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

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  1. Freezera
    I want to buy a aftermarket cable for the Merlins.
    So what would be a good choice for putting the characteristics of the Merlin even more on the front? I thought of the whiplash Twag V2 hybrid. But it's very expensive and I don't know how big the difference will be. And since I like bass I don't know if hybrid is better then copper only. Any suggestions? 
     
  2. aLm0sT
     
    I have tried the Silver Poison and Silver Widow from toxic cables. While they improve the clarity and bring mids and highs more forward, I found that they take too much away from the low end. It still has more than enough punch to it but it sounds a bit drier and not as full and natural as with the stock cable. So I think hybrid would be a good choice for the Merlin.  
     
    You might also want to have a look at the hybrid cable from Forza audioworks. The quality seems to be very good and it's also quite a bit cheaper than the TWag v2 hybrid. 
     
  3. Freezera
     
    I can't find any decent reviews of the Forza Hybrid cable.
     
    But the Twag Hybrid v2 cable costs 475$ at checkout and not 395$ as stated by the website so that's a no go.
     
    I also looked at some silver + 1% gold cables, for some reason adding 1% gold gives you a better experience from top to bottom
    (that's what the reviews are pointing out) Also they look very nice and would be a great visual match with my black merlins.
    But i don't know about the sound. Since i like bass, i like to think copper would be better....
     
  4. aLm0sT
     
    The SP cable has up to 1% gold. I haven't had the chance to try a pure silver cable so I can't tell you how much and/or if it really makes a difference. For me, the SP cable takes too much away from the low end body and makes it sound thinner than I'd like. 
     
    So the next cable that I'm going to get will be a hybrid. From a visual standpoint, I'm not a huge fan of the looks of hybrid cables either but as long as it sounds good, I don't really care much about how it looks.
     
  5. Freezera
    Seems double helix has a nice fusion v2 hybrid cable but again no reviews to be found. Price is somehow acceptable for 340$. Looks very nice also. 8 weeks of waiting is a lot. But maybe it's worth it.
     
  6. djvkool
     
    I like pure copper and SPC with my Merlin, but didn't really like pure silver with it
     
  7. bigtim
  8. Freezera
    So, i finally received my merlins yesterday after 2,5 months!  (that's 10 weeks and estimated delivery is 4-5 weeks lol)
     
    Skipping all the package crap and just kick in the door.....what a damn disappointment when i plugged them into my NWZ-ZX1, i could cry. [​IMG]
     
    While they fit great, the right monitor doesn't produce any low's. (almost none) Meaning the sound is completely dragged to the left side in my head.
    Same can be said for the mids and high's but not so outspoken, in fact i have the feeling that the right monitor doesn't produce the same output then the left one.
    (Of course i switched the cables already and used a different audio source but it's clearly the merlins that are broke)
     
    Also after closer inspection, the artwork on the right monitor is clearly out of center compared to the left and when your artwork is a 3D sphere this is a disaster! (also the quality of the artwork itself is very poor, but more of that below) In fact it's always unacceptable when you pay 60 pounds for artwork on CIEM's !!!
     
    I don't know what they've been up to in the UM labs but they f*u*c*k*e*d up great, first a bunch of apologies for the delay's, apologies for not answering my mails in time (Had to wait a couple of times a week before i got reply)
    And then they deliver me a 900€ broken product. I don't understand how they can work like that.
    When you pay that amount of money for CIEM you expect nothing else but truly the best and been blown away by sound and design.
    Well they failed with stars and stripes!
     
    So i can't say anything about the sound because at this point my IE8 or even my crappy IE7 are sounding better.
     
    What i don't understand is that somehow they seem to "test" those IEM's, deliver some kind of audio graph
    But still they can achieve delivering me a pair of broken IEM's.
    (The audio graph is pointless btw because the print is so bad you can't see *** on it, and it's also Chinese, the only English word on the hole print is "Failed" lol) 
     
    Instead of making a fancy unreadable graph they should put them into someone's ears for a listening session before shipping, then i wouldn't have a broken product!
     
     
    The Pics
     
    IMG_20140712_140752.jpg
     
    Like you also see the little tubes at the end of the ear channel are placed differently and have another shape Left is placed more to the end and has a more oval shape while the right is put more to the back and has a rounder shape don't know if this is normal.
     
    LEFT Monitor
    IMG_20140712_140820.jpg
     
    RIGHT Monitor
    IMG_20140712_140836.jpg
     
    Like you see the artwork is not in the center on the right monitor.
    I made this artwork myself and was original a 8MB large high res Adobe Illustrator file.
    Converted to .JPEG it was still 1.1MB
    While the artwork on the monitor looks like it's taken from 10kb picture.
    This is very poor quality, i expected a bit more detail. Or maybe my expectations where to high
    These are my first CIEM's so i can't compare but when i look to some pics of others the detail is much higher.
     
     
    .JPEG 1.1MB file that i send in.
    I don't see in this picture all those black sparkles in the sphere and around the edges.
    But for some reason they are clearly present on the monitors
     
    SphereArtworkFinalWhiteRightMonitor.png
     
     
    The audio graph.
    For those how can read this please enlighten me. 
     
    IMG_20140712_140232.jpg
     
    Conclusion so far
     
    When i read the review, it spoke of great craftsman ship and excellent build quality, top of the line. I did see the complete opposite and at this point the worst 900€ spend, ever for me.
     
    Bottom line is, that i'm very disappointed, and a bit mad also at UM.
    The service in my opinion is poor. I had to wait 2 times a week before they replied to my mails.
    I ordered them on 25 April and got them just yesterday 11 July. That's 10 weeks when it "normally" takes around 4-5 weeks.
    And above all that they delivered me a broken product with very poor quality artwork
    And you don't need a trained ear to hear the fact that the right monitor is just broke and isn't giving the slightest punch to all the low frequencies, in general puts out less volume on all frequencies.
     
    I truly hope they can make things right and build me the pair of my dreams because for now this has been a ride full of disappointment without an end it seems. I hope they can live up to their name for once.
     
    It would be great if they just throw these in the garbage can and build me a complete new pair from scratch because after this i don't have faith in those CIEM's.
     
    I am truly [​IMG] where i supposed to be [​IMG] . A real shame!
     
    Keep you updated!
     
  9. JohnFY
    Hey Freezera,
     
    I feel for you my friend. Almost the same thing happened to me: impressions lost in the post (not UM's fault); eventually received a universal Merlin, really bad workmanship, dynamic driver clearly visible through the faceplate; and then it failed within four hours of use. To add insult to injury UM wanted me to return the Merlin at my cost. I created hell and they capitulated. I gave them clear instructions that if they had to rebuild them to do so in a clear acrylic. I got them back quite quickly (under two weeks) with a black faceplate and blue body! But, hey, they worked, and still do many months later.
     
    A very painful first experience for me. But, Freezera, when I sit here listening to my Merlin's, all is easily forgotten. They are just the best earphones I have heard, and I have tried many, many since, and each time I go back to the Merlin's, I grin like a little boy. So, please stay with it; it will be worth it in the end (I hope!).
     
    I have been in contact with UM to consider having my universals re-shelled in to customs. I have to say that I am quite fearful given my previous experience (which I hoped was a one off given all the positive comments in the forums), and now yours, but I just adore these so much I think that I will have to take the risk.
     
    Good luck.
     
  10. hockey_magnet
     
    I'm certainly no expert but I've never seen a custom or even picture of one that had the nozzle hole on the side like that - no wonder that side has problems as it looks like the sound will be firing into the side of your ear canal instead of toward the ear drum
     
  11. White Lotus
    Send them back, they are faulty.
     
    Sorry to hear this.
     
  12. Freezera
     
    Hey JohnFY,
     
    thx for sharing your experience,
    I will stay with them of course, and i can hear the potential of the merlin's and when they work they will probably sound fantastic.
     
    But what i didn't understand is that they didn't do a decent quality check before shipping.
    It's like they finished them in a hurry, trowed them immediately in the "Made with love box" (the irony [​IMG])  and shipped them without even looking at them!
    All the delay's and apologies would be easily forgotten when they delivered me a working pair with kick ass quality artwork.
     
    Apart from the broken monitor i almost can't believe this is the same firm that made this quality artwork.
    When you look at this, i think mine has been done by the clean lady! Totally unacceptable!!!  
     
    UMM.png
     
    Mine
     
    IMG_20140712_140836.jpg
     
     Anyway JohnFY, i hope you got more luck then i for your re-shell.
     
     
     
     
    I will send them back of course, already mailed about it the same day.
    But since it is weekend don't got any reply.
     
    I think they will need to rebuild them since i also want that the artwork is done properly for a change!
    If not, i will open a case in Paypal without hesitating.
     
  13. mohdkhamsya
    I just got my 3d printed universal merlins! Waited 2 and a half weeks for them and voila. Got them through Stereo SG. The build quality is okay. Its not an even black shell. Some transparent specks. Plus its not even solid black like I ticked in the order form. Wasnt expecting a flawless build. I has a pair of customs from Heir while the Wizard was still there. So I dont think anything would come close to those. On the upside, running them through my dx90. Very satisfying [​IMG] Anyone else using universal merlins?
     
  14. White Lotus
     
    I was tempted.. What shape are they?
     
    Any photos?
     
    Welcome to the club!
     
  15. mohdkhamsya
    They're the same as the um mentor universal body, with the metal tube and all. I'll post pictures when i can.
     
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