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Impedance: 23.1 Ω Diaphragm Diameter: 18.5 mm Magnet Type: Dual-Layer High Strength Neodymium Shell: 3D Printed Medical Grade Acrylic with CNC Finish Connector Type: 2-Pin Protruding Connector Cable: 6N Single Crystal Copper

Unique Melody ME1

Rating:
4.2/5,
  • ME1-3_web.jpg
    Screen_Shot_2017-09-04_at_3.38.44_PM.png
    The rise and success of planar magnetic drivers in personal audio doesn’t come as a surprise – the
    precision in driver control that the technology offers allows for phenomenal audio fidelity. For many
    years, the challenge has been overcoming the hurdles of scaling the technology down to fit in an
    earpiece.
    Developed from the ground up, the ME.1 came to be after over a year of R&D, multiple
    revisions and prototypes, as well as constant feedback from supporters and individuals we had the
    pleasure of meeting at audio expositions around the world. Solidifying those ideas into reality, we’ve
    created a product that we believe is truly special.

Recent Reviews

  1. antdroid
    Unique Melody ME.1 Planar IEM Review
    Written by antdroid
    Published Jul 30, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Good bass and detail
    Beautiful, attractive look
    Build quality is excellent
    Cables and accessories are amazing
    Cons - Shouty upper mids (needs EQ)
    222c6h79eg611.jpg

    I have had the ME.1 for a couple months now after previously owning the Audeze iSine 10. I was initially attracted to these because of how much I love the iSine 10. They were a miniature version of a full-sized headphone with some great sounding low end detail and extension and airy sound. They did require a bit of EQ though to make them sound great. Luckily, Audeze provides their Reveal plugin as well as posted their own EQ for the iSine publicly.

    The one thing I didn't like about them, however, were their unusual shape and size. They were weird looking, however extremely unique (ha!) and very comfortable once you got the right fit. I could wear them for days. I still got funny looks wearing them in public though from co-workers and random people around the office. Then I saw the ME.1 come out and I was curious...

    I eventually picked them up and have been in planar bliss ever since.

    These actually do not sound like the iSine at all. They are different. These have a thicker sound, and more forward vocals but with some top end energy that the iSine lacked. They also have less impact on bass, however more detail all around. They also look incredible -- like you're wearing a set of LCDs in micronized form.

    Comfort on these can be challenging though. They are heavy for IEMs and they insert medium depth - very similar depth to the popular Massdrop Plus which I also owned. Getting the right tips makes a huge difference on these for comfort and fit but you may have to take a quick break from these every so often since they are a bit weighty.

    Back to the sound -- One thing I discovered was that if you push the volume up, these IEMs go from sounding excellent to sound very unnaturally shouty. The area around 1Khz is elevated and really does require some reduction to sound good. Luckily, I have eq capability on my phone, DAP and computer to compensate. I also like to add slight increase in bass, and elevate the 8Khz+ area to gain more energy/detail. These IEMs respond very well to eq since they are planar drivers which typically have very low distortion.

    All in all, these are my most favorite IEMs I've owned. They can be a little annoying if you can't eq them and like to listen to music loud, and you may have some issues getting a good fit for long listening sessions, but the sound that these produce are excellent and comes highly recommended.

    Here's some additional measurements from MiniDSP EARS:

    UM ME1 FR.jpg
    UM ME1 Flat Compensation.jpg
    UM ME1 THD.jpg

    images

    1. zi15ojbxgg611.jpg
  2. narco dacunzolo
    PLANAR BEAUTY
    Written by narco dacunzolo
    Published Jan 27, 2018
    4.5/5,
    Pros - FAST BASS RESPONSE
    DYNAMIC AND TRANSIENT RESPONSE
    SOUNDSTAGE
    Cons - HIGHS A BIT LAID BACK
    me1.jpg

    Unique Melody is a company already famous in US and Asia and i am very happy that is becoming more and more known in the European audiophile world. With the ME.1 this company was able to implement a lot of innovations in such a small body: first of all planar technology, acoustic filters and a semi-open back design.

    All these characteristics makes this IEM “Unique” , even though new Mason and Mantor models are the new flagship in the catalogue, ME.1 represents always an iconic model.

    Since there are a lot of reviews and opinions about this product, in this review I will focus mainly in a comparison with other two premium IEMs: Galaxy V2 and Aroma Audio Yao.


    You can find my full review about this product in Italian language here: https://simplyaudiophile.wordpress.com/2018/01/21/recensione-um-me-1-fascino-magnetoplanare/


    ME.1 unit was sent me as a loaner unit, I am not affiliated with the company and all observations and opinions will be only my own. Would like to thanks Lawrance and Unique Melody team for sending me this unit giving me the opportunity to test this innovative audio product.



    PRICE: 759 USD

    LINK OFFICIAL SHOP: https://shop.musicteck.com/collections/um/products/me-1-by-unique-melody

    LINK OFFICIAL SITE: http://www.uniquemelodyshop.com/

    PERFETTA 6.jpg

    PACKAGING:

    ME.1 comes in a premium and very nice wooden box. In the box you can find a lot of accessories: silicon and foam eartips ( you can easily find the right one for you). I suggest you, as always, to try a lot of eartips and when you find the “magic”, you will be able to enjoy the full potential of your IEM.

    Build quality is excellent: body is made of transparent acrylic with a top semi-open grill.

    Most important thing, this IEM is very comfortable and lightweight considering it uses a planar technology.

    With ME.1 you can find a nice and premium cable: after switching to different aftermarket cables I can surely say that it is not only nice-looking, but it gives a more natural and detailed sound with a airy and controlled presentation. My only concern about the stock cable is that is not one of the most comfortable.

    CICCIO.jpg

    SOUND:

    a lot of reviewers wrote about the sound of this fantastic product. For me ME.1 has a truly audiophile organic sound with a great bass quality ( you can’t find a lot of bass quantity, but quality is excellent with a very fast impact and decay). Mids are not recessed or too much in face and they are very detailed and natural, in particular with female voices. Highs are a bit laid back, so you cannot find a lot of sparkles, but at the same time they are very precise and clean and you will not find any harshness or sibilance issues.

    Soundstage is very wide, but not too much holographic and it is really airy and natural.

    Dynamic and transient response is great thanks to planar technology.

    If you want to enjoy ME.1 at its full potential, I absolutely suggest you to use a good amplifier.





    PERFETTA 3.jpg

    COMPARISON TIME: PLANAR VS 1DD VS 12BA

    Trying to do a comparison about audio products is always a tall order in particular if you don’t use measures and provide frequency graphs, but sometimes is nice to share your own opinions and your own earing experiences. These three great IEMs belongs to different price range and works with totally different technology, so is really interesting how is their different approach to music.
    Will try my best to write an understandable review since I usually write for my Italian public and English is not my first language. I decided to write this article cause a lot of my readers worldwide asked me to do so, hope you will enjoy my quick comparison and will help you to do the right choice if you are interested in one of these IEMs.
    PRICE:
    UNIQUE MELODY ME.1: 759 USD
    RHAPSODIO GALAXY V2:1450 USD
    AROMA AUDIO YAO: 2280 USD

    Galaxy v2 incorporates a single dynamic driver( one of the best I have ever heard), ME.1 shows the latest planar technology and YAO uses 12 BA (2 driver unit for High frequency, 2 driver units for cross-section Super High frequency, 4 Driver units for Mid frequency and 4 Driver units for Low frequency)

    BUILD QUALITY:
    Galaxy v2 with its brass housings has a great and refined build quality and premium feel but it isn’t one of the most comfortable IEM cause they are on the heavy side, so if you can’t get a proper seal you will not be able to enjoy your music. Try a lot of eartips! only in this way you can bring out the best of this IEM. For example I found a good synergy with spinfit ones gaining a comfortable fit and so a better sound. Once found the right eartip for your ear-canal weight will not be a problem and you will find a good sound isolation.
    On the other hand YAO shows quite a modern and elegant look, construction seems very solid: the shell is made up of transparent acrylic and the faceplate of metal material.
    Comfort wise YAO IEM is very comfortable thanks to its rounded shape and nozzle angle; it’s lightweight considering that mounts 12 armature IEM and I was able to find a perfect fit with Acoustune silicon eartips out of the box. Speaking of isolation, it is very good in this department and if you can find the right eartips you will enjoy your playlist without any annoying external noise.
    ME.1 has an interesting design: the shell is made up of acrylic and has a CNC grid at the end, surely this IEM with its unique open back design will catch the attention and interest of people around you in a good manner.
    ME.1 is not one of the smallest premium IEM you can find, but its lightweight and comfortable.
    I tried a lot of eartips and found a good synergy with double flange ones giving me a stable fit and improving sound isolation that is quite good considering their open-back design.
    Unique Melody engineers made a nice work in realize planar technology in a such small body. Very compliment.

    CABLES:
    Galaxy V2 comes with 2pin Pandora Dwarf cable(6N OCC litz) quite a nice looking and well built cable, that has a warmish sound so has a great synergy with hiss problems typical of this IEM.
    On the other hand YAO comes with a golden cable that is different from the other two Musical Box series IEMS: EARLY and TWINS. It is well built and lightweight and gives quite a natural sound with a touch of warmth and focus on mids reproduction.
    Unique Melody 8-braided 6N Single Crystal Copper cable is really nice looking and well built with new protruding 0.78mm 2-pin will not match every IEM.
    It has a premium and stylish feeling and it is quite neutral having a perfect synergy with ME.1.
    It is not one of the lightest I have ever tried and I don’t understand why Unique Melody made this choice after all the efforts to realize planar technology in a small and comfortable body.

    PERFETTA 9.jpg

    SOUND:
    ME.1 has quite a U-shaped sound signature with organic and full-body sound, sometimes gives a fair romantic and engaging reproduction.
    Galaxy V2 has a V-shaped sound signature with incredible resolution and details retrieval, but at the same time a fun and engaging sound.
    YAO is quite a magic IEM with its voice reproduction so near-to-life and natural, it is a product capable to bring an audiophile and correct sound, but at the same time with a lot of emotions and details.

    ME.1 has a very high quality bass response : very fast but a bit smoothed, so you will not have a strong bass, but you will get the right amount for a nicely timing and rhythm. Voices are well portrayed and fits good both for male and female vocals. Highs are detailed and clean, but will not find a lot of sparkles.
    Dynamic and transient response is excellent thanks to planar technology and sounds great with a lot of musical genres.
    What really makes incredible this IEM is its wide soundstage: it is not one of the widest or one of the most holographic, but it is really natural and airy.
    On the other hand YAO has one of the best vocal I have ever listened: very detailed and natural, mids are in focus and are so vivid with a lot of emotions. This IEM is capable to bring “the emotions of your singer”.
    Bass response adds a touch of warmth and gives a nice timing to tracks, highs are just a bit laid back but they are very detailed and refined. I think Aroma Audio created really a fantastic product: a perfect combination of audiophile and natural sound.
    Dynamic is quite good and have a good instrument separation.
    Soundstage is not one of the widest or tallest, but it is coherent and natural.
    Galaxy V2 is pure resolution with a lot of details. Bass is really fast and strong (one of the best you can find in a single dynamic driver), vocals are little laid back, but they are very clean and detailed in particular with female voices. Highs are incredible detailed with a lot of sparkles, but if you have hiss problem, maybe this is not the IEM for you.
    Dynamic and transient response is stellar. Galaxy has just a bit wider soundstage than YAO but is not so precise and coherent.



    As you can imagine there isn’t a clean winner, all depends on your sound signature and musical genres tastes: if you want a smooth and organic audiophile sound with a great soundstage ME.1 is for you, if your looking vocal emotions and quite a neutral sound YAO will be perfect for you, if for you resolution, details and engaging sound is your priority Galaxy V2 will be a perfect friend for your ears.
  3. glassmonkey
    Spacious stage, euphonic sound, hearing protection
    Written by glassmonkey
    Published Jan 18, 2018
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Big sound stage, smooth organic sound, no harshness to be found, euphonic, comfortable, open but not leaky
    Cons - Some detail is lost to give the euphonic sound, not extended on either side of the audio spectrum, source has bigger than average impact on sound (matching is important), isolation, big shell will not fit some ears
    List Price: $759.00 (at Musicteck)

    Product Website: http://en.uniquemelody.org/detail_185.html

    Acknowledgment
    I’d like to thank Unique Melody for loaning me the ME.1 for review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

    This review originally appeared on audioprimate.blog. I'm now sharing it with the awesome community on Head-Fi. It's the place to be.

    Introduction
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    My first interactions with the Unique Melody brand were on Head-Fi. I had seen several reviews that basically said that the original Merlin and Miracle were awesome. Then I saw that they were doing something ambitious and potentially game changing: the ME.1. I was so enthusiastic about the ME.1 that when looking for folks to interview from British headphone companies, I set myself down the path of confusion, as Unique Melody is based in China, but used to have a good market in the United Kingdom. I’ve had a previous interview with Unique Melody’s Lawrance, and have also reviewed the Miracle v2. I have found Lawrance to be an excellent fellow and quite liked the Unique Melody Miracle v2. It was a fortuitous mistake. Here are some snippets from that interview with Lawrance regarding the development of the ME.1:

    Lawrance: The idea of an in-ear planar has been around for a while. In fact, I know of at least 3 other companies that were interested in such a design, of course, I don’t know the details of where they are along that path now.

    There’s certainly a lot of thought that went into the ME.1.

    User experience is important, so we’ve made a big commitment to ensuring that the unit fits well and has a reasonable profile

    While it does leak sound and does not isolate amazingly well, we’ve also made it a point to make sure that the product is still usable in environments such as a quiet space.



    The part of the ME.1 that has gotten a good bit of questions is our use of a hearing protection filter in its design.

    A lot of people have been asking, hey aren’t you just copying ADEL and such?

    We certainly respect ADEL as a unique design and solution to hearing protection, but UM have been in the hearing protection business for quite some time ourselves. Of course, our founders and chief engineers all being from the hearing aid industry helps with that.

    Our sister company, Rooth, has actually been making sound attenuating earplugs for quite a while now, and we implemented some of that technology here.

    A planar driver’s ability to move air, even with an open design, has led us to believe that we need to find ways in which to normalize the pressure within the ear canal, which allows a more natural sound reproduction compared to if the canal was sealed off.

    Glass Monkey: Does this mean that what your ME.1 is doing is leaking out the harmful low-frequencies that cause resonance and stapedius reflex? Basically, killing bad vibrations.

    Lawrance: Yes, and at the same time, it’s an acoustic filter that attenuates the outside noise at specific frequencies.

    So, in summary, there is a lot of cool tech to be interested in here. It’s an open planar magnetic in-ear that protects your hearing. Cool beans. Let’s see how it performs.

    Usability: Form & Function
    Unboxing
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    The Unique Melody ME.1 comes with a new upgraded wooden box wrapped in light cardstock. Embossed on top is some fancy cursive writing declaring the ME.1. On top of the wooden box a thick plastic Unique Melody logo is affixed. Inside the box there are two foam trays with ribbon lifts to take out the top tray. The top tray contains a case that is shaped like an oversized pill or lozenge made of silicone rubber. It is round and tapered with a core that flips out to show a cable winder and a compartment in the centre for the headphones and the 3.5mm jack plug. The compartment below has a soft case that holds all the accessories. I never used the soft case for the headphones and found the elastomer case too large, but apparently it is a big hit in the East. The soft case felt a bit flimsy to me. The headphones and cable have some girth, so I think the soft case needed more padding.

    [​IMG]

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    Aesthetics and Ergonomics
    The ME.1 has a stately build to it. It has clean lines and a good tapered shape that I think will allow it to fit most ears. It won’t win any beauty contests in the headphone world, but it isn’t ugly in the slightest, to my tastes. If you have small ears or ears without much depth, fit may be a little difficult. The cable is oriented in an over the ear direction, with memory wire to hold the cable to your ears, which helps with fit. The included white Comply tips also help with fit, and sound good on the ME.1. The connector is sturdy. I never disconnected it, as I didn’t have another cable to try for the ME.1. UERR told me not to use their balanced cable for Unique Melody IEMs—different polarity, maybe? I never felt like the ME.1 weren’t secure.

    [​IMG]

    The cable is composed of 8 cores, with half of them silver plated copper, and the other half plain copper. The wires are in twisted pairs with 4 pairs on each channel. The cable looks very nice and has a sturdy y-split and slider. In fact, I think they are too sturdy. I frequently found myself worrying about them clanking around and damaging things. I would suggest that lighter material would be better. I think these are steel, maybe the right material is aluminum. The chin slider is especially heavy feeling and sometimes draws down of its own weight. Due to the weight of the cables and the over-ear design, I had no problems with microphonics.

    The bore for the IEM is large, and has a spring inside it—I presume to help catch wax. The Miracle v2 had two wide open bores that looked like a wax superhighway to the drivers. The new design is an improvement. I was able to try a lot of tips with the ME.1, so people can rest-assured that you can find a tip that fits your sound preferences. There is a high likelihood that it will be the included Comply tips. If I hadn’t attended CanJam London 2017 and stopped by HiFi Headphones’ booth, I wouldn’t have Final’s E-type tips and I would have gone with the Comply tips.

    [​IMG]

    These are open IEMs, so don’t expect the isolation to be great. That said, they do have some isolation. In a positive, I found that they aren’t very leaky. I think these are fine for in the office. In fact, I think they are ideal for in the office.

    Tip Rolling
    I tried the stock Comply tips, Spinfit CP100s, Spinfit CP240, Symbio Mandarines, and Final Audio Design Type-E silicone tips (clear, medium-large). The best tips were the Final Audio Design Type-E tips. The Comply tips sound less clear in the mids with some loss of resolution (probably due to taming some clarity bringing treble), whilst the Type-E tips gave the most well-defined mids while not having the treble get too sharp. The Spinfit CP100s were a bit too bright for me. The Spinfit CP240s weren’t comfortable due to the bore size. Similarly, the Symbio Mandarines were also too bulky and inflexible for the ME.1. For this review, I used the Final Type-E (clear) silicone tips throughout.

    Audio quality
    I think I may be beginning to see the house sound of Unique Melody a bit clearer. Both the Unique Melody Miracle v2 and now this ME.1 have been fairly smooth with a bit of extra weight in the mids that gives them a touch of romance. The ME.1 are very smooth indeed.

    The ME.1 has a bass character that is led by its mid-bass expression. Bass extends down into the sub-bass, but it doesn’t have the rumble that strong bass performers have. The bass here, along with some emphasis in the lower mids, serve to warm the sound a little bit. Bass has some texture. Lower mids when listening to Leonard Cohen – Leaving the Table are a bit airy and the full complexity of his vocal tones isn’t expressed (I’ve been spoiled with the HiFiMAN Susvara, these do quite well actually). Mids are forward, slightly warm and smooth. These aren’t toasty like a hot toddy by the fire, more like a Christmas jumper on a cool winter day.

    [​IMG]

    The treble on the ME.1 is and not very sparkly and has some smoothed peaks. It shimmers wonderfully on hi-hats, but has a little bit slow decay. On Kraftwerk – Kometenmelodie2 the sharp peaks that should be a bit shrill on the recording I have are smoothed out. The treble is not perfectly accurate, but is tuned in a way that will ensure that there isn’t a person who will ever find a note harsh. The truth about treble is that sometimes a real instrument produces a harsh sound. You won’t get that here. The treble is euphonic. The overall signature is euphonic. These are quite pleasurable to listen to, but will rarely challenge you.

    If I had to visualize signature by bass/mids/treble, it would be like this: XXx. Bass and mids are emphasised, whilst treble is smoothed and tapered, reducing emphasis.

    The sound stage on the ME.1 has above average width, excellent height, and average depth. The forward mids and mid-bass reduce perception of stage depth in addition to the natural characteristics of the stage. The sound stage is excellent given the sound signature’s emphasis in bass and mids and smoothing of the treble. In my experience, increasing treble increases sound stage perception. These accomplish an excellent soundstage without having treble emphasis.

    Matchability
    I found that the ME.1 benefits from a source with a little treble emphasis, as the main weakness of the IEM can be a bit of slowness in the mids that smooths over some detail and can make the mids sound a little stuffy. I was happy to have the Opus #3 back in house for this review, as I think it pairs excellently with the ME.1 given that it is a touch on the bright side and is very airy sounding. The Questyle QP2R has a bigger stage, but a weightier sound and denser sounding mids with the ME.1.

    I tried some other pairings. The Shanling M2s did a great job in the mids and provided a little extra bass weight. Soundstage was not as wide. I’d have no problems with this pairing being primary, these sound excellent together. The Hidizs AP200 slants a bit too much toward the bass and lower mids with the ME.1 with not enough treble presence. Drums really kick with it, but the soaring female vocals in Pixies – Where is My Mind get lost, which is a darn shame. The Echobox Explorer sounds a little thin on the ME.1.

    [​IMG]

    Comparisons
    After some listening, I noted that the measurements for the ME.1 were producing louder playback than the comparators when I did my normal routine of measuring to 78.2 or so with white noise and an SPL meter. This is probably due to the open design of the ME.1 and quite possibly due to the hearing protection port. It is really hard to volume match open headphones vs. closed headphones with an SPL meter, as perceived volumes just don’t match. I had to drop the ME.1 volume down substantially to make the sound more comparable. I ended up matching the ME.1 by ear, which is less than ideal. The ME.1 sounds a lot louder than what it measures. The figure I came to is that my other volume-matched IEMs were about 4dB quieter than the ME.1 at the same measured level.

    Unique Melody ME.1 vs. UERR
    On Pixies – Where is My Mind, the ME.1 has chunky drum hits with some slam, but limited texture. The ME.1 is rich with some mid-bass and mids emphasis. Black Francis’s vocals are more immediate on the ME.1, where they are a bit further back in the stage on the UERR. The UERR on the same track sounds comparatively lean, but more detailed. Treble is cleaner, clearer, and more extended on the UERR. The treble presentation on the ME.1 could be described as smooth. Bass texture extends further into the sub-bass on the UERR and the bass tones are more balanced. Tonally, the ME.1 will be more pleasing to more individuals with its little bit of added warmth from the mid-bass to mids and smooth treble. I think this is actually the sound profile most normal folks prefer (maybe not Western audiophiles). It won’t work as well for detail freaks or treble heads.

    In terms of technical capabilities, the UERR doesn’t have as tall a soundstage as the ME.1, but it has more depth and greater instrument separation. Width on both is similar. The UERR also has greater resolution. When listening to the hi-hat on Macy Gray – I Try, the shimmer is more realistic on the UERR. The shimmer is less textured on the ME.1 and the decay is a little too smooth. The UERR has more precise decay (not too quick), whilst the ME.1 is a bit lingering and emotive.

    The listening above was done in the most beneficial environment for the ME.1, but not the most beneficial environment for the UERR. The UERR can sound a bit thin on the OPUS #3 (source for most observations above) but has a bit more body whilst listening on the QP2R. On the QP2R (medium gain, high bias), the ME.1 sound is a bit thicker, but also has better layering and detail through the bass and lower mids. The ME.1 scales to higher resolution sources.

    Both the UERR and the Unique Melody ME.1 use proprietary connectors (though the ME.1 can be used with standard 2-pin, they just look vulnerable), but Ultimate Ears sells a 2.5mm balanced version of their cable ($49), whereas Unique Melody does not—something that may not be corrected due to Unique Melody moving to another proprietary connector on their v3 line-up. The cable is bigger and more premium looking and feeling on the ME.1. Both IEMs are comfortable.

    In a few words, the UERR is a detailed and precise whilst the ME.1 is smooth and soulful with lingering ambience. The ME.1 is headphone that you just melt into. It’s wonderfully organic sounding. Planar magnetic relaxation.



    Unique Melody ME.1 vs. HiFiMAN RE800
    The Unique Melody ME.1 has a smooth slightly warm signature. The HiFiMAN RE-800 is an exercise in contrast, with a V-shaped signature and big detail resolution.

    The RE-800 has more extended sub-bass, which gives more texture to the bass, holistically. The mid-bass is more emphasised on the ME.1 whilst the sub-bass has more body on the RE-800.

    Mids are distant at volume matched levels which makes the RE-800 sound a bit thinner, and treble is more extended. The tuning sounds thin after listening to the Unique Melody ME.1. However, when listening for vocal texture and detail on Leonard Cohen – Leaving the Table, the RE-800 has greater resolution than the ME.1. There is more grip to Leonard’s voice. The mids have a more technical sound on the RE-800, whilst they are more fluid (but less detailed) on the ME.1.

    Treble has faster decay on the RE-800, which means that transients are more intact with less blending. Treble is a little more extended and sharp peaks are a bit more shrill when they should be on Kraftwerk – Kometenmelodie2 with the RE-800.

    The RE-800 are really made to be played loud in loud places, not at reasonable listening levels. My testing volume is lower than what I would listen at with these. Cranking up the RE-800 would surely make them sound better, but it also risks hearing damage. The ME.1 reduces the risk of hearing damage.

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    Unique Melody ME.1 vs. PlusSound Spectrum
    The ME.1 and the Spectrum share some characteristics. Both have round but not deep bass with a mid-bass focus. The ME.1 has more texture in the bass and a bit more quantity. Both have some thickness to their mids and a relaxing warmth. The Spectrum is a little warmer (this may be due in part to Comply tips on the Spectrum). This results in the ME.1 being the clearer of the two IEMs. Both have smooth treble, but the ME.1 is a bit more extended with a bit more shimmer to hi-hat hits.

    The ME.1 has a larger soundstage with better instrument separation. The advantage on stage dimensions is especially obvious on width and height. Where the Spectrum gets just outside the borders of my ears, the ME.1 is comfortably outside my ears. Height on the ME.1 is just over my head on Norah Jones’ vocals on Feelin’ the Same Way whilst Norah is in my forehead on the Spectrum. Resolution is also higher, partly due to having less warmth in the sound signature compared to the Spectrum.

    What the Spectrum does with a single balanced armature driver is very impressive, but it is not the technical equal of the ME.1. It shouldn’t be at a little more than half the price.

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    Comparison Table
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    Specifications

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    Conclusions
    The Unique Melody ME.1 is an excellent headphone that protects your hearing whilst having a sound signature that manages to be engaging and relaxing at the same time. It accomplishes this by having a smooth tonal character and a broad and tall stage that draws you in to compositions nicely. The emphasis in the ME.1 signature is on the mid-bass and the mids, an emphasis that usually shrinks the soundstage, but the ME.1 still has an impressive soundstage for an IEM.

    I think that if Unique Melody decide to build an ME.2, their focus should be on extending the treble and bass along with resolution improvement. This ME.1 is a very nice headphone. If you are looking for a euphonic sound signature that never fatigues, has an impressive sound stage, and protects your hearing, the ME.1 should be strongly considered. I think these are perfect for work, as they are smooth enough to make music not a distraction from work.

    [​IMG]


      Niyologist, XP_98, Wyville and 3 others like this.
  4. ostewart
    Excellent Planar IEM
    Written by ostewart
    Published Oct 23, 2017
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Comfort, Soundstage, Detail retrieval
    Cons - Needs a little EQ in the upper midrange
    Firstly I would like to thank Musicteck for arranging this loan unit. These have had well over 100hrs of burn-in.

    *disclaimer: This sample was provided on loan for the purpose of writing a review, no incentive was given to write a favourable review. All opinions expressed are my own subjective findings.

    Gear Used: Audio Opus #2 > ME-1
    HP Laptop > JDS Labs OL-DAC > Head “n” HiFi Desktop O2 > ME-1

    DSC_8990.jpg

    Tech Specs:

    https://www.facebook.com/UniqueMelodyIEM/
    https://twitter.com/uniquemelodyiem
    https://shop.musicteck.com/products/me-1-by-unique-melody

    Impedance: 23.1 Ω
    Diaphragm Diameter: 18.5 mm
    Magnet Type: Dual-Layer High Strength Neodymium
    Shell: 3D Printed Medical Grade Acrylic with CNC Finish Connector Type: 2-Pin Protruding Connector
    Cable: 6N Single Crystal Copper
    Cable Termination: 3.5 mm Headphone Jack

    Packaging, Build Quality and Accessories:
    The ME-1 come in a premium wood box, there is a black card sleeve around this wooden box that has the brand name embossed on it. Open the wood box and you are greeted by the silicone case, inside this you will find the IEM's. Underneath the top layer of foam you will find the other case filled with the rest of the accessories. The box looks great and is fitting of this kind of product.

    The build quality is superb, no visual flaws with the main shell seamlessly flowing into the larger faceplate. The grill on the faceplate does flax a little so when inserting it is best to only use pressure around the edges of the faceplate. The nozzle is plastic and quite wide, the cable is soft and supple with memory wire around the ear. All connectors have good strain relief and that cable is a mix of copper and silver. The connectors for the cable are 2-pin, but they are the type that protrudes a little, rather than being recessed or flush. Most 2-pin cables will still work well but do stick out a little farther. Overall the ME-1 are superbly finished and well made.

    DSC_8972.jpg

    Accessory wise you get a good selection, first off you get foam tips in S, M and L sizes, along with silicone tips in XS, S, M and L. You get two carry cases, one is a soft neoprene type case with various compartments, and the other is a silicone case which has an integrated cable tidy. There is a 3.5mm to 6.3mm adaptor included along with an airplane adaptor. So a great array of accessories and most people should be able to get a good fit (wide bore means Symbio W hybrid tips fit well).

    DSC_8977.jpg

    Comfort and Isolation:
    The ME-1 are quite a large and heavy IEM, however the ergonomics are excellent. The fit inside the ear is the right depth for me anyway, yes they do stick out a little with their large faceplate however once you find the right tips you can get a secure fit that is comfortable over long periods of time.

    One bit I personally don't like is the memory wire, however I have never been much of a fan of stiff memory wire. I find it doesn't help keep IEM's in place for me and is just a little awkward to get the right shape.

    These are not built to isolate, they are fully open back, which means they leak sound in and out, they are not designed to be the perfect commuting IEM, however use in quiet environments allows these to shine.

    DSC_8999.jpg

    Sound:
    Split into the usual categories with a conclusion at the end. The below is based on using silicone tips.

    Lows: Let’s start off with the sub-bass, which is wonderfully extended and present but without adding too much body. The mid-bass has a slight dip meaning they don't punch the hardest or with a lot of authority but it makes them sound very well controlled. The bass blends nicely to the track playing, but always retains good quality and a full body without affecting the midrange. Those looking for bass head IEM's should shy away, but those that want a tighter more accurate sound with sub-bass presence over mid-bass punch will be satisfied.

    Mids: The midrange is smooth and detailed, with excellent space and air around vocal tracks and guitars. There is a slight recess in the upper midrange which makes some vocals sound a bit unnatural, yet certain guitar notes really stand out (Dance Gavin Dance – I’m Down with Brown Tone). The lower midrange is slightly up front and quite aggressive presenting good detail but layering is where they are superb. There are parts of the midrange that are excellent, but others that just don’t sound tonally correct.

    Highs: The highs have good impact and clarity maintaining energy and sparkle even when tracks get a bit busier. They are well separated and also positioned spatially; imaging in the treble is very accurate however the midrange focus is not as good. The highs don’t suffer from sibilance, are not strident and very well presented. They are just right in terms of presence but don’t become fatiguing and have excellent tonality and clarity.

    DSC_8992.jpg

    The soundstage is open and wide, with excellent layering and separation, the width is more impressive than the depth (sometimes you forget they are IEM’s and sound more like full size headphones). Separation is very good yet they have a fuller sound, they don’t become congested through faster tracks.

    Pairing: Now the ME-1 sounded superb out of the Opus #2 but had excellent synergy with my Objective 2 amplifier, they do benefit from good amplification even though they are relatively easy to drive.

    DSC_8991.jpg

    Comparison vs 64 Audio U6 (M20 module):
    The U6 is smoother overall and has excellent sub-bass extension like the ME-1, however the U6 has a thicker bass presentation with a bit more punch to it. The ME-1 sound more detailed and better separated in the midrange, but the U6 is smoother and more tonally accurate. The treble is where these differ the most, with the ME-1 having excellent air and presence, the U6 are a bit too polite, lack the impact and sparkle of the ME-1 and take a slight backseat in the mix. It is hard for me to say which I personally prefer, as both are superb IEM’s that are quite different, but ultimately I really enjoy the sound of the U6 and do not need to EQ them.

    Vs HiFiMan RE800:
    The RE800 are more dynamic in the bass regarding punch but both have a similar tuning down low with good sub-bass presence, control and articulation. The midrange on the RE800 is more linear with a slight tilt towards the upper midrange, but with a similar amount of detail as the ME-1 (both crystal clear). Both have airy treble and good presentation, the RE800 has quite a big peak around 7 kHz that can cause some fatigue to some users. Both have good soundstage but the ME-1 wins here being more open and airy (at the expense of isolation). Both benefit from EQ so this comparison is more down to preference rather than there being a straight winner.

    DSC_8996.jpg

    Conclusion: The ME-1 is certainly a competent planar IEM, the sub-bass presence is excellent but the mid-bass is lacking a bit of dynamic punch. The lower midrange is slightly boosted giving certain male vocals the edge; however the upper midrange is a little recessed and leaves some female vocals sounding a bit unnatural. The highs are detailed and well presented and as a whole are a good IEM. Some small EQ tweaks can improve these, and if you get the chance to audition them I suggest you do so.

    There is plenty of detail on offer with a nice wide soundstage and I can see these becoming quite popular, as a little EQ really goes miles with these, and they do a lot right.

    Sound Perfection Rating: 8/10 (upper midrange needs a little improvement, but plenty of detail and a wide soundstage makes these a good buy)

    DSC_8995.jpg
      Niyologist and Wyville like this.
  5. Brooko
    UM ME.1 - Fantastic with a little EQ
    Written by Brooko
    Published Sep 25, 2017
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Build quality, fit, comfort, cable quality, perceived sound-stage, clarity, sound quality after EQ
    Cons - Lipless nozzle, default tuning is dissonant for me personally
    [​IMG]
    Pictures in tables are default 1200 x 800 resolution - click to view larger images.

    INTRODUCTION

    I love trying new technologies, and especially when they are coming from companies who are very innovative, and who have vast knowledge of the industry. My friend Alex (Twister6) talked to Unique Melody some time ago and mentioned my name to them. As many know, I don't solicit review samples (I prefer companies to approach me – it helps me personally remain more impartial), so it was somewhat of a welcome surprise to receive contact from Lawrence of UM as I'd always wanted to try their range (especially after hearing a UM Merlin prototype some time ago). Lawrence asked me if I'd like to review their new planar magnetic ME.1 IEM, so I immediately jumped at the chance. I was naturally curious to see how the planar tech translated into IEM form, and even more so after doing some research and learning how they'd been using acoustic filters to reduce pneumatic pressure (similar ideas to Apex and Adel tech in other brands).

    ABOUT UNIQUE MELODY

    Unique Melody originated with custom remoulding IEM shells back in 2008, and this business slowly grew as demand for higher quality portable audio started to rise. Through 2009 UM started designing their own earphones, and experimenting with their own driver configurations. Although the early days were predominantly the repair and reconfiguration of other brands stage monitors, the team at UE had a desire to produce similar high quality IEMs but with an audiophile targeted tuning. This led to the release of the highly lauded Merlin and Miracle IEMs. Since then the business has continued to grow, and UM is generally seen as being among the top tier of custom IEM producers.

    Among their team are sound engineers, electrical engineers and audiologists, and combining this knowledge and expertise with state of the art technology and advanced equipment, has allowed UM to experiment and innovate further. Their motto is “let music inspire your soul”. I like that sort of idealism.

    Unique Melody can be found on Facebook here, and on Twitter here
    Their online store can be found here


    DISCLAIMER

    The UM ME.1 that I’m reviewing today was provided to as a review sample, and will be returned at the completion of the review. I do not make any financial gain from this review – it is has been written simply as my way of providing feedback both to the Head-Fi community and also UM themselves.

    I have now had the ME.1 approximately 4 weeks. The retail price at time of review (for the universal version) is scheduled to be USD 769.

    Edit 26 Sep - UM have invited me to hang onto the ME.1 for follow up questions and comparisons, so I genuinely thank them for this privilege. The UM.1 remains their property and available for return if/when they so require it.

    PREAMBLE - 'ABOUT ME'. (or a base-line for interpreting my thoughts and bias)

    I'm a 50 year old music lover. I don't say audiophile – I just love my music. Over the last couple of years, I have slowly changed from cheaper listening set-ups to my current set-up. I vary my listening from portables (mostly now from the FiiO X5iii, X7ii and iPhone SE) to my desk-top's set-up (PC > USB > iFi iDSD). My main full sized headphones at the time of writing are the Sennheiser HD800S, Sennheiser HD600 & HD630VB, MS Pro and AKG K553. Most of my portable listening is done with IEMs, and lately it has mainly been with the Jays q-Jays, Alclair Curve2, 64 Audio U10 and LZ Big Dipper. A full list of the gear I have owned (past and present – although needs updating) is listed in my Head-Fi profile.

    I have very eclectic music tastes listening to a variety from classical/opera and jazz, to grunge and general rock. I listen to a lot of blues, jazz, folk music, classic rock, indie and alternative rock. I am particularly fond of female vocals. I generally tend toward cans that are relatively neutral/balanced, but I do have a fondness for clarity, and suspect I might have slight ‘treble-head’ preferences. I am not treble sensitive (at all), and in the past have really enjoyed headphones like the K701, SR325i, and of course the T1 and DT880. I have a specific sensitivity to the 2-3 kHz frequency area (most humans do) but my sensitivity is particularly strong, and I tend to like a relatively flat mid-range with slight elevation in the upper-mids around this area.


    I have extensively tested myself (ABX) and I find aac256 or higher to be completely transparent. I do use exclusively red-book 16/44.1 if space is not an issue. All of my music is legally purchased (mostly CD – the rest FLAC purchased on-line). I tend to be sceptical about audiophile ‘claims’, don’t generally believe in burn-in, have never heard a difference with different cables (unless impedance related etc), and would rather test myself blind on perceived differences. I am not a ‘golden eared listener’. I suffer from mild tinnitus, and at 50, my hearing is less than perfect (it only extends to around 14 kHz nowadays). My usual listening level is around 65-75 dB.

    For the purposes of this review - I used the UM ME.1 both amped and straight from the headphone-out socket of most of my portables. In the time I have spent with the UM ME.1, I have noticed no change to the overall sonic presentation (break-in), Time spent now with the ME.1 would be easily 30+ hours.

    This is a purely subjective review - my gear, my ears, and my experience. Please take it all with a grain of salt - especially if it does not match your own experience.


    THE REVIEW

    PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Outer sleeveInner wooden boxUnder the lid

    The UM ME.1 arrived in a large box consisting of a simple black outer sleeve over a wooden hinged lid box. The box is approximately 215 x 145 x 80mm and simply adorned with with the UM logo. Inside is two tier foam encased compartments holding the ME.1, and included accessories.

    The accessories include:
    • 3 pairs of foam tips (S/M/L)
    • 4 pairs of silicone tips (VS/S/M/L)
    • Rubber storage case (large)
    • Padded “soft” carry case (large)
    • Cleaning tool
    • 3.5-6.3mm adaptor
    • Airline adaptor
    • cleaning cloth
    • Warranty card and frequency response chart
    • 1.2m two pin (0.78mm) earphone cable
    • Unique ME.1 IEMs

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Contents of the boxAll the accessoriesThe Unique Melody ME.1

    The storage case is a little over 100mm in diameter and 40mm in height, but has quite a neat cable tidy and should provide reasonable protection. It's not pocketable though. The soft carry case is zippered with many compartments, and while it won't provide maximum protection for your ME.1, it is a good size as a carry case (loose trouser or jacket as opposed to jeans).

    TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS
    ModelUnique Melody ME.1
    Approx price$769 USD for the universal version
    TypePlanar magnetic IEM
    Driver18.5 mm
    MagnetNeodymium, 2 layer, high strength
    Impedance23.1Ω
    Sensitivity109 dB (at 1 kHz)
    Cable1.2, replaceable 2 pin (0.78)
    Jack3.5mm gold plated straight
    Weight54g with cable and tips, 18g earpieces only
    Casing materialAcrylic


    FREQUENCY GRAPH

    The graph below is generated using the Vibro Veritas coupler and ARTA software. Ken Ball (ALO/Campfire) graciously provided me with measurement data which I have used to recalibrate my Veritas so that it mimics an IEC 711 measurement standard (Ken uses two separate BK ear simulators, we measured the same set of IEMs, and I built my calibration curve from shared data). I do not claim that this data is 100% accurate, but it is very consistent, and is as close as I can get to the IEC 711 standard on my budget.

    I do not claim that the measurements are in any way more accurate than anyone else's, but they have been proven to be consistent and I think they should be enough to give a reasonable idea of response - especially if you've followed any of my other reviews. When measuring I used the included foam tips (so medium bore opening) - and the reason I use foam instead of silicone is for the very consistent seal and placement depth in the coupler. I use the same amp (E11K) for all my measurements - and output is under 1 ohm.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    ME.1 freq and channel matchingUM's ME.1 graphME.1 and C.A. Jupiter

    Any graphs are provided merely as a point of discussion, and later in the review I've included comparisons to other IEMs for similar reference. I've also included a scan of UM's measurement for this IEM and I'm quite pleased that my measurements are very consistent with theirs for this pair.


    My sonic impressions of the Unique Melody ME.1 – written well before I measured:
    • Bass appears quite flat, is very quick and well articulated, but missing impact. It is not an overly warm tonality.
    • Lower mid-range is prominent – no signs of recession.
    • Upper mid-range seems a little off for my particular tastes – just a little strident (my hearing is very sensitive in this area). Last time I heard something like this was when there was an early rise in the fundamentals followed by a gap soon after. To me this results in an over abundance of fundamentals and a bit of a lack of harmonics. Some people may very well like this presentation, but I find it a bit dissonant. For anyone wanting to know which earphone it reminds me of – its the Campfire Jupiter.
    • Lower treble extension is good – there is enough here to clearly and cleanly articulate cymbals, while at the same time remain short of enhancing sibilance.
    • Overall a lean signature with a bump in the mid-range, but suffers a bit (IMO) with the transition between lower and upper mid-range.
    • Channel matching on the whole is very good.

    BUILD
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    ME.1 external plateME.1 internal moulding (rear)ME.1 internal moulding (top)

    The ME.1 is quite an attractive earphone, and the first thing I thought upon seeing them was the fusion of traditional custom IEM (internal face) with a mini Audeze LCD headphone exterior. Clearly a lot of thought has gone into the design, and I applaud Unique Melody for what they've come up with. Compared to the iSine, this is a much more attractive design – and the fit is impeccable.

    The external outer face is flat, circular, 23mm in diameter and has an alloy grill with damping behind it. This then sits on a much more standard shaped internal IEM body made of 3D printed acrylic, with a fine polish and gloss finish. The internal side is beautifully rounded and moulds brilliantly to my ear. The body is approximately 23mm across, 17mm high and about 17-18mm deep (from the back of the plate).

    On the edge of the plate on both ear pieces is “Unique Melody” and “ME.1”. Both earpieces also have a left and right indicator on the internal side. The nozzle is very slightly angled forward and up, and for me is a perfect fit. The nozzle extends about 7mm from the main body, and has a diameter of 6mm. There is no lip, just a bit of knurling to aid grip. There is also no mesh – just an internal coil.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    ME.1 (front) note acoustic portsME.1 (rear) sideME.1 connectors

    Forward of the nozzle and adjacent to the plate is a 4mm acoustic port which houses an acoustic damping feature with a result similar to 64 Audio's Apex technology. It has been designed to release acoustic pressure, and allow listening at far lower levels without losing any of the details. I'm quite impressed by this. Anyone who follows me will know about my permanent tinnitus, and I've been particularly interested in both the Adel and Apex technology. Both have worked well for me, and I find earphones with this tech seem to encourage me to listen at lower levels. The ME.1 is no exception, and I've been getting fantastic results from volumes mostly in the 60-70 dB range.

    At the top of the outer plate is a housed and protruding 2-pin socket (0.78mm). The connectors on the cable fit snugly over this socket and the resultant fit is incredibly stable. The connectors are enclosed in a hard plastic/rubber compound housing – which in turn extends to formable ear guides. These are easily shaped to your personal anatomy and the angled connectors help with a low and streamlined profile.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    ME.1 y-split and cinchME.1 3.5mm jackME.1 gorgeous cable

    The cable is gorgeous, very flexible, and has no memory issues. It consists of 8 single crystal copper wires formed into 2 sets of twisted pairs (each side above the Y-split), and joined to a common 4 x twisted pair cable for the main cable. The Y-split is a metal alloy tube with matching cinch, is heavy enough to keep the cable nicely in place when worn, but light enough not to create discomfort. The Jack is 3.5mm, gold plated, straight, and features enough length to allow fitting to my iPhone SE with case intact. This would be one of the nicest cables I've come across aesthetically. I'd love this for some of my other IEMs.

    As far as my impression of overall build and design goes – I can't really fault anything they have done. This is as close to perfect as you can get (my one preferred change would be a lip on the nozzle).


    FIT / COMFORT / ISOLATION

    I'll start with the easy one (isolation), and we can then look at fit and comfort. Isolation is usually dependent on tip selection, and seal, but in this case the ME.1 is essentially a semi-open IEM. My wife and daughter both have incredible hearing (my wife is in her late 40's and can still here our small cat walking on carpet!). She helped me test and in a quiet room with the ME.1 playing at about 72-3 dB average, it was inaudible from more than 2-3 feet away, and only slightly audible until she got to within a foot. Playing at my normal levels, the great thing is that I can still hear (faintly) my surrounds – which makes them an ideal IEM for use at work. You won't be using these in a high noise environment though.

    Now we get to fit and comfort, and as I mentioned earlier, the ME.1 has one of the most ergonomic body shapes I've come across. For me personally they are extremely easy to fit – but the nozzle does give a relatively shallow in-ear fitting. I also found it easier to get a stable fit by carefully moulding the formable over-ear guides properly so that they lock the IEM in place.


    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    Lipless nozzleTips which fit, and don't fitComfort is superb

    Unfortunately the lipless nozzle limited my tip choices. The supplied foams fit well, and Comply 400 series were perfect fitting too. Spinfits stayed on the nozzle nicely, but I was unable to use Spiral Dots, Ostry tips, and even my Sony Isolation tips. I found a pair of silicone dual flanges which fit pretty well, but tended to lighten the bass impact. In the end I've gone with the default foams and these have given me the best combination of seal and comfort.

    The ME.1 sits almost flush with my outer ear, and would be comfortable to lie down with, but of course doing that blocks the grill and alters the sound. And speaking of sound – how do these perform sonically? Lets find out.


    SOUND QUALITY

    The following is what I hear from the Unique melody ME.1. YMMV – and probably will – as my tastes are likely different to yours (read the preamble I gave earlier for a baseline). Most of the testing at this point (unless otherwise stated) was done with my PC using Jriver Media Center with the iFi iDSD as DAC and amp. I used no EQ for this section, and the stock foam tips I mentioned earlier. I used this set-up mainly so I could talk more about EQ in the section following this. There was no DSP engaged.

    [​IMG]
    I used my normal listening level of 65-75 dB (measured with my trusty SPL meter). Tracks used were across a variety of genres – and can be viewed in this list http://www.head-fi.org/a/brookos-test-tracks.


    Relativities

    • Sub-bass – has very good extension and at my low listening levels is definitely audible, but its polite or even recessed compared to the vocals. There is a slight rumble present, but its limited.
    • Mid-bass – very linear compared to sub-bass with virtually no mid-bass hump. It is very quick, and very well defined, but lacks any real impact. I really like the speed and definition, but I guess my personal preference leans toward a small mid-bass hump.
    • Lower mid-range – very linear up to about 500-600 Hz then starts to slightly elevate. Renders male and female vocals equally well, but the peak between 1-2kHz is quite forward. The only real issue I have is the drop in the upper mid-range which leaves vocals sounding a little strident.
    • Upper mid-range – there is a big drop from the peak at 1-2 kHz down almost 10 dB to a trough at 3 kHz. This normally wouldn't be a big issue if it was another frequency – but this is exactly where the harmonics for the mid-range live. Combine that with the early peak, and (for me anyway) it is a recipe for quite a strident and hard edge- especially for female vocals. Others may not have the same sensitivity to this area that I have – but this is one area I find to be deficient in the overall signature.
    • Lower treble is sustained quite well with very good overall detail and clarity – but without too much etch or grain which some other IEMs overdo by trying too hard.

    Resolution / Detail / Clarity
    • Really excellent overall clarity, and this was apparent on every track I tested. I don't know if it is the planar technology but everything sounds extremely clean and clear. This is particularly apparent when listening to the bridge work on tracks like Lofgren's “Keith Don't Go”. One of the nicest things about the ME.1.
    • Cymbal hits have excellent clarity and overall presence, and beautiful decay with no truncation.
    • Overall I feel as though I'm hearing everything in the recording – and this is especially nice at my lower listening levels.
    Sound-stage, Imaging
    • Directional queues are very good – precise and clean, and presentation of perceived stage with the binaural track “Tundra” is definitely beyond the periphery of my head space. A really genuine sense of width and depth.
    • I often use the applause from a live version of Loreena McKennitt's “Dante's Prayer” to give me a sense of rendering perceived width vs depth. The ME.1 actually coped with this pretty well, and the sense of stage is nicely spherical (which is often rare in most IEMs). I played this a number of times because despite the sense of width and depth, I was left feeling that the rendition of the applause was quite flat and a bit lifeless. I then used my EQ (which we'll discuss shortly) and all of a sudden the audience sprang to life.
    • Amanda Marshall's “Let it Rain” is always my final track to test spatial presentation (its usually a very 3D like experience - the way the track was miked). For me the magic didn't really start happening (again) until I I increased the harmonics. This may be just my preference for colour in the 3 kHz area – but its interesting to note. The other thing to note is that this particular track is recorded with a reasonable level of sibilance in it. The ME.1 copes with this marvellously. Its still present, but not over emphasised). Nice stuff.

    Strengths
    • Clarity, speed and rendering of detail.
    • A very good sense of stage and imaging with a genuinely open sound
    • Great detail at lower listening levels
    • Not far away from a reference sound and easy to achieve with EQ.

    Weaknesses
    • Both sub and mid-bass are quite linear, and could do with a little lift for a more natural tonality.
    • 3 kHz hole (for me) removes a lot of harmonics, and leaves the mid-range just a little sharp, or strident (without the harmonics to sweeten things).

    AMPLIFICATION REQUIREMENTS

    This was an interesting topic, because the lowish impedance combined with high sensitivity means you can get to a very listenable level quite easily. On my iPhone SE around 40% volume was giving me more than enough volume. But consistently when I applied EQ and applied a more powerful source, the impression I got was that there was almost more life to the music. This could be just placebo on my part, but I was volume matching carefully.
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    Variety of sourcesAnd also amps

    Anyway – adding extra amplification definitely won't hurt, and I'd be interested to hear from others if they perceive any advantages from amplification. You don't need it for volume in this case, and I don't know enough about planars to understand if the technology reacts to better power inputs. What I found was that my X5iii and X7ii more than handled the ME.1 without additional power being required. My iPhone seemed to lift with the use of the A5 or Q1ii, and I also played around with the E17K using a combo of its tone controls plus some targeted EQ from the Equaliser app.


    RESPONSE TO EQ?

    The part I was looking forward to. The ME.1 does so many things incredibly well, but for my personal tastes (and I listen to a lot of female vocals), the lack or harmonics in the upper mid-range was causing me some issues. So using J.River's simple 10 band equaliser, I devised a very basic EQ to add a small mid-bass hump, drop the fundamental mid-range back a bit to a more traditional slight recession, and add some harmonic emphasis to the 3kHz and 6kHz areas.

    jriver7.png

    This solved basically all my issues with overall tonality, and once I had it worked out, it wasn't hard to transfer a similar curve to my portable devices. My EQ may not suit everyone, but I'd encourage anyone having an issue to consider playing around (especially with the mid-range) as it makes a heck of a difference. After I'd made the changes, I went back and repeated my normal listening tests, and if this was the default tuning I'd genuinely be considering what I'd have to sell to buy a pair. I've been using this EQ at work for the last week, and it is perfect.


    COMPARISON WITH OTHER IEMS

    This was going to be an impossible task for me, simply because the default tonality does not gel with my particular preferences. Normally I would compare default on default – but that would not really be fair given my issues with the tonality. So for this exercise I chose to compare the ME.1 to the other IEMs listed below – but with each EQ'd to my particular preferences. Because I had the EQ dialed in using PC > Jriver > iDSD > ME.1, I stayed with that combo. For the comparison IEMs I simply used the X7ii once volume matched.

    Its hard to compare something so different in tech, and I've recently traded my U6, so for the comparisons I went with the $250 Alclair Curve (one of my favourite reference IEMs), Rhapsodio's older ~$550 RTi1 single dynamic, HiFiMan's ~$699 RE800, Fidue's ~899 Sirius, and 64 Audio's U10. When looking at the graphs, rather than matching at 1 kHz, I've tried to instead match roughly the lower mid-range, as there was a lot of discrepancy otherwise (some very different tunings in there).


    Unique Melody MEE.1 (~USD 769) vs Alclair Curve (~USD 249)
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    ME.1 vs Alclair CurveFrequency comparison

    Starting as usual with build quality – both are built really well with virtually no imperfections. The ME.1 is a lot larger, and thus appears more solid – but the Curve has had a lot of use over the last couple of years, and still looks practically new. Fit goes to the Curve, but both are brilliantly ergonomic and very comfortable. Cable quality goes to the ME.1 – it really is extremely good. Isolation goes to the Curve, but in turn width of perceived sound-stage goes to the ME.1.

    Sonically ME.1 (with EQ) vs Curve (no EQ).
    Even with EQ, the Curve has a more natural sounding bass response. Both have great speed, but there is more rumble with the un-EQ'd Curve. The Curve is a little leaner, but the ME.1 has a richer tonality with this EQ being applied. In terms of perceived sound-stage, it is a lot better on the ME.1, and it shows as one of its strengths. Both have good treble extension. The ME.1 is also quite effortless in its delivery of clarity. If I was picking based on the EQ adjusted ME.1's sound and discarding the price differential, I'd prefer the ME.1. If I was just considering the default, it would be the Curve all the way.


    Unique Melody MEE.1 (~USD 769) vs Rhapsodio RTi1 (~USD 550)
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    ME.1 vs Rhapsodio RTi1Frequency comparison

    The RTi1 is a single dynamic driver which has hovered in price between $550-$800, so its definitely in the same ball park. In terms of actual build quality, the two are evenly matched, but the ME.1 has the more professional looking finish. Both have quality cables, and very good ergonomic fits. One again the RTi1 wins on isolation, but the ME.1 conquers for sound-stage.

    Sonically ME.1 (with EQ) vs RTi1 (with 6 kHz spike reduced via EQ)
    This is definitely a contrast, with the RTi1 being the quite bassy V shaped sound, and the ME.1 the much more balanced sounding. Again I'm amazed (each time I swap) at how much cleaner and clearer the ME.1 sounds, and I can see why this technology is likely to be come more popular. The RTi1 has a really nice mid-range (especially after removing the 6 kHz spike) but it almost sounds distant or hazy in direct comparison to the ME.1. As both are EQ'd to get to their best, the choice is easier this time – for me the ME.1 just does so much right.


    Unique Melody ME.1 (~USD 769) vs HiFiMan RE800 (~USD 699)

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    ME.1 vs HiFiMan RE800Frequency comparison

    Next we come to an IEM I actually really like and one which is very close to the ME.1 in price. The RE800 is well built, and the official version will be released with replaceable cables which will aid the build quality further. Speaking of build quality, both are very good, but the ME.1 has the better overall quality (less likely to fail IMO) – its simply more robust. The ME.1 also wins on cable quality. Comfort goes to the RE800 and that is simply because they are so small they disappear when worn. Isolation again goes to the RE800 and the ME.1 has the more spacious sound.

    Sonically ME.1 (with EQ) vs RE800 (with 7 kHz spike reduced via EQ)
    This is a much closer comparison, with bass being similar after EQ (although the dynamic driver in the RE800 has more impact), and both now having a very coherent mid-range and detailed lower treble. Both this time are crystal clear, and its quite hard to pick a preference as both have their really good points. Ultimately this one comes down to preference (both under EQ). For default tuning on both though – I'd go with RE800.


    Unique Melody ME.1 (~USD 769) vs Fidue Sirius (~USD 899)
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    ME.1 vs Fidue SiriusFrequency comparison

    The Sirius is a 5 driver hybrid which could be described as crystal clear with an extremely mid-forward but also sweet and coherent mid-range. In terms of build, its a definite tie – both are flagship quality. The ME.1 has the edge on comfort, and once again isolation goes to the Sirius and overall stage to the ME.1 (although the sense of stage is a bit better with the Sirius.

    Sonically ME.1 (with EQ) vs Sirius (default tuning)
    Its amazing how close these actually sound after my EQ of the ME.1. This time, the ME.1's EQ'd bass sounds a little fuller (although again the Sirius has the better sense of impact from the dynamic driver), and the mid-range sounds a little more distant than the Sirius. But that is really due to the Sirius' very forward mid-range and upper-mid emphasis. Going back and forth I'm actually now hearing how coloured the Sirius is in comparison. The ME.1 does sound more natural. Both are crystal clear. Whilst I really like the Fidue's colour (especially with female vocals), the EQ'd ME.1 is just more balanced and natural sounding. Again though – if EQ wasn't an option – then my preference would definitely be with the Sirius.


    Unique Melody ME.1 (~USD 769) vs 64 Audio U10 (~USD 1300)
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    ME.1 vs 64Audio U10Frequency comparison

    Some may see this one as a little unfair given the price difference, and I would normally have used the U6 (but its now with its new owner). I had to include this one though as the U10 has the ADEL tech, and there are a lot of similarities between the two earphones. In terms of build, the ME.1 has the better overall materials and far better default cable (I'm using a balanced one from FiiO for the time being on the U10). The ME.1 is a little more comfortable, but the U10 stays in my ear better and is a lot lighter. In terms of isolation, the U10 is a little better, but this time the sense of stage is similar. The U10 also gives the opportunity for tunability with the different modules.

    Sonically ME.1 (with EQ) vs U10 + G1 module (default tuning)
    These two are really close in overall tonality, with the U10 having more bass presence and a little more warmth. Both are crystal clear, and I'm sure now its not only the planar driver – it has to also be the acoustic filtering helping (because the U10 has the same gorgeous sense of clarity and definition). Both can also be used at very low volumes and they sound fantastic. Ultimately though I don't need EQ on the U10 whilst I do on the ME.1, and for my tastes the U10 triumphs. More expensive to be sure, but if money wasn't an object I'd be choosing the U10. This does say a lot about the ME.1 though as its not overshadowed at all in this comparison.


    VALUE

    Always a tough one to call, and especially when the tuning doesn't really gel with my preferences. But looking at the overall package, and taking into account the fantastic build quality, the clarity of tone, and the response to EQ, I'd suggest that the ME.1 is not overpriced at its RRP. I just wish it had a different default tuning, as I'd even be tempted at its price point if the tuning was more to my taste.

    UNIQUE MELODY – SUMMARY

    I'll have to return these soon, and I'll be genuinely sad to see them go. Lawrence and his team at Unique Melody has come up with an impressive overall package, and its really impressive that they have been able to fit this technology into the ME.1's relatively small earpieces (compared to other planars).

    The ME.1 has stellar build quality, well chosen accessories, and fantastic overall fit and comfort. The clarity and sense of space (perceived sound-stage and imaging) is up there with the best I've heard. The only issue I personally have is that I don't like the default signature. I'm afraid the combination of early mid-range bump along with drop in harmonics soon after leaves me with a strident tonality, and I find it quiet dissonant. The tuning is somewhat similar to Campfire Audio's Jupiter in that respect. If you are willing to EQ though, the ME.1 (for my tastes anyway) can be tuned to be a real pearl.

    As little as a year ago, I would probably have panned the tuning (I know I did with the Jupiter, and have regretted it since). The tuning is simply not for me, and I would urge others to maybe experiment with their own IEMs to mimic the ME.1 curve before committing – or even better, try them first if you can.

    If the tuning was to my taste, I'd be giving the ME.1 a perfect score (they really are that good). I can give them a 4/5 because of the response to EQ and the overall performance.

    I just want to close with thanking Lawrence and the team at UM for arranging the review sample.


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