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

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How does the Merlin compare to the JH16?

I can't compare extensively but I remember JH16 to have an extreme veil ( totally no veil in the Merlin ) when I demoed at Jaben which led to me taking them out after just a few songs. Bass however is a diff story. JH16 delivers bass like there's no tomorrow but Merlin is very very very controlled. Never did I find it overwhelming, on the other hand neither did I find it to be sufficient for EDM. To me Merlin and Miracle have only one MAIN difference: merlin has more sub bass.
 
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White Lotus

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I can't compare extensively but I remember JH16 to have an extreme veil ( totally no veil in the Merlin ) when I demoed at Jaben which led to me taking them out after just a few songs. Bass however is a diff story. JH16 delivers bass like there's no tomorrow but Merlin is very very very controlled. Never did I find it overwhelming, on the other hand neither did I find it to be sufficient for EDM. To me Merlin and Miracle have only one MAIN difference: merlin has more sub bass.
 
As a basshead, this makes me cringe. 
 

 
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Freezera

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I can't compare extensively but I remember JH16 to have an extreme veil ( totally no veil in the Merlin ) when I demoed at Jaben which led to me taking them out after just a few songs. Bass however is a diff story. JH16 delivers bass like there's no tomorrow but Merlin is very very very controlled. Never did I find it overwhelming, on the other hand neither did I find it to be sufficient for EDM. To me Merlin and Miracle have only one MAIN difference: merlin has more sub bass.

What do you mean by veil? Since I don't speak English that well I don't know what it means.

Also, what would you prefer for listening to EDM. The Merlins or the JH16? And which have the most "fun" signature for EDM?
 
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aLm0sT

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I owned the JH16 and had a chance to listen to a demo version of the Merlin. The JH16 wasn't my taste. It sounded kind of harsh/sibilant and not very natural to me. I also wasn't able to listen to it over an extended period of time. The Merlin may be not as precise and detailed as the JH16 but I found myself enjoying it much more than the JH16. 

Bass extends very low with good amount of details. Mids are smooth and female vocals also sound very good even though the merlin's soundsig is often described as u-shaped with slightly recessed mids. That said, I think treble extension could be better. It falls a bit short next to the prominent bass and mids. 

Overall I found the merlin to be a very musical IEM. I haven't listened to the freqphase version of the JH16 though. 
 
I sold my JH16 and have a pair of Merlin on their way and I am curious if the custom version will sound even better than the demo. 
I think for the price they're a bargain. 
 
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lookingforIEMs

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What do you mean by veil? Since I don't speak English that well I don't know what it means.

Also, what would you prefer for listening to EDM. The Merlins or the JH16? And which have the most "fun" signature for EDM?

It means there is a sort of "blanket" over the sound, usually caused by lack of clarity. Then again, the fellow head fier on top says they were kinda sibilant. Just goes to show how our ears are all different

For EVERYTHING id prefer the Merlins. I just cannot take it when there is the aforementioned veil over the sound.

That being said, JH16 would be a logical choice for most EDM listeners ( unless you're like me ) as it can provide that bass that is really needed for EDM. However id like to re - stress "LOGICAL" as we all have our tastes
 
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Ivabign

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It means there is a sort of "blanket" over the sound, usually caused by lack of clarity. Then again, the fellow head fier on top says they were kinda sibilant. Just goes to show how our ears are all different

For EVERYTHING id prefer the Merlins. I just cannot take it when there is the aforementioned veil over the sound.

That being said, JH16 would be a logical choice for most EDM listeners ( unless you're like me ) as it can provide that bass that is really needed for EDM. However id like to re - stress "LOGICAL" as we all have our tastes

I respectfully disagree with you re: a thick veil on the mids/highs and/or bass bleed on the JH16FP. I don't hear it. I was just listening to a Talking Heads tune (Apple Lossless) where the low end was big, but off in the corner I heard an acoustic guitar strumming that I had never heard before with other cans - IMHO the details are not veiled or smeared on these - certainly the bass can be too big in spots, but the other frequencies are well represented.
 
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Freezera

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Getting the JH16 out of the US to EU or order them in the UK (same deal but then they do it for you) will cost me 1650$
a pair of Merlin's will cost me 970$ so that a ******** big difference.
So i think i will go for the merlin's, and buy a nice DAC/AMP for them. :) 
 
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hanes

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Iirc Merlins are a much more neutral, more detailed and less sibilant with a larger soundstage and much more natural.
IMHO, it's an improvement in audiophile SQ but a downgrade in terms of " v shaped " and " extremely fun " sound
Thanks for your reply! Have you compared them directly? Or just write from memory?
What about bass impact? 
 
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CracKinGDucK

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Tried a merlin demo today, found it quite warm and musical, and the bass looks exactly what i want, but it is hard for me to switch from a newly bought se846 to merlin now, what's your opinion on se846 vs merlin?
 (source: 30minute dx90)
 
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lookingforIEMs

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Thanks for your reply! Have you compared them directly? Or just write from memory?
What about bass impact? 

Memory. Tho the two iems gave me unforgettable impressions so I remember quite clearly. For JH16, the "veil" stunned me as the JH16 should have been better than the JH13 but JH13 has much more clarity. Merlins I was stunned by 3D soundstage but also stunned at how refined the bass was. I was expecting booming and thumping bass but got none of it.


Tried a merlin demo today, found it quite warm and musical, and the bass looks exactly what i want, but it is hard for me to switch from a newly bought se846 to merlin now, what's your opinion on se846 vs merlin?
 (source: 30minute dx90)

With DX90..... not too sure cos iirc SG doesn't even have a local distro yet so I can't comment on sound with DX90. However what I can comment is that I remember the SE846 to have good bass but was so smooth, it was not a totl iem in my eyes. No problems with merlin tho.
 
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hanes

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  Tried a merlin demo today, found it quite warm and musical, and the bass looks exactly what i want, but it is hard for me to switch from a newly bought se846 to merlin now, what's your opinion on se846 vs merlin?
 (source: 30minute dx90)
What is YOUR opinion about se846 vs Merlin? 

 
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christrz

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Tried these recently out of an iPhone --> Ifi Nano. And coming from the se846, the main differences I found which distinguished the merlins were a wider soundstage, similar ability to layer music well, and a more well defined (but not better) bass. Mids were also less forward than the 846. I'd say the 846 still have the best bass I've heard, but given a choice and their similar price range, I'd probably have gone for the Merlins for the soundstage.
 
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CracKinGDucK

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I must say that the Merlin demo does not fit my ear very well so I have to press them against my ear to listen to them well, while my se846 is using custom ear tips which are really doing a good job.

First, the most noticeable difference is the soundstage. Shure has a very special soundstage of focusing the middle and putting all the rest in the side, you may easily find a gap between the middle and the side. And the Merlin shows all of them on the stage at the same time. The se846 gives you a feeling of a studio size soundstage and Merlin gives you a concert-size soundstage.

Secondly, the mid of the Merlin is a bit laid back than the se846, and I must say Merlin sound more bright and cool while the se846 is very warm and intimate which I believe is the shure signature mid,I find that unresistable in listening to studio recorded pop.

And the bass, Merlin has a very honest bass compared to se846 which I find is often exaggerated. The depth and control of bass in Merlin is also found superior to the se846.

And for the high, Merlin simply is more extended than the se846.

However, I shall conclude that even Merlin has a better soundstage, and qualitatively better bass, the mid and quantity of bass in se846 really defines itself,I wish I could own both.

Ps. The dynamics of Merlin outshines the se846 a lot and the Merlin is definitely recovering more details. The Merlin sounds more honest and the se846 is more slow and musical.
 
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