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REVIEW: Unique Melody Merlin - hybrid dynamic/balanced armature custom IEM

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  1. shamrock134
    UM themselves said the vent doesn't affect isolation and in my experience the Merlin isolates better than any of the universal IEMs I've owned. But yeah, if music isn't playing -25dB isn't going to do much against very loud sounds.
  2. wahu
    Hey.  They isolate well so they should be fine for you on that front. If you're a drummer then you may actually appreciate a ciem with ba bass drivers though.. Just depends what kind of bass you are after. To be honest I would go for the JH16 or something like that..
    I've tried some universal jh16s and i remember thinking that a drummer or musician would love the bass impact on those.. To me they killed the rest of the music at the expense of ridiculous bass impact and I actually preferred the jh13s at the time. Even the jh13s have a kind of impact that i think would appeal to a musician.... Not that the merlin won't appeal to you as it does have great impact but more of a thud than a slap.  For me the merlin really excels at creating atmosphere and reproducing bass string instruments. And I LOVE my merlins so I'm sure you'll be happy with them. They are ridiculous. If you use 10db bass boost you can vibrate your chair across the room.
    My recommendation for you to try a ciem with BA bass drivers should in no way be interpreted as there being anything wrong with the merlins. They are the best iems i've ever heard to my ears. Just that as a drummer you may not appreciate them as much as I do. There is much talk of BA bass vs DD bass but I think you are uniquely placed to enjoy BA bass more.
  3. Staal
    From what I've read the JH16 has a more precise, fast and accurate bass than the Merlin. I can't comment as I've never heard the Merlin though.
    For "professional" purposes such as drumming etc, I would go with BA-bass over dynamic as it tends to be more accurate and controlled - at least that's my experience.
  4. wahu
    My wife hasn't been annoyed by them yet..
    I'm actually curious as to what the vent actually does. In a subwoofer a vent like that can be tuned to a low frequency but it looks to me like the dd in the merlin is sealed at the back. Some earlier versions have little vents on the back of the dd that could potentially interact with the main large vent and affect isolation?
    @celereon Yeh the JH16 does have a faster more impactful bass. I'm not sure how accurate it is as it seems to try to overcompensate for the lack of feeling the bass in the rest of your body. It's a bit overwhelming but I could see it's appeal. It's taylor made for a drummer in my opinion. To me the JH13 was better overall and perhaps if you are keen on UM (as I am) you could look at the UM miracle which is said to have similarities with the JH13.
  5. shotgunshane Contributor
    I have a link to a UM representative explaining the Merlin vent here:
    Seems to be implemented a little differently than your standard dynamic driver venting.
  6. wahu
    Yeh he says that the vent isn't connected to the sound bores.. Which is what it looks like to me too from mine. But some pics have vents on the back of the dd and some don't. A subwoofer is coupled to the tuning port from the back of the driver anyway, so you wouldn't expect that the vent in the merlin would be connected to the sound bores. But there could potentially be a decrease in isolation through the driver itself(if vented at the back) as surely the driver is thinner than an acrylic shell.
    Hard to see but there are little holes on the back of these drivers:
    And they are absent on this one:
    With subwoofers you can get a flat response down low with a tuning port but that drops off very steeply after that.  You can actually get lower frequencies out of a sealed subwoofer but with a more progressive roll off.  Also sealed subs are a bit punchier than ported ones. Not sure if that's relavent here.. It just looks to me like they've changed the driver at some stage. Why?
  7. PsiCore
    Well, my Merlins have a great fit, but they could use a tad more isolation.
    Do you guys have experience with those Future Sonics Comply Wraps? Are they worth a shot? Or do you know a better solution?
  8. PsychoBananas
    My fit is an odd one, left has great isolation and bass iswonderful, until I lay down and it wants to lean back and lose the seal. The right doesn't seal well at all, even after getting a thicker shell. The tip is actually noticably shorter on the right than the left, which could be it, but it just ruins the music because of no bass. What do you think? Thicken left and get a longer tip on the right? My right ear canal is larger than the left, if that makes a difference.. Thanks.
  9. Cassadian
    I have read several articles, some recommended by Average Joe that another method for more exact impressions is two do one ear at a time putting the bite block between your teeth on the left side and right side for the left and right impressions one at a time, respectively.  If you decided to refit, that would be a possible choice.  I think there's a high change it's not the tip length but rather the impressions, in general a proper seal, from what I've read and see, should provide good bass etc. no tinny attributes to the vocals and other frequency areas even with shallow tips on certain CIEM's like the Infinity X1.
    When you lean back you lose the seal because depending on a lot of various movements your ear canal shape will change due to its malleable form composed of cartilage.  
  10. MuZo2
    The drivers look very similar to one you find in ie8. The port doesnt seem connected to DD. in ie8 the bass tuning is through a port which opens in front of driver.
  11. PsychoBananas
    Both times my impressions have been done I did the left-right method and both times I've had the same issues. I think I'll just get new impressions with the left-right method and ask for more of a musician's fit, longer canals and thicker shells. Thanks.
  12. wahu
    Yeh here is an ie8 driver:
    My merlin driver looks like that but without the holes... The original merlin drivers have the holes but mine doesn't. If my driver is totally sealed at the back, it begs the question why does the merlin still need a large vent on the back?
    Did you try having your impressions done the normal way?
  13. Sorensiim
    My Merlins are going back today - for the second time. Channel imbalance driving me insane [​IMG]
  14. Staal
    Really? What a shame. [​IMG]
  15. ChrisSC
    If the driver in the merlin is totally sealed in the back in the revised version, wouldn't that make it impossible for it to still push air when it generates sub-bass?
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