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

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  1. Mython Contributor
    Well, I've already owned the Miracle.
    Always curious to hear others' comparisons, in addition to average_joe's extensive reviews...
  2. maguire
    Did Joe buy them?
  3. Mython Contributor
    No, not yet (at least not that I'm aware of).
    When I mentioned him, I was spaeking about CIEM comparisons in general.
  4. maguire
    Oh no wonder couldn't find anything.....Wouldn't that be something if he had one also.  Why did you get rid of them Mython?
  5. Mython Contributor

    Needed to liquidate some assets due to ill-health.
  6. maguire
    Sorry to hear that Mython....Hope things have improved for you......I know we all strive for Audio Nirvana, but without good health....all pointless.
  7. Marburger
    I have also pair of Miracles. it would be also very interesting to compare them to Merlins or to single  dynamic driver ciems. Do anybody here listen to it with Hifiman 601/602`?
  8. Poetik
    Well since you owned the Miracle, just imagine that sound signature but with more sub / mid bass, less mids, similar upper mids, and more treble on cymbals / hi hats.  The Merlin also has a wider and taller sound stage / headstage that immerses you.
    The biggest difference between them is that the Merlin makes my head nod way more than the Miracle.  I primarily listen to hip hop / dnb / dubstep / rnb / electronica and I feel that the Merlin just simply does those genre's better. 
    Just for comparisons sake, here are my ciem graphs. Merlin on top and Miracle on the bottom.
  9. cravenz
    Just posted this in the IE8 thread, but I'll put it here as well:
    I'm thinking of the Merlins (coming from the IE8s) primarily because the markup in prices aren't ridiculous as compared with JH's and FitEars in my country (Singapore), for example. Basically the cost of the UMs are about the same as if I bought it in the US or wherever whilst with the JHs, I'm paying about 50% more. I'm just not sure if it is worth me spending more on the JHs. 
    I've tested out the JH10X3, 5s, EarSonics 3 and 5s (I think), and FitEar 333s. Of the lot, the FitEars appealed to me the most, but their sparkle does leave me worrying about fatigue, plus, they are out of my price range. I can't test the Merlins here in my country. So of that lot, the JH10X3s appealed to me the most (based on my budget). What I'm trying to figure out is how the Merlins compare. They both retail for the same price in America, but I pay approximately 350 - 400 USD for the JHs where I am.
    I don't need accuracy. I want something to engage me, something to capture my attention. I have to admit, I have my IE8s bass knob in the middle, but I EQ the bass down, and pull up the treble. I just treble boost on Equalizer and then reduce the bass bar. That said, I'm now on a Note 2. I want to move a step up, but I need to be sure of what I'm getting. The 10X3s were alright, but with the FitEars, I now feel like I'm missing out. And it won't be a while yet before I will splurge on them, if there are others by that time. 
    Question then is, how do the Merlins compare? I like my treble to come through, but I also want to feel the kick. If anything, perhaps the review of the IE8s in my signature might help! Advice would be lovely!
  10. Poetik
    I use the merlins with my note 2 all the time and have no fatigue unless I turn it up too loud. It's pretty engaging, at least more so than my miracles with genre's that have need more bass rumble.

    I never feel like I'm missing out on any bass, mids, or highs with the Merlin. Honestly I'm so content with the Merlin on my note 2 that I'm even contemplating selling my miracle.

    Also, I believe I've written that the Merlin is like the perfect upgrade to the ie8 just a page back or so. Go read it :wink:
  11. cravenz
    I did, and I posted just before you as well. How sparkly are they? I like my treble as well! I thought the FitEars did those very well, though potentially fatiguing, but they were a lovely set. 
    I still remember you from back in the day when I was more active too :)
    Also throwing in the Heirs 8.As as well apparently. 
    If only I had someone do a comparison between the JH 10X3s and the UM Merlins. I've heard the 10X3s, but I don't have a universal demo where I am so I don't want to just throw down more than a grand where I am because it is some serious expenditure, and I want to keep it over time as well, at least for the next couple of years. 
    That said, it also depends on what UM is now throwing out again too. 
  12. Poetik
    Haha awesome! You make me feel like an old timer =)
    I wouldn't say that they are treble piercing but to my ears they are definitely a notch above the Miracles.  They have enough to make not want any more and that makes me happy.  I mean if it really came down to it, you could always pair it with a silver cable to accentuate the highs too.  I know cables are a controversial subject but I think the difference between the stock copper cable and a nice silver cable is obvious.  I really do feel like a silver cable suits the sound signature of the Merlin as well.
    I remembering living with the Merlin demo for about a week and half.  I can tell you that it really isn't an accurate sound of what the custom will sound like.  The bass is extremely boomy, the mids were lost in the mid bass, and honestly I felt like my ie8's sounded better than it.  After hearing the demo, there was no way I was going to spend like $800 on customs that sounded like that.  Actually I ended up having a long talk with project86 who at the time, had both the demo and a full custom of the Merlin.  He had the same exact feelings towards the demo and reassured me that the custom wasn't even close to the demo. 
    As for the heir 8.a, based off of project86's review, I think you would like the highs of the Merlin better. Here is an excerpt from his review comparing the highs of the 8a to the Merlin:
    "Highs on the Merlin are more sharp and distinct than the 8.A. This could be better or worse depending on your source, amplification, music, and preferences. I don’t mean to imply that the 8.A is dull or rolled off in any way – it isn’t. But the focus on the 8.A is on smoothness, while the focus on the Merlin is more towards ultimate detail retrieval. Both are still very smooth and both are still detailed, but each has its own specialty."
    Like I said previously, I think you would be hard pressed to find a better upgrade to the ie8 than the Merlin.  It has a tighter bass with more impact that reaches lower, mids that are fairly clear and don't get lost in the mid bass like the ie8, a treble that sparkles without completely fatiguing your ears, and a massive ciem soundstage in both height and depth (I believe the ie8 is wider left to right but there is so much more to the depth of the Merlin).  I'm sure there are other ciem's that could do the job but as a previous ie8 owner, I couldn't be any happier with upgrading to the Merlin.
  13. project86 Contributor
    Agreed - I know a few people who formerly owned IE8 and now love their Miracle. 
  14. cravenz
    Thanks "old timer" :)
    I think I read that, but overall I think project86 preferred the Heir 8.a as a complete package I think. Read it sometime back now (days), so memory is a little fuzzy on that. I am leaning towards Merlins just because the financial outlay is not as stupid as the other brands as I mentioned earlier.
    That being said, most universals just don't sound the same as any proper fitted out custom, but you've made me think about taking the plunge. 
    I think UM is coming out with something new. I'm not sure if I should wait for it to come out!
    Edit: on a side note, I'm tempted to test the water on cables as well. Only question would be if it is worth the trouble if I have no intention of running an amp with it as I'll be using it straight from my Note 2. I hate the standard cables that come with the JHs and UMs. I still like the IE8 cables.
  15. Poetik
    Yea there is now a $500 difference between the two so I would hope he'd like them better =) It isn't necessarily the cost that determines the enjoyment but for over $1000, you better be enjoying the hell out of them haha.
    I've heard about the new UM custom coming out and so far there hasn't really been any news on what kind of sound signature it would have.  3 Dynamic drivers does seem pretty interesting though so I'm curious what it'll be like. 
    It's all preference but In my opinion, I wouldn't use an amp with the note 2.  Then again, I was never a guy to carry around an absurd stack of dac + amp + mp3 player + ugly looking rubber band around everything.  I think you get decent enough sound out of the note 2 to avoid all that stuff.  However this is head-fi and not everyone would want to stop at, "decent" lol.  And I agree on that ie8 cable, that thing is so epic that you could probably use it to save your life.
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