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Headphones item created by , May 5, 2010
Pros - Cheap, well built, bass heavy, accessories
Cons - Bass heavy, hollow vocals
Packaging – SML single flanges and two double flange tips (one “balanced”) along with a clamshell case and annoying preattached shirt clip. No surprises here.
Build – Nice aluminum body but looks very plain and cheap. Great tangle and noise free cable plus good strain reliefs. I found that certain tips, the drivers exhibit some serious flexing during insertion. The updated remote/mic is very solid but a tad bulky.
Comfort – This style of housing have never given me fit problems and the M9 is no different. I found all the tips to be rather comfortable. Isolation is pretty average considering the ported back.
Soundstage – Weird is the only word I can think of. Because of the vent in the back, the soundstage is above average in size, but at the same time, the center seems slightly empty. When you cover the back, the dimension shrinks drastically.
Lows – Bassy to very bassy depending on the tips used. Well done most of the time but it does get boomy. It can be annoying in vocal centric songs.
Mids – Mids are very recessed. Vocals are very distant and slightly hollow sounding. The bass bleeds into the mids slightly.
Highs – The highs are relatively well done. Clarity and detail is good. Very smooth throughout. For me, the highs lack the quantity and sparkle to make music lively.
The MEElectronics M9 takes a while to open up, but when it does, its performance is very respectable. I’m not a fan of the way vocals are reproduced but the bass is quite good and treble is not bad either. Just like the M6, it stands on top of its price bracket at $10.
Pros - tight punchy bass, highs, amazing bundle accessories, CUSTOMER SERVICE!
Cons - recessed mids, bass that creeps in mids
Build Quality and Initial Impressions:
- build quality seems remarkable. materials doesnt seem like the company cut cost to gain more income and i salute meelec to that. the earphones themselves are made of a metal alloy and not plastic, plus the cable seems very sturdy even if you pull it off or step on it, it remains solid. build quality is something you'd expect from a $50-$70 IEM's. and the accessories, man, the package came in with a lot of extras:
a balanced tip
3 extra tips for bass enhanced
an airplane adapter
a semi-hard case
all for a total of more or less (im not from US), $20.
never been able to hear a lot from MEELEC, i searched reviews regarding the product as i was looking for an additional IEM, and found good reviews so i decided to try one. i was hesitant at first knowing i haven't had experience with them, but gave it a shot since it was just a $20 earphone. the first time it came in (these are my second pair), i plugged it in (without burning in), and was like, meh, they sound a bit muddy, with the high's prominent, and the bass was creeping to the mids. they have a dark signiture, but detail was there. so i tried to burn it in for the next 50hrs and viola! seem to open up a bit, the mids started to show, and the timbre of the highs came prominent. well, i know this part should be on the sound quality so im gonna take it off from here.
first, im a musician from a show band and i listen to a lot of music, pop, punk, rock, alternative, hip hop, jazz, rnb, and a lot more, so i might base my opinions from these genres so if you feel i might be biased to these or if you found your genre above, please bear with me. i cannot place the albums i listen in particular, there's too many of them!
Bass: tight, punchy, well modulated and controlled. its flavored, but somehow in a good way to make the music not sounding too dry. the problem with the bass is sometimes it creeps to the mids, and the bass-mids separation is sacrificed. im not a basshead, nor an audiophile, but it seems to have a bass that the bassheads will love and audiophiles will respect. its there and its enough, its presence is really felt to be punchy and clean.
Mids: this i think, to my own opinion, is the con. they seem to be pushed-back behind the bass and the trebles. so vocals located in the mids, might sound a bit far. not so bad though, but it can be improved with EQ.
Highs: they sparkle, have a sense of tingle and clanging detail. some people find it a bit tad too excessive, but i find it sufficient. the detail is very good, clean, and modulated.
isolation: very good. people cant be heard talking unless they are about a meter from you and talking out loud.
sound stage: a bit wide, but not much. i am a musical instrument "separation" freak. so you might not take my word for it.
amp vs unamped: not much difference. with this amount of impedance, its unnecessary. there might be little changes yes, but not that significant to deserve additional power input. save the environment, use less power if it aint really much.
Exceptional!! one of the many reasons people should go try this product because the company really stands for their product. my first m9 had sound issues, as the right bud sounded louder than the left. i mailed meelec since i did not bought it from an authorize reseller and there has been no meelectronics customer service in our country (im not from US), about my problem and on how i can have a warranty service despite not having bought it from an authorize reseller. they mailed back, and told me i had an old stock m9 (which means out of warranty even if i recently bought it). but to them, their instruction to me was simple, with a statement ending with "..and we will send you a new one." no further questions were asked. to my disbelief, i never experience any audio equipment manufacturer went that far to send even a $20 earphone from USA to Philippines even if the product was brought from an online "black market". ive heard a lot of people saying their customer service was very good, and here i say yes indeed those stories were true. A big plus to meelectronics.
Conclusion: if you have a tight budget of $20 or so, you cannot go wrong with these!
Pros - bass , clarity , comfort , everthing ..
Cons - bass ..
i got it recently , with the cw 31 , which is twice the price and said to be awesome one at the price ..
package :- the carry case was good , but could have been a bit bigger , only the mid bud fits good , others are not giving a good seal to my ears , the cable clip is a welcome addition , cable slider is good too , the cable is of good quality , ten times better then the c-260 , not flimsy at all , not too strong but tough enough ..
audio quality :- low is awesome , im a bass head , i own cx 400 , cx 215 , ep-630 , ahc-260 who are said to be the big bass things , but this out dose each of them , and not even out of control , stays big and deepest ..
mid is good , better then the c-260 , near to my s3 , and the good thing is , dont have any artificial effect to sound at all like the s3 ..
high is good , but let me tell you , you wont bother about that , cuz you wont care for it , the bass and the mids will grab all of your attentions most of the time , but when you want to feel it , its there all the time , now the sound stage is not bad at all , on par with the c-260 ..
design :- is good , the built is sturdy and good enough .. comfort is really nice too ..
should you buy this :- yes , now , go buy it , no for only those who dont like bass ..
Pros - Well made and stylish, very pleasing SQ, deep bass extension, wide soundstage, fairly comfortable, super low price
Cons - Mids? What mids?, detail/instrument separation is meh at best, some microphonics (it is a Meelec IEM after all)
These are a steal at $10-15. Their sound signature is about 5/5 bass, 2/5 mids, and 4/5 treble -- in strength/presence. Voices sound distant and a little quiet, but bass is very intelligible and surprisingly articulate for the price point. Treble is present much more than mids, and add to a general V- or checkmark-shaped signature. A wide soundstage also comes with them, which shocked me. Both vertically and horizontally, a lot wider than average.
Of course, the detail isn't impressive. There's a considerable amount of fuzz/"blur"/smearing in any intricate passages, especially in the mids. But this is to be expected at $12, lol. Their signature itself is still pleasing (and I don't even like V-shaped signatures). They almost sound like if there were a cheaper, lower model of Monster Turbine; this is where they would fit in. For any rock, you're going to be really happy with their presentation. Rap, because of the dependence on vocal presentation, is going to suffer a little, but the bass kick will still add enjoyability. I wouldn't get these for pop or classical tastes. But I don't really believe in recommending phones based on genres anyways; a good phone is a good phone. Isolation is just OK, and same with microphonics -- basically every Meelec IEM ever has microphonics issues. Not a big deal to me.
These are the perfect "throwaway" set of IEMs (if you're feeling so cavalier about money as to be able to think that). I can wrap them around my player and take them everywhere and not really worry. Definitely the best sub-$20 IEMs I've ever listened to, including other Meelec offerings. They can't really hold a candle to anything $30-40, especially in instrument separation. But for the price, you definitely get your money's worth.
Pros - For the price, pretty much everything.
Cons - Somewhat recessed mids, not amazing quality bass, but that's expected.
I’d like to start this review by thanking Joker for sharing a link to MEE’s site looking for reviewers. I was one of the 10 chosen to review the MEElectronics M9s (Thanks to MEE too!!!). And this review is probably a bit overdue, but I wanted to spend a long time with them before saying anything about them. And enjoy my summer. Haha, oops. And to those of you who read my Copper review, I’ll make it easy on you guys. It won’t be nearly as long and overly detailed. And there won’t be as much humor. Sorry guys, just wanted to get to the point. If you want some humor, support your local comedians. Or not. More often than not they’re not that great… May I have a nice little backstory? So I was out somewhere and randomly checked my email. The first thing in my inbox was an email from Joe at MEE saying I was chosen to review them. I was pretty ecstatic. And the guys almost always answered within 5 minutes. Pretty impressive. Anyways:
The packaging for these is pretty decent for a budget IEM. The accessories are aplenty, much more than one would expect for $30. The M9’s packaging is a plain (nothing fancy, this isn’t a hipster company that gets customers at first glance with the box) a plastic box with a nice soft-shell case with a cable wrap and airline adapter. Also included are two different kinds of tips. A pair thin, grey double-flanged tips labeled “balanced”, and some thicker black tips labeled “enhanced bass”. The shirt clip is pre-mounted onto the cable, which is nice, because I could never get the blasted things on.
The M9s’ housings are made completely of metal. It’s very nice. Even the nozzle is metal. I’d imagine you could use these as an impromptu weapon if you happen to be assaulted wearing these, should that ever happen. The wires are decent too. The silver M9s have a zebra-like cable covered by (what I can only assume) Teflon. The cables do hold decent memory (they’re curly when you use the wrap), but they’re soft and flexible.
Strain reliefs are pretty nice. The strain between the cable and earphone is very nice, but strange looking. It’s just too big. Not that I really can complain. More security that the cables won’t fail up there is always nice. It is a bit loose though, most likely because I was futzing with them when I was bored. It would have been nice if they were clear though. Black on silver looks okay though. The plug is the strange (in my opinion. Straight in or in a 90 degree angle for me!) hockey stick 45 degree style plug. The strain on the plug is adequate, and the plug itself seems sturdy enough.
The drivers in these are dynamic drivers, so they need to be vented. The vent on these is pretty, well…obvious. It doesn’t look too bad though. And as far as I know, doesn’t really leak.
I’ll admit, I wasn’t completely impressed by the M9s at first listen. I plugged them into my already warm sounding Sony A726 and played some Muse (Black Holes and Revelations, in fact. I know, bad mastering, but it’s just a fun album). It was decent, not really incredible. The album sounded pretty veiled. The mids seemed a bit recessed, bass was pretty big (I don’t want to say bloated, because it’s controlled to a good degree), and the treble was almost piercing. Soundstage was rather enclosed and timbre and decay was meh. All this in a general sense. Very very good for the price though. So far, easy to recommend to friends at retail.
Now, for the review, I’ll be using my Sony A726 as a source, unamped. I talked to Joe about amping and he said it tended to add more bass, which I didn’t really want. I’ll try to make the review short and sweet by merely outlining the sound instead of specific albums. It was just too time consuming and probably didn’t really help too much. If you have any questions, just ask me. I’d be glad to help.
These are burned in at least 200 hours for your burn in believers. I did hear a decrease in bass, emergence of mids, and the treble is tamed, but I still think it’s just me getting used to the sound. I’m using the balanced tips in the review. I’ll post impressions of the sound with different tips later on.
Albums used (average of 256kbps):
Resistance - Muse
Falling Into Infinity - Dream Theater
He Has Left Us Alone But Shafts of Light Sometimes Grace The Corners of Our Rooms - A Silver Mt. Zion (long album name ftw!)
Shudder - Bayside (had to do some kind of tween band!)
Fever - Bullet For My Valentine
The Eventually Home - Right Away Great Captain!
Hope - Non Prophets
Monkeys For Nothing and Chimps For Free - Reel Big Fish
Hot - Squirrel Nut Zippers
Somethin’ Else - Cannonball Adderley
The Fall - Norah Jones (Ick. Clippy, but that’s why I chose this album)
Lateralus - Tool
Discovery - Daft Punk
Catch 33 - Meshuggah
From the Yellow Room - Yiruma
Mkay, so a lot of albums right? Onto the review!
Bass: Okay, I’ll do this section first. If you’re looking at these, you like bass. Not really any way around that. Bass on these is pretty substantial. It does have good detail and decent depth though. Decay is decent too. It doesn’t have the boomboom “3P1K” bass that just gives you headaches. In Discovery’s Something About Us, there is a nice amount of impact, not too much, not too little, and decay was quick. It went as deep as the bass went without faltering. In Falling Into Infinity’s Lines in the Sand, the low end rumble is pretty prominent--almost headache inducing. Non-Prophets’ Hope’s Any Port’s (triple possessives!!!!) bass was pretty overpowering and overshadowed a bit of the mids. The bass in Somethin’ Else is rather subdued and blurred. Lateralus’s Schism’s bassline is rather subdued and faded too, yet prominent. Yeah, basically, these are more bass-centric than anything else. Although they don’t really take control of the rest of the spectrum. It’s good bassy bass.
Highs: They are, put simply, kinda harsh, yet smooth. They’re also detailed. I’ve never been great at describing treble, so I’m gonna spitball stuff. The Fall’s Light as a Feather shows, beneath all that clipping, a smooth voice, but at times, sounds a bit peaky and harsh. From the Yellow Room’s Kiss the Rain beautifully conveys the high notes of the piano, but seem somewhat veiled. Very pleasing to listen to though. Somethin’ Else’s One for Daddy-O features Cannonball’s wonderful alto (A King Super 20 with a Meyer 5?) playing. The highest notes seem to have a bit of grain in them, and sound a teeny bit off in general. Still pretty impressive. Basically, pretty good treble, especially at the price. It can be harsh at times, but never upsettingly so. To my ears.
Mids: Why did I put the highs before mids? No clue. Too lazy to move this though. The mids here are a bit too subdued to my liking, but this is a tradeoff for having bass as big and meaty as the M9 has. I hesitate to call it recessed. They certainly aren’t recessed, but they’re a tiny bit overpowered by the bass and treble. If anything, they have a very slight V curve. In certain songs, well a lot of metal (BFMV, Meshuggah, Tool, NIN (Yes, they aren‘t in the list of albums. I cheated. Sawwie) for example, sound congested and slow. The more complex, the more congested, obviously. Not really a metal IEM in my view. Ska performs a bit better. Brass sounds decent on the M9s. Not really “realistic” to a T, but acceptable. They retain nice tone and have nice bite. Strings also sound pretty decent. Sound real enough, and retain emotion. You can’t really complain about the sound at all for the amazing price that these sell for.
Soundstage: As you can see, they are vented, so this allows the M9s to have a rather large soundstage. Not really large per say, but it’s about a foot or so in front, 6 to either side. Not really much in between. It’s rather blurred.
Details: These are surprisingly detailed. It has about 90% the detail of the Monster Coppers, which is either impressive for the M9s or sad for the Coppers. It picks up most muttering and finger twacking. Timbre is realistic-ish, could be a lot better though.
Sibilance: None. Plain and simple. If there was any, I didn’t hear it with stock tips.
Isolation: Pretty good. Not amazing though. When mowing the lawn, you can still hear the hum with music playing rather loud. Blocks pretty much anything reasonable though. Triple flanges obviously improve isolation.
I figured that since I have some random tips, I’d try them to see how they change the sound. So here’s some very brief impressions.
Balanced: Thinner silicon. Obviously, the more balanced of the two prepacked tips. Nice soundstage, bass is less prominent compared to the thicker tips.
Enhanced bass: Thicker silicon, irritates the ears pretty quickly. Bass heavy, treble subdued, mids are pushed to the back of the sound. Same soundstage.
Comply: Treble actually less subdued than the EB tips. Soundstage is more compressed, bass is muddier, mids aren’t as recessed as the EB. Complex passages are smeared.
Ultimate Ears tips: AAAAACK! Sibilance! If you can deal with that, you’re rewarded with a larger soundstage, forward mids, and tighter, quicker bass, and more detail. The highs are harsh though.
Monster Foam Supertips: I actually like these on the most. Most balanced sound, and sound about 75% of the Coppers in every way. Kind of unsettling when you consider the retail of M9s is 1/10th of the Coppers’.
Monster Gel Supertips: In my opinion, the worse of the bunch. The mids disappear behind a veil, treble is somewhat sibilant, bass is bloated and uncontrolled. Ick. Although, if you’re weird and like that, get these. Detail is kind of a moot point with these.
Monster Triple Flange: These have a decent soundstage, better decay, although sound more echo-ey. Mids are neutral, as is the treble, but can be shouty at times. Bass is still somewhat big. Never bleeds into the mids though. Detail is not its strong point. More isolation than the other tips, obviously.
Skullcandy silicon: No. Just kidding. Actually, these were better than I thought they’d be. The sound hole’s the biggest of all the tips. Well the ones I have do. I’ve borrowed some friends’ when I had nothing on me (okay, it was once. It was dark, I didn’t know what was going on!) and the hole was a bit more narrow. The sound’s a bit less controlled than the rest of the others, but have a nice soundstage. Not as large as the UE ones or multi-flanged tips. Bass is pretty large, but doesn’t mask the mids. The mids are actually rather forward, surprisingly. Treble is smooth. These are actually halfway decent tips. Although the uncontrolled sound’s a bit of a turnoff. Vocals also have a plastic-ey artificial tone to them with these tips. There’s also a hint of sibilance.
I have a couple headphones/IEMs in the same price range, so I shall compare them to the M9s.
Modded Koss Portapro: So these are about the same price, so I figured it was somewhat fair to include these. The mods I did to the Portas were basically an extreme version of what Kramer did with the KSC75s. Instead of drilling holes in the grill, I just took the sucker off and put a mesh grill in its place with quarter modded pads. The result is a much less bassy sound with more forward mids. The soundstage opens up a bit too. Treble is probably a bit too much for most people, but I really like it. I’m masochistic like that. Anyways, the tightness and quickness of the bass in the Portas is preferable to me. It’s not as deep and impactful though, so it loses out to the M9s with balanced tips in genres that need deep bass. Mids, well the Portas win, no contest. Then again, they are majorly modded. I’m sure the battle would be much closer with both stock. The mids stock weren’t that great stock. I’d assume the M9s win out compared to the stock ones. Treble is a bit of a tossup. It all depends on the user. If one likes a smooth treble, the M9s win. If one likes a forward and engaging treble, Portas are the way to go. Soundstage, Portas win easily, obviously. Detail, the Portapros actually have as much detail as the Coppers, which really isn’t much to brag about, but still commendable. M9s have a good amount of treble, but not as much as the Koss.
Ultimate Ears Super.fi 4: Supposedly, these are the same as the Super.fi 3, assuming more people have heard those than these. These are balanced armature IEMs as opposed to the M9’s dynamic driver. The sound of these is tilted more to the treble/mid side of the spectrum. It has pretty nice treble, mids are pretty good for the price, bass is not very strong, which is a plus in my view, but tight and quick. Soundstage is somewhat compressed. The mids of the SF4 are admittedly a bit better. The mids of the M9s are ever so slightly recessed, and I prefer more mids. Treble is about the same. M9s have a smoother treble though. Bass is a tossup. It all depends on how much bass you want. When I say the SF4 is lean in bass, I mean it. They have only a little more bass than the AKG K271. It makes up for it by being pretty fast and detailed in that department. The M9s have deeper, bigger bass, but with the wrong tips. Can start to creep on the mids. Most people looking for a cheap IEM would prefer the M9s The soundstage on the M9s is much wider, in a comparative sense. Isolation on the M9s is a tiny bit better. The SF4 is too shallow and awkward fitting to have good isolation. Detail is also a tossup. Some subtleties on the M9s weren’t heard on the SF4. And vice versa. The SF4 has a retail of $100, so…yeah. They’re relatively easy to find for $40 though.
Put simply, these are pretty amazing for $30. They do most genres (metal’s a tossup.) really well, have a fun and somewhat engaging sound signature. Bass is big and rather enveloping, while staying in its place more often than not. Mids are a tiny bit turned down, but that’s a consequence of the big bass. Treble is smooth for most songs. Rarely harsh. Detail is very impressive for the price. Soundstage is pretty (have you noticed I like the word pretty?) big for an IEM. Yup. I think that’s pretty much it. BUY ONE. NOW. Seriously, it’s common to find these for under $20, and I think it’s insane how that’s possible. These should be on everyone’s shortlist for a gateway to this hobby, and a cheap gift to corrupt friends with. If it were $50, I’d be more hesitant with so much new competition, but these aren’t anywhere near it. Yeah. Thanks for reading! Baiiiizzz!