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THE TRUE EXPRESSION OF MUSIC Pinnacle is more than a name - it is a statement that identifies...

MEE audio Pinnacle P1 High Fidelity Audiophile In-Ear Headphones with Detachable Cables

Rating:
4.725/5,
  • THE TRUE EXPRESSION OF MUSIC Pinnacle is more than a name - it is a statement that identifies the P1 in-ear headphones as the result of two years of design, engineering, and refinement, the flagship of our critically acclaimed product line, and our highest-performing headphone ever. For years headphone fans all around the world have recognized MEE audio as one of the go-to brands for getting the most bang for your buck, and the Pinnacle stays true to the MEE brand by bringing serious value for money to high-end in-ear headphones.
    WHAT'S IN THE BOX
    Pinnacle P1 Audiophile In-Ear Headphones High-fidelity silver-plated OFC audio cable Headset cable with microphone and remote Comply T-200 memory foam eartips (3 pairs) Silicone eartips (6 pairs) ¼" (6.3mm) stereo adapter Premium carrying case with laser-etched serial number Shirt clip User manual
JNOISE JA likes this.

Recent Reviews

  1. SeeSax
    Very Polite IEMs - Marriage Material!
    Written by SeeSax
    Published Dec 8, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Detail retrieval, comfort, soundstage, neutral sound signature
    Cons - A tad more bass would be welcome
    About Me:   

    I came into the world of audio from a guitar background, buying up tube amps from when I was a kid and was always fascinated with them. Then I ended up buying my first decent pair of IEMs one day for a long flight (Yamaha EPH-100) and it was downhill from there. For a year or two, my only source were cell phones + a DAC/amp combo. Recently, I've invested in a desktop setup consisting of an Audio-GD Master 11 (which I absolutely love). I'm still no professional, I don't know all the right terms and I can really only offer an opinion of what I like. I don't have golden ears and I would not be considered a sommelier of the audio world. But what I do have to offer is the fact that I buy pretty much every IEM that looks interesting and give it some good listening time. As for preference of music, as cliché as it sounds, I love everything with a definite nod toward pop, country, electronic, rock and blues.   

      

    Test Equipment:   

    I used a few different setups for this review, but I will note that I primarily use IEMs with “mobile” setups, meaning I do not typically test them with either of my desktop setups. This time around, however, I did play the Pinnacle P1s through my Audio-GD NFB-1 DAC and amp before I sold them. I did this because the P1s are quite difficult to drive from mobile phones and I’ll expand on that later. Most of the testing was done, however, with my Chord Mojo and my LG V20 playing Tidal HiFi streaming. I used Tidal via USB Audio Player Pro when using the Mojo to avoid the Android upsampling.  

      

    The IEMs  

    Physical presentation when you open the box is first rate and I have not seen this on a $199 IEM before (well, maybe I did on the RE-600 but that was originally $399). The IEMs have a very classy metal housing and they come with a large assortment of tips and two different cables. One has smartphone controls and is your average cheap MMCX cable, but the other is silver-plated copper ($50 on Amazon) and I stuck with that from the get-go. I don’t like the feel of the other cable with smartphone controls as it is thicker and heaver and overall feels cheaper. I liked the silver-plated copper cable so much that I bought an extra to use with my Sony XBA-Z5s. I also love the leather carrying case with a folding magnetic flap. They IEMs are a bit of a tight squeeze into it, but it’s a great case that isn’t bulky and overall has a classy and quality feel.  
     
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    IMG_20161208_104343.jpg  

      

    Comfort:  

    This one is easy: these are the most comfortable IEMs I have ever worn. You simply forget they are in your ear and I can easily listen to them for hours upon hours without any pain points or annoyances. The cable does not have memory wire, though these are still worn over-ear and I absolutely love them. They fit right into my ear canal and never come loose, never need fiddling and the shape is incredibly well thought out.  

      

    Tips: 

    Tips are a very personal thing and while the Pinnacle P1s come with plenty, I had the best success with Sony’s foam-filled hybrid tips. These are somewhat hard to find, but you can get them from the usual places like eBay and Amazon if you are okay waiting for shipping from Japan. These fit the P1s perfectly and I enjoy them because they hold the P1 firmly in my ear given the somewhat firmer feel than the non-foam stuffed ones. I also had success with JVC’s Spiral Dots, but they did not sound as good to me as the Sonys.  

      

    Sound: 

    The Pinnacle P1 IEMs are what I consider to be the most neutral IEMs I have. They are not bright, they are not bass-heavy, they are not mid-forward. They have no offensive characteristics and I do not believe many people would find any fault whatsoever in any of their range. Would I like more of certain things? Sure, but that is personal preference. What I mean is that anyone who puts these on will be very unlikely to find something to complain about such as sibilance or anything of that nature. What the P1s trade in bass impact or sharp treble is an overall sound signature that is incredibly neutral, detailed, enjoyable and polite. I love this about them.  

      

    Bass: If these had just a bit more bass slam from their dynamic driver, I would give them five out of five. That is literally the only thing I would ask for out of these is a bit more bass quantity. The bass is very accurate, it can reach very low when the music calls for it and it will likely satisfy non-bass heads or people who love a very neutral IEM. Me, well, I want just a tad more please. The bass they do have is punchy, but not as punchy as something like a triple-BA IEM like the Sony XBA-300. It is not muddy or loose like some other dynamic driver IEMs. I honestly think it will be “just right” for quite a few folks, but I love my bass!  

      

    Mids: The mids on this IEM are the star of the show for me and it’s not because they’re forward or in your face, it’s just because they’re incredibly detailed. Vocals through these IEMs rival some of my IEMs that cost three times as much and outperform others of the same cost (vocals on these sound better than on my XBA-Z5). There is no bass bleeding into the mids and overall, this tuning is extremely well-done by MEE Audio. They give such a clear presentation of how I think vocals should sound (both male and female).  

      

    Highs: I’m going to categorize the highs into the same camp as I did with the bass: they’re wonderful, but I would love a bit more. Like I mentioned, I do not think anyone will find these sibilant if you have a proper source and get a good fit. The highs are sparkly, detailed, non-offensive in any way and very smooth. While I love my bass, I love my treble too and I could stand a bit more treble presence in these. Not a lot, but a tad more might give them even more perceived clarity than they already have (which would be an insane amount of clarity!). Everything sounds good on these from cymbals, electronic beats and instruments.  

      

    Detail and Clarity: 

    I have not heard detail like this in a $200 IEM (or, perhaps, even a $400 IEM). The instrument separation on these is among the best I have heard and it’s very noticeable on first listen. They just sound crystal clear. You’ll hear strings being plucked, you’ll hear small sounds that you may have missed before and I’m quite impressed that this was achieved with a single dynamic driver. I’m not an audio engineer and I couldn’t begin to design an earphone, but this greatly impresses me. This is my favorite part about these IEMs – the clarity and detail. Well done, MEE Audio, well done.  

      

    Comparisons: 

    For my comparisons, I try to compare against similarly priced IEMs and avoid apples to oranges comparisons. So, below are some of the IEMs I have that I think are a good match against the P1 that cost similar amounts.  

      

    HiFiMan RE-600: The RE-600 was my go-to IEM for a neutral, detailed and comfortable IEM. The Pinnacle P1, in my eyes, has beat the RE-600 on all three counts. The bass presence is stronger on the P1, the comfort is even better despite them weighing much more and the detail retrieval is superior on the P1. Don’t even get me started on the cable on the RE-600 vs. the P1 as I’m sure you’ve read all of the cable failures on the RE-600. Not acceptable for a $400 IEM at launch (and still not acceptable on a $200 IEM). Sound-wise, I don’t find any real faults with the RE-600, but I found the P1 to just sound bigger, fuller and more detailed. Given that these are now the same price, I’d choose the P1 every time.  

      

    Sony XBA-300: This IEM couldn’t be more different technically speaking from the P1, but since they’re around the same price and both are considered to be pretty neutral IEMs, I wanted to compare them. For this comparison, I will not declare the P1 a winner per se, but a different IEM altogether. Where the P1 sounds neutral, polite and musical, the XBA-300 can get harsh in the treble and has light but very punchy bass. Something like a kick drum will really slam your ear in the XBA-300 whereas on the P1, it’s a less controlled boom. The P1 is not boomy at all, but in comparison to the XBA-300’s triple-BA design it does not offer the tight and controlled bass that the XBA-300 does. The XBA-300 has that extra treble that I asked for from the P1, but it might be a bit too bright for some people. Both IEMs are very neutral to me, but the XBA-300 may give people a bit more trouble if you’re listening at louder volumes and the track has anything that can be perceived as “piercing” highs. I would say that detail retrieval is similar on both IEMs, but soundstage and separation are still a bit better on the P1 for me.  

      

    LZ A4: I debated on including this IEM because I have only had it for about five days, but given that it’s a $200 triple-hybrid design and my initial impressions are through the roof, it seemed appropriate. I’ll keep the specifics light as I need more time with the approximate 6,745 filter combinations, but overall the LZ A4 to me is a superior IEM. It offers slamming, deep bass, clear and detailed mids and highs that can be tuned to the user’s liking. It has everything I have asked for extra from the P1 and for that reason, for now, this would be the IEM of my choice in the $200 range without question. I would say the only area the A4 falls short of the P1 is in comfort. It is comfortable, but it is a MASSIVE plastic housing designed to be worn down and for the first time in a while, I’m almost embarrassed to wear them in public. The last time that happened was when I wore my Sony Z5s outside.  

      

    MusicMaker Shockwave III: This IEM is a bit more pricey at around $240, but it’s not so far off that it should be excluded. Where I thought the XBA-300 couldn’t get more different them the P1, the SW3 does. This is a 5-driver IEM with four balanced armature drivers and one dynamic driver. The bass on this is similar to the LZ A4 and I find it superior to the P1 in its reach and impact. The mids on the SW3 are slightly recessed and that is exaggerated with the very bright treble. The SW3 is definitely a V-shaped IEM and I think the P1 wins in overall listening pleasure to be totally honest. I love the SW3, but it is not an “every day” IEM for me that can fit every musical taste like the P1 can. Sure it has that deep bass I am craving, crisp and bright treble, but it does not have what the P1 has: the ability to sit in my ear for hours and put a smile on my face with ANY kind of music I put through it. If I tried that, I might end up deaf. It’s also huge and nowhere near as comfortable as the P1.  

      

    Conclusion:  

      

    The Pinnacle P1 IEMs came dangerously close to being a perfect IEM for me. They might be perfect for most people who do not require “basshead” levels of bass. They do everything well, they’re polite, they’re comfortable and for a first stab at a flagship IEM I think MEE Audio knocked this one out of the park. Their customer service is first rate and their packaging and attention to detail are wonderful. I love these IEMs and am hugely impressed with them for $200. The detail and clarity alone is worth the price of entry and I can literally wear them all day. They miss out barely on a few things that I want a little more of, so I’m going to go with 4.5 stars with the confidence that these will be 5-star IEMs for a lot of people. They’re that good.  

      

    Note: These are some of the most difficult to drive IEMs I have had. They absolutely require more power than most smartphones can produce (sans for maybe the V10, V20, HTC 10 or iPhones). Sure they will work, but in my experience they need to be properly driven with a proper headphone amp of some sort. I would NOT choose the P1 if you are going to be driving them straight from an average smartphone. 

      

      

      

     

      zzzzzzzz, Demard, crabdog and 3 others like this.
    1. Ting Tiew Yik
      I owned xba 300 and p1 and I would say p1's bass is more punchy and xba is more detail.
       
      Nice review!
      Ting Tiew Yik, Dec 8, 2016
    2. mikek200
      Great review Collin
      I also used the P1 for a while,& liked them a lot
      Your reviews is very precise,and really explains the thinks are most important on the P1's.,
      as I am not a basshead either,I search for the musicality of ,every IEM,& headphone,I own.
      I did have an issue, with the fit on these,,and it caused me to sell them.
      Thank you ,for taking the time to write this review...it is good reading.
      mikek200, Dec 8, 2016
    3. killz4gold
      can you compare to VSD5 or GR07 ?
      killz4gold, Dec 14, 2016
  2. Aornic
    A clean experience at a competitive price
    Written by Aornic
    Published Oct 15, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Detail and texture in the midrange, good amount of air in the treble, two detachable cables, comfortable, sturdy build quality, all-rounder
    Cons - Overall bass a bit muted, needs to be driven with an amp, slight microphonics in the cables, silicon tips might reveal slight treble peaks
    [​IMG]
     
    Introduction
     
    It’s 1:35 AM and I’m listening to “Wicked Games” by The Weeknd on the Mee Audio Pinnacle P1 in-ear monitors. Although not the sound signature that I find myself drawn to in general, I find the experience enjoyable – as the vocal layering is presented in a satisfying and full manner. As the soulful, and rather pained, vocal carries the song – I find that the earphones hit the right notes when it comes to how the tenor voice comes through.
     
    I have not covered many IEMs before, and I fully admit that I am not quite familiar with what enthusiasts of them seek. As I’ve mostly focused on full-sized over-the-ear headphones, reviewing an IEM with a shell is new territory for me. I know that custom IEMs are a big business for a reason, but I appreciate that the universal-fit nature of the Pinnacle fits just right in my ear.
    The thing, as always, that I focus on however is the sound – and with that in mind I will unravel my thoughts of this product now.
     
    The Mee Audio Pinnacle was loaned to me for the purpose of a review by a representative of the company. I thank them for the opportunity, as I have mostly had to purchase the products I review in the past on a limited budget.
     
     
     
    20161014_151508.jpg 20161014_151528.jpg 20161014_151550.jpg 20161014_151606.jpg
    In the Box
     
    Pinnacle P1 Audiophile In-Ear Headphones
     
    High-fidelity silver-plated OFC audio cable
     
    Headset cable with microphone and remote
     
    Comply T-200 memory foam eartips (3 pairs)
     
    Silicone eartips (6 pairs)
     
    ¼" (6.3mm) stereo adapter
     
    Premium carrying case with laser-etched serial number
     
    Shirt clip
     
    User manual
     
    Specifications
     
    Driver
    Driver type                          moving coil (dynamic) with copper-clad aluminum voice coil
     
    Driver size                            10 mm
     
    Frequency response        20 Hz to 20 kHz
     
    Impedance                         50 Ohms at 1 kHz
     
    Sensitivity                            96±3 dB (1mW at 1 kHz)
     
    Microphone
     
    Directivity                            omnidirectional
     
    Frequency response        100 Hz to 5 kHz
     
    Sensitivity                            -40dB± 3dB
     
    Product Details
     
    Ear coupling                       intraaural (in-ear)
     
    Cable length                       51 inches (130 cm), detachable
     
    Cable connectors             MMCX
     
    Cable plug                           3.5 mm, right angle
     
    Weight (without cable) 0.4 oz (13 g)
     
    Weight                                 1 oz (29 g)
     
    Included accessories       stereo audio cable, headset cable, shirt clip, silicone eartips (6 pairs), Comply foam eartips (3 pairs), ¼” adapter, carrying case
     
    20161014_150819.jpg 20161014_150900.jpg 20161014_151023.jpg 20161014_151042.jpg
    Build quality, comfort & features
     
    When I removed the Pinnacle from its box, I was immediately struck with how much heavier they seemed compared to other earphones I had experienced in the past. I also saw that they were made of metal, however this wasn’t much of a problem ultimately as I do not feel weighed down with them inserted, especially in the manner they were meant to be (over the ear, angled upwards). The comfort is a standout for me, with hours-upon-hours of listening not producing any sort of fatigue.
     
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    For an IEM noob like myself, it was fun to try out the various eartips provided with the Pinnacle. I found it amusing just how deep the triple-silicone tips could go inside the ear, but I did not prefer it due to how foreign it seemed – and also that it muted the bass a tad. After trying them all, I found the largest Comply tips to be most preferable to my tastes – with the highs extending comfortably while the sub-bass having a bit more control and depth.
     
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    The two provided braided cables are pretty robust, to say the least - and a little heavy as far as earphone cables go. One is silver-plated, while the other has a microphone and remote button attached. This struck me as strange later on, as I can’t imagine these being driven effortlessly from a smartphone. Upon testing, I didn’t hear any audible differences between the two – but both shared some slight microphonics. I defaulted on using the silver plated one as it felt more durable and, to my eyes, looked nicer too. I dig the notion of removable cables on an IEM, just like I dig it on full-sized headphones.
     
    I must commend the packaging. It may seem like a basic thing, but a nice and well-thought layout and wrapping can do wonders for first impressions. Inside the box was a little carrying case with a leather/pleather exterior, shaped a lot like a smaller version of some eyeglass holders. Also provided is a 1/8 to ¼ adapter, which proved useful for the needed amplification.
     
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    Sound
     
    From my limited experience with IEMs over the price of a few hundred bucks, the ultimate emphasis seems to be on audio resolution. Because of this, I’ve noticed that several that I’ve tried don’t share my own preferences of a warmer sound, but I can’t deny their precision in reproduction. That being said, I enjoyed the Nobel Audio Katana for this quality when I tried it at the London Can Jam – but I wouldn’t have been able to use it for long periods of time like I can the Pinnacle (or even the Nobel Kaiser 10U that I also tried, which had a more musical sound to it).
     
    While the soundstage is not vast, it is not lacking either. I would compare it to the Focal Elear in this regard, a sound-leaking and full-sized open headphone. Due to the sound signature of the earphones, you can sometimes get quite an expansive and clean sound that doesn’t feel betrayed by any frequency bloat – depending on the mixing and mastering (and bitrate quality) of the track being listened to.
     
    The bass is something that I have heard others who have tried these earphones have rather strong opinions of. I just read another review that claimed that it delved into the deep sub-bass region, and I can’t replicate that with any source that I own – and amped with either the warm Cavalli Liquid Carbon or the neutral Schiit Magni 2. As someone who enjoys bass, but not basshead quantity as a daily driver, I can appreciate the Pinnacle’s low-end – but it won’t wow listeners for certain. Both the mid and sub bass are not the stars of the show, but rather role-players who take a backseat to the other frequencies. However, unless you are often listening to very bass-dependent music (EDM and whatnot), you won’t find the experience a deal-breaker.
     
    The one word I’d use to describe the midrange is clean. The bass’ subdued nature means that I can’t hear it even think of advancing on the territory of the mids. Vocals sound clear and pronounced usually, but can be slightly drowned out by instrumentals in more layered or hectic songs. This gives a slightly recessed feeling that is quite similar to the Sennheiser HD800, with mids being slightly laid back and not forwarded at all. However, sharing another quality with the Sennheiser flagship, the detail is quite incredible and well-separated.
     
    The acoustic guitar is an instrument that I always like to hear a natural-sounding reproduction of in headphones, and the Pinnacle did a great job at that without relying on emphasized lower-mids to achieve it. With harder hitting genres like hard rock and metal, there was detail in the electric guitars that gave it a live sound that any guitar players reading this would know about. Basically, distorted guitar tones can sound overly processed on some headphones that remove any bite you would hear in good live amplification and give it an overly processed and unnaturally smooth texture. The Pinnacle handles midrange texture like a champ, with classical and jazz recordings benefitting tremendously from this as well.
     
    The treble is also quite detailed, an aspect that gels with the midrange to give the Pinnacle its overall sound characteristic, without veering into problematic and peaky territories. That being said, your mileage may vary depending on which of the tips you use, as I found that some did indeed let the top end run amok on music and get a little painful. I use the largest of the Comply Foam tips, as I find it brings the treble to the exact amount where it’s both airy and manageable. Ear-tip rolling is a useful endeavour as it can let you customize both fit and sound to a degree that just isn’t all that effortless or possible with full-sized headphones.
     
    What the Pinnacle does, with my preferred tips, is provide a high resolution sound that is expected of IEMs far higher in price without any kind of harshness in any of its frequency ranges. It really is something that I can hear a clear cymbal or snare hit without it being either drowned out by another instrument, as is the case with some warmer or darker headphones and earphones, nor being over-emphasized – like in the case of the HD800 at times.
     
    And, while I believe the slightly-recessed quality of the mids lowers the volume of vocals in the overall mix, they are indeed clear – with male vocals having a certain grit and female vocals being able to soar. That being said, instrumental music would be the absolute best listen on the Pinnacle because of the strength of its separation, detail and midrange texture.
     
    Amping
     
    Don’t run these from your phone. A few years ago, I would have found the notion of portable earphones and earbuds being amped ludicrous, but recent experiences such as this one proves to me that there are some offerings where you just can’t not do so. A friend of mine tried these earphones from the phone-out jack of his Ibasso DX90 and found it sufficient, but I can’t say the same. Its impedance is only 50 ohms, but the sensitivity is quite low. That being said, you won’t have to crank the volume dial on your amp to get these nicely driven.
     
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    Conclusion
     
    While focusing primarily on full-sized headphones, I forgot some of the benefits that IEMs can offer. You can lounge around in them quite easily with no concern for them falling off your head or getting in the way of whatever you choose to lean on. While, in the past, I equated such freedom with slightly compromised sound quality - I don’t get that from the Pinnacle.
     
    What I get is an easily listenable and balanced experience that provides stellar detail for a price that is reasonable for its market. I look forward to what Mee Audio come out with next, as this is an impressive first foray into high-end audio.
     
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    1. View previous replies...
    2. Ting Tiew Yik
      subscribed to your youtube channel.Hope you will have a regular update 
      Ting Tiew Yik, Oct 15, 2016
    3. Aornic
      Aornic, Oct 15, 2016
    4. Idk who cares
      The part that was most useful to me was when you said this would be best for instrumental music, something I've been trying to find for ages. Also was a very detailed yet not very complicated review. Thank you
      Idk who cares, Jan 27, 2019
  3. Brooko
    MEE P1 – Flagship Quality, Budget Price
    Written by Brooko
    Published Aug 24, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Value, build quality, sound quality, fit / comfort, clarity, accessories
    Cons - May need additional amplification (hard to drive)
    P131.jpg
    For larger views of the photos (1200 x 800) - please click on the individual images

    INTRODUCTION

     
    I'd watched the growth of MEE Audio over the years, first as Meelectronics, and then more recently as MEE Audio. In that time they've released a lot of “budget” products , and I've read the various reviews with passing interest. But it wasn't until MEE released the P1 Pinnacle (their flagship), and I read some of the reviews that they were getting that I began to take real interest in the company. My friend Alex (Twister6) has had a long term relationship with MEE, and it was during one of our many PMs that he told me I needed to try the P1. But Alex went further, and actually got in touch with Mike to suggest that he contact me. Mike duly did so and I've had the MEE P1 now since April.
     
    ABOUT MEE AUDIO
    I actually found it pretty hard to get a lot of information online about Meelectronics or MEE Audio. They were founded in 2005 as Meelectronics, and in 2009 decided to focus on headphones, earphones and accessories – both wired and wireless. As their legacy name no longer described the direction of the company, in 2015 it was shortened to simply MEE Audio – or Music Enjoyment for Everyone. MEE Audio are based in California, and already have an extensive product range including both full sized and in-ear audio products, both wired and wireless. Their Company Overview section gives an insight into how they see themselves:
     
    MEE is home to a group of audio enthusiasts who enjoy hearing music at its absolute best. We spread our passion by crafting innovative high-performance audio gear in order to let music inspire everyone as it inspires us. Where others see a pair of headphones, we see the final step in experiencing music as it was meant to be. This is why we obsess over every detail of how our products look, feel, and sound, bringing you the ultimate listening experience.
     
    Today I'll be looking at the Pinnacle P1 – their flagship IEM. MEE Audio can be found on the web (http://www.meeaudio.com/pinnacle) or on facebook (https://www.facebook.com/MEEaudio/)
     
    DISCLAIMER
    The MEE Pinnacle P1 that I’m reviewing today was provided to me gratis as a review sample. I have made it clear to Mike that I still regard any product they send me as their sole property and available for return any time at their request. Mike told me to keep them though (he wouldn't want them back) – so they are a freely given sample for the purpose of reviewing.
     
    I do not make any financial gain from this review – it is has been written simply as my way of providing feedback both to the Head-Fi community and also MEE themselves.
     
    I have now had the MEE P1 since April 2016. They are currently available from Amazon for USD 180.00 (https://www.amazon.com/MEE-audio-Audiophile-Headphones-Detachable/dp/B01A60I4P6)
     
    PREAMBLE - 'ABOUT ME'.
    I'm a 49 year old music lover. I don't say audiophile – I just love my music. Over the last couple of years, I have slowly changed from cheaper listening set-ups to my current set-up. I vary my listening from portables (including the FiiO X5ii, X3ii, X7, LP5 Pro and L3, and iPhone 5S) to my desk-top's set-up (PC > USB > iFi iDSD). I also use a portable set-up at work – usually either X3ii/X7/L3 > HP, or PC > E17K > HP. My main full sized headphones at the time of writing are the Beyerdynamic T1, Sennheiser HD600 & HD630VB, and AKG K553. Most of my portable listening is done with IEMs, and lately it has mainly been with the Jays q-Jays, Alclair Curve2 and Adel U6. A full list of the gear I have owned (past and present is listed in my Head-Fi profile).
     
    I have very eclectic music tastes listening to a variety from classical/opera and jazz, to grunge and general rock. I listen to a lot of blues, jazz, folk music, classic rock, indie and alternative rock. I am particularly fond of female vocals. I generally tend toward cans that are relatively neutral/balanced, but I do have a fondness for clarity, and suspect I might have slight ‘treble-head’ preferences. I am not treble sensitive (at all), and in the past have really enjoyed headphones like the K701, SR325i, and of course the T1 and DT880. I have a specific sensitivity to the 2-3 kHz frequency area (most humans do) but my sensitivity is particularly strong, and I tend to like a relatively flat mid-range with slight elevation in the upper-mids around this area.
     
    I have extensively tested myself (ABX) and I find aac256 or higher to be completely transparent. I do use exclusively red-book 16/44.1 if space is not an issue. All of my music is legally purchased (mostly CD – the rest FLAC purchased on-line). I tend to be sceptical about audiophile ‘claims’, don’t generally believe in burn-in, have never heard a difference with different cables, and would rather test myself blind on perceived differences. I am not a ‘golden eared listener’. I suffer from mild tinnitus, and at 49, my hearing is less than perfect (it only extends to around 14 kHz nowadays).
     
    Over the last few months – I’ve used the MEE P1 from a variety of sources, but for this review, I’ve mainly used it with my FiiO X3ii and E17K, FiiO X7, and L&P L3.
     
    This is a purely subjective review - my gear, my ears, and my experience. Please take it all with a grain of salt - especially if it does not match your own experience.
     

    THE REVIEW

     
    PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES
    The MEE Pinnacle P1 arrived in a relatively large 163 x 210 x 66mm retail box. The box has a white, black and grey outer sleeve which has a photograph of the P1 on the front, list of specs and accessories on the side, and description of the main features of build and design on the rear.
     
    P101.jpg P102.jpg P103.jpg
    Front of retail sleeve
    Rear of retail sleeve
    Inner box (foldout)

     
    Removing the sleeve reveals a black matt box with the two sides pivoting to reveal the actual contents. The whole experience screams “flagship” to me, and I had to keep reminding myself that this was a sub $200 ear phone I was reviewing.
     
    Inside the box safely nestled in a foam insert are the P1 earpieces. In the center is the P1 carry case, and in two secondary boxes sits the cables and tip range. Below the foam insert there is also a 3.5mm to 6.3mm adaptor.
     
    P104.jpg P105.jpg P106.jpg
    Inside inner box
    Accessories
    Tips and cables

     
    Full list of accessories:
     
    1. The MEE Pinnacle P1 earphones
    2. Magnetically sealed leather carry case
    3. 2 pairs of dual flange and 1 pair triple flange silicone ear tips
    4. 3 pairs of single flange silicone ear tips (S,M,L)
    5. 3 pairs of genuine comply foam tips (S,M,L)
    6. 3.5 to 6.3mm adaptor
    7. shirt clip
    8. One four conductor braided cable with in-line mic and remote
    9. One four conductor silver plater copper braided cable
    10. Comprehensive product manual

    Considering the value price of the MEE Pinnacle P1 – the accessory package is more than simply good value IMO. The including of two quality cables and also the quality of the carry case represents superb overall value.
     
    P107.jpg P108.jpg P112.jpg
    The carry case with magnetic clasp
    SPC cable left, and OFC cable right (in-line controls)
    The MEE P1

     
    The carry case is a rectangular 80 x 80 x 30 mm leather case with a lift up flap and magnetic closing tab. The serial number is printed on a stainless badge on the front. The inside is lined with a soft velvet like inner material. While the case isn't 100% rigid, it offers more than enough general protection, and is amply sized to house the MEE P1 and cable (which can be a little bulky).
     
    TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS
    (From MEE Audio)
     
    Drivers
    Dynamic 10mm (copper clad aluminium voice coil)
    Shell
    Die cast zinc alloy
    Rated Impedance
    50 ohm @ 1 kHz
    Frequency Range
    20 Hz – 20 kHz
    Sensitivity
    96 dB +/- 3 dB / mW @ 1 kHz
    Cable type/connectors
    Removable - MMCX
    Cable (headset)
    1.3m OCC with mic and single button control
    Cable (premium)
    1.3m SPC
    Jack
    3.5mm, right angled, gold plated
    Weight
    13g (earpiece only), 29g (earpiece and cable)
    Fitting
    Ergonomic, over ear.

     
    FREQUENCY GRAPH
    The graphs below are generated using the Vibro Veritas coupler and ARTA software. I must stress that they aren’t calibrated to IEC measurement standards, but the raw data I’m getting has been very consistent, and is actually not too far away from the raw data measured by other systems except for above 4-5 kHz where it shows significantly lower than measurements performed on a properly calibrated rig. So when reading the graphs, don’t take them as gospel – or at least remember that the area above 4-5 kHz will likely be significantly higher. It is my aim to get this system calibrated at some stage in the future.
     
    I measured both channels, and driver matching is extremely good – well done MEE.
     
    meep1channel.png
     
    What I’m hearing:
    1. Natural bass response – slight mid-bass hump, and normal dynamic slow roll-off at sub-bass
    2. Some distance on the lower mids – indicating a slight recession in the 1-2 kHz area
    3. Elevation in the upper mid-range providing a little sweetness to female vocals (harmonics)
    4. Smooth lower treble (maybe a little hint of recession / roll-off) which remains quite detailed but also very easy to listen to and non fatiguing
    5. Overall it is a slightly V shaped signature with some slight warmth in the mid-bass, clean and clear vocals, and just the tiniest hint of brightness in the upper mid-range.
       
    BUILD QUALITY / DESIGN
    The Shell
    The MEE Pinnacle P1 are a great example of how a stellar build does not need to be expensive. The shells are a 3 piece affair – 2 halves are polished zinc alloy, and then there is a stainless nozzle. And for an ergonomically designed shell, these are pretty small. Just 18mm in length, and about the same in height with a total depth of about 15mm (the nozzle extends a further 7mm). The shell itself is jelly bean shaped, and because it is so small, can be worn up or down, simply by swapping the cable sides.
     
    P113.jpg P114.jpg P115.jpg
    Nozzles and front of shell
    Rear of shell
    Inner port, inner face (smooth), and nozzles

     
    The internal surface is beautifully polished and the edges are wonderfully rounded – which makes the fit very comfortable. There is a single port on each internal side – for venting the driver. The nozzle is approximately 5mm in diameter, with a generous lip, and although the nozzle length is relatively short (promoting a more shallow fit), the way the body is shaped allows you to push the nozzle end into the ear a little more, thereby promoting a better seal and deeper insertion depth. The nozzle is also slightly angled forward which also helps with overall fit. Its a clever design.
     
    The outer body is the same polished zinc, but this time with a few subtle angles and the MEE logo printed on both earpieces. The reason MEE used the zinc alloy is because it is more rigid and has better impact resistance than aluminium, but is a lot lighter than stainless steel.
     
    P116.jpg P117.jpg
    MMCX connectors
    SPC cable attached

     
    Each earpiece uses a standard MMCX connector, and I've had no problems swapping in cables from ALO or FiiO as alternatives. The connection points do rotate but (so far) seem to be reasonably stable (I'm always just a little wary about the longevity of MMCX connectors).
     
    Internals
    MEE used their own proprietary 10mm moving coil dynamic driver – which has a reasonably high 50 ohm impedance. The reason for the higher impedance was to allow more controlled driver movement - especially at the extremes of the frequency range. In combination with the driver choice, MEE also utilises what they term an “acoustic diffuser” - which uses a series of micro chambers and baffles to control the high frequency sound waves. This is supposed to allow the higher frequencies to resonate before they reach the ear, which leads to detail and clarity, but without the cost of brittleness or harshness. This tech is patented by MEE, and the overall signature (to me anyway) is detailed but smooth – so it does seem to be working.
     
    Cables
    The cable tech for both included cables (OFC with controls and SPC without) is 4 separate conductors. Twisted pairs to each ear pieces, and combined to a twisted quad below the Y split. The connectors have a rigid rubberised plastic sheathing with L/R embossed appropriately. There is approximately 47 cm from the ear-piece to the Y-split, which is reasonably long (for me hangs just below my sternum). There is not a lot of strain relief at the connectors, and the rest of the cable has a measure of relief (semi rigid rubber at both ends of the Y-split and also the jack). The braid is nice and tight, and when worn over ear the weight of the cable is enough to hold it in place. There is a cinch which is very effective on the premium cable – a little less so on the the remote cable (does not cinch tight).
     
    P109.jpg P110.jpg P111.jpg
    The OFC cable with remote and in-line mic
    The SPC cable
    Both cables are brilliantly braided and excellent quality

     
    The remote cable with mic has a single push button control which works pretty well with my iPhone 5S, allowing play/pause (one push), next track (two pushes), and previous track (three pushes). A single long push also activates Siri which is really handy. I also tried them with my Wife's Galaxy, and everything worked perfectly except for the previous track (3 pushes) – it simply advanced the track and either paused or played (depending what was active). I also tested the MEE Pinnacle P1 with taking a call (with my wife), and it was reasonably clear at both ends. There was the usual hollow sound on my end due to the isolation and slight bone conduction.
     
    The Jack is a right angled gold plated 3.5mm which is very smart-phone case friendly and has good strain relief. Both cables are superbly well built, and exhibit pretty low microphonics when worn over ear.
     
    FIT / COMFORT / ISOLATION
    I have one ear canal slightly different to the other one (my right is very slightly smaller) - so I tend to find that usually single silicon flanges don't fit overly well. I initially tried the large silicone tips included, and they were surprisingly good. I did have some vacuum issues though (too much of a seal). I had more success with Ostry tuning tips, and the nozzle lip easily also allowed use of Spin-fits, Sony Hybrids, Sony Isolation tips (or Trinity Kombis), and both Crystal foams or Comply foams. In the end I used Crystal foams as they gave me the best combo of consistent fit, consistent seal, and no vacuum issues.
     
    P119.jpg P120.jpg P118.jpg
    Ostry tuning tip and Trinity Kombi
    Spin-fit and Spiral Dot
    My favourite - Crystal foams

     
    Isolation is better than average for a dynamic driver (YMMV depending on tips you use), and I've used these in public transport with pretty good success. Comfort for me is absolutely excellent. The MEE Pinnacle P1 are nicely rounded internally, and there are no sharp protruding edges, so after a while they quite literally disappear for me. They sit inside my outer ear, so it is easy to lie on my side with them, and I have no issues sleeping with them intact.
     
    ERRATA (BURN IN / CABLE IMPROVEMENTS)
    I noticed that when these were first released, there were some comments regarding improvement with burn in, and also with changing the cable. Being the stubborn objectivist, this gave me an ideal opportunity to measure both claims.
     
    Burn-in
    This was a simple one. Record the frequency response OOTB with my usual measuring equipment, and then take the same measurements 3 months later (after 100 + hours use). The graph is shown below (right channel). There will be some minor variations due to seating on the coupler – but as you can see, any changes are extremely tiny and will be more to do with seating on the measuring equipment. And likewise, you'll get more change from differing insertion depths in your own ears, or use of different tips, than any perceived effects from burn in. So when someone suggests the MEE P1 need burn in – simply smile politely and ignore them :)
     
    meep1burnin.png
     
    Cable Changes
    I suspected that MEEs custom dynamic driver would be pretty stable – especially as far as impedance goes. While I couldn't measure this, I could measure the effect of different cables to see what if any changes there would be. So for this exercise I measured the included OFC and SPC cables, the FiiO RC-SE1B cable (with a balanced to SE adaptor), the ALO Tinsel, and also an OFC Trinity cable. As you can see from the graph below, there were very slight changes in actual volume (which indicates slight changes in impedance of the cables). But when volume matched, the cables all show the same frequency response. So again – if anyone indicates a more expensive cable as giving better sound-stage, vibrancy, bass/mids/treble etc – simply smile, ignore them, and adjust the volume. It should net the same results.
     
    P1cablesraw.png P121.jpg P1cablesvoladj.png
    Raw data 5 cables
    Left to right - FiiO SPC, Trinity OFC, ALO Tinsel SPC, MEE SPC
    All cables after volume matching

     
     
    SOUND QUALITY
    The following is what I hear from the MEE Pinnacle P1. YMMV – and probably will – as my tastes are likely different to yours (read the preamble I gave earlier for a baseline). Most of the testing at this point (unless otherwise stated) was done with my X3ii and E17K.
    P123.jpg
    Tracks used were across a variety of genres – and can be viewed in this list http://www.head-fi.org/a/brookos-test-tracks.
     
    Thoughts on General Signature
    As I outlined above in my comments in the frequency section, the MEE Pinnacle P1 has a mild V or U shaped signature with the main frequency boosts in the mid-bass, and also in the upper mid-range. As such it tends to sound (for me anyway) a little distant through the mid-range, but with a warmish bottom end, and also some sweetness particularly with female vocalists. The comparative dip in the vocal range gives a sense of space or distance, and the relative dip in lower treble ensures there is no excessive sibilance. Overall the MEE P1 is quite natural sounding to me – with a hint of warmth and smoothness.
     
    Overall Detail / Clarity
    Tracks used: Gaucho, Sultans of Swing, Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town
     
    1. Good sense of overall tonal balance. Bass is not obtrusive
    2. Good detail retrieval, high level details are there but not overly highlighted
    3. Cymbals have reasonable presence (perhaps slightly muted) but good sense of decay
    4. Guitar is very good with just the right amount of fundamentals and nice edge to notes
    5. Resolution is good but overall the upper end is smooth
     
    Sound-stage & Imaging (+ Sibilance)
    Tracks used: Tundra, Dante’s Prayer, Let it Rain
     
    1. Spacious sound which gives impression of being slightly projected out of head
    2. Good sense of width and depth. This could be the added sense of note decay at work.
    3. Imaging is very precise and overall separation of instruments is clean
    4. Immersion is excellent (applause section of Dante's Prayer) with impression that crowd is right around you – width is slightly stronger than depth
    5. Some sibilance is revealed in “Let It Rain” - but not overly magnified. It is present in the track anyway, and the MEE P1 does a reasonable job of softening or masking it. The overall holographic nature of the track “Let it Rain” is very well portrayed though – really enjoyable.
     
    Bass Quality and Quantity
    Tracks used: Bleeding Muddy Water, Royals
     
    1. Mid-bass has good impact without going into excess
    2. Sub-bass slam is just a little flat and not really boomy at all. No signs of bleed into the mid-range of either sub or mid-bass.
    3. Good projection of bass timbre and texture (Mark's vocals in “Muddy Waters”). Mark's vocals have great overall presentation, and I this present well (the dark and broody nature of this blues track) on the MEE P1.
    4. Enough sub-bass for rumble to be audible, but slightly subdued (“Royals”)
    5. Again good separation between mid-bass thump and vocals (“Royals”). Ella's vocals are very clear and slightly euphonic.
     
    Female Vocals
    Tracks used : Aventine, Strong, For You, Human, The Bad In Each Other, Howl, Safer, Light as a Feather, Don’t Wake me Up, Ship To Wreck.
     
    1. Very good transition from lower-mids to upper-mids (although I would prefer the rise into the upper mids to occur slightly earlier). Aventine was good with sweet vocal presentation and this is often a hard track to get right.
    2. Really nice contrast between vocals and lower pitch of instruments like cello (Aventine).
    3. No signs of stridency, and presented all of my female vocalists extremely well. MEE P1 strikes a good balance between a natural overall sound, with just a touch of upper mid-range colouration.
    4. Very good contrast with rock tracks (Feist, FaTM) with a bit of bass slam.
    5. Particularly good with slower, more soulful vocals (Cilmi - “Safer”)
     
    Male Vocals
    Track used: Away From the Sun, Art for Art’s Sake, Broken Wings, Hotel California, Keith Don’t Go, Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town.
     
    1. Good dynamic slam from the bass
    2. Male vocals have plenty of body and good timbre/texture – and just the perception of a little distance
    3. Seems to be very good with all forms of Rock – and extremely good with acoustic guitar
    4. Portrayed Vedder (Pearl Jam) well. Excellent texture and tonality. Good clarity on cymbals – although again not quite as bright as I am used to.
     
    Other Genres
    1. The MEE P1 was good with Alt Rock (Floyd and Porcupine Tree) with good overall balance. The one thing I personally would prefer is just a little more brightness – but this is personal preference only.
    2. Great with both Blues and Jazz and again I'm struck by the overall tonal balance. Again I find the bass practically perfect (very natural sounding), but would prefer just a little more presence up top – but there is still great detail overall. Sax is really smooth (Portico Quartet), and I'm loving the contrast with double bass and cymbals.
    3. Really good with both Hip-hop and Electronic, and very enjoyable with trance (bass is not visceral but it doesn't need to be IMO). Some may prefer more bass impact (particularly sub-bass) with these genres, but to me it doesn't sound the slightest thin or anaemic. Lighter electronic (the Flashbulb) was incredibly good.
    4. Pop was well presented – Adele live at the Albert Hall was very enjoyable and the smoothness even helped a little. Likewise the MEE P1 seems to present Indie brilliantly. The smooth top end seems to really suit some of the hotter recorded Indie artists I like – just toning down some of the recordings while still retaining the overall essence of the recording.
    5. Classical was brilliant with the MEE P1 and I really would recommend them for this genre. The sense of space and both width and depth really captivates larger orchestral pieces. Solo cello (Zoe Keating) was fantastic, and again the overall tonality and sense of balance make listening really easy. My one minor critique is that once again I would personally prefer a little more lower treble (air/presence with violins).
     
    AMPLIFICATION REQUIREMENTS
    The MEE Pinnacle P1 is not an easy load to drive with 50 ohm impedance and 96 dB sensitivity (1 mW at 1 kHz). With normal pop or rock, it is very listenable straight out of my iPhone 5S, but does require about 50% volume to reach my normal listening level (about 65-70 dB). With more dynamic and quietly recorded tracks, it needs a lot more volume, and you could find yourself running out of headroom.
    P122.jpg
    The MEE P1 is one IEM I would definitely recommend considering the use of additional amplification, or at least a DAP with reasonable output power. All of my dedicated DAPs have no problems driving the P1 though – and it sounded especially good with both the FiiOs and L&P range.
     
    COMPARISONS
    Please note that these are all very subjective, so please take my personal bias into account (see the “about me” section). When testing, I volume matched first at 1 kHz using an SPL meter and test tones. The MEE Pinnacle P1 was unequalised.
     
    MEE Pinnacle P1 $180 vs DUNU Titan 5 $139
    P129.jpg meep1vsTitan5.png
    MEE P1 and DUNU Titan 5
    Comparative measurements

     
    Both are built very well – but the P1 has better overall build quality, fit and isolation. They have similar balance in terms of bass quantity relative to mid-range, and both have an upper mid-range emphasis. The main difference is in terms of lower treble and overall tonality where the Titan5 is a little brighter and cleaner sounding, vs the P1 being warmer and smoother. The Titan5 is obviously quite a bit cheaper, and this will come down to preference.
     
    MEE Pinnacle P1 $180 vs Trinity Delta V2 $130
    P128.jpg meep1vsDelta2.png
    MEE P1 and Trinity Delta V2
    Comparative measurements

     
    Again both are built extremely well – but again the P1 has better overall build quality, fit and isolation. For this test I used the gun-metal filters on the Delta, and the two IEMs actually sound incredibly similar. The difference would be that the Delta V2 has a very slightly brighter upper treble (sounds slightly cleaner), but does not sound quite as spacious overall. The main debate here would be the ergonomic fit of the P1 vs the cheaper price and configurable tunability of the Delta V2. For those with larger / wider ears, I do think the Delta V2 is probably the better value – but for those with smaller ears or canals – the P1 is probably the safer option.
     
    MEE Pinnacle P1 $180 vs Trinity Sabre $165
    P124.jpg
    meep1vsSabre.png
    MEE P1 and Trinity Sabre
    Comparative measurements

     
    This one was really interesting because again the MEE P1 sounds very similar to the Sabre in terms of overall tonality – but with the Sabre sounding brighter overall and more vivid. Both have very good build quality, fit and comfort. You get tunability with the Sabre filters vs the slightly better build quality of the P1. Preference for this one comes down to how you prefer your mid-range.
     
    MEE Pinnacle P1 $180 vs Alclair Curve2 $249
    P126.jpg meep1vsCurve.png
    MEE P1 and Alclair Curve 2
    Comparative measurements

     
    Moving up the value chain and this time the P1 is up against Alclair's Curve (dual BA). Build quality and overall accessory package goes to the P1 once again – but this time the fit goes to the extremely ergonomic Curve. Sonically both have a smooth and well balanced signature. The difference is mainly in the upper mid-range where the P1 has more emphasis and brings a little more upper end detail. I often EQ my Curve to boost this area, so the added emphasis of the P1 is appreciated.
     
    MEE Pinnacle P1 $180 vs DUNU DN2000J $280
     
    P127.jpg meep1vs2000J.png
    MEE P1 and DUNU DN-2000J
    Comparative measurements

     
    So how does the P1 fare against DUNU's 2000J – a triple hybrid (and one of my favourite IEMs sonically). Overall build materials are evenly matched, as is the accessory range provided. The P1 does have the replaceable cables which are of better quality. As far as fit goes, I would take the P1 in a heart-beat. Much more comfortable than the 2000J's cartridge type shells. Sonically the two IEMs are quite different. The P1 appears reasonably balanced but smooth, whereas the 2000J is reasonably balanced but bright. For my tastes, I find the 2000J's bass is faster and cleaner, and I like the transition from lower to upper mids better. The P1 has the better perception of space (sound-stage). Ultimately I prefer the 2000J's overall sonics and brighter signature, but the P1 does sit comfortably at least at the level of its higher priced counterparts – and this is quite an achievement.

    MEE PINNACLE P1 – VALUE & SUMMARY

    The MEE Pinnacle P1 was a revelation to me, and the thing I find hardest to reconcile is the overall package you get (accessories, build quality, sound signature etc) for such a relatively small outlay.
     
    The MEE Pinnacle P1 is extremely well built with an ergonomic over-ear design. The P1 comes with a very good accessory package including a quality case and two cable choices.
     
    Sonically the P1 is slightly V shaped but still relatively balanced and quite natural sounding – but on the smooth side of things. It has very good sense of both width and depth and for my tastes was suitable for most genres of music.
     
    If I had not known the price, and was judging purely on sonics and overall package, I would have guessed the Pinnacle P1 to be in the $300-$350 bracket. For it to retail at $180-$200 makes it an easy IEM to recommend, and I would have no issues suggesting it as an option to friends or family. For me, the P1 is easily one of the best IEMs (for sonic performance and overall value) I have tried this year.
     
    My thanks once again to Mike at MEE and also Alex (Twister6) for recommending that Mike send me a sample.
     
      brownOut, JNOISE JA, aramk and 18 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. falul
      Thanks @Brooko! this is what I thought that Low gain+high volume = High gain+lower volume
      but I feel it sounds different ( I guess it's because the amplifying chip has an impact).
      I'll try to go back to Low gain as you are saying the Mee P1 don't really need this added power.
      falul, Nov 19, 2016
    3. Cmahesh
      If I upgraded to this from my present Sennheiser CX 5.00 will I get a very significant improvement (provided it is driven properly)? 
      Cmahesh, Dec 6, 2016
    4. Brooko
      Cmahesh - its difficult for me to say, as I haven't heard the CX5.  I would be surprised if there wasn't an improvement though. 
      Brooko, Dec 6, 2016
  4. Midgetguy
    MEEAudio Pinnacle P1 - An Average Guy's Review
    Written by Midgetguy
    Published Aug 17, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Clarity, detail, fit
    Cons - Stiff cable, bass-shy for some
    About Me:
    I'm just your average guy making his way through college with a passing interest in audio fidelity. I'm NOT an audiophile, but I've got a little experience ranging from lower-end products to flagship designs. I don’t make professional reviews and by my own account, I’m not much good at describing what I hear either. But I’ll do my best and we'll just have to see how that goes.
     
    Introduction:
    MeeAudio has gone through a lot of changes in the past few years. It first started as MEElectronics and it offered budget IEMs with decent build quality. In the past year, it’s gone a bit more upmarket relative to what it used to be, though that doesn’t mean it’s completely deviated from its past self. Now operating under the name MEEAudio, they still offer the same, albeit upgraded, budget options that they used to, but they’re starting to truly focus on better audio quality while still maintaining the value proposition at the core of its products. This started first when they revealed the M6 Pro, a better-tuned version of the their popular M6 IEM with removable cables for only $50. In fact, just about all of their IEM offerings are $50 or less….with one exception. While one usually expects companies with similar roots to gradually build their lineup and work their way into the higher end, MEEAudio figured it had spent enough time in the kiddy pool and wanted to give the big boys a run for their money. Enter the MEEAudio Pinnacle P1: a $200 beautifully-crafted single dynamic driver flagship product.
    DSC_2341.jpg
    Disclaimer:
    I’m not the most eloquent or well versed in describing what I hear, so take my words with a grain of salt. Also keep in mind that everyone hears differently; it’s not bad, it’s not wrong, it’s just different.
    I bought the P1 about 4 months ago and have been putting it through the IEM rotation since then.
    For this review, the P1 is connected to my iPod Touch 5th gen supplying lossless and 320kbps .mp3 audio files.
     
    Packaging and Accessories:
    I’ve dealt with MEEAudio a couple times in the past back when they were MEElectronics. My first good IEM was in fact a MEEAudio M11+. I briefly tried an M9 at one point and also have tried the M6. As those were low-end and very budget-friendly, their packaging reflected it. With the P1’s price tag and flagship status, I expected more and MEEAudio did not disappoint.
    DSC_2343.jpg
    The P1 comes in a beautiful box with the IEM shells set in the foam insert above the very nice magnetic-flapped leather carrying case. Each case has a metal plate on it with the serial number embedded on the front. Classy.
    DSC_2346.jpg
    In the separate packages are a generous batch of eartips in both silicone and foam, accessories like a ¼” adapter and shirt clip, and 2 braided cables, one with a mic and one without. MEEAudio shot for a flagship IEM and they packaged it like one. The big question would be, can it play with the big boys?
     
    Build Quality and Comfort:
    I consider myself to have smaller-than-average ears and the P1 sits very comfortably in them. The metal shells are crafted to sit comfortably in the concha of your ear and while the ideal position is to wear it over-ear, it actually does still work to wear it straight down. They do not feel shallow-fit and are most comfortable for me with the included silicone tips as I prefer silicone tips over foam tips. I’ve worn them for hours at a time and had no comfort problems whatsoever. Isolation is above average for a vented dynamic driver IEM due to the ergonomic fit of the shell and the fact that the vent faces inwards towards the ear instead of being exposed to the sounds and passing air of the outside world.
    DSC_2349.jpg
    The shells are made of zinc alloy and have a lovely polished brushed finish. There is a very obvious seam where the two halves join and while some can count that as a negative point on the build, it really doesn’t bother me at all. The P1’s build is incredibly good compared to other similarly priced IEMs, but it’s even more impressive to me because I personally know the rest of the MEEAudio lineup is made of cheap plastic. Nothing else in their lineup, no matter how sturdy it is, feels even close to the P1 in build quality; it’s amazing to see a company that usually makes plastic budget-oriented models build something that looks and feels like a proper flagship model. The braided cable comes in both mic and non-mic flavors, both included in the box. Microphonics are nearly non-existent with either cable. The non-mic cable has a cinch above the y-split for those who want to keep the IEMs more securely on their head. It’s also useful seeing that neither of the P1’s cables have memory wire. Memory wire works for a lot of people, but it really doesn’t work for me and my glasses. This is one thing that I was very happy about. The detachable cables use 3.5mm plugs and MMCX connectors which aren’t proprietary as far as I can tell so you can use whatever MMCX cable you feel like. Overall, the fit and finish of the P1 is nothing less than top-notch in my mind.
     
    Sound Quality:
    Let’s be honest, this section is gonna be kind of a mess so I’ll keep it short, but hopefully informative. I’m not able to describe sound very well and what I can describe is only going to make sense if your mental references of all the terms are similar to what I’ve got going on in my head. Nevertheless, let’s give it a shot anyway.
    DSC_2638.jpg
    To my ears, the P1 has a very neutral tuning, very much in line with their marketing actually. Is it stark flat neutral? Nope. I don’t personally think that anything can be objectively flat neutral and sound right to our ears. So for my definition of neutral, I prefer the idea of realistic neutral. The P1 falls in line with this and brings to the table impressive soundstage, excellent detail, and clarity. What MEEAudio has done a good job of is making a neutral-tuned IEM that’s still musical rather than analytical.
     
    The highs of these are incredibly good. They’re crisp, clear, and extend well, but still avoid sibilance. Tonal balance is excellent and notes are precise and accurate. Acoustic tracks are very good with the P1 as are band pieces. Tank! by The Seatbelts from the Cowboy Bebop OST is punchy and involving. Instruments are clearly differentiated but mix together well and imaging is fantastic.
     
    The story is much the same with the mids in my opinion. Resolving, not recessed, musical. Presentation here with string-based instruments is top-notch and has the same air of clarity present in the highs.
     
    Bass response is very important to me not only because much of the music I listen to depends on it to be interesting and engaging, but because the lower registers serve to keep other frequencies in a sort of check, balancing presentation and adding a certain cohesiveness. The P1 is a dynamic driver IEM and in my mind, dynamic driver IEMs are often associated with high bass response. That’s not the case with the P1. It has a very neutral helping of bass. This is where my own definition relating to neutral comes in. I’m fairly certain that the P1’s bass would measure as higher than neutral, but as I said, that would probably sound wrong to our ears, hence the idea of realistic neutral which I think applies to the P1. The bass isn’t elevated, it isn’t bloated, and it’s very well controlled. It reminds me of the speed of balanced armature bass, but it doesn’t have the analytical feel of it. While it feels quick like BA bass, it has the texture and tone of dynamic driver bass. Quantity-wise, it’s very polite and for me, that’s not quite enough. That doesn’t take anything away from the P1’s ability to create quality bass, just that it doesn’t create it in high enough quantities for the music I mostly listen to.
     
    Music/songs used during the review:
    Rumours (feat. Mark Johns) by Gnash
    Halo 3 OST by Martin O'Donnell and Michael Salvatori
    Clear (feat. Mothica) by Pusher
    Cowboy Bebop OST by The Seatbelts
    Sunday Morning by Maroon 5
    Neon Cathedral (feat. Allen Stone) by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
    Ants by edIT
    25 to Life by Eminem
    Kick, Push by Lupe Fiasco
    Freaks and Geeks by Childish Gambino
    Flynn Lives by Daft Punk
    Stop and Stare by OneRepublic
    Shoot to Thrill by AC/DC
    Lost Stars by Adam Levine
    Beyond Monday by The Glitch Mob
    Darling VIP (feat. Missio) by Said the Sky
     
    Conclusion:
    MEEAudio has created an IEM they can be proud to call their flagship model. It’s packaged like one and it certainly looks the part. With its clear and realistically neutral presentation in addition to the excellent imaging and one of the largest soundstages I’ve heard in an IEM, the P1 impresses enough to easily justify its $200 price tag. It may not be a complete winner for me as it’s a little weak for my musical tastes in terms of bass quantity, but the detail and clarity coming out of MEEAudio’s single dynamic driver Pinnacle P1 easily makes it worthy of its flagship status. Thumbs up from this guy.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. MarioSalvado
      Nice casual review!
      Can you help me. I’m looking for a pair of IEMs, can you help me choose between the Pinnacle p1 and the Fidue A83. I listen mainly rock, hard rock, heavy metal. My current setup is ibasso DX80 and Senn HD600.
      MarioSalvado, Aug 31, 2016
    3. Midgetguy
      @MarioSalvado, really sorry I didn't see this a month ago. If you're still looking at those options, are you more for treble and clarity? While the A83 gave me good vibes for acoustic and vocals, I feel that the P1 would do a better job handling those genres.
      Midgetguy, Sep 26, 2016
    4. Focux
      Managed to find this for abt USD140, worth it? Was contemplating the FiiO F9 as well for this price range but I’ve just picked up the AK Billie Jean lolol =S
      Focux, Jul 15, 2018
  5. mark2410
    MEE audio Pinnacle P1 Earphone Quick Review by mark2410
    Written by mark2410
    Published Aug 5, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Sound Excellent. Acoustically very multi-talented. Look great.
    Cons - That treble takes no prisoners if you feed it crap. It’s power hungry.
    MEE audio Pinnacle P1 Earphone Quick Review by mark2410
     
    Thanks to MEE audio for the sample
     
    Full review here http://www.head-fi.org/t/816397/mee-audio-pinnacle-p1-earphone-review-by-mark2410
     
    Brief:  MEE takes aim at the big boys.
     
    Price :  US$200 or £180 (though I did also spot for £155)
     
    Specifications:  driver type moving coil (dynamic) with copper-clad aluminum voice coil, driver size 10 mm, frequency response 20 Hz to 20 kHz, impedance 50 Ohms at 1 kHz, sensitivity 96±3 dB (1mW at 1 kHz), Microphone Specifications, directivity           omnidirectional, frequency response 100 Hz to 5 kHz, sensitivity -40dB± 3dB, Product Details, ear coupling intraaural (in-ear), cable length 51 inches (130 cm), detachable, cable connectors MMCX, cable plug 3.5 mm, right angle, weight (without cable)             0.4 oz (13 g), weight 1 oz (29 g)
     
    Accessories:  stereo audio cable, headset cable, shirt clip, silicone ear tips (6 pairs), Comply foam ear tips (3 pairs), ¼” adapter, carrying case
     
    Build Quality:  It would appear to be rather excellent.  The buds look are feel very nice as do the cables.  Notable that the cables are all user replaceable so if you do manage to kill them, new cable and your away again.
     
    Isolation:  Excellent.  For a dynamic, these isolate like a good BA does which is very, very rare in a dynamic based IEM.  You could easily use these for out and about, on a bus, a Tube commute or long flight.  Naturally that means you won’t hear the instrument of your death until its by bone conduction.  Remember people, you need to watch where you’re going near traffic.
     
    Comfort/Fit:  Great.  Despite being sealed dynamics I had no driver flex, no air pressure issues, nothing.  In they went and I was done.  Happy to wear all day long.
     
    Aesthetics:  They look pretty damn lush if you ask me.  Now I have seen prettier earphones but not many.  These look as good as they feel in your hard.
     
    Sound:  Wonderful.  They are really rather generalist in their nature being able to turn their hand instantly, and with equal skill to anything.  They are very natural sounding in their balance, so that means they are boosted to compensate for human perceptions.  Never bass dominant though.  The mids are a little back a way but their clarity is outstanding, faintly dry, but their instrument separation makes them stand alone, so much direct clarity.  The space to breathe properly too, give such an open feel to vocals.  The treble, oh they do rather shine a bit here.  Not just because they like to be a smidge bright, they have that metallic enclosure and there is a highly crisp metallic bight to the initial note impact.  For me these while most impressive, was a little edgy, a little hard on my delicate ears.  So I felt the need to stick to slightly warmer sources and only to tracks with high bit rates and well mastered treble.  A bright source and low bit rate crap, yeah you really don’t want to do that.  However given their price you will want to be feeding them well anyway.  On that subject, you’ll also want to feed them lots of power.  These are high impedance for an IEM and relatively insensitive.  They still sound good out of your crappy phone but seriously, feed them well and you’ll be generously rewarded.
     
    Value:  Lovely.  Sure they aren’t super cheap but you get a great bundle, a great product not just in its physical build quality but in its acoustic talents.  It is a very talented little thing and it can play on the same field with other earphones that cost considerably more.
     
    Pro’s:  Sound Excellent.  Acoustically very multi-talented.  Look great.
     
    Con’s:  That treble takes no prisoners if you feed it crap.  It’s power hungry.
      JNOISE JA likes this.
  6. thatBeatsguy
    Top of the World
    Written by thatBeatsguy
    Published Aug 4, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Amazing look. Amazing feel. Amazing sound. Amazing everything.
    Cons - None that can be considered.


    Intro​


    [​IMG]

    TL;DR: They’re no Noble Kaiser 10s, but at this price, they might as well be. They’re the absolute greatest earphones I’ve ever heard so far.

    Before I begin, I would like to sincerely thank Mike at for sending me the Pinnacle P1 in exchange for my honest opinion. Please note that I am neither affiliated with or any of its staff, nor am I being paid to write this review. All opinions and photos shown in this review are my own unless otherwise specified. Finally, please take the opinions expressed here with a grain of salt. Thanks!

    The MEE Pinnacle P1 is ’s first flagship IEM, born after two and a half years of development. The P1 is the culmination of all the experience has gained over the past several years, and serves as their obra maestra – their masterpiece. I have been chosen as one of the lucky few to be given a sample of said masterpiece, and I will say from the get go that they are truly worth their weight in gold. Yes, they are amazing, but if that's the case, a question arises which I will answer today: just how good is the P1? Read on and find out.



    == Aesthetics ==​


    Packaging, Accessories​



    [​IMG]
    Like a lot of things in life, an earphone’s first impressions often make lasting impressions. And what better way to make a powerful first impression than to make the very packaging look and feel as luxurious as the earphones themselves?



    [​IMG]
    You don't need to open the package to know just how amazing it's going to be. All the marketing pitches laid over the box will tell you everything you need to know about what you're going to be dealing with. I mean, just look at it. Slide out the cardboard sheath and you're greeted by an all-black inner box that looks expensive and feels expensive. Open the two magnetically-locked doors and out comes a choir of angels announcing the arrival of the Pinnacle P1 to its new owner. (Okay, no, there won’t be a choir of angels, but you get the idea).

    Past the doors are the P1 housings set in a foam cut-out, with smaller boxes housing the eartips and the two braided SPC cables (more on this in the next section). Under the foam cut-out is the 3.5mm to 6.3mm adapter and the instruction manual. Oh yeah, and they come with a two-year manufacturer’s warranty in case something goes wrong.


    Design, Build, Microphonics​

    [​IMG]
    I'm pretty sure that only very few people in this world – if any – will look at the P1 and say it looks unattractive. Because by God, the P1 is by far the most beautiful piece of audio gear I've seen in the flesh. Their die-cast zinc alloy housings are coated with a brushed metallic finish, creating a lustre I more often see in jewellery than in earphones (although in fairness they do look and feel like jewellery for the ears). I could ramble on forever about just how beautiful these IEMs are. My pictures don't do them justice. Not even close.




    [​IMG]
    And if you thought these beauties would break like a sterling silver mirror, that's where you'd be wrong. The Pinnacle P1 is incredibly durable – arguably the most durable IEM I have in my entire collection. From their zinc alloy housings to their heavy-duty Y-split and connectors to their bafflingly tough braided SPC (silver-plated copper cables, they can take on falls, impacts, and cable yanks and come out in better condition than any of the components of your portable rig combined. Oh, and don't get me started on this cable. Not only is it incredibly tough, it also lacks any inclination to tangle and makes near zero cable noise. They're so good that I feel the only IEM cables I've seen that are built better are those from CIEMs and ludicrously-priced cables from companies like Moon Audio or AudioQuest.








    Fit, Comfort, Isolation​


    [​IMG]

    One of the key selling points of the P1 that was revealed when the P1 was first announced sometime last year was the IEMs’ capability to be worn comfortably and securely in two different ways. So unlike most IEMs which are designed be worn specifically around the ear or straight down, the P1 is designed to be worn either way and still fit comfortably (bringing a fresh spin to the term “universal fit” if I might add). Until release I mostly wondered how MEE would pull it off, but now that I do have it here, let me just say that I’m blown away by the results.



    Yes, you can wear them straight down or around the ear. Even now I'm still amazed at how flawlessly they fit however way you wear them. Secure, snug, and comfortable – you really can't have it any other way.



    == Sound ==​


    Specs​


    Headphone Type
    Closed-back in-ear monitor
    Driver Type
    10mm dynamic, CCAW voice coil
    Frequency Response
    20 – 20,000 Hz
    Max. Input Power
    N/A
    Sensitivity
    96 ± 3 dB (1 mW at 1,000 Hz)
    Impedance
    50 Ω at 1,000 Hz
    Weight
    N/A
    Cable
    1.3m (51”) braided silver-plated copper (SPC) cables
    Connectors
    MMCX to 3.5mm (1/8”) gold-plated male-to-male connectors
    Accessories
    1x MMCX-to-3.5mm (1/8") silver-plated copper cable
    1x MMCX-to-3.5mm (1/8") headset cable
    1x 3.5mm to 6.3mm (1/8" to 1/4") adapter
    3x sets single-flange silicone eartips (S/M/L)
    2x sets double-flange silicone eartips (S/M)
    1x set triple-flage silicone eartips (M)
    3x sets Comply T-400 foam eartips (S/M/L)
    Shirt clip
    Leather carrying case






    Equipment, Burn-in​

    The source equipment used for the majority of this review is my 5th-generation iPod Touch, and a Schiit Fulla hooked up to a laptop for the amp test. The EQ software used in its respective test is TuneShell on iOS and Viper4Windows on PC. As always, my test tracks are available here, although I will link specific songs in the assessment for a more direct point of reference. I've clocked in at least 50 hours of listening time on the P1 to test for any changes through burn-in. No noticeable changes were found.






    Sound Quality​

    Bass:

    The Pinnacle P1 is the first IEM I've reviewed in a long time that didn't blow me away. And by “blow me away” I mean make a first impression that consists solely of bass. Instead, what it does leave is a unique combination of smoothness, coherency, and balance that sounds absolutely beautiful. The P1 doesn’t boast incredibly deep extension or incredibly fast decay, but it just presents the low-end so plainly and smoothly that everything simply sounds just as it should be, reproduced to the finest detail. Whether it be the smooth, sublime upright bass of John Robert Matz’s “Electric Fedora” or Haywyre’s fierce, aggressive bass synth in “Sculpted,” the Pinnacle P1 makes short work of both of them, sounding beautifully along the way.





    Midrange:

    I have reviewed quite a few earphones over the years with exceptional midrange performance, but few were able to reproduce tone and timbre like the Pinnacle P1. I don’t think I’ve heard Sungha Jung’s “Fanoe” played with a tone so delicately precise and detailed until the P1. From the fingers’ contact with the strings to the resonance of each beautiful note – the only experience more realistic and emotionally expressive than this would practically be listening to the song played live right in front of you. The same goes for pianos, synthesisers, vocals, strings, and everything else in the book. Trust me, I took the time to listen to my entire test tracks list, and not one song sounded short of great. Not one. WRLD’s Chase It EP? Amazing. Coeur de Pirate’s Child of Light soundtrack? Fantastic. The Carpenters’ The Ultimate Collection? Absolutely spectacular.





    Treble:

    I’ll admit, I’ve never really appreciated an IEM for its treble until the Pinnacle P1 arrived. I guess that’s because I’ve never heard treble that extends so smoothly and rings so true until the P1. I don’t think I’ve ever heard cymbals sound so vibrant and crisp while having nary a tinge of sharpness. I’ve seen some users report some sharpness straight out of the box – this is usually because the ears aren’t used to such a treble response. I found the included Comply foam tips to do the trick – that and some time to actually get used to the sound.




    [​IMG]



    Soundstage/Presentation:
    The DUNU Titan 1 has the largest soundstage in an IEM that I’ve ever heard – and to this day, it kinda still does. The Pinnacle P1 is more than capable of coming really close in terms of size, though. However, the P1 does take the title of having one of the most realistic presentations of any IEM I’ve ever heard in my entire life, so much that even Daft Punk’s studio-recorded Random Access Memories sound like it was played live.




    Genre Proficiency:

    It takes skill to make music, but it takes true talent to move someone with it. The same goes for IEMs with balanced signatures – it’s one thing to simply be able to play everything, but making everything sound amazing at the same time is a whole different ball game. What the Pinnacle P1 can do truly is a whole different ball game. I couldn’t really believe my ears when I found myself listening for the fifth straight hour in the middle of the night. I thought the P1 would simply lull me to sleep with its meticulously reproduced melodies, but instead I was captivated more by just how amazing it sounded.




    Summary:

    Simply put, the Pinnacle P1 is a spectacular IEM. Even with raised expectations, these single 10mm dynamic drivers were more than able to exceed those expectations and then some. I’ve reviewed a few other IEMs that left a similar impression (we’ll cover those in the Comparison section), but when the P1 plays, it performs. When it performs, it impresses. And when it impresses, it blows away.






    Other Media​

    Games:

    For gaming performance in audio gear, there are two common sides to the performance scale: fun and competitive, which should be self-descriptive enough. Surprisingly, though, the P1 seems to sit somewhere right in the very middle. Their smooth, natural tonal balance gives them a relaxed yet engagingly fun experience, while their excellent separation and spatial rendering provides the gamer with quite a bit of an edge in the game if used correctly.





    Movies:

    The cinematic experience is something a lot of IEMs fall short trying to achieve. Most IEMs would usually lack the ability to render a large space or lack bass power. The P1 does neither. I'll admit, it's the second IEM that has truly impressed me in terms of movie experience.






    Amp & EQ Response​

    Despite having a relatively high impedance figure of 50 ohms, the P1 can be driven to high volumes even with low-power sources such as an iPod. Heck, I was even able to use the radio from a Nokia 105 and it sounded just fine. But even so, the P1 does scale up with better source components. I found hooking them up to the Schiit Fulla improved their midrange clarity, refined the bass further, and gave it an overall leaner sound.



    The P1 is surprisingly responsive to some EQ tweaks, and will easily handle a bass boost to most software EQs’ distortion limits. And given their already balanced tuning, this allows the P1 to be much more flexible sonically.






    Value​

    The Pinnacle P1 retails for $199 at their official website. Considering the fact that most of my reviews involve IEMs priced equal to or below 100 dollars, doubling that amount is quite a bit of a tall order for anyone looking to buy such an IEM. But let's think about it for a second: is 200 dollars too much for a single-driver masterpiece with silver-plated copper cables, die-cast zinc alloy housings, and a sound so beautiful that it has moved me to complete and utter speechlessness? I don’t think so; in fact, I think it’s an outright bargain.



    Comparison​

    Versus Master & Dynamic ME03 ($160):


    [​IMG]
    The ME03 has remained one of my favourites for a very long time – until now, they have maintained their place in my collection as the one earphone with the perfect balance of form and function. Of course, the key words here are “until now.” Yes, the Pinnacle P1 makes short work of them – I would gladly pay the extra $40 for the luxury, the fit, the sound, and everything that comes with it. Genuine leather case? Machined metal housings? Luxurious presentation? Both earphones have them all, but what about the sound? Both earphones share a similar sound signature, with balanced emphasis throughout the frequency range. But where the ME03 excels in its smoother, more neutral sound, the P1 edges out with better extension on both ends, a crystal-clear midrange, and more detail throughout.




    Versus DUNU Titan 1 ($130):

    [​IMG]
    So at this point it's obvious that the P1 is by far the best I've ever heard, but we've one more earphone left that can challenge the P1 and leave a few marks, and this earphone is the DUNU Titan 1. This titanium-armed beast looks good, feels good, and sounds amazing. Where the P1 digs low, the Titan digs lower; where the P1 claps high, the Titan claps higher; but where the Titan’s titanium-coated drivers sound tonally metallic, the P1 just sounds incredibly realistic.




    == Conclusion ==​


    [​IMG]



    The Pinnacle P1 is like a master symphony – one composed by the likes of Beethoven and played by the greatest orchestra around. Everything about it is just executed so incredibly well. Its design is impeccable; its form luxuriously exquisite; and its sound absolutely fantastic. As I said in the TL;DR, they’re the best earphones I’ve ever heard in my life, and no amount of praise will be able to measure up to its true beauty. They’re an earphone that you have to hear at least once in your life, and an earphone that sounds good enough and lasts long enough to keep for life.



    Category
    Score
    Comment
    Packaging, Accessories

    10/10​
    Luxurious packaging and a comprehensive set of accessories make for a perfect complement to an excellent earphone.
    Design, Build, Microphonics

    10/10​
    The P1 screams luxury from every angle. Exquisite materials, top-notch construction, and an amazingly-built removable cable make for a stunningly functional package.
    Fit, Comfort, Isolation

    8.5/10​
    MEE’s uniquely crafted housings are designed to be worn two different ways – and they pull it off with excellent comfort and monitor-like isolation.
    Microphone

    N/A​

    Bass

    9/10​
    The P1’s low end response is like water – free-flowing and flexible, able to be as aggressive or as delicate as the recording demands.
    Midrange

    10/10​
    Their midrange is absolutely heavenly – in my almost four years of reviewing, this has got to be one of the best, if not the best, I've ever heard so far.
    Treble

    9/10​
    With impeccable extension and a sublime crispness, it's definitely one of the best I've heard from my entire collection.
    Presentation

    9/10​
    An expansive soundstage and precise positioning makes for an impressively realistic reproduction that just blows me away.
    Gaming, Movies

    9/10​
    I can't have it any better, really. All the ingredients in the P1’s sonic mixture just works so well for everything.
    Amp & EQ Response

    9/10​
    The P1 in this regard is like a fine tenderloin steak with all the right flavours – but if you want it, they’ll still taste great with a bit extra spice.
    Value

    9.5/10​
    Yes, they cost 200 dollars. But yes, they sound like 200 dollars. Or even more, depending on your expectations.
    Total

    9.3/10​
    They’re not the end-all, be-all of my audio journey, but considering that it’ll be a while before I get to hear any better, the Pinnacle P1 might as well be.



    Suggestions for Improvement

    One does not simply improve upon perfection.



    Shout-Outs, Gallery

    Again, huge thank-you to Mike and the MEE team for allowing me to review such a beauty. It’s been a crazy past couple of months, and with school in full swing, I wasn’t able to post this review back in June as it should’ve been.






    Changelog

    1. B9Scrambler
      Amazing review! What an enjoyable and informative read.
      B9Scrambler, Aug 4, 2016
      drbluenewmexico likes this.
  7. Deftone
    These are some seriously amazing earphones
    Written by Deftone
    Published Jul 17, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - 3D soundstage, exceptional clarity, resolution, detail.
    Cons - Can sound slighty congested playing very fast music without an amp.
    Pakaging and accessories
    The pinnacle comes in a luxury presentation box that opens outwards from the middle, upon opening the box you are greeted with the housing themselfs nestled in a good quality foam. Underneath there is leather carry pouch with a soft lined inside and a serial numbered metal badge (one of the better cases i have seen at this price) 2 cables are included, 1 with and 1 without a microphone and a medium sized selection of tips.

    01.jpg
     

     
    Sound
    Using a scale format, this is the results from using the P1 straight from a Samsung Galaxy S6 smartphone 
     
    LL1.jpg
    Treble
    Harsh |------|----o-| Smooth
     
    Mids
    Forward |------|o-----| Recessed
     
    Bass
    Boomy |------|---o--| Controlled
     
    Dynamics
    Compressed |------|--o---| Natural                                                                   
     
    Detail/Resolution
    Dull |------|---o--| Vivid
     
    Transparency
    Veiled |------|--o---| Clear
     
    Soundstage 
    Small |------|---o--| Large
     
    Speed
    Slow |------|o----| Fast
     
    Cohesion
    Poor |------|---o--| Excellent
     

     
    Soundstage - its the first thing that stood out on the p1. its huge in all three directions, height, width and depth. I have not heard this kind of soundstage expansion in an iem at this price level before only on the £660 Sennheiser IE800, its rivaling or beating full sized open back headphones.
     
    Treble - i would describe it as crispy but smooth treble, very clear and free of grain. Meeaudio have performed some audio magic here inside the housings because the way the treble is filtered before it hits your ears means you get a vibrant extended high end without the harshness. cymbal hits really do sound excellent with natural decay and high levels of details and clarity all throughout this area.
     
    Mids - with slower more simple music with less instruments the mids are open, clear and spacious but when you put on some death metal with double bass, 3 guitars etc it starts to sound a bit congested like a veil was suddenly added. This is where i knew some power was needed, it was time to plug in the fiio E12A, the electric guitars started to cut through the veil in the lower midrange with their own space now becoming detailed layers instead of fuzz. Guitar bite and agression is excellent.
     
    Bass -  not a lot to say here as my preferences tend to be towards bass lean headphones, with that said thoughnthe bass is tight and punchy with good weight and texture, sub bass is there just dont expect bottomless sub bass extension here like ie800 the p1 keeps everything well under control, no flab here!
     
    Detail - the amount of fine detail the p1 puts out is astonishing, resolution and micro detail is on the level of good balanced armatures.
     

     
    And again these are my results when paired with the Chord Mojo 
    LL.jpg  
     
    Treble
    Harsh |------|-----o| Smooth
     
    Mids
    Forward |-----o|------| Recessed
     
    Bass
    Boomy |------|-----o-| Controlled                                                              
                                   
    Dynamics
    Compressed |------|-----o| Natural
     
    Detail/Resolution
    Dull |------|----o-| Vivid
     
    Transparency
    Veiled |------|----o-| Clear
     
    Soundstage 
    Small |------|---o--| Large 
     ​
     
     
    Conclusion - this is the best single dynamic driver iem i have heard under £500, very well built and worth every penny. Premium sound for a fair price.

     

     

      cpauya and EagleWings like this.
  8. glassmonkey
    Mee Pinnacle P1: breath rarified sound in this price bracket
    Written by glassmonkey
    Published Jul 16, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Clear, transparent sound, detailed, tight measured bass, sveldt and sexy metal shell, top tier price to performance ratio, brilliant accessories
    Cons - Power hungry to get full performance, can be a touch bright

    Acknowledgment   

    Thanks @Tony-Hifi at HiFi Headphones for letting me participate in the UK tour. It was fun as always. The Pinnacle is available from HiFi Headphones for £179 (no guess what that is in dollars, Brexit, after all).

     

    Introduction

    I’ve been hearing about MEE products for years! I don’t know why it has taken me so long to hear one in these ears of mine. I’ve recommended them to neophytes based on @ljokerl’s IEM thread—the place where my audio journey kicked off on HeadFi—and in other recommendations. In the past I’ve recommended some MEE headphones to friends who’ve been buying crappy $10 fashion headphones found next to dental rot sugar bombs from abusive multinational corporations, and then replacing them with similarly devoid of value offerings from other grocery and corner store counters. I’ve made these recommendations without hearing them, which is stupid, and the people I’ve advised haven’t listened, which is fitting given that they must have an unmitigated wax disaster in their ears if they think ‘fashion’ buds sound OK. Friends don’t let friends buy their headphones at a Tesco-Express counter.
     
    Now I’ve gotten to finally hear a MEE product, and boy am I glad. I feel like slapping high-fives round the neighbourhood. I didn’t expect this Chinese company I’d never heard before to metaphorically palm the basketball that is my little melon head and ears, much less put up a Nate Robinson-esque 360 windmill slam-dunk of a pair of headphones—from Seattle to Shenzen, high fives all around. I came into this review expecting competence. What I got was a set of IEMs that ended up being my favourite among IEMs that I have on hand and view very favourably, and among my favourites that I've listened to this year. I’m stunned and overjoyed.
     
    [​IMG]
     
    Like most sensible people I started falling in love with music as a child. My first portable audio device was a Sony Walkman (the cassette kind) that I got when I was 10 years old (24 years ago).  I listened with the cheap Sony on ears that came with the Walkman until I bought a Koss CD boombox and started listening to UAF College Radio and 103.9 (alternative rock at the time) in Fairbanks, Alaska. I once listened to Louie Louie for 3 days straight, and I’m not insane. My musical tastes started out with listening to what my friends liked (Dr. Dre and Green Day) and what my parents liked (The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan) and I only really discovered my own musical tastes and sonic preferences in my late teens to early 20s. What I discovered is that I have very eclectic and some would say weird tastes. I could be listening to gay punk rock, Japanese dream garble pop, 8-bit chiptune, Scandinavian black metal, Latin guitar, the Mariinsky Orchestra, or Miles Davis, but I mostly listen to Classic Rock and Indie/Alternative. I’m a big fan of intelligent hip-hop like Metermaids, Kendrick Lamar and Aesop Rock, also.
     
    I tend to like headphones and gear that are all-around performers, this generally means a balanced or neutral sound. If I have to choose between warm and bright, I’ll choose bright almost every time. A few screechy high notes are preferable to me than a foggy unfocused bass guitar. I somehow never manage to have much money, so I don’t want to buy infinity headphones to switch between my myriad genres that I play. I can hear all the way down to 10hz and all the way up to 23Khz—these are what I’ve heard doing test tones on headphones. It has been a long time since I had a test with an audiologist. I’m sensitive to peaky treble but do enjoy smooth extended treble. I like deep rich tight bass and impactful drums, and dislike upper midbass emphasis.  I like my vocals crisp, so stay away from Josh Tillman’s voice you nasty upper midbass hump.  I hear soundstage better than just about anything I identify in music, but my words haven’t caught up to my ears. I listen at volume levels that others consider loud (72 to 75 dB), but I just set it to where the dynamics peak. I’m not here to shatter my eardrums. I like them just how they are.
     
    I generally don’t believe in using EQ, not even for inexpensive headphones, especially in reviews. I won’t claim that I haven’t done it, but I generally try to avoid it.
     
    I’m a firm believer that cables can make a difference, but I don’t think they always do. When I tried out Toxic Cables line, none of them had labels and the cheapest looking one was the one I liked the best. I was excited that I wouldn’t have to spend much to improve my sound. It turned out that the cheapest looking one was the Silver/Gold top of the line cable. I’ve heard the difference that USB cables can make, from upgrading from the crappy cable that came with my Geek Out 1000 to a Supra USB, and then again when upgrading to the LH Labs Lightspeed 2G with the iUSB3.0. When I picked up a cheap shielded power lead from Mains Cables R Us (who also sell iFi gear) to replace my standard kettle lead on my amplifier, I heard more crunchy and clearer treble. I switched the leads with my wife blinded and she heard the same difference. I didn’t tell her what I heard and let her describe it herself. But cables don’t always make a difference. When I switched from my standard HD650 cable to a custom balanced cable (Custom Cans UK, very affordable), the sound stayed exactly the same when hooked up via a top tier (custom made by @dill3000 silver/gold) 4-pin XLR to 6.3mm converter. Balanced mode made a difference in clarity and blackness of background. Your mileage may vary and you may not hear a difference, but I have.

     

    Vital Statistics (specs from manufacturers and distributors)

    In this section of my reviews I try to let the manufacturer’s story about their product be told. For the MEE Pinnacle, I’ve taken the information from HiFi Headphones and MEE Audio’s site. HiFi Headphones often does as well or better than the manufacturer in telling the story of a product. HiFi Headphones has this to say about the Pinnacle:
     
    Pinnacle is more than a name - it is a statement that identifies the P1 in-ear earphones as the result of two years of design, engineering, and refinement. With its proprietary acoustic design and innovative zinc-alloy construction, the MEE Audio Pinnacle P1 delivers a timeless combination of beauty and performance.
     
    To improve performance at the extremes of the frequency range the Pinnacle P1 utilises a proprietary 10mm moving coil driver with 50Ω impedance. The dynamic driver delivers a full-bodied bass note and slightly warm tonal character while retaining high levels of resolution and refinement. Using a dedicated audio source or amplifier designed for higher-impedance headphones can further improve the listening experience of the Pinnacle P1 heapdhones.
     
    Built to last, the Pinnacle P1 is made of a zinc alloy that is stronger than aluminium and lighter than stainless steel and features interchangeable, replaceable cables with MMCX connectors. The unique ergonomic design can be worn one of two different ways and fits all ears comfortably.
    The snug in ear fit blocks outside noise, preventing interruptions and protecting your hearing by allowing lower-volume listening. Comply T-Series memory foam eartips are included to further increase noise isolation for a superior audio experience.
     
    On Mee Audio’s website they also note that the Pinnacle will sound best with CD quality or better audio and that they designed the driver to reduce moving mass. If you’ve watched Jude’s video on the new Focal line-up (well worth a watch), you know that lower moving mass allows for faster full frequency range response. Further, Mee Audio had this to say about the shell:
     
    ACOUSTIC DIFFUSER
    A proprietary sound chamber and damping scheme provide the best balance of treble extension and smooth-in-the-ear response. The P1’s patented acoustic diffuser takes advantage of the directional nature of treble (high frequency) sound waves, forcing select frequencies to resonate before reaching the ear to ensure coherency and smoothness. This effectively improves the detailing and high-frequency extension of the P1 without adding harshness, resulting in treble that is extended and energetic, but also smooth for a more realistic sound with improved detail resolution and handling of spatial cues.
     
     
    Insidethediffuser.jpg
     
     
    Specifications
     
    Driver
    10mm dynamic, with copper clad aluminum voice coil
    Frequency response
    20Hz - 20kHz
    Impedance
    50Ω
    Sensitivity
    96dB
    Cable length
    1.3m
    Cable Connector
    MMCX, 3.5mm, right angle plugs
    Max input power
    5mW
    Microphone frequency response
    100Hz - 5kHz
    Microphone sensitivity
    -40dB
    Accessories
    Detachable braided silver plated copper cable, detachable microphone cable, 3 sets Comply T-200 memory foam eartips, 6 sets of silicone eartips, shirt clip, 6.35mm stereo jack adapter, premium carrying case with laser-etched serial number
    Warranty
    2 year manufacturer warranty

     

     

    Form & Function

    First, I’d like to say that the Pinnacle came with serious presentation quality packaging. If you want to impress someone with a gift and are flush enough to just give away $200 pairs of headphones, MEE will make you look like a savant of gift-giving. Chris Kringle ain’t got nothing on you—he better put that red two-piece away. The box has a white outer sleeve with photos, text, specs and all that jazz. Lift the wrapper off and inside is illicit unboxing video porn, NSFW.  You are greeted by a high quality heavy linen finish card box that opens like a DeLorean that’s upside down, but meant to be that way. Like it’s barrel rolling in James Bond stunt at the apex, freeze-framed on the silver screen. Suffice to say I was impressed. I’ve opened up cases to much more expensive IEMs that weren’t as impressive.
     
    [​IMG]
     
    Inside the box, there are two further boxes, each labelled with their contents and some thoughtfully organised compartments, with the obligatory IEM showcase insertion points. The leather magnetic clasp case looks up at you, announcing with a shiny metal placard your Pinnacle’s serial number and crying “hear ye, hear ye, here there quality be.” The two labelled boxes contain the MMCX cables in one, including one with microphone; and eartips in the other. A good assortment of eartips was included, including three sizes of comply foamies. I didn’t use the microphone cable as I don’t listen on my phone and hate interruptions in my music. Music time is me time, or MEE time in this case. The selection of tips was good, but I found that I liked the Pinnacle best with Spinfits—I’m finding that I like almost all of my headphones best with Spinfits, my second favourite tips were the stock single flange silicone tips. Can someone send me a bucket of medium Spinfits? It would be much appreciated. So little time to review, and switching tips is such a hassle—I need to satisfy my inner Garfield while growing into my outer Garfield. The Spinfits firm up the low end a little bit and make the treble crisper, which I like. I took observations with various tips, I’ll try to reference which tips are being used along the way.
     
    ga960212.gif
     
    The Pinnacle is lightweight with an easy nozzle angle for wearing the cable up. The product info advertises that it can be worn down, but this felt really awkward when I tried it. The cable has a premium feel and good weight. The braiding effectively prevents tangles, and the weight of the cable helped stop it from bouncing around too much. I didn’t notice microphonics when walking, but I also didn’t do any vigourous action with the Pinnacle in my ears—inner and outer Garfield intact. While the fit is good, it is no match for my best fitting IEM, the Trinity Audio Atlas. It is no shame to be second to the Atlas in fit as the Atlas fit like a pair of handmade sheepskin moccasins fit your December feet when the cabin fire has long since died out and the slate floor might as well be an ice-hockey rink. The Trinity Atlas are that friggin' comfortable—you just want to snuggle up with them in the cold winter night.
     
    When inspecting the IEMs, the screens covering the bores appear to be glued on and are a fine mesh with a small lip. I’d be careful when doing tip switches and cleaning the screens.
     
    Now the moment you've been waiting for, illicit unbox photos!
     
    MEEPinnacleP1-4.jpg MEEPinnacleP1-5.jpg MEEPinnacleP1-6.jpg
    MEEPinnacleP1-8.jpg MEEPinnacleP1-9.jpg MEEPinnacleP1-13.jpg
    MEEPinnacleP1-12.jpg MEEPinnacleP1-10.jpg MEEPinnacleP1-11.jpg

     

    Audio quality

    I had nothing but impressive experiences with these, the packaging was prophesy of my listening experience. For this review I used the following gear: iBasso DX50, LH Labs Geek Out V2, Spinfit tips, Comply foamies, stock tips. I listened to a lot of music, staying up till 3am with these beauties on one night. My wife asked me if I was coming to bed at about 1AM and I told her I’d sleep in the office—I should note there is a bed in the office. That is how much I was liking these.
     
    First things first, I tried these with several tips, and found that Spinfits worked the best. Comply was a bit soft and not as well defined as the stock tips or Spinfits. The stock tips were a little bright in the treble and not as good on the bass as the Spinfits. I love Spinfits, and they had the clearest crispiest treble and best bass definition of the tips I tried, so most of my impressions will be with Spinfits mated to the pinnacle nozzle.
     
    Second things second—has anyone ever said that? I think I’ll claim it; these demand a lot of power. When I played them through the DX50, they needed high gain and high volume to reach full performance capabilities. On the Geek Out V2, I was driving the Pinnacle at 50% volume in the 1000mW setting. For reference, I listen to the HD600 at about 65%, and most IEMs I listen on the 100mW (low gain) setting. Don’t try to drive these out of your cellular or a weak-sauce amplifier, it’s a waste of a good audio meal. It’s like asking for ketchup with your bistecca alla fiorentina (best darn steak in the world, sorry Brazil, Argentina, New York)—don’t be a heathen.
     
    For my listening tracks I whipped out old review catalogue favourites and a couple tracks I love but haven’t been review tracks. On the beaten path, so to speak, were:
    1. Eagles – Hotel California (DCC Gold),
    2. Father John Misty – The Night Josh Tillman Came to Our Apartment,
    3. Keith Greeninger – The Harder That We Love (DSD128, off Live at the Fenix),
    4. Unleash the Archers – General of the Dark Army
    5. Dragonforce – Heroes of Our Time
    6. Charles Mingus – Eat that Chicken
     
    On the other road in a yellow wood:
    1. Beck – Satan Gave Me a Taco
    2. Boys Age – I am a Jester (album can be downloaded for free here – why have you not downloaded this yet!?)
     
    The list of tracks above were what I used for comparative listening, but I also listened to many more, including: Belle & Sebastian’s Dear Catastrophe Waitress album; some ELO, Tool, Tori Amos, Norah Jones, City of the Sun, Daft Punk; my treble torture test: Kraftwerk – Kometenmelodie 2; and Roger Waters – Late Home Tonight, Part One whilst calibrating which tips I should be using. Initial listens for tips were done on medium gain on the DX50 and it wasn’t enough power for the Pinnacle. On the DX50 with medium gain I felt a little bit of treble fatigue and a lack of bass emphasis with the stock tips. Switching to the Comply foamies tamed the little bit of extra treble and warmed up the bass a bit, but didn’t do anything for impact. A few of my albums were vinyl rips, and on each one the Pinnacle was very revealing of vinyl noise. Very clear headphones often expose the limitations of vinyl, and the Pinnacle are very clear headphones, indeed.
     
    Throughout the listen on medium gain out of the DX50 there was excellent clarity with great detail in the mids and treble. On Step Into My Office Baby, there was a very airy quality to the vocals. On Roy Roger there was great reverb and sparkle on the xylophone. Telephone Line gave me some great drum response. I switched to high gain, and chucked the volume up to 237 (out of 255) on the DX50 for listening to Aenima, and it didn’t have enough oomph for me. Vocals sounded a little recessed and drum sounded a touch distant. Bass texture was excellent, though. I’m also happy to note that the Pinnacle passed the treble torture test with flying colours. It never went too bright on Kometenmelodie.
     
    On Tori Amos – Hey Jupiter, the instrumentation has excellent depth. With Norah Jones I was hearing tiny details like a miniscule guitar pluck deep on the right of the stage in Cold Cold Heart. Whilst many IEMs will give you clues and markers to where instruments are located in the soundstage, like a set of ‘X’s on a alpine map denoting the route, not every IEM lets you fully sense and feel the way of the ski trail. The Pinnacle doesn’t just have you see the trail pencilled on a map, your skis are in the grooves left by alpinists before you, your eyes are watching for fluorescent tags on white birch bark denoting your path. I feel the sound stage with the Pinnacle, I don’t just hear cues to locations—there is crystalline mountain air around the instruments. With that said, the soundstage is only a bit above average in size—it just maximises the impact it gives in the space it has with excellent separation, detail and tactility.
     
    Strolling through City of the Sun and Daft Punk, I noted excellent kick in drums and percussion with real air moving through the bass drum kicks, great tone on plucked instruments, and excellent imaging, but I also noted that bass quantity may not satisfy everyone. On Giorgio by Moroder, the Pinnacle’s imaging definitely stood out.
     
    Now that I’ve established a baseline, I’ll proceed to the comparative listens. For each headphone, I attempted to do a crude volume matching by writing down volume levels and gain settings for each IEM at 78dB using an SPL meter. My methods weren’t perfect, but they were definitely better than not volume matching at all. I initially had the Pinnacle (with Spinfits), the Echobox Finder X1 (Black Filter, Spinfits), 64 Audio X2 (Comply, Spinfits), Shozy Zero (Spinfits), and Trinity Audio Atlas (Sony Isolation Tips). I’ll present comparisons on a song by song basis.
     
    Eagles – Hotel California (played through iBasso DX50)
    The Pinnacle has excellent clarity and imaging, and drums have good impact. The best in the group for the thump thump bass drum at the end of the intro are the 64 Audio X2. Mids were most recessed on the Finder X1. The 64 Audio X2 is the smoothest, but is sometimes soft and doesn’t have the treble extension and detail that the Pinnacle has. The Shozy Zero is bassier than the Pinnacle and has a larger soundstage.
     
    Father John Misty – The Night Josh Tillman Came to Our Apartment (iBasso DX50)
    The production on the album tends towards warmth, such that headphones that add warmth often make the album sound musty and congested. The Pinnacle doesn’t add any warmth, and to my ear lets the album sound natural and inviting. The Shozy Zero has a taller and wider soundstage with a romantic quality to the sound, detail is still there, but in less quantity due to smoothed treble on the Zero. Luckily for the Zero, the warmth in the sound doesn’t impact Josh Tillman’s voice. The Trinity Audio Atlas has slower bass but a nicer presentation of the glockenspiel on the track. The Echobox Finder X1 is bassy, and not as tight bass as it’s competitors, and has recessed vocals.
     
    At this point I switched to the Geek Out V2 and popped the gain up to high, and proceeded to listen till three in the morning. The instrument separation when listening to Smoke & Mirrors Percussion Ensemble is fantastic with details just popping all over. The Pinnacle definitely likes the power to soar.
     
    The Geek Out V2’s amplification is also more revealing of the other IEMs. On Keith Greeninger – Harder That We Love, the presentation is a little artificial sounding with the Trinity Audio Atlas, with bass colouring the vocals. It sounds wrong after the Pinnacle. The 64 Audio X2 is warmer, but less detailed, with a sleight veil, and more forward mids. The Pinnacle doesn’t over-emphasize any frequency, it is just beautifully balanced.
     
    Brittney Slayes and Co. really rock it on General of the Dark Army, and the Pinnacle does not disappoint, the attack is crisp, with sharp well defined edges. It is metal and feels metal, with sharp guitars and machine gun drums. I just want to crank it up with the Pinnacle hooked into the GO V2. The 64 Audio X2 is smoother with a more immediate presentation (those forward mids at play).
    At this point the Pinnacle has won me over compared to my other headphones on hand. Through the rest of the night it keeps up with Dragonforce, gives Charles Mingus – Eat That Chicken a fun live feel with horns dancing round the stage and hoots of ‘Oh yeah’ grounding the atmosphere. On Boys Age – I am a Jester a soft bassline under lying the tune is clearly heard and guitar is well defined. Beck – Satan Gave Me a Taco has an organic sound. The Pinnacle reveals the tape noise of the recording, but doesn’t make it sound as gnarly as some other headphones can. It also holds onto tiny details, like faint tapping and scratching on the guitar body. After listening to the Pinnacle on this track, the Trinity Atlas makes me feel yucky, it just sounds stale and muddy in comparison.

     

    Conclusions

    The Pinnacle is an absolute joy. It sings quality from the moment you meet it's unique packaging contours and continues in dulcet tones when the visual experience moves to your ears. It is sheer aural pleasure, the best sounding single dynamic driver embedded strongly in my memory (I have poor recall of IE800 listens). It is expertly tuned with great detail, an articulate soundstage with real air imported from the path less travelled by, and a balanced overall signature that is immensely pleasurable. At $199, the Pinnacle is a strong competitor for best price to performance ratio of the year.
     
    The Pinnacle won’t be for everyone. It needs loads of power for the bass to be fully realised and the mids can sound recessed when they aren’t driven hard enough. If you drive them well, you’ll enjoy them. On the DX50 the Pinnacle needed high gain, and high volume. On the GO V2 it took high gain and 50% volume. Most IEMs are fine on low gain, and ones that like more power tend to be at about 20% on high gain. This is a stellar effort from MEE Audio and fully deserving of 5 enthusiastic thumbs-ups, but since I don’t have a strange form of polydactyly granting me five thumbs, I’ll give it 5 stars instead.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. niron
      Awesome review. Thanks for the detailed and most informative comparisons. I have ordered the JVC Spiral Dot and hope to achieve better results. 
      niron, Jul 17, 2016
    3. drbluenewmexico
      great review @glassmonkey!  thanks for your detailed listening notes and comparisons.
      im glad a have a set of P1s!  going to try them balanced out of PONO soon when my replacement Trinity Audio cable comes soon...
      drbluenewmexico, Jul 18, 2016
    4. canali
      while i'm sure the chord mojo would drive them well, what of the dragonfly red?
      i'm leaning to try these...just a bit worried about lack of sub bass.
      (also looking at UERR or 11pro with more bass)...some great iems coming out: tyll liked the radius line (alot, and he asked for the company to send him their entire lineup, when he tried them at the rocky mtn audio show)
      canali, Oct 14, 2016
  9. HiFiChris
    "The Pinnacle P1, a Premium InEar" -or- "MEEaudio goes High-End"
    Written by HiFiChris
    Published Jul 6, 2016
    4.0/5,
    Pros - addictive soundstage, perfect build/design/accessories rarely seen at this price point, good overall package, enjoyable sound, bass decay & control
    Cons - lows soften towards sub-bass, attack could be more arid (decay and control are excellent though), slightly skewed vocals
    IMG_1761.jpg
     
     
     

     
     
    Preamble:

    IMG_1764.jpg
    MEEaudio, formerly known as MEElectronics, was founded in 2005. The American company that has specialised in making audio products has released various decent products in the past years, of these mainly headphones. My personal favourite model is probably the smooth, slightly warm and gentle yet quite natural A151, a single-BA in-ear. However, what all models had in common, no matter if in-ears or full-sized headphones, was that they were rather aimed at the lower price range – until now, there was no higher-priced, higher-end model. But as I said, that was until now.
    Some time has passed since MEE has formally introduced the Pinnacle P1 (http://www.meeaudio.com/pinnacle), a dynamic single-driver in-ear with an MSRP of $199.99. Well, about one year has passed and the in-ears are finally available.
    Pinnacle – this name already states where MEE is intending to go: high(er) end. Let’s find out together in the course of this review what the P1 sounds like and how it compares to other dynamic driver in-ears in the same price range.

    Before I go on, I would like to take the time to thank Mike from MEEaudio for sending me a sample of the in-ears free of charge in exchange for my honest, unbiased evaluation.


    Technical Specifications:

    Driver Type: 10 mm dynamic
    Frequency Response: 20 Hz to 20 kHz
    Impedance: 50 Ohms at 1 kHz
    Sensitivity: 96 ± 3 dB (1 mW at 1 kHz)
     
     
    Delivery Content:
     
    IMG_1741.jpg
    “Pinnacle is more than a name – it is a statement […]” is what the rear of the package say – and it is definitely no lie. Arriving in a black cardboard box with a cardboard sleeve with the typical MEE design, the exterior provides you with all of the information you need.
    The black cardboard box opens up in a very unique way with a split lid – very nice!
    I have to honestly admit that this kind of how to open the package is entirely new for me and I haven’t seen it on any other audio product in the past. Therefore, the Pinnacle P1 somewhat sets itself apart from other manufacturers’ products and offers something unique, which I quite like, because it shows the customer that the people at MEE put their thoughts into the product to provide them with a great experience right from the start, beginning with the unboxing.

    Inside, we will then find the in-ear bodies, a leather carrying case, 6.3 to 3.5 mm adaptor, a shirt clip, two cables (one with remote control plus microphone and the other one with silver plating) and 9 pairs of ear tips (3x single-flange silicone, 3x Comply Foam, 2x double-flange and 1x triple-flange).
    That is a really ample amount of included accessories and the unboxing experience is very valuable.
     
     
     
     

    IMG_1742.jpg   IMG_1743.jpg
    IMG_1744.jpg   IMG_1746.jpg
    IMG_1747.jpg   IMG_1748.jpg
    IMG_1749.jpg   IMG_1750.jpg
    IMG_1752.jpg   IMG_1753.jpg


     
    Looks, Feels, Build Quality:

    IMG_1758.jpg
    The in-ears look and feel very premium and are made of zinc alloy housings. Their design is pretty unique and again nothing I have ever seen before.
    The in-ears and cables feature MMCX connectors that have been tightened up since earlier batches.

    The carrying case is made of black leather and bolstered with suede on the inside. The outside features a badge that shows the serial number. Although the carrying case looks and feels very premium, I think a sturdier zippered case would have been more practical.

    The cables are a real highlight and really superb. They are made of single litzes and then twisted, which is CIEM-quality standard and again something that is rarely found at the price (especially as two of these cables come included). Needless to say, they are super flexible.
     
     
     
     

    IMG_1754.jpg   IMG_1755.jpg
    IMG_1756.jpg   IMG_1757.jpg
    IMG_1759.jpg   IMG_1760.jpg
    IMG_1761.jpg   IMG_1762.jpg

     

     
    Comfort, Isolation:

    The in-ears’ design allows the Pinnacle P1 to be worn both “cable down” as well as “over the ears” by changing the ear-pieces (though, the more professional over-the-ear fit is probably even MEE’s first choice, given their other models and the logo’s orientation).
    I am personally wearing the MEE with the cables over the ears. There are no microphonics then and the fit is superb – after a short time, I don’t even notice the in-ears anymore. Because of the rather small footprint and ergonomic shape, there will likely be no fit issues even for people with small ears.

    Exterior noise isolation is somewhat better than average for vented dynamic in-ears and can be even quite a bit improved by using the included multi-flange or foam tips.


    Sound:

    I don’t really believe in burn-in with headphones and in-ears, nonetheless the P1 was burnt in with noise and sine signals for 200 hours before even casual listening started.
    My main sources for critical listening were my iBasso DX90 and Leckerton UHA-6S.MKII as well as the LH Labs Geek Out IEM 100.
    I also used the Luxury & Precision L3 together with the Elekit TU-HP02 for casual listening.

    For listening, I used the largest single-flange silicone tips.

    On a side-note, the P1 is a rather inefficient in-ear and needs noticeably more power than most other similar models to reach similar volume levels.

    Tonality:

    So, how does MEEaudio’s first take on an in-ear in a price range leaving the entry-level sector sound?

    In short, I would describe the P1’s sound as having a rather safe yet relatively smooth, mostly coherent tuning that leans a more to a v-shaped character without really being too strongly sounded though – bass and root are quite full but don’t have the typical impact some other dynamic drivers often tend to have. The quantity won’t appeal to someone searching for a pretty bassy, impactful in-ear but might also be a bit much for those who want a flat bottom end. Mids are on the warmer, full and darker side because of the full-bodied root. Lower treble takes a step back and what follows then is an emphasised, somewhat Sennheiser IE 800-esque upper treble around 10 kHz despite the MEE sounding overall warmer and less bright than the Sennheiser does. So yeah, overall tonally, the P1 reminds me quite a bit of a warmer IE 800 with fuller vocals, somewhat less sub-bass impact and a little less sparkling upper treble – but more about that further below in the comparison section.

    Listening to noise signals in addition to music and the now following sine sweeps, the impression of a full lower frequency end and midrange gets reinforced and the P1 is an in-ear with quite lush yet not overdone lower vocals. It is somewhere between being lush and full in the root/lower mids and sounding coloured, yet it neither has just a little warmth down there, nor is it really overshadowing warm sounding. However, it could use a little more energy in the lower treble between 1 and 3 kHz to sound a bit more balanced through the mids.

    Continuing to the sine sweeps:
    As mentioned, the lower frequency spectrum is more on the smoother side, with the emphasis starting quite high around 750 Hz, then climbing up, down to about 170 Hz, where the climax is being reached with about 7.5 dB north of a flat in-ear like the Etymotic ER-4S. Below 50 Hz, quantity starts decreasing to some degree but not too much – listening to sine sweeps and music, the sub-bass is still slightly north of neutral and distinguishable, however it softens up to some degree (more on that in the “Resolution” section).
    The mids are, as I mentioned, on the somewhat warmer and smoother side. Listening to the sine sweeps, it turns out that between 1 and 3 kHz, there is a dip that makes male vocals a little lack overtones and averagely-pitched female vocals appear slightly muffled and blunt. Surprisingly though, higher female vocals sound normal again, which is because above 3 kHz, treble is at a normal level again. Sometimes, this attribute makes the vocal range appear a little confusing, as male vocals appear a little intimate whereas normal female vocals sound a bit distant but higher-pitched female vocals appear less distant again. If you have a sine generator and equalizer or at least only an equalizer, try somewhat boosting the area between 1 and 3 kHz – voilà, that anomaly disappears and the whole vocal range sounds correct again, with the slight veil being lifted and a flat area appearing here when doing sine swipes or listening to noise signals (and of course music). But I am here to evaluate the sound without EQ, so I have to subtracts some points for the to my ears slightly strange upper midrange behaviour.
    From 3 kHz on, level starts evenly increasing and forms a broad-banded emphasis between 9 and 11 kHz, making cymbal crashes appear a little splashy and sizzling, being somewhat akin to the Sennheiser IE 800’s upper end but to a lesser extent. Above, extension is pretty solid, but there is less level than in the upper treble below 10 kHz.

    Resolution:

    Overall, the MEE P1 does a quite solid job when it comes to detail retrieval/resolution, however it does not have class-leading performance.
    While I would rate the resolution somewhat higher than the RHA T20 and Sennheiser IE 80, there is some other steep dynamic driver competition in this price range that I feel to be somewhat better in some areas, and at the price point, we aren’t far away from some Balanced Armature based models or alternatively hybrid in-ears if one wants a comparable bass impact and warmth.

    The bass appears pretty arid for a dynamic driver and decays pretty fast, avoiding unnecessary bloom, however attack could and should be a little faster while decay is really good. Because of the attack that is somewhat softer and slower than its decay, the P1 appears not as quick as it could be when fed with fast Rock, Metal or Electronical music. Don’t get me wrong, the bass has got better speed than in-ears like the Sennheiser IE 80 and is less rumbling and better controlled than the RHA T20’s lower end, but it does not have the speed or details of the DUNU Titan 5 and is not as resolving as the LEAR LHF-AE1d’ bottom end (however a little faster).
    Overall, I have a slight feeling that there is a little veil on the fundamental range, but as my sine sweeps above showed, this is only caused by the dip between 1 and 3 kHz (adding level there, the veil gets lifted). However, although the bass is quite arid in the upper bass, it softens towards the sub-bass to some degree and although it does not become muddy, it could maintain somewhat better control down there in the sub-bass.

    In the mids and especially treble, detail retrieval is quite good but surely won’t reach some more expensive in-ears’ levels.

    Overall, the P1 does a really solid job but I feel like it could be done somewhat better. While the accessories, cables, features and build are definitely and easily worth the asked $199.99, I am not 100% sure if I would pay that price for sound alone based on some competitors’ models (see my comparisons below).

    Soundstage:

    The soundstage of this in-ear is quite addictive: the generated room is pretty three-dimensional and spacious, with really nice width and a great forward-projection. It kind of creates a sphere around the head and lets you forget everything around you and just sink in. On a different note, there could be a wee bit more air around instruments.
    With complex music and larger orchestras nonetheless, the stage does not really collapse and remains really steady – nice!

    ---------

    In Comparison with other dynamic In-Ears:

    So while I would say the MEE Pinnacle P1 outperforms the Sennheiser IE 80 and RHA T20 to some degree, let’s see how it stands up against some much steeper competition in the range below/around $200 as well as the Sennheiser IE 800:

    Sennheiser IE 80 (Bass Screw fully closed):
    The Sennheiser has got the fuller, warmer sound with more root quantity. The Pinnacle P1 has got the better sub-bass extension when the Sennheiser’s screw is closed (opening the screw, the sub-bass extends linearly but the Sennheiser’s bass becomes even muddier and softer with fast music). In the mids, both are about comparably slightly warm. In the treble, the IE 80 is more relaxed overall.
    When it comes to detail retrieval, the MEE is ahead, rendering fine detailed with more authority. Especially with more complex and faster music, the Sennheiser collapses to some extent whereas the MEE remains very solid.
    In the lows, the Sennheiser is quite slow, spongy and muddy in comparison and lacks some control and aridness with fast bass punches. The Pinnacle P1 has got the much quicker, better controlled bass.
    The IE 80’s soundstage is somewhat wider and also deeper and definitely belongs to the most spacious around. The MEE’s is not as large but separates instruments sharper (especially audible with orchestral music where the P1 is better at generating air around and between instruments).

    RHA T20 (Reference Filters):
    The T20 is the bassier in-ear with a more present, more hammering upper bass and the very slightly inferior sub-bass extension. In the mids, the RHA is more neutral compared to the MEE’s slightly warmed-up vocals. Moving on to the treble, the MEE is more relaxed in the lower and middle highs and has got a more pronounced upper treble.
    When it comes down to overall resolution, both aren’t far apart at all though if I had to decide, I would say that the P1 is probably a slight bit ahead – but it is extremely close. In the bass however, I would surely pick the MEE as the winner: while the RHA’s bass is somewhat rumbling, the MEE’s is audibly better controlled. The T20’s lows don’t really lack much speed but some control at times – the P1’s lower end is not only quicker but also quite a bit better controlled.
    The MEE’s soundstage is larger in both directions and slightly better separated.

    IMG_1763.jpg
    DUNU Titan 5:
    The MEE has got the more impressive amount of features and accessories as well as the more flagship-like build quality. Both have removable cables (MMCX) and both are quite comfortable, however it is easier with the P1 to achieve a comfortable and continuous fit. And while the DUNU’s bottom end quantity depends on one’s ear anatomy (more proximity to the conchas results in more bass), the MEE is not affected by this effect.
    The DUNU has got the slightly more present bass in my ears and reaches into the deepest sub-bass without softening or rolling off. The Titan 5 concentrates more on the sub-bass and has less fundamental range emphasis. In the mids, the P1 is warmer whereas the DUNU is pretty much uncoloured here. In the treble however, the MEE is more even and realistic as well as less bright until it comes into the upper treble around 10 kHz where Pinnacle P1 is emphasised and the DUNU less present.
    In the mids, the Pinnacle P1 appears a little better resolving to me whereas the DUNU has got the slightly quicker bass attack and better control while being similar in terms of decay. In the treble, the Titan sounds more differentiated to me but the MEE is more even.
    Soundstage on the Pinnacle’s side is somewhat larger while having slightly less sharp separation between single instruments.

    Echobox Audio Finder X1 (least bright filters):
    The Finder X1 does not have removable cables but three tuning filters. The Pinnacle’s range of includes accessories is much more impressive. Regarding fit, with the MEE, it is a little easier to get a secure and lasting seal and fit.
    While both head into the v-shaped direction, they are still quite different and the Finder X1 is kind of like the P1 on steroids with a heftier bottom end that however concentrates much more on the sub-bass and a bright and forward treble that is evenly increasing from the lower towards the upper treble – in short, the Finder is much more of an in-ear for fun and non-mature listening. However, the X1 has got the somewhat more realistic midrange timbre.
    The Echobox’ lows don’t soften towards sub-bass and the overall control is somewhat higher while both have got about similarly fast decay (the Finder’s attack is a bit faster though). In the mids and treble, both are about comparatively resolving but the MEE’s upper end is more even.
    The Pinnacle P1’s soundstage is somewhat wider while both have got comparable depth. Though, the MEE is soaking me a little more into its addictive stage than the X1.

    LEAR LHF-AE1d (Upgrade Nozzles):
    Both have got removable cables (the LEAR’s are equipped with 2-pin connectors which personally I prefer), though the AE-1d offers an adjustable bass that lets you choose between anything from “neutral” to “excessively bassy”. And overall, it is an impressively resolving and authentic in-ear despite having just a dynamic driver (its only shortcoming is that its bass is on the somewhat softer side). In terms of fit and comfort, both are equally good but seal is easier to achieve with the MEE when the short upgrade nozzles are used for the LEAR.
    As I said, bass quantity depends on the pot’s position. In the mids, the AE1d has got the much more realistic timbre and is only more or less comparatively warm when using the longer stock nozzles. In the treble, the LEAR is more even and neutral as well as natural.
    The AE1d is a hell of a hard to beat in-ear at its price point and makes it quite clear compared to the Pinnacle. The LEAR has got the superior detail retrieval in the midrange and treble and its only shortcoming is that its bass decays a little slower and is a bit less controlled with fast music (but still more detailed down there). Its superior authenticity, detail retrieval and evenness however easily make up for that.
    The MEE has got the somewhat wider stage whereas the LEAR’s is deeper and appears overall more authentic.
    I have yet to find an in-ear at the LEAR’s price point that is able to stand up against it well – the MEE is not, however is also tuned for a different tonal approach.

    Sennheiser IE 800:
    The IE 800 does not have removable cables. Personally, I don’t mind as long as the cable quality is good; however I kind of find the Sennheiser’s cables to be pretty bad at its price point, compared to the (much) cheaper competition.  So regarding appearance, build and accessories and especially cable, I easily see the MEE above.
    As mentioned earlier, both show tonal similarities in some areas. Nonetheless, the IE 800 concentrates more on the sub-bass (without softening down there) and has got less warmth in the fundamental range, along with having the tonally correct mids and a brighter, splashier upper end while both have got that “IE 800-esque” upper treble character.
    The Sennheiser has got the better bass control and quicker attack and overall better detail retrieval – it is not 3+ times better than the MEE on the sound side but nonetheless in a higher class.
    The Sennheiser’s stage is wider and better scaled but has got less spatial depth (so regarding soundstage, I personally still prefer the Pinnacle P1).


    Conclusion:

    IMG_20160617_1707462.jpg
    Build quality, accessories and features are really rarely seen at this price point and are definitely worthy of a flagship product named “Pinnacle” that also features sublime build quality, fit and comfort.
    The sound signature is easy-going and smooth with a somewhat splashy upper treble and a large, addictive soundstage that lets you sink into the music.

    However, while the Pinnacle P1 outperforms some dynamic driver in-ears at its respective price point and sounds pretty solid, it is not perfect and has still some room for improvement here and there and has got some really steep competition on the sound side in its respective price range.
    Nonetheless, as an overall package, it is still pretty nice (even more especially if you know how to properly operate an EQ) and then still well worth the asked price (in my opinion).


    All in all with my usual 70% sound (74/100) to 30% build/comfort/fit/accessories (99/100) weighting, I come to a conclusion of solid 4.075 out of 5 possible stars.

    I am definitely looking forward to see what MEE has got in the pipeline next.
      JNOISE JA, yangian, mgunin and 5 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. HiFiChris
      @yangian
       
      In the $200 range (also for Orchestral), I really like the LEAR LHF-AE1d and Pai Audio MR3.

      The LEAR is highly natural sounding and has got a really authentic soundstage with a good detail retrieval. Its soundstage is not as large as the Sennheiser's though and its bass is soft (it's tighter than the Sennheiser's though).

      The MR3 has got a really large and precise soundstage and high level of details that are usually not found in this price range. Its only flaw is that it is a little uneven in the 5 kHz range. If you have ever heard the UERM, imagine the MR3 as a "mini-version" of it with just slightly more bass (2 dB more) and a slightly less even middle treble.

      I highly like the DUNU Titan 5 and Titan 3 as well, just as the Echobox Finder X1, however those three not so much for Orchestral recordings (I like the Titan 3 for smaller ensembles though - not because it isn't capable of rendering big orchestras (imho it is a technically excellent dynamic driver in-ear), it's just my preference for it).

      I also bought a new Etymotic ER•4S for a little over €200 new on Amazon (sold and fulfilled by Amazon), which was a great deal, too. I love it for every kind of music, however it only suits those who want a sound signature that is as flat and lifeless/uncoloured/sterile as possible.
      HiFiChris, Jan 14, 2017
    3. yangian
      Ok, I'll pay more attention of MR3. I may need to try a multi BAs. Thanks!
      BTW, did you hear KEF M200? That's my most favorite sound, I like it better than IE800.
      yangian, Jan 14, 2017
    4. HiFiChris
      @yangian
       
      I haven't heard any KEF headphone, in-ear or earphone, sorry. 
      HiFiChris, Jan 15, 2017
  10. shotgunshane
    Standing Tall - The Pinnacle P1
    Written by shotgunshane
    Published Jul 2, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Spacious, Warm and Smooth Presentation
    Cons - MMCX connectors
    Note: Mee Audio graciously provided the Pinnacle P1 free for review

    MEE Audio has been without a flagship for a couple of years, since the discontinuation of the very well received A161p. The A161p was single armature design with a balanced signature leaning to the slightly warm side. The A161p, along with the venerable Audio Technica CK10, were my gateway in-ears into a more neutral frequency response, and accordingly preserve fond memory in my portable audio journey. Consequently, I’ve been looking forward to the day MEE Audio found a worthy replacement at the top of their line-up. The Pinnacle P1 has been over two years in the making, and at $199 msrp, is $100 more than their previous flagship. Can MEE Audio still still remain true to their reputation as one of the better bang for buck manufacturers out there?

    P1msak120.jpg

    DESIGN

    The P1 features a proprietary 10mm dynamic driver of higher impedance (50 Ohms) and less sensitivity (96 dB) than your average in-ears. It’s constructed with a copper-clad aluminum voice coil for lower mass and faster driver control. In addition to this new custom driver, the P1 also utilizes a new proprietary acoustic diffuser and sound chamber. The acoustic diffuser is claimed to force high frequencies to resonate before reaching the ear, with a resulting effect that offers a smoother, yet more extended treble, that still maintains plenty of energy without the typical associated peaks and harshness. The most interesting aspect of this delivery system is that the driver and diffuser are not visible in the nozzle. If one were to remove the protective mesh from the top of the nozzle, you would see nothing but a clear path leading to the open of the housing chamber. In other words, the driver is mounted at an offset angle inside the chamber.

    BUILD & ACCESSORIES

    The build quality of the P1 is very robust. The housings are die-cast from a zinc alloy with a polished, shiny appearance. The zinc alloy is said to be more rigid than aluminum and more impact resistant as well. While perhaps not quite as light weight as aluminum, it is lighter than stainless steel. The polished zinc alloy has an aged brass appearance. The housings are put together from two pieces, with the nozzles made from a separate metal. There appears to be a very small pinhole pressure equalizing vent on the underside of the housings, where the backside of the driver should be facing.

    The P1 comes with two cables: a high grade audio cable made of silver-plated copper and an Android/iOS compatible microphone cable. Both cables utilize the mmcx connection. The cables feel more robust than your average stock cable; they are thicker, yet very pliable. They feature a twisted cable design that features a case friendly right angle plug and sturdy Y-split with neck cinch. The high grade audio cable is the same aged brass color of the P1 zinc alloy housings. Using this cable gives the overall appearance a kind of ‘mid-century modern’ design aesthetic.

    The rest of the accessories round out as follows: shirt clip, 6 pair of silicone tips, 3 pair of Comply tips, 1/4” adapter and carrying case. The carrying case is an elegant, leather style case with a magnetic closure flap. The flap is topped off with a “Pinnacle” metal badge in the same aged brass look with inscribed serial number.

    P1coilediPhone.jpg

    SOUND

    At the onset of my listening experience, I utilized the Comply tips but as I continued to listen over the coming weeks, I ended up reverting to the stock silicone single flange tips. Listening was conducted on an iPhone 6S+, Mezzo Soprano modded AK120, and AK100 feeding a Chord Mojo.

    The overall sound signature of the P1 is that of a slightly downward slopping frequency response. The P1 is warm and smooth with good clarity. It delivers high levels of resolution with impressive driver control. The most notable feature of performance is its staging properties, which stand head and shoulders above most closed in-ears and rival, if not surpass, many back vented designs.

    Bass is moderately boosted- bassheads will find it too light and your most ardent neutrality seekers will find it too boosted. The boost is centered around 150 Hz and remains strong until about 40 Hz before starting to significantly roll off. The P1 driver sounds pretty quick, especially when compared to other dynamic driver models which tend to extend decay much longer. Texturing is excellent with high levels of bass resolution. Notes are on the thicker side with a naturally rich and reverberant tone.

    The lower midrange is full and delivers a very engaging and evocative male vocal. While there is a dip in the middle/upper midrange that gives some distance to the listener, the P1is still able to convey very good vocal intimacy. This dip also gives a slightly laid back and fuller nature to female vocals for less energy than in-ears with a more forward upper midrange. However, the upper midrange is rising by the time lower treble kicks in, so rock guitars still have pleasing bite and crunch but with a fuller, more rounded presentation.

    The P1 treble is best described as smooth yet crisp. After a rise in lower treble, it is quite laid back from about 6k to 8K, where it peaks again in middle treble and stays pretty present through upper treble with very good extension. This treble response seems to correlate fairly well with the manufacturer’s claims. Treble weight and tonality are slightly on the thin side due to the greater upper treble presence, however resolution and low level detail are very good without harness or being overly forward in the mix.

    Staging properties of the P1 are simply fantastic. It is not an ‘airy’ in-ear, yet it’s able to present a class leading spaciousness with strong ambient cues within the stage. There is a great sense of blackness around instruments, giving everything room to stretch and breathe. You really do get a strong sense of instrument placement and room size in proportion to the instruments. Height, width and depth are all really very good with one of the best three dimensional presentations on the market for in-ears. I really have to think the offset angle of the driver to the nozzle and the acoustic diffuser play a significant role in the perception of stage, especially in a closed design. It’s not something you have to concentrate on but is readily noticeable upon first listen.

    p1anddap.jpg

    SELECT COMPARISONS
     
    P1 vs Etymotic ER-4S

    The ER-4S bass sounds quite light and tails off several decibels as it descends into sub bass. However, it is excellently textured despite being low level in the presentation. Bass speed doesn’t seem overly fast like some balanced armatures, and can sound surprisingly natural during bass heavier masterings. Surprisingly the P1 is more difficult to drive than the ER-4S, requiring quite a bit more volume to reach the same SPL. In comparison, the P1 bass is more visceral, carrying a stronger bass line with more rumble and extension in deep bass. While the P1 isn’t drastically bassier, the difference is certainly palpable when the recording calls for it. The other significant difference is in the longer decay of the P1. While the P1may be considered quick for a dynamic, it does linger noticeably longer than the ER-4S.

    The Ety midrange is quite clear with a noticeable tilt towards the upper midrange. Male vocals, while very resolving, are a bit on the thin side and slightly under weighted. The upper midrange tilt makes for very transparent female vocals full of raw energy and power. The ER-4S neither emphasizes, nor glosses over sibilance; you really feel like you’re getting what the recording is delivering. The ER-4S is forward in nature, providing an intimate vocal performance that’s very engaging. On the flip side the Ety can sound overly forward in guitar driven rock, taking the listener to the brink with thin and edgy distortion rock guitars.

    The P1 midrange eschews some clarity for fullness and richness. Male vocals are clearly weightier and more powerful, without sacrificing resolution, and exhibiting wonderful texture and emotion. The P1 is nowhere as forward in the upper midrange and female vocals exhibit less energy and more weight. Rock guitars have good bite and crunch but don’t quite soar, as they are grounded with a fairly full lower midrange. The end result is a much more forgiving presentation than the Ety.

    The ER-4S treble is one of my favorite. Unlike it’s upper midrange, it’s treble is neither hot nor laid back. It has excellent balance, timbre and sparkle, yet remains effortlessly smooth. Extension is also top notch as well. In companion, the P1 treble is not quite as evenly presented. There is more lower treble presence before a similar Ety dip in the transition from lower to middle treble. The P1 treble sounds crisper and not quite as smooth as the Ety. Extension seems fairly comparable between the two, which is to say, very good.

    The ER-4S is not really known for its spacial qualities and as such sounds a bit flat in depth and height but has acceptable width. The presentation is very forward and close to the listener. As such, while imaging is excellent form left to right, there’s not much to speak of front to back. Even though the top end sounds open, the single driver delivers a more organic stage and doesn’t have the instrument separation that many multi-balanced armature designs portray.

    The P1, while fuller sounding, presents things further back from the listener compared to the Ety. It sounds much larger in all directions, particularly in depth. It’s more reverberant and spacious sounding with strong ambient queues reminiscent of a concert hall type presentation. While similar to the Ety’s organic presentation, the P1 injects more space/blackness between instruments for much more lifelike proportions.

    P1 vs FLC Technology FLC8S

    FLC8S with the following filter choices: Clear ULF, Clear LF and Gold MF/HF
    This set up was chosen to give the FLC8 the most linear and neutral frequency response possible with the filter choices available. 


    The FLC8S bass extends very deep and is still strong at 30 Hz in this set up. It has very satisfying rumble and impact. Bass feels linear between mid and upper bass and finishes with a rise in sub bass. As a whole it feels a little enhanced over neutral. Bass texturing is very good and decay sounds natural. Overall the FLC8S bass presence is pleasing with a healthy sprinkle of fun. At first blush, overall bass levels of the P1 sound fairly similar to the FLC8S but upon closer inspection, the FLC8S has a good bit more rumble, while the P1bass feels fuller and richer. In overall bass speed, I’d give the nod to the P1 as it feels just a bit snappier.

    Both have fairly full bodied male vocals with the P1 being overall richer and fuller. The FLC8S is more pronounced in upper midrange presence, producing more energy for female vocals and, at times, can accentuate sibilance compared to the smoother P1. Where the FLC8 leans a bit more analytical, pushing details forward, the P1 produces more depth and vocal emotion. This same difference translates to the presentation of distortion guitars- the P1 has a thicker more robust guitar tone, and the FLC8S is slightly lighter and thinner but with cleaner overall note for more palpable rock guitar bite and crunch.

    While both treble presentations are crisp, the FLC8S produces more sparkle and air with greater presence in the mix. For the most, part the FLC8S treble remains fatigue free with the exception of some accentuated sibilance mentioned before. While the P1 can’t match this more open and airy sound, it remains smoother for a more laid back listen.

    The open and airy presentation of the FLC8S is above average in all directions with a very pleasing and open presentation. Even without the FLC8S sense of air, the P1 still sounds somehow larger. The sense of depth is more tangible, more three dimensional. The P1 puts more blackness between instruments, allowing the mind to expand the dimensions of the stage, giving more precise placement in space from front to back.

    P1 vs Jays Q-Jays (v2)

    The Q-Jays have a pretty large rise in deep bass with less mid and upper bass presence. In direct comparison, the Q-Jays bass sounds thinner in the upper end with less impact, but rumble is much more readily apparent. The dynamic driver of the P1 is more overt in texturing, displaying a more nuanced detailing in bass. It also has a more natural timbre and decay next to the slightly speedier dual balanced armatures of the Q-Jays.

    Male vocals on the Q-Jays sound thinner and recessed next to the P1 but they aren’t necessarily thin on their own. The Q-Jays contain good heft but overall just fall short in richness and intimacy when compared to the P1.  Female vocals also sound a bit thinner and more recessed next to the P1. The Q-Jays definitely sounds V shaped with a greater perception of clarity next to the meatier P1. If not worn deep enough, the Q-Jays can accentuate sibilance pretty strongly. With deeper fit it falls to more tolerable levels, although recordings with heavy sibilance are still a bit tough.

    The Q-Jays have quite a bit of treble presence. After it’s dip in the upper midrange, it begins a steady climb from about 5k all the way through a fairly large peak around 9k. Deeper fit helps to somewhat control the peaks but one needs to appreciate a brighter signature. Next to the P1, the Q-Jays treble is thinner and lighter in weight with the P1 sounding more balanced and even across it’s upper frequency response. Where the P1 is built for longer listening sessions the Q-Jays are built for excitement.

    The Q-Jays much brighter presentation, while airier and plenty wide, sounds overall flatter and smaller next to the P1. The P1 has much more space between instruments with a much greater and obvious sense of depth and height. While the Q-Jays are faster and more precise in stoping and starting, the P1’s reverberation and sense of ambiance is just simply more realistic in staging and imaging properties.

    P1 vs AKG N20

    The N20 has a slightly thinner bass presentation but with a sizable rise in sub bass. While mid bass is pretty quick, sub bass has extended decay and sounds a bit bloomier. This elevation and extended decay in sub bass make bass texturing a little less precise compared to the more even handed P1.

    N20 male vocals are very clear and very detailed, if perhaps just a hair on the thinner side. By comparison the P1 is slightly richer and weightier without sounding chesty or too deep. Despite sounding a little thinner, N20 male vocals are placed pretty similarly to the P1. Female vocals sound a little more forward on the N20 with more upper midrange attack for a lighter, more energetic presentation. The upper midrange energy is excellent with distortion rock guitars, and N20 forte, allowing them to soar and sizzle. In comparison female vocals on the P1 sound a weightier and less demanding; distortion rock guitars sound fuller, weightier and more grounded.

    The N20 has very good treble sparkle and energy without sounding piercing or sharp, injecting a sense of openness and air. While the N20 sounds brighter than the P1, the P1can sound crisper and sharper with some recordings. However, for most recordings, the P1sounds more laid back and relaxed in treble energy.

    While the N20 is in the realm of neutrality, it comes across as slightly U shaped next to the warmer and more even handed P1. This open and airy response gives the N20 a much wider presentation than it does in height and depth. By comparison, the P1 sounds more realistically proportioned and noticeably deeper with more space around instruments- the effect is a more overt holographic image.

    P1 vs PSB M4U-4

    The PSB is a more deep bass forward presentation with a steep rise below 100 dB. Overall bass quantity is somewhat similar with the P1 but is distributed quite differently. The bass of the P1 is more balanced and even between high, mid and low bass, whereas the PSB can sound lacking in mid bass punch next to it’s plentiful and extended deep rumble. The PSB bass is also bloomier and lingers a good bit longer than the more nimble P1. By comparison, bass texture is more revealing in the P1 and a bit more soft, yet more forward in the PSB.

    Male vocals on the PSB sound more forward than they do on the P1, however note weight is thinner. This difference in richness gives the P1 a more evocative performance, even if not quite as inmate sounding. Female vocals are also more forward on the PSB with greater upper midrange emphasis and energy. However, with this greater energy, there is also a hint of a metallic edge in the PSB, which can be heard in Lzzy Hale’s voice on Here’s To Us. Rock guitars are thinner and airier sounding with greater bite and crunch with the PSB, whereas the P1 presents those same guitars with as weightier, smoother and more grounded.

    The PSB gives plenty of treble sparkle, much more-so than the P1, yet remains fatigue free. An even bigger difference is in treble timbre and realism. The PSB can sound fairly metallic and tinny at times, especially with silicone tips. By comparison, the P1 treble is smoother and more natural sounding, if a bit subdued next to the livelier PSB.

    The PSB sounds wider left to right that it does in height and depth, with a slightly airy presentation. In contrast, the P1, while not as wide, sounds more evenly proportioned for a more life-like presentation. The difference in depth gives the P1 more precise placement in stage, as well as more separation between instruments.

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    CONCLUSION

    MEE Audio has brought a worthy replacement to the flagship spot in their line-up. While perhaps deviating a little further from a neutral frequency response, for a warmer, fuller, more commercially acceptable sound, the P1 brings substantial and impressive improvements to spacial and staging performance. The P1 is both a joy to use and listen to, as well as provide all the visual aesthetics a flagship should have. I believe MEE Audio has been successful in providing great bang for buck performance and value in a $199 in-ear and the Pinnacle P1 is something I can easily recommend.

    *Originally posted on CYMBACAVUM.

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