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Unique Melody Merlin - 5 Driver Custom Hybrid - Quad BA + DYNAMIC Driver - Page 26

post #376 of 400

Hi guys,

 

im gonna write a mini review real soon~ stay tuned~

 

Cheers.

post #377 of 400

Hi guys,

 

the link below shows my mini thread on other forums.

 

http://forums.hardwarezone.com.sg/showpost.php?p=57579993&postcount=1

 

Just got my Merlin a few days ago. and after burning in for roughly 60hrs...
i would say together wif my cowon J3 and Silver Dragon cables, i feel the Merlin has pretty much performed near its peak.
the Bass is really smooth, pretty deep and impactful, punchy, which i really really liked.
the mids is juz plain awesome. im those guys who likes to listen to vocals and this Merlin has made it somewhat forwarded but yet it is slightly laid back.. feels like a live performance... JUST FOR YOU!
the highs are awesome too, pretty similar to the Shure SE530.
Build Quality: 8.5/10
Isolation: 9/10 (since it is vented)
SQ: 8.5/10
Soundstage: 9.5/10 (i really liked it, sounded very natural, it doesnt make ur ears tired after prolonged hrs of listening)
Details: 9/10 (The sound details are simply amazing, imagine a industrial metal song, u are still able to hear the drums, the plucking of the guitars, the vocalist's breathing/sound made frm saliva/tongue.)
post #378 of 400

My impressions of the Merlins:

 

First off, I am not a professional reviewer so I'm just gonna type out how I feel.  I've owned IEM's such as shure530, re0, tf10, monster turbine copper pro, and sennheiser ie8's so I have some decent experience with IEM's.  I have never owned a custom before and am currently in search of one that fits my needs.  As well all know, customs are so expensive and hard to hear due to them being custom so you really only have other people's impressions to go off of.  Take anything I say with a grain of salt as I'm just going off of my own ears.

 

I really bought into the hype of these iem's as they seemed like they were everything that I wanted.  Looking at the original frequency chart (v1) showed me that the bass would be boosted where I like it in the sub frequencies, the mids would be just about right, and the treble detail would be a bit smooth yet detailed at the same time without being sibilant (UM house sound).  When I received my demo pair (v2) the frequency chart was quite a bit different.  The difference was huge as in a -5db decrease in the whole frequency spectrum above 500hz.  UM themselves had said that it was changed due to the fact that it was too close in sound to the Miracles so they wanted to differentiate it even more with the new version.  Personally based on frequency chart, I would consider the v1 almost perfect for my needs but that's a whole other story since they don't produce the v1's anymore.  I really liked the idea of how the Merlin seemed like it was gonna be exactly like the Miracle but with a dynamic sub bass boost but in the end they changed it.  That -5db change in everything above 500hz is a HUGE shift in sound so keep that in mind while reading this. 

 

When listening to the Merlins, you are initially blown away by the bass quantity. I don't really think I've heard better bass out of a dynamic driver before but it might have been because I've never had one shoved into my ear canal that deep.  Regardless of the insertion depth, it was really impactful and seemed like a mini subwoofer in my ear.  Even with the massive impact it didn't feel like the bass was muddy, also even with the lack of burn in, the dynamic driver didn't seem to put out a flabby sound either.  I could tell that with time it would tighten up a quite a bit.  I would also say that the bass really does have a visceral impact and it is just about the right amount for a semi-basshead like myself.  Compared to my ie8's, the bass felt more realistic and it didn't really seem as midbass focused as them either. 

 

As for the mids and highs I would say that I was left wanting more.  I honestly think it's because of the way the sound signature is and how the IEM is presented.  It's almost like the main focus of the IEM is to showcase the power of the bass while the mids and highs take a backseat to it.  I will go out and say that I like my treble at least semi-sparkly and you can hear the details on the Merlin but for me, I was always left wanting more.  I tried them with various sources including my fuze out, fuze > lod > e11 combo, and my NFB-11.  I'm not sure if it's because of it's weird 12ohm impedance but it almost felt like if I couldn't power it to it's full capacity.  That might have been because of how I felt everything took a backseat to the bass though.

 

Soundstage wise, it wasn't quite as wide as the IE8's but it wasn't that far off.  I do think the ie8 is more coherent throughout the whole frequency spectrum but I do like how the Merlin presented the music.  The combination of a dynamic driver in the sub frequencies matched with the accuracy and quickness of a balanced armature is probably the way of the future.  I really can't wait to hear what companies make of the technology and how it sounds after it's matured a bit.

 

I did try the Merlins with my friends twag v2 cable balanced out of his protector and it really didn't sound too much different.  I had my friend A/B the Merlins compared to his 1964q's and he could tell the difference with his quads more with the balanced protector than the Merlins.  Keep in mind the Merlins are just a demo so that could be greatly influencing that statement as well.  I also tried his 1964-Q's pushed into my ear and while I felt the Merlins highs were a little subdued, the 1964-Q's were quite a bit more subdued for my tastes. 

 

Closing thoughts:

 

Throughout demoing the Merlins for a week and A/B'ing between the IE8's, I gotta say that if the sound were just based off of the demo, I would easily keep my IE8's.  I've spoken to project86 (I'm not sure if it's ok with you to post your statements but let me know and I'll take it out) who owns the v2 version and had the demo for a short period and he told me that he felt the demo didn't sound like it was even worth $500.  However he went on and stated that he DID actually feel like the Merlin v2 fully custom sounds like a $800 custom. 

 

I've never owned a custom so I'm not exactly sure how much of a difference a custom would actually make.  I was going to buy the Merlins right away but I'm very curious on what other people with customs have to say about it first.  The Merlin really showed a lot of promise but I guess we'll have to wait and see if the Merlin's magic is really the one for me. 

post #379 of 400

Certainly interested but not yet sold. Will wait for more reviews, especially vs the 1964-Q's.

post #380 of 400

@Poetik, thanks for the impressions. How did the mids compare (1964Q vs MerlinD)?

post #381 of 400
Quote:
Originally Posted by dogears View Post

@Poetik, thanks for the impressions. How did the mids compare (1964Q vs MerlinD)?


It was a quick impression so I honestly really can't recall too much of the mids.  When I put the 1964-Q's in, I immediately noticed how it is really recessed up in the high frequencies.  I can understand how some people could prefer that but I absolutely cannot stand feeling like I'm missing out on the whole upper register of sound.  I also noticed the difference in how the bass was presented.  The Merlin definitely had an edge due to it being dynamic but it wasn't like the 1964-Q was a slouch in that area. 

 

If I were to pick between the two I would pick the Merlin mostly because of how the highs are presented. 

 

post #382 of 400

Fair enough. Thanks for the comment.

post #383 of 400

You cannot judge a custom by pushing someone else's moulded shell in to your own ear. Seems like a rather daft way to test it, since a proper seal or fit is a huge part of achieving the desired sonic presentation. I think we should wait for a more comprehensive comparison with these two (1964-Q and UM Merlin 5) customs and take this previous one with a pinch of salt. No disrespect to Poetik as I've really enjoyed his posts, but this particular comparison was slightly less sophisticated.

post #384 of 400

^ Agreed (pinch of salt) as far as bass is concerned, but there's no way treble would sound subdued because of a less than perfect seal. In fact the 1964-Q would sound even brighter in that case, because bass is much more seal dependent than treble. So if Poetik heard the highs as recessed, it's quite likely that he got a decent seal.

post #385 of 400
Quote:
Originally Posted by Naim.F.C View Post

You cannot judge a custom by pushing someone else's moulded shell in to your own ear. Seems like a rather daft way to test it, since a proper seal or fit is a huge part of achieving the desired sonic presentation. I think we should wait for a more comprehensive comparison with these two (1964-Q and UM Merlin 5) customs and take this previous one with a pinch of salt. No disrespect to Poetik as I've really enjoyed his posts, but this particular comparison was slightly less sophisticated.


Honestly when I first tried the 1964-Q's I didn't think the highs were that bad at all.  I thought I was hearing something completely different from the frequency charts and that was until I actually pushed them in enough to get a seal.  Now it's obvious that the seal wasn't completely custom made for my ears but after using IEM's for over 5 years I can attest to the fact that it was a good seal.  I definitely got the gist of the 1964-Q sound and it was exactly how I thought it would sound.  Pretty good bass, clear mids, and too laid back in the highs for my tastes.  If you really want to get down to it, I'll go ahead and say that the 1964-Q's mids are probably clearer than the Merlin simply because it's nearly missing 1/3rd of the total sound frequency spectrum. I know you want something more in depth but it doesn't take rocket science to understand that the highs are recessed or "extended" if you want a more polite word.  I don't particularly need to be an expert reviewer to let you know that I feel the Demo Merlin's bass is a couple db higher than it should be over the rest of the sound spectrum either.

 

I really don't take any disrespect for you calling my comparison less sophisticated as I didn't plan to make in depth comparisons.  I'll leave that type of review to the likes of project86 and average_joe who are much better at reviewing iem's anyways.  Honestly if I were to try to even make a comprehensive review off of like 30 minutes of A/B'ing, I wouldn't be able to take myself seriously.  My main point was to get the gist of everything out into the open and I feel that it was achieved.

 

Just like I said in the beginning of my "impressions" post, take everything with a grain of salt as it's just my own ears. 

 

 


Edited by Poetik - 7/16/11 at 11:52am
post #386 of 400

So as Poetik mentioned, I did get a chance to hear the universal demo Merlin. I compared it to the custom molded version with the final tuning signature. As I discussed with him, the universal demo didn't really capture the flavor of the real thing. I speculate it has to do with the reduction in size of the shell in order to make it universal. Compared to the real thing, the demo has shorter sound tubes, different angles, different placement of the filter, and much less overall shell volume for the dynamic driver. Obviously UM would have tried to tune them the same, but that seems like almost an impossible task given the circumstances. 

 

I'm working on my review now. In it I will compare the original prototype version (custom molded), the final tuned version (custom molded), and the universal demo. 

 

DSC_0270.jpg

post #387 of 400

^ That's what I'm talking about.  Can't wait to read it bro.

post #388 of 400

is there even any updates on these?


Edited by n3utra1 - 8/1/11 at 4:36pm
post #389 of 400

I was planning on getting a reshell of my SF5EBs, but I've decided to forgo this idea - partially because I love the 5EBs so much and am worried reshelling them will wreck them (I've been having trouble locating a second pair) and partially because I now have the money for a pair of Merlins. Will keep this thread posted regarding developments.

post #390 of 400
Quote:
Originally Posted by phntmsmshr View Post

I was planning on getting a reshell of my SF5EBs, but I've decided to forgo this idea - partially because I love the 5EBs so much and am worried reshelling them will wreck them (I've been having trouble locating a second pair) and partially because I now have the money for a pair of Merlins. Will keep this thread posted regarding developments.


I haven't heard the 5EB in ages, but from memory it is no where near in the same league as the Merlin. You should be very pleased with the upgrade.

 

That being said, I've been keeping an eye out for a used pair of EBs to reshell. You are correct in saying that they are hard to find.

 

 

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