Unique Melody Terminator 3DT

Layman1

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: analogue and organic tonality, smooth and fatigue free, premium design, note weight and body
Cons: cable tangles easily for me, on some songs soundstage and separation are more intimate.
Introduction:



Unique Melody will by now need little introduction from me, having already become well established as premium purveyors of prolific products in the IEM world

Here, for your convenience (and indeed Layman1’s!) are the IEM details from the MusicTeck (authorised dealer’s) website:
https://shop.musicteck.com/collecti...lody-3d-terminator-3dt?variant=32656510156862

This link also has photos and explanations of the tech that features in these IEMs.
The 3DT retails at USD $399 at the time of writing.

It’s only been a month or two since I reviewed Unique Melody’s mini-MEST IEM.
That IEM was – quite literally – music to Layman1’s ears.

As my regular readers – hello? Anyone?! – will know, Layman1 is an unabashed fan of dynamic drivers (or DD’s as the cool kids say).

The mini-MEST, which omitted the DD’s sported elegantly by its older sibling, was still able to impress me mightily, delivering what for me was genuinely the closest I’ve heard BA’s come to a DD-like performance.

So what does all of this have to with the IEM I’m reviewing today?

“Get to the point, Layman1!”, I hear you cry.

I shall graciously overlook such impatient tetchiness and explain forthwith; namely, this is an IEM which features not one, not even two, but three DD’s per side!(!!!)

Specifically, one 10mm DD and 2 x 7mm DD’s.

To shamelessly quote UM themselves: “We utilised 3D printed technology for 3DT’s inner structure. In that way, we optimised the sound transition and further reduced unwanted distortion. Each dynamic driver is equipped with its own independent tunnel and each driver is tuned separately and precisely with our newest tuning technique. Ultimately the sound is much more coherent and imaging and synergy are also significantly improved”.

If you’re anything like me – and you have my sympathy if that’s the case – then you’re probably drooling right now and anxious to get stuck in.
Layman1 being an obliging kind of chap, I shall delay your gratification no further!

Please proceed to the next section to find out what such a tantalising new product looks like in its natural state:



Photos:
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Unboxing, packaging and accessories:

They come with a 0.78mm 2-pin silver-plated copper (SPC) cable, which is terminated in 3.5mm SE. I would have preferred a balanced option at this price point, however, I understand UM are still looking for a new supplier so that they can again offer the 2.5mm and 4.4mm termination option on their products.

The cable itself seems decent enough. It’s fairly soft and supple and feels very lightweight.
However, I think maybe a touch too lightweight; maybe it was just me, but I found the 2-wire sections of the cable (between the chin slider and ear hooks) to tangle fairly regularly in storage, with the ear hooks exacerbating this situation). Aside from this it’s a nice silver colour in a glossy transparent sleeve and felt comfortable in use.

The 3DT comes with UM’s usual impressive array of complimentary accessories; a selection of eartips including premium Comply eartips, a ‘thank you’ note and, as if that all wasn’t enough, a Dignis PU leather case; the same as the mini-MEST one, that many people have said they even prefer to the one that came with the much more expensive original MEST.


The Fit:
They have a quite deep insertion depth for me personally; I’d prefer the nozzle length to be reduced a bit so that the main body of the IEM can sit more flush with my ear, especially given that these IEMs are somewhat on the large side. This I think was a necessary design choice, with having to fit 3 DD’s into each side, with the various accompanying tech to support them and direct the sound waves.

Having said that all this, with my usual New Bee foam tips, I was able to maintain a strong and consistent seal with no issues, and I have been able to wear them for extended sessions with no discomfort or fatigue.


The Sound:
I’m using the iBasso DX220MAX and Sony WM1Z DAP (with MrWalkman’s custom ‘Midnight’ FW) for testing and the stock cable, and a playlist of lossless and hi-res lossless music of many genres.

I’d describe the 3DT as follows:

Low end:
Listening to ‘Lonely Stranger’ from the excellent Eric Clapton Unplugged album, I’m immediately impressed by the fidelity of the timbre and the substantial note weight on offer here; something I really appreciate personally in an IEM.

The texture on display with the plucking of the guitar strings is lifelike and engaging and I am seriously impressed by the impact and rumble on display. You may be wondering where that impact and rumble is being displayed, given that this is an acoustic track and I’m still on the introductory 30 seconds of the song. Well, it’s in the middle and bass string plucks of the guitar and his thumps on the guitar and foot tapping. It’s a real treat that exemplifies what I so love about a well-implemented DD; the physical, tactile feeling that has its foundations in the sub-bass extension and rises all the way up through to the mids from there.

Here, it’s combined devastatingly well with a substantial degree of note weight, and an above average degree of note thickness.

Listening to Gregory Porter on Don’t Be A Fool (24-96 HDTracks), I’m struck by the impact and weight behind the kick drum and the acoustic double bass. It’s a more traditional tuning on the 3DT, with a fair degree of sub-bass extension and a strong mid-bass delivering an analogue warmth and presence, albeit balanced with a well-judged decay that prevents muddiness whilst facilitating accuracy in the timbre.



The mids:
I hear the upper mids as being slightly forward compared with the lower mids, but only slightly. Vocals sound just slightly forward of centre, with a medium amount of body, good timbre and a fairly crisp presentation. Backing vocals are given just enough space to distinguish themselves nicely.

The note thickness and weight that comes through from the low end and into the lower mids make for an engaging and musical signature, and one that fills up the soundstage; however, there’s a sufficient quantity of separation to keep things from sounding congested.
It’s a signature that leans more on the side of intimacy and warmth than clinical and spacious, despite the control evident here, but that warmth and intimacy certainly never goes to extremes. I think UM have done well to balance these elements nicely.
This will also depend on the genre and track being listened to; on ‘Burnout’ by Green Day (24-192 HDTracks) I hear the mids as being somewhat recessed, the guitars a bit ‘shouty’, the drums clattering and the whole sounding fairly intimate; not a bad presentation of the track, but not the best I’ve heard either.

Conversely, on ‘The Coast’ by Paul Simon (24-96 HDTracks), the whole song sounds spacious, open and airy, with crystalline levels of detail and just a touch of organic warmth.
It sounds fantastic.

The stringed instruments on Hong Kong opera singer Alison Lau’s cover of Handel’s “Lascia la spina” are gorgeously presented, rich and full-bodied. Her voice, which can soar very high and trigger my sensitivity to such things on many IEMs is – just - kept in check here, and those vocals are infused with body, richness and weight. It’s quite stunning!

Overall, I do here a bit of a lift in the mid-bass which maintains a hold throughout the sound signature; this mostly is a good (or even a great) thing, but I’m just conscious of noticing it a bit most of the time; much as I did with EE’s Legend X although of course to nowhere near the same degree!

“So long, Astoria” by the Ataris was – like most of their tracks – played with and recorded on vintage instruments and equipment and as such is a pretty excellent complement to the tone of the 3DT; there’s sufficient space and separation here to prevent the song from getting too congested (as it has on some IEMs) but the organic warmth and rather analogue signature really shine on this kind of music and classic rock generally, with the electric guitars infused with a rich texture and crunch.

That same texture and crunch were especially evident on the alternate version of their song ‘Fast Times at Dropout High’ from the album ‘Silver Turns to Rust’, where the opening two electric guitar lines are beautifully controlled and separated, even once other instruments and the vocals come in, and the tone of the guitars and vocals are just exquisite in their presentation.

I also found a similar synergy with electronic music, such as Club 8’s ‘Stop taking my time’ and ‘Monument’ by Röyksopp, with a stunning crunchiness and texture to the main synthetic riff and all the background details and backing vocals constantly bubbling up to the surface.


The treble:
I hear the treble as being relatively neutral in terms of striking a balance between being rolled-off or being huge and airy.

They are smooth and engaging; some might wish for a touch more air and spaciousness to come through, but I’d add that this feeling may for many be alleviated by dedicating some time to get used to the sound signature, especially if you’ve come from an IEM or headphones that were particularly bright and open (I was listening to the Odin a lot until relatively recently!). Also, as ever choice of ear tips or cable rolling could be used to influence this to some degree.

I did notice that the 3DT brought forward an amount of detail – presented more organically than analytically - that quite surprised me at this price point. I was often becoming aware of sounds in the background of the music that I hadn’t noticed before, which – given that I am often reviewing flagship products these days – is quite the achievement.



Technical performance and sound signature:
I feel the soundstage, separation and layering vary quite a bit depending on the song being listened to; on some fairly dense rock music, I heard these qualities as being around average (or slightly above average) in size; artefacts of the note weight and large note size of the 3DT, which conspire to swiftly fill up whatever ‘real estate’ is available. Furthermore, there’s the tuning of the treble which features a modest amount of air and extension along with a slight treble roll-off and these things together sometimes give the impression of perhaps a bit less soundstage than there actually is.

Having said that, when I listened to ‘The Coast’ by Paul Simon or ‘Love Dies’ by Swedish pop/acoustic/ambient artists Club 8, I found the soundstage and signature overall to actually be airy and spacious, and ‘Love Dies’ in particular was astonishingly good; the note weight adding a stentorian authoritativeness to the crystalline sound of the music and vocals. I hear imaging to be pleasingly accurate and it proved a consistent strength of the 3DT in my listening sessions.



Conclusion:

I think the 3DT is tuned in a way that emphasises enjoyment and tonality above pure technical prowess, although it is not bereft of quality in that area either. They did well with all of the many genres of music I threw at them, from jazz to classical, Motown to Mandarin pop, country to rock.

On songs that were quite dense or congested, the 3DT were still able to shine with their musicality, and on songs with more sparse or open arrangements, I was surprised by the technical qualities and soundstage size (with width and depth particularly impressing me).

They’re not the bass-cannon that some might have been expecting with the 3 DD’s per side here, and those looking for that, or for a super-analytical performance or a consistently holographic and airy signature will probably want to look elsewhere, but for sheer musical engagement that leaves you with a grin on your face, the 3DT are an IEM well worth consideration, especially at this comparatively modest price point.
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C
Codename john
@Ace Bee I love musical iems with good imaging. I was also thinking about the Yume! I think paying a bit more for the Unique will be worth it 😉
Ace Bee
Ace Bee
@Codename john it will be. Yume lacks the fun factor because of its extremely linear bass - the slam simply isn't there. 3DT is miles ahead there.

Although, yume notes are more prominent because of the BA drivers, 3DT is a bit behind there. But if you consider the overall musicality, 3DT wins hands down.
clearcut
clearcut
Good reviews show how you love this. Generally speaking dd are my favourite drivers it has three in it. So it would be great but at the loss of little sound stage in which BA is the best

KutuzovGambit

100+ Head-Fier
The Goldilocks IEM
Pros: Unrivaled timbre and well-balanced rich tonality, the most natural sounding earphone I have ever heard
Perfect note weight from top to bottom
Amazing clarity and transparency without any hint of fatigue
Fast, textured bass with impressive slam that never gets in the way
Extremely detailed and airy midrange
Detailed treble that never sounds harsh or piercing
Outstanding imaging, layering, and instrument separation
Very good soundstage
Superb isolation
Beautiful and well-crafted shells
Price/performance
Cons: Upper treble could use a little more shimmer, sparkle and air
Soundstage depth a little lacking
Very bulky shells might cause problems for smaller ears, also a bit of driver flex and vacuum effect with wrong tips
Stock cable is a thin tangly annoyance unworthy of such a great IEM
Introduction: Unique Melody is one of the older names in the game, and true to their moniker they have consistently been at the forefront of innovation in their ofttimes exotic IEM designs. Hot on the heels of their success in utilizing a novel bone conduction driver in their wildly acclaimed MEST, UM has now decided to take a step back from such cutting-edge drivers and return to the industry’s roots in tried and true DDs. Yet they seem to be unable to belie their claim to uniqueness, and in the midst of the recent renaissance of well-tuned single DDs they have opted to employ not one, not two, but three DDs in their latest offering: the 3DT, with one 10mm and two 7mm drivers per unit. As if this were not enough, they have also defied convention by not using the 10mm driver for the bass and a 7mm driver for each of the two remaining frequency ranges, but instead are employing both 7mm drivers for the low end while covering both the mids and highs with the one remaining 10mm.

For a lover of dynamic drivers such as myself, the exciting proposal of tripling the DD goodness is a hard proposition to resist. Unique Melody has also kindly priced the 3DT more accessibly for mere mortals such as myself at an MSRP of $399 USD, and after reading glowing impressions from several trusted forum members I decided to pull the trigger.

I would like to thank Andrew at Musicteck for offering a discount on my purchase in exchange for an honest review, and I highly recommend their excellent service (especially for audiophiles living in the US). The 3DT can be purchased here.

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Accessories: Upon opening the box, I was pleased to see a similar Dignis carrying case to those which UM has included in their other recent offerings. The semihard case includes divider flaps to conveniently store the IEMs themselves as well as several accessories, including even a small DAC/amp unit. It is unfortunately much too bulky to carry on one’s person, however, and in the future it would be nice to see UM also include a smaller carry case as well. Also included in the box is a branded UM microfiber cleaning cloth, a set of very serviceable silicone eartips with wider bores (S/M/L, in addition to the small tips premounted on the IEMs), and finally a SPC 2-pin cable with 3.5mm termination.

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In all honesty the cable is rather a disappointment at the price point, being significantly worse than almost any other I have received even with entry-level units. While the sonics are just fine, the use of memory wire in the ear hooks is a consistent annoyance and the cable itself is extremely thin and tangly. The splitter is simply a length of heat shrink plastic, and there is no chin slider at all. In addition, the 2-pin connectors on the IEMs themselves are extremely tight, to the point that most aftermarket cables are not be able to be pushed flush against the socket. However, given that the 3DT is priced so much more affordably than most of UM’s other models — and also given that the cable is both the first and the last disappointment I encountered with the 3DT — I am more than willing to overlook such minor unpleasantries. Score: 7/10


Build & Comfort: Aside from its unique driver configuration, the 3DT is also a departure from the other IEMs I have personally heard in that the shells are made of neither resin nor metal, but instead stabilized wood. I have often thought that too little attention is paid to the relationship between the shells of IEMs and their sonic characteristics — especially with regards to timbre — and I usually find that metal-shelled IEMs have a certain sweetness to their resonance that is lost when the shells are constructed of resin. So I was very eager to hear how the 3DTs would acquit themselves with their wooden enclosures (spoiler: in unmitigatedly superb fashion).

Even before considering their sonic characteristics, however, the outward beauty of the 3DTs is overwhelmingly apparent. The richness of the dual sapphire/caramel pigmented color scheme — each copy uniquely poured — is quite taking, and difficult to fully capture in photography (so beautiful is the result that UM has even decided to use the same adornment for their just-announced flagship, the Mason FS Special Edition). Overall workmanship of the individually hand-crafted units is of course excellent.

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The shells are quite large as are the nozzles, and though they fit my medium-small ears well others might find them a bit too large, and so it is highly advisable to try them out in advance of purchase if possible. On the positive side, the large size and solidity of the construction mean that isolation is about the best I have ever heard. Driver flex was minimal for me, although the wrong tips could sometimes trigger a strong vacuum effect.

Though the large size of these IEMs meant that side sleeping is not at all an option for me, long-term comfort was nevertheless satisfactory — with the caveat that proper fitment of tips was absolutely essential, as even a slightly inexact fit would lead to hotspots of discomfort quickly developing.Score: 9/10

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Initial Impressions: Though up to this point I have expressed various niggles and concerns, from here on out it is pretty much straight euphoria. After having the 3DTs in my ears for a short while, all I could think was:This is how music is meant to sound! If Goldilocks were to go into the business of selling IEMs, she would sell us the 3DT: everything is just right. I was first struck by the clarity and transparency evinced throughout the entire frequency range; yet immediately alongside this I became aware of the stunning richness of the timbre, texture, and tonality of the music. This perfectly balanced combination of richness and clarity was revelatory for one like myself, unconsciously accustomed to the compromises so often necessitated amongst lesser IEMs in order to achieve either the one or the other.

As I continued to listen, I did detect the occasional peakiness of the upper mids and treble that others had noted; however, burn-in rapidly smoothed these over and now present no issue whatsoever. After some time passed and I became accustomed to the sound signature, I attempted some tip-rolling and ended up with Spiral Dots — for reasons of fit and comfort primarily, although these tips did seem to preserve maximal treble extension and airiness. I also replaced the stock cable once I found an aftermarket option that was able to be accepted by the 3DT’s exceedingly tight sockets (KBEar/Tri cables work, XinHS/NiceHCK don’t for me) — for ergonomic reasons, rather than to effect a change in the sonics.

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Tonality: Others have described the 3DT as being mildly V-shaped, others as W-shaped, and while both these descriptors can fit I personally consider the 3DT to be actually not that far from Harman-neutral. There is a tasteful bass shelf descending organically down to slightly recessed lower mids, followed by a moderately sizable ~10db of pinna gain leading to a nice plateau in the upper mids and lower treble, with the upper treble being reasonably well-extended from there — though descending a bit more steeply than is my personal preference.

More than almost any other IEM I have experienced, in the case of the 3DT the graph does not tell us the real story. Looking at the official graph particularly, one would expect an extreme V-shaped monstrosity, a bass cannon with sawtooth upper mids and treble. In reality, however, the 3DT possesses perhaps the most sublimely balanced tonality I have ever heard. Note weight in particular is nothing less than perfect from bottom to top, and throughout the entire frequency range every voice and instrument manages to sound absolutely tonally correct. The mild warmth of the lower mids combines with the slight roll-off of the upper treble to lend a hint of relaxation to the nevertheless exceedingly clean presentation, and I was able to listen to the 3DT for long sessions without being at all fatigued by the sound (though those more sensitive to upper mid elevation than myself might have differing experiences in this regard). Score: 9/10


Bass: While I can’t claim to understand from an engineering perspective why it was necessary to use twin 7mm drivers for this relatively unostentatious bass presentation, I certainly can find no grounds at all to fault UM for that decision: the bass is tuned to perfection. It has a powerful yet tasteful restrained elevation, and is somewhat sub-bass biased to my ear. It is superbly well-controlled, and there is no bloat whatsoever — though it does manage to deftly breathe just a hint of warmth into the lower mids, thus contributing to their aforementioned perfect note weight.

The bass is tight and fast, but above all it has both attack and decay which are superbly natural. This combined with both the clarity and rich texturing of the 3DT’s presentation lead to bass drum hits, for example, that are more lifelike than I have ever heard from an IEM before. Extension is effortlessly deep, and it is capable of intoxicating physical slam and a decent bit of rumble when called for — again, without muddying or obstructing the other frequencies in any way whatsoever.

I am not by any stretch a basshead, and I think true bassheads might be disappointed in the moderation of the 3DT’s low end — though it is certainly nothing resembling neutral. Be that as it may, for myself I can say without any reservation that the 3DT has the most sublime bass I have ever had the pleasure of hearing. Score: 10/10


Mids: I am above all else a lover of mids, and to be honest my biggest reservation going into the purchase of the 3DT was the knowledge that the lower midrange is somewhat recessed and the upper mids are fairly elevated. While this is indeed the case, I can nevertheless report that my fears were actually unfounded: the lower mids are not by any stretch buried or neglected, and the upper mids never become shouty or sibilant. The perfect note weight, abundant resolution, astounding texture, and timbral perfection mean that the midrange has a richness and, above all, a naturality that allows it to shine through all the clearer even from its overall slightly recessed place in the soundstage. This slight recession also lends an airiness to the presentation that highlights the richness of the timbre and texture of the sound.

Female vocals are slightly more forward than male due to the relative elevation of the upper mids versus the lower, and have just enough presence to attain a sweetness of sound without becoming thin or piercing. Male vocals, for their part, are fairly full-bodied and, again, completely natural; the superb texturing and abundant microdetail make listening to gravelly voices in particular (such as Tom Waits) a real pleasure.

The transparency, texture, and natural attack and decay of this IEM lend stringed instruments especially a realism which is truly astounding. Acoustic guitars have never sounded better to me without being physically in the same room. The 3DT shines most brilliantly in classical and acoustic genres, although it acquits itself well with all varieties of music in my opinion, and is truly what I consider to be an all-rounder. Score: 9.5/10


Treble: The 3DT here continues its habit of achieving note weight and timbre which are absolutely spot-on. In addition, cymbals and percussive hits have just the right attack and decay to sound completely natural to my ear. Though not absolutely class-leading, there is still quite a good amount of detail retrieval throughout the whole of the upper region.

The lower treble is clearly favored over the upper regions, although there is still fairly good extension and air throughout. The slightly accelerated drop of the upper treble helps the 3DT to avoid harshness or splashiness, although it does mean that it lacks a little of the shimmer and sparkle at the very top that I would like, and to be honest there is a bit too much of a dip around 7k which also contributes to this effect. To sum up, the treble is well tuned but plays it just a bit safer than I myself would prefer.

Some have found the upper mids/lower treble a touch hot or peaky if they are sensitive to those regions, but I had no issues whatsoever, and realistically a reduction there would likely lead to clarity suffering a bit and might rob certain instruments of their tonal accuracy. I think the balance that UM has struck here will please the majority of people, though those with sensitivity have reported good success with adding a filter to the nozzles in order to slightly attenuate the upper mids and treble to taste. Score: 8/10


Soundstage & Technicalities: Soundstage is above average for IEMs, with excellent width, very good height, and good depth. Imaging, layering and instrument separation are all superb however, and combined with its airiness this allows the 3DT to trade blows effectively even with IEMs with a more extraordinarily expansive soundstage, albeit having a slightly more intimate feel (especially with regards to the forward presentation of female vocals).

Resolution and detail retrieval are truly remarkable, especially considering a single DD covers both the mids and treble region. This might be in part an effect of the elevation from ~2-5k, but since this is done so inoffensively to my ear I do not mind at all. One never gets the impression that the 3DT is an analytical detail monster, however; the resolving character of the IEM is, on the contrary, like its timbral and tonal fidelity, always in service to the overarching goal of achieving a rich and inviting naturality. Score: 8.5/10

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Conclusion: It is this supremely natural character that defines the 3DT to me. Shortly after receiving them, I remarked to another forum member that I felt like I had been listening to music through a boombox all my life, and suddenly heard a hi-fi system for the first time. It’s not that the technicalities, the timbre, or the tonality on their own were revelations; it was that their synthesis and cohesiveness in a single earphone gave birth to a realism that I had never heard before.

The use of multiple DDs to retain their inherent strengths in timbre and tonality, while increasing the technical capabilities beyond what a single DD can typically handle, is without doubt no small part of this achievement. The experience and tuning prowess of Unique Melody likewise deserves much credit. But to go back to one of the thoughts with which I began this review, I also believe that this accomplishment has a not insignificant amount to do simply with the excellent choice of employing those beautiful wooden shells for the housing: there is a richness of timbre and resonance to the sound of this IEM that is quite reminiscent of quality acoustic instruments, and this suits the overall aesthetic in the extreme.

Unique Melody calls this IEM the “Terminator”. Sure, a cool sounding name; a lot cooler than the “Goldilocks” anyway. But for me, they are both: they are almost the perfect Goldilocks IEM, with just the right amount of just about everything, and thus has terminated my search for any other IEM… for now, anyway. Overall score: 9/10
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Pretardo
Pretardo
Spot on review! The 3DT is incredibly organic and natural-sounding IEMs. The bass slams and rumbles. It's not on the level of IER-Z1R, but easily holds its own against all other dynamic drivers that I've heard. I also agree that with a little more air and detail in the highs it would be an even better set.
Sealing the deal
Getting a good seal can be a bit tricky with this set. For me, silicone tips have sometimes created negative pressure that deadens the drivers and requires readjustment. However, after switching to foam tips, this has all but disappeared and has improved the isolation. I think that UM has a good set here and I would like to see more development in the multi-DD space.
Now that everything is dialed in and I've got them working just right, they are a lot of fun to listen to and can be worn comfortably for hours.
szore
szore
Excellent review, as I sit listening to my 3DT!
Niyologist
Niyologist
Very good review. I like that these observations are relatively close with newer findings.

Ace Bee

Previously known as Sagnik
Unique Melody 3DT: A Musical Getaway
Pros: Excellent musicality
Clean and transparent mids
Punchy and fast bass
Balanced and airy highs
Expansive soundstage
Zero Fatigue
Cons: Bass could have used some more quantity
A bit more energy in highs
Slightly more depth
I have only been acquainted with Unique Melody’s one work so far, the Mirage, a 3 BA offering. And I have to say, I was completely convinced about UM’s reputability. The Mirage is an incredible piece of work that I love dearly.
Because of that love, when I saw UM was releasing another quite unique offering, 3D-Terminator (3DT in short), a three dynamic driver iem, for just $399 (current price - $349), I was intrigued! I had some spare cash, and since all other iems of mine are either full BA or hybrid, I was longing for a full DD set. There was a good offer going on for them on @MusicTeck, so got it for slightly cheaper. Received it quite late for some logistical issues, though. But when I put them in my ear, I found out…

Unique Melody does stay true to their name with their each offering.

(for those in the back…)

UNIQUE MELODY DOES STAY TRUE TO THEIR NAME WITH THEIR EACH OFFERING!

And honestly, and I cannot stress this enough, each of those unique melodies that their offerings sing out are equally enjoyable. At least that is the case for me with Mirage and 3DT!

And you can get the 3DT from here:

https://shop.musicteck.com/collecti...lody-3d-terminator-3dt?variant=32656510156862

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Specifications:
Driver Counts: Three Drivers
SPL: @1KHz 113dB
Impedance: 25.4Ω
FR: 20Hz-20KHz
Driver Type: Three Independent Dynamic Drivers
Driver Configuration: 2 Bass Drivers+1 Mid-Treble Driver

It’s pretty evident from the specification that it is fairly easy to drive, and that is exactly how it is. I drove it through my phone, Cayin N3 and N3 pro, Fiio Q5; in all the cases it was very much easy to drive.

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Build and Fit:
3DT is perhaps the most aesthetically pleasing iem I own. The colour combination of royal blue and stabilised wood looks very premium. There is a glossy finish over the shell that adds to that aspect even more. When held between fingers, the iem feels really solid and capable of withstanding a beating.

Fit can be an issue, however. The iem is thicc. Well, housing three DD can be demanding, and I believe Unique Melody has put their best effort here to optimise the space accumulated. Still, the earpieces are quite bulky, the most in all my collection. So people with smaller ears may face difficulty. I can manage them, but let’s just say they are not the most comfortable among the rest of my collection. However, the sound more than compensates for it, so I do not complain.

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Source:
Shanling M0
Phone>Fiio Q5
Phone>Cayin N3
Phone>Shanling UP4
Cayin N3 Pro

Sound:
Now, the most important part - How It Sounds.
Honestly, it has become quite a while since I have listened to all DD iem. I tend to prefer BA mids and Highs much more than DD ones - more distinct note definition, better separation, better imaging. I think the last full DD iem I used was Simgot EN700 Pro, which I did not hate. But after that, only BA or Hybrids.
So, I was quite waiting in anticipation as to how it will sound. Well, let’s just say I was sufficiently pleased!
My unit has around 150+ hours of burn-in period accumulated, so suffice to say they are almost at their peak performance. I have been using them with Azla SednaEarFit Light Short M tips.

Low:
Two 7 mm DD are at play here, and Unique Melody confirmed that both play the full Low frequency, not like one is for mid bass one is for subbass. I believe that is the real trick behind how the Bass sound full bodied yet controlled and fast. It scratched the itch of Bass very well! Fast, punchy, weighty, textured, controlled, and detailed - these are the key attributes.
Subbass has very good rumble and body, overall a very distinct presence that can be easily felt, but not overwhelming. It has a very nice physicality to it. Extends deep, decays fast. Textures are accurately reproduced. There is absolutely no place for discontent here.
Midbass has a very satisfactory punch and very good speed, which gives it a very nicely controlled presence. The midbass thumps have good weight but due to the good speed it never overwhelms the other spectrums. Like subbas, midbass textures are also reproduced very distinctly.
Fast, textured but weighty - this is how 3DT can be termed as. 3DT exhibits excellent control on the bass, such that it stays completely out of the mids.

In Steven Wilson - Pariah and Muse - Showbiz the basslines sound quite right with satisfactory note weight and presence, yet it never becomes overwhelming.

In Battlestar Galactica Season 2 OST - Prelude To War the bass drums are one of the best I have ever heard. They sound full and rumble very nice, decay naturally, and stop right before being overwhelming. The result is extremely satisfactory.

In The Dark Knight OST - Why So Serious? from 03:25, the subbass reaches very deep, and 3DT represents it on an almost physical level. The feeling gives goosebumps!


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Mids:
This is where I fell in love with 3DT even more. The best way to term the mids will be natural. No warm touch, no coldness, neither too thick nor too thin. It can almost be termed as neutral, but at the same time it definitely is not dry or sterile. Mids here have very good weight, very good details, are extremely musical and engaging. Notes have very good transparency and layering, although I have to say it is slightly behind the level of BA driver mids in those aspects. But then, 3DT has the musical factor and engaging characteristic which BA drivers often fail to provide. 3DT mids strike a brilliant balance between crispness and sharpness: the notes are crisp enough to exhibit very good separation and retain the energy, and yet they never cross the threshold into shoutiness or harshness.
The sound signature of 3DT is slightly V-shaped, which effectively puts the mids slightly behind in the stage. But that helps to improve the perceived depth of stage only, the mids presence are not at all affected. Everything is reproduced very coherently, nothing overshadows others.
Lower mids are extremely natural and musical. Male vocals are quite emotional with the right amount of weight. Same can be said for string instruments like guitar, cello, violin etc. Textures are reproduced effortlessly.
Upper mids are no slouch either. Female vocals scales up brilliantly without being harsh or piercing on the ears, while displaying all the sizzles and energy in full grandeur.

In Battlestar Galactica Season 2 OST - Prelude To War the snare drum roll takes a slight backseat (compared to BA mids), but the crispness and details are still very much present in the mix. The only takeaway here is that the BA notes have more depth, whereas here the note depths are a bit less.

In Leonard Cohen - Hallelujah, his voice reaches to the very depth of the baritone effortlessly, producing all the textures, and yet keeping it perfectly natural without becoming overly thick. Gave goosebumps… heard the same while playing Poets Of The Fall - The Ballad of Jeremiah Peacekeeper. Mike Saaresto’s voice was brought out in its full grunt, conveying the underlying emotion in full bloom.

When I hit play on Yao Si Ting - Scarborough Fair, I was not prepared for what was coming. I never heard her voice sound so musical, energetic, and yet so not piercing!! The underlying sizzles were very much present, yet easy on ears!! I was entranced, to say the least!

In Silversun Pickups - The Royal We, Muse - Showbiz, and Nine Inch Nails - Get Down Make Love, there are a lot of harsh sounding electric guitars, cymbal crashes, and sharp metallic vocals. 3DT manages to reproduce them brilliantly, with all the energy, but as I mentioned, never becomes unbearably sharp or harsh on the ear. Instead, manages to churn out the soul of the music in its full brilliance.

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Highs:
Unique is the term that can be associated with 3DT’s highs. First, let me tell you, that if you come from BA or Hybrid IEMs with highly energetic and forward highs, 3DT will sound slightly muted before them, but not at all dull. Then, give it a little bit of time, and you will find the most natural, brilliant, crisp, balanced, airy and energetic highs. I took a liking, and with burn-in my love kept growing.
Highs are in perfect balance with the rest of the spectrum here. They are not in your face, they are not far in the back that they will get missed at times. Highs have a very well tuned presence here, just at the right position where the energy is at the right level, notes are crisp and well defined, plenty of air among the notes, and absolutely no harshness or unnatural/piercing peaks (peaks are there, but never crosses the threshold into discomfort.) There is zero listening fatigue, null!
Lower treble has relatively more energy than upper treble, but upper treble is not muted at all. The shimmers can be easily picked up without feeling the slightest bit of discomfort. Lower treble has the brilliance to satisfy my cravings for energetic treble while not piercing my eardrums. Cymbal and hi-hat crashes sound quite alive.

In Muse - Showbiz the background ride cymbal rolls can be easily picked out. This track is an incredibly busy track and the ride cymbal rolls are easily drowned often, but 3DT manages to pull them out as much as possible with zero fatigue.

Metallica - The Four Horsemen is another track with plenty of cymbals and hi-hats crashing throughout the track. 3DT represents them beautifully with perfect balance.

Soundstage, Separation, and Imaging:
The music 3DT produces extends well in a moderately expansive stage. It is not as vast as Andromeda, of course. But at this price range it is mighty impressive. The stage has very good extension in width and depth, and nice height. Imaging is quite impressive: I wasn’t expecting this level of imaging from a single mid-high DD. Even on the busiest tracks nothing ever feels congested - such is the separation 3DT exhibits. Every different instrument and vocal has its own distinct position inside the headspace 3DT creates, and all of them are clearly distinguishable. Plenty of air is there among the different sounds. The width of the stage is slightly more than the depth, but the overall presentation has the holographic feel to it nonetheless. The background is sparkling clean. All put together, the experience 3DT provides is an expansive, airy and very clean stage. Satisfaction guaranteed.

Comparison:

Vs. Fiio FD5 -
Fiio has made a stupendous comeback with FD5. With one single DD they have managed to produce a sound which in some aspects outshine 3DT even though the later having 2 separate DD for bass! But 3DT has its own trump cards too. Let’s get more into it:
FD5 has a more voluminous bass than 3DT. 3DT bass has good punch, good speed, and slightly leaner body compared to FD5. FD5 has more volume, more thump, slightly less speed, and a fuller presence. Different flavors, one might say. I liked both, on different music.
Mids is where the difference is also evident. FD5 has a warmer tonality than 3DT that is immediately noticeable. While it isn’t bad, I found 3DT mids to be more suited to my taste. The transparency level and note depth are very similar. Although, 3DT mids appeared to have a tiny bit more clarity, but I am really nitpicking here.
Highs do not have glaring difference either. FD5 has may be slightly more treble extension and energy, but only if listening very critically, and 3DT in no way sounds duller either.
Soundstage wise both are very similar, FD5 a tiny bit more deep, 3DT a tiny bit more wide. Both has very expansive presentation nonetheless. Separation, imaging - no difference detected to my ear.
Honestly speaking, apart from the bass volume and midrange tonality, FD5 and 3DT are more alike than different. Both will cater to different tastes, but both are great in what they do. But I am way more impressed with FD5 from a technical point of view, as FD5 performs on a similar level with 3DT while having just one DD, whereas 3DT boasts three DD. I have to give the mantle of superior tuning to Fiio, as clearly they have managed to pull out a similar performance from one single DD which UM managed to produce with three DD. What’s more, I honestly expected 3DT to have more voluminous bass than FD5, having dedicated two 7 mm DD for Bass. So I was sufficiently surprised when I put in the FD5 and was greeted with a more voluminou bass which also does not compromise the rest of the spectrum either, and all with a single DD!

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Vs. Audiosense T800 - Apples and oranges, 3 DD and 8 BA, I know, but still both belong in the same price range, and thereby deserves a comparison.
T800 is an incredible iem. I was nothing short of amazed at it. Why, I will get to that later. But first let’s be done with the one single negative aspect of T800 which has prohibited me from getting one for myself: T800 is extremely source sensitive, at par with Andromeda. In case it is not paired with the right source, it will either sound screeching harsh, or boomy bassy. Only when it was paired with a good source with around 1 ohm output impedance, it was sounding right. And boy was it amazing!
Let’s get one thing straight: DD notes can never compete with good quality BA notes in terms of depth, body, and transparency. Even though the details may match, BA notes always have much more body and much more realistic presentation than DD. BA notes have more depth. And hence, T800 mids and highs sound more alive than 3DT. They have generally more energy also, more transparency, and slightly more edgy. T800 has unquestionably more technical prowess here.
And what’s more, T800 does not suffer from the dreaded BA bass. No, the bass here has more volume, and thump than 3DT’s 2 DD (looking at you, UM, again -_-). Bass sounds totally natural, a very good extension is subbass as well. I was more than surprised, suffice to say.
Stage wise I would say T800 has more depth, whereas the width is similar.
So where does 3DT pull ahead? Musicality. 3DT has excellent musical reproduction that engulfs the listener. T800 grabs the listener’s attention to each and every minute details and notes, but fails to provide that enveloping experience.

Vs. Sennheiser IE300 - This is a review item I got, and the reviewing is still in progress. However, I was able to note down some differences while A/B-ing between this and 3DT.
First, I swapped the stock filter attached eartips, as they compromised some clarity. Used a pair of New Bee M size eartips.
Again, with just a single 7 mm microDD, IE300 puts out more volumes of bass and more thumps (again, looking at you, UM, eyes are straining now…) Bass is noticeably slower than 3DT, which may provide either satisfaction or irritation, depending on tracks.
IE300 is generally a dark sounding iem, with a V signature. Mids are pushed further into the back, which gives rise to soundstage depth at the cost of transparency. 3DT mids are more forward and sound more transparent and engaging. I think IE300 has that dreaded Sennheiser veil. Vocals sound strained and lacking air.
Ironically, IE300 has a more emphasised and sharper treble reproduction, which sounds slightly off balance. Treble has noticeably more energy and sharpness than 3DT, which helped to add some air to IE300’s sound.
Soundstage wise IE300 had slightly more depth, but 3DT has more height. 3DT has a much cleaner representation compared to IE300, and sounds generally more engaging.

Vs. BGVP DM8 - (Copied from BGVP DM8 Review)UM 3DT is my current daily driver, and I am sufficiently smitten by it, to say the least. Fundamentally, 3DT and DM8 are vastly different: 3DT houses 3 DD, two for bass and one for mids and highs. Whereas DM8 houses 8 BA drivers to take care of the whole spectrum. Understandably, the sound signature differs too.
DM8 has slightly more pronounced microdetails or microdynamics. 3DT also reproduces all of the microdetails quite effortlessly, just not as prominent as DM8.
In terms of bass, 3DT trumps DM8, hands down! I am yet to experience the sweet, highly satisfactory, and yet controlled bass that 3DT gives out. DM8's bass, while pretty good for BA, does not hold a candle to 3DT's bass.
Midrange is another story. DM8's midrange is more forward than 3DT, has a slightly warmer tonality. Whereas, 3DT has a slightly more v shaped signature in terms of mids. Mids of 3DT have neutral-cold tonality, which, to my ear, sounds extremely pleasing. Not so cold that sounds unnatural, not so warm that it sounds thick. Transparency of notes is more or less similar on both, whereas note definition is better on DM8 by a hair’s breadth.
3DT has slightly more energy in highs. Extension is similar on both, not much difference. Here also the notes have a similar neutral cold tonality as compared to DM8, but DM8 also does not sound unnatural - very balanced.
3DT has a more expansive and more airy stage than DM8, it extends more in height and width. But DM8 has a deeper stage - the instruments are stacked very well from forward to backward.
Although, DM8 takes the cake in imaging. The placement of different instruments inside the headspace is a touch better on DM8.
In short, 3DT draws you more into the music, whereas DM8 presents all the fine details effortlessly. Different modus operandi altogether, and both excel equally in their respective fields.

Conclusion:
3DT has this unique aspect of presenting the music in the entirety, rather than overwhelming the listener with details. 3DT excels in this in spades. It draws you into the music effortlessly and envelops you from all sides. Even with the most harsh sounding ruthless tracks, 3DT manages to play them in such a way that none of the brilliance is lost, while making sure zero fatigue is induced. All of the unwanted harshness is eliminated while retaining the energy...I cannot marvel enough at this. This is the unique trait of Unique Melody’s tuning that never ceases to amaze me. Yes, 3DT has drawbacks - bass could have been better, slightly more depth would have been appreciated. But in spite of that, that unique musicality is something I haven’t come across very often. And just for that, 3DT is gonna stay with me for life.

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Ace Bee
Ace Bee
ericp10
ericp10
Very nice and spot on review, Ace Bee (especially compared to the FD5). As for the EST 112 (mentioned on another post with the 3DT), it’ll becoming to come alive now that I’ve found the right ear tips for it. Still, lots more burn in needed. The 3DT is one of the best values I’ve heard in any of the earphones I’ve owned!
Ace Bee
Ace Bee
@ericp10 thank you. Indeed it is one of the best valued from price to performance aspect in my collection

skedra

Head-Fier
The triple dynamic done well
Pros: Great fit
Good build quality
Tuning
Affordable
Awesome case
Smooth and pleasant presentation
Cons: Average cable
Only one type of tips included
Potentially size of the shell/nozzle (for some)
Driver flex
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Overview

Not so long ago I reviewed a quite unusual IEM, the Unique Melody MEST, with the unusual driver setup it caught me by surprise and quite quickly became my favourite IEM. In the same vein, the 3DT strikes with its rare driver configuration of 3 dynamic drivers enclosed in a bold stabilised wood shell.

Thank you to @UniqueMelody and @MusicTeck for sending the 3DT for review.


In the box
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  • IEMs
  • Case
  • 4 Sets of silicone ear tips
  • 3.5 2pin cable
  • Cleaning cloth
  • Warranty card


Build quality and accessories

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The IEMs are built very well, while the shell design may not appeal to everybody, both the finish and the feel of the material leaves nothing to be desired. The 2 pin connectors are quite tight but not to the point of having to force cables into them, they are on the more secure side of well-fitting.

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I'd say the cable is okay, feels a bit flimsy, and the metal ear hooks are something I don't like being used, it keeps changing shape as the IEMs are put on and off. I'd love to see a slightly better cable at the price but the value of the IEMs is good enough to justify cutting a cost here. More on that later.

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The case is great. All manufactures should follow Unique Melody in terms of case design, it has plenty of space for IEMs, cable and even some small accessories, sturdy enough to protect them from drops and crushing but not overbuilt and extremely heavy. The design also fits the IEMs really well.

In general, the accessories are good quality and while I'd love UM to include a better cable and more types of ear tips what's supplied at the price is good enough


Fit and comfort
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Unlike the MEST, 3DT has a shell more reminiscent of a pseudo custom IEM, with a bit more curves to fit into the ear more securely. This makes them really comfortable for longer periods as they feel snug in the ear but with the curves being quite gentle they don't dig into the ear like some of the more "custom" designs (eg. InEar StageDiver 5, Anole VX) do.

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The nozzle is on the larger side like other UM IEMs, I don't personally find it an issue but people with smaller ears may need to consider it. The shell also is quite large, so may not fit everyone even while having the ergonomic shape.

Finally, there's one more aspect to the fit that's worth mentioning. Driver flex can be quite prominent on the 3DT, sometimes I found I had to reposition them for the driver to recover and play correctly. If you don't take IEMs out very often it shouldn't really affect you however it's worth taking note of it.


Sound
I'll preface this section with a short demonstration of how some IEMs can change depending on tips used, as the 3DT is a perfect example of this. If you look at the graphs below, you can see each of the measurements being completely different in the upper regions. All of them are averaged of multiple insertions with different tips each.

(Graph isn't compensated so take it with a huge grain of salt, the only point to make is how tips change the the frequency response and why tip rolling certain iems is important to find the desired sound)
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Having explained that, let us go back to how the 3DT sounds. My impressions are based on listening with xelastec and xelento silicone tips.

The general sound leans towards a warmer V shape, and while the midrange is de-emphasised it isn't hidden or drowned by bass or treble.

Bass
I remember looking at the graph UM provided for the 3DT and thinking it will be a basshead monster IEM, I was pleasantly surprised it actually isn't. While the bass is elevated it's also fast, punchy and textured. It digs deep, hits hard and goes away without ever muddying the midrange. While listening to "Trentemøller- Evil Dub" the bass is very well controlled, almost all microdetail is preserved and texture is nicely accentuated. No song I threw at the 3DT made it break down and not be able to keep up with the bass which is a feat for an IEM at this price point.

Midrange
While the midrange is a bit recessed it maintains a very nice, smooth and textured presentation. Nothing is ever shouty or skewed, vocals are placed slightly back but they aren't lost behind a wall of bass or treble. The main strength of the 3DT here is natural delivery without any of the BA timbre and micro and macro dynamics. On very busy mixes it can get a little bit congested but it always maintains it's coherency. Listening to "Carpenter Brut - Sexkiller on the Loose" clearly shows the latter.

Treble
I think the biggest weakness of the 3DT is its treble extension. No matter which tips are used there's quite a sharp drop-off past 8khz. This makes them feel a bit lacking of air and "lightness" at times. Listening to "The Dark Side of the Moon" album this shows really clearly as certain passages just lack air.

Imaging and Soundstage
Imaging is very good, especially in terms of depth, 3DT almost wants you to focus on the depth rather than side to side position of images. While that's the case, the side to side imaging is also very good. The stage size isn't huge, I'd say above average for IEMs. The lack of air can sometimes bring the instruments too close together but thankfully it's not a very common occurrence.


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Conclusion
The 3D Terminator is a super easy IEM to recommend, it's definitely a more fun listen but balanced just well enough to work with a vast variety of genres. While 3DT has slight drawbacks none of them are dealbreakers especially at $399. I'd recommend everyone to have a listen to them if they get a chance.

View the original review here:
https://vikingaudioblog.com/2021/03/13/unique-melody-3d-terminator-3dt/

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skedra
skedra
@Ace Bee the graph was just to show how some iems can respond to tips and why it's important to try different options before dismissing something. That's how it should be taken. Any particular comparisons you'd like to see? Only thing I had recently in similar price range was the blessing 2 dusk.
Ace Bee
Ace Bee
@skedra Blessing 2 I heard, and to me it is inferior to 3DT by almost all aspects except may be the highs, which have more sparkles, but along with more sharpness. I was thinking may be with FD5 or DM8. I currently have DM8 with me, and have chalked up some comparisons. Would love to hear your point of view also.
skedra
skedra
I've not heard either the FD5 or DM8 unfortunately so can't really compare.

ngoshawk

Headphoneus Supremus
Unique Melody Terminator 3DT: UM stabilizes their wares.
Pros: UM Build
UM quality
UM sound-warmer and a richness I really like
Excellent detail response with a clarity worthy of the UM moniker
Price
Gorgeous looks
Excellent cable
Affordable
Really cool case
An immediate leader at this price
Solid sound all around, that does not offend
Cons: Typical UM larger nozzle/sleeve diameter, which can make for a larger fit
Fingerprint magnet
Not much else, maybe a bit more excitement from the sound
I like UM a whole lot? (i.e. slant my reviews? nope)
Unique Melody Terminator 3DT ($399): UM stabilizes their wares. 4.25 stars

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UM 3DT

Material
Selected Stabilized Wood
Special Craft
Pigments and resins are mixed in a specific proportion and filled into the log.
Appearance
Has more coloration layers than traditional resin shells.
Exclusiveness
Exclusive design.


Intro:

I am quite familiar with Unique Melody having owned a few models over the years. I still keep the Maestro V2 on hand as one of my reference models. I did sell my Mentor V3 about a year ago. One of the first things I appreciated about UM was how they constantly innovate. Pushing the design envelope is one thing, but to not be afraid of shaking the design world up is another. Various designs have come and gone with UM; some highly received and some not. Success has been had from the sound first and foremost as the Maestro V2 made Flickernik’s top five at the time. I agree with his assessment as well.

I appreciate the tuning of all the UM’s I have had for being rich and warm without being dull in the clarity department. There is a sense of sound, which fits my bill quite well with any UM I have had. After missing out on the MEST and mini-MEST I saw the advert for the Terminator 3DT, and the stabilized wood piqued my interest. Not only did the model look gorgeous, but from the very early assessments the sound was typical UM.

Contacting Andrew, we reached an agreement for the purchase. I paid for this model at a discounted rate. That will not hinder my review and if anything will make the opinion more honest as a judge of price. All that is asked is an open. Honest review. I would have it no other way.


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Specs:

Specifications
Driver Counts: Three Drivers
SPL: @1KHz 113dB
Impedance: 25.4Ω
FR: 20Hz-20KHz
Driver Type: Three Independent Dynamic Drivers
Driver Configuration: 2 Bass Drivers+1 Mids-Treble Driver



Gear used/compared:

Dunu SA-6 ($499)
Phonic BWD 9.2 ($400)
Phonic BW4 ($580)
Noble Savant II ($499)

Shanling M6 Pro
Cayin N6 mk2ii
HiBy R3 Pro Sabre
MBP/iFi Zen CAN


Songlist:

Dave Matthews
Joey Alexander-Warna album and others
Mark Knopfler-Laughs And Jokes And Drinks And Smokes
Santana w/ Mana- Corazon Espinado
twenty one pilots
Tedeschi Trucks Band
Big Head Todd & The Monsters-Beautiful World
Mark Knopfler-Down The Road Wherever
Elton John-yep, still good, still cool
Alex Fox
Jesse Cooke
Tidal MQA



Unboxing:



Coming in the familiar plain black box of UM days gone by, I still like the subtlety of it. Laden with the UM glossy logo on top and the web address on the front in gold, the box opens from the front. Inside you are met with a 2-tome blue box with black highlights. This is a move away from the traditional black steel/aluminum alloy hockey puck case of yore. I like those cases, but they are a bit small. As such the new design is hip and up to date. Unzipping the top, you are met with the stabilized wood IEM, cable and tips (in plastic bags). What is interesting is a Velcro diamond insert, which can be moved to accommodate extra tips, the cable, an extra cable, or taken out to make room for a small DAP such as the Shanling M0, M1 or Q1. Also included is a Velcro cable strap, which for me gets tucked away in a corner of the case.

The case itself is sturdy even if a bit large. The added benefit that it is made by Diginis of Smartphone case fame certainly helps. Quality is as expected quite good. You won’t be able to keep it in your pocket, but that is no bother since most of us carry a bag to work/school/etc anyway. I do like the case, and do not mind the size, especially since you can throw a small DAP in there or another cable to take advantage of your multi-jacked DAP. Nicely done.

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Inside technology:

Made with 3 dynamic drivers (3DT) the UM goes against the grain of having multi-BA’s, a nice trend. Two are 7mm compound diaphragm dd’s (bass) and the other a 10mm CNT dd (mids & treble). Much of the inside is 3D printed such as the acoustic tube, making the design precise and light.

The shells are stabilized wood mixed with a high-quality resin, making each poured shell separately giving a unique custom look. There seems to be a large push for this type of shell/pattern/stabilized wood of late and I do like the individual variation this allows. There are some simply gorgeous patterns out there, and when you add in that much of the wood used is reclaimed or recycled you have another benefit. My pattern consists of spotted yellow (think Tuliptree, Liriodendron tulipifera) in blue pigment colored shells. A bit understated, but I like this as I am not a fan of anything too garish. Subtly understated in their elegance, yet still stunning in looks.


Stabilized Wood/Fit/Finish/Build:

As a continued section from above, there is a push for “custom, non-custom” IEM shells using methods such as stabilized wood and the individual patterns, which can result. From the older Audioquest Nighthawk to the UM 3DT and others, there is a real environmental aspect to the use of the wood, and the resin used is as environmentally friendly as one can hope. For the same price as the regular models, you get essentially a custom looking shell as a result. @Niyologist put quite eloquently how his looks, “The deep blue pigment is like staring into sapphire. The light brown color looks more like a light caramel color. It reminds me of looking into a hot cup of coffee that has been stirred with a few teaspoons of coffee creamer.” That’s some good verbiage right there, it is. Mine has more blue than his, but nonetheless, I am reminded of the old blue bottled drinks of yore. A throwback to different colored glass bottles.

th


I have yet to experience an UM model, which has subpar or even average build quality. Running from quite good, to spot-on perfect the models have ranged from understanded in their elegance to sheer models of beauty. The 3DT does not disappoint in that department. The shape and glossy color are what get me in trouble with some. The Mason V3 was an excellent unit, but the nozzle was too big to fit into my ear comfortably. Plus, it was a large shell as well. And that glossy color came with a downside as well. Fingerprints. Thankfully, the 3DT’s blue hides most of that, but they are still there. Just a slight downside to me.

With a wide neck base to the nozzle, I do find that while using foam tips the girth of the set makes for some long-term issues. I use the foamies for isolation and bass. Using the included silicon’s open the sound up more and alleviate the added pressures. I prefer the sound coming from the foam but will list both below. And as per usual, you should try multiple tips yourself. With a silver plug on the back, acting as a small vent hole, the only other differentiation from the gorgeous shells is the silver nozzle, laden with a nice mesh filter and a wider lip to hold tips in place. To me, it does not really matter what color the nozzle is. Does it match? Well...with the tips on you cannot see it, so what difference does it make? None.

Seams between the nozzle, shell and faceplate are non-existent, even with the covered poly coating. Sometimes you can see the connecting area between the three, but not here. Clean, clear and melding perfectly with the overall character of the unit. Well built, with excellent finish as well.

Other than the wider base to the nozzle connection, fit is good. I was able to attain a solid seal, which did not change when I moved my head from side to side. Sitting slightly out, this is among the bigger shells I have had, which actually fit well inside my ear. It does take up a lot of space, but using silicon’s, I had no issues with long sessions. For foam, I may have to find one size smaller than the medium I use. I know Comply makes a size between small and medium, called medium-small I believe (go figure...). That would yield good seal and a bit more comfortable fit.

Overall, the fit, finish and build are on par with other offerings at this price.

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Sound:

As per my normal, I listened to insure all was working, then set the 3DT on my Shanling M0 for approximately 75 hours. Not that it necessarily needed it, but because I like hearing what the critter sounds like down the road.

My first critical listen gave rise to good clarity (with a good note of air between notes), but not spectacular. Somewhat subdued maybe, but not to the detriment of the overall character, which is a rich warmer-sided sound. Smooth would be apropos. Alex Fox’s To The Gypsies is a lighter song anyway, and the 3DT represents that lilting sound quite well. Succinct bass, with fast decay aid in the presentation of accuracy, but not analytically clinical. Good reach in the upper bass also give the air of reaching deeper than it actually may (I don’t have a graph handy, and use seat of the pants listening, instead), which gives me a nice selection of tight bass, with a bit of push down low.

To me, many of the highlights from UM models I have had in the past stem from the glorious mids, and the 3DT would not be different. Guitar work is succinct with a touch of warmth or rather mellowness that does not want to override the character. But, at the same time it does not shy from view. Gravedigger from Dave Matthews gives a good result in analyzing those mids. His gravelly voice never sounded buzzy, or middled; but instead clear in representing the passion of the song. I would call it lush, but that denotes sloppiness to me. That is certainly not the case. Maybe passionate would be a better descriptor. Voicing almost dead-center, vocals certainly take the center point of attention, but not in a “look at me” fashion. No, the mids come along highlighting what the song presents. A sad, melancholic song of pain and passion (there’s that word again), which is the way the band intended.

Female vocals such as Bonnie Raitt’s on Thing Called Love highlight not only her own gravelly voice, but how well her guitarwork plays along with the song. The roll of her voice naturally emanates from the 3DT, without effort. I find myself reaching for the “up” volume button on the HiBy R5 Pro Saber on hand. Such a succulent voice she has, and the representation here is of an honest nature you like. I appreciate this presentation.

Songs such as Ottmar Liebert’s Oceanside highlight a very good treble note. One that punctuates the air, but does so without becoming grating, bitey or sibilant. The upper end reaches a good top, much like all of the UM’s I have owned or tried over the years. This has to be one of my all-time favorite treble presentations out there. You completely understand from where the song comes from and proceeds forward but do so on the journey without wincing or grinding your teeth at the harshness up top. Why? Because there isn’t any! To be sure, it is not shy, but more like an effervescence, which makes you a bit tingly, but in a good way. OK, that was way too fruity a definition. Think of the upper presentation as the friend who comes along and does not bug you in the least. Calmly providing guidance to the others to the point where those others do not even know they are being led (in a good way) towards their destination.

That destination is of course, a listening pleasure, which makes you happy. Continuing with Ottmar Liebert’s Nuevo Mexico, there is a top tapping sound, which “that friend” happily brings the other with. A musical destination of which you make the journey the memory as the destination is just the culmination.

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Soundstage/Isolation/Instrumentation/Layering:

I’ve become less reliant upon IEMs/headphones, which come across as spaciously wide in soundstage, but rather appreciate the overall character of the note provided. If you can separate the distinct instruments, then you do not really need a cavernous presentation. Coldplay’s Spies highlights the separation of instruments while also providing a severe test of the upper end. As Chris’ voice starts the song, there is acoustical guitar work going on simultaneously but on a separate plane, which is clearly defined. His voice powerful and defined, a lesser IEM might prevent enjoyment due to an overly centered view up top. Not so here, due to that wonderful presentation.

When the other instruments come in, complicating the song, you still get a very good sense of separation and layering. I can clearly define the instrumentation, even in this complicated mess of a song. I really enjoy the presentation of Coldplay songs as they swing from simplicity and divine vocals to complicated underlying’s of sound, which emanates in all directions. Excellent for defining the soundstage as well, the 3DT is just about cubic to me, measuring a bit higher than deeper and wider. Vocals are a bit upward as well in presentation. This is a good nearly centered presentation. Moving on to Sparks, the separation and succinct nature of the song emotes a distinct listening pleasure that is defined by clarity this time as well as a staccato-like presence of all instruments involved competing, but not overshadowing Martin’s voice. Complimentary they are together, and a tight richness gives a presence to the song, which further defines what I like about UM products. The taut bass line holds it mettle as the other notes pervade your senses making for a cacophony of swirling emotions, or rather notes to the song. Just a fun song is had, and again helps define what the UM sound is to me.

A note about the transients of the 3DT. Much has been made about this aspect of the “listening pleasure” of many IEM’s/headphones. Defined, it is the speed of which something reacts to that sound at the beginning and end of the note. Speed of transient response is often defined as a comparative point in which to judge the “quality” of presentation. Some of the best IEM’s I have heard have been rated low in transient response by others. So, to me, it is but one part of the whole spectrum, and one should not put too much emphasis on that singularity. Coldplay’s Trouble is the perfect point. An almost drippingly mellow song, which seems to drag would be rated as a downer using the 3DT, due to the response within. But here, thanks to the UM’s signature of somewhat laidback but clearly defined character with good air between the notes that song presentation comes across slow, but how it is meant to be. My point? Do not take one singularity of the sound as the defining part or answer. Ultimately it is the sum of those parts, and most of all what you personally get out of the sound.

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Comparisons:

UM 3DT ($399) v Dunu SA-6 ($499):

When I first heard the SA-6, I had the Luna and a couple of other IEM’s in house. The Dunu made such an impression upon me, that I pretty much gave it the seal of approval as the best IEM currently available at the $500 price point. I still feel that way as it is a superb example of a company moving forward and a bit away from their trademark shape and brighter signatured sounds. I like Dunu, but espoused that if this was the new direction of the Dunu line-up, I was in. Wholeheartedly.

I really like the bass presentation as it is strong and vibrant. Tightly controlled, you can tailor it a bit with the switch as well. As luck would have it, I sent it on to @Wiljen to review and he concurs with my findings. It is a superb gem at this price, providing a thoroughly satisfying sound from top to bottom. If there is one complaint, it may be that some wish for more up top. Me? Nah, as it matches the UM quite nicely. They are in fact more similar than different. But the SA-6 hits harder and with better control. The 3DT may emote more due to the more laidback signature, but the Dunu sounds oh so sweet that it may be worth the extra Ben for the price.


UM 3DT ($399) v Phonic BWD 9.2 ($400):

Running a single 9.2mm DD, the BWD 9.2 was the second purchase I made from Kenneth during our COVID lockdown. I have always appreciated units, which have a single DD, and this one is no different. The choice of wood can hinder/help the sound from which comes out the chamber. Trying to choose the wood with the most bass-defined sound, the reclaimed Taiwan Acacia makes for a very nice, pleasing sound. Bass hits a bit harder but loses touch when you move towards the mids. Vocals are sublime in their laidback character, especially when you rely upon one of the filters, which can be easily changed. Running without the filters here, the sound is vastly different than the 3DT. Feeling a bit claustrophobic in comparison to the others, once acclimated back to the sound you realize it is an intimate sound not claustrophobic.

Presentation up top pushes further than the 3DT, highlighted by Charlie Brown and that characteristic clash at the beginning. Coming on strong, and powerful, but not overly brutish, I appreciate that Kenneth really tried to make the BWD a musical experience, not just a purveyor of sound notes. You really must take the BWD as a whole and not singularly. When I try and discern the individualities, the whole is lost for the worse, and that is a shame. Taken as a whole, after reacclimating myself, I remember what I appreciated. Succinct airy note with a bit of bite down low and rumble. A note up top, which makes this V-shaped sound, which is quite different than the 3DT.

If you want cohesive sound, with a character that gives you a more mellow (mature?) sound, the 3DT works here. If you want a bit more fun, with a single DD, then the BWD would be the choice.

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UM 3DT ($399) v Phonic BW4 ($580):

The first of my COVID Phonic purchases, the BW4 represents the TOTL of their line. Utilizing four BA’s this is a more up-front sound than the BWD 9.2 or the 3DT. This one is not for the shy. With an almost in your face sound, the BA’s work in concert to present a more even sound than the single DD BWD. After hearing both, I do like the BW4 more. There is a level of maturity here that is not boring or mellow. It is an airy presentation of good clarity, wrought with a deeper push of bass note than the 3DT. The mids are the star of the show here, and best the 3DT. As stated above with the 9.2, you need to take the whole as opposed to the parts to appreciate the sound. Here though, you relish in the individuality of sound coming out. Those mids and vocals are among the best at this price and are sublimely present in a frontal manner. One in which you do not mind, and not too much in your face to prevent your enjoyment. Think of this as the front row center at an Aerosmith concert and it is well worth the cost.

If you want a more coherent overall presentation, that is more laid-back and mature, then the 3DT would be the choice. If you want a sound, which would pattern itself after a nightclub or front row concert, then the BW4 is the choice.



UM 3DT ($399) v Noble Savant II ($499):


The first Noble I have purchased, the Savant II provides me with a thoroughly enjoying sound, which is mature, has enough grunt to satisfy me, and mids, which are typical of Noble quality; sumptuous and rich. The fit of the Savant is the best of all here. Small and of a kidney bean shape, this is one, which could be worn for hours. Typical Noble push up top has been tamed a bit here (can you sense a pattern of what I like?...), which fits well with the overall character. Bass support and treble of pleasantries, bracketing a thoroughly satisfying mid-section, where vocals. While a bit behind the rest, there is no denying that the vocals are dead center and one of the main focuses, drawing you into the tonality of the sound signature. This is one of my two current favorites at the $500 price. The other is listed in the first comparison.

The 3DT has a bit deeper push, and mids, which are raised and more frontal in attack. Treble of both are on par, so this comes down to whether you want a thoroughly mature sound in the Savant II versus a bit more laid back mid-centric sound. Both follow that path but approach it differently. The 3DT with more direct focus on the mids, while the Savant II has that mid focus, by withdrawing it a bit. Still recognizable and unmistakably present, just not to the forefront like the 3DT. Of all here, these two are probably the most alike, but still different.

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Finale:

The 3DT was a purchase that I do not regret. Andrew and MusicTeck carry fine wares, and the 3DT is another in a long list of quality Unique Melody products. I have sampled many and appreciate and like all that I have tried. It is somewhat of an anomaly that one would like ALL offerings from a manufacturer, but UM is one of those companies who keep innovating to stay ahead of the game. But they do not forget about their entry level models, either. And here is where the 3DT comes into play with fine tuning, that will satisfy most users for it does not offend. It also has the familiar excellent build quality of UM as well. Always top notch, and full of accessories as well, the UM final product is always thorough and thoroughly satisfying.

The 3DT follows that trend as mentioned and has kind of set the followers of UM on fire with desire and passion in which to potentially own. UM are amongst the most devoted fans out there and as such, they can smell a fake from afar. This one is not fake, nor does it stray from the tried UM sound signature of providing an unoffensive, rich sound while providing you with enough detail to appreciate that while there may be more to come from those of higher cost in the family; the 3DT will surely satiate those who appreciate a bargain. And it really is one for you get all of the mentioned attributes above and a sound to back up those gorgeous looks.

I again thank Andrew and Musicteck for the connection. Much of my gear experience has come through Musicteck, and the service has been nothing short of excellent. Top class, and top-class products. Oh, and if you haven’t figured it out yet, I really like the 3DT as well.

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Niyologist
Niyologist
Congrats on making it on the front page.
ngoshawk
Kal El
Kal El
Hi! Nice review! Are they good for prog metal or metalcore?

Niyologist

Headphoneus Supremus
Triple Threat
Pros: Affordable, one of the best-sounding IEMs under $500, clarity, balanced sound, transparent sound, amazing build and design, great accessories, decent removable cable.
Cons: Stock removable cable is a bit cheap-looking, lower mids have a slight dip (not a big deal to be honest), I can't pick out any other faults.
The Unique Melody Terminator 3DT - Triple Threat

The Unique Melody 3DT has three strategic elements to win within the $300 to $400 price range.

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Introduction

I've known about Unique Melody and its products ever since I've first heard about them in 2011. One product in particular that had caught my attention was the 3DD Ti. The first triple dynamic driver I have ever seen, which launched in 2014 and the revision model in 2018. The 3DD Ti is a stunning IEM that I have never tried. Well, why is that? It's because it was too expensive at the time. Both models were beyond the $500 price-point and that was beyond my reach. Now I am given a third chance. About two months ago, I had seen the newest 3DT on the Head-Fi home page and I quickly purchased the 3DT from Musicteck for $399.

The Unique Melody 3DT has three dynamic drivers. There are two 7mm compound diaphragm dynamic drivers for the bass and one 10mm CNT dynamic driver for the mids and treble. The housings are made out of stabilized wood and are layered with pigments and resins. According to Unique Melody, the 3DT is supposed to give authentic dynamic bass with stunning transparency and clarity. Is this true? Well, you will find out soon enough.


Specifications

Driver Counts: Three Drivers

SPL: @1KHz 113dB

Impedance: 25.4Ω

FR: 20Hz-20KHz

Driver Type: Three Independent Dynamic Drivers

Driver Configuration: 2 Bass Drivers+1 Mids-Treble Driver


Packaging/Accessories

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Looks great, doesn't it? There's a stylish carrying case designed by Dignis. There's also a silver removable cable, a soft cloth cleaner, four pairs of ear tips (SS, S, M, and L), and a warranty card.

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A closer look at the UM 3DT reveals the resins that make these IEMs look so gorgeous. Not only that, the dual tones of color gives these IEMs character. The deep blue pigment is like staring into sapphire. The light brown color looks more like a light caramel color. It reminds me of looking into a hot cup of coffee that has been stirred with a few teaspoons of coffee creamer.

There are metal caps at the bottom corners of the faceplates. Based on the internal schematics, that metal cap in there to hold the internals of the 3DT in place. As for the nozzles it's built well and I find no faults with the way it's built. Nor do I have any problems with the mesh filter. It's woven in the best way possible to prevent internal ear wax build-up. As for the removable cable, it's good but not built like the DUNU DK3001-Pro's Hulk Cable. It's long enough to wear it while you go and it dazzles in the light.

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As for comfort, I have not found any significant issues with wearing the 3DT. It fits just right and the only way I can wear them is with the stock SS (super small) ear tips.

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I should note that the cable used in the picture above is from Penon Audio. It's a very good replacement cable if you want to use it for the 3DT.

Before I get into the sound segment, I must lay down a few important evaluation measures that helped me analyze the sound characteristics and quality of the 3DT.

Equipment used:

HiBy R6 Pro

iBasso DX150

Desktop PC w/iFi One Nano (DAC) and Schiit Magni 3

50% Volume

All contributed to 50 hours of Burn-In with Tidal being used.


"Just B Friends" by Pholo, Dyzphoria (Wave), and "Mist" by Ennja (Wave) for Bass

"Star Sky" by Two Steps From Hell (Epic Scores) for Mids

"Black Diamond" by The Rippingtons, Russ Freeman (Modern Jazz) for Treble

"Snowbound" by The Rippingtons, Steve Reid, Jeff Kashiwa (Modern Jazz) for Soundstage

It's the moment you've all been waiting for!

Sound

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the 3DT. I had other IEMs to review but I couldn't stay away from the 3DT. It's an addicting and beloved addition to my collection. I will go into detail as to why.

Bass

The power of two 7mm Dynamic Drivers is heard but not quite as powerful as one might think. I must admit when I had seen the configuration of the 3DT, I immediately thought that these were going to be bass monsters but after listening to the 3DT during and after the long burn-in, I had realized that these two dynamic drivers were tuned to keep the bass in check.

Bass-heavy soundtracks like "Just B Friends" by Pholo, Dyzphoria, and "Mist" by Ennja were proper demonstrations of the high level of bass control. I never heard the bass pressing against any other sections higher than the upper bass. What I like most about the bass from these gems is the texture. The rumble is fine and smooth like a gentle massage. The bass impact is just right and no details are obscured in the mix. Overall, the bass is tight and fast with great depth and texture.

Mids

Even though the mids aren't overshadowed by the bass, I hear a bit of recession in the mids. Nothing to fret over though. It's a bit noticeable in the lower mids. I noticed it during "Star Sky" by Two Steps From Hell. The choir boys singing in the background was a bit relaxed and I felt that it could have been more distinct since they are singing back there. As for the upper mids, there are no issues here. I can hear all of the instruments with no issues. What's best about the mids is the abundance of clarity and the subtle clicks I'm hearing with the instruments. The nuances in the background provide a more lifelike listening experience. Overall, the mids are slightly warm with great clarity and detail that isn't hindered by the dip in the lower mids.

Treble

Nice! If you like listening to cymbals and other percussion instruments, then you are in for a treat. Black Diamond by The Rippingtons and Russ Freeman does this part of the sound justice. I mean I don't think I've ever heard any IEMs in my collection portray cymbals and percussion mix as well as the 3DT. I mean full stop wow! As you progress through the soundtrack, you notice more of the musicians playing their part and it creates a brilliant aura in a black space. Gleaming like a Black Diamond. Overall the treble performance sparkles and its radiance is given life to the music. Seriously though, kudos to Unique Melody for tuning the 10 mm CNT Driver for an excellent performance.

Soundstage

I think I enjoyed this section just as much as the rest of the sound frequency. While it's not the greatest or most accurate in precision, I still found the soundstage to be slightly bigger than average and with a great handle on the instrument separation. I had listened to "Snowbound" by The Rippingtons and I noticed that every musician on stage had their own distinct spot. The guitarist was in the middle, the drummer was in the back, the guy with the maracas was on the right, and the guy with the congas was on the left. It was sort of easy to hear them. There were two other guitarists up front on the left and their close-up positions made it super easy to notice them.

Conclusion

Back to this excerpt: "According to Unique Melody, the 3DT is supposed to give authentic dynamic bass with stunning transparency and clarity". Is this true? Definitely! Not only the 3DT perform well in these two categories, but it even managed to best most of my collection of IEMs that are similarly priced. I have a few IEMs in that price range but I don't have the time to do those comparisons. In conclusion, the Unique Melody 3DT is a shining example of higher-end audio performance for an affordable price. If you like slightly warm, balanced, smooth, clear, and lifelike sound and you can't spend over $400, then this is the IEM is for you. These IEMs can be purchased at Musicteck.
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Kal El
Kal El
Hi! Are they good for metal and faster subgenres of metal like prog metal or metalcore? Thanks!
Niyologist
Niyologist
Yup @Kal El. These IEMs are faster and slightly brighter than the DK3001 PRO.
Kal El
Kal El
Thank you! I think I'll give them a try.
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