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The Mentor V3 and Mason V3 are 4-way, 5-bore design with 4 sound tubes and 1 bore designed for tuning module. The Module provides acoustic dampening, pressure attenuation, and real-time low frequency adjustment. Each bore is reinforced with a...

Unique Melody Mentor V3

Rating:
4.5/5,
  • The Mentor V3 and Mason V3 are 4-way, 5-bore design with 4 sound tubes and 1 bore designed for tuning module. The Module provides acoustic dampening, pressure attenuation, and real-time low frequency adjustment. Each bore is reinforced with a rigid metal tube to ensure structural stability and faithful sound reproduction.

    With a newly designed acrylic shell, the shell is not only sturdier and more comfortable than ever, but also features our beautiful, handcrafted "Dreamweaver" fiber design.

    The brand new and unique "Dual-Tone" cable design also allows you to achieve two distinct sound signatures from the same cable - A pure copper sound or a pure silver sound gives you even more control and customization over the sound signature.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

Recent Reviews

  1. twister6
    Sound Mentoring!
    Written by twister6
    Published Aug 23, 2018
    4.5/5,
    Pros - clarity and resolution of 12BAs tuning, dual-tone cable which can be switched between silver and copper wires, dB-Go bass adjustment module, quality accessories.
    Cons - proprietary cable connector due to dual-tone design, limited range of dB-Go adjustment.


    The product was provided to me on loan for the review purpose in exchange for my honest opinion. The review was originally posted on my blog and now I would like to share it with my readers on head-fi.

    Manufacturer website: Unique Melody, available on MusicTeck.

    While using my new Galaxy S9 to take pictures, I didn't realize the resolution was set to a wide panoramic ratio, so the pictures in this review will look wider than usual.


    Intro.

    While the latest 16BA UM Mason V3 (MA3) is their ultimate flagship, I think this spotlight could be easily shared with 12BA UM Mentor V3 (ME3) which has been released at the same time and packed with the same flagship features I covered in my recent MA3 review. Both are equipped with dB-Go low-end tuning module, innovative Dual-Tone cable, updated shell manufacturing, and identical accessories. At the same time, they do vary in sound tuning and technical performance which I will go over along with a comparison to other IEMs and my usual pair-up summary with different sources.

    Due to similarities, this review will have many recycled parts from my MA3 write up since unboxing, accessories, cable, and even design are nearly the same. If you already familiar with these sections, you can skip straight to the sound analysis, otherwise, let's get started with unboxing.

    um_mentor_v3-00.jpg

    Unboxing.

    ME3 arrived in a giftbox quality all black textured cardboard box with a glossy "UM unique melody" dark print on the top. It's a bit plain and would have been nice to have maybe a teaser artwork with a 4pin cable connector and maybe a crown of the tuning module. Obviously, makes no sense to put a picture on the cover of the box since both Custom and Universal shells are customizable. Other than that, unboxing experience is very basic, and under the cover you will find a dense foam insert with cutout pockets for storage case (with IEMs inside) and the rest of the accessories.

    um_mentor_v3-01.jpg um_mentor_v3-02.jpg um_mentor_v3-03.jpg

    Accessories.

    The included accessories are carefully selected without fillers. Considering my loaner pair was universal, it should include 2 sets of eartips: S/M/L genuine brand name Comply eartips and should come with S/M/L/XL silicone eartips, though some Comply tips were missing, probably from the previous reviewer. Furthermore, you will find a piece of cleaning cloth, I guess to remove any fingerprints off the shells. The rest of the accessories will be common between universal and custom models.

    The plastic warranty card (the size of a credit card), has a printed S/N, website address, and a service email. But if you look closer you will find a hidden flat usb stick that flips open. UM will include a separate pdf file with pictures of the IEM, product features overview, warranty info, and even a color guide for different shell options.

    um_mentor_v3-04.jpg um_mentor_v3-05.jpg um_mentor_v3-06.jpg

    The storage case is a hefty titanium matte puck with a threaded secure cover and a soft felt lining to protect IEMs inside. While similar shape puck cases are starting to become more common, those are usually lightweight and have a pop-up cover where the content ends up flying out when you open it. This one was a more "luxurious" high quality storage case that will make a great paper weight on any desk. Though great for storage and roomy to fit ME3 with Dual-Tone cable, it's not very practical as a travel case, so you will have to get another one, more pocket friendly.

    Cable is part of the accessories, but I will describe it separately in the follow up section of the review. The other remaining accessory is a unique Magnetic Earphone Clip (MEC) which you can use both for cable storage and as a shirt clip. Made from of soft leather material, there is a strong magnet to hold it together, and you can use it magnetically "clipped" to a shirt (sideways) or secured at the neckline of a t-shirt (pointing down). A little metal loop attached to MEC is where you put the cable through to secure its attachment to a shirt or a t-shirt. You can also use it on a wrapped cable to organize it for a storage. Maybe not a big deal for some, but it's very different and unique, compared to other shirt-clips I have seen. Perhaps UM can offer it as a separate accessory for sale.

    um_mentor_v3-07.jpg um_mentor_v3-08.jpg

    Cable.

    At the first glance, the cable looks like it has a regular braided 4 conductor design with flexible dual color shielded wires. Upon closer examination, you'll notice a proprietary 4pin metal socket with a securing bolt (smaller than JH type of socket). When you read the included instructions on usb-stick, you realize this is not an ordinary cable, but a Dual-Tone cable with a separate 8-core 6N purity single-crystal copper and silver wires. Make no mistake, this is not a hybrid silver/copper cable, you have 2 separate cables inside of one.

    um_mentor_v3-14.jpg

    In more details, Dual-Tone is a 4-conductor braided soft cable which contains two cables that you switch by flipping L/R sides. This is a very clever mechanism where you have 4pin threaded female connector at the cable side, with 4 wires attached to each pin, while the male side of the connector (in the shell) only has 2 pins connected to internal drivers. As you flip between L/R sides, you are switching between either left side or right side of 4pin connector of the cable to engage with 2pin connector on the shell. To keep track of which side is which, 90deg housing mold has 1-dot and 2-dot ID bumps: 1-dot left, and 2-dot right is silver side, 2-dot left and 1-dot right is copper side.

    Cable itself is very soft, not too heavy, with 4 separate conductors: 2 with silver wires in a blue jacket and 2 with copper wires in a brownish jacket. You have a choice of 2.5mm, 3.5mm, or 4.4mm termination when ordering. The gold-plated plug has a nice short custom metal housing, different from other popular brand name connectors I have seen in the past. Also, there is a clear heatshrink strain relief. Y-splitter is a piece of heatshrink transparent tube, and so does the chin-slider. You can't even see these, creating a continuous visual of Dual-Tone wires. Above y-splitter, wires are twisted. At the plug, you have 90-deg transparent plastic connector mold and a memory wire.

    um_mentor_v3-09.jpg

    Regarding the sound difference, the change is not as drastic as you would expect with some separate pure silver and pure copper cables. I do hear a similar bass and treble response and presentation, while the biggest change to my ears is in mids and lower treble where copper cable gives you more body, more weight, a little extra thickness with slightly above neutral tonality. With silver cable, lower mids are neutral which gives more room for upper mids to come forward and give the sound a little more clarity and a perception of wider staging expansion. As a result, I do hear some improvements in detail retrieval when using silver side of the cable, while copper cable gives the sound more musicality with a smoother and more organic tonality. While I preferred silver side for MA3, here with ME3 I liked the copper side which also affected the treble, keeping it smoother.

    Conveniently, you don't have to carry multiple cables, and can judge for yourself if you do or don't hear a difference in sound between two different types of wires. The only drawback here is a proprietary connector which means you are stuck with Dual-Tone wires cable and can't try other cables unless aftermarket manufacturers get a hold of this new 4pin threaded connector.

    um_mentor_v3-10.jpg um_mentor_v3-11.jpg um_mentor_v3-12.jpg um_mentor_v3-13.jpg

    Design.

    The Mentor V3 model features 12 Balanced Armature drivers, with a 4-way crossover and a driver partitioning of 4 lows, 2 lower mids, 2 upper mids, and 4 highs. Shells have a 5-bore design with 4 sound tubes per each group of drivers, and 5th bore allocated specifically for dB-Go tuning module. Each bore is reinforced with a metal tube for an improved structural stability. In case of Universal shell, as the one I received, the tip of the nozzle is all metal with a wax guard screen covering the internal bore openings which are not exposed like in CIEM. With an exception of 4 less drivers (half of mids drivers) and a different tuning, the internal design of ME3 and MA3 is very similar.

    But regardless of custom or universal, in theory each one is approached like a custom design except you will need to provide your ear impressions from audiologist for CIEM. UM has a very friendly on-line IEM Designer tool where you can customize the shell color, the faceplate color, the canal color, add custom faceplate art, logos, etc. There are dozens of different color and finish selections, and every change gets reflected in real time in IEM Designer tool GUI. In there, you can also customize the termination of the cable and even pick the finish of the titanium storage case.

    The shells itself feature UM new acrylic design, created using the layered technique to strengthen the build. I was told that UM invested in a very high-end 3D printer that allows them to print a very thin shell, especially useful for consistency between universal IEMs. Then, they add layers of finish by hand, including optional Dreamweaver fiber design where the actual strings of fibers are included, resulting in a nearly handmade customized product, even for universal shell.

    According to UM, the module (dB-Go) provides acoustic dampening with a pressure attenuation and a real-time low frequency adjustment between 20Hz and 100Hz which I confirmed in my FR measurements and found to affect only the quantity of the sub-bass rumble. The effect is not subtle, but quite noticeable where sub-bass rumble goes from neutral (when both dials are open, turned toward you) to more present, boosted rumble (when both dials are closed, turned away from you). What impressed me the most is how precise this tuning it. I heard no effect on mids or treble. I don't even hear too much effect on mid-bass, the focus is mostly on sub-bass.

    Regarding the effective range of the tuning, the crown of the dial is surprisingly small, yet has a good grip and easy to turn. The only problem, turning range is only half a full rotation. With a small diameter dial wheel this is on a level of a micro-tuning which going to drive anybody with OCD crazy. For me personally, I settled on either fully closed or open, like an on/off switch of sub-bass boost. I think this is the most practical use of this dial. Though there is some resistance, it has a continuous turning without any click action to indicate the exact position. Also, once you are placing shells in your ears, it's quite possible to bump the dial if it's somewhere in the middle. Turning the dial either closed or open is the easiest way to have a consistent control of the bass between left/right sides.

    um_mentor_v3-15.jpg um_mentor_v3-16.jpg um_mentor_v3-17.jpg um_mentor_v3-18.jpg um_mentor_v3-19.jpg um_mentor_v3-20.jpg

    The fit.

    um_mentor_v3-26.jpg

    Sound Analysis.


    Since Dual-Tone cable and dB-Go module offer you a combination of 4 sound sigs, for my sound analysis I decided to use the one with a copper cable side and dB-Go closed to enable sub-bass boost. This combination offers a more balanced sound signature with more weight in the low end and more controlled highs at the top. It's all a matter of a personal sound preference, and I know some might prefer more energy in the treble or maybe a more neutral bass. Either way, you have choices to fine tune the sound to your liking by utilizing dB-Go module and Dual-Tone cable in addition to tip-rolling if you have universal model and can switch between eartips to control the seal of earcanal.

    Even so I said that relatively speaking copper side and closed dB-Go port yield a more balanced sound sig, the sound itself still has more emphasis on bass with additional treble sparkle, making overall signature to be leaning toward v-shaped. If you go to another extreme with open dB-Go to flatten the sub-bass and silver side of the cable to brighten the top end, signature shifts more toward the mid-forward sound.

    The sound itself is very resolving, and with a brighter lower treble it can reach a micro-detail level of resolution without sounding too harsh or fatigue. If you find it too bright for your taste, you can switch to MA3 for a smoother and more organic top end where I had to switch to silver cable to bring out more details.

    With a soundstage, I find it to have a good out of your head (but not too far out) depth, and above the average width. Once you switch to Mason V3 and hear how wide it expands, you realize that Mentor v3 doesn't exactly reach that level. But it still gives you a good sense of instrument placement and sound positioning, without exaggerating the imaging.

    The layering and separation here is excellent, where every sound detail could be easily distinguished. Neither Mason nor Mentor sound congested or veiled, but in a relative comparison Mentor with its more revealing upper frequencies has better separation of sounds in comparison to a smoother and more reserved natural tonality of Mason.

    I already mentioned multiple times that I preferred to bring up extra sub-bass by closing the dB-Go port, adding extra sub-bass rumble which adds a layer of texture with extra weight under the fast punch of mid-bass. With sub-bass off, bass sounds more neutral and more typical of BA performance, while dialing it up gives the bass a more analog dynamic texture. Bass is still articulate and well controlled, not on a basshead level, but you will notice its quantity.

    Lower mids are neutral with either cables, though I do hear a little more body when switching to copper cable, and a little more transparency and neutrality with silver cable. Upper mids are clear, detailed, revealing, and very nicely layered. The tonality is a bit on a brighter side, but I still hear vocals to sound realistic, either male or female.

    Treble is crisp, very well defined, not harsh but with plenty of crunch and airiness which can scale up with different sources and by switching Dual-Tone cable. Relative to Mason v3, here the 12k peak is more elevated, giving treble more energy and crisper details. It's not fatigue, but if you prefer a smoother and more natural upper frequencies tonality, it could be a bit too much for you.

    um_mentor_v3-24.jpg

    Comparison.

    As I mentioned already, for all sound evaluation, comparison, and pair up testing, I kept ME3 with a copper side of the cable and sub-bass fully engaged using dB-Go module. The volume was matched in every comparison.

    Mentor v3 vs Mason v3 - MA3 has a noticeably wider soundstage in comparison to ME3 which has more depth than width. Both have a very similar bass response with ME3 having just a little more punch, but sub-bass extension and rumble are very similar. With lower mids, MA3 is a little more neutral while ME3 has a bit more body. Both have a very similar detailed transparent upper mids with a natural tonality that is tilted a little more toward revealing brighter side, without crossing analytical threshold. Treble is where I hear the most difference between these two, where MA3 is smoother and more controlled, while ME3 has a more prominent peak, giving it more crunch and higher definition with a brighter tonality extension. As a result, Mason v3 sounds more neutral and more balanced, while Mentor v3 has a mild v-shaped sig with a little more emphasis on bass and treble.

    Mentor v3 vs Maestro v2 (a.k.a. Mason v2) - Here, soundstage expansion is closer in width. MA2 bass has a little more sub-bass rumble and lower mids have more body (a little different from Mason v3). ME3 mids have noticeably better layering and separation and more transparency, while MA2 mids are a little more organic. Treble is also quite different where MA2 is smoother in comparison to crunchier and brighter ME3.

    Mentor v3 vs HiFiMAN RE2000 - I found this to be an interesting comparison due to some similarities. RE soundstage is a little bit wider. Both have a very similar mid-bass impact, while RE subs have a little more quantity. Lower mids are nearly identical, while upper mids are more natural in ME3, while RE upper mids are brighter and thinner. Also, RE treble is splashier while both do have a bright crisp treble. I know, from my description above it sounds like they are different, but they are not too far off. The most noticeable difference is in upper mids where ME3 sounds more natural, more organic (not warm, but more natural).

    Mentor v3 vs Noble K10UA - both have a very similar soundstage expansion. K10 bass has more sub-bass while mid-bass punch is similar. Also, K10 has a little more body in lower mids while ME3 is more neutral. Upper mids are different as well where ME3 is more revealing, while K10 is a little smoother, and the same goes for treble where ME3 is brighter and crisper while K10 has a little more control and less crunch.

    Mentor v3 vs 64 Audio Tia Fourte - Fourte has a little wider soundstage and a more depth, with more out of your head spacing. ME3 bass is a little more neutral in comparison to warmer subs of Fourte. Lower mids are very similar. Upper mids are more natural and more realistic in ME3 while Fourte has their presentation a little more out of your head and brighter, more revealing. When it comes to treble, here I find them to be quite similar, both very crisp, detailed, and energetic.

    um_mentor_v3-21.jpg um_mentor_v3-22.jpg um_mentor_v3-23.jpg

    Pair up.

    With 22-ohm impedance these IEMs are very easy to drive, though with 108 dB sensitivity I had to turn the volume a few clicks up. Here is how ME3 pairs up with various audio sources. I will also note if I hear any hissing. SPK was my baseline pair up and others were compared to it.

    A&K SP1000 SS - absolutely hiss free; above average soundstage width; neutral punchy bass with a textured sub-bass extension that has a more neutral quantity; neutral lower mids, natural-revealing upper mids, bright crisp extended treble.

    Lotoo LPG - a very faint hissing; a little wider soundstage (in comparison to SPK), bass has a little more rumble, the rest is very similar with a neutral lower mids, natural-revealing upper mids, and bright crisp treble, maybe just with a little more crunch.

    Hiby R6 - without iEMatch, the sound is very similar to SPK, just a little thinner and a touch brighter. But with iEMatch I hear a noticeable more rumble in the sub-bass and treble is a little smoother, with more control. Because of this change, the sound is more balanced. Hiss free. This was one of my favorite pair ups with iEMatch for Mentor 3.

    iBasso DX200 w/amp1 - very similar above the average soundstage and hiss free performance. Bass quality and quantity is nearly the same as well with a punchy mid-bass and nice sub-bass extension that has more neutral quantity. I hear lower mids being more neutral and upper mids more natural-revealing, while treble here is a little brighter and crisper, more in line with a reference nature of the AMP1. Something like AMP5 would pair up better here.

    FiiO X5iii - tried this pair up knowing it's a warmer source. Soundstage is similar, above the average. Sub-bass has a little more rumble, similar mid-bass punch, smoother more organic mids and treble is more under control. But unfortunately, hiss is very noticeable, and the sound doesn't have a good layering and separation. This was my least favorite pair up.

    um_mentor_v3-25.jpg

    Conclusion.

    Unfortunately, some of the audiophiles who are looking for flagship IEMs with TOTL tuning limit themselves by focusing only on models with the highest number of drivers, thus missing a few gems. In my opinion, I consider both Mason V3 and Mentor V3 to be UM current flagships. They both feature dB-Go bass tuning module, innovative Dual-Tone copper/silver dual cable, and a new shell design. And while Mentor offers 12BA drivers vs Mason with 16BA, besides the price, the main difference here is the tuning, especially the treble where it all comes down to an individual sound preference.

    As I mentioned in my Mason V3 review, these IEMs were not tuned for those seeking an enhanced low-end impact, but if you want more treble energy with a higher resolution sound - Mentor V3 is your best bet, while Mason V3 will be your more "natural" spacious bet. And once you figure out your sound preference, either of these models will offer a premium build, fine-tuning sound options, and two-in-one premium bonus cable. Every manufacturer is trying to stand out from the crowd, especially when it comes to flagships. Here, Unique Melody accomplished it with both Mason V3 and Mentor V3 models.
      Vartan likes this.
  2. ostewart
    Engaging and punchy!
    Written by ostewart
    Published Aug 16, 2018
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Engaging and dynamic sound, punchy and detailed
    Cons - Large housing (custom will be better)
    Firstly a big shout out to Unique Melody and Micah for making this tour possible.

    *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.

    [​IMG]

    Tech Specs:
    · Frequency Response Range : 20-30KHZ
    · Sensitivity : 108dB
    · Impedance : 22ohms
    · Driver Count : 12 Balanced Armature
    · Crossover : 4-way Passive
    · Driver Configuration : 4 low+2 lower mid+2 upper mid+4 high
    · http://en.uniquemelody.org/detail_207.html

    Packaging, Build Quality and Accessories:
    The Mentor V3 comes in a simple black box, branded with UM on the outside, lift off the lid and you'll find the carry case and accessories. Everything is held neatly in place with foam inserts, and everything is well protected. The unboxing experience is simple, but feels great nonetheless.

    The Mentor V3 are impeccably finished, with expertly crafted shells and metal nozzles they sure are built to last. The 4-pin connector also screws into place neatly, and feels sturdy, the cables they come with are thick and have excellent strain relief, I see them lasting a long time. Overall the build is superb, providing you don't abuse them they should last you a long time; even the bass adjustment knobs are metal.

    Accessory wise this demo set came with silicone and foam tips, along with a couple of cables, and a shiny metal carry case. The metal carry case is a nice touch, but it will surely get scratched very easily. Overall the kind of accessories you expect for this price point, with nothing missing.

    [​IMG]
    Comfort and Isolation:
    The Mentor V3 are big, and my ears are small. This means I had to use small foam tips to get them to fit properly, but once inserted they were comfortable as they are not too heavy. Overall I found them to be quite comfortable, but as my ears are small something a little smaller in size tends to fit better.

    Isolation depends on the vent position, but it is fairly average and perfectly fine for daily use but you might want something that isolates a bit more if you are planning on using them in very noisy environments.

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    Sound:
    Split into the usual categories with a conclusion at the end.

    This part is written with the bass ports closed.

    Lows: The Mentor V3 is not a bass monster, but it does have a bit of a boost down low to keep things fun. The bass is a little more mid-bass centered to give them a little more kick; there is also a bit of focus on bass guitars too. They are also well extended, easily reaching into that nice rumbly sub-bass but always kept under control. The mid-bass has very impressive impact, and is backed up with plenty of body, yet it never becomes fatiguing of boomy. It can keep up with complex tracks with ease; I really enjoy metalcore breakdowns with the Mentor V3 as the bass really comes out when called for.

    Mids: The Mentor V3s midrange is highly transparent, bringing out heaps of detail but never throwing it in your face. The midrange is well separated from the lows keeping it crystal clear, however again not fatiguing. The midrange is not exactly recessed, but the mid-bass seems to be the focus with these. Electric guitars are well defined in the soundstage with good power and crunch, and again these pick apart complex mixes with ease. I find the Mentor V3 to handle both male and female vocals evenly, Foo Fighters - Everlong sounds excellent, Lights - Follow You Down (acoustic) sounds equally impressive. With these more intimate tracks you can hear every little detail in the track, and you are transported to your own personal concert, it is like they are in the room with you. What I like about the midrange is its ability to come forward when called for, it allows it to be the focus when needed, but the overall signature is not mid-forward.

    Highs: The highs on these have a small peak in the lower treble region, really bringing out cymbal crashes. The are smooth in the transition between mids and highs though, being free from sibilance. The highs are well presented and extended, I do not find them lacking, but the sound of the Mentor V3 definitely leans towards a fuller and more engaging sound. There is plenty of detail up top, and the timbre is spot on, it is so easy to tell the different parts of drum kits apart with these. The highs never get muddled when it comes to complex tracks; they are always there to bring out a bit of excitement in the music.

    [​IMG]
    Bass Ports Open: the bass ports allow you to add an extra 4dB down low, this is mainly affects the sub-bass and I personally prefer the tighter and more controlled sound with the ports closed. I found the lows to lack a bit of focus when the ports are open, making them sound a tiny bit muddy. The only time I like the bass ports open is with more sub-bass oriented genres, and having the ability to adjust this is great.

    Soundstage wise these are not huge, but what they do offer instead of a huge soundstage is impeccable imaging. Everything is pinpoint accurate, you can easily place instruments within the stage, and the separation between everything is superb.
    During heavier rock tracks that I enjoy, they have the power to deliver a heavy wall of sound, but the technical ability to pick it apart should you wish.

    [​IMG]
    Conclusion: It is hard to sum up the Mentor V3, they are not the most neutral headphones but they offer an engaging sound that is refreshing at this price point. Most TOTL IEM's aim for a more safe and neutral sound, but these want you to have fun and enjoy the music. The bass is slightly enhanced with plenty of impact, yet they are well controlled and only come out when asked to. The midrange is effortlessly transparent, and the highs are well extended and detailed without being bright. I highly recommend you listen to these, everything is there, they are technically, and sonically very impressive.

    Sound Perfection Rating: 9/10 (TOTL in technicalities and heaps of fun)
  3. ambchang
    Unique Melody Mentor V3 - Universal
    Written by ambchang
    Published Feb 24, 2018
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Clarity is top notch

    The balance of the sound, along with the musicality make this one of the most enjoyable iems I have heard

    Beautifully crafted

    Wide and convincing soundstage

    The cable, oh my goodness that cable
    Cons - Lack of a practical carrying case (the titanium case is nice, but I will not bring that out at all)

    The bass tuner sticks out, making it very difficult to store the iems, and it does seem to rotate on its own. I also find it hard to tell how much of the tuner I have turned. I would have preferred a recessed tuner that require a small screwdriver to adjust

    As usual for iems of this quality ... price
    Summary:

    The Mv3 is a flag-ship worthy (I know there is the Mason, but I haven't listened to that one), clear yet fun loving IEM, with globs of details. The bass is impactful and a little on a pronounced side, the mids are clear, and the highs are generally smooth with a very tiny slight bit of sibilance (I am very sensitive to sibilance). It is revealing, both in terms of details, and in terms of the ability to reveal the sources.

    All in all, if you got deep pockets, and is looking for a musical, detailed and balanced in-ear with a wide, real soundstage, look no further , the UM Mentor V3 (Mv3) is for you.

    A little about myself:

    I have been a music lover for a couple of decades now, but haven't gotten into "better gear" until a friend first showed me the Shure e2c. That was a long time back (about 11 or 12 years ago now), and went out and spent a, back them, ridiculous $150 or so on the e3c. Since then, I have had many headphones and earphones (see my profile) with the following five really making an impression to me:

    1) HiFiman HE6, driven by a Sansui AU-717 speaker out. I have heard these from a Mcintosh, and they were even better
    2) Stax SR007, driven by the KGSS
    3) Grado HP2, driven by the Mytek DSD-192 DAC/amp. Heard these from a decked out balanced Bijou, and those were just phenmenol
    4) The Tralucent 1P2
    5) The UM Miracle

    Ever since the UM Miracle, I was on my quest to get that type of clarity, and I bought the Mentor v1 a few years back. They were great, but I never got that clarity I got. So when the opportunity came for me to try out the Mv3 in the tour, I jumped at it.

    I am not affiliated with UM in any way, I am not being paid or received anything from UM, other than the chance to audition for them for two weeks, and then passing on to the next fortunate soul.

    However, I do have very favourable impressions of UM as a company, due to the UM Miracle, and also my experience with the Mentor V1.

    Gear I Used:
    For mobile I use a Rockboxed XDuoo X3 to a Meier Quickstep. I found this combo to be a great fit, and hit way above its price suggests.

    For home use, I have an iMac, optical to a Mytek Digital Stereo192-DSD Dac.

    I compared these to the Grado HP2 with flats, self-assembled Magnum v4 using aluminum inner sleeves and SR325 cups with S-Cush, Grado HF2, iBasso IT03, and Stax SR007 MkI driven by the KGSS fed from a Cambridge CXN (Yes, I did that). I understand that we are talking about apples and oranges, and in the case of the stax, even different amps/DAC. But gear is gear, and I want to see what these $2099 little things can do.

    Unboxing:

    The Mv3 came in a nice rectangular cardbard box with the UM logo printed at on it.

    SPS_6022.JPG

    Once you open the box, you are greeted with a nice titanium circular case that holds the earphones, along with a certificate right next two it.

    Given that this is an impressions tour, the package came with three cables - a standard unbalanced 3.5mm cable, a 2.5mm balanced cable, and a 4.4mm balanced cable. Speaking of the cable, they were stunning, the colours were a great unique, eye-catching, but not-over-the-top, match. They are soft and flexible. They are also unique in its design. There are no left and rights, if you switch the cables around, you go from pure silver to OCC. I tried both for a brief minute, and stuck with using the silver cable for the rest of the time. I felt there is more clarity, and also more "pop" in the songs.

    The connectors to the earphones were well made, and the fits very well. They are easy to unscrew, change out and put back in. I am not sure how how we can get custom cables for them though, but then, these are really two cables in one already.

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    It also came with a number of tips. For the purposes of this review, I took a set of foam tips. I also switched out and used some double flange tips.

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    The Earphones - Craftsmanship:

    Oh my goodness, these things were well made. They are beautiful, just gorgeous looking works of art. Each earphone is hand made, and the quality and finish of them are amazing. For those who didn't know, UM started off doing quite a few reshelling for other people's customized headphones, and they were well known for their craftsmanship. That has not changed.

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    The Earphones - Sound:

    The sound, which really is the meat of this review. The sound is sweet, musical, and clean. The bass hits heavy with impact, but is never over-bearing or muddy, the mids are clear and sweet, with the major parts of the music presented as the obvious highlight of the music. The highs are crisp, but I find it to be a little sibilant. This could be one of two reasons:
    1) I am sensitive to sibilance
    2) The recordings were bad to begin it as I find that certain recordings were particularly bad (Nirvana Nevermind, known to be poorly recorded).

    But the balance of these were great. I never felt that any parts were overdone, but all were prominent. The mids were the place I loved the most as it is so sweet, I just can't say that enough.

    One thing of note is that I listened with the bass port closed. I find the bass gets muddier (with more quantity) once the bass ports were opened. I am not a basshead and does not need to additional quantity, but I do want my bass to hit hard and be felt, so the ports being closed is the way for me.

    Recordings used:

    Nirvana - Nevermind: This album was really poorly recorded, and the sibilance stood out immediately. I knew this, but I want to see how well the Mv3 presents the music, whether it glosses over the weaknesses of the recording, and adds it own colouration to "clean things up". I find that the Mv3 does so ever so slightly. I can still hear the issues with the recording, but it was still an enjoyable experience. There was an obvious difference when I switched over to the Remaster version of the album. The reason I wanted to use this album is to see if that raw energy comes through, and they certainly do. The melody catchy bass lines of Novoselic the primal scream of Cobain, and the power of Grohl came through in flying colours.

    Jeff Buckley - Grace (Legacy Edition): One of my favourite albums of all time. The Mv3 really brings out the haunting beauty of Buckley's tortured voice, and those mids, oh my those mids. What a phenomenal rendering of the mids!

    My Chemical Romance - Danger Days: This is the album to test PRaT, and the Mv3 does handle this very well. It is a relatively fast album, and Mv3 has no problems whatsoever. The sounds were crisp and never muddy, the pace was clean.

    Prodigy - Fat of the Land: Bass is the thing to test here, and the Mv3 handled it well. I never felt it was over bearing, and the notes were clean and well-defined, never a muddy mess. The quantity of the bass was top-notch

    The Buena Vista Social Club: I thought with the sweet mids of the Mv3 would be fantastic with this album, but I found that it was overly warm in sections, and made the sound comparatively syrupy. Notice I said comparatively, because it is still immensely enjoyable.

    Whiplash (Orignal Motion Picture Soundtrack): From spoken dialogue to simple snare hits, to complex big band sound, Mv3 made me felt like I was there and then. Which brings the part of the sound I almost forgot - Soundstage. These are no Stax007 MkI level sound stage, but they are better than the HP2s, and at least on par with the HE6 in terms of depth. I don't know how they do this with an IEM, but there it is. The height of the soundstage is lacking somewhat though, but I am just being nitpicky here.

    Conclusion:
    Compared to some of the full-sized headphones (whether they be dynamic or electrostatic), the Mv3 clearly holds it's ground. I listened to many more albums on this album, from Mozart to Eminem, from Rage Against the Machine to Sarah McLaughlin. The Mv3 handles them all fantastically. This is a very clear IEM, but the thing that stands out is how musical it is.

    The only reason I took half a star off is due to the ergonomics of the bass tuner and the price. Regardless, while there are now no lack of great choices in this price range, the Mv3 has to be one of them.

    I still have one more week to go with these, and I can assure you, I will be wearing these anytime I am not on the phone, in a meeting, or talking with my wife, I will be drowned out in music using these babies during that period of time.

    P.S. Forgot to mention isolation, they were great, I can't hear my kids whine. Love it.

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    1. View previous replies...
    2. glassmonkey
      Nevermind is not poorly recorded. That sound was a conscious choice. The remaster sucks, hard. It smoothed the edges and loudness warred it to hell. Butch Vig wanted razor sharp sound and raw energy on the original. He succeeded.
      glassmonkey, Feb 27, 2018
      Layman1 likes this.
    3. ambchang
      As of the time of the review, I believe they are $2099 USD
      ambchang, Feb 28, 2018
    4. prercursor
      Did the sibilance take away the focus os the music or was it bearable?
      prercursor, Jul 7, 2018

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