Utilizing the new Knowles SR-31843 balanced armature drivers, the 2nd-generation A151 delivers...

MEElectronics A151 2nd Generation

Rating:
5/5,
  • Utilizing the new Knowles SR-31843 balanced armature drivers, the 2nd-generation A151 delivers more linear bass, as well as better treble energy and extension, all while maintaining the excellent clarity that made the original A151 a hit with critical listeners around the world. This results in crisper, more realistic sound with improved detail resolution and handling of spatial cues.

Recent Reviews

  1. HiFiChris
    Extremely hard to beat for the Price - definitely an Upgrade from the 1st Gen A151
    Written by HiFiChris
    Published Oct 8, 2015
    5.0/5,
    Pros - extremely comfy, great value, very balanced to neutral-ish, fast bass, good resolution, build quality, soundstage, upgrade from 1st gen
    Cons - no visual difference to its predecessor; nothing else for the price (just some deep sub-bass roll-off which is nothing unusual for single-BA drivers)
    Preamble:

    Before I start with my review, I’d like to thank Mike from MeElectronics for sending me a sample of the A151 2nd Generation in exchange for my honest opinion.

    A little more than a year ago, I bought the first generation of the A151 from Amazon and compared it with some other single-BA IEMs in a mini-review series in a large German audio community. The conclusion was that the pretty inexpensive A151 could really convince me for its price and even beat the more expensive UE600vi (formerly known as Super.Fi 5), although highs were a tad too artificially sounding for my tastes. But for the price, the old A151 was a darn good IEM.
    Some time ago, MeElectronics (now known as MeeAudio) revised their A151P and changed the driver for a Knowles SR-31843, and just recently, they did the same to the regular A151 without the microphone and remote control.
    In my following write-up below, you can read how the new A151 2nd Gen differs from its predecessor.


    Technical Specifications:

    Transducers: Micro Balanced Armature (BA)
    Frequency Response: 20Hz – 19.5KHz
    Sensitivity: 111 dB (1mW at 1KHZ)
    Impedance: 32 Ohms
    Plug: straight 3.5 mm gold-plated stereo pug
    Cable: twisted, black, 135 cm
    Type: intraaural (In-Ear)
    Accessories: 5 pairs of silicone tips (S/M/L; double-flange; large triple-flange), 1 zippered clamshell case
    Warranty: 1 year
    Dimensions: 0.25 in. H x 0.3 in. B x 0.7 in. L
    Weight: 0.75 lb


    Delivery Content:

    The style of the package doesn’t differ from the old A151.
    The front is white and features a large picture of the In-Ears. The only thing that differs from the first gen A151 is a black sticker in the upper left corner which says “upgraded 2nd gen model with Knowles SR-31843 drivers”, the rest is identical, and so is the back side, which also just has got the frequency response chart of the old model (though a comparison between the old and new generation’s graph can be found on the MeElectronics website).
    The side where the technical specifications would be has got a sticker with the revised version’s specs, covering the old ones.
    Without the two stickers, it would be impossible to tell the two packages apart.
     

    2015-09-26_104633.jpg


    The delivery content of the 2nd generation A151 doesn’t differ from its predecessor and includes the zippered clamshell case with five pairs of black silicone tips (three pairs of regular single-flange tips in different sizes, one pair of double-flange tips and last but not least one pair of large triple-flange tips) next to the actual IEMs.
     

    IMG_20150926_101151_edit.jpg   IMG_20150926_101310_edit.jpg
     ​
    IMG_20150926_101322_edit.jpg   IMG_20150926_101715.jpg



    Aesthetics, Build Quality:

    Visually, there is not a single difference between the old and the renewed model. The bodies with the small vent, the y-split with the chin-slider, the twisted cable and even the straight 3.5 mm connector with the “A151” lettering on it are identical to the old A151.

    Just like its predecessor, 2nd gen’s A151 build quality is excellent with its very flexible twisted cables, though I would have liked to see at least one difference to tell it apart from the first generation model (whether it would be a different case, plug, or whatever). Owners of both models can’t say which is which without applying modifications.
     

    IMG_20150928_191357_edit.jpg   IMG_20150926_102054.jpg
     ​
    IMG_20150926_102104.jpg   IMG_20150926_102125.jpg



    Comfort, Isolation:

    The bodies have got a good size for all ear shapes and the included tips fit securely with good suction and an easily and quickly achievable seal. Although the A151 is intended to be worn with the cables over the ears, it can also be worn with the cables straight down comfortably (I know that some people prefer to wear their earphones that style – however, others, including myself, prefer the intended style with the cables over the ears, which also improves fit, seat and reduces microphonics. Due to the extremely flexible cable, there are no problems with tangling and microphonics aren’t present when the IEMs are worn “professionally” with the cables around the ears.

    Although there is a small vent in each shell, 2nd (and 1st) gen A151’s isolation is very good and almost on the same level as the UE900’s.


    Sound:

    2nd gen A151’s sonic qualities were mainly evaluated with my iBasso DX90 playing FLAC- and high-quality MP3-files.
    The IEMs were burnt in for at least 50 hours before critical listening tests started (just in case).

    Tonality:

    Just as with the first generation, sound is very balanced and on the moderately warm and dark side.
    Bass along with ground-tone are slightly raised by about 2-3 dB in comparison to very flat IEMs (e.g. UERM and Etymotic ER-4S).
    That minor emphasis reaches up into the upper ground-tone area and lower mids, wherefore voices are a little on the darker and warmer side.
    Mids aren’t recessed but present, lush and mellow. Lower and middle highs are minimally in the background, upper highs are more recessed.
    Super highs start rolling off at about 12 kHz, although there is a peak at 16 kHz when sweeping.

    The relationship with its predecessor is undeniable, although the newer 2nd generation A151 is more balanced and more natural sounding.
    Bass, but especially ground-tone is subjectively somewhat less present and bleeds less into the lower mids, wherefore they sound less warm, which is also because of the better level between 1 and 2 kHz where the 1st gen A151 had kind of a slight dip.
    Using a sine generator, it is noticeable that the 2nd generation A151 has got more level in the middle highs than the old A151 that had a bigger dip in this area, wherefore overall signature is less “relaxed”, but now only “smooth” and clearly more forward, making it sound more natural. Level in the super highs rolls of slightly later, and also the subbass has got the slightly better extension, although the 2nd gen A151 has got a subbass roll-off as well.
    However, the best and most important improvement can be heard in the treble.

    Resolution:

    Although the old A151 already had a high resolution that outperformed the more expensive UE600vi, the 2nd generation manages to be even better than both.
    Mids are more precise and higher resolving, with more details in the voices that now have a more natural and more detailed character with a better revealing of singers’ voice variations.
    Treble sounds more natural and less constrained – this could be referred to the less recessed treble, but resolution in upper and middle treble is also improved compared to the old A151.
    Bass is a bit faster on the 2nd generation of the A151, but slightly softens towards subbass as well.

    Soundstage:

    Just like with the most single-BA IEMs that I’ve heard, the A151 2nd gen’s soundstage is coherent and three-dimensional. Lateral expansion is even surprisingly good, along with a good spatial depth.
    Instrument separation is surprisingly good and the 2nd generation of the A151 even manages to create a good and sharp space between single instruments.

    Compared to its predecessor, the A151 2nd generation’s lateral expansion is clearly wider, as well as the instrument separation which is even somewhat better, wherefore instruments and the soundstage in general appear more natural.
    Along with the improved tonality and the higher resolution, the more precise spatial reproduction of the 2nd gen A151 gives it an overall more natural and realistic sound which is in my opinion unbeaten in this price range for a Single-BA IEM.


    Conclusion:

    The 2nd generation of the A151 outperforms is predecessor, which was already an excellent IEM, in every single sonic aspect.
    The slightly dark and warm character of the first generation has remained, although it is more balanced, wherefore the A151 2nd generation has got the more natural sound which gains more reality especially in its mids and treble.
    Price-performance ratio is excellent and as the 2nd generation A151’s price hasn’t increased despite having the better sound than its predecessor makes it even better for the price and free of criticism, although there is no way to tell it apart from the 1st generation A151 solely by looking at it.
      SpiderNhan likes this.
    1. whitemass
      Nice, another fan of MEElectronics work!
      Really hoping that sometime in the future we'll get to see a version of the A151 with detachable cables.
      whitemass, Oct 9, 2015

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