Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › Listening difference between Merlin and Miracle?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Listening difference between Merlin and Miracle?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

I’ve been reading the forum to trying find some comparison between Merlin and Miracle from UM Lab. As I’m trying to decide between a new Merlin or a 2nd hand 8 months old Miracle for sell on this forum that costs the same after re-shell.

 

As far as I can tell, the main difference is the Merlin uses a single dynamic driver for the low frequency and Miracle uses two balanced drivers, along with different pair of drivers for mid frequency.

 

Could someone please explain to me if there are any advantages of twin balanced drivers over a single dynamic driver that justify the extra cost for the Miracle?

 

My only high-end headphone is a Sennheiser HD800 which I love. However, I’m looking for an iem to add a little more life in to the music but not have as much bass as the IE8.

 

I found the HD800 delivers almost surgical precision with classical symphonies, but lacks pouch for some rock genres and live performance due to lack of bass quantity. The IE8 seems to have too much bass sometimes and interferes with other interments and vocal in the song, especially when using an amp. So I’m looking something that is in between those two that have good performance across different musical genres.

 

Many thanks


Edited by 88King - 5/25/12 at 8:57am
post #2 of 20

I "think" the Merlin and Miracle has the same mids on up.  I really liked the Miracle, but I found the bass quantity to be less than my TF10 bass.  

post #3 of 20

It really depends on what you want.  They both have a sub-bass boost but the Merlin has more of it and is also a dynamic driver.  The Miracle is much tighter but doesn't quite have that moving air subwoofer feeling.  I own both the Miracle and the Merlin but unfortunately my Miracle is in China right now so I can't give you a true direct comparison.  I can however give you a brief comparison between the two.

 

The Miracle is all about balance and it does it beautifully.  Everything from the lows, mids, and highs feel like they are directly proportionate to each other.  Also since the Miracle is boosted in the sub-bass, it gives you a sense of rumble and power that I haven't heard in any other iem or headphone.  It's not a bass heavy iem and it's not overly impressive at first but as you listen to it, you begin to appreciate the subtle things that it does much better than all the universals out there.  I've owned high end dynamic headphones (see my profile for a list) and I feel that the Miracles are technically better than all of them.  I've heard a pair of stax 009's at a recent meet and I wouldn't necessarily say they were "better" than the Miracles either.  I guess it comes down to your preference.

 

I just received the Merlin a few days ago so take these comments with a grain of salt as the dynamic driver will continue to get better as it burns in.  Immediately I was struck with a type of bass reverberation that I haven't felt in iems for a long time.  As far as dynamic drivers go, I used to own a pair of ie8's for a long time so I'm pretty familiar with their sound signature.  The Merlin doesn't have any of that mid-bass bloat that the ie8 has.  If I were to compare the two it is almost like a veil is lifted from the ie8 with the mids, and highs being much tighter since it's done by balanced armatures.  When compared to the Miracle, I feel that it isn't quite as technical and I can see where the increase in price is justified.  It is mostly due to the fact that balanced armatures usually give you a tighter sound and you can really tell the difference in the bass.  It's all preference but the Miracle does sound like the more polished product.  Also keep in mind that the Merlin does have a wider soundstage which I find is a plus to it.  Isolation on the Merlin seems totally different from the demo version as it is completed acceptable now.  You'll definitely notice a difference between the ie8 and the Merlin.  I can say that wind noise still slightly affects the Merlin but not so much on the Miracle so if you're looking for "slightly" more isolation, the Miracle is where it's at.

 

*Bear with me on this one as it might get confusing but it's informative*

If you look at the frequency charts (which I can post later on), you can see that the Merlin compared to the Miracle has more bass, slightly less mids, and on my pair it appears they have similiar highs..  I do remember when looking at the older charts, the Merlins didn't quite have the same highs as the Miracles so maybe there was a revision of some sorts.  Here is a breakdown of it:

 

The proto-merlin was basically like a Miracle with a slight sub bass boost.  That was eventually scrapped as it was too close to the Miracle so they made the production model Merlin which had even more bass, less mids, and less highs.  Now from what I see on my frequency chart, they went back to to the proto-merlin style but with more bass, slightly less mids, and similar highs. 

 

I remember hearing the Merlin demo and thinking to myself that it was lacking a lot in the highs and the iem was all bass.  It was so bad that I actually preferred my ie8 to it and wondered who the hell would spend $700 on it.  Obviously the demo isn't quite what the true ciem is but it's nice to see that UM made a few tweaks on the design. 

 

I need to get ready for work but if you have anymore questions feel free to ask them.  I do think the Merlin is a worthwhile product to upgrade from a universal but it all depends on what you're looking for.  I've always normally listened to bass heavy headphones / iems and still came to the conclusion that the Miracle was the best thing I've ever heard.  The biggest question you have to ask yourself is how do you like the bass presented to you? Do you love a dynamic bass sound that encompasses you? Or do you like a tighter balanced armature bass?  You really can't go wrong with either as the performance isn't that far off from each other but I do feel like the Miracles are overall a better iem.

 

Also here is a frequency chart to give you an idea.  The Merlin is on the top and Miracle is on the bottom.

20120525_141754.jpg


Edited by Poetik - 5/25/12 at 2:22pm
post #4 of 20

Merlin has a lot more bass and a more forward midrange than the Miracle and is also more fun. However, Miracle is brighter, has better treble, detail and neutrality. Well this is based on the demo sets I have heard. 

post #5 of 20

The demo sets really didn't do the real thing justice from my personal experience, the Merlin demo really do sounds pretty bad and the Miracle as described in my review, sounds 'average' compared to other high end universal IEM and definitely inferior to my own full custom set.

post #6 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whizz View Post

The demo sets really didn't do the real thing justice from my personal experience, the Merlin demo really do sounds pretty bad and the Miracle as described in my review, sounds 'average' compared to other high end universal IEM and definitely inferior to my own full custom set.


Well, since both are inferior in demo set versions, wouldn't their differences still remain the same? 

post #7 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeremypsp View Post


Well, since both are inferior in demo set versions, wouldn't their differences still remain the same? 

 

It depends, I mean there are some obvious differences as in "there is more bass in the Merlins than in the Miracle" but the demo really doesn't even come close to what they actually sound like.  Like I said previously, I felt that the Meriln demo was worse than my sennheiser ie8's and didnt' feel it was worth $700.  The demo sub-bass was all flabby and the highs were extra laid back, it was a total mess.  The actual ciem is much better with a proper roll off in the sub bass, mids shine through easier, and the treble doesn't lack any detail.  It's a totally different beast and sounds so much better than the demo could ever sound.

 

I also extremely disagree with your post when you said the Merlin has a more forward mid-range than the Miracle.  Has better detail and treble? Looks like they have about the same treble to me but the perceived detail is lower on the Merlins due to the lower mids and the increased bass.  Then again you're comparing the demos so it'll be a different sound.

 

Sometimes it's hard to really accurately describe a sound of an iem in words so it's just better to have a visual representation of it. I posted my frequency charts above to show everyone the exact differences between both of them.  At least that way it's pure data instead of opinions.

post #8 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Poetik View Post

 

It depends, I mean there are some obvious differences as in "there is more bass in the Merlins than in the Miracle" but the demo really doesn't even come close to what they actually sound like.  Like I said previously, I felt that the Meriln demo was worse than my sennheiser ie8's and didnt' feel it was worth $700.  The demo sub-bass was all flabby and the highs were extra laid back, it was a total mess.  The actual ciem is much better with a proper roll off in the sub bass, mids shine through easier, and the treble doesn't lack any detail.  It's a totally different beast and sounds so much better than the demo could ever sound.

 

I also extremely disagree with your post when you said the Merlin has a more forward mid-range than the Miracle.  Has better detail and treble? Looks like they have about the same treble to me but the perceived detail is lower on the Merlins due to the lower mids and the increased bass.  Then again you're comparing the demos so it'll be a different sound.

 

Sometimes it's hard to really accurately describe a sound of an iem in words so it's just better to have a visual representation of it. I posted my frequency charts above to show everyone the exact differences between both of them.  At least that way it's pure data instead of opinions.


Well, true... that's why I dare not talk too much on them. But aren't the Merlin known the be mid-centric and Miracle known to be slight v-shaped? Well some people said it anyways. 

post #9 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeremypsp View Post


Well, true... that's why I dare not talk too much on them. But aren't the Merlin known the be mid-centric and Miracle known to be slight v-shaped? Well some people said it anyways. 

 

Just look above at the frequency charts for the proof.  I mean frequency charts aren't everything but if you're comparing similar ciems from the same company it's really useful.

 

When looking at the charts doesn't the Merlin appear more v shaped than the Miracle?

 

Doesn't the Miracle look like it has more mids than the Merlin?

 

If you want my opinion, I don't feel like the Miracle is v shaped at all.  I have yet to hear any headphone / iem that did all the frequencies in such balance.  Maybe people say v shaped because they are used to nearly every single iem out there rolling off at the sub bass frequencies which leaves so much to be desired.

 

As for the Merlin being mid-centric, I'm not entirely sure as it has less mids than the Miracle and also has lesser perceived mids due to the sub bass.  I do feel that the dynamic driver rolls off nicely to avoid any mid bass bloat which allows the vocals to shine through more though.  When I read the words "mid-centric" it makes me think that the mids are the total main focus of the sound signature.  I don't feel that the mids are the total focus but vocals really do shine through fairly well considering it is marketed as a bass heavy ciem.


Edited by Poetik - 5/26/12 at 10:44am
post #10 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeremypsp View Post

the Merlin known the be mid-centric and Miracle known to be slight v-shaped? Well some people said it anyways. 

 

I've heard the merlin described as mid centric too but it's not really for me. Certainly not compared to my se535s. Switching between them, the merlins mids are more distant.  There is a little bump in the mids so some tracks without deep bass can seem more mid centric. Really it's a little r-shaped rather than v or mid on tracks without deep bass. Still the graph doesn't show everything as the clarity of the mids in the merlin always shines through. Going back to the 535, mids sound much more forward but a little more "metallic" and artificial..

 

I've got some miracles on the way so will be able to compare when they arrive(hopefully in the next two weeks!) but I'm expecting them to have a little more presence in the mids and a more controlled bass. I'm a bit worried about the treble in the miracle as it looks from the graph to be a little more pronounced than the merlin.

post #11 of 20

I see... 

post #12 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by wahu View Post

 

I've heard the merlin described as mid centric too but it's not really for me. Certainly not compared to my se535s. Switching between them, the merlins mids are more distant.  There is a little bump in the mids so some tracks without deep bass can seem more mid centric. Really it's a little r-shaped rather than v or mid on tracks without deep bass. Still the graph doesn't show everything as the clarity of the mids in the merlin always shines through. Going back to the 535, mids sound much more forward but a little more "metallic" and artificial..

 

I've got some miracles on the way so will be able to compare when they arrive(hopefully in the next two weeks!) but I'm expecting them to have a little more presence in the mids and a more controlled bass. I'm a bit worried about the treble in the miracle as it looks from the graph to be a little more pronounced than the merlin.

 



Do let me know about the bass on the miracles, I'm curious to know whether they are bass light (comparitively to the SE535, or other IEMs/headphones you own)

 

Thanks

post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by blazer78 View Post

 



Do let me know about the bass on the miracles, I'm curious to know whether they are bass light (comparitively to the SE535, or other IEMs/headphones you own)

 

Thanks


They are actually not bass light at all, but it's not basshead either. 

post #14 of 20

Would the bass be on the same level (in terms of quantity) as the UM3X or any other reference IEM?

post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by blazer78 View Post

Would the bass be on the same level (in terms of quantity) as the UM3X or any other reference IEM?

 

I remember asking joker to do a comparison as far as bass impact goes with other iems.  Lets say an atrio scores a 10/10 on the bass impact scale.  Also keep in mind that he quoted this before he gave me a list, "I try to differentiate impact from rumble because the two don't necessarily go hand in hand. For example I think the W3 has a ton of impact but there are many earphones that are more balanced overall but have better rumble, like the Senn IE7. Bass-heavy armatures usually do impact better than rumble with a couple exceptions (SM2, SM3, maybe UM3X)."

 

Atrio.............10
IE8...............9
Westone 3....8 (much more mid-bass than the Miracle)
Miracle... 7 (much better sub-bass than the westone 3)
1964-T 5~6
Westone 4....5

re272....... 4.5
CK10............3~4
Ety ER6i.......1

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › Listening difference between Merlin and Miracle?