Unique Melody Mason V3+

General Information

Mason V3+


SPECIFICATIONS:     

Frequency response range:20Hz-25KHz

Sensitivity:@1KHz 107dB

Impedance:19.6Ω

Driver Count:16BA

Crossover:4-way crossover system

Driver Configuration:4 low+4 mid low+4mid high+4 high


Estimated MSRP:

With Standard Cable:3,199USD

With Upgrade Cable:4,099USD


_DSC6467.jpg _DSC651300.jpg

Latest reviews

Pros: deep and fast bass - one of the best
neutral mid - richer and warmer than the previous version
extremely smooth and fluid treble
significantly improved soundstage and imaging
Cons: ZERO! NONE! if you can afford it, this is the end game IEM.
Intro

(First of all huge thanks to Andrew at MusicTeck for helping me with the audition and purchase process. He made this entire process so easy and pleasant. If you are interested in UM products, please check out his shop at https://shop.musicteck.com/collections/um-unique-melody)

UM Mason V3+ and Mentor V3+ are the newest flagship from UM. As an owner of both Mason V3 and Mentor V3, I would say V3+ series has significant improvements from V3 series in terms of both sound and build quality. The stock cables are also improved from 4 cores to 8 cores, the newly added “cable switch” feature also allows users to have two different sound signatures by simply switching left and right side of the cable. The special designed official upgrade cable by EA make the sounds even more precious (which I will talk about in next section).

The newer Mason V3+ used the same 16 BA drivers and 4-ways configuration as V3 but UM retuned them to kind of a different signature. Mentor V3+ also used the same drivers’ setup as V3, in the meanwhile, UM kept the beloved sound signature of Mentor V3 with significant improvements in soundstage, resolutions and FQ balance. As of my impressions, I really appreciate UM are carefully listening to customers’ feedback and made some upgrades accordingly.

This review, I will focus on sound impressions of each model, and I will also make a huge TOTL IEMs comparison in the end.

Cables

Both Mason V3+ and Mentor V3+ are using the same 8 cores cable with 4 cores in silver 4 cores in copper. Generally, when connecting with the silver side(default) both models sound more energetic and tighter, when switch to the copper side both of sound warmer and more bass oriented. I personally prefer connecting silver side with Mason to add more treble sparkles and use copper side with Mentor to add a bit mid-range thickness. Both positions are very balanced plus the db-Go switch you will eventually find a best combination that is best for you.

Sound Impressions and In-House Battle

This review is based on db-Go switch fully closed (max bass quantity). The player I used for this review is SP1000.

Mason V3+

I was quite shocked when I was listening to the Mason V3+. It is so different from the original Mason V3, it is so hard to believe V3 and V3+ are using the same drivers! The overall signature of Mason V3+ is clearly warmer and juicier. Previously, I was not a fan of Mason V3, I do like the huge soundstage and the bright yet euphoric treble that V3 offered, however, they always sound a bit hollow to me, especially in the lower end. The extra thickness Mason V3+ offered is a game changer in my opinion, and I will talk about these changes in detail.

Bass

I received Sony IER-Z1R and Mason V3+ on the same day, I never expecting Mason V3+ can match the bass of a dynamic driver bass master, however, they are not so far away.

The sub-bass from Mason V3+ is deep and fast, that is an ideal bass for my taste. In comparison with Z1R, I find Z1R has more quantity and decay than Mason, while Mason is deeper, faster and cleaner. Mason V3+’s mid-bass is more of a relaxing style than aggressive style. The mid bass attacks softer than Z1R. As a result, Mason V3+ is not as “exciting” as Z1R, however, Mason V3+ has a way better transition from bass to mid.

I think both IEMs can represent the best bass quality in their own campaign (BA drivers and Dynamic drivers). I was quite surprised that Mason V3+ can improve so much from Mason V3 in bass region. So far, I’m confident to say that Mason V3+ has one of the best bass in all BA IEMs I have heard.

Mid

The mid of Mason V3+ is very neutral, and it is a part that can remind people V3+ is sharing the same DNA from Mason V3. However, there are still some noticeable differences between V3+ and V3. Mason V3+ is generally richer and warmer than Mason V3. The extra lower-mid quantity on Mason V3+ make the transition much smoother and suits more music genres. With previous Mason V3, it is a bit unnatural when listening to male vocals which is no longer an issue with Mason V3+. The mid-range resolution is still at the top of IEMs’ game. It is very easy to pick up microdetails when listen to instrumental music. The upper-mid of Mason V3+ is very coherent with treble and mid. Although Mason V3+ has added warmth and thickness in the mid- range it, I would still categorize Mason V3+ as a reference tuning IEMs. Also due to the extra warmth on Mason V3+, it is not as analytical as Mason V3 which makes Mason V3+ the most balanced IEMs in terms of analytical and musical.

Treble

Mason V3+’s treble is extremely smooth and fluid with just right amount of quantity when pairing with the silver side connection. When pairing with the copper side, I do feel the treble is a little bit rolled off compare to Mason V3.

Original Mason V3 was famous for its realistic treble. I’m glad that UM didn’t change this part. Although Mason V3+ increased the thickness in basically all parts, there is still enough space to fill in air between notes. However, as a tradeoff, the treble from Mason V3+ is not as euphoric as Mason V3. The treble timbre of Mason V3+ is not like EE’s Zeus series, which is bright and energetic, but very natural and very comfortable for long-term listening. This treble signature of Mason V3+ make it perfect for instrumental jazz. I can easily listen to as many albums as I want without any tiredness.

Soundstage and Imaging

The soundstage of original Mason V3 is wide enough but not so deep vertically, it is more like a huge 2D picture instead of a 3D image. With Mason V3+ the soundstage depth is significantly improved; it is more harmonic than Mason V3 as well as many TOTL IEMs which is quite impressive. The overall more airy than previous Mason V3. Also, the increase of the soundstage depth allowed Mason V3+ has a more accurate in instruments positioning and more a realistic image, especially pair with silver side.

Summary

Original Mason V3 is already a masterpiece in terms of frequency balance and technology. It was one of the most forgiving headphones. However, it is a bit hollow in the lower-end and a bit flat in terms of overall imaging.

This time the upgraded Mason V3+ is at least a richer and fuller version of Mason V3+. With the improvement in soundstage and resolution, Mason V3+ is clearly one of the most versatile IEMs and to be honest, I haven’t find one IEMs that is more versatile than Mason V3+, I tested most of the genres from EDM to classic, from metal to POP I can’t really find a genre that Mason V3+ is not good at. In my opinion, Mason V3+ is one of the IEMs that is closest to the end-game solution.

Mentor V3+

Unlike Mason V3, I was a huge fan of the original Mentor V3. It is one of the most unique and fun IEMs that I have ever listened to. Mentor V3+ continued the same path of Mentor V3, it is still very unique and fun, I feel it is so hard to take them off my ears especially when I was listening to EDM and metal songs.

Bass

The bass from Mentor V3+ is slightly more pounced and weighted than Mason V3+ especially the mid-bass. However, bass from Mentor doesn’t reach as deep as Mason, Mentor focus more on mid-bass attack. Both Mason and Mentor have a very fast bass, however when connecting Mason with copper side, the bass is slightly slower and has more decay.

Even though the bass from Mentor V3+ has more bass quantity, it doesn’t leak into mid. It is very well controlled; the bass clarity is also just as good as Mason.

Mid

The mid from Mentor V3+ is thinner than Mason V3+, which made Mentor V3+ V-shaped. Mentor V3+ doesn’t have deep male vocals, however, for most female vocals I do find Mentor sound livelier than Mason.

Mentor V3+ does sound slightly fuller than Mentor V3, mainly in the lower-mid, which makes the transition smoother than Mentor V3. However, it is a perfect curve as Mason V3+, but still outperformed most of the IEMs that are in this “fun” tuning or V-shaped category.

Another thing that differentiate Mentor V3+ from other V-shaped headphones is that the Mentor V3+ was tuned to have a leaner but not recessed at all. Mid is still presented up front, the instruments are still detailed (similar to original V3). It just doesn’t have as much energy as two ends.

Treble

Mentor V3+ is noticeably brighter or sharper (depends on your taste) than Mason. It is very attention grabbing, very excited but not too sharp. The treble from Mentor is very lively and youthful, it has nothing related to “laid-back”. If the treble from Mason is a flowing spring, then the treble from Mentor is a running river. It is fast, sparkling but a little rough for some tracks.

In my opinion this type of treble sounds great only when there is a solid bass too. Luckily, Mentor V3+’s bass is solid enough to hold this wild treble.

Also, I think treble is the most different part between Mentor and Mason. Especially when listening to violins. The violins from Mason sounds more fluid with more flesh, it is also slower with more decay. Mentor on the contrary, sounds livelier and grainier if make any sense.

Soundstage and Imaging

Mentor V3 didn’t have impressive soundstage in both width and depth. However, for audiophiles who love the signature of Mentor I presume that was not big issue. The overall imaging of Mentor V3 was very straightforward -- lean and clear.

The improvement of Mason V3+’s soundstage applies here too. As a matter of fact, Mentor V3+’s soundstage is pretty close to Mason V3+. The soundstage width is slightly narrower than Mason, the depth is a tiny bit shorter if not identical. Both Mentor V3+ and Mason V3+ have a better shaped soundstage and better layering than V3.

The resolution of Mentor V3+ is not as clear as Mason, Mason has a cleaner presentation in treble, lower-mid and upper-mid but not by much. Therefore, the overall impression of Mentor is more energetic, more uplifting but less refined compare to Mason.

Summary

From V3, I no longer thought that Mentor is the “sub-flagship” of Mason. Mentor was designed more like the “co-flagship” with Mason. V3+ series reinforced this idea. I do feel Mentor come closer to Mason in technology and sound quality. I won’t be surprised if someone prefer Mentor over Mason.

Mentor V3+ is very purposeful, it is the heaven for people who love slightly V-shaped, fun tuning or maybe aggressive headphones. It is youth and energetic but not as neutral as Mason V3+.

In House Battle

I have done some comparisons in the impressions above. Here I want to emphasize some points, hopefully this can help make the best choice.

  1. Mason has a deeper and cleaner sub-bass. Mentor has more bass decay and punchier mid-bass.

  2. Mason has better mid and treble resolution, slightly better imaging and larger soundstage but very close (about 5%).

  3. Mason has a thicker, richer mid. It is more obvious when testing male vocals. However, the mid from Mentor is livelier but lighter which suits better for female vocals.

  4. Treble is where most of the differences come from. Mason has a smoother and extremely fluid treble, very comfortable and relaxing. Mentor’s treble extends further, has more energy and sparkles, more attention grabbing.

  5. They are very different, maybe more different than I described.

Comparisons

This is a giant comparison between five BA IEMs: Mason V3+, Mentor V3+, A18t, VE Erlkonig, JH Layla1; and two hybrid IEMs: Tia Fourte and IER-Z1R(borrowed). The comparison is fully subjective, generally, I prefer richer and thicker sound.

All of these headphones were tested on sp1000 balanced output.

Mason V3+ with db-Go off (max bass), silver side connected, stock cable.

Mentor V3+ with db-Go off (max bass), copper side connected, stock cable.

A18t with M20 module, PW1960s 4 wires.

VE Erlkonig setting 2, stock cable.

JH Layla1 bass switch to 4o’clock, Whiplash Twag V3 8 wires.

Tia Forte, Plussound Tri-Copper 4 wires.

IER-Z1R, stock cable.

Tested albums (from Tidal HiFi):

Classic: 100 Essentials of Classical Music

EDM: Born by Mitis

Metal/Rock: Pressure by Wage War

Vocals: True Believers by Darius Rucker, The Best of Whitney Houston by Whitney Houston


  1. Mason V3+ vs A18t
Mason has more sub-bass quantity and slightly deeper sub-bass. Mason also has slightly better bass clarity, both of them are not very punchy in mid-bass, however, I do feel Mason is slightly warmer and more natural than A18t.

Both of them are very neutral in mid, Mason is slightly fuller and richer. A18t is leaner and crispier. The resolution and clarity are quite similar (A18t finally has a hard rival).

A18t has further treble extension, however the transition from mid to treble is not as smooth as Mason (not very close). A18t also have slightly more pounced details, Mason has a more natural presentation.

Mason has a deeper but slightly narrower soundstage, A18t has wider but slightly shorter soundstage the soundstages are super close, and I may wrong in this comparison. The over all image of Mason V3+ is fuller but a litter far, A18t is slightly more in your face but has more space is separation.


Final thoughts: I do prefer Mason V3+ over A18t considering I paired a $2000 cable for A18t. Mason is overall warmer than A18t, both of them are extremely detailed, however Mason is just smoother and more musical than A18t, to my ears, even with the highly musical cable PW1960s, A18t is still too analytical for my taste.

One of the biggest problems A18t is that it pounced the details too loud, it definitely proved that A18t is one of the most technical advanced IEMs, but I really don’t where to focus on when listening to music. Mason V3+ hided the details behind the main notes, which has a way more organic imaging than A18t.

  1. Mason V3+ vs VE Erlkonig
This is the most enjoyable comparison I have ever done, but it is also very hard to pick a winner.

Basically, Erlkonig has an even fuller, thicker and warmer from lower end to mid. It is extremely musical and smooth from bottom to the top. When listening to vocals I was led to a very emotional mood, Erlkonig is easily the most musical headphones I have ever heard.

However, I do find Mason V3+ has a better resolution and clear upper-mid to treble. Also, Mason reach deeper in sub-bass, Erlkonig is more impactful in mid-bass.
Mason V3+ also has a wider soundstage, while Erlkonig has a deeper and better shaped stage, instruments were placed at a more appealing positions, in comparison Mason V3+ is more open sounding but also more distant.


Final thoughts: Clearly Mason V3+ and Erlkonig are my favorites for now. Subjectively speaking, I slightly prefer Erlkonig over Mason V3+ due to the extreme musical sounding and the warmer and richer signatures of Erlkonig. However, I have to say, analytical speaking Mason V3+ is better in resolution, transparency, clarity, soundstage size and treble extension.

  1. Mason V3+ vs Tia Fourte
Tia Fourte is the brightest treble in my entire collection, it probably has the most elastic bass too. The sound signature is closer to Mentor (but still different) V3+ than Mason. To me Mason V3+ has slightly more details and the overall sound is more balanced. However, the Tia Fourte’s elastic and tight bass is so unforgettable. I generally use TF as my gym IEMs, it seems I can lift higher weights when I heard that bass.


Final Thoughts: I do appreciate both IEMs. Here is the story, I passed TF when I first time tried them. The recessed and thin mid was the deal breaker, the treble was also too bright for me. However, after days, I just can’t forget that tight and elastic bass as well as the enormous soundstage and I finally bought a used TF from eBay. Mason V3+ is a perfect balanced flawless IEMs to me but it lacks a little bit of uniqueness compare to TF.

  1. Mentor V3+ vs Layla 1
Layla is a all time classic to me. It is very well balanced, the sound from Layla is very flat with huge soundstage and solid bass. I think Layla is the OG of reference tuning IEMs, A18t and Mason V3 are more or less inspired by Layla. However, 5 years has past, Layla does fall short in resolution and clarity, but it is still very competitive at around $1000 used market. When paired Layla with Twag V3 which is a cable close to $1000, the overall price is close to Mentor V3+ (but still a not small price gap). However, the over all sound quality can’t really match Mentor V3+. Mentor V3+ is a clear step up from almost every aspect, except soundstage width.

  1. Mentor V3+ vs A18t
Mentor V3+ and A18t is at a similar price range, Mentor is cheaper by $400. They have completely different sound signatures, as Mentor has a more fun and energetic tonality, A18t is more balanced and reference tuned.

Both of them have a very speedy bass, Mentor has slightly more decay and the mid-bass is also punchier, while A18t reaches slightly deeper and slightly faster. In the mid-range A18t is fuller and thicker with more pronounced details. In the treble, Mentor V3+ has slightly more peaks and sparkles, but A18t has better texture and further treble extension.

The resolution and soundstage are quite close, A18t has more details but not by much. Mentor has slightly deeper soundstage but also narrower (narrower than Mason V3+).


Final thoughts: I think both of them are masters of their own. If you prefer some modern or aggressive genres, pick Mentor V3+ you will never go wrong, if you prefer neutral and analytical sound, A18t is still a masterpiece.

  1. Mentor V3+ vs Z1R
Z1R is one of the most hyped headphones in the community recently. Similar to Mentor V3+, Z1R is also very fun to listen. However, Z1R is much more V-Shaped than Mentor and too me it is a little off. The mid from Z1R is too recessed and thin. The upper-mid sounds like plastic in comparison with other IEMs in my collection. Mentor is more balanced and with fuller mid tunes. The sub-bass from Z1R is not very deep, but it has the most bass decay, very typical bass from dynamic drivers it is quite enjoyable. The treble from Z1R is also very unique, it is brighter and crispier than Mentor. Mentor is fuller and with better dynamic. Z1R has a wider soundstage, the depth is similar to Mentor.


Final Thoughts: Z1R is a great IEMs, I do understand why it has many fans. However, to me that thin and recessed (even worse than TF) is a deal breaker. Mentor V3+ has faster sound and better dynamic, more importantly the mid from Mentor is much fuller and presented. Mentor is fun, energetic and still healthy in sound in comparison.

Again huge thanks to Andrew at MusicTeck. https://shop.musicteck.com/collections/um-unique-melody


20191120_114929.jpg
nunovpc
nunovpc
Lovely review.
I will be doing a full review of the mentor V3+ ASAP!
I Still in shock with the improvement, they made on it!
toaster
toaster
"Mason V3+ is better [than the Erlkonig] in resolution, transparency, clarity, soundstage size and treble extension" That is an insane statement...makes me want to hear these! Agree, the Erlky is the most musical headphone i've heard, also agree on the mysterious appeal of the fourte. Thx for the writeup!

Comments

There are no comments to display.
Top