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

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  1. CracKinGDucK
    I must say, the Merlin strongly resembled the properties of HD600, but with more clarity, details, but less bass
  2. Bazirker
    Late to the party, but...

    I listen to a lot of EDM and absolutely love my Merlins. The 3D soundstage, clarity and signature are perfect for my tastes.

    About the bass quantity: firstly, I consider myself a basshead. Of all the universal IEM'S I've owned, the only pair I've kept have been the Atrios, and that's because of their delicious bass. Everything else I owned was sold off since the Atrios made it sound thin and weak. I bought the Merlins because of the dynamic driver tuned specifically to handle low frequencies in hopes that I would be getting enough boom and rumble, and I find that the Merlins provide a sufficient quantity of bass to keep me satisfied. The quantity is less than what the Atrios provide, but I actually prefer that because of the quality of bass.

    To clarify, the bass on the Merlins is, for an IEM, quite special. It is dynamic, rich, well defined and punchy. It rumbles and booms when it should, but doesn't bleed or make the sound overly warm. It is well behaved and never over-bearing. While I've heard the Merlin described as a warm CIEM (and I'm inclined to agree), the definition of the bass and sparkle of the treble keeps a sense of neutrality. Most importantly, the timbre of the bass is simply outstanding, which I credit to the fact that a dynamic driver is being used rather than balanced armatures.

    When I was buying my CIEMS, I was deciding between the Merlins and the JH16. I received my Merlins in ~May, then heard a universal demo of the JH16 at CanJam in October. Prior to the listening to the demos, I was convinced I had made the wrong choice between the two, but my concerns were quickly put to rest. I found the freqphase JH16 to sound veiled, lacking in detail and a little muddy next to my Merlins. I maintain that it's not fair to judge a custom IEM by its universal demo, but the difference here was striking and, frankly, I was disappointed with the JH16 and thrilled I had not chosen to buy them. While they sounded dynamic and had plenty of bass with a V-shaped presentation, the timbre and soundstage were totally inferior to the bass and general sound of my Merlins. (The newly announced Roxanne, however, was another story, although I had an insufficient opportunity to do an in-depth comparison.)

    So, I find the Merlin to be a great CIEM for EDM, a solid choice for a basshead and a superior choice to the JH16.
  3. djvkool
    If you listen to mostly EDM, invest in a good pure copper upgrade cable, it will make EDM sounds even better [​IMG]
  4. White Lotus
    I sent my Merlins away on the 29th of March.. 
    Really hoping these haven't been lost in the post or something.
    The tracking website just says "Final delivery" and has said that since the 7th of April, and UM don't have them yet.
  5. Bazirker

    In what way? Is there a specific cable you might recommend? I'm using the stock cable now...I would imagine it, like most cables, is made of copper...

    What shipping service did you use? If you are in the US and used the USPS, it can take longer (like a month), and tracking won't show delivery because it's handled by local Chinese carriers. Final delivery may indicate that the hand-off to the Chinese carrier has occurred.
  6. White Lotus
    Australia, we are geographically pretty close to China. 
    And good point about local Chinese carriers handling it. Might explain the lengthy wait..
    But also casts doubts onto me ever seeing them again! 
  7. White Lotus
    Double post: In a bizarre turn of events, was just told by Stephen that they are almost finished!
    Very curious to hear what they sound like. I'm a huge fan of the Sennheiser HD600, but I also like large amounts of bass.
    Could this be my dream CIEM? Performs under both "regular" and "heavy bass" conditions, with a bit of EQ?
    If so... Excellent. 
  8. CracKinGDucK
    Nice to see this good news! Please make sure you will post a review afterwards[​IMG]
    I am going to do my ear impression tomorrow and do some extended hearing on the demo. What a shame that we have no 3dd in our area for demo.
  9. White Lotus
    Absolutely, will do! 
  10. DeepGroove
    I am happy to see this thread revived.
    I agree with previous comments on the quality of the bass and the dynamics. I'd like to add that the sound quality of the Merlin depend on your source.
    I bought the Merlin one year ago as upgrade from my IE800. I was pretty happy with the sound straight from my MacBook. Out of curiosity I got a DX50: I enjoyed the added details at first, but the overall neutral/analytical signature tightened the bass and took a bit of the fun out of it. I got bored with this presentation, and was considering getting new CIEMs.
    I eventually bought a AK120 one month ago, and boy, the Merlin sound fantastic! The bass is full and lush, and the basslines are incredibly fat and thick (great on EDM). The presentation is warmer than on the DX50, but everything sounds more spacious and living. I really connect with my music. Now the only upgrade I consider would be a CIEM which goes even lower, and has a bit more forward mids.
    However, I find that the ALO International makes the bass very boomy, and I never managed to listen to this pairing more than one minute.
    So try various sources, you'll be surprised. Since I feed the Merlin with the AK120 my LCD2 collects the dust.
  11. CracKinGDucK

    it's good to know, I hope my DX90 will be a nice match to the Merlin. Do you switch to any other cables?
  12. aLm0sT
    I have purchased a used Merlin and send them to UM UK for a reshell. I was told my Merlins would be sent to UM Labs on March 26th. I also opted for rush order which I was told, takes about a week. Two weeks later, I still haven't received my Merlins so I mailed them asking for an update. After sending several E-mails, I finally got a reply and was told there have been some "unforeseen delays".
    Another two weeks have passed and I mailed them multiple times asking for the status but haven't gotten a reply yet. I was going to call them, but I can't find a phone number on their website. 

    So far, this has been a very unsatisfying experience. Anyone had similar experiences dealing with UM UK ?
  13. White Lotus
    Not with UM UK, but I'm having a few odd issues with UM in general at the moment. Something must have happened at the labs..
    I still have faith!
  14. aLm0sT
    Well, believe it or not, they finally replied and said my Merlins are on their way to their London office. Fingers crossed, hope to have them by the end of next week.
  15. hanes
    Cool, so you have owned both, the Merlin and the IE800! Can you maybe also tell a little bit about the differences? I am thinking of upgrading, too....
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