhone 3Gs and found myself resorting to finally rely on the built in EQ settings, ("rock"), to achieve a sound that was listenable and somewhat forgiving, but even that EQ setting is lame and it forced me to bump the volume up to close to the 90% range to hear anything. I keep the EQ turned off all the time and it killed me to have to go to it since I find the presets generally offensive. I tried the A151 with the EQu app as well and I just don't have enough free time to tickle all the settings to find the sound I prefer, plus that kind of defeats the purpose of a BA IEM I think.

 

I understand the differences between the M6, (dynamic), and the A151, (BA), and have experience listening to both types from other manufacturers. I think I was hoping to get, based on reviews from folks like Joker, rawrster and others, a budget BA with maybe a little something behind it. So, beyond anything the problem is likely my expectations for the A151 combined with the fit and isolation. It may have helped me realize as well that maybe I'm not a BA kind of guy. 

 

After researching the A151 on the forum here and seeing who likes it and why it makes sense that it will appeal to certain listeners and not for others, me being in the later category. I don't think there is necessarily anything bad about the A151, it merely comes down to it not being for me. It is unquestionably built extremely well, and microphonics. What microphonics? That flimsy looking cable is anything but and I couldn't make it make a sound.

 

Oh well, I suppose the A151 will be up for sale. Thinking I might try the CC51's or make a little more of a jump financially and check out the Shure SE215's that all the kids seem to be raving about the past week or so. The chatter on the 215's seem like it might be something I could get in to. 


Edited by CaptainRuss - 3/30/11 at 11:27am
post #4 of 8

Well i have been using a151 for about 2 months and i must say that i am more than happy with the build and sound quality.

My only problem is the fit issues. I am only able to get good sound while using the triple flange tips and when i push them real deep. As the sound tube of the a151 is thin it is easy to insert them deep and i get great sound. However while pushing out them the triple flange tips always(!) remains inside my ear canal and every time i need to first pull the iem out and then remove the stucked in triple flange and put it back on the iem before putting them back in case. This is indeed a big turn off for me.

 

Does anyone have the same loose earbud(triple flange) issue?

This only happens with the triple flange tips. The single flange ones seems more stable but they dont sound good at all. Bi-flange tips are a little better but they are still not sounding as good as the triple flange tips.

 

I wonder if my buds are faulty so i can order some spare triple flange tips from meelec. Or is that a common problem with the deep insertion(triple flange) buds with Meelec. If so, which earbuds do you advise for this iem? ı dont like the foam buds so maybe sony hybrids but which ones? And do they really sound as good as triple flanges?

post #5 of 8

There are a few things going on here that will help you solve your issues.

1.  Nozzle size - The nozzle on the A151 is smaller then a standard IEM, M6, M9, M11.  So standard tips won't fit unless you use the adapter mode on them, turning one of the single flanges inside out on the nozzle and then putting on a sony hybrid or the Triple flange.  Their was a thread or a couple of posts with pics somewhere around here.

2.  I had an issue with the fit of the single flange as well.  I could get a good seal between a shallow seal and a deep seal.  I was able to resolve this issue by using foam earplugs to mod the single flanges so they fill out my ear canal better.  Like this: http://www.head-fi.org/t/383917/how-to-best-custom-tips-for-iems-ever-imho-with-pics/120#post_7480643

3.  The sony hybrids and the triple flange shouldn't make much of a difference.  I would try to flip the stock single flanges inside out, and then try hybrids over them and the stem, after that play with some other narrow stem tips with foam, shure, etymotic, klipsch eargel, et al.  will work.

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by muratdeveli View Post

Well i have been using a151 for about 2 months and i must say that i am more than happy with the build and sound quality.

My only problem is the fit issues. I am only able to get good sound while using the triple flange tips and when i push them real deep. As the sound tube of the a151 is thin it is easy to insert them deep and i get great sound. However while pushing out them the triple flange tips always(!) remains inside my ear canal and every time i need to first pull the iem out and then remove the stucked in triple flange and put it back on the iem before putting them back in case. This is indeed a big turn off for me.

 

Does anyone have the same loose earbud(triple flange) issue?

This only happens with the triple flange tips. The single flange ones seems more stable but they dont sound good at all. Bi-flange tips are a little better but they are still not sounding as good as the triple flange tips.

 

I wonder if my buds are faulty so i can order some spare triple flange tips from meelec. Or is that a common problem with the deep insertion(triple flange) buds with Meelec. If so, which earbuds do you advise for this iem? ı dont like the foam buds so maybe sony hybrids but which ones? And do they really sound as good as triple flanges?



 

post #6 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by dziendobry View Post

There are a few things going on here that will help you solve your issues.

1.  Nozzle size - The nozzle on the A151 is smaller then a standard IEM, M6, M9, M11.  So standard tips won't fit unless you use the adapter mode on them, turning one of the single flanges inside out on the nozzle and then putting on a sony hybrid or the Triple flange.  Their was a thread or a couple of posts with pics somewhere around here.

2.  I had an issue with the fit of the single flange as well.  I could get a good seal between a shallow seal and a deep seal.  I was able to resolve this issue by using foam earplugs to mod the single flanges so they fill out my ear canal better.  Like this: http://www.head-fi.org/t/383917/how-to-best-custom-tips-for-iems-ever-imho-with-pics/120#post_7480643

3.  The sony hybrids and the triple flange shouldn't make much of a difference.  I would try to flip the stock single flanges inside out, and then try hybrids over them and the stem, after that play with some other narrow stem tips with foam, shure, etymotic, klipsch eargel, et al.  will work.

 


 

 
 

 

 

Thanks for the great tips..

I just tried to flip the stock single flanges inside our and then tried the stocked triflanges over them. Voila.. Now super stability and even better fit...

Thanks again for the nice tips :)


 

post #7 of 8

I owned the A151 for awhile (2-3 months). The sound signature was too dark for me, perhaps due to the recessed upper midrange (e.g. violins) to treble. I agree with muratdeveli, the sound is rather dark and only really listenable on rock/treble booster eq. Treble also has a bit of... graininess, perhaps due to the single armature not being able to handle the upper treble. Detail wasn't great, despite being BA's. Their a solid pair of IEM's though, great build quality and zero microphonics - is it worth the $50-70? depends on your tastes. Just make sure you like dark sounding IEM's, because the sound signature is kind of skewed, and anything but balanced.

post #8 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by muratdeveli View Post

Thanks for the great tips..



I just tried to flip the stock single flanges inside our and then tried the stocked triflanges over them. Voila.. Now super stability and even better fit...



Thanks again for the nice tips smily_headphones1.gif





How is this possible can you show a pic of what you did?
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