REVIEW: Unique Melody Merlin - hybrid dynamic/balanced armature custom IEM
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88King

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I received my Merlin on Thursday morning, after using it for 4 days; I decided to post some experiences.
 
The Merlin took two months from sending the impressions to turning up on my door steps (minus few days of delay while I changed my mind on the order in between).
 
The communication I received was 1st class; there are some horror stories on dealing with certain company representing UM Lab here in the UK. I made my order though Stephen Guo from Custom-iem.com. There were two dozens of emails sent between me and Stephen, he replied to all of them either on the same day or the day after, consider the US is over 8Hrs behind the UK, I don’t think you can ask for more than that.
 
The Merlin fits perfectly, this is my 1st custom made IEM, so I don’t have any reference to compare with. However, it fits conformably; it’s not loose and has great isolation.
The sound, WOW, it put my IE8 to shame, I cannot believe I use to think the IE8 is a top class IEM.  The Merlin also gives my HD800 a run for its money using the same DAC and amp, I think I prefer the Merlin with live performance, can’t stop smiling watching Stevie Wonder Live At Last. 
 
P.S. I took some photos of the box and the carry case compared to the case from IE8, I put them in my Avatars folder due to poor quality from my lack of photography skills and cloudy weather here  in London.
 
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post-8481295
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Cassadian

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Quote:
I received my Merlin on Thursday morning, after using it for 4 days; I decided to post some experiences.
 
The Merlin took two months from sending the impressions to turning up on my door steps (minus few days of delay while I changed my mind on the order in between).
 
The communication I received was 1st class; there are some horror stories on dealing with certain company representing UM Lab here in the UK. I made my order though Stephen Guo from Custom-iem.com. There were two dozens of emails sent between me and Stephen, he replied to all of them either on the same day or the day after, consider the US is over 8Hrs behind the UK, I don’t think you can ask for more than that.
 
The Merlin fits perfectly, this is my 1st custom made IEM, so I don’t have any reference to compare with. However, it fits conformably; it’s not loose and has great isolation.
The sound, WOW, it put my IE8 to shame, I cannot believe I use to think the IE8 is a top class IEM.  The Merlin also gives my HD800 a run for its money using the same DAC and amp, I think I prefer the Merlin with live performance, can’t stop smiling watching Stevie Wonder Live At Last. 
 
P.S. I took some photos of the box and the carry case compared to the case from IE8, I put them in my Avatars folder due to poor quality from my lack of photography skills and cloudy weather here  in London.
 
Thanks!  The new packaging is sick!
 
But "Boom Boom Wow"... really?
 
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post-8481296
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piotrus-g

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Quote:
I received my Merlin on Thursday morning, after using it for 4 days; I decided to post some experiences.
 
The Merlin took two months from sending the impressions to turning up on my door steps (minus few days of delay while I changed my mind on the order in between).
 
The communication I received was 1st class; there are some horror stories on dealing with certain company representing UM Lab here in the UK. I made my order though Stephen Guo from Custom-iem.com. There were two dozens of emails sent between me and Stephen, he replied to all of them either on the same day or the day after, consider the US is over 8Hrs behind the UK, I don’t think you can ask for more than that.
 
The Merlin fits perfectly, this is my 1st custom made IEM, so I don’t have any reference to compare with. However, it fits conformably; it’s not loose and has great isolation.
The sound, WOW, it put my IE8 to shame, I cannot believe I use to think the IE8 is a top class IEM.  The Merlin also gives my HD800 a run for its money using the same DAC and amp, I think I prefer the Merlin with live performance, can’t stop smiling watching Stevie Wonder Live At Last. 
 
P.S. I took some photos of the box and the carry case compared to the case from IE8, I put them in my Avatars folder due to poor quality from my lack of photography skills and cloudy weather here  in London.

Great to hear you like them. Merlin is great with Live recordings but try them with acoustic stuff f.e. The Starting Line or Paramore acoustic. Guitar strings' performace at Merlin is top notch :)
 
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post-8481303
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wahu

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Quote:
P.S. I took some photos of the box and the carry case compared to the case from IE8, I put them in my Avatars folder due to poor quality from my lack of photography skills and cloudy weather here  in London.
 
Quote:
 
Thanks!  The new packaging is sick!
 
But "Boom Boom Wow"... really?
Yeh the new packaging looks MUCH better than before. They may need to change the "boom boom wow" slogan if they plan on opening a UM branch in Thailand.. It has a rather more Unique Meaning there lol:
 
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=boom%20boom
 
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88King

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Quote:
Great to hear you like them. Merlin is great with Live recordings but try them with acoustic stuff f.e. The Starting Line or Paramore acoustic. Guitar strings' performace at Merlin is top notch :)
 
Acoustic sounds pretty good with the Merlin, but I found drums come out the best. For example, in Hotel California, there is a couple drum beats just before the lyric starts, I never heard them standout quite as clearly with other headphones.
Quote:
 
Yeh the new packaging looks MUCH better than before. They may need to change the "boom boom wow" slogan if they plan on opening a UM branch in Thailand.. It has a rather more Unique Meaning there lol:
 
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=boom%20boom
Good thing UM don't offer this in their custom logo option I guess.
 
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PsiCore

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Man, I'm jealous of this new packaging :wink:
 
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piotrus-g

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Quote:
 
Yeh the new packaging looks MUCH better than before. They may need to change the "boom boom wow" slogan if they plan on opening a UM branch in Thailand.. It has a rather more Unique Meaning there lol:
 
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=boom%20boom
lol :D
Quote:
Man, I'm jealous of this new packaging :wink:
Me too, I want one!
 
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Sorensiim

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Regarding the "horror stories" regarding UM UK - Things are changing for the better, a press release will be out soon. I should be getting my Merlins (for the third time, lol) in a few weeks and I'm really looking forward to it. They're great for most music, but jaw-droppingly awesome for electro. Danish electro artist Trentemøller has a lot of intricate layers and subtle tones in his music, on top of a deeeeeep bassline (Check out "Chameleon"!) and the Merlins are by far the best headphones I've heard that track on. If you guys want to hear how punchy they can get, try "Take The Power Back" by Rage Against The Machine.
 
I'm in the process of ordering a set of Heir 8.A and I can't wait to compare these two sets of customs!
 
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kckc

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Quote:
Regarding the "horror stories" regarding UM UK - Things are changing for the better, a press release will be out soon. I should be getting my Merlins (for the third time, lol) in a few weeks and I'm really looking forward to it. They're great for most music, but jaw-droppingly awesome for electro. Danish electro artist Trentemøller has a lot of intricate layers and subtle tones in his music, on top of a deeeeeep bassline (Check out "Chameleon"!) and the Merlins are by far the best headphones I've heard that track on. If you guys want to hear how punchy they can get, try "Take The Power Back" by Rage Against The Machine.
 
I'm in the process of ordering a set of Heir 8.A and I can't wait to compare these two sets of customs!
 
I also have both, and I'd love to hear what you think of them when you get them. 
 
Also happy to see that UM is finally including a usable carrying case.
 
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shotgunshane

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Being that this is the active thread for the Merlin, if any of you new owners post any in depth impressions, reviews or pictures, I'll add them to the appreciation thread here: http://www.head-fi.org/t/596878/unique-melody-merlin-appreciation-thread-all-review-and-impression-links-located-in-the-1st-and-2nd-posts-pics-in-posts-3-and-4, so prospective buyers can see all the impressions and pics in the first couple of posts.

More pics of the new packaging and carrying case please. Anyone know of UM will sell the new case separately?
 
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ValentinHogea

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Quote:
More pics of the new packaging and carrying case please. Anyone know of UM will sell the new case separately?
 I will add some professional photos of the case/packaging in aprox 2 hours. Hang tight and it'll be worth it :)
 
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kckc

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Quote:
Being that this is the active thread for the Merlin, if any of you new owners post any in depth impressions, reviews or pictures, I'll add them to the appreciation thread here: http://www.head-fi.org/t/596878/unique-melody-merlin-appreciation-thread-all-review-and-impression-links-located-in-the-1st-and-2nd-posts-pics-in-posts-3-and-4, so prospective buyers can see all the impressions and pics in the first couple of posts.
More pics of the new packaging and carrying case please. Anyone know of UM will sell the new case separately?
Thanks for keeping the appreciation thread updated shane. It makes it much easier for prospective buyers to get all the info in one place without having to dig through 50+ pages in this thread. I know this is the most active thread for the Merlin, but anyone with new pictures or impressions should also head over to the Merlin appreciation thread.
 
Quote:
 I will add some professional photos of the case/packaging in aprox 2 hours. Hang tight and it'll be worth it :)
 
I'm expecting quantity + quality. 

 
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ValentinHogea

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Thanks for keeping the appreciation thread updated shane. It makes it much easier for prospective buyers to get all the info in one place without having to dig through 50+ pages in this thread. I know this is the most active thread for the Merlin, but anyone with new pictures or impressions should also head over to the Merlin appreciation thread.
 
 
I'm expecting quantity + quality. 
Setting up the umbrellas as we speak...
 
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project86

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Quote:
Thanks for keeping the appreciation thread updated shane. It makes it much easier for prospective buyers to get all the info in one place without having to dig through 50+ pages in this thread. I know this is the most active thread for the Merlin, but anyone with new pictures or impressions should also head over to the Merlin appreciation thread.
 
 
Yes, thank you for setting that up. I never anticipate my review threads to be the end all discussion threads that they sometimes become.... and it does get very hard to wade through all the relevant info. 
 
I appreciate your efforts.
 
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wahu

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Setting up the umbrellas as we speak...
OK my miracles arrived before your pics. Looks the same as the merlin box except has a pink sleeve with "six driver. flagship. puregood" on it. New packaging looks beautiful. There is even a glass cube with unique melody logo inside. beautiful. The box is beautiful too. The drawer for the iems is a bit small maybe but they do cram in there. I wish my merlins came with similar packaging. 
 
I haven't listened to them yet but will compare them with my merlins later if anyone is interested.
 
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