Cat Ear Audio - Mimi

RoXor

New Head-Fier
Cat Ear Mimi – Best Paw for your buck!
Pros: 1. ULTRA Cheap
2. Slightly warm pleasing tonality
3. Very good midrange
4. Good highs with slight sparkle
5. Good soundstage, imaging and separation
6. Excellent design and presentation
Cons: 1. Missing sub bass rumble
Disclaimer:

The unit has been sent to me from Cat Ear Audio as a part of a review circle. I am not working or affiliated to the brand and I am not being paid or influenced otherwise to say anything positive or negative about this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Note: Please note that my opinions and ratings are based on price, category, market competition and personal expectations and are subjective in nature.

Introduction

Cat Ear Audio is a fairly new brand in the market with 3 products in their cat-elogue, the Mimi, the Tuxedo (earphone upgrade cable) and the Mia (IEM). This review is about the Cat Ear Mimi, it is a 9$ earbud, and have certainly gained popularity amongst audiophiles recently – what’s so special? That’s all the review is all about!

Build Quality and comfort

As soon as you unbox the Cat Ear Mimi, you start having the feel of a minimalistic but beautiful design. Then the question arises, 9$? Seriously? That’s the exact moment I realised, its going to be worth it! Inside a square shaped paper box, with a cat impression cut out on it, is a round shaped tin container. The tin container has a cat paw and the branding printed on it.

Inside the container, is the earbud and couple of donut style foams. The earbud itself, is beautifully designed. It has a transparent shell with mirror finished stem, the stem has the Cat Ear logo and Mimi imprinted on each side, and L-R markings on the underside.

The cable is tangle free cable, very lightweight and no microphonics.

The Mimi is quite lightweight and fits conveniently. Even for long listening hours, its comfortable and doesn’t cause any stress on the ears.

Overall, its really hard to justify the excellent build quality of the Mimi against the price it is available for. It surely looks better than the RY4S and VE Monk or Monk Plus, these are available almost at similar price range.

Score: 9/10
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Lows

Bass on Mimi has decent quantity, and if I recall correctly, slightly more present that Monk Plus which I used to own a year ago. It has got good punch and doesn’t overpower other frequencies. Sub-bass presence is something it is lacking, the sub bass rumble is something I missed. Although with EQing this gets fixed. It has good mount of details in the lows and provides a warm and pleasing tonality to the Mimi.

Score: 8/10

Mids
The mids are highlight for me, they are really good and punches way above the price. It has a very good amount of details with appropriate forwardness. Mids sounds lush and smooth, vocals are natural and doesn’t usually sound congested.

Score: 8.5/10


Highs
Mimi as decent sparkle in the highs, which itself is a big achievement in its price range. The highs are detailed, not to forward but doesn’t lose its essence in the music. The overall warm tonality does slightly subdue the highs but makes them really good for long listening sessions, without missing out on those cymbal hits.

Score: 8.5/10

Soundstage, Imaging, Separation

Soundstage is another highlight of the Mimi, I feel its unrivalled in this price range, I have owned Monk Plus and still own HE150pro, HE150pro being some 30$ in its price, Mimi competes fairly with it but definitely does better than the Monks. Mimi has really good soundstage width and height, imaging is really good too. The instruments can be fairly pinpointed, supported by good separation provides an unique experience. I never felt any congestion in any frequency.

8.5/10

Source, drivability and scalability

Driving the Mimi is pretty easy, it can be driven off easily from a phone. Better sources does result in better experience although the differences are negligible as our sources becomes more complicated.

I have driven them off One Plus 6 phone, Ibasso DX160 3.5mm headphone out, Ibasso DX160 (line out) > Pico Power and Ibasso DX160 (line out) > Sapphire amp. DX160 3.5mm headphone out seems to be a decent source and above which the improvements are minimal.
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Conclusion:

To conclude, Mimi is an absolute no brainer for the price of 9USD, it has a really good tuning, unrivalled soundstage and imaging. This whole review is me being extremely critical about it without keeping the price in mind. It doesn’t sound out of the world, but then it doesn’t need to! In the times where people are spending thousands of dollars on audio gears, Mimi at such a price is an absolute gem and might as well be the best dollars ever spent for most of us.

Overall rating: 8.5/10
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Palfim
Palfim
Nice review & pics!
I bought this one to get my gf more into the hobby, but no go. She listens to audiobook to it only😅
When I tried these out , I was astonished and a little shocked how good these are for the money. For 10 USD from western known companies you wouldn't even get a can like this with half a cable in it. Well or even the can itself haha

gadgetgod

New Head-Fier
Cat Ear Audio MiMi: 9$ Of Awesomeness!!
Pros: Superb Build Quality.
Awesome Price.
Mesmerizing Vocals.
Smooth, Relaxing Output.
Warm Tonality.
Cons: Bass sometimes sounds Bloated.
My love for earbuds goes long back. I have tried and owned more earbuds ever as compared to IEMs. I just love how smooth, how open they sound and sometimes they don’t break the bank for that haha. Today I am here to review one such of a bud, The Cat Ear MiMi, a 9$ bud from Cat Ear Audio, a fairly new name in the audio industry. It is actually a new brand found recently. They currently have three products in the market, The Cat Ear Mia(IEM), The Cat Ear Tuxedo(Earphone Upgrade Cable), and the talk of the town, the Cat Ear MiMi(Ear Bud). So let’s begin with today’s review.

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Disclaimer:-

The unit was sent to me by Cat Ear Audio for the purpose of this review. I am not affiliated or paid by anyone to write positive or negative about the pair, all the impressions in this review are completely my own based on my usage with the pair.

Cat Ear MiMi:-

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The Cat Ear MiMi is a budget-friendly pair of earbuds priced at just 9$. It features a large 15.4mm dynamic driver unit placed inside beautifully designed ear shells. The pair is designed by ShoonTH, the parent company of Cat Ear Audio. The pair is available to purchase from various online stores, In India, the MiMi is available to purchase from theaudiostore.in. Previously I have owned several pairs such as Ry4s MMCX, Ve Monk Plus around the same budget. Currently, I own a pair of Ve Monk Plus SL(Special upgrade cable version). So I will be comparing the MiMi against the Monk Plus SL though there is a huge price difference(9$ of MiMi vs 50$ of Monk Plus SL).

Packaging & Accessories:-

For a pair priced at just 9$, the MiMi comes in very beautiful packaging. It's actually a small rounded metal case with a Cat Pawprint on the top. The case holds the pair of MiMi and two pairs of donut style foams. The metallic case is more than enough to comfortably carry around the MiMi. Other than this there is nothing else, and what other glitters or shines one might expect from a pair priced at 9$ only.

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Package Contents:-

>One pair of Cat Ear MiMi Earbuds.

>Two pairs of Donut Foams.

>One metallic case.

Build Quality:-

The MiMi is a very well built product. The ear shells are elegantly designed with transparent acrylic material. They have a silver trim on the top that has the Cat Ear logo printed on it. The shells are connected to a non-removable silver-plated cable that terminated at a 3.5mm plug. The pair is very nice to hold in hand and has a very elegant look to it. Cat Ear has done a brilliant job for the MiMi. From packaging to the build, the pair looks simply brilliant.

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Fit:-

I have no issues with fit with the Cat Ear MiMi. The beautiful ear shells sit firmly into my ears. Since it's an earbud we all know there is no point to discuss noise isolation as that is average as with every other earbud I have tried so far.

Driving The Cat Ear MiMi:-

With an impedance rating of just 32 ohms and a sensitivity of 110dB/mW, the MiMi is very easy to drive. It can be enjoyed easily with a normal smartphone with a 3.5mm jack. I found no noticeable scaling with the pair with better sources like DAP or Topping E30+L30 combo. Here are my impressions on pairing with different sources.

With Honor View 10:-

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The pair sounds melodious and smooth. There is no sibilance or background noise with this combo. There are no complaints, one can simply enjoy good quality music with MiMi and their smartphones.

With DX120:-

There is not much scaling when used with the DX120. Though I must say the bass surely feels a bit more extended in this combo. Bass slams are better and goes deep with the DX120.

With Topping E30+L30:-

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This might be an overkill for the bud. I used it at a low gain(-9dB). The background sounds cleanest, though other than that the sound is quite similar to the other two pairings. So not much scaling with better power. One thing to note is that this is the cleanest pairing for the MiMi, the other two pairings sounded a bit muddy to me.

Sound Quality:-

To be honest, at 9$, I was not expecting much with the MiMi. But the pair sounds very melodious and smooth. It brings out beautiful vocals and presents one with a smooth, musical output. Though vocals get a bit shouty at louder volumes. Like they are too much into the face at louder volumes(Above 65 on DX120, about 3 ’o'clock on Topping combo, full volume on View 10). Bass slams are tight and impactful complementing the other frequencies well. Highs have a spark to them, making the pair shine with good detailing in instruments such as violins and flutes. Here’s a frequency wise response of the pair.

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Lows:-

The lows are quite powerful considering this is an earbud. I found the pair to be shy in the sub-bass, there is not satisfactory rumble in the sub-bass portion. Though the pair behaves well in complex bass-heavy tracks such as Bad Guy by Billie Eilish but lacks some punch in sub-bass. The bass slams are precise and presented well complementing the other frequencies well. Have I heard better bass in earbuds? Surely yeah, but they are way above the price the MiMi is being offered for.

Mids:-

Now, this is where the melody comes from. The MiMi sounds like it has a mid-focused tuning. Vocals, acoustic instruments sound lush and detailed. They add a warm touch to the output making the output melodious and smooth. I found no fatiguing or sibilance even at louder volumes, though the vocals become too into the face at louder volumes. Other than that the pair produces fantastic details in mid-frequencies.

Highs:-

The treble response is pretty solid. The treble frequencies are smooth and relaxed. It doesn’t sound harsh or sibilant even in heavy metal tracks and retrieves a good level of details from the music. Overall I find the MiMi to have a relaxing, warm tonality providing a great listening experience for the users.

Soundstage:-

I find the soundstage to be intimate rather than being too wide or huge. But it is more than enough for the genres that I generally listen to such as Rock, Pop, EDM, and Bollywood Regional music. Instrument separation is quite good.

Comparison With VE Monk SL:-

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There is a huge difference between these two in terms of price point. The MiMi is available for just 9$ while the Monk SL has a price tag of 50$. Here are my impressions between these two:-

>Cat Ear MiMi is easier to drive when compared with 64 Ohms Monk SL.

>MiMi has more upfront vocals.

>MiMi has a tangle-free cable.

>Monk SL sounds more open, wider with a superb stage presence.

>Monk SL Bass is cleaner, more precise.

>Monk SL shows better extensions on both ends.

>Monk SL doesn’t get shouty even at louder volumes.

These might make the Monk SL look a better buy, but It has a price tag that is five times of MiMi.

Final Verdict:-

Considering the price, the MiMi is a steal of an earphone, It is very very easy to drive, it performs pretty well considering its price point. If you are looking to buy a pair under the 10$ price point, the CEA MiMi is the one to consider. Previously I had the standard Ve Monk Plus as my favorite pair of earbuds under the 10$ price segment. Now the Cat Ear MiMi goes head to head with that outstanding gem. This is a really big thing to say considering this is the very first pair of earphones from the brand. I see huge potential in Cat Ear Audio, looking forward for more products from them.
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gab840

100+ Head-Fier
CatEar Mimi - No-Brainer at its Price Point!!
The Mimi is a product by CatEar brand in the starting price range costing at $10 only. It comes in small packaging inside small black box which contains a small nice round case with earbuds inside it.
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The build quality of Mimi is top-notch with a 1.2m crystalline oxygen-free copper cable with silver plating. The cable looks & feel high-quality with an added advantage that it never gets tangled. The case itself is cute & cat-lovers will be envy of you after seeing it. It can be easily be driven of phone but it also shines really well with amplification.

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Lows
The Bass is two notches lower than the neutral line but comes well with rest of the spectrum. Sub bass isn't much & rolls off quickly. Mid Bass is good but lacks
the body or thump. Just like most of the earbuds bass is not selling point here. Genres like EDM Dubsteps will not provide the feel which one will want out. But alas what more you can expect from a 10$ product. Bass there is well represented & doesn't hinder with Mids. It presents a cleaner background, personally I would have liked a little more punch. Bass is overall Good & comes out well with rest of the frequency response.

Mids
Mids is the area where they really shine. Sometimes makes you wonder if you are really listening to a $10 earbuds. Clarity & Details shine out with the mids. Vocals be it male or female sound good. Mids being on the forward side have an airy presentation. There is touch more focus on the lower mids than the upper but still not to the point where it feels too unnatural. Mids have little sweeter touch to them.

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Treble
Treble is good. I would have liked a little more refinement to this area but still it is fine. They do not sound hard but there is no shine either. There is little roll-of on the higher end. Overall it comes out good & have good synergy with the Mids.

Soundstage/Imaging
Soundstage and imaging in the overall perceived area is great too. You will be able to hear all the different instruments popping in & out around your ears. It has an airy presentation with good width and height though depth is lacking. I do not expect anything more in the area with the price point it is being sold. Presentation is top-notch. Transition from the center to left & right are is quite good. I also tested it with Netflix watching movies & series & was surprised to
see how great all the different sounds in a scene were well represented. The separation qualities shown there were just too great for its price point.
Its a must for those who watch a lot of entertainment stuffs while lying on their bed or couch.

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Amplification
What was not expected was its performance with little amplification .Using it with Fiio E17 (the old Dark horse in entry level) Mimi shined really well bringing
quality of life improvement in Mids & Bass. Details were more pronounced & overall presentation was much better. Same I will mention in its delivery with the Ifi iCAN.

Comparison
Mimi vs RY4C (300 ohms) with Fiio E17.

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Mimi is on the sweeter side while Ry4c is little heavier in the tonality but only when compared. With Ry4c you get a picture of more blacker background.Listening to music X2C from trouboi, Violin are clear & upfront in Mimi whereas its the bass which brings up the presentation with ry4c. Ry4c has better slam & authority. Ry4c has more depth whereas Mimi shines in height. Mimi is more upfront, it will sound much more energetic in Mids departement than Ry4c. Ry4c does provide more auhtority in Bass department but not much.
Overall it was Mimi which was a little more on the enjoyable side. You have to had more focus on the sound produced by ry4c to hear the same details which were easily perceived on the Mimi. Listening to CloZee - Koto Mimi shines in its delivery of the track & presentation of different instruments. No doubt Mimi is the more musical of two but not at the cost of details. Call of Slience by Hiroyuki Sawano was the only song which sounded better on Ry4c from a large number of tracks I tested with. If you aren't a basshead then Mimi is the more musical choice b/w the two.

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Have to say that Cat-Ears have done a marvelous job in bringing out such a product at such an affordable price range. Not-only it punches much above its price-point when it comes to sound but along with the case provided & good quality cable it is a no-brainer. This has to be in your collection if you are an earbud lover.
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machinegod

New Head-Fier
Pros: Affordable for all, at 10 USD.
Excellent sound quality overall.
Cable quality of high standard.
Cons: Roll-off in upper treble.
Subdued upper-midrange.
Build and Fit
The build and style of Mimi is quite stylish, a repeating pattern seen in CatEar products. This features the DP100 shell which is smaller than the MX500 shell,
which is good news for all as its an easier fit in the ears, even in my not-big ears. I can wear these for hours without ear ache or pressure points. The cable is 1.2m 3.5mm SE, silver plated OFC.
The cable although beautiful to look at and interact with, has its pros and cons. The advantage being that it never gets tangled with itself, drawback being that it never stays wound, uncoiling itself the moment it is placed somewhere.
It is a pain if I'm honest. But hey, I am not complaining at 10 USD when the unit looks so beautiful, not to mention you get the CUTEST carry case as well, fits in your palm, it is SMALL!
It has the Shoonth style "handlebars" which are built immaculately, and give it an iconic look.

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Amp Needs

Mimi is rated at 32 ohm impedance and 110dB/mW sensitivity, so it can easily be driven off a phone, but I found it to scale with better sources. You should obviously use a better source if you have it,
but you don't have to rush out to buy a better source for the Mimi.

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Bass
Mimi has shy subbass, the subbass rolls off like almost every earbud. Which is a good thing as sizable subbass on earbuds ruin the experience with their limp impact. As a result, you'll be losing some detail and information in the subbass region.
What the mimi has in place is a taut midbass which shows no sign of bloom. There's always an accompanying punch to the music which is pleasurable, and honestly speaking a worthy tradeoff.

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Mids
The upper midrange is subdued and could use a boost. String instruments could use some sharpness, as they're a bit cloudy in it's presentation. Female vocals could use just a touch of forwardness.
Male vocal performance are stellar for the price. Overall, the mids have great detail retrieval and an airy presentation, a very airy presentation which makes me beg the question : how is this 10 USD?

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Treble
The upper treble is rolled off, so you lose the sparkle/brilliance and forwardness in the region. This results in an overall signature that could use some openness. The presence region is so well tuned; natural sounding with a perfect balance of forwardness and energy.
Hence the Mimi is forgiving of harsh recordings yet it retains and conveys the tone in the treble region excellently well, for a lack of better word. Tone and timbre of metal being stricken is also conveyed in its natural sense, which is really a big feat for such little cat paws.
One thing to note is that treble forwardness is direction dependent, so make sure to fit the Mimi snug in your ears, and point them "away" from the center of your forehead.

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Soundstage & Imaging
Image distribution is unbelievable on the Mimi, it's so linear and clear. Soundstage is wide and airy. It's freakishly wide in it's price range, rivalling even the Koss KSC75, if not beating it in width. It lacks depth distinction, but hey its 10 USD, seriously?
Instrument separation here is much more than its worth, some serious level of distinction and separation goin on here.

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Dynamics
Mimi is snappy and agile, and it's worth mentioning that the sense of macro-dynamics is more than micro-dynamics. The snappy feeling of Mimi makes it even better than it already is.

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CatEar Mimi vs Monk+ (base variant)
The Mimi mauls the Monk+ in every aspect. The Monk+ has been dethroned as the best budget earbud, the Mimi is the new gateway to the audiophile sound on a budget.
The Monk+ is slow, veiled, bloated, lacks treble finesse and treble extension compared to the Mimi. The imaging on Mimi is light years ahead. The soundstage of Mimi is wider than Monk+, but not by much as Monk+ itself is quit wide.

CatEar Mimi vs Monk+ Shining Copper (60 USD)
The Mimi even takes on the Shining Copper which is worth 60 USD. The Mimi has better midbass control and impact, more forward sounding in the entire spectrum and simultaneously carrying more body. Treble on the Mimi has more body and information in the presence region.
Imaging on Mimi is on par with that of Shining Copper while the Shining Copper has more width. The overall presentation of Shining Copper is more diffuse and "sterile" while that of Mimi is more engaging.


Conclusion
A 10 USD, this is obviously a no brainer and if you're an earbud lover like me, this has to be in your collection. The cons listed in the analysis are done under critical analysis and in the greater scheme of things the Mimi sounds much better than it's price would suggest, rendering anything under it's price basically useless.
Even if I am not considering the price, the Mimi's performance is very commendable.

EuphoniousMedia

New Head-Fier
CatEar MiMi - Purrrrfect for price !
Pros: Pros : Very affordable.
Nice build.
Nice wire and included case.
Airy sound.
Above average soundstage.
Easy to drive.
Cons: Cons : Big driver housing may not fit every ear.
Slight harshness on higher volumes.
Low bass, early roll off.
Lacking female vocals.
Introduction :

CatEar Audio
, a fairly new audio company that has started new in 2019. They started their journey with Mia which was a sub 99$ IEM. Their mother company, Sunshi which was established in 2007 is known for making excellent cables. Their new bud MiMi is a sub 10$ bud which is supposed to sound better than anything in this price point, but will a 10$ bud quench the thirst of an audiophile ?

Disclaimer :

The review was tested at 10$ and all the judgement was made keeping the exact same price in mind. We're not responsible for any price change that might alter this review.


This item was graciously provided by CatEar for review in exchange for a honest and unbiased review. The review was written by the team in our own accord and no thoughts or judgements were altered in any way.

Purchasable link :

HiFiNage (Indian Market)

Specifications :

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Unboxing and Accessories :

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CatEar comes with one of the smallest and cutest packaging we have seen in a long time, it’s box size is very small and inside the box you’ll find a mint like container with CatEar logo on it. It’s built pretty well and inside that you’ll find earbuds along with one pair of extra donut foams. You need these donut foams because the housing is very large and the housing has some sharp corners that might get uncomfortable after some time.

Cable :

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Cable that comes along with MiMi is non-removable due to obvious reasons, the material of choice for cable that CatEar went is silver plated LC-OFC. It’s an outstanding wire for the price. It is 1.2m long with a 3.5mm termination along with a stylish metal Y split which is useful and does the job pretty well. The wire has a very “rubberish” texture to it, it doesn’t tangle on its own and behaves well even after folding in case. It’s a perfect wire to go with these buds and you CANNOT ask for anything else.

Case :

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Have you seen those small little mint cans that come with peppermint? It’s sort of like that with a very small footprint, though, we would have loved a can with less width and bigger radius because you have to really wind the wire tightly to fit it inside this case. It’s not bad in any way, it is solid and feels good to hold. The cute paws on top make it even more cute and it goes really well with the aesthetics of the buds. For the price it was surprising that it even came with a case this good.

Buds quality and fit :

Coming to the build, they are built really well and sturdy. The shells are made out of acrylic with a metal trim on top which says “MiMi”. They are built better than some of the expensive buds that we have tried so far. It feels solid to hold in hand everything from the 3.5mm connector to the wire and buds go hand in hand. Exceptional build quality for the price. CatEar has done a splendid job on this one!

Sound Isolation :

Since these are buds, they don’t really go inside your canal rather they sit on your ear’s conchal bowl. They do not block outside noise and they are not designed to do that either, on higher volumes you should not be able to hear most of the things around you and blocking outside noise shouldn’t be your priority with any buds.

The Driveability and sources used :
MiMi are fairly easy to drive, with only 32 Ohms of impedance and sensitivity of 110db, not the most sensitive bud like Moonbuds, but they are easily driven by any source. You can use your smartphone and they will sound amazing out of the box too. With BTR5 and M0, it sounded better than a phone’s source and scaled well too.

Sources used are:

  • DDHiFi 3.5 mm to lightning
  • Shanling M0
  • FiiO BTR5

The Sound (4/5) :

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Mids (4.5/5) :

Owing it to the bigger driver unit which is 15.4 mm in size, the character of the sound changes as compared to the IEM’s , the MiMi buds sound very wide and airy in the mids region, the added warmth in the sound make it a very neutral sounding pair, they seem to be tuned higher in the lower mids which makes the male vocals shine and have the heft that is required, but higher mids are rolled off as compared to lower mids due to which the female vocals lack the tonality and sound hefty, but all is very little to pick for the price to performance ratio they offer.

Bass (3/5) :

As they sit out of the ear and one would not expect them to perform crazy in bass department and that's the exact case here, due to lack in isolation the MiMi buds do not provide the oomph in lower bass area and the lower bass is quite rolled off to that point where the expectation does not meet the requirement, however it delivers in the mid bass area, the Indian classical music sounds so great because it has tabla as a main instrument and it basically plays in mids, we can say for the price we have not heard a better classical playing buds or IEMs for that matter. The bigger driver playing the mid bass is very well contained and gives a powerful representation.

Treble (3/5) :


One area we would really want CatEar Audio to improve on is the treble reproduction, the roll off is very steep and it is felt in the overall detail reproduction is not up to the mark and we do no recommend it to the people who are looking to find each and every detail in a song or to assess the song for analytical listening. After 500 hz we feel there is a very steep decline in the treble character due to which sometimes it may sound muddy but it can be corrected with a slight tweak in the EQ and they do perform good afterwards, for the price we think that they sound very good but a small change can bring a bigger impact.

Imaging (3.5/5) :

Above average imaging
for the instruments, but due to lack in treble detail which affects it very much and imaging, though for the price is good but overall not as per our recommendation, the feeling of sphere and the height separation is not there so as a result the sound is felt in somewhat 2 dimension panning well left and right but coming back to the price range it performs on point.

Soundstage (3.5/5) :

Staging is above average
for the given price, the perceived space is wide and huge but lacks the depth and height due to lack in low bass, as the sound is very airy it helps to trick the brain that the seating is in rather bigger area and that is very good to have at this price point, Cat Ear Audio has done a splendid job of providing the space and airiness to these buds

Reference Tracks :


● Crash test Dummies - “ Afternoon & CoffeeSpoons “ for sound stage.

● Colter Wall - “ Thirteen Silver Dollars “ for male vocals.

● Iron Butterfly - “ In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida “ for drum solo at 6:30.

● Radio Head - “The National Anthem “ for bass guitar and separation.

● Mame Khan & Milli Nair - “Badri Badariya” for female vocals.

Conclusion :

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The MiMi buds are super affordable coming in at only 10$, they punch way above it’s price point. The added accessories like the case and coming with a good cable out of the box is surprising at this price point. The lush mids coming along with decent soundstage make it a purrrrfect pair to rock whenever you’re tired and don’t feel like using IEMs. There’s no reason not to buy these buds, an absolutely amazing job done by CatEar!

Rated :

MKOD9K_6z2OwJhKZjxS0VFCHWbWkcBBqAdRftRGl7lqtEWM_QnsleGklyeM_5ob85MqcmLhozJo5HY_lquCThzVk_rfkvF9saMM0t-ogIm0LY4fg2ifjRb313wNjONCGgOJowuuq

All grades are given keeping price to performance ratio in mind, better grade doesn't mean it's the best.

Ace Bee

Previously known as Sagnik
Little Meow
Pros: Beautiful Vocals
Airy presentation
Decent Separation
Nice build quality
Great performance for the price
Cons: Subbass roll off
Slight lack of refinement
Disclaimer:
The Cat Ear Audio - MIMI is a sample that was sent to me in exchange for my honest opinion in this review, as part of a review tour. I thank the team at Cat Ear Audio for giving me this opportunity.

Introduction:
Cat Ear Audio is a very new company, established in 2019, although they had a long-standing affiliation through their parent company in the fields of cables. Their first product was Mia, a single DD bullet style iem. MIMI is an earbud that costs below $10 and sounds absolutely stellar for the price!

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Specs:
Driver: 15.4 mm Dynamic Driver
Cable: Silver plated Copper
Termination: 3.5mm
Sensitivity: 110 dB/mW
Impedance: 32 Ohm


With the 32 Ohm impedance and 110 dB/mW it is pretty easy to drive through portable devices or laptop as well. The 3.5 mm plug is quite commendably sturdy.

Source:
Samsung Galaxy J6, No eq, Poweramp.

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Sound Impression:
The overall sound of mimi is a bit on the brighter side. But midrange is not thin, rather have a nice amount of body.

Highs:
Well extended, energetic. Highs can easily be termed as sparkly. Notes are very slightly on thinner side but not unnaturally so. They are not in your face style forward, but with enough presence that you don't miss them. Quite airy presentation, very good separation - enough room for each instrument to breathe properly. Due to the energy it may emphasize sibilance sometimes, but again it's not piercing.

Mimi works wonders with busy heavy metal tracks. The cymbal crashes never tend to drown under other sounds, stands out so beautifully.

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Mids:
The star of the show, honestly. Mids are forward with a very good note weight - literally the star of the show! Crisp and clean and just the right amount of body, energetic as hell. You instantly get drawn into them - and get amazed by the sheer transparency they flaunt! I did not expect such a performance given the price point - honestly! Although it does have sort of an edge to its notes.

Vocals, guitars - everything becomes vividly clear. Byt it comes with a catch - the overall tonality is a wee bit unrefined, which makes the mids on rare occassion somewhat harsh, which may get fatiguing for sensitive ears.

Again, busy metal tracks sounds amazingly transparent on mimi and just make someone wonder how does it sound so good being so cheap!

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Lows:
Now here, this is I believe the achilles's hill of Mimi. It's not bad per se, taught and punchy - the mid bass is good, but lacks body hence the punches are a bit unsatisfactory. Subbass is rolled off, very. It completely lacks the necessary body to give that pleasant sensation. The bass is...underwhelming at best. Although it gives way to the cleaner background, I still miss it every time I put it on.

Because of the lanky bass the drums of any metal tracks sounds lacking and cannot necessarily provide that WOW factor. The only aspect where mimi does not pack a punch.

Soundstage and Separation:
Unreal soundstage and clean presentation with very good separation for the price. The soundstage is still inside the head, but has sufficient width, and okay height and depth. The space between different sounds are very satisfacotrily clean that makes it hard to believe it costs south of $10.

Conclusion:
In simple words, Mimi is a marvel in this price bracket of earbuds. Very carefully tuned albeit with a bit of sharpness in the notes, the mids and highs are masterpiece. Even though the bass lacks, the rest of the spectrum makes up for it. It is a nice beginner earbud for a budding audiophile.
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D'Ford'Guy

New Head-Fier
Cat Ear Audio - Mimi : Little Cat, Big Meow?
Pros: * Sub 10$ wonder!
* Good Tonality (Meaty and weighted)
* Controlled taught bass response
* Easily tunable via minor EQ adjustments
* Excellent build quality (Touch and Feel)
* Above average imaging accuracy
* Decent instrument separation
Cons: * Lacks a bit of refinement out of the box
* Sub-bass and upper treble roll-off a bit too early (EQ can correct this a bit)
Disclaimer:
The Cat Ear Audio - MIMI is a sample that was sent to me in exchange for my honest opinion in this review, as part of a review tour. I thank the team at Cat Ear Audio for giving me this opportunity.

Introduction:
Cat Ear Audio (the brand) is relatively unknown on this side of the shore and to the audio community in general, not surprisingly so, as they have been established as a brand as recently as 2019, with their first product launch (MIA) as recent as July 2020!

What's not so new though is it's history in making high quality & premium cables: power cords, speaker cables, RCA signal cables, the lot; under its parent company banners/wings viz-a-viz Shunshi and ShoonTH.

The MIMI in consideration here is designed and made by ShoonTH. It boasts of a rather large 15.4mm dynamic driver paired to a very well designed Silver plated LC-OFC cable with a strong and sturdy 3.5mm straight plug which is outright amazing the moment you hold them in your hand, considering the price point this is pitched at! From a drivability standpoint, the MIMI is fairly efficient with a Sensitivity Rating of 110db/mW with a 32-ohm impedance making it relatively easy to be driven through most portable daily devices such as your phone & laptop.

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Test Rig:
Aune T1s Hybrid Tube Amp/DAC, Marantz SR5014 & LG G8X ThinQ

Sound Impressions:
It's hard to analyze stuff that costs just about the 10$ USD mark and put up objective rationale with perspective and comparisons in relativity to the ocean of iem's and earbuds out there. If the competition is the ocean, then consider the reviews from reviewers as the salt left behind when you boil the ocean :)

The MIMI has an inoffensive - euphonic and smooth sound signature, which has enough pizazz and spice in the mix to keep enthusiasts and casual listeners interested and tapping their feet to the tunes, irrespective of genre.

Something to note is that my particular unit had some channel imbalance issues which reduced quite substantially during the burn-in period, but retained the trait long enough to be mentioned here. With all benefit-of-doubt to Cat Ear, this maybe a one-off issue. Since most of my testing included the LG G8X with the (ESS 9218P DAC), the inbuilt software was able to correct the imbalance without much hassle atall. The imbalance correction on my unit has been highlighted below out of the box which is within -2db from Left to Right (quite large initially) and reduced further down to less than -1db (still audible):

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EQ-ing:
The MIMI sounds on par if not better than most earbuds in its price category in stock form right out of the box. However, minor equalization tweaks bring about massive uplift in the actual ability that the MIMI is capable of. Ofcourse, this my subjective take on the kind of sound I prefer which leans towards a slightly airy upper treble and a bit less emphasis on the lower mids without affecting the tonality of how the midrange vocals sound. In short, the following basic EQ tweaks, made the MIMI sound more balanced, with slightly better extensions on either end, helping percussion and drums shimmer and pop with better contrast in-line with their respective timbre accuracy. My review and overall summary further down reflects the sound capability as a summation of how the MIMI sounds in stock as well as slightly EQ-ed (aka more capable form):

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PS: Please don't mistake the EQ above as a form of interpreting it as an FR-Curve. This is more of a digital compensation applied to make the actual FR sound more balanced and cleaner overall.

Imaging, Staging & Instrument Separation:
Directional cues are handled surprisingly well for an earbud of this price point and general caliber expectation for the course. Staging is done pretty well with the width being larger than the perceived overall depth. That said, there is a good sense of space and enough directional accuracy in the z-axis to make live performances such as the Symphonic Version tracks by HAEVN from the album Bright Lights. A slightly elevated upper treble would have increased the overall Air and sense of space even further but with EQ mods shown earlier, most would be content with the presentation. Instrument separation is above average and clean on the whole. Percussion instruments are a bit subdued and hazy due to the roll-off in the upper registers but a bit of EQ does bring about the necessary spark and finesse to them as well.

Tonality:
Overall tonality leans towards being very smooth and euphonic with a warm and rich tone, without sounding too veiled and laid back or overly fresh and brittle. A bit of EQ-ing cuts down the lushness in vocals down a bit to balance out the contrast between the bass and treble, rendering a smooth yet natural presentation.

Bass-Mids-Highs:
The Bass on the MIMI is really good. Decay is like a well-tuned iem and although there is sub-bass roll-off owing to the tuning + the nature of poor isolation in general on earbuds. Quality and quantity, as well as tactility, is enough to bring a smile to anyone who enjoys listening to good bass. Last but not the least, the upper bass remains clean and doesn't bleed into the lower mids and hence there is no muddiness with male vocals.

The Midrange is lush - and the added warmth from the signature does lend the MIMI a distinctly smooth and decently forward sounding earbud. However, it is fairly neutral in terms of the balance between being sweet and hard sounding. Although the detailing is on par with the price point, vocal textures can do with a little less smoothening overall.

The Treble performance is something that needs a bit more help to balance itself out and have enough contrast in relation to the bass and mids. Luckily, EQ solves this very cleanly and without fuss which not only helps the overall depth in the presentation but also adds the right timbre accuracy missing on percussions and high hats on the whole.

Scalability & Pairings:
A quick summary from a scalability factor does point to the fact that the MIMI does not warrant high-end expensive sources as it's capped quite early in terms of scaling which is fairly limited and this doesn't come off as a surprise given its modest price point. A good entry-level DAP or phone will be able to bring out the most from the MIMI.

That said, well-textured and brighter sources with good extensions do tend to make the MIMI shine further without the need to fiddle too much with EW mods and so on, such as the Fiio Q5s, Aune T1s, and even the LG G8x ThinQ. A good source always makes good gear shine and the MIMI does show improvement with better sources. However, that's where the tables turn from a value perspective as the source will always be more expensive (far too expensive) than the transducers themselves!) which is a no-no.

Bottomline: Stick to what you already have as a source. The MIMI is fun (irrespective of source)!

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Summary:
The Cat Ear Audio - MIMI is a good - balanced yet playful earbud that has a tuning quite tasteful right out of the box but opens up the pandoras box if you can take the time to fine-tune them. Although I am not a big fan of EQ-ing, this is one of those instances where I would wholeheartedly pass the 'audiophile' baton to someone else just for the sake of enjoying a cheap thrill! (who doesn't love one!). That said, it will be interesting to check out how the the top tier offerings from Cat Ear Audio sound like after the kitty purr MIMI!
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abheybir

New Head-Fier
Cat Ear Audio mimi: A Sweet Purr for Ears
Pros: 1. Musical lush Sound
2. Good quality bass
3. Sparkling Highs
4. Sweet Mids
5. Premium looks and feel
6. Very Comfortable
Cons: None at this price point of view
Introduction
Newly launched earbuds "Mimi" is a product of Cat Ear Audio (CEA) brand of Shunshi (Shenzhen) Technology. This brand mainly deals with high-fidelity headphones and high-fidelity digital products (portable field), fashion digital products, earphone wires, design, development, production and sales, and private custom tuning and custom design of earphone digital peripheral products and other services.

Mimi comes in a nicely folded black cardboard box with a cut out logo of cat which when opened reveals a cute little aluminium box that holds the product. The aluminium box has an adorable cat paw printed over the lid, inside which a very beautiful pair of earbuds coupled with an elegant silver color tangle free SPC look alike wire is placed along with two pairs of foam Doughnut covers. The earbud consists of transparent housing upper over which silver decor flaunts the model name on one side and the brand name on other. The design is not over the top flashy but is very elegant to look at.

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Disclaimer:
I have received CEA Mimi review circle sent from the brand itself in exchange of honest reviews. All impressions of sound are subjective to my own listening and my sources and is based on my experience with ear buds of similar hardware configuration and price range.


Sources:
For this review the unit has been paired to A&K SE100, Chord Mojo and Fiio Q5 without any additional amplification. Stock Doughnut Ear foams have been used during listening experience.


Review:
CEA Mimi features one dynamic driver unit on each side paired with a beautiful tangle free SPC look alike cable which terminates firmly to a single ended 3.5 mm jack. The overall quality of the product feels top notch and premium for its price value.

Straight out of the box these earbuds sound very sweet, melodious and organic with lot of micro details and a super wide sound stage for which earbuds are known for. There is no sibilance or harsh peaks in the entire frequency spectrum.

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Highs:
Brilliant details and sparkling highs which one notices straight out of the box. There is no sibilance or harsh tones at any point of time. Treble response is well extended, and airiness is all around the headroom. The earbuds make through heavy instrumental tracks easily. Cymbals and trumpets sound very clean and airy with a sweet presentation in them.

Listening to Call of Silence track by Hiroyuki Sawano there was no sibilance at even any point of time and whole presentation of highs was sweet and melodious.


Mids:
The mid spectrum reproduction is sweet and organic. Both upper and lower mids are bit forward and give a full-bodied representation to it. Instruments such as acoustic guitars are very clean and resolving. There is a lush in vocals. The overall representation becomes very melodious and relaxing.

Listening to Witchy Woman by Eagles, gets instant feel as of all the lush in vocal transactions and very organic sound of all the instruments. Similar impact can be observed while listening to Hotel California, these earbuds gives an instant high.


Lows:
The Bass response of CEA mimi is far better than any other earbuds at this price point. It feels overall a bass-oriented earbud. There is a hint of sub-bass in them. Texture and details are there in bass response.

I would say that listening to EDM has been a fun experience on these earbuds. While listening to Tokyo Drift by KVSH, there was decent rumble at every bass drop.


Soundstage/Detailing:
Both vertical and horizontal soundstage are good on these for which the earbuds are known for. Listening to Call of Silence/Eye water track by Hiroyuki Sawano fills up the entire headroom and give a very nice and precise presentation; The micro details, the soundstage, the vocals and depth and imaging was surprising at this price point.


Comparisons:
CEA Mimi vs VE-Monk SE:
When compared to VE Monk standard edition the CEA mimi excels at every aspect of it, be it the aesthetics or the sound quality. The monk SE sounds bit flat where as mimi has a command over entire spectrum, the highs had more sparkle while the lows have much punch to them, the overall details and soundstage is also better with CEA.

CEA Mimi vs Vetala II-SE: When compared to Vetala earbuds standard edition the bass response was better in mimi. The micro details are also better in mimi by slight margin, but the soundstage felt bit narrowed.

CEA Mimi vs Moonbuds Crescent: On comparing CEA mimi to Moonbuds Crescent they give a head to head competition. Listening more analytically what I felt is the attack is much better in CEA mimi as compared to Moonbuds crescent.

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Final Verdict:
CEA Mimi is quite a beautiful pair of earbuds at a very decent price segment. These earpieces are super comfortable and looks quite elegant in ear. Moreover, they have been tuned very well. The soundstage, detailing, and richness is somehow exceptional at this price. It has an overall musical presentation with a sweet melodious touch to it. The bass response is quite nice. In the nutshell, it is a very versatile earbud that can give quite lot competition in the market.
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