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Unique Melody MASON II

Rating:
5/5,
  1. ranfan
    A Devoted Craftsman
    Written by ranfan
    Published May 21, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Design
    Performance
    Cons - Price
    Availability
    Stock cable
    Unique Melody MASON 2 ($2800) | https://www.amazon.com/Unique-Melody-MASON-II-UNM-3515/dp/B01N5F81TY

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    About:

    Unique Melody MASON In-ear Monitor (IEM) was jointly developed and completed by Unique Melody, and Mix Wave. The IEM was mainly designed for the Japanese market. It uses 12 BA drivers; 4 x Low, 4 x Mid, 2 x High, 2 x Super-high. The 'MASON 2' model was developed and completed in about two years. Succeeding to the earlier popular 'MASON' model.

    Configuration:

    12 BA drivers, 4 x Low, 4 x Mid, 2 x High, 2 x Super-high
    Crossover, 3-way
    Twin vent holes
    Quad-bores
    Platinum-plated metal tube

    Specification:

    Frequency response, 20 Hz ~ 20 kHz
    Sensitivity, 111.4 dB
    Impedance, 22.1 Ohm

    Model:

    NormalClear*WineRed*Dignis*Custom, http://www.mixwave.co.jp
    uniquemelody_mason2_universal_pt01.jpg 23.png 03161439_58ca251b1bf75.jpg uniquemelody_mason2_dignismodel_pt01.jpg IMG_48095B15D.jpg

    *Limited edition

    Accessories:

    - Stock cable
    - Metallic case
    - Mini pouch
    - Microfiber cloth
    - Cleaning tool
    - Airplane adapter
    - 6.3-mm adapter
    - Foam + silicon tips

    accessory_fb1a2f80-cac3-4a09-85aa-bbaf67c3d60e_1024x1024.jpg

    Disclaimer:

    This review is intended to provide information for reading purposes only. It does not advice, nor constitute any solicitation or endorsement for any purchase. Any purchase you make is done at your own risk and full discretion. Please be informed that impression written in this review is relatively subjective. Sound impression was obtained based upon what I hear, using the default stock cable, and Aune M1s digital audio player. Please keep in mind, that your impression and usage experience may vary. The Unique Melody MASON 2 universal in-ear monitor was purchased by me as a part of my personal collection. I am not affiliated with Unique Melody, nor Mix Wave. All rights reserved.

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    Build quality:

    The MASON 2 is built with a high-quality acrylic shell, enclosing its 12 BA drivers and their wiring. These 12 BA drivers are allotted for the following frequencies; 4 x Low, 4 x Mid, 2 x High, 2 x Super-high.

    It has four bores constructed. These quad bores consist of three smaller ones, and one bigger. The MASON 2 uses recessed 2-pin sockets as its connectors.

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    At the back of each faceplates, you can find two open ports incorporated beside the 'Unique Melody' and 'MASON' logo. These newly added twin vent holes, mainly help to optimize air flow of the monitors. So to enhance the performance of the open/vented BA drivers within them.

    Furthermore, the MASON 2 uses platinum-plated metal for its sound conduit/tubes. This is claimed to maintain a better sonic quality as it's transmitted through from the drivers.

    uniquemelody_mason2_dignismodel_feature_pt02.jpg

    I received one cable as a part of the MASON 2 accessory. The stock cable is very light and ergonomic. Suitable for use on the go.

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    Sound quality:

    Upon first listen, I was greeted with a quiet, silent background. The MASON 2 is a rather source-tolerant IEM, not very sensitive to hisses. Even plugged directly to my laptop, or phone, the hiss is very minimal.

    Stage dimension is wide and deep. It is exceptionally spacious and open. Imaging of each note is clear. As they're skillfully positioned and layered in the stage. Each instrument has fair spacing apart to one another. The stage is a bit warm, but quite airy. Instruments I hear sound neatly coherent, even in congested tracks. Background is clean, somewhat transparent, and overall highly immersive.

    MASON 2's tonality is fairly neutral, with the bass enhanced. It has quite a natural, and balanced tonality. Kind of warm, smooth, and non-fatiguing. I haven't hear any excessive peaks or sibilance so far using this IEM.

    Resolution and detail retrieval are very good, given its slightly warm stage. Instruments are well-defined, in accordance to their real counterpart. Although it is not overly-analytical, the MASON 2 is pretty realistic and tonally accurate.

    Bass has a good extension, it goes deep and is quite powerful. It has a bit of dynamic character, and energy. But with a faster, more controlled BA speed. Sub-bass is good, it reaches low, and rumbles well. Mid-bass is dense, tight, and full of energy. All in all, the bass on the MASON 2 is resolved, and positively satisfying.

    Midrange is neutral with a high resolution and tonal accuracy. Despite not being the most precise, the MASON 2 generates a rather pleasant, natural timbre. You can hear it especially in the acoustic and vocal department. The MASON 2 has a good tonal balance between warmth and clarity. Note density is neither too thick nor lean. Each having good imaging, layer, and definition.

    Upper-mid region has this smooth, controlled tone. That is never sharp or sibilant. There is a slight lift which adds for an extra clarity to the whole sound spectrum.

    Treble of the MASON 2 extends pretty far, rolling off at 13-14 kHz. This provides for much of the airiness, transparency, and detail to the overall sound. It has a forgiving smooth tone that is very natural, gentle, and clear.

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    Comparison:

    Oriolus 2 ($800, Hybrid; 1 DD x Low, 1 BA x Low, 1 BA x Mid, 1 BA x High) :

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    Both IEMs have an overall smooth, and clear tonality. Oriolus 2 has a smaller stage dimension in comparison. Which is mainly due to its warmth, and note size. The MASON 2 on the other hand, has a cleaner, more transparent background. Mainly as a result of its resolution, and clarity.

    They both present a rather warm atmosphere, with rich, and dynamic sound. The Oriolus 2 has a weightier note size due to its larger bass. This makes for a more engaging, fun listen with some genres.

    The instrument notes are both relatively full-bodied. Oriolus 2 however has less space in their layering, and separation. Creating a more crowded, less coherent stage.

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    Bass is pretty similar for both IEMs. Depth is almost equal, the Oriolus 2 being deeper. Surprising; given their different driver source (i.e. DD x BA). Oriolus 2 still, has slightly more impact width from its dynamic driver. Albeit with the expense of less control, and slower decay/transient. You can feel the reverberation and its interaction with the stage. The Oriolus 2 has a voluptuous bass that you can feel rumbling. While MASON 2 has a quicker bass, with finer resolution. Both similarly are very satisfying.

    Midrange are both pretty natural, smooth, and clear. The MASON 2 with its tonality, and resolution. While the Oriolus 2 with its warmth, and increased upper-mid. Oriolus 2 has a slightly warmer air, and as a result less detail. The MASON 2 is more detailed, and tonally accurate.

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    They both have a lift in the upper-mid frequency. With Oriolus 2 a sharper one, and MASON 2 a gentler one. Sensitive listeners may find the Oriolus 2 upper-mid a bit overwhelming sometimes (e.g. cymbal, snares).

    MASON 2's treble extension is longer in comparison. This creates an airier stage that is more transparent than Oriolus 2. The Oriolus 2 has a peakier, more fatiguing treble that is not as forgiving as MASON 2.


    Noble Kaiser Encore ($1850, 10 BA):

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    K10E has a bit more width, and height in its dimension. The stage feels more spacious and airier, due to its lean/lighter note size. The MASON 2 however is deeper, and has better layering ability. K10E can be highly transparent. But it's pretty sensitive, so you'll need to select the right source.

    K10E is brighter, colder, and more analytical. It displays as neutral, but with more bump in mid-bass, and upper-mid frequency. The MASON 2 feels warmer, smooth, and more natural. The K10E, sounds more precise, and detailed. It is bright, and cleaner. While the MASON 2 sounds lively, and more engaging. Still, both have good resolution, and imaging.

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    Bass on the K10E is boosted more in the mid-section. While its sub-section can be found lacking in volume. The MASON 2 has a more satisfying overall bass. Its bass extends deeper, more voluminous, and dynamic. That being said, the K10E's leaner bass has better control, and quicker speed.

    Midrange is highlighted more in the K10E. It has a brighter presentation which exposes a lot of micro-details. Notes are leaner and more articulate. While the MASON 2 has a better balance between warmth, and clarity. This balance, allows the MASON 2 to produce notes with a more natural timbre that is closer to reality. They both have good technical abilities, with the K10E excelling in separation, and transparency.

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    Upper-mid, or lower-treble is both the K10E's strength, and also its weakness (at least for me). It has this distinct lift in it, which is good for providing clarity to the whole sound. But also unpleasant for some sensitive listeners. The MASON 2 has a smoother, less-fatiguing tone. It displays better control in this area.

    Both treble extends very well. They both recreate details nicely.
      SeeSax, EagleWings, Wyville and 3 others like this.