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

Rating:
4.725/5,
  1. Jackpot77
    Budget flagship or reference on a shoestring?
    Written by Jackpot77
    Published Jul 1, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Neutral but musical tuning, soundstage, expceptional clarity and detail for the price, high class metal build, accessories package
    Cons - Can lack bass for some
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    MEE Audio Pinnacle P1 – initial impressions
    Many thanks to @Tony-Hifi from HiFiHeadphones.co.uk for adding me to the UK tour for these earphones – the impressions below are based on the time I got to spend with the tour pair and also some previous experience I had with these a few months back (I used to own a pair I subsequently traded on but unfortunately lost my notes prior to putting up any impressions, so I am very grateful to Tony for enabling me to spend more time with the IEMs and rewrite my ramblings!).
    About me: newly minted audiophile, late 30s, long time music fan and aspiring to be a reasonably inept drummer. Listen to at least 2 hours of music a day on my commute to work – prefer IEMs for out and about, and a large pair of headphones when I have the house to myself and a glass in my hand. Recently started converting my library to FLAC and 320kbps MP3, and do most of my other listening through Spotify or Tidal HiFi. I am a fan of rock, acoustic (apart from folk) and sarcasm. Oh yeah, and a small amount of electronica. Not a basshead, but I do love a sound with some body to it. My ideal tuning for most IEMs and headphones tends towards a musical and slightly dark presentation, although I am not treble sensitive in general. Please take all views expressed below with a pinch of salt – all my reviews are a work in progress based on my own perceptions and personal preferences, and your own ears may tell you a different story.
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    Tech specs
    Driver: 10mm dynamic with copper-clad aluminium voice coil
    Frequency response: 20Hz – 20kHz
    Impedance: 50 Ohms at 1 kHz
    Sensitivity: 96dB +/- 3dB (1mW at 1kHz)
    Cable length: 1.3 m
    Connector type: MMCX
    Plug type: 3.5mm right angle
    Weight (earbuds): 13 grams
    Weight (including cables): 29 grams
     
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    Unboxing
    As a brand, MEE Audio have previously been known for their “bang for buck” audio equipment, concentrating mainly on the budget and sports headphones markets. The Pinnacle P1 is the company’s first entry into the mainstream audiophile bracket, and it is obviously a well-considered one as it has taken almost two years to come to fruition. The packaging is definitely a step into the luxury end of the market, with a glossy sleeve adorned with the product logo and hi-res pictures of the earbuds concealing a thick black cardboard box which opens from the centre like a children’s reading book to expose the contents within. The first things you see are a nice faux-leather carry case with an embossed metal logo and unique serial number, the two solid zinc earbuds sat above it in their own moulded foam cutout and two slim cardboard boxed containing eartips and cables (nicely labelled as such). The packaging is certainly on a par with some of the quality presentation employer by the mainstream “high end” consumer brands, and sets the tone nicely that these are a quality piece of merchandise.
    The accessories provided reinforce the impression of quality, with MEE Audio including two detachable cables, one thickly braided “audiophile grade” silver-plated OFC copper effort, and one thinner cable offering a microphone and standard cable controls. The audiophile cable is a magnificent effort, with a thick quad-braided cable which screams quality, and practically no cable memory or microphonics. The microphone cable is nothing to be ashamed of either, but fades into the background in both aesthetics and audio quality when compared to the “main” cable. I am not a massive cable believer, but there does appear to be a small but noticeable difference in the quality of the sound between the two cables (which may in part be due to the microphone and controls in the signal path of the audio on the thinner cable), and the fact that two are included as standard puts MEE Audio in the same bracket as firms like Trinity Audio and Nuforce in terms of the quality and quantity of accessories provided for their IEM packages.
    Completing the accessory “load-out”, there is a shirt clip (standard), a nice gold plated 6.3mm adaptor and a pretty comprehensive selection of flanged tips (single to triple) and three different sizes of Comply foam earbuds. It is an old adage that you don’t listen to the box, but when it is as nicely put together as this one, it does give you something pretty to look at while you are stuffing the contents into your ears.
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    Build quality and ergonomics
    As mentioned above, the cable provided is a high quality and thoughtfully designed piece of gear, so how does the rest of the package fare? Pretty well, in my opinion. The earbuds themselves are made of a solid zinc alloy, which the manufacturer claim has a higher impact resistance than aluminium but less weight than stainless steel, providing something that is tough enough to stand up to daily wear and tear without being uncomfortably heavy in the ear. The shape of the earbuds is also unusual, with a semi-teardrop design allowing for very snug fit in the bowl of the ear when worn with the cable up. The design also allows the Pinnacles to be worn with cable down as well (an intentional design feature, and an option that is all too often missing in higher-end in ear monitoring solutions). This will mean that the left and right cables will need to be switched, but as MEE Audio opted for a standard MMCX connection, this is easy enough to do on the move. When worn over the ear, the comfort level is excellent, with a reasonably deep fitting and the solid metal housing allowing the IEMs to block out a high amount of outside noise. In fact, isolation is easily on par with the Aurisonics “hybrid fit” 3D printed shells on their ASG and Bravo series, which claim to block out around 25 dBs of ambient noise, easily enough to sit in comfort on public transport or in a room with someone else’s choice of music playing without being distracted from the wonderful sounds being produced. Wearing the buds in “straight down” configuration makes the fit a little more shallow in the ear, with the stem running straight down and stopping the bud completely blocking the concha. With Comply tips (my preferred choice on these for both sound and comfort), they still offer plenty of isolation, and do allow those who aren’t fans of brain-violating insertion depth to wear these in a less invasive manner.
    The cable responds well to being worn in either manner, with zero in the way of microphonics when worn over-ear, and only a small amount of cable noise (easily removed by use of the attached shirt clip) when wearing straight. The Y-split and the 3.5mm plug are both made from sturdy plastic and look built to last, and the cable-cinch is also a robust plastic effort, adding to the classy overall look of the package. In terms of wearing comfort, I have been able to wear these for multiple hours with no irritation or discomfort, the secure fit and solid weight of the buds keeping the Pinnacles anchored through general day to day wear and also more energetic pursuits. Overall, these are a very well thought out set of in-ear monitors, showing as much detail in the design and usability of the product as in the sound itself.
    Sound quality
    Test gear:
    LG G Flex 2 (via Neutron Player)
    Xperia Z3 Compact (via Neutron Player)
    Cayin C5 amp
    Sansa Clip+ (Rockboxed)
    Microsoft Surface Pro 2 (straight from the output jack)
    Main test tracks (mainly 320kbps MP3 or FLAC/Tidal HiFi):
    Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats – S.O.B. / Wasting Time
    Blackberry Smoke – The Whipporwill (album)
    Slash – Shadow Life / Bad Rain (my reference tracks for bass impact and attack, guitar “crunch”)
    Slash & Beth Hart – Mother Maria (vocal tone)
    Richie Kotzen – Come On Free (bass tone)
    Elvis – various
    Leon Bridges – Coming Home (album)
    Daft Punk – Random Access Memories (album)
    Rudimental – various
    Rodrigo y Gabriela – various
    Mavis Staples – Livin’ On A High Note
    Foy Vance – The Wild Swan
    ZZ Top – La Futura
    Chris Stapleton – Chris Stapleton
    Maroon 5 – Songs About Jane
    The Winery Dogs – The Winery Dogs
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    General impressions on the sound signature
    As a single dynamic driver in the $200 price bracket, I was expecting quite a cohesive presentation and musical rather than analytical sound, and the Pinnacle delivers this in spades, utilising some unusual technological tricks in the process. The driver used is a proprietary design, with a copper clad voice coil being used to decrease the overall mass of the driver and increase the speed of the driver response. The housing itself has also been designed to shape the sound, with an acoustic diffuser being used inside the shell to enhance the accuracy and detail of the treble without increasing the overall sharpness of the sound. This all leads to a sound that is richer and more balanced than you would expect from a single dynamic driver, with a nice fullness to the bass and great extension to the higher range without any undue bias at either end. Musical neutrality is probably the best way I can think to describe it, with a delicacy of note and detail to the presentation that puts many multi-BA designs in higher price brackets to shame. The tone is quite smooth throughout the frequencies without losing any detail, and is firmly in the “non-fatiguing” bracket when put through extended listening sessions. Overall width and depth of the soundstage are impressive as well, with MEE’s claims of enhanced spatial cues (due to the acoustic diffuser) also holding true with more complex passages of music. Overall, a very smooth and sophisticated sound, and thoroughly enjoyable as well.
    Highs
    The highs on the Pinnacle are an interesting mix of extension and smoothness, with plenty of detail thrown in just for good measure. There is a natural feeling to the presentation that manages to keep the detail and sparkle as it rises through the frequency spectrum, but smooths off just before you hit any screeching or sibilance with most sources. There is a good sense of space and air around the high notes, with cymbals crashing in a very organic manner and lingering just long enough in the back of the ear to sound real. Putting my usual high end testers through their paces, Slash and Myles Kennedy both came out with reputations enhanced, the Pinnacles retaining the soaring majesty of Mr Kennedy’s voice and Mr Hudson’s wailing guitar solos on tracks like “Starlight” without causing either to grate on the listener. Playing some Maroon 5, the silky smoothness of Adam Levine’s voice is well represented, gliding above the music with ease. Despite the smoothness, the detail levels for a single dynamic driver are very impressive, giving the sort of insight into some tracks that you would only expect from something a fair bit higher up the audiophile food chain, throwing micro-details and nuances into the air around some of my higher resolution like a very enthusiastic aunt tossing confetti at a family wedding.  The detailed treble provides an excellent sense of openness to the sound, giving it the feel of playing inside a room with higher than normal ceilings (in my head, anyway).
    Mids
    In keeping with the neutral overall tone, the mid range on the Pinnacle P1s is neither overly forward or recessed, with just a little bit of bite in the upper-midrange to add a little flavour to an otherwise flat sound. To say it is flat is not to say the mids are boring or lifeless, however – guitars and snare drums sound excellent on the Pinnacle, with plenty of energy and crunch when required, and more silky smoothness when a laid back tone is required. Listening to “Shadow Life” by Slash, the guitar takes on a life of its own, the fast paced riffing chopping the song into a constant rhythm of punch and counter-punch and emphasising the dynamics of the track excellently. The “bite” I talked about is most apparent in the vocal presentation, which seems to lean just a little further forward than the rest of the sound, as if the singer was a little closer on-stage than the backing band. I am a fan of mid-centric sounds like the Aurisonics ASG range so this tuning personally works well for me – as mentioned, the overall tuning is close enough to neutral not to alienate the vast majority of listeners out there, though. Another memorable aspect of the mid-range is the amount of detail the P1s retain, with guitars again one of the main beneficiaries. Complex guitar passages (both acoustic a la Rodrigo y Gabriela and electric a la Metallica) allow the listener to follow each thread with ease, and retain the small sounds of fingers sliding between frets and the deadened harmonics on the guitar strings to flesh out the main riffs very nicely. Electronic music also fares well with these IEMs, with the out of head presentation helping the pulsating synths and trumpet of Rudimental’s “Feel The Love” fill the listeners brain with the music, placing you right in the middele of the performance. The excellent separation of the P1 driver comes to the fore here, with the stage remaining uncongested no matter how many instruments are added. The overall sound feels tilted ever so slightly towards “warm” in my ears, but this is just an after-impression I get when listening to these rather than anything massively noticeable when they are actually in my ears.
    Bass
    The bass on the Pinnacle is the area that some people on the forums here find most contentious, with some bemoaning the lack of sub-bass and extension and others commenting that there is a little too much low end to be considered truly neutral. In my personal opinion, both of those statements carry an element of truth – the Pinnacle does have a bass presence that feels on the full side of neutral, and never lacking to my ears. In terms of extension, it doesn’t extend quite as deep as some IEMs I have heard in this price bracket, and would never be described (by me at least) as a sub-bass monster. There is a nice mid-bass thump to proceedings that is more than enough to get most tracks kicking along nicely, with plenty of detail and tone to flesh out the notes. Listening to “Bad Rain” by Slash, the textured bass line that holds the song together can still get my toes tapping, even if this is more of a musically neutral take on it than something more bass heavy like the Aurisonics ASG 2.5 is able to provide. Switching to Sister Hazel, the oozing bassline of “Hello, It’s Me” still retains enough liquidity and thickness to coat the lower reaches of the song properly, filling around the snap of the snare drums and crunch of the guitars nicely. Drums are particularly well represented on this track, with the bass drum pounding along with a good sense of impact and speed, working as a good counterpoint to the smoother bass. The general speed of the notes in the lower ranges are excellent for a dynamic driver, with an excellent sense of liveliness and energy running throughout. “Elevate” by The Winery Dogs is handled with aplomb, Mike Portnoy’s (not he of Head-Fi fame, the other guy) pulsating drum fills rolling around the back of the soundstage behind your ears with precision, keeping each drum head impact separate and distinct in the barrage of notes. This IEM could never be described as a basshead’s dream, and may be lacking enough sub-bass to be truly satisfying if all you listen to is EDM, but there is more than enough presence in the lower end of the spectrum to stop the P1s from sounding lean, pushing them more into the natural / musical bracket for bass presentation without getting too warm or sloppy, so this works perfectly well for me.
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    Soundstage/separation
    Soundstage is definitely larger than normal for an IEM in this price bracket, with the overall resolution of the sound helping drive the staging out from your head in all directions. Separation and layering are also top-notch, with the single dynamic driver able to keep multiple layers of music separate and distinct from each other, both in location and clarity. Listening to “Magnify” by The Temperance Movement, the track has two duelling guitars on either side of the soundstage which trail each other slightly throughout the first section of the song, which is captured perfectly by the Pinnacles. Each guitar is distinct and placed at the periphery of your head, bringing the simulated echo into focus sharply and allowing your brain to pick out the slight (and intentional) differences between the guitar licks on each side. This track also has some dense harmonies in the chorus, which the P1 does a good job of pulling apart just far enough to register as well as the guitar work. With some IEMs that have such excellent separation, some of the musicality of the song can be lost as the instruments are dissected and analysed – the Pinnacle does a good job of stopping short of that, staying just inside the musical side of the border.
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    Isolation
    The all-metal construction and ear-filling fit both combine to give these IEMs a higher than normal isolation compared to a “normal” dynamic driver IEM. Even with the mandatory venting in the shell that usually compromises a dynamic driver earphone compared to the fully sealed shells of most balanced armature IEMs, the Pinnacle are up in my top 3 best isolators out of all universal in-ear ‘phones that I have tried. Adding Comply foam tips on top (my preferred tip for these due to comfort and the slightly warmer tonality) and these are IEMs that could quite easily get you run over by a dump truck full of cackling hyenas without giving you the slightest hint they were nearby, so please bear that in mind if you intend to use these for running or cycling (or around cackling hyenas with access to large transport machinery).
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    Amping
    Unusually for an IEM in this bracket, the impedance is set at a whopping 50 Ohms. Allied to the lower than average sensitivity, this means that these earphones were designed to take more power than average (it even suggests this on MEE Audio’s website). It is possible to run these perfectly well out of a smartphone, but please be aware that to get decent listening volumes (even factoring in the excellent isolation), you are likely to need to run these far closer to maximum volume than other earphones you may be used to using. With amping through smaller solutions like the Fiio E6 or more punchy options like the Cayin C5, the Pinnacle does respond very well to the extra juice, bringing slightly more detail and depth to the presentation and taking on any sound characteristics of the amp very well. These are IEMs that don’t strictly need to be amped, but will respond in kind if you do have the equipment to really pour some power through them.
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    Comparisons
    Lear NS-U1 Natrosound – this is a dual-dynamic setup which plays in a roughly similar price bracket so I have included it for reference. The tonality of the NS-U1 in either of the sound modes it offers (normal or “Natrosound”) provides a slightly warmer and more bass-driven sound, with a very wide soundstage and more extreme L/R separation of the individual instruments in the default mode. In terms of highs, the Pinnacle wins on smoothness and extension, with a greater impression of clarity than the NS-U1, but certainly not totally outclassing the very capable dynamic drivers in the Lear product. In the mid-range, the NS-U1 provides a warmer and slightly thicker sound with the Natrosound engaged, as compared to the more neutral and detailed soundscape of the P1 – neither are markedly superior, but the P1 pulls slightly ahead for me for my personal preferences with the excellent tone and separation, and the “crunchiness” of guitar based music. In terms of soundstage, the NS-U1 can feel a little bit laterally stretched sometimes when not playing in Natrosound mode, compared to the similarly wide but more real sounding stage presented by the P1. In Natrosound mode, the NS-U1 brings the music more in front of the user (attempting to mimic the sound field of a set of speakers set in front of the listener) – this provides a more “live gig” feel than the P1 for certain music, with the Pinnacles presenting a more classically IEM-sounding musical presentation centred around the confines of your head. Comfort is easily won by the very ergonomic P1 shells, as the NS-U1 share the same shell size as some 12-driver custom IEMs, without the accompanying custom fit. Overall, unless you are looking for the Natrosound feature, the P1s represent a more classical (and better executed) take on the dynamic driver sound for this price range.
    Echobox Finder X1 – This IEM is another filter based contender to the sub-$200 crown, with excellent build quality and a sharp “audiophile” U-shaped tuning across all three filters. Using the “bass” filter as my preferred reference, the overall character of the Finders is thinner and edgier than the smooth and fuller tuning of the P1, with the Finders having more bass slam but a more textured and colder lower end compared to the smoother and slightly fuller sounding P1. The P1 has a more neutral shape, with more fullness through the midrange and less sharpness up top – if you are a fan of crystal clear treble then the Finders will offer a more “treble-head” tuning in any of the filter configurations compared to the smooth and clear take of the P1s. Neither IEM exhibit any pronounced sibilance, so this will be purely down to personal preference, to be fair. The warmth of the sound on the P1 does make vocal harmonies and guitar parts seem a little fuller than on the Finder, with a larger soundstage as well. Even though the Finders have a slightly smaller soundstage, spatial cues are actually slightly more pronounced due to the thinner body of the mid-range, with both IEMs excellent at providing a sense of where each note is coming from. Detail is similar across both, with neither lacking in terms of micro-details. One point of difference is the percussion presentation, with the Finders providing more “boom” at the expense of some of the spatial positioning (soundstage coming very much into play here), with the P1s providing a more spread out and less thudding take on the backing beat. Cymbals are also more pronounced on the Finder, with the sharper treble tuning making these sizzle and splash with more energy than the more muted take of the P1. Ergonomics and build quality are a draw – the Finders are made of solid titanium and come with a cable (non removable) that would put the Linum BaX into a Weightwatchers program while still feeling strong enough to pull a truck, so no easy win for the P1s on that score. Overall, another close call – if you are after a sharper U shaped tuning with some laser-etched high notes, the Finder will pull ahead, losing out to the P1s if you are after a warmer and more neutral offering.
    Trinity Phantom Sabre – The latest offering from the growing stable of IEMs being produced by British manufacturer Trinity Audio, the Phantom Sabres are another dual dynamic driver setup, but this time set up in a push/pull configuration. The Sabres are a tuneable IEM, with multiple filters providing “manual EQ” options to control the frequency response. Using the orange and gold filters (orange being slightly V shaped and gold being more neutral), the Sabres have a bigger bass presence than the P1, with more slam to kick drums and more sub-bass extension, and using the gold filter (the neutral tuning most similar to the P1) there is still a nice bump in bass impact compared to the P1. The soundstage is similar in size, with the P1s offering the larger of the two, and giving a little more of an “out of head” feeling overall. The spatial cues on both IEMs are excellent, with the slightly larger soundstage of the P1 being noticeable here, but overall direction and “feel” are very similar. One area where the Sabre surprised me vs the P1 was separation of vocal harmonies, giving a slightly better feel of multiple voices in the same range working together compared to the P1, which seems to “blend” things a little closer together. Detail wise, both are excellent, with the push/pull dynamic drivers on the Sabre extracting a similar detail level to the single DD of the P1. The Sabres are considerably easier to drive, requiring approximately 25% less power through my usual sources to attain the same volume levels. Build quality and ergonomics are similar, with the Sabres offering an all-aluminium build compared to the zinc of the P1s, with similar quality detachable cabling and tip layouts. These are two pretty evenly matched IEMs – the Sabre offers more sound tweaking options and a slightly more aggressive “base” tuning compared to the smoother P1 (and different insertion lengths on the filters for those who need a shallower or deeper fit), and is also slightly cheaper overall at current exchange rates. The P1 offers a smoother and more spacious and refined sounding basic tuning, but neither would be a poor choice in this price bracket so again, this will be down to tuning preference as to which will work best for each listener.
    FLC8S – These are technically in the next pricing bracket up at c. $350 new, but can be picked up second hand for a close enough price to be worth comparing. The FLC8S has 36 different tuning configurations, so for clarity I am comparing them using my preferred tuning of red-black-gold with Comply comfort tips. As a starting point, the FLC8S is considerably easier to drive from a mobile source than the more power hungry P1, although it can scale in a similar way if given more juice. The filter choice I use allows for more sub-bass and mid-bass presence, giving a slightly deeper “feel” to some music due to the rounding out of the low frequencies. The gold filter on the FLC8S has a slightly more liquid midrange presentation with vocals than the P1, although the P1 comes close enough to make it purely a preference call over which presentation you prefer. The mid range is also slightly thicker and less airy sounding on the P1s, with less air and a little more substance. In the high frequencies, there is a less “crystalline” sound up top for the Pinnacle P1, sounding more laid back and diffuse than the sharper and airier sound coming from the FLC8S. The FLC is overall a slightly more forward sounding IEM than the Pinnacle, pushing the music closer to the listener for a “larger than life” presentation compared to the Pinnacle’s more laid back and neutral positioning. Build quality is won by the solid zinc shells and rope-like cable of the P1s – the plastic shells of the FLC (while very ergonomic) don’t give off the same feel of durability or class, and the cable is an order of magnitude lower in terms of quality. Overall, the FLC8S wins out for my personal preferences, but on a technical level, both are very well matched, with neither having a massive advantage over the other in everything apart from sub-bass capability/overall tuning flexibility.
    Campfire Audio Nova – these are in a higher price bracket again (RRP is currently $500), so not really a like for like comparison. The reason I include these is for the tuning of the Nova, which is intentionally more “real” than technical or analytical, so it shares enough similarity in design philosophy for me to include here. The Nova has a much darker tuning, with less air in the treble and a thicker overall sound. Once you have adjusted to the darker tuning of the Nova, the detail level is similar, with a great feel of substance and clarity through the midrange down into the bass. The Nova has a thicker bass fundament than the P1, but rolls off only a little further down than the P1 when reaching down into the sub-bass registers. In terms of source, the Nova is much easier to drive, reaching the same volume as the P1 with less than half the output of any source I have hitcvhed it up to. The whole sound of the Nova is thicker and more rooted in a real/live presentation sound, compared to the P1’s neutral and spacious presentation, which will appeal more to fans of a lighter and more neutral sound. Soundstage has similar width in my head, with the P1 winning slightly on overall size. The midrange tuning of the Nova (reminiscent in some ways of the Audioquest Nighthawk) can sound “veiled” when switching directly between the Nova and the P1 until your brain readjusts. Overall, the P1 sounds cleaner, with a less thick and more refined sound. Build quality is won by the Novas, with the solid aluminium shells and high end cabling and case just pulling ahead of the P1s in terms of design and feel, as you would expect from an IEM costing 2.5x as much. The signatures are far more different than they are similar, so lovers of one would not necessarily love the other, but the easiest way to describe them is to say that the Nova has a dash of realism you get used to over time and come to admire, whereas with the P1 enjoyment is instant as it is more of a conventional “audiophile” tuning. In that regard, I would feel comfortable saying that a fan of the Nova would probably appreciate the Pinnacle, but a fan of the Pinnacle may not necessarily like the tuning of the Nova.
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    Overall conclusion
    This was an interesting review to write for me, as this is my second “bite” at the Pinnacle. Being honest, my thoughts on the IEM the first time around were mixed between admiration of the technical prowess and a little indifference towards the overall neutrality of the sound. A few months (and multiple IEMs) down the road, and the technical admiration remains, but the  apathy I felt towards the tuning has been replaced with an appreciation for just how enjoyable it can be with certain types of music, and just how many genres of music can sound good when these are the gateway. Those looking for a more aggressive tuning in either bass or treble can find other IEMs more fitting to their preferences in the same price bracket, but if a technically excellent and smooth sound with just enough warmth in the mid-range and mid-bass substance to get it kicked out of the “true neutral” members club is what you are after, you will have to spend considerably more cash to get something that gives you the same experience as the P1. At this price point, this truly is a prince amongst in-ear monitors, and MEE Audio should be applauded for bringing something this good to the masses at a price this low. One final point on the rating – I have given this IEM 5 stars, but if someone asked me to rate this based on my personal preferences, it would probably come in at a 4 or 4.5 in my own internal scorechart – my preference for slightly warmer and darker tuning stops this from being 100% endgame material for me personally, but I can’t fault what MEE have achieved here (let alone for the price), so 5 stars is the appropriate rating to give.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Deftone
      Good read, nice work!
      Deftone, Jul 1, 2016
    3. pedronet
      Great review :D
      pedronet, Jul 1, 2016
    4. flognarde
      Thank you for the review. When I hear "Can lack bass for some" I know it's the proper amount, at least for non electronic musics !
      flognarde, Jul 2, 2016
  2. avitron142
    Truly a 5 Star Product!
    Written by avitron142
    Published Jun 21, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Soundstage, Overall SQ, Impressive Packaging, Premium Cables, Great Fit/Comfort, Build Quality, Genre Versatility, Zero Hiss.
    Cons - Not extremely easy to drive at 50 Ohms, No memory wire sometimes makes over-ear fit less than ideal.
    Introduction:
     
    There’s a certain thrill I get when I see the term “flagship”. The best a company has to offer, its very own premium, crème de la crème product. When it comes to sound quality, it’s the place we want to go to satisfy the perfectionist side of us all.
     
    …But there’s also the feeling of “I can’t possibly afford this.” For some, that isn’t an issue – they have the finances to buy whatever they want. But what about the rest of us though?
     
    Luckily, in recent years, there have been some outstanding products that joined the audio market, and those enabled us to get good (very good, IMO) sound for an affordable amount. You’re able to get a very decent open-back headphone home setup for under $200, fantastic portable amps for ~$100, and even DAPs have come a long way to show us that price isn’t always an indicator of sound quality – the Shozy Alien and Aune M2 are good examples of this.
     
    But none of those are flagships. They are very good products, and well worth their price in my eyes, but they aren’t “the very best”. That’s a trade-off I think most of us have gotten used to though.
     
    Then I saw the Pinnacle P1. I thought the price was a mistake – I mean, when do flagship models cost $200? Looking at some of the specs, impressions, and accessories, it all seemed to check out.  I was a bit puzzled about that price tag though - So I asked MEE for a pair to review, to see what all the hype’s about. Is it another giant killer? I wanted to know. Here’s the rundown.
     
    By the time you get to the end of this review, it should be pretty obvious that MEE Audio did a fantastic job engineering their first high-end headphone - really, I don't know how they could have done a better job.   
    I'd like to thank Mike Jones, the marketing director from MEE Audio for providing me with a sample of the Pinnacle P1, and for bearing with me during all the delays. I truly enjoyed writing this review (all three times, hard drive failure is a wonderful thing), and am eager to see what they do next. 
     
    Packaging:
     
    Unboxing the P1 was quite interesting - more so than other products I've reviewed. The front cover shows a great shot of the headphone, and the sides and back filled with useful information about the P1 itself, including impedance, sensitivity, length, included accessories, and more. So many times I’ve found specifications to be shoddy or hard to find; it’s good to see MEE Audio print it out neatly on the cover sleeve for it to be easily found.
     
    After taking off the sleeve, you are met with a hard, black rectangular box. One thing that sticks out about this is that the split, or break, is not at the side of the box, but smack in the middle of it. My initial reaction was that it might be complicated to open up the box, but I was wrong – just flip both sides up, and you’re good to go. This sophisticated packaging impressed me: usually it’s the same old “open the box up”. This time it was a new take on that principle.
     
    After opening up the box, you are greeted by the P1’s in a foam cutout, a leather case, and two small boxes on the bottom; one for the cables, and the other for eartips. These are clearly labeled, and are arranged in a very neat fashion.
     
    Underneath the foam cutout is a ¼ inch adapter, shirt clip, and manual.
     
    Overall? A thrilling experience. I’m not one to get excited for packaging, but this is truly a flagship-status unboxing. Professional, unique, neat… honestly, I don’t think I could fault the presentation in any way. Well done.
     
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    Accessories:
     
    Quite a few to speak of, actually. Starting with the leather case I mentioned earlier, it feels well made, premium, and one of the nicest looking cases I’ve seen, period. It flips open via a magnetic cover, and has a velvety interior. On the front is a polished metal piece with the serial number and “Pinnacle” name etched in. Words don’t really do this justice; it’s a fantastic looking case, and has enough room to comfortably fit the P1 and its cable. They also fit well in dress pants pockets – in other words, they’re “pocketable” as long as you aren’t wearing jeans. It isn’t a hard case though, so don’t go around stomping on it.
     
    Moving on to the eartips - there’s a large assortment of them. They’re arranged in the box by size, so there’s no concerns over mixing them up and the like. There’s small/medium/large pairs of regular silicone, two sets of bi-flange, one set of tri-flange, and three sets of Comply foam tips.
     
    I’m surprised that MEE Audio got this one right – usually, I have to recommend a more diverse set of tips. Here though, they spared no effort to provide tips that are perfect for the consumer. It’s rare enough to see one pair of Comply with headphones at this price, but three? That’s above and beyond what MEE had to do, and it’s well appreciated.  I’m also always lamenting the lack of bi-flange and tri-flange tips, and these were provided as well. Well done – tips are quite important, and getting this right is essential to enjoying the earphones.
     
    The ¼ inch adapter and shirt clip is quite welcome; these are standard in most headphones nowadays and seeing them here is a good sign.
     
    The cables are the last sign of accessories, and the biggest surprise as well. Out of the box you get two cables, one black and the other silver. That isn’t the end of it, though – these cables are premium in materials too. The longer one is a 4-conductor copper cable with an in-line remote and mic, and the shorter one a silver plated pure copper audio cable. I found the in-line mic cable to be quite useful, despite the P1’s high impedance. Since the P1 still performs reasonably well with smartphones and other low-power options (more on that later), I feel the mic was a good addition.
     
    These aren’t just specs though – silver plated cables are considered quite prestigious, and run for quite a bit of money – many cost more than the P1 itself. Getting such a high-quality cable in (what the audiophiles call) a ‘mere’ $200 headphone is absolutely amazing. Companies rarely dare to include a silver-plated cable, because it will definitely raise costs.
     
    Here though, once again, we see that MEE hasn’t spared any time or materials because of raised costs – and they managed to keep their flagship headphone at a very attractive price. Build quality and looks are fantastic, but I’ll hold myself back and save it for the next section. Suffice it to say that these look 100% boss, and I’ve rarely seen cables such as these that are such eye candy. Sound quality of both are excellent, with the silver-plated cable obviously being somewhat better. I’m surprised to see that the first premium cable I’ve encountered wasn’t from an $800 or even $500 headphone; it was from a $200 package – the type that most entitled audiophiles would scoff at for being ‘budget’ priced.
     
    The accessories here should be a reference point for most companies. There aren’t any unneeded parts or pieces, and the choice of tips and cables make it easy to discard searching for aftermarket versions of either. While I didn’t see ear fins, hooks, or tuning rings, I personally think it doesn’t need any of them, as the comfort, stability, and sound quality are more than enough on their own.
     
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    Build Quality, Design, & Weight:
     
    The housing of the P1 seems to be brushed zinc alloy. What does this mean? Well, from appearances alone, it looks almost as if it was polished and brushed; a non-reflective shade of metal that is appealing to the eyes. The "brushing" effect is equal throughout the entire housing, and there are no weak or unattended spots. In the middle of each housing, there is a clear "M" (or 'w' if you're looking at it upside down) for MEE audio. Normally I would say that the housing space would better go to L/R markings, but as the ergonomics of the P1 make it easy to tell which side is which, there is no need for that.
     
    The housing shape is somewhat bean-shaped, not too unlike those of Westone, but with a few shape differences. The nozzle portrudes from the housing, but doesn't take much space, and looks completely natural with the tips on. The shells have a good heft to them, but aren't heavy - there's just enough weight to them to know they are solid materials.
     
    The housing connects to the cable via standard MMCX, which means any cable of the type should fit without any issue. I don't see why you would want to though, short of breaking - the included cables, as mentioned before, are one of the best included ones I've seen, regardless of price. However, it is good to know that if both of them break (unlikely scenario), or you have a specific cable you'd like to use instead, that is a welcome option.
     
    The connection itself is very durable - no wiggling at all. It isn't hard to remove the cable though - I was able to remove it with a bit of effort, and I've had trouble removing other manufacturer's cables. It was not, however, "easy" in the sense that it is flimsy. It is a solid connection, and I think they've made just the right amount of pressure able to remove the cable.
     
    Both cables are thick, yet flexible. I don't have much patience for stiff cables, and I'm glad to say the P1 has none. It does not have memory wire near the connector, as it can be worn both wire up and wire down. Both are very comfortable as I'll mention later, but it's enough to say here that memory wire is not needed in wire up position when sitting or regular walking. When jogging or fast walking, I found the silver plated cable to be a bit difficult to keep behind my ear. But even the "thick" cables cause no issues with my glasses, nor the back of my ears - despite hours of wearing.
     
    The L/R markings on the connector is a bit hard to see, and I don't pity those that like to switch between wire-down and wire-down; connecting it again correctly can be a chore. The wire is thinner above the Y-split, but is still twisted all the way down to the Y-split, and is braided quite nicely. The P1 has a nice weight to them, showing some heft but not enough to be “heavy”. I’ve had no issues with the P1 being too heavy or anything of that sort, so I’d say it’s a job well done in this regard.
     
    Overall, the build quality is solid, and the brushed metal looks great as well. Unlike some other IEM's, the P1 looks its price, if not more so.
     
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    Comfort, Fit, & Isolation:
     
    I’ll get straight to it; the comfort of this IEM is phenomenal. I’ve worn IEMs that are designed to be unobtrusive, and supposed to disappear when worn. The P1 has all that in spades – I usually wear it wire-down, and after 10 hours of continuous wearing, I never once needed to adjust it, to move it around, or anything of that sort to get a good fit. On top of that, after all that time, my ears didn’t even feel sore or tired – the most common symptoms even comfortable earphones cause.
     
    Fit is the same – excellent; not shallow or deep, but easy enough to remove when necessary, unlike the Westone W40 which was a hassle to insert and remove. Even so, it stays in your ears despite vigorous shaking, head-tilting, or anything else which would indicate the fit is too loose. Isolation is also above average with a quiet background; with music playing, it isolates quite well.
     
    Sound:
     
    When I first listened to the P1, my first reaction was surprise - I was taken aback by how expansive and large the soundstage was. My primary complaint in IEM's are usually about how claustrophobic they feel, seriously limiting the enjoyment I can get compared to a roomy feel that an open-back can supply. The P1 remedies all that.
     
    Many called the P1 "bright", but I haven't heard any of that. In a nutshell, the P1 isn't analytical, yet isn't sloppy like other IEM's which call their sound signature "fun" and "tuned for ___". The P1 has a very slightly warm feel, good detail, and a soundstage that is large enough to make you forget you're listening to an IEM. These aren't the end of the P1's strength’s, however.
     
    Bass: The bass is rich and musical, and is quite enjoyable actually. Quantity-wise, it's only slightly above neutral - I don't like a bass boost, and the P1 doesn't give you that. However, what they do give is quality - there's a richness and fullness about it that is hard to explain, but easy to appreciate.
     
    The levels between the lower, mid, and upper bass seem to be both consistent and natural - I haven't noticed any significant roll-off in the sub-bass, but I've said the same about the HE400S as well, so I may not be the greatest judge of that. What I can assure you though is that there is no mid-bass "bump" that too many other IEM's are famous for.
     
    Despite its rich and 'full' feeling, it is quite clear, and doesn't bleed into the rest of the spectrum in any way. Texture is great, and detail is good as well. It isn't as quick as the bass in IEM's three times the asking price, but honestly, I only realized that after A/B comparisons, and it isn't evident from the P1 alone in any way.
     
    Comparisons will come later, but with regards to this section, the Titan 5 is DUNU's shot at perfecting the bass department. While the Titan 5 has much more bass quantity, and is quite enjoyable as well, the P1 with its rich bass is much more preferable to me, despite it having less bass overall. This should show how you don't need an extremely elevated bass to enjoy it - even slightly above neutral, when done well, can give fantastic results.
     
    Midrange: The mids sit in a nice spot. Female vocals are extremely clear with a good source… and I mean clear. It’s not the best IEM I’ve heard for vocals, since the insane amount of detail and clarity is just short of the full emotion and heart female vocals should ultimately have. They’re bloody good though, and whether I listen to Diana Krall, Celine Dion, Rebecca Pidgeon, or even Beyonce, I’m amazed by the amount of clarity the P1 can produce. Male vocals are quite nice as well, sounding natural and detailed too. Upper registers can sound fatiguing with music not recorded very well, so it’s best to feed it tracks mastered well.
     
    Guitars sound great, detailed and accurate. Pianos too – except that with a brighter source, it leans towards the brighter side of things. Cellos sound smooth and detailed, and overall, instruments sound fantastic with the P1. In general, I found instrumental tracks to be excellent with the P1.
     
    Highs: Honestly, I expected after burn-in that this would be bright. I'm just not hearing any of that though - the highs are present, there, but not any more so than the bass and mids. If anything, the highs are presented in such a way that it isn't the star of the show, but a coherent part of the spectrum. Listening to violin concertos, drum solos, and even Lindsey Sterling, the highs remained present. Detailed enough, airy enough, but not overflowing with either one, perhaps with the exception of some very satisfying drum tracks.
     
    And that's the way it probably should be. Some people like bright signatures, sure. But to divide each part of the spectrum equally, without too much of a push towards a specific category, that allows you to appreciate the music in its entirety, without feeling fatigued or the need to take a break. Paired with even a bright source, the P1 remains very listenable.
     
    Clarity: The P1 is great in this category. It isn't either warm or cold, but if I had to pick a side it's closer too, it leans towards the warmer, rich side of things. Despite this, it definitely doesn't lack in clarity, but it probably won't wow you on first glance either – with the exception of the mids with a more analytical source. Clarity takes a big leap forward with a good source.
     
    Detail & Extension: Both are excellent in this IEM. These also take the biggest hit when listening to a source that doesn't drive these well - straight out of a lower-end smartphone these will sound good, but not fantastic when it comes to details. When listening through even a portable DAC/amp, it's raised to another level. Paired with the very detailed and semi-bright DacAmp One, the level of details were mind-boggling - directly contesting against even TOTL IEMs.
     
    Soundstage: Tremendous. Absolutely tremendous. The roomy feeling you get from these is not like an IEM at all – until a few days ago, I would have said this scale was only possible in open-backs. Using the P1 to watch a movie is like upgrading to a full 7 channel surround speaker system – the sense of space you get makes the experience ten times more realistic.
     
    And that’s from a smartphone, without the P1 even being driven properly. With a proper DAC/amp, the difference is then compounded. Music becomes a lot more enjoyable when you have a lot of “legroom,” so to speak, a lot like flying first class. One of the biggest complaints against IEMs is the lack of soundstage, or the claustrophobic feeling you get in comparison to an open-back. This resolves that complaint single handedly – I don’t know what they did here, but well done. Well done indeed.
     
    These are in another league compared to most other IEM’s. ‘Nuff said.
     
    Imaging: So if the soundstage is the crowning glory of the P1, what about the imaging? The imaging is spot on, provided that you have a good source and source files. I am easily able to tell where each instrument or voice is coming from, and in many cases it makes for a surreal experience.
     
    Instrument Separation: I’m able to pick apart each part of the track, and focus on it quite easily. While it may not be as good as the DN-2000J in this regard, it’s certainly not lacking in any way, and for the vast majority of even audiophiles, the separation it provides should be more than enough.
     
    Coherency & Flow: Despite having an excellent amount of detail, and fantastic soundstage, the P1 is quite the musical IEM. As such, the coherency is excellent, with every part of the frequency flowing together, and it’s actually extremely easy to get lost in the music. PraT is very good, and even as I’m writing this I’m having trouble – I keep on getting distracted by the P1 and how great the music sounds.
     
    Immersion Factor: As I mentioned before, excellent, and quite a surprise for what is a resolving IEM. It’s easy to get lost in the music, yet at the same time I’m appreciating every part of the song. The soundstage makes everything sound that much better, and overall listening to music on the P1 is an immersive experience, provided that you have a good source.
     
    Transparency: Despite having its own signature, I’ve found the P1 to take on many of the characteristics of its source. If you have a warm source, the P1 will sound quite warm. If you have an analytical source, the P1 will be loaded with details. It will also not mask a bright source, but it does make it a bit more tame.
     
    Genre Recommendation: I’m sure the P1 is here to ruin my job – despite weeks of testing, I haven’t found anything the P1 isn’t good with. I’ve gone from hardcore EDM to Jazz, Electric Swing to Rock, anything with male vocals to anything with female vocals to solo piano, guitar to game soundtracks to anime soundtracks to violin to heavy rock to classical – and it handled every single one without a hitch.
     
    Everything I tried with it, everything, sounded great with the P1. I literally went from Scorpions to Bach and it sounded great with both. The versatility the P1 with music is rarely present in any IEM. If I had to pick a best and a worst, I would say that Jazz sounded sublime on the Pinnacle, while heavy rock that had an absolute ton going on made the P1 slip a little. Other than that, it all sounds natural and accurate.
     
    Source & Amplification: This is the only catch of the P1; it has an ohm load of 50 ohms, and without a DAC/amp it kind of shows. Most audiophiles already have a DAC/amp, which eliminates this issue, but for those with only a laptop, low-end phone, or a not-so-powerful DAP, those will limit the P1 in some way.
     
    To be fair, smartphones almost always are a limiting factor, and the P1 actually sounded very good on mine (LG G3). However, it will only go up from there, and to really get the best from this IEM – and it’s worth it to do so in this case - a good source with a bit of power is needed. The difference is between sounding great and sounding phenomenal.
     
    It would have been fantastic for the P1 to be efficient enough for all phones and sources, but there’s a positive side too – no hiss. Since most IEM users had to deal with hiss at one point or another, we’ve considered it inevitable. But with the P1, even my hiss-faulty LG G3 sounds dead quiet.
     
    At 50 ohms, it’s at the threshold where it doesn’t sound horrible without an amp; on the contrary, I was quite happy how it sounded with my phone alone. But again, to really show what it’s capable of, feed it some juice.
     
    When it’s not being driven properly, it retains a large amount of its soundstage, but loses some detail, clarity, and imaging, as well as some bass texture. Paired directly with the Aune M2, it sounded nice, but not spectacular. When I added the amp portion of the DacAmp One to the mix, even though it’s not a great one, I noticed an obvious improvement.
     
    Pairings:
     
    Individual Traits:
     
    Pianos – slightly colored, a bit bright, lacking impact in a few pieces. Overall, not the best I’ve heard from this headphone.
     
    Guitars – sound great, more musical than analytical, but still have a great amount of detail.
     
    Heavy guitar/Heavy Rock – Excellent - dealt with both very well. Sounded accurate, realistic, and very enjoyable. Excellent speed even through complicated songs.
     
    Vocals – both male and female were clear and musical. Sounds slightly thin on certain tracks.
     
    Drums – slightly forward, but retain a very nice amount of detail.
     
    Electronica – Slightly smooth, but quite clear and overall quite enjoyable.
     
    Soundstage – takes a hit.
     
    Detail – takes a hit.
     
    Bottom Line: I have a feeling that the P1 isn’t being driven well from the Opus #11. It has a buttery, smoother take on things, and doesn’t have the insane amount of detail or soundstage room I’ve come to expect from the P1. In addition, I find myself raising the volume a lot, a sign that it doesn’t sound as “full” as it should. It’ll still sound better than most IEM’s in its price range, but not as good as it can be
     
    Individual Traits:
     
    Bass – tight, textured, and detailed. Has a very nice rumble, and is quite enjoyable. No problems here.
     
    Mids – Vocals are extremely clear, very good for analytical listening. Isn’t as seductive or musical as I would have liked, but it’s a minor hit to take considering how clear and detailed both male and female vocals are.
     
    Highs – Very slightly bright, as the DacAmp One is the same. Detailed, airy, you name it. Also loaded with detail.
     
    Detail – as you probably guessed by now, the P1 is loaded with it. There weren’t only details, there were microdetails and then some.
     
    Clarity – freakishly clear, every track I’ve tried. The P1 rivals some of the
     
    Soundstage – slightly smaller than what the P1 is capable of, the DacAmp One is definitely limiting in this regard.
     
    Bottom Line: the DacAmp One pairs excellently with the P1 – it really shows why this headphone is called the “Pinnacle”. Is it an endgame pairing? Maybe, I’d still want to have that soundstage back. But in every other regard, I’d considered it made
     
    Bottom Line: I’m not going to go into the details here, but it wasn’t the best pairing I’ve heard. It sounded restrained, and held back compared to other pairings I’ve tried. I was a bit surprised by this; the S6 is supposed to be able to drive even demanding headphones. And maybe it does, who knows. But it didn’t sound fantastic with the P1, almost like the P1 was “tame” in comparison to what it could have done.
     
    Comparisons:
     
    The Savant, even without the design costs, is still three times the price of the P1. Let’s see how they add up:
     
    Bass – this is a focal difference between the two. The Savant’s is tighter, more textured, but much less in quantity, and not very enjoyable. The P1’s in contrast has a nice rumble, is very musical, and has a less detail. Again, this is on the Studio 6.
     
    Mids: I’d hand this to the P1. Vocals are more or less on par between the two, instruments flat out sound better on the P1. The Savant has slightly more detail, but it’s not a noticeable difference.
     
    Highs: I’d hand this to the P1, although this is more a matter of preference than anything. The Savant’s highs seem to be rolled-off, or at least less in quantity than the P1’s, which is present and quite noticable.
     
    Soundstage: The P1 is the winner here, with a larger soundstage than the Savant, which sounds slightly claustrophobic in comparison.
     
    Clarity: goes to the Savant, it has a much clearer presentation than the P1, which sounds warm and less clear in comparison.
     
    Overall – It depends what parts you value more. The P1 has a few winning attributes, so does the Savant. At a third of the price of the Savant, I’m quite impressed.
     
    However, I found the P1/Studio 6 combo not to have very good synergy. I think it’s a bit unfair to judge the P1 on a source that it doesn’t pair very well with. Let’s move over to the other combo, shall we?
    The DacAmp is known for being very good in detail, being brutally analytical. Think of the Beyer T90 in a DAC/Amp for, you’ll get the DacAmp One. Overall known to be a very good source, with the only downside being its soundstage.
     
    I’ll be quick here: the P1 wrecks the Savant. I mean wrecks it. It didn’t matter if the Savant was on the Studio 6 or the DacAmp One (I volume matched and put the same source files by the way), the P1 with the DacAmp One absolutely destroyed no matter what source I paired the Savant with.
     
    Bass, Mids, Highs, Details, you name it. The P1 completely pulled through. The only aspect in which I found them similar was in terms of clarity, the Savant’s strongest point – which the P1 was still better in this pairing, by the way. If I had a good, analytical source, I would grab the P1 and never look back at the Savant.
     
    The DUNU Titan 3 is a mid-centric IEM from DUNU, a massive contender in their own right. I’m using this comparison to test mainly for vocals, as that’s the T3’s strongest point, and trump card. Testing for anything else here would be kind of… pointless, as the Titan 3 was meant to be used with vocals, and everything else is kind of average on it.
     
    The Titan 3 still comes out on top when it comes to vocals – vocals on the T3 are just crispier, clearer, and (most importantly) more musical compared to the P1. Before you read on though, it is important to note that I've never heard better vocals than on the Titan 3. The P1 isn’t lacking in any way – it’s just that DUNU really made a winner when it comes to vocals, and even the Savant couldn’t come close. The P1 is analytical, and more technical in comparison in this regard. The P1 was slightly more detailed in this area, but overall I found myself going the Titan 3 for music where voices are the main priority. The P1 wasn’t lagging far behind though, and I mean that.
     
    With that said, if you listen to more than vocals, the P1 is the better choice by far, due to its versatility in so many genres (and the rest of the spectrum), and great performance with the mids as well. The only thing I found the Titan 3 really was good with was with vocals – if that’s what makes up most of your collection, I suggest you go for the T3.
     
     
    I can guess what you’re thinking.
     
    “What the heck?”
     
    The K7XX is an open-back headphone – not only that, it’s the undisputed “giant killer” of open-backs as well. I’m fully aware of that, and here’s another thing: the K7XX (or specifically, AKG’s K702 line) has one of the largest soundstages of any headphone. I’m also of the opinion that open-backs are vastly superior to IEMs, and I haven’t found an IEM that didn’t need artificial “tuning” to sound good.
     
    With all that skepticism in mind, I decided to compare the two.
     
    Although the P1 had a great run, the K7XX had a slightly larger soundstage, better separation, and the clarity of an open-back. The bass was slightly elevated in comparison and more textured as well.
     
    But, the P1 is… actually a contender. Yes, the K7XX is better, but honestly, what could we expect coming into this? We’re comparing a headphone that is tiny and goes in your ear for crying out loud, against one that not only has much more space between your ear and the driver, but also is open-back for accurate imaging and soundstage.
     
    Comparing the 2 side by side, the P1 actually stands its own, and isn’t vastly different than the K7XX. It may not be exactly the K7XX in 1/20 of the size, but what about a HD600? Fidelio X2? HE350? Like I said before, the K7XX has the largest soundstage of the lot, and with that comes separation and (hopefully) imaging. Imagine any of the other open-back headphones I mentioned, in an IEM shell. Can I guarantee that’s the P1? Nope.
     
    ...But what I can tell you is that it’s a likely possibility. The P1 doesn’t “sound like an IEM” very much, and isn’t too far off from the “open-back” type of sound – the tonality is extremely similar to the K7XX, and the soundstage is in reach too.
     
    Conclusion:
     
    The P1 is an absolute steal – let me make that clear. I’m a very frugal spender, and the Pinnacle P1 is worth every penny. It competes against higher-end offerings without any effort, sounds closer to an open-back headphone than almost any other, and is polished not only in the sound department, but in every aspect I can think of – presentation, accessories, fit/comfort, genre versatility, cables, etc.
     
    In an absolute sea of IEM’s, the P1 stands out as one of the best price/performance headphones I’ve seen. Is it a giant killer? That’s up to you to decide, but one thing is sure: the Pinnacle P1 is no joke.
     
    IMG_20160421_133143.jpg
     
    - Avishai Zitron
    1. View previous replies...
    2. alex atPaiaudio
      Great review with pro details.:)
      alex atPaiaudio, Sep 21, 2016
    3. avitron142
      Thanks Alex! I try :)
      avitron142, Sep 21, 2016
    4. Ahmad313
      A very nice and honest review specially when i read that comparison with T3 i said to myself that you are the reviewer i can trust,  i heartily appreciate you. 
      Ahmad313, Sep 26, 2016
  3. Takeanidea
    The MEE Pinaccle's are sure to be a hit at this price
    Written by Takeanidea
    Published Jun 20, 2016
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Smooth sound signature , isolation comfort
    Cons - 50 Ohms impedance rather low on volume through a smartphone

    This is a good IEM -for under £200 it is a great IEM.

    There, I've said it. But fear not reader, there is a great deal more rambling insight ahead. I shall tell all about this IEM and give you my opinion, warts and all, for you to digest and contrast against my fellow headphone fanatics out there. I have 2 people to thank before we dive any deeper into the mists of sound and word - grettings to @Tony-Hifi of HiFiHeadphones fame for being the loaner of the Pinnacles and for embracing the HeadFi community in such a worthy fashion. And not to forget @glassmonkey for putting my name out there for a listen to these for a week.
     

    Introduction

    The MEE audio Pinnacle P1
    [​IMG]
    is a single dynamic driver IEM. It is their flagship model and retails in the UK for £179.99
    http://www.hifiheadphones.co.uk/mee-audio-pinnacle-p1-in-ear-isolating-earphones-with-replaceable-cable-and-universal-controls-mic.html
    It has 50 Ohms impedance , and a 20hz - 20 khz frequency response. It is a closed ear canal over the ear IEM with detachable cables. 2 are supplied-  1 with a mic for hands free phone calls 1 mic free longer cable for everything else. Both cables are extremely posh and beautiful looking.
    IEMs are in a separate field to full size headphones. I use an IEM over a full size when I'm wearing sunglasses - I don't like the way the headband on a full size squeezes my head. For working out/running the smaller the better in my opinion. When space is at a premium , when only a pocket is available for stowaway purposes, only an IEM will doodle do.
    I shan't be comparing the Pinnacle P1 to full size headphones - they are opposites. Only IEMs will be used for this piece, but some interesting ones will come up along the way.
     

    The Sound

    For comparison purposes I had a few IEMs to choose from. The first 2 of a similar price level and the next 2 of a much higher price. First up is the Sony XBA4ip.
     
    [​IMG]
    Dynamic 4 driver design - Superwoofer, woofer.mid range and tweeter. 8 Ohms impedance. Frequency response 3hz-28 khz Sensitivity 108 db Noise isolation -unknown(not great though) £275
    Rave reviews fror these when they came out - WhatHiFi tested them in September 2012 at £275 and gave them 5 stars, It appears that at £100 less than the XBAs for the MEEs things have moved on somewhat since then... The MEE Pinnacle had more bass more presence in the mids and a silkier high than the Sony XBA4ip. It took all of 5 seconds to confirm this to my ears , but a 15 minute further audition pulled the Pinnacles away even further.
     
    Next up - The Klipsch X11i
    [​IMG]
    A single full range armature driver design 50 Ohms impedance frequency response 5hz-19 khz 110 db sensitivity -26 db noise isolation £248
     
    A match in the impedance , but not not in the sound signature. The 11is had a punchier more exciting sub and bass but was muddier across the rest of the spectrum. To my ears I would go for the MEEs sound. The X11i is certainly no slouch and is close to the sound quality of the MEEs.
     
    As a bit of fun or perhaps just because I can , let's now have a look at what a whole chunk of more cash will get you in the miniature world of the IEM.
    Cheapest first. But cheap? No. Definetrely not. The Erib-2a from oBravo
    [​IMG]
    Hybrid Dynamic and Planar Magnetic NDD full range and Planar Magetic Tweeter Dual Driver IEMs. Impedance 16 Ohms Frequency Response 20 hz-35 khz Sensitiviity 102 db Noise Isolation-unknown(poor though) £549
    The frequency response at the lower end suggests the MEE may have an advantage in the low end dynamics of the sound v these. This is quite correct , the Pinnacle has a lot more bass and punch. The mid bass and above is where the ERIBs excfel and they have a wider airier crisper sound.
     
    Finally let us go the whole way - to the world of the Custom IEM
     
    The ACS Encore Pro Studio
    [​IMG]
     
     
     
    5 Driver 3 way crossover custom IEMs. 20 hz-21 hz 85 Ohm Impedance 120.5 db sensitivity -26 db Noise Isolation £749
    Despite the specs the ACS has punch and drive to the low end that surpasses the bass I've heard from any IEMs. The sound stage is wider , the mids and highs are neutral than the MEEs. This is what I would expect when you are paying 3x the price of the MEE Pinnacle.
     

    Sound Quality Conclusion

    The Pinnacles sound lovely there is nothing to criticise here for the price , sure they don't have the clarity and depth of stuff 2 or 3x the price, but they trounce any of the similar priced opposition I have.
     

    Sensitivity

    The listening environment is the key to understanding what the MEE Pinaccles can and can't do here. In a quiet environment , sat down in the front room on your own , through a smartphone the MEEs are fine at just near top volume . Go running with them top volume is a must and some may want even more dependent on taste and traffic noise. I am not one for weighing myself down with stacks when every ounce counts on the move, so amping the MEEs is not an option for me on the roads. I found I could run and enjoy these through my smartphone so just be aware as a note of caution , you will not be needing to reach for the volume down button.
     

    Isolation

    And this is reason no.1 as to why you'll want to take up running once you've listened to the Pinnacle's. They sieve out all but the most outrageously loud noises when worn over the ear and make running a musical experience. Of course, when you're near collapse half a mile into your jog as I normally am some of the subtler nuances of the engineer's mix may get lost on you, but these will want to get you out there. Hopefully.
    Sat in the front room with the rest of the family - nothing gets through - rows, slanging matches , sword fights , sneezes , coughing fits , Dolby Surround on the TV. All blanked out. Bliss.
     

    Comfort

    The ultimate test for the comfort of an IEM is to take it out on a long run. This I did a few times.  Comfort gets top marks. Worn over the ears with the cable behind the neck and threaded round the back , no adjustments are needed to the fit whilst on the run, leaving no excuse but to just keep on running. The cable's weight is just not present because of the cleverness of the over the design and the shape of the driver which is pretty much as close as you can get to a custom fit. In contrast, my £749 Customs even need the odd bit of adjustment around the bottom of the driver and because they are so much larger they can put more pressure around the earlobe. 
     

    Microphonics

    No cable noise present on the MEE Pinnacles I'm pleased to report. Ever the negative feature of IEMs where the cable noise can be heard through the drivers , MEEs eradicated the issue with good thick shielded cable,  a nice heavy driver balanced through that great shape and the over the ear design. Both the XBA4 and Klipsch X11 display noticeable cable noise- the down from the ear designs do nothing to help reduce this effect.
     

    Accessories

    A really nice bonus of a non mic cable and a hands free cable both of which are great quality are included.
    [​IMG]
     
     
    Box of tips with 3 comply sizes and 6 normal tips.
    [​IMG]
     
     
    A neat little carry case pocket sized
    [​IMG]
     
     
    A cable clip
    [​IMG]
     
    A decent full size adapter
    [​IMG]
     
    A booklet that even gives hints on wearing around the ear
    [​IMG]
     
     
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    All of which go to show MEE have cut no corners in this department
     
     

    Conclusion

    The MEE Pinnacle shows us jusat how much quality can be achieved in the |EM world for under £200. If you're on the move and want some escape from the realities of the tube or the bus or the loneliness of the long distance runner, give them a try. You won't be disappointed. Or bankrupt
  4. harry501501
    This is IEM endgame for me at last!
    Written by harry501501
    Published May 22, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Smooth but very detailed, very musical. Great for all genres.
    Cons - Long cable a bit of a pain on the go. Wax guard keeps falling out.
    I'm not qualified enough to go into a big review so I'll keep it simples [​IMG]
     
    Build - Solid housing. Trendy looking. Can be over ear comfortably. They are big but I've never had any problem or discomfort, the only buds that came with it that I couldn't wear was their triple flange... which is far too long and badly effects the sound IMO. These must be for someone with giant ears! The music sounds tinny and thin with it, but with every other tip I've tried this isn't a problem. I prefer the medium foam they come with. I also liked the double flange. Isolation is great. The cable though is very long and difficult to hide, Very minimum to no noise from it though.
     
    Sound - It has a very smooth and detailed sound. It gets addictive very quickly and has kept me up into the small hours of the night going through my catalogue. It needs say 6-10 hours burn in. It sounds good out of the box, but nowhere near what it is capable of. You notice a big difference afterwards. You can use these to marvel at microdetails in your music, or to just sit back and enjoy listening to.
     
    Bass, mids and treble... nothing stands out more than the other. They compliment each other for a wonderful listening experience.
     
    BASS - Punchy and accurate, the way I like it. Anyone who says they are bass light must be bassheads, if so maybe these aren't for you... although they do respond to EQ very well so maybe even a slight boost might suit you if you love big bass. There is no bloat and it extends nicely through sub bass and up.
     
    MIDS - Addictive. Vocals are great, creamy and natural. Both male and female vocals come out just beautifully. Instruments can all be heard as if you are there in the studio. They are neither forward or recessed. Great resolution, and vocals are very articulate. For the first time I can hear lyrics clearly in even the fastest of songs.
     
    HIGHS - I'm not big on piercing hot treble. The treble on these is accurate and with no sibilance or fatigue (very occasionally you do get some sibilance but that's on songs that are naturally sibilant, but it's not sore sounding) and . Strings sound great. For the first time I can hear cymbals the way they should be heard.
     
    SOUNDSTAGE - Spectacular. Nice and wide, and never artificial. Harmonies are great, different vocalists can be picked out, the same goes for different instruments. Great stereo imaging.
     
    The best thing about these is they make songs that you thought were just alright... sound great! Songs that you may have thought were overrated you can now see just why they are so acclaimed. This is down to the details they bring out, vocals and instruments you've never heard before now come out clearly. Everything is now coherent and makes songs sound magical. Live music is great.
     
    These cost me £180 and that's the most I've paid yet so I was very apprehensive but I've no regrets whatsoever. You get what you pay for here.
     
    My other decent IEMS are Dunu Titan 1s, re400s, TA Deltas. These blow each of them away.
     
    Titan 1s - These have a great soundstage, very 3d and impressive. The P1s is much more accurate, just a tad narrower... but everything sits better and actually makes the Titan sound a bit forced. Ps are MUCH more detailed and beats them in every way.
     
    re400s - Known for their resolution and clear forward mids. P1s are again far more detailed, far more musical and much better bass and treble. Makes the re400s sound thin and boring.
     
    Deltas - I love my Deltas, I didn't think I'd beat them for the type of sound I enjoy. I was very wrong. The p1s make them sound a little congested and bloaty. Deltas are extremely musical, but have a mid bass that can be a bit fatiguing... although once your ears adjust to it they sound great. Feet tappingly so. The P1s are again smoother, more detailed, more articulate and have better musicality. Vocals sound more natural with the P1s, and the imaging and placement of music is better. The SS is also better. I feel the P1s are a great upgrade to the Deltas. Their sound signatures are quite similar, but the P1s do top them all over. (I use my Deltas for out running as they are still an enjoyable listen).
      Andrzej Cichy likes this.
  5. keanex
    A very darn good IEM
    Written by keanex
    Published May 8, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Excellent build quality; Excellent accessory bundle; MMCX Removable cables; Treble extension; Midrange resolution.
    Cons - Sibilance highlighting; Sub-bass presence

     
    The Good: Excellent build quality; Excellent accessory bundle; MMCX Removable cables; Treble extension; Midrange resolution.
    The Okay: Comfort; Bass quality and presence; Treble resolution; Soundstage.
    The Bad: Sibilance highlighting; Sub-bass presence.
    Tonal Balance: Warm leaning despite lacking bass presence.
    Style: Over-Ear/Worn Down IEM
    Cost: $200
     

    Reviewing Process

    The Pinnacle P1, now forth referred to as the P1, have been my primary IEM for a month now. Primarily used during school hours plugged into an iBasso DX80, but they’ve also received desktop play through the FiiO E17k and the Matrix M-Stage HPA-3U. I’ve tested them with a variety of genres and spent a good amount of time with them, enough to feel comfortable sharing my opinions with you.
     
    With that said a review will always be subjective and your experience may vary from mine. Personal experience trumps any review, so demo when you can!
     
    Thanks to MeeAudio for the review sample.
     

    Build & Fit

    Build
    Astonishingly durable feeling in absolutely every aspect. The housing is constructed of hefty feeling zinc-alloy and finely machined with a brushed look. The housing connects to the cables via MMCX connectors that are easy to insert and remove with replacement cables available at a very fair price through MeeAudio’s website; $30-$50. The P1 comes with a copper stranded cable with a remote/mic attached and a thicker silver stranded cable that’s got the feel of a thick rope chain. The cables feel hugely durable, I’d wager they’d be $100+ from a boutique cable maker. Both of the included cables terminate with 3.5mm plugs at a right angle.
     
    Fit
    I’ve worn the IEMs over-ear only, I’m not a fan of worn-down IEMs and quite frankly I see no benefit to doing so. All in all I’ve used the P1 with their single flanged, double flanged, and tri-flanged tips. My preference was for the double flanged though that was a personal preference thing with comfort and isolation. With that said, I don’t find any of the provided tips to be comfortable. I get mild discomfort within an hour or so of use without it ever growing past mild discomfort when worn for longer durations. The P1 do seal well and sit securely in my ear. The P1 are pretty picky about fit though, you’re going to need to ensure a good seal and proper positioning in order to achieve the best sound.
     

    Sound Quality

    Bass
    The P1 extends nicely down to 20hz, though exhibiting a pretty noticeable rainbow effect when using the Bass Shaker Test which indicates a preference towards the midbass over the sub-bass. Unfortunately the bass is somewhat shy, taking a backseat to the midrange and treble when push comes to shove. The bass has some bloat, and a nearing generic texture to it, a few steps away from being one-note but not nearly as detailed as the bass on the Vibro Labs Aria, for instance.
     
    Midbass bloats a little bit, sub-bass has a bit of a loose sound to it, but overall the bass is done decently for the price considering the strengths in the midrange and treble. A little bass boost goes a long way with the P1, but be careful as the bass could spill into the beautiful midrange.
     
    Mids & Highs
    The midrange has a warm tone to it, and does so cleanly with good resolution, in-fact classic rock guitars sound phenomenal on it. Seriously, put these in your ears and listen to David Bowie’s Moonage Daydream. Male vocals and lower ranged female vocals also sound fantastic, I love focusing on the vocals of Lana Del Rey and Bright Eyes with the P1. I find myself often engaged into the midrange, it’s very pleasant and laid-back without sounding dull. Oddly though sibilance isn’t shy with the P1. I find that the P1 picks out sibilance whenever it can, but rather than razor blade brightness it sounds as if the driver is clipping.
     
    The treble is extended nicely, I never have to focus on listening to hear the various cymbals or brass instruments. If they’re meant to be prominent the P1 allows them to be prominent. It’s not entirely smooth up top, there seems to be a few dips up there, but nothing that sounds alarming to my ears. Treble resolution is just okay though, instruments tend to sound a bit splashy up here, though in a non-fatiguing way. I’m never convinced that I’m hearing a real crash cymbal, for instance.
     
    Soundstage
    There’s decent left/right width, good enough for an IEM, with similar thoughts in terms of depth. Instrument separation is a bit above average though, with a decent sense of space, rarely sounding congested, like a small music venue with a good sound engineer. Somewhat of a cozy presentation, but not congested. Imaging is also just okay, I get a good left, right, and center imaging, though they tend to bleed into each other, focusing moreso towards the center.
     

    Conclusion

    The MeeAudio Pinnacle has been in development for years and they’ve put a lot of love and hard work into it - it shows. The packaging is elegant, the accessory spread is fantastic, and the IEMs feel very high quality. All of that wouldn’t matter if they didn’t sound good though, and they sound pretty damn good. When I first put them in my ears they reminded me of the big brother of the A151p, but better in dang near every way. The laid-back tone makes it non-fatiguing for long listening sessions if you can get a comfortable fit, and the midrange is phenomenal in a few aspects. They’re not without fault, but that can be said with every headphone.
     
    These get a definite buy from me, unless you listen to a lot of bass focused music. The included cables are enough to make the purchase worth it if you don’t end up liking the sound. MeeAudio has made this IEM well worth every penny you’re going to spend on these.
  6. Hisoundfi
    Reaching new heights. The MEE audio Pinnacle P1 High Fidelity Audiophile In-Ear Monitor with dual detachable cables
    Written by Hisoundfi
    Published Apr 11, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Exquisite design and build quality, Phenomenal cables and accessories package, End game sound Quality (with the right source)
    Cons - Sound is very dependent on the source you use, MMCX cable connections are always questionable
    20160411_074734.jpg
    At the time of the review, the MEE audio Pinnacle was on sale on their website and also on Amazon. Here are links to their listings of the product:
     
    http://www.meeaudio.com/pinnacle
     
    http://www.amazon.com/MEE-audio-Audiophile-Headphones-Detachable/dp/B01A60I4P6?ie=UTF8&keywords=pinnacle%20earphone&qid=1460079506&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1
     
    Introduction
    The first earphone review I ever wrote on Head-Fi was in February of 2015. I was given a chance to cover the nine dollar Meelectronics M9 classic. This opportunity came after being heavily involved in Head-Fi threads, making recommendations and doing comparisons for almost two years. After spending a lot of time and money on multiple pairs of earphones, my passion for budget audio had finally culminated into a company asking me to share my opinion of their product with the Head-Fi community. To this day I consider it a crowning achievement.
     
    The whole thing came about as a part of a complaint to Meelectronics (now known as MEE audio). I had just recently purchased a pair of their A161P balanced armature earphones and was not happy with how flimsy the cable was. Having owned the M6, and A151P, I had taken it on as my personal duty to reach out to them and express my concern with the build quality of this cable and ask that they don’t use it again in future models. This complaint sparked a conversation with Mike over at Meelectronics. Mike’s response was quick and very thoughtful. We chatted about earphones and the direction MEE audio was headed. After a few back and forth emails, Mike agreed to offer a review sample of the M9 classic in exchange for my opinion and review. Just for the record, the cable of the A161P is still in tact and more sturdy than I initially thought.
     
    When the review sample arrived I took this opportunity as a personal challenge. I wanted to prove that I was versed enough and capable of writing a complete and comprehensive review. The review received positive feedback from my peers, and opened up doors for future opportunities. Fast forward to present day I am going to audio shows in my area, rubbing elbows with some of the guys I used to read about on Head-Fi, receiving unreleased beta samples and also getting opportunities to sample and review products I NEVER thought I would have a chance to experience in the past. Head-Fi is awesome!
     
    I’m not telling you this story to get the spotlight or make this review about me. I’m saying it more to show how this hobby and community works. The point of Head-Fi is to not only help manufacturers advertise their products, it’s also an opportunity for people with a passion for headphone related gear to help others. We all want to maximize what we get for our hard earned dollars, and I feel blessed to be able to use my experience with headphone related gear to help people find exactly what they’re looking for that’s within their budgets. A big thank you goes to Mike at MEE audio for giving me the opportunity!
     
    My relationship and loyalty to MEE audio has remained strong. Not only have I purchased several of their products, I have also had a chance to review some more of their products. One thing almost always remains consistent with MEE audio, they offer a products that punch well beyond their asking price.
     
    The whole time I’ve known Mike, he has dropped bits and pieces about his “undercover flagship earphone”, the Pinnacle. Knowing how well his budget model earphones and headphones performed, the Pinnacle had peaked my interest from the first time he mentioned it. To be honest for the last six months the Pinnacle has probably been the most anticipated and intriguing earphone I’ve known about. After sharing my invested interest in hearing them, I was able to secure a review sample. Just as I had hoped, the Pinnacle is an incredible product. Let’s go over them with a comprehensive review.
     
    Disclaimer
    I was given an opportunity to review the Pinnacle in exchange for my honest opinion and review. I am in no way affiliated with MEE audio. I would like to take this time to personally thank Mike for the opportunity.
     
    My Background
    I AM NOT a numbers and graphs audiophile or sound engineer. Personal audio enthusiast? Absolutely! Headphone junkie? Possibly…
     
    There’s something about quality DAPs, DACs, Amplifiers and Earphones that intrigues me, especially if they can be had for low prices. I will buy the $5 to $500 earphone that looks promising, in hopes that I will discover that one new gem that can compete with the big names in this industry. If you look at my Head-Fi profile you will see that I have purchased MANY different headphones and earphones, ranging from from dirt cheap to higher end products. For me, this hobby is more about getting great price to performance ratio from a product, and having a variety of different gears with varying builds and sound to mix and match. With personal audio gear, we tend to pay a lot of money for minor upgrades. One thing I’ve learned over the last few years is that just because a headphone has a higher price tag, it doesn’t mean that it has superior build and sound quality.
     
    I’m always looking for great audio at a great price. I’m after headphones and IEMs that give me the “WOW” factor. I can appreciate different builds and sound signatures as long as they have good ergonomics, and the sound is pleasing to my ears. It is my pleasure to share my experiences with audio products and make recommendations based on gear I have owned and used.
     
    REVIEW
    20160411_073615.jpg
    The Pinnacle comes in a black box that is wrapped in a white cardboard sleeve with black and silver accents. The front of the sleeve displays the Pinnacle name in silver leaf along with a brief description in black print. A very sharp high definition picture of the earphones are printed in a gloss finish as well.
     
    20160411_073626.jpg
    The Back of the sleeve displays another picture and further elaborates on the product with a description of key features that cover the premium features of the Pinnacle. This information is printed also in French, Spanish, German and Chinese.  The left side of the box lists the Pinnacle specifications and accessories. The right side of the sleeve has a barcode and individualized serial number, notification of MEE audio’s two year warranty and warning about unsafe listening volumes.
     
    20160411_073756.jpg
    Removing the sleeve reveals a premium black box that opens from the middle to reveal the Earphone housings, a serial numbered leather case, and two boxes labeled with its contents. Of all the earphones I’ve had the pleasure of covering, this might be the most premium packaging and displays I’ve come across.
     
    20160411_073721.jpg
    Removing the carrying case and top foam layer that holds the earphone housings, I’m greeted with a quarter inch adapter and Pinnacle owner’s manual. Opening each of the marked boxes revealed the high quality accessories.
     
    Specifications and Accessories
    20160411_073809.jpg

    Speaker 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)


     
    20160411_073813.jpg
     
    Accessories:

    20160411_074133.jpg

    1. Pinnacle P1 Audiophile In-Ear Headphones
    2. High-fidelity silver-plated OFC audio cable
    3. Headset cable with microphone and remote
    4. Comply T-200 memory foam eartips (3 pairs)
    5. Silicone eartips (6 pairs)
    6. ¼" (6.3mm) stereo adapter
    7. Premium carrying case with laser-etched serial number
    8. Shirt clip
    9. User manual


     
    Housings
    20160411_074439.jpg
    The Pinnacle housings are constructed of ergonomically shaped, molded and polished zinc alloy. They are heavy enough to feel incredibly high end, but light enough for me to say that their weight isn’t an issue. They have somewhat of a bean shape, and feature the MEE audio M (upside down it could be mistaken for the Westone W). To be completely honest, the polished finish gives the impression that they were handmade by a blacksmith.
     
    20160411_074407.jpg
    An MMCX connection is located at the top of the housing. A Stainless steel nozzle comes out from the zinc alloy housing and is of a pretty standard length and width. I had no problem tip rolling with the PInnacle, and found several different tips that worked well.
     
    20160321_101209.jpg
    The Pinnacle design is premium and sophisticated. It gives the owner a feeling of quality without any flashy gimmicks.
     
    Cable, Y-Split, Cable Jack, Strain Reliefs
    20160411_075044.jpg
    The Pinnacle comes with two cables. One is a braided silver plated copper cable that is extraordinary. I used to think that the Fidue A83 cable was the best stock earphone cable I’ve ever seen, but Mee audio now holds that title. To top it off, they also offer black braided version of this cable with a microphone and remote for headset use. Both cables are slightly longer than the average in-ear monitor cable. The cable is a bit on the stiff side, but I think that has more to do with the braiding and how well it's constructed.
     
    20160411_075147.jpg
    Both cables feature MMCX connectors. After a few early complaints about the cables having a bit too much play, MEE audio has tightened things up. Although I’m not a huge fan of MMCX connectors, the revised connection seems flawless. The cable has a pretty seamless connection with the Pinnacle housing. The cable jack and Y-split are top notch.
     
    20160411_074938.jpg
    The Y-split is made of a firm rubber material and offers plenty of strain relief. A chin/neck slider is included and works well to secure the fit. The cable Jack is a ninety degree design with gold plated ⅛ inch jack. The housing of the jack is constructed of the same firm rubber material as the Y-split.
     
    Functionality
    20160411_075338.jpg
    One of the two cables has a single button microphone and remote that works with both Android and Iphone. When using it for phone calls, friends and family said my voice came through at a four on a scale from one to five.
     
    Ergonomics, Fit and Microphonics, Isolation
    20160411_075514.jpg
    Pinnacle can be worn cable up or cable down. Both methods are very comfortable and it’s very easy to get a secure fit either way. Worn cable down, the cable had a considerable amount of microphonics.
     
    20160411_075445.jpg
    Worn over the ear, microphonics were more under controlled but still somewhat noticeable. Isolation is better than the average universal in-ear monitor.
     
    Sound Review
    I did my demo with my usual gear. I used an LG-G3 with the latest firmware for portable and smartphone use, and either my Shanling H3 or iBasso DX80 DAP for high fidelity portable use. For desktop use I used my Toshiba Satellite Laptop in combination with a ifi micro iDSD playing at 32/192k Hz. I tested them with several other sources as well. I used Google Music in its highest download quality (320 KBPS) and I also streamed FLAC via Tidal streaming service. I also used purchased and downloaded tracks in MP3, FLAC, WAV and DSD. I make sure that any gear I test has sufficient playtime before writing a review.
     
    I used my usual same songs for testing gear:
    “Limit to your love” by James Blake (bass speed, punch, response)
    “Doin’ it Right” by Daft Punk (sub bass)
    “Get lucky” by Daft Punk (bass to midrange transition resolution, male vocals)
    “Madness” by Muse (soundstage, separation)
    “Some nights” by Fun (soundstage and male vocals)
    “The soundmaker” by Rodrigo y Gabriela (texture and imaging)
    “Bassically” by Tei Shi (bass to midrange resolution, female vocals)
    “Skinny Love” performed by Birdie (female vocals, acoustic playback)
    “One” by Ed Sheeran (male vocals, acoustic playback)
    “Outlands” from the Tron Legacy Soundtrack (symphonic presentation, imaging)
    “Sultans of swing” by Dire Straits (detail, separation, balance)
    “And Justic for All” by Metallica (driver distortion, treble response, rock playback)
    “Ten thousand fists” by Disturbed (driver distortion, treble response, rock playback)
     
    Note: Other tracks were used, but the listed songs were primarily used to assess and break down the gear’s response.
     
    Source Selection
    At fifty ohms the Pinnacle needs more power than the average smartphone to sound its best. Although the Pinnacle will sound good through your cellular device, you won’t maximize their potential if you don’t use the right DAP or desktop rig. The Pinnacle scales up well. The better the recording you play, the better your Pinnacle will sound.
     
    The Pinnacle is a source dependent earphone. Through a more neutral sounding DAP will sound bright and bordering on sibilant. Listening to the Pinnacle through my LG V10, upper frequencies sounded slightly emphasized. With a warmer and more powerful DAP they will sound pretty incredible. Through my Luxury and Precision LP5 they sounded awesome.
     
    Pinnacle and DX80
    20160321_112004.jpg
    The MEE audio Pinnacle and iBasso DX80 are a match made in audio Heaven. They synergize so incredibly well, I can say in all honesty that these two together makes for some of the best portable sound I’ve ever heard. The dual Cirrus Logic chips of the DX80 does something magical to the Pinnacle that must be heard to understand. It rocks all genres of music incredibly well with dynamics and transients that are addictive to my ears.
     
    Sound Signature
    MeelectronicsPinnacle.png
    *These measurements were taken using my Vibro Veritas and Arta Software. Although this is not a measurement done with industry standard testing equipment,it should give you an idea of how the Pinnacle sounds.
     
    The source you use with the Pinnacle will dictate the answer to this criteria and determine your impression. For the most part the Pinnacle is an earphone that takes neutral and adds a touch of added midbass and upper midrange, reduces the sibilant ranges and still retains a level of sparkle and extension in treble regions. This is all done while maintaining a level of resolution and detail that is world class. If you think dynamic earphones can’t offer a level of detail at every frequency like a multiple armature set up, you should listen to the Pinnacle. In fact, you might turn that argument around and say that multiple driver earphones can’t sound as cohesive as a well tuned single dynamic transducer earphone like the Pinnacle.
     
    Bass
    Bass on the Pinnacle is a bit of a mystery. To be completely honest the sub bass isn’t that great, but adequate enough to say that it doesn’t take away from their overall listening experience. The sub bass is a bit back in the mix and to my ears it sounds just a touch loose. I think the way it is set up, it is more to compliment a slightly forward and very responsive mid bass. The responsive midbass has very natural feel in combination with the sub bass, and in some ways the tuning reminds me slightly of the Havi B3 Pro1. Rather than there being a boosted sub layer, the Pinnacle bass rolls off into a limitless amount of space.
     
    Midrange
    Midrange is the best aspect of the Pinnacle tuning in my opinion. A very slight warm tilt tapers off then lifts at around 3k, giving all vocals a very nice and natural bite. The incredible amount of resolution and separation makes it easy to pick out a particular instrument or vocal and follow it. With the right source I was taken back at how good guitars and bass guitars sounded. Vocals often times tend to take the front of the stage, which is how I prefer to listen to my earphones.  
     
    Treble
    This is the one part of the frequency response that depends greatly on what source you’re using. With a more neutral source I’ll say that treble is crisp and extended. I could see some people saying that it can become slightly fatiguing with louder volumes and extended listening sessions.
     
    Just the opposite, with a warmer sounding DAP, the Pinnacle treble is darn near perfect and I didn’t find it fatiguing. Even at louder volumes it was very natural and enjoyable. Cymbal crashes and pronunciations of the letter T and S were accurate and not overdone whatsoever.
     
    Soundstage and Imaging
    The Pinnacle manages to pull off some of the same magic as the Havi B3 Pro1 when it comes to soundstage. A detailed and high resolution mid range is complimented by some very nicely layered and textured supporting frequencies, making the soundstage seem fairly large. Combine this with some of the best imaging I’ve heard from an in-ear monitor, and the Pinnacle scores a very high rating in this criteria.
     
    Comparisons
     
    Dunu DN2000J (with bass rings) ($275 to $350 USD on many sites)
    The DN200J has been labeled as a “baby K3003” offering what some say is ninety percent of the thousand dollar hybrid. It’s a hybrid design, utilizing two Knowles drivers and a titanium dynamic driver for bass frequencies.
     
    Comparing the two, I can see why the DN2000J has the price tag it does. They have an incredibly extended and detailed sound signature. With the bass rings installed the DN2000J has superior sub bass extension and response. The Pinnacle has a more natural and spacious sounding midrange. The DN2000J seems to be more sonically capable of producing any frequency and with a slightly higher level of detail retrieval.  Although the DN200J treble is more extended, the Pinnacle treble is more relaxed and enjoyable to my ears, especially at louder volumes. Also, there was something about the DN2000J upper midrange that made them seem shouty with certain tracks when comparing the two.
     
    Build quality goes to the Pinnacle. Their zinc alloy housing are built like a tank, and their removable cables with diverse applications make the Pinnacle my pick. Accessories goes to the DN2000J. It’s been a year and I’m still tinkering with the various accessories that they came with.

     
    VSONIC GR07BE ($100 to $150 USD on many sites)
    The GR07BE was a personal favorite for a long time. They are single dynamic biocellulose driver that has won the approval of many reviewers. For a long time they were a premier pair of earphones.
     
    As much as I have loved my GR07BE, it’s bittersweet to have to say that many the new mid tier releases are just as good or better sounding to my ears. Comparing the two, the GR07BE has a more responsive and extended sub and midbass response. The Pinnacle midrange more forward and with superior micro details and clarity. The Pinnacle treble is less sibilant and more natural to my ears as well.
     
    Build quality and accessories goes to the Pinnacle. Their detachable cables and metal housings trump the VSONIC offering. The leather snap pouch of the Pinnacle is better than the leather sack that comes with the GR07BE. Although the Pinnacle offers less tips, I find them to be higher quality and better fitting.

     
    Conclusion
    If I took the the letter M off of the housing and replaced it with the logo of a more premium brand earphone, it would sell for a lot more than the Mee audio asking price. I don’t say that to discredit more established manufacturers, but more for the purpose of making you understand how good the Pinnacle is. MEE audio has raised to bar on in terms of mid-fi price to performance ratios. The Pinnacle has awesome packaging, build quality, sound quality and a phenomenal accessories package to go along with it. And just when you thought that was enough, they also have a two year warranty to top it all off.
     
    MEE audio made an incredible earphone that is definitely worthy of flagship status. Combined with a warmer sounding DAP, they are one of the best in-ears I’ve heard regardless of price. Upon the conclusion of this review I consider them to be the best two hundred dollar in-ear I’ve heard thus far.  
     
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    Thanks for reading and happy listening!
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Hisoundfi
      The Pinnacle was designed to be listened to through a dedicated DAP like the X5. It should be a great match.
       
      Cheers
      Hisoundfi, Jun 18, 2016
    3. originalsnuffy
      Nice review.  I have been able to borrow a pair of these and would agree with your observations.  I wish I had a pair of the FLC8S around for comparison purposes.  My only beef is that the sub bass is rolled off as you noted.
      originalsnuffy, Jul 28, 2016
    4. emilsoft
      Nice review, thanks! I'm please with the P1, I'm wondering how they compare to much more expensive TOTL iems like Campfire Andromeda and Fidue Sirius - did you have a chance to compare? 
      emilsoft, Oct 6, 2016
  7. ngoshawk
    I have arrived at the peak, and I am not afraid...the view is fantastic.
    Written by ngoshawk
    Published Mar 25, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Zinc-Alloy, zinc alloy!; Premium build quality, cables to die for, ability to wear up or down, excellent sound quality, broad soundstage, accessories
    Cons - Long burn in (not bad), cables can tangle, silver cable coming unwound, lows lacking a bit, somewhat treble-sensitive
    Introduction:
     
    I lost my Klipsch s4ii's....I was despondent. I had no good headphones as a result. Through a search of the internet, I was led to Head-Fi, and my "reentry" into the personal-portable music world began. Through much reading and research, I was led first to the MEElectronic (now MEE Audio) m6 Pro's. I followed those with the excellent Dunu Titan 1's (excellent fresh sound). I then jumped on the VE Monk train (excellent little wonders they are!), followed by the intriguing RHA ma750's (which up until this pair were my favorites, and are still quite good). I waited, I hemmed, I hawed, I procrastinated, I debated, I read everything in sight, I read everything again, I went through three rounds of "out of stock" exasperation.....then finally when MEE Audio had the P1's back in stock this last time, I bit. I ordered them...not without much consternation....and I anxiously awaited their arrival. In the mean time, I kept reading & researching, delving deeper into the Head-Fi world, leading to the findings which will be reviewed here and with the other phones in my possession...in due time...
     
    I have no affiliation with MEE Audio, nor any of their affiliates, even though I would love to! My listening style varies from Stevie Ray Vaughan to Lyle Lovett, to Dave Matthews, to Bob Marley to Magic Slim & the Teardrops, to Coldplay, and everything in between. As a result of too much loud rock and roll as a kid with $ and a car stereo of envy I now have hearing loss, mostly in the upper end. Anything sibilant or overly bright can and does bother me. That said, I am also a Wildlife Biologist/Earth Science teacher who studied songbirds in a different life...This allows me the ability to pick out a sound which should not be in that environment or is new to that environment...such as hearing a songbird on our surveys which had not been heard yet on our routes. I prided myself in that ability to pick out the sounds of what was not there upon our initial arrival. I like to think that this will help with my reviews, but I cannot guarantee it. I am post 50, but love good music and good sound quality. All opinions are mine and mine alone. I may reference others fine reviews, but only to draw a point of comparison. I do not own any sound testing equipment, nor am I a Sound Engineer. I am simply going off of my own interpretations and listenings. I do love going over the analytics of graphs and tone diagrams, etc, but my own seat-of-the-pants interpretations are what I have. YMMV.
     
    Unpackaging:
     
    Incredibly the package which came direct from MEE Audio (http://www.meeaudio.com/pinnacle) arrived after two VERY short days. Luck would not have it, and I had to briefly admire the package before taking out the buds, the silver-plated cable and off to my daughter's soccer practice we went. This did afford me an immediate listen upon arrival, which will be covered below. The package was absolutely stellar. Top quality from the outer slide-on sleeve which was covered with excellent information in gold, silver, gray and black, to the middle-two-door-opening box. The black box opens in the middle, like a fine theater opening to the finest velour-covered seats for the main entertainment of the eve. I felt as if I should be wearing tails, and a top hat. Extremely impressed I was. The best of what I have owned (which albeit isn't much), but this presentation showcased the buds-top center, as it should be, cushioned in all black foam; mimicking the fine velour seats, while "hiding" the other "support" items below, almost bowing to the buds like two footmen or ushers. The two support boxes hold the ear tips (Comply T-200 memory foam eartips (3 pairs) and Silicone eartips (6 pairs) in one; while the other holds the outstanding cables both of which are braided, one is for use with a Smartphone complete with inline mic and the other a Silver-plated and 99.99% pure copper cable which alone goes for $50 on the above listed MEE Audio site). The "silver-plated" reference comes from @BloodyPenguin's excellent review, and I must give credit to that here: http://www.head-fi.org/products/mee-audio-pinnacle-p1-high-fidelity-audiophile-in-ear-headphones-with-detachable-cables/reviews/15225​
     
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    Also included is a small shirt clip, a 1/4" headphone adapter which looks like a million dollars, the ubiquitous owners manual, and an excellent outer leather-velour lined (see! like a theater!) carrying case which uses a clever magnet to close. At first, I did not like the case, I really didn't, and felt this was far behind MEE Audio's excellent zippered pouch of the m6 Pro variety. After over two weeks of use, I have come to respect and like the case...it cradles the buds and quality cord, inviting them to be held in safe comfort kind of like being tucked under a bed of goose-down covers on a cold winters night. For some, that is heaven (me included), for others it is a utilitarian case which looks good and does its job. I have come to expect a plethora of accessories from MEE Audio, and this pair did not disappoint. As I stated in my m6 Pro review (http://www.head-fi.org/products/meelectronics-m6-pro-universal-fit-noise-isolating-musician-s-in-ear-monitors-with-detachable-cables/reviews/15554), it seems that MEE raised the bar when it comes to included accessories and the outstanding cables which are included are a true bonus to boot. Again, I am impressed.
     
    Technical Specs:
     
    As shown on the box, the impedance of 50 Ohms at 1 kHz is rather high for this type of headphone, and the sensitivity of 96 +/- 3 dB (1mW at 1 kHz) on the lower side. To me, and from my interpretation of other readings, this lends to a "taming of the highs" while allowing for a full sound. What I do know is that with my gear it is a harder-to-drive unit. I regularly have to turn the volume up 2-3 notches for the same "loudness" as my other headphones. Not bad, but while burning in the pair, and on certain tracks, I have my iPhone 6+ one notch shy of full.
     
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    Sources:
     
    I have limited sources, accumulated since my "induction" into Head-Fi, and my Smartphone. All have been used mixed together in all ways possible and are still used that way. That said, I settled into using my X3ii and A3 together, and my iPhone 6+ alone or with the excellent little E06. I am happy with all choices, and do not see myself upgrading in the future (unless something fantastic falls into my lap!).
     
    -iPhone 6+
    -Fiio x3ii
    -Fiio E06
    -Fiio A3 (E17k)
     
    Comparison headphones (it's what I have...and I really like all):
     
    RHA MA750's
    Dunu Titan 1's
    MEElectronics M6 Pro's
     
    Design/Build:
     
    To say the Pinnacles are excellent is almost an insult to their shape. They are quite exquisite in shape, with a sensual curvaceous body They are beautiful. The hand-polished Zinc Alloy is something to behold. I have never liked "shout-at-me" designs or colors, and the P1's knock those said shouts to the curb. This would be a knockout in the first round, if it were a fight. To which the P1's would then James Bondishly walk off the stage and into the fog, as if nothing had happened, and it really was no bother. I really like the shape if you cannot tell. Some say that the build is outstanding too. I would disagree to a point. Please let me explain:
     
    When you purchase something that is handmade, your expectations are that fit-n-finish would outweigh the known quantity that it IS hand built...take the curvaceous hand hammered fenders of a Ferrari 350GT California. They are impeccable, without flaw, and perfectly matched to the other. This is a truly heavenly-high standard, and with something the size of the P1's hard to match. Non-the-less, that is my expectation when placing my hard earned cabbage down on a Flagship. I expected the two halves to match perfectly at the seams, even if they are hand polished (exquisitely I might add). They do not. My expectation is that each half is polished and finished together for a perfect fit (again MY expectation). This harkens back to the Ferrari...they are damn-near perfect. The P1's are by no means bad, and I will CERTAINLY not return these as a result, but my hope was for perfectly matched seams, and a matching of the polish job. Again, this does not hinder the overall quality, nor the sound; but it is something I noticed. Eyecatching as @BloodyPenguin would say, and I completely agree. These are beautiful to behold and handle.
     
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    The cables are top notch as mentioned above and in other reviews; the two of which alone cost $39-$49 each on the MEE site. This says something regarding the quality offered in the product. Both are fantastic I might add. But....again, there is a small problem. The inline mic version is a tightly wound/braided black cable which sticks together nicely. The Silver-plated beauty, which I use more than the other, has started to come unwound at the plastic sheath, below the MMCX connection. It really is no big deal, but another blemish on the overall quality. A spot of Superglue is holding the offending "unwinding" in place nicely. This has slightly hindered the over-the-ear use of that bud, but I can certainly live with it. Again, not a deal breaker. A positive of both cables is the right angle jack. I really love this type. On my m6 Pro's, the jack fits into my XDoria Defense case without problem, none. The L-jack of the Pinnacles is SLIGHTLY shorter, and does not make a constant connection. I have to use an adaptor on the XDoria, but not on my X3ii. Again, no big deal, and MEE states that they design their plugs for use with Smartphone cases. Those with DAP's need not worry.
     
    IMG_1490.jpg
     
     
    Overall, I am very happy with the look and feel of the cables and the buds themselves, they are top notch. Just what I would expect from a Premium product. A definite Flagship, the P1's are.
     
    FeaturesUse:
     
    The included accessories are like the proverbial icing on the cake. Two top quality cables, 9 sets of tips (3 sizes of Comply's alone, plus 3 types of silicones: single, double & triple flange), a fantastic looking 1/4" adaptor (best I have seen), and the ever present shirt clip. The leather case has the nice touch of a laser-etched serial number giving the owner a sense of exclusivity so to speak. It is pretty cool knowing what number you have, and on the Pinnacle page, my "serial-neighbor" @kylezo and I were equally excited when ours arrived. 
     
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    The braided cables are something to behold. The black inline-mic cable is tightly wound, and works very well. An exquisite addition to the stable. The Silver-plated cable, even with the unwinding "issue" is a sight to feast your eyes upon. Knowing this cable alone cost $50, just means that MEE takes their audio seriously, and want the best. I am lucky enough to have production run #2, so I do not have the MMCX connector issues. I have not had any problems what-so-ever with the connection. Since I am new to that type of connection, it was a bit disconcerting to note that once the cable was attached to the bud, it did swivel. I quickly came to realize that this was the norm, and quit worrying.
     
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    My use of these will be all-inclusive to be honest. I use these at home, at school during my plan, while I walk at my daughters soccer practice, and pretty much every where. I will NOT use these while I mow...I have the m6 Pro's for that! I currently use them with my iPhone 6+ and X3ii, and will separate the sound qualities below. 
     
    Sonics/Impressions:
     
    I will state again, I am no expert. I appreciate good sound, and own a good Arcam/ProAc/Linn mid-fi home system which I pretty much feel will be my end-all in that regard. I am less than three months back into the Head-Fi "zone" and with my high-end hearing loss am trying to reacquaint myself with top quality gear. What I can say with a degree of certainty is that this pair will be my last "Hi-Fi" pair of IEM's. I am over the top satisfied. I ran the 6+ either naked or coupled with the E06, and the x3ii + A3 together.
     
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    Initial Impressions:
     
    Well....initially we did not get along, not at all. My first hours, were a story in abject disfunction. All of my debating listed above, rose up in me, flooding my emotions to the point, where I was ready to return these beauties and live happily and comfortably with my MA750's. I was that dissatisfied. I am not sure what the problem was either. I tried different tips (this is the only pair I own where I tried ALL of the included tips trying to get the best fit and sound), I tried different fit in my ears...deep, angled, shallow, everything. For the first several hours, these sounded weak, and shallow, almost anemic. As noted briefly above this is a harder to drive set of IEM's. I was a full 3-4 notches above my RHA's on my iPhone, and one notch shy of full bore volume during burn in. Leaving the volume on the x3ii at 90/120, I raised the A3 to between 4-5, when I normally run it at 3/10. It is my understanding that Dynamic Drivers do benefit from long burn ins, and these are just shy of 50 hours total. Since these were hard to come by, and giving up on them so quickly would be a tremendous mistake and disservice due to what I have read here, I waited. And I waited. 
     
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    And...well, of course it was worth it! By approximately the 20 hour mark, the buds were opening up nicely. Midway through the burn in I changed Comply's from the large supplied T-200's, to another set I had, the T-200 Comforts. This alone opened the highs up nicely. This is also the first pair, which I run almost exclusively without an EQ, running them naked. On all of my other pairs, I have had to modify the sound to meet my tastes. I consider this a tremendous advantage in the initial process, and the stage at which I currently enjoy. There is no hiding without the EQ. They are running free on the beach and I am enjoying every minute.
     
    Highs:
     
    While the RHA's can be bright almost to the point of being sibilant, there is no such sense with the P1's. They are not bright and forward like my Titan 1's (quite good in their own regard), the highs are fulfilling and satisfying. They fill in when needed, and fade when not wanted. One reviewer who is returning his pair, made the point of the highs sounding thin and veiled. I can appreciate that sentiment, and understand, because sometimes I too, hear that. IMO though it is a signature of the song. When I compare that treble note to the RHA's, I see little difference in the faded highs. The 750's are brighter by nature to me, and hide this "fault" better than the P1's. I consider the highs complex and thorough as opposed to thin. They are there when called upon, in the back when not. It is said, that this pair is very source-sound dependent, and I would agree. These suffer from poor recordings. The overall sound is better on my x3ii's as it should be over the 6+. So the tendency for faulty highs are less prevalent to me on that source. The sound quality is better, and you would think that any deficiencies would come out more so, but to me this is not the case, because all of the recordings are of equal quality.
     
    Mids: 
     
    The mids are the highlight of this phone to me. Vocals are almost magical. Hearing Lyle Lovett sing Penguins on his live album is something to behold. As is his duo with Francine Reed What Do You Do which is something that draws you in, placing you front and center right between them with both singing ever so sweetly into your ear. Natural, deep and responsive would be my three "non-expert" words of choice. They resonate well and pull the whole sound signature together. No small feat, but especially welcome with the quality the mids provide. Completely opposite of this, but an equal revaluation would be Los Lonely Boys Señorita or Heaven. Both have a depth of soundstage which can be staggering. It's as if I am at the back of the bar in the old Grand Emporium in downtown Kansas City, and the sound just FILLS the place. Hopefully you know the sound, not overly loud, full-on crowd involved, enveloping mids. Just marvelous.
     
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    Bass:
     
    Peter Gabriel's wonderful album So is an excellent mix of low and mid bass with which to gauge the aurals of those tones. While the song Red Rein comes through with brilliant bass depth on my m6 Pro's the bass is not as deep on the Pinnacles. I do regret that. To me, a solid far reaching bass is an excellent sign of representing that song accurately. A minor quibble, but one anyway. The bass is quite responsive, and can drop to near sub-bass levels, which can cover the lack of very deep bass heard in other headphones. Mind you this is not bad bass, my Titan's have FAR less bass and I still like them. The bass present is simply not thundering and headphone shaking. This is a good thing, and the P1's were not meant to be of the basshead-type. I appreciate that the bass is there when needed, and not overpowering, but I long for a bit more deep bass.
     
    Soundstage/Separation:
     
    Until I owned quality pairs of headphones such as my Dunu Titan 1's and the excellent RHA MA750's, soundstage and separation were simply not in my auditory repertoire outside of my home system. After hearing those fine examples, I "relearned" what it meant to have sound extend beyond my cranial matter. Now don't get me wrong, my home speakers have soundstage which mimics the distance between New York and Boston, but intimate soundstage was revisited, and well worth the wait. To say the soundstage of the P1's is wide is very accurate. I won't say that they are like visiting the Grand Canyon, but they are very very good. Stevie Ray Vaughan's Ain't Gone 'n' Give Up On Love is a great example. Central guitar strings together with deep and wide bass guitar to form an inviting open armed melody which defines the qualities of these wonderful IEM's. You are drawn in to just admire the width and appreciate that it is a quality width with wonderful instrument separation. Each instrument is where it should be...on stage left, or stage right, or front and center, they are all where the engineers, and musicians intended.   
     
    Using the 6+ gave me a good impression of what I would run into when I am on the go and can only grab my Smartphone and these headphones. Running TuneShell almost exclusively, I am very satisfied with the overall sound. All sections, high/mid/low come through nicely. Broad soundstage is such that I almost turn to the side when another walker goes by, because I am afraid the instruments will strike them! I am subject to more sound-source variation, due to the different CD qualities I drew from on iTunes, but it is certainly acceptable. Using the x3ii + A3 yielded a crystal clear sound by comparison. Since I used VOX to convert the CD's, all were FLAC files (I'm still trying to figure out how to import the album/artist/cover art...). There was no variation (to my ear) in quality, all were transferred at the same bit rate (44.1 kHz/16bit). The P1's just sounded darn good. Deep, inviting, breadth of sound wider than with the 6+ (watch out walkers![​IMG]), no hidden highs/mids/lows what-so-ever. Bared naked to the world with no EQ, the sound came through in clarity I have only heard from my home system. It was as if I was reborn with full-sounding ears, and I really came to appreciate that "trio" of electronics. In a word, WOW.
     
    Comparison:
     
    My three main competitors are the only other "quality" headphones I own, so I apologize for that in advance. Those would be:
     
    Dunu Titan 1's
    RHA Ma750's
    MEElectronics M6 Pro's
     
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    The M6 Pro's were my first foray back into the Head-Fi world, and I was quite happy with them. They are full, have better bass reach, wide of stage and fit quite well. The memory cable works very well once you have it set. It can pinch if not properly fit, but take the time and they are marvelous. My big problem with the M6's is the VERY aggressive highs. They can become wearing quite early in your session, and I find that I cannot turn them up volume-wise like my others. The highs can be sibilant and harsh. These are very good headphones, but can become tedious to listen to after awhile. I still really like them.
     
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    The Dunu's are simply put, spectacular. So open, they are like that first open-window of Spring. A welcome change from the dark cold days of Winter. With this Spring-feel comes a light and airy presentation, with excellent detail and as spacious a soundstage as anything I have heard. The detail is incredible. Hearing the musician take a breath, and the pluck of guitar string is worth the price of admission. But that admission comes with a cost. All of the light and airiness means that there is a lack of bass. As crystal clear as the Dunu's sound, the lack of bass downgrades these to me. I really like these and reach for them when I want something fun and inviting. The sound is like being invited to a wonderful beach party in Miami, on the ocean...fantastic, but eventually the party must end. Clarity rules with these, and that is a testament to the detail with which Dunu instills that into their products. Well done.
     
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    Lastly the RHA's are my most recent purchase prior to the P1's. These are the best built headphones I have ever owned, period. Yes limited data base, but still solid. Warm, dark and inviting the 750's are like that late night after party off the beach, and only the most hip and respected are invited to the after party. These are the after party. This is the pair you grab when you want to enjoy that fine single malt Scotch (pun intended since they are Scottish) deep into the night as the cool ocean breeze waifs over you. This is the pair, that not only represents the finest single-malt, they are held by the big log-throwing full bearded gent in the kilt. They do not hide their true identity. Warm, robust, slightly dark, and full. Spacious in stage, separate and complex in instrumentation, this is one heckuva pair. If there is a downside, and this is slight, they are a bit forward and bright for some music. Loud piercing vocals or rock can be a smidge, and I say smidge too much for long periods. Thankfully this is few and far between tracks I own. Until the P1's came along, this was my favorite pair.
     
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    Sources used:
     
    Iphone 6+
    Fiio x3ii
    Fiio A3
    Fiio E06, Kilimanjaro
     
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    Music used:
     
    Most is listed above, but I must give credit to my all time favorite Stevie Ray Vaughan for helping me through the initial denial of these. Without his sweet guitar licks and inviting voice, this pair might have been different. I was lucky enough to see SRV three times when he was alive, and through his music, I come closest to my musical philosophy...a deep appreciation for ANY good music. An understanding of variety that still hold true today. I thank his music for that.
     
    Overall Impressions:
     
    From my initial listen, I was extremely excited and held trepidation at the same time. Almost everything I had read, was very positive; but I just was not hearing that. Maybe I was tinted by the overall excellence of the 750's. Maybe the initial excitement of the quality M6 Pro's tainted my judgement. Maybe the liveliness of the Titan 1's told me that you had made a wrong decision. But the more I listened, the more I understood and still understand. The P1's are an incredible piece of kit. From their subtle, dark, mysterious, strong beauty through the dark color of the IEM's themselves (which I REALLY like), to the including of not one but TWO excellent cables I delved deeper into the understanding of this Flagship. I am no expert, and came to rely upon the opinions of those here, on Head-Fi. those who had been around quality sound much longer than I. Those who had experience with phones I would never think of owning due to multiple aspects (not a knock, just the truth). Those who were and are lucky enough to have experienced CIEM's which cost 10x the Pinnacles. And it was through their previous experiences (as a Scientist we call that Prior Knowledge) with those wonderful pieces of kit, that I became patient with this pair. I began to understand, that just like the single-malt Scotch I cherish, it takes time to develop a relationship with your buds. It takes time for those same buds to develop into what they are today, in my ear as I write this gibberish....a wonderful testament to a company that values VALUE as much as sound. From my initial offering of the M6 Pro's to the Pinnacles, it became clear that MEE Audio did in fact care about our wallets, besides our ears.
     
    If I can call these a "bargain" at $199, I will. I am extremely lucky to own a pair of these, and will forever be thankful that I did lose my Klipsch's to start this journey (those have since been found and given to a colleague who cherishes them greatly). This journey back to my musical roots....sometimes loud, sometimes soft, but ever expanding. For that I am thankful, and will be satisfied for years to come with the view from the top of MY mountain, my peak, my Pinnacle. The view is grand, and I am thankful the P1's drew me in and are taking care of me.
      cpauya and getclikinagas like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. HiFiDJ
      Thanks! That was pretty helpful. And nice review! Did any of the pictures show what you did to the bud? I can't really tell.
      HiFiDJ, Mar 26, 2016
    3. ngoshawk
      Thank you for the kind words, and no none of the pictures show the mod. I wanted to keep that out since I was reviewing the unit. I may go back when I finalize the review, possibly with the head shrunk sheath. I'm just worried about the cable where it comes out of the connector. I know I probably shouldn't worry, but with the small but nice case, that might be a stress area. Cheers.
      ngoshawk, Mar 26, 2016
    4. HiFiDJ
      Oh, ok. I see. Thanks again.
      HiFiDJ, Mar 26, 2016
  8. cleg
    Great earphones for great music
    Written by cleg
    Published Mar 18, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - build quality, accessories, price, sound signature, resolution
    Cons - not for treble-sensitive
    1MainPic.jpg

    To begin, I want to say that MEE Audio really managed to impress me, I really liked P1. I'm familiar with MEE Audio products for quite a long time. Actually, they were the company, who led me to world of hi-end personal audio. So, I was always looking at their new products with interest. Last year, on CES they've presented first prototype of their future flagship P1, but fine-tuning took about a year of time. Anyway, P1 is out, and I've spent 2 beautiful weeks with them. Now I'll try to get all my poor english skills together and try to share my impressions.

    Last years, vast majority of headphones are built on big OEM plants in China/Malaysia/etc. It's pretty easy to release your own headphones (but relatively expensive), select OEM producer, select model, customise package, logo and accessories set, and you're done. It's pretty funny to see models, made by ESMOOTH, sold under different brands with prices that sometimes varies by 2 times. So, it's always a pleasure to see model, designed by company from ground up. Such models usually can be distinguished by the thousands of small nuances: packaging, accessories, polygraphy, interesting tuning options, etc.

    So, as you can easily understand, P1 is one of those models, and it's pretty great feeling, to see those small things, done by their product designers.

    Packaging and accessories
    Pinnacle P1 is definitely beloved child of MEE Audio. It's clear after the first look to the box. Stylish cover uses almost all modern polygraphic technologies — silver print, embossing, combination of gloss and mate paper, it's all present. After removing of this cover, you'll see internal box, made of black thick cardboard. This box opened symmetrically from the middle, really unusual. Inside, you'll find earpieces themselves, great leather case for carrying and two cardboard boxes with accessories. One contains cables and shirt clip, second — tips. Also, in box you'll find 1/4" adapter and useful manual, covering all topics.
    2Box.jpg
    3InBox.jpg
    4Acessories.jpg

    With P1 you'll get 6 pairs of silicon tips (3 pairs of single flanged of different sizes, 2 pairs of double flanged and 1 pair of triple flanged). Also you'll get 3 pairs of assorted COMPLY foams.

    But main treasure besides earpohnes are cables. First cable is black, it's made of copper and features single-button talk control. It's soft, pretty thick, sturdy and looks good. But second one, is a real masterpiece. It's made from silver-plated copper, have semitransparent isolation with color, matching earphones and looks gorgeous. MEE is planning to sell it for $50, and I'm going to buy at least one more to use with other IEMs. Cable is using standard MMCX, so it will be a worth purchase.

    As you can see, packaging and accessories are really on par with ultra-expensive hi-end models.

    Design and comfort
    MEE Audio decided to use unusual material, P1 is cast of zinc alloy with hand-polished finish. This gave them really unusual color, something between graphite and bronze with interesting metal texture. Also, this model got unusual form, combining rounded shapes with soft edges. This gives P1 a little retro look, but I think it's stylish. Of course, build quality is perfect.
    5InnerView.jpg
    6OutterView.jpg
    7WithCable.jpg

    P1 can be worn cable down and over the ear. I prefer second option, as it gives me more convenience. In both cases, earphones sits in ear with good comfort and gives nice sound isolation.

    Sound
    I've used following equipment for auditioning
    - NuPrime DAC-10H and Resonessence Labs Concero HP as DAC/amp
    - Apple MacBook Pro Retina 2013 as a source
    - Fidelia as player
    - Fiio X7 and Luxury&Precission L5Pro as DAPs

    I've burned in P1 for 48 hours before auditioning.
    8Overview.jpg

    MEE Audio invested lots of work into sound tuning too. They've used special resonator for treble, allowing P1 deliver high frequencies with unusual resolution and energy. As many hi-end models, P1 is really fit dependent, also different tips changes sound representation. For example, COMPLY's foams tames treble a bit, and dual-flange tips gives a little more bass, but slightly reduces resolution. After some experiments, I've stopped on big single flange tips, as they allows P1 to show their best sides.
    9Hanging.jpg

    Bass is fast and have good amount of details. Main accent is made on midbass. Low bass is present, but is reduced in quantity. I think this is done on purpose, as P1 is tuned for serious genres like classics, and there quality is more important then quantity. Anyway, P1's subbass is enough to give a feeling of presence.

    Mids are really, really good. OF course, they are detailed, emotional, etc. But P1 managed also to build a really great scene, both in width and in depth. It's one of the few headphones that gives me three-dimensional perception of music. Instruments have good separation, and vocals does really shine on P1.
    10Lying.jpg

    Treble is the most controversial part in P1's sound. Earphones was tuned to deliver great treble resolution, so there is no attempts to masque highs and make them "comfortable". If you're treble sensitive, this earphones aren't for you. Personally I like treble, so great amount of details that Pinnacles has in this range is suiting my tastes good. P1 has one of the most resolving highs in IEM world, so percussion and other treble instruments sounds with unbelievable level of details. From other hand, P1 requires really superb source and good mastered records. DAPs having problems with treble control will give P1 metal ringing due to distortion. But it's not a Pinnacle's fault actually.

    Compatibility
    I don't know why, MEE Audio included cable with talk control to accessories set. P1 is really not a good companion for a smartphones and tablets. They require nice DAP. Only option I see, to use this cable with Fiio DAPs, they can understand talk control button, in this case it'll be convenient. P1 is really picky for source, out of all my DAPs they've sounded best with L&P L5Pro. Fiio X7 was also good.
    11WithFiioX7.jpg

    Style-wise, I think this IEMs are for "serious" genres: classics, instrumental music, vocal, good recorded jazz. They aren't the best option for hard and heavy, as may of this music is recorded poorly, but I've enjoyed Iron Maiden in remastered version, released by Onkyo.

    So, if you're looking for a serious earphones for serious music, have nice DAP and prefer spacious and three-dimensional soundstage, MEE Audio P1 is a great option for you. Luckily, they cost only $200, which is really inexpensive for earphones of this level.
    12OnceMorewithFiioX7.jpg

    I want to thank to MEE Audio for providing me a sample for review in exchange to my honest opinion.

    Here is my unboxing and impressions video.

    1. DeeGuy310
      thanks for your review, I got the P1 about a month ago, and I really enjoy these earphones when listening classical music
      DeeGuy310, Jul 22, 2016
    2. cleg
      cleg, Jul 23, 2016
  9. BloodyPenguin
    The Pinnacle P1 is a Big Value, Premium Flagship From Mee Audio
    Written by BloodyPenguin
    Published Feb 10, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Premium Sound Signature, Multiple Detachable Cables, Fantastic Solid Metal Housings, Premium Looks, Value WELL Beyond Its Price Range
    Cons - Lows Ever So Slightly Lacking, Detachable Cords Tangle a Bit
    --
     
    Meet the Pinnacle P1, Mee Audio's first true Flagship IEM:
     
    P1060380.jpg
     
                               - All Photos Presented and Taken By Me -
     
    **Disclaimer: A sample of the Pinnacle P1 was provided by Mee Audio [www.meeaudio.com] in return for an honest review**
     


    *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)


    *Contents*

    - 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
     
    The Pinnacle P1 presents itself, tucked away in a rather fascinating box, with each layer taken off adding to the excitement of the final reveal.  

    Mee Audio wants you to find the perfect fit, thus why they include 9 sets of eartips, both silicone and Comply foam.

    Also included is a quite nice looking hard case to protect your P1 with. The laser-etched serial number displayed front and center explains a lot about this product, it is personal and an exceptional piece of kit.
     
    P1060327.jpg
     
    P1060331.jpg
    P1060332.jpg
     
    P1060335.jpg
     
    P1060342.jpg
     
     

    *Build/Design*

    Let me just throw out a few words for you; "Die-cast Zinc Alloy". That is the material that the very appropriately named Pinnacle are made out of. The P1 is literally built like nothing else as no other earphone is made of the same composites. The housings do borderline on heavy and feel quite substantial in the hand. If these had an attached cable, they could be easily turned into a deadly weapon.

    The exotic metals have a nice side effect of also creating a very exclusive and handsome earphone. The P1 is easily one of the most eye catching IEMs I have had the pleasure of coming across. The extreme design brought me to wear vinyl gloves when I did my photoshoot, as I wanted to avoid any blemishes on the unique Pinnacle. Though, my extra precaution was not exactly warranted, as I came to find out, they really don't draw much attention to finger prints.
     
    P1060357EDIT.jpg
     
     
    Next we have the fantastic detachable cables (Using a MMCX Connection);

    - HIGH-GRADE AUDIO CABLE: Silver-plated and 99.99% pure copper. This High-Fidelity cable is just plain awesome. Another example of why the P1 pushes WAY past its price range. This is the kind of cable one would normally find with an item costing 3x more.

    - HEADSET CABLE WITH MIC & REMOTE: While not built using the same materials as the High-Grade Cable, this extra included cable is a wonderful addition and still of a very good quality. Even with an IEM of this level, it is nice to have the option to use it with a Tablet/Phone. For use, I found sound quality to still be at a decent output, even using my old Samsung S4 (more on that later).

    I'm really nitpicking here, these cables are so wonderful, though I did find they can tangle a bit when attached to the heavy P1 housing from time to time, but really, they are just great. Each cable also displays no signs of any microphonics, they are as quiet as a church mouse.
     
    P1060373.jpg
     
    P1060345.jpg
     
    P1060372.jpg
     
    P1060376.jpg
     


    *Fit/Comfort*

    The P1 can be worn either over ear or under ear, which is a great option to have as some users swear buy one or the other. Personally, I like it worn either way, depending on my mood or needed use.

    Whichever way you end up wearing the Pinnacle, you will notice that the P1 carries a lot of weight. That said, I never had any issues with the P1 falling out, the sleek universal design sees to the P1 staying firmly in the ear. Once in the ear, I found the Pinnacle to be comfortable and easy to wear for extended use.

    Worn Around the Ear - Due to the weight of the P1, I found this to be the best way to anchor them as not to fall out do to an accidental tug. I also found it to be quite comfortable as well, as the cables are soft and easily wrap around the ear.

    Worn Straight Down - This is a quick, easy and standard way to wear the P1. While I mentioned that I did not mind wearing them either way, I found myself using this method as in my home, I am getting up and down a lot to check on the family. Wrapping the cord around the ear is easy, but takes an extra second or two which is valuable to my reviews. :wink:
     
    P1060361.jpg
     


    *Sound*

    Lows - I like sub-bass. I like controlled sub-bass. The P1 has controlled sub-bass, I just wish there was just a tad more to give these IEMs a little more presence in the lows. Now I will say this is more of a personal preference. In reality the Pinnacle is not bass light, but bass neutral. There is no emphasis down low, instead, there is the perfect amount of bass to maintain Mee Audio's design of a Flagship sound signature.

    Mids - The middle frequencies are displayed at an extremely high and accurate level. Listening to them now, they are musical, detailed, natural and revealing. Vocals come through with such a smoothness and presence. Mee Audio did a fantastic job tuning and it really shows in the mids.

    Highs - Bright? Well.. not really, the P1 go up the range quite a bit, but seem to dissipate right before they become harsh or sibilant. What you will find a lot in the highs is detail, glorious detail. This is where the Pinnacle really impressed me.

    Isolation - With a thick slab of die-cast zinc alloy between your ear canals and the rest of the world, you will find that the P1 isolates extremely well. You are not going to find any sound leak hear either. Your music stays your music, so let that Katie Perry blast, no one is going to know.

    Soundstage - I'm not sure what exactly is going on inside that extremely though metal housing, but it is something magical. IEMs should not have this depth, while maintaining such great expansive instrument separation.
     
    P1060369.jpg
     


    *Sources Used*

    TEAC HA-P90SD - Analytical Use: These two are just plan awesome together. Silent from the floor up, music is represented in its purest form with amazing reproduction. If I wanted to show off the P1, I would pair it with this. From the crisp highs to the controlled (light) sub-bass, this DAP really had a ha

    Marantz HD DAC1 - Analytical Power Use: While the Marantz is close to par with the TEAC, I found there to be a few little differences. The HD DAC1 allowed a bit wider soundstage and power. Though, playback on the other hand is not as controlled or as natural as the HA-P90SD.

    FiiO E07K - Fun Use: The FiiO E07K has a slight darker signature that actually works very well with the P1 at times. The E07K has decent power to push the Pinnacle, but holds it back just enough in the highs to give it a "fun" sound. Keeping any chance at upper range becoming fatiguing well at bay.

    FiiO M3 - Random Use (Headset Cable): It was laying in front of me and I thought, what the heck, lets give it a try. While far from my top choice, I found that the Pinnacle did its best to play nice with the little DAP. Producing a slightly darker color than the P1 is accustom to. While no where as detailed as some others on this list, the M3 still was able to push the P1 to present a pleasant sound. My issue was that while the FiiO M3 did its best, I just knew that P1 had so much more left to show.

    Samsung S4 - Cellphone Use (Headset Cable): Being an older model, I was worried that the S4 would really struggle with the P1. I was mostly wrong. While the Pinnacle can be pushed much better by dedicated audio products, Mee Audio purposely includes a headset cable for use with a phone/tablet. While power is always going to be an issue with most of these types, it basically just means you are going to have to turn the volume way up and kind of works inadvertently to protect your ears a bit. I was so ready to be unimpressed by this pairing of the S4 and P1 that when I listened to them the first time together, I thought, "Well, not that bad". With the Pinnacle's great isolation and comfort along with the Samsung's portability make it a smart match for travel or on the go.

    - [More to come as I have a few new sources on the way and I will update this section as they arrive] -

    P1060356.jpg
     
     

    *Value*

    This is a section I am adding expectantly for the P1. Normally you can just read a review, look at the price and basically figure the value out for yourself. With the Pinnacle, it must be shouted out. Shouted from the roof tops about how an amazing value the P1 represents. Is $200 a budget IEM? For some yes, for some no, but you get so much for this price. [Mee Audio, look away at this point and don't read this next few sentences]. Mee Audio dropped the ball, they could have charged at least twice, if not 3 times more for the P1. I'm not kidding. I see a lot of earphones build like this and are meant to sound like this, for example the Cypher Labs C6iem v2, which can't hold a candle to the Pinnacle. The P1 beats the C6iem V2 in every category and leaves an extra $400 in your pocket.

    At the time of finishing this review [02/10/16] the Pinnacle P1 was out of stock on Mee Audio's website: http://www.meeaudio.com/pinnacle

    Though, I see that there are some on sale directly from Mee Audio's eBay Store for $200: http://www.ebay.com/itm/131718040815

    I also see them in limited numbers on Amazon for the same price: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01A60I4P6/
     
    P1060363.jpg
     


    *Overall Thoughts*

    Value, sound, build, design and accessories all scream high end, but without the premium price. Mee Audio hit a home run with the P1. This has to be on of the best valued products I have ever tested. It is the Budget Flagship.

    From the minute I opened up the box, until the second I put the the P1 into my ear, the Pinnacle impressed me the whole way. I kept shaking my head in dis-belief about how wonderful Mee Audio had done with this product.

    Way to go Mee Audio, the Pinnacle P1 is a heck of a Flagship and a great gift to the Audiophile world.
     
    P1060341.jpg
     
    --
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Luis Luquis
      Nice review, I have the MEE m6 pro and i was thinking about upgrading to these.
      Luis Luquis, Feb 17, 2016
    3. bmichels
      Good review.   Please could you tell us where you got those triple flange eartips from ? 
       
      thanks
      bmichels, May 8, 2016
    4. BloodyPenguin
      BloodyPenguin, May 26, 2016
  10. twister6
    P1 - Pushing the Price enveloPe of Premium Performance.
    Written by twister6
    Published Jan 25, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - excellent balanced signature and revealing/expanded sound, solid zn-alloy build, silver plated removable cable, leather case, wire up/down fitment.
    Cons - not as forgiving when it comes to poorly recorded tracks, not a very clear L/R cable labeling, lacking a bit in sub-bass.

    I would like to Thank MEEaudio for providing me with a review sample in exchange for my honest opinion.
     
    Manufacturer website: http://www.meeaudio.com/pinnacle

     
    The flagship headphones are not born overnight.  It takes a lot of hard work, genuine passion, and accumulated experience to reach that level.  Armed with these skills, MEEaudio spent nearly 2 years crafting their next big release.  I actually had a number of discussions with Mike of MEEaudio (PR face of the company) over the course of last year about the progress of Pinnacle development and manufacturing, and know with certainty how much effort went into these headphones.  As a matter of fact, they could have been released half a year ago, but MEEaudio continued tweaking minor details until everything was done to perfection.
     
    MEEaudio, formerly MEElec, is well known and respected in audiophile community, even though some of their headphones fall into a general consumer oriented budget category.  If you focus on sound quality, “budget” doesn’t always mean a bad thing, where just recently I reviewed their RX18 IEMs (on Amazon for under $8 shipped) and found it to be worthy of “Giant Killer” level.  Now, I got my hands on their new flagship model which again pushes the Giant Killer envelope, even at $199.  MEEaudio named their new model “Pinnacle 1”, so let’s take a closer look to find out if they were able to reach the pinnacle level with their new P1 release.
     
    Unboxing.
     
    Starting with an outside sleeve, you are greeted with a glossy high def image of P1 that visually pops out of the cover.  While taking a tour around the box to read the back and the sides, you can find a lot of interesting details about the design, the spec, and the included accessories.  I personally enjoy analyzing the packaging while reminiscing a good old brick’n’mortar days when we were able to walk down the isle of a local electronics store, pick up a box, and indulge ourselves in reading about the product.  But words are just words, so off goes the sleeve to reveal a gift-box quality storage box.
     
    After a brief moment while looking at the split in the middle of the top cover, I opened the box by flipping both sides up – quite an original cover design which I haven’t seen before.  With the cover sides up, you’re greeted with a view of a beautiful leather case, a pair of P1 shells above it in a foam cutout, and two neatly stacked boxes below it with a proper labeling of the content.  Even before starting to analyze the ergonomics of the shell design, I was still analyzing the ergonomics of the box by itself with a small pocket for 1/4” adapter underneath of the main foam insert and another indented opening for user manual under the leather case, and both accessory boxes.  I often mention about the rewarding nature of unboxing experience, and here it was definitely worthy of the flagship status.
     
    meeaudio_pinnacle1-01_zpsdqd24rbz.jpg   meeaudio_pinnacle1-02_zpsgztfst3q.jpg
    meeaudio_pinnacle1-03_zpsrprdbqb3.jpg   meeaudio_pinnacle1-04_zpsksj6tykz.jpg
    meeaudio_pinnacle1-05_zpsrn5xjc96.jpg   meeaudio_pinnacle1-06_zpslrfxyrun.jpg
     
    Accessories.
     
    Starting with eartips, you get a neat plastic tray with every tip in its own individual storage pocket.  A total of 6 silicone eartip pairs were included: 3 pairs of S/M/L with a traditional single flange semi-springy cap, 2 pairs of M/L double flange, and a pair of M triple-flange tips.  Also, included were 3 pairs of S/M/L genuine Comply foam tips, as well as 1/4” adapter and a smart shirt clip where one of the handles had a cleverly designed spring-loaded hook to attach to the cable.  Not that you have to worry about microphonics, but considering you are dealing with a premium multi-conductor twisted cable – this was a nice custom accessory like I haven’t seen before.
     
    But my favorite accessory has to be a leather case with a magnetic flip cover.  Everything about this case screams premium, from a quality of the leather to a neat stitching, from a polished metal tab with Pinnacle name and engraved serial number to a soft felt roomy interior to accommodate P1 with its thick cable.  The size of the case was just perfect, not too big or too small, and the shape was slick and comfortable to slide in your pocket.
     
    meeaudio_pinnacle1-07_zpsjvgbpfs9.jpg   meeaudio_pinnacle1-08_zpsuak3i3v7.jpg
    meeaudio_pinnacle1-09_zpsuyccxtue.jpg   meeaudio_pinnacle1-10_zps6xkndicu.jpg
     
    Cables.
     
    It's very rare to see a premium cable included with stock accessories.  The reason is very simple – it adds to the cost.  P1 was designed with a removable cable using industry standard mmcx connector, and it would have been enough to include just a basic audio cable and maybe a smart cable with in-line remote, leaving it up to a user to upgrade later.  I have no idea how they managed to pull this off with $199 price tag, but they did include a nice 4-conductor copper headset cable with in-line remote and mic AND a premium silver plated pure copper audio cable.
     
    Headset cable is soft with a black shielding, a solid L-shaped molded headphone jack, a molded durable y-splitter, even a cable cinch despite in-line remote on the right side, and a durable universal in-line remote with mic and a single multi-function button for Play/Pause/Call and multi-press for track skip (I confirmed double click to skip next with my Note 4).  Each wire connected to mmcx connector housing is twisted (two separate isolated conductors), and the connector housing itself has a nice rubbery grip and a proper “hard to see” labeling with ID bump on the right side.  Y-splitter doesn’t combine L/R ground wires and continuous twisted with 4 separate isolated conductors down to a headphone jack.
     
    The silver-plated wire looks pure class.  Featuring the same L-shaped 90deg jack, which btw in both cases has a slimmed down collar to work with heavy duty smartphone cases, and the same rubbery molded y-splitter which just passes a pair of conductors from each side and continuous twisted with all 4 isolated conductors down to headphone jack.  You get a nice easy to slide cable cinch, and a solid rubbery grip mmcx connector housing with a proper L/R side labeling and ID bump on the right side.  I did say “proper” labeling, but it wasn’t easy to read, thus I do appreciate the bump to feel the right cable connector, on both audio and headset cables.
     
    Labeling of the cable connector is very important here.  The ergonomics of the design was crafted to accommodate either wire-up or wire down fitment of these IEMs.  While in so many cases we try to adapt to wearing non-symmetric IEMs with wire down where shells are angled and sticking out of your ears, here MEEaudio intentionally designed the shape to work both ways.  Since cable is detachable, you just unplug and swap the shells while keeping the same L/R orientation of the cable.  That is also a reason why the shells don’t have any L/R marking on them, to eliminate confusion if you are going to swap them.
     
    The design of the cables, both the shielding material and the way how cables are twisted, yielded a microphonics free experience.  But if you want to, you can always use the included smart clip which fits the cable snuggly.  I also really like how the color of the audio cable had a matching color tone to go along with P1 shells.  Furthermore, I took advantage of mmcx connector removable functionality to test P1 with my other pure silver and silver-plated cables – none of which yielded any significant improvement over the stock silver-plated cable.  I’m a cable believer for sure, but in this case I found myself a little bit biased because I really liked the feel, the look, and the sound improvement of this cable - noticeable when you compare it to the other included headset copper cable.
     
    Silver-plated audio cable.
     
    meeaudio_pinnacle1-12_zpszwz5isbj.jpg   meeaudio_pinnacle1-13_zps6w67wi0x.jpg
    meeaudio_pinnacle1-14_zpsru97xe7x.jpg   meeaudio_pinnacle1-15_zpsgrwxyusc.jpg
     
    Headset cable.
     
    meeaudio_pinnacle1-16_zps6rh0fa9e.jpg   meeaudio_pinnacle1-17_zpss6vjhx3i.jpg
    meeaudio_pinnacle1-18_zpsbmlfl4ho.jpg   meeaudio_pinnacle1-19_zpsiarknhbs.jpg
    meeaudio_pinnacle1-20_zpszcdrpe99.jpg   meeaudio_pinnacle1-21_zpsaadfgwjy.jpg
     
    Fitment (wire up/down).
     
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    Design.
     
    The housing of P1 shell is die-cast from a solid zinc alloy material with a hand polished surface and a clear coat finish.  With a weight of about 6g including eartip, they feel like solid nuggets in your hand when you first pick them up, but the weight disappears when you put them in your ears.  I think a lot of it has to do with ergonomics of the design and distribution of the weight.  The shell has a classic bean shape outline with nice design details, kind of reminding me of a golf club head.  Worn with wire up, P1 goes flush in my ear to the point where I can put my head down comfortably on the pillow and fall asleep wearing them.  But as I mentioned before, if you flip L/R sides – you can also wear them comfortably wire down where it doesn’t look or feel out of place.  Furthermore, nozzle appears to be stainless steel and notched at the tip to keep eartips from sliding off.
     
    For a more secure fitment and a better sound isolation, I recommend a wire up fitment, especially when you are in the middle of your active lifestyle routine.  But for a quick listening session where you get constantly interrupted and have to remove earpieces – wire down could be a lifesaver!  Also for those who switch between glasses and contact lenses, you have an option to switch the fitment.  The passive noise isolation is very good, even with silicone eartips, and it scales up when using Comply foam tips.  The venting pinhole is strategically positioned facing in on the angled side of the shell, so it’s not obstructed, and at the same time doesn’t leak sound or introduces outside noise.
     
    When it comes to the internal design of the shell, MEEaudio sound engineers came up with a proprietary sound chamber and damping scheme that uses a patented acoustic diffuser to shape the sound.  I would recommend visiting their website (http://www.meeaudio.com/pinnacle) to read more details with picture illustrations.  Personally, I found it fascinating because we are talking about higher impedance (50 ohm), lower sensitivity (93dB), 10mm SINGLE dynamic driver which thanks to this clever engineering was tuned to perform at its full wide bandwidth potential with a performance typical of multi-driver IEMs.
     
    meeaudio_pinnacle1-22_zpsughubxea.jpg   meeaudio_pinnacle1-23_zpsdwpord0f.jpg
    meeaudio_pinnacle1-24_zpsvmapnvko.jpg   meeaudio_pinnacle1-25_zpsixqgqgqy.jpg
    meeaudio_pinnacle1-26_zpsqfpc1p09.jpg   meeaudio_pinnacle1-27_zpsmkl104d6.jpg
     
    Sound Analysis.
     
    It has been awhile since I had the opportunity to test and to review a purebred dynamic driver IEM without any BA sidekicks.  Because of that, I forgot how much change a dynamic driver can undergo during the burn in.  P1 will need at least 50hrs of burn in for lows and highs to settle in before you get to its true color.  While I was going through burn in, I went back'n'forth between silicone and foam tips because at first they sounded a bit warm, then brighter, and finally cooked to perfection where I went back to large pair of silicone tips that works the best for me.  To get a better idea of tonality and soundstage expansion, I used a few of my favorite summit-if DAPs, such as PAW Gold, FiiO X7, and L&P L5 Pro.
     
    I found P1 overall tonality to be neutral with a noticeable tilt toward the brighter side of a balanced signature. The sound is dynamic, with excellent resolution and transparency, and good layering and separation of instruments and vocals.  Paired up with neutral-bright sources, the retrieval of details gets closer to micro-detail level without being too harsh or analytical, while with more neutral-warmish sources – sound was smoother yet still very detailed.
     
    One thing that impressed me right from the start was a soundstage expansion which I found to punch way above the average in all 3 directions of width/depth/height.  Of course, this is true as long as you are not limited by your source where you can’t expect your smartphone or a budget DAP to yield the same results as some more advance reference quality DAPs.  But one thing for sure, P1 is not going to be a limiting factor in that equation.  Along with impressive staging, I found imaging to have a holographic quality 3D placement of instruments/vocals with a convincing positioning.
     
    In more details, starting with low end, you get a nice extension down to a smooth sub-bass layer where the emphasis is more on quality rather than quantity.  You can still hear the presence of sub-bass, but more on a lower slightly rolled off level, just enough to build a foundation under the mid-bass which has an articulate punch.  At the same time in tracks where the song calls for more sub-bass, I was surprised how P1 responded with extra rumble.  It's not quite BA-driver fast, but definitely faster than average dynamic driver and also with a smooth analog feeling.  Bass is well controlled, not even a hint of spilling into lower mids or adding muddiness.
     
    Lower mids have a good balanced body which gives sound a more natural feeling.  Going into upper mids you are faced with a resolving and detailed sound which can reach micro-detail level, but doesn't sound too bright or sibilant.  The performance of male and female vocals is excellent where you can hear every little nuance without going into analytical level of detail retrieval.  P1 especially shines with instrumental vocal tracks.
     
    Treble is extended, bright, crisp, with a great definition and delicate airiness that adds expanded dimension to a sound.  I usually don't get much into analyzing high frequencies or instruments that take advantage of it, but I couldn't stop admiring resonating details of cymbal crashes and snare hit.  At the same time, P1 is not forgiving when it comes to a poorly recorded tracks with brighter upper mids/treble content.  P1 is not going to mask or smooth out anything, but rather transparently point out all the faults especially in high frequencies.
     
    Those who want more bass or prefer a smooth warm organic sound with rolled off treble might not be entirely satisfied with P1, but for others who are craving a revealing detailed sound enjoyable during extended non-fatigue listening sessions - this is a golden gem!
     
    Comparison to other IEMs.
     
    It gets very interesting when you start comparing P1 to other headphones, since all the previous typical dynamic driver expectations are out of the window.  After listening to P1 exclusively for the entire week, I was no longer able to box my listening opinion into one particular headphone category since they came close to matching various headphones from single dynamic driver to multi-BA drivers and even hybrids.
     
    P1 vs DN2kJ - very similar low end where P1 has slightly better sub-bass extension while DN has a little faster mid-bass punch; P1 lower mids have more body and upper mids are more balanced and a little smoother. DN upper mids are more up front, brighter, and a little harsher.  DN treble is a touch more crispy but otherwise very similar to P1.  P1 is an excellent alternative for those who enjoy revealing detailed signature of DN2kJ but want a more balanced smoother sound with more body and without compromising retrieval of details.  The soundstage was similar, though P1 is a touch wider.
     
    P1 vs RE600 – Right away you can hear RE soundstage being narrower and with less depth, also with a warmer smoother sound, less transparency, and a little flatter in comparison where P1 sounds more dynamic.  RE upper mids are smoother, treble is not as extended and not as bright, and mid-bass speed is a little slower.  RE takes a little step back from P1 in a more neutral, warmer, smoother, and less revealing direction.
     
    P1 vs Savant – Savant has a more intimate soundstage (narrower and closer), similar sub-bass extension though Savant is a little more articulate in that area.  Also Savant has a little faster mid-bass punch and overall tighter low end – typical of BA performance; very similar lower mids, while upper mids in Savant are a little smoother and warmer; upper treble is what sets them really apart where P1 is brighter and splashier while Savant is smooth and rolled off.  But overall, I couldn’t help but notice how close these sound throughout low end and mids.
     
    P1 vs DITA – I don’t have IE800, but DITA is the next iconic single dynamic driver wide-bandwidth IEM which begs to be compared to P1.  Unfortunately, I updated The Answer with a replacement gold-plated silver cable which changed the sound signature, making it bassy.  As a result DITA’s sub-bass and mid-bass are tilting the balance, sounds warmer, but the speed is similar in comparison.  When it comes to mids, they sound very similar, but P1 treble is brighter and a little splashier in comparison.  With soundstage, DITA has the same depth and height, while width is a little narrower.
     
    meeaudio_pinnacle1-28_zpsww87ivaw.jpg
     
    I already mentioned that a sound signature of the source will have a noticeable effect on P1 sound since Pinnacle doesn’t mask anything.  This makes P1 a great pair of IEMs for critical listening.  Also, slightly higher impedance (50 ohm) reassures that you don’t have to worry about background hissing and you are still in a friendly zone with portable mobile or less powerful sources.   But you do have to realize that lower sensitivity will require pushing your volume higher to get to a more comfortable listening level.
     
    A brief rundown how P1 pairs up with some of my sources.
     
    PAW Gold - very transparent and detailed sound, excellent extension of the low end and the top end, yielding the widest staging in comparison to all of my other sources.
     
    X7 – it has a little less low end impact (softer in comparison), but the same top end extension; very transparent and detailed with a wide staging.
     
    L5 Pro - transparent and detailed, a little more body in lower end, and the best sub-bass extension and texture, a little smoother top end, and wide staging.
     
    X5ii – still transparent and detailed but not exactly on the same level as other summit-fi daps (but close), fast mid-bass speed, revealing bright top, though a little smoother then X7, and a nice above the average staging.
     
    X3ii – still with plenty of details but less transparent, overall smoother/warmer, and also narrower staging.
     
    DX80 – holographic 3D staging, detailed, a bit less transparent, excellent extension of low/top end, and overall smooth sound.
     
    Galaxy Note 4 - smooth detailed sound, average soundstage (limited by HO of N4), less transparency.  Due to higher impedance and lower sensitivity I had to push the volume closer to the max.
     
    Galaxy Note 4 + Oppo HA-2 - had to switch HA-2 to high gain while pushing the volume to the max.  Surprisingly didn’t find this pair up any better than Note 4 by itself.
     
    Thinkpad laptop – probably my worst audio source straight out of the motherboard HO where a sound is smooth and warm, but loses a lot of details.  This is another example of how well P1 tracks the sound of the original source.
     
    Conclusion.
     
    In my opinion, MEEaudio completed their design mission with a success, and definitely have a flagship product worthy of Pinnacle name.  They didn’t just push the envelope of the price to deliver a premium pair of headphones for under $200, but also pushed the envelope of a single dynamic driver performance.  If you are looking for a sound with more bass or craving a more sterile analytical revealing performance, P1 might not satisfy you.  The same if you are used to dealing with forgiving headphones, relying on them to mask poorly recorded tracks, especially with harsh upper frequencies.  But if you are looking for a neutral-bright tonality, a balanced sound signature, a natural revealing sound, and an expanded 3D soundstage – P1 will be a pinnacle of your search.  Adding to that a solid build with zinc alloy material, unique design with either over ear or down wire fitment, variety of quality eartips, premium leather case, two sets of removable cables including one with headset control and another with a premium silver-plated wire, and 2 year warranty - $199 price tag is a bargain, and in comparison to other headphones MEEaudio added another Giant Killer to their product portfolio.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. modjo
      Hi @twister6
       
      May I ask you to give a short comparison between Pinnacle P1 and Zero Audio Doppio? And if they both priced at the similar price, which one do you prefer? 
      modjo, Sep 28, 2016
    3. Abdullah123
      Hi,
       
      i want to ask question, im getting caught in between in these two great iem (Mee p1 and earsonic sm64). I have a great deal on both offer, in fact they offer exactly similar price. what do you think is better in terms of full SQ and technicality, please let me know your opinion about which is which
      Abdullah123, Dec 2, 2016
    4. archy121
      “Those who want more bass or prefer a smooth warm organic sound with rolled off treble might not be entirely satisfied with P1”

      That’s me. What would fit that sound signature and similar budget ? Massdrop Plus ?others ?
      archy121, Apr 19, 2018