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!