Unique Melody 3X Review and Comparisons
Hybrid IEM’s are getting more attention these days. I have a feeling that we’re about to enter the golden age of hybrids; the reason is manufacturers are closing the gap to the perfectly balanced sound signature may it be neutral, u-shaped, or even v-shaped. I’m a huge fan of these hybrids because I admire the combination of the natural bass texture from dynamic drivers and the exceptional clarity/resolution from balanced armature drivers. The best I’ve heard so far is the Tralucent 1Plus2 but we all know that it is a top-of-the-line hybrid with a very pricey tag. What I’m really looking forward to are the mid-tier hybrids that are performing better than what their prices suggest. Sony has the XBA H3, Dunu with the DN-1000/2000, T-PEOS brings the H200/H300, Aurisonics’ popular ASG 2, and for this review: Unique Miracle 3X. Djvkool has organised an Australian Tour and I’m quite fortunate to be included. So without further ado...
SETUP: Colorfly C3 > JDS Labs C5
iMac 2011 > Stoner Acoustics UD110v2 > JDS Labs C5
16/44 FLAC, ALAC, and 256kbps AAC
NOTE: The UM 3X pairs really well with the Colorfly C3 because it tames the sub-bass a bit.
BASS: This defines the entry level for a bass head’s IEM. Sub-bass rumble doesn’t go unnoticed as it’s always there even when not called for. I’d say that this is not suitable for bass enhanced recordings because the sub-bass would mask some detail on most occasions. Most of the time, I find it too much for EDM, Hip-hop, and RnB. However, I do find the quantity just right (borderline) for other genres especially pop and rock recordings in the 70’s and 80’s. Decay and speed is enough to keep up with double-bass kicks in heavy metal but not as fast as T-PEOS H200/H300. As a result I find the other hybrids to be more clean sounding but on the other hand, the UM 3X has more impact and quite visceral. As for the mid-bass, I don’t hear any emphasis because I hear more from the sub bass and the lower midrange. Detail retrieval is quite good when playing bass guitar and drum passages but falls a bit short when things get more complex like in some metal tracks. Timbre is quite natural except for the extra rumble that isn’t normally heard. Listening to live performances really highlights the UM 3X’s bass prowess - full bodied, well textured, layered, with plenty of authority. A great IEM for well mixed/mastered tracks that don’t have any emphasis on sub bass.
MIDS: I find the mids quite forward especially in the upper mid-range. A lot more forward than the T-PEOS H200 or Noble 4. Timbre, clarity, and detail are very good with vocals sounding full, rich, and quite emphasized. Unfortunately, this bump in the upper mid-range causes sibilance on artists with full sounding vocals in the upper octaves between 3kHz and 5kHz. Instruments sound excellent, full, and rich… especially guitars yet Trumpets and Saxophones are too emphasized and can be hot at times. In spite this limitations, when played at a lower volume plus a well mixed/mastered recording the UM 3X can really sing; thanks to its excellent transparency, clarity, and resolution. The presentation is really nice, with lots of air and the feeling that everything in the mid-range floats over the rest of the sound.
HIGHS: Treble presentation can be great depending on the quality of the track/recording. The lower treble is a bit edgy and little bit splashy making harsh recordings a lot more aggressive. Fortunately, the upper treble is quite smooth and extends well. So if the music is of great quality, the treble region is pleasant on the UM 3X. Cymbals ring naturally and decay is just a little bit longer than desired. Lots of air in the background providing an excellent presentation of space and adds more character to the UM 3X’s sound signature.
IMAGING AND SOUNDSTAGE: Soundstage is quite wide just trailing behind the Dunu DN-1000. Height is excellent with sufficient depth resulting to a 3D-like imaging though still not as expansive as the DN-1000. Imaging is really good with excellent distance in between instruments; making good use of the space in the stage.
CONCLUSION: The UM 3X has the potential to be a great hybrid; personally I’d like it to have a tamer sub-bass, mid-range, and lower treble. Otherwise, those who like to play around equalisers will find a gem in the UM 3X because the drivers in this hybrid are very capable and a few tweaks can definitely make them sound worthwhile. As a side note: those wondering about fit because these IEMs are HUGE need not worry... I have relatively small ears and yet the design of the UM 3X allows for a snug and tight fit.
Special thanks to @djvkool for making this tour happen. Good on you mate!
Edited by d marc0 - 3/27/14 at 9:23pm