Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › [REVIEW] MEElectronics CX21, CW31, CC51 and A151
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

[REVIEW] MEElectronics CX21, CW31, CC51 and A151

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 

First, I'll like to thanks MEElectronics for the samples. A little over two weeks ago I reviewed the new MEElec M series including the M16, M21 and M31, plus the user tunable SP51. Now it is the time to review the new Clarity series as well as MEElec first balanced armature IEM, the A151.

 

Spec

CX21-01.jpg

CX21

Driver: 9.0 mm dynamic drivers

Housing: High impact plastic housing with angled fit

Frequency Response: 15Hz – 20KHz

Sensitivity: 101 dB

Impedance: 16 ohms

Maximum Power Input: 30 mW

Connector: 4 pin 3.5mm gold plated 45° plug

Cable: Designer black 135 cm cable (53 in) with attached shirt clip

Accessories: 5 sets of eartips (small/medium/large/double-flange silicon; small triple-flange), round zipper case

 

CW31-01.jpg

CW31

Driver: 9.0 mm dynamic drivers

Housing: Wooden housing with angled nozzle

Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20KHz

Sensitivity: 99 dB

Impedance: 16 ohms

Maximum Power Input: 30 mW

Connector: 3 pin stereo 3.5mm gold plated 45° plug

Cable: Designer black 135 cm cable (53 in) with attached shirt clip

Accessories: 5 sets of silicone ear tips (small/medium/large; double-flange; small triple-flange), round zipper case

 

CC51-01.jpg

CC51

Driver: 6.0 mm micro-drivers

Housing: Ceramic housing with aluminum nozzle

Frequency Response: 18Hz – 20KHz

Sensitivity: 98 dB

Impedance: 16 ohms

Maximum Power Input: 5 mW

Connector: 3 pin stereo 3.5mm gold plated 90° plug

Cable: solid color 130 cm cord (51 in) with attached shirt clip

Accessories: 4 sets of silicone ear tips (small/medium/large; bi-flange), clamshell zipper case

 

A151-01.jpg

A151

Driver: Single micro balanced armature

Housing: High impact deco housing with angled fit

Frequency Response: 15Hz – 20KHz

Sensitivity: 111 dB

Impedance: 27 ohms

Maximum Power Input: 25 mW

Connector: 3 pin stereo 3.5mm gold plated straight plug

Cable: Twisted black 120 cm cable (47 in)

Accessories: 5 sets of silicone ear tips (small/medium/large; double-flange; large triple flange), clamshell zipper case

 

*All models also features a "P" model with mic support.

 

Packaging, Accessories and Build Quality

With so many MEElec models being reviewed in the past, it has almost became redundant on trying to reaffirm the overall decency of the packaging , accessories, and build quality on MEElectronic products – so I am not going to. Instead let’s focus on the differences on each model.

 

CX21-03.jpg

 

CX21-04.jpg

 

The first thing of note is the new case for CX21 (and also CW31). It is a hard nylon case much like the one you will find on with some old Shure model, except this is smaller. While I do think the old flat case on the CC51 and A151 is fine, the new case is just as decent. CX21 housing looks a bit like the old Ultimate Ears Super.fi 3 Pro. But being as light as it is, you can wear it both over-the-ear or straight down without too much trouble.

 

CW31-03.jpg

 

CW31-04.jpg

 

The second thing of note is CW31 housing, which is wood. It looks more like compressed / processed wood material rather than whole block cutting (or maybe it is because of the grain?). Regardless, it does have a better finish than MEElec R1. CX31 also has an oval nozzle which forces the eartips to take an oval shape. It is more comfortable in the ear but at the same time it is not meant to be wore over-the-ear.

 

CC51-03.jpg

 

CC51-04.jpg

 

The third thing of note is that CC51 comes with a regular black cable instead of the typical transparent ‘designer’ cable. Not sure why MEElec chooses not to use the transparent cable (perhaps more to do with the thickness?), but there are report of damage caused by the removal of shirt clip. So don’t try it unless you know what you are doing. Since we are taking about CC51 here – yes, the housing is ceramic. It is actually quite small and almost has a metallic feel to it (and very cool to the touch as well!). The transducer used is a micro-driver. If you have followed my review on the pass, you won’t feel surprised about it since this is not the first micro-driver we have seen. From pass experience, I know that bi-flange generally sound the best and that’s what I’ll recommend to you to try, especially if you like more bass. Do note though, those with very small ear canal might not find the CC51 comfortable since the whole micro-driver is part of the nozzle and needed to be inserted into the ear canal.

 

A151-03.jpg

 

A151-05.jpg

 

The last thing of note is the twist cable on A151. Similar to Westone UM series cable, it is a great cable for over-the-ear wearing style because of its softness. Overall A151 also has the best design and build of all the current MEElec, and possibly of any single balanced armature IEM that utilizes the rounded BA driver (which I presume to be Knowles Siren series).

 

Microphonics is decent on CX21 and CW31, slightly worst on the CC51 but still better than average. Since A151 is meant to be worn over the ear, thus this is not an issue for it. Isolation is average on CX21 and CW31, decent on A151 and quite good on CC51.

 

All and all, MEElec has maintained the same high quality of build across their new IEM models. The only glitch I can find is on the CC51, where one of the bi-flange is misplaced by a big single flange (meaning I have only one bi-flange and three big single flange). Not a big deal for me since I have plenty of bi-flange to spare. But in the rare occasion if this also happens to you as well, try contacting MEElec as their customer service are always very helpful.

 

Sound Quality

As usual, each IEM has been given no less than 50 hours of burn-in before the review. No significant sonic change is detected during the process. Different from the more main stream sounding M series which has a taste suitable for all lever of listener, the Clarity series is tailored toward a more demanding audience. As the name suggested, presenting detail and clarity is what the series is all about. But at the same time, MEElec is trying to make sure they can still maintain an overall balance in order not to only appeal to a very niche market of listener.

 

CX21-05.jpg

 

The lowest model in the series is the CX21 at $45. The over sound signature is warm, neutral while leaning toward balanced. Bass is above neutral but not quantitatively abundant, begins to gently roll off after 100Hz. It does however have a decent speed and impact and allows its presence to be felt. Mid is slightly warm, but not particularly forward or recessed. It doesn’t get overshadowed by other frequency but at the same time lacks a sense of sweet and fullness to distinguish itself, and thus may comes out slightly on the dry side. Treble extends excellently, good sparkle and air but slightly peaky on the lower end. Not sibilant, just lacks a sense of refinement to make it really good. Soundstage is not a particular strong point for CX21 as it tends to sound more 2D than 3D. Overall, CX21 is able to stand up to some of the best IEM in its price bucket. Compared to PR200 or Brainwavz M1 however, CX21 does sound a bit more neutral and less emotional -technical proficient but at the same time just a little too polite to my liking.

 

CW31-05.jpg

 

With only $5 more in price tag, the wooden housing CW31 really complements for what is missing from CX21 but at the same time retains most of the same sound characteristic. Gone is the more polite and neutral presentation. Instead, CW31 opts for a smoother, more musical experience with a warmer and sweeter sound. Bass extends slightly further than CX21 but features a slower speed and softer impact. It is however better on the decay and body. Mid is about the same as CX21, neither too forward nor too far away. The difference is in the slight sweet and lushness that makes CW31 a tad better at portraying a singer. Treble is smooth and rolls off gently. Sparkle takes a back seat but not overly lacking. Soundstage is slightly intimate and decent, though nothing to write home about. In all fairness, CX21 and CW31 compare really well with each other. The difference in presentation is much more obvious than the difference in sound quality. In the end, it is the ‘personality’ of CW31 that makes it a slightly better sounding IEM than CX21.

 

CC51-06.jpg

 

CC51 is the crown jewel of the Clarity series at $80. The overall sound signature is warm and sweet with a slightly crispy treble, perhaps a blend of all the good parts from CX21 and CX31. Bass is decent in both quality and quantity, with a balance of speed, impact, decay and body. If any, it can be slightly boomy at the 250Hz region, but nothing offensive. Mid is warm, sweet and slightly on the full side. Slight distanced but not recessed. It has a good sense of space in the presentation thus doesn’t become overly thick because of the fullness. Treble is a tiny step behind in the whole presentation but still provides a very good amount of sparkle and crispiness. It helps to accentuate rather than try to dominate, giving detail but in a gentler fashion.  Soundstage is also intimate and decent, though more in height than in width or depth. All in all, CC51 comes out strong for the asking price of $80. It might not offer the best sound of the price bucket, but it is the good blend of everything that makes it a particular good choice as an all arounder and value for money.

 

A151-06.jpg

 

A151 is the first balanced armature IEM from MEElec. Priced at $75, it features the fairly well known Siren driver from Knowles. Over the past few years I have came across quite a few Siren based IEM myself: from the first Siren based IEM, the s-JAYS, to the cheapest MSRP of any BA based IEM, the SoundMAGIC PL-50, then there is the lower end of Fischer Audio BA based IEM, the SBA-01, as well as the best sounding of them all, the discontinued Sherwood SE-777. How does A151 compare? In short, it is great. In fact, it is to my surprise that A151 is very similar to SE-777 in overall sound - so similar that I can only tell them apart in very serious A/B’ing and it is debatable whether it is enough to call a difference. The interesting bit is however that they don’t actually use the same Siren driver, as evidence in the different in impedance and sensitivity difference on the two drivers (*SE-777 is slightly less efficient). The overall sound signature is, same as SE-777, very warm and fairly musical, with a full sounding mid and bass. Treble is clean, very well extended but smooth, capable of showing a good degree of fine detail yet it is not the highlight of the sound. Mid is warm and full, slightly forward with a sweet vocal. Bass is also warm and bigger than average body, but slightly slower than expected and do not have a very strong impact, not quite a bass monster and roll off at near 20Hz yet a very good performance (both quality and quantity wise) as far as BA based IEM is concerned. Soundstage is average due to the slightly forward mid, but there is still a good sense of airiness in it. With SE-777 slowly faints away in the market, I would imagine A151 will take its spot as one of the best sounding Siren based IEM and continues to offer what Siren driver is known for, the unique balanced armature with a touch of dynamic characteristic in its sound.

 

Verdict

Again, it has become really redundant on trying to reaffirm MEElec as a company that offers top value-for-money products. That’s what they do and what they are good at – end of story. The only extra point I want to make is on A151. While the overall sound is almost the same between SE-777 and A151, what really separates them apart is the approach of design. While SE-777 is very well built, it is not small ears friendly. In this case A151 simply takes the same sound and married it with a better design and material. That alone is worth a recommendation of 4.85/5 Sonic Diamond Award.

 

For a quick sum up, check out the Concise Multi-IEM Comparison in my sig.


Edited by ClieOS - 4/17/11 at 8:32am
post #2 of 33

...


Edited by kanuka - 3/27/12 at 2:48am
post #3 of 33
Thread Starter 

Haven't heard W1 before, so I can't really tell you anything about it. MEElec shipping is usually quite low though, at least they are willing to ship internationally.

post #4 of 33

Hey,

awesome review, i am thinking of getting either the 21 or the 31 and your review is perfectly timed. I have also been told that the A151 is being sold for $50 at amazon!

Also just wondering what would you recommend for the metal genre out of the CX21 and CW31?

You also said that the CX21 has sparkle in the highs, is there a noticable difference between the CX21 and CW31 in terms of sparkle?

post #5 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by naeropagnis View Post

Hey,

awesome review, i am thinking of getting either the 21 or the 31 and your review is perfectly timed. I have also been told that the A151 is being sold for $50 at amazon!

Also just wondering what would you recommend for the metal genre out of the CX21 and CW31?

You also said that the CX21 has sparkle in the highs, is there a noticable difference between the CX21 and CW31 in terms of sparkle?

A151 is $50 on Amazon? That's an awesome deal.

 

I would think CX21 probably more suitable for metal than the well rounded CW31. It is not a huge difference, but is noticeable if you are looking for it. CX31 would be better for vocal and generally slower music.

 

post #6 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClieOS View Post



A151 is $50 on Amazon? That's an awesome deal.

 

I would think CX21 probably more suitable for metal than the well rounded CW31. It is not a huge difference, but is noticeable if you are looking for it. CX31 would be better for vocal and generally slower music.

 

Yeah the A151 deal is awesome but due to my location i can't get items on amazon.com so i can't cash in on that. I take it you meant the CW31 not the CX31? Since i'm looking for a metal genre IEM and since the CX21 is cheaper i will lean towards the CX21 at this point in time. Just one last question, is Meelec shipping any good? I was going to get Brainwavz but the stories about mp4nation's shipping are really off putting.
Anyway, thank you so much and great review!
 

 

post #7 of 33
Thread Starter 
MEELec usually ships very fast.
post #8 of 33

Hey ClieOS

 

I own the Xcape v1, Silver Bullet, and RE0 (shelved that after I received a replacement). I was looking for other additions like the A151 or CC51 to compliment them. I'd like something different to enjoy, but still in the realm of accuracy, warmth or neutrality over cold/clinical (as example, I returned the MC5), pleasing balance, detail, good extension (my usual listening is Classical and World/Acoustic). One thing I don't like hearing in an IEM is that bass bloom/bleed which you can hear affecting other parts of the music...sort of like this shine that occasionally sticks out to your ear. Also, I really like to hear what my music sounds like, not just hovering over detail or obscuring it. I've come from an ER6i to RE2 then RE0 and the Xcape v1 now so I have a fair idea what my music is supposed to sound like. I'm not just looking to buy to try, if you think what I already have is similar enough and neither would be interesting in other aspects sound quality wise you can say so too ;)

 

I've been maintain a list for myself: http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/513569/iem-for-classical#post_6941143


Edited by jarrett - 5/7/11 at 12:58pm
post #9 of 33
Thread Starter 

Between A151 and CC51, I would think the later probably is more fitting to what you are looking for. CC51 will also be different enough to what you currently have to give a good contrast.

post #10 of 33

Thanks :)

 

I came across this...

 

naming%20convention.png

 

This refers to headphones made from 2011


Edited by jarrett - 5/7/11 at 7:29pm
post #11 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jarrett View Post

This refers to headphones made from 2011


Interesting :)

 

post #12 of 33

Interesting indeed and seems quite accurate. There seems to be no better between the CC51s and A151, both of which are in the 5s in terms of performance. 

post #13 of 33

Do you think those ECCI PR401 would be something along the lines of what I am looking for too ClieOS? Or the M3!


Edited by jarrett - 5/8/11 at 3:11pm
post #14 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jarrett View Post

Do you think those ECCI PR401 would be something along the lines of what I am looking for too ClieOS? Or the M3!


PR401 is more V-shaped while CC51 is more mid oriented. Purely for classical however, I do prefer PR401 over CC51 because PR401 is slightly crispier on the top and have a better soundstage. CC51 will be better at vocal. I won't recommend M3 for classical though. It simply doesn't have enough micro detail for the job.

post #15 of 33

I'm a few months late here, but I want to extend my thanks to ClieOS for his outstanding reviews. Based on them I just picked up the MEElectronics A151 to replace my recently broken Sennheiser P200. I also have my eye on the j-phonic K2 SP, which seems to be marketed as a "custom universal." I have stayed away from IEMs until now mainly because I was adversed to subjecting my ears to torture. I though my only hope for IEM comfort was the high priced custom monitors. However, the new wave of comfortable universals has given me more confidence to be more explorative.

 

One question to anyone who can help: are the comply tips really much more comfortable and isolating than the standard silicon ear tips?


Edited by Jap - 8/17/11 at 5:46pm
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › [REVIEW] MEElectronics CX21, CW31, CC51 and A151