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Unique Melody Demo impressions - Aero, Mage and Merlin "universal customs"

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Hi Head fi,

 

I have been reading this board for a while and have found lots of usefull information so I thought I would try to give something back!

 

I recently had the chance to audition some of the new unique melody in ear “Universal custom” earphone demo’s.  Here are some impressions:

 

Aero – A big step up over my old in ear headphones (Fischer Audio DBA-02’s and Ultimate ears UE-700) Far more open mids, vocals sounded lush and present, good bass extension but not bass heavy either (a little above neutral imho) nice detail, but not in an overbearing or fatiguing way (like my AKG k702’s ;)

 

Mage –Similar sound signature to the Aero’s, but refined in most ways, noticeably the texture of instruments and the enhancement of detail presented.  Possibly a tad less bass presence than the aero, a more neutral presentation (More like the DBA-02’s however easily besting them with the openness of the mid range and highs).

 

Merlin – A bit of a departure from the sound signature presented from the other models in the line-up, given that there is a dynamic driver to handle the bass frequencies the bass response is deep and present. The midrange and highs are not quite as open as the Mage however are still present and detailed in a non fatiguing way (and still better than the DBA-02’s). I had another bassy IEM to compare to, the Shure SE215, which has good bass but easily bested by the Merlin’s openness and clarity in the midrange and control in the bass.  The Merlin are perfect for any bass driven music, think dub step, techno, house, hip hop, R&B, electro etc, at some points I felt like I was in the middle of a dance floor with a massive system playing!

 

Staff – Matt from Unique Melody was great in organising to meet me and hooking me up with the demo models. He doesn’t have an elitist audiophile attitude that is too common in audio stores (at least in Melbourne L )   I was a bit nervous in handing over a large amount of cash for demo’s to a company I had never heard much of however I was always treated with prompt replies and personal service (and no hassles getting the cash back from the deposit, and not being hassled to make a purchase!)

 

Recommendation – If you are thinking about custom earphones there no other options that I know of that let you demo models in Australia so I would highly recommend at least having a listen to the Aero’s (to get an idea of the UM sound) or the Merlins if you would like a decent wad of bass with your music.  There are other options such as westone, ultimate ears, and JHA, none of which have a local demo program and some of which are far more expensive!

 

I personally chose to drop my coin on the Miracles, even unheard I'm sure I will like them based on the quality of the other models in the line-up.  I also own the Audeze LCD-2 (which I love!) so once my customs are made I will give a comparison between the 2 (obviously different style of headphones but at a similar price point I would be interested in the comparison...)

 

I can only guess that the move up from the universal model to the full custom shell will also yield an enhancement in sound quality, and my ears will benefit from not having little foam inserts stretching my ear canals every day! 

 

take care,

 

gav.

post #2 of 12
So UM are selling universal versions of their customs? Or was the money a security deposit for the demos?
post #3 of 12

It's for the customs themselves. The universal customs are customs that are fit to the general ear shape of most humans, meaning that you can get about 70-80% of what the custom actually sounds like without having to find out after getting the customs.

post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 


Sorry for being unclear,

Quote:
Originally Posted by phntmsmshr View Post

So UM are selling universal versions of their customs? Or was the money a security deposit for the demos?


The money was a security deposit.  The earphone supplied are somewhere between the shape of a universal and custom IEM and come with standard tips, I put some old Comply foam tips on the demo's supplied to me.

 

As mentioned above it is meant to give an approximation of the sound of the custom earpiece.  I am looking forward to hearing how much of a difference it makes to the final sound, I am expecting a decent change, as one of the problems I find with most IEM's is the fit, and how a small change in placement within the ear canal can affect the sound.

 

gav.

post #5 of 12

Pity that you did not get to try Miracle.

post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pkwak View Post

Pity that you did not get to try Miracle.


for sure, unfortunately the demo unit had a blown driver otherwise I would have borrowed the Miracle and the Merlin for a direct A/B comparison.

 

post #7 of 12

Wonderful feedback. Looks like I will have to go Merlins then someday :) 

 

Its sad to hear the DBA02 get stomped all over even before I hear the thing though. Now my expectations are lowered on it :P

post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by KaliKot View Post

Wonderful feedback. Looks like I will have to go Merlins then someday :) 

 

Its sad to hear the DBA02 get stomped all over even before I hear the thing though. Now my expectations are lowered on it :P


Thanks KaliKot,

 

Just bear in mind that there's a substantial price difference between the Unique Melody's and the DBA-02's.

 

I wanted to know how much better higher priced iem's could be compared to mid range ones.  After hearing the Aero's and doing a quick A/B between them and my old phones I decided to start saving for something good, and then after hearing the Mage's decided to go for the Miracles just so upgrade-itis doesn't bite again.  

 

I will keep my DBA-02's as a backup pair, it would be bad enough loosing $200 iem's somewhere when I go out and party, ! wouldn't like the sinking feeling of getting a train home trashed in the morning wondering where I left my $900+ iems!

 

gav.

 

post #9 of 12
Merlin – A bit of a departure from the sound signature presented from the other models in the line-up, given that there is a dynamic driver to handle the bass frequencies the bass response is deep and present. The midrange and highs are not quite as open as the Mage however are still present and detailed in a non fatiguing way (and still better than the DBA-02’s).

I had hoped that Merlin would better the Mage in everyway including openness.
Edited by pkwak - 6/1/11 at 7:17pm
post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by KaliKot View Post

Wonderful feedback. Looks like I will have to go Merlins then someday :) 

 

Its sad to hear the DBA02 get stomped all over even before I hear the thing though. Now my expectations are lowered on it :P



You're not being reasonable Franz, the DBA02 is like 1/8th the price of the Merlins. Of course it would get stomped flat. :)

 

I have also heard the universal demo of the Merlins. It is the dang best IEM I have ever heard. Period. I doubt that the Miracle can outdo them, because it suits my preferences much better. These are far better than any universal I've heard, and easily trounce even things like the SE530x6 and the JH13 and JH16 in my opinion. The Merlin is just so smooth, has an ultra liquid quality and still has awesome separation and fantastic, deep, well-controlled bass. And I haven't even heard the custom version yet!

 

It's like it has the separation and smoothness of the UM3X and the bass of the Turbine Coppers with a thoroughly more impressive soundstage and extreme liquidity rolled into one fantastic IEM. I was really impressed by these and am getting my order ready. I can't wait to get the finished product. 

post #11 of 12

Hey! Highly anticipated, but does anyone happen to know the diaphragm size in mm of the dynamic driver on the Merlin?

post #12 of 12

 

Thanks for your impressions.

 

I briefly tried the UM demo lineup too and my favorites were the Mage and the Miracle.

 

 

I hope to try the UM demo units again sometime to see what I think the second time 'round.

 

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