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

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  1. DeepGroove
    I know where you are coming from. I spent countless hours on this forum reading, re-reading posts and trying to form an opinion on the Merlin and the 8.A. It was the first time went custom and the stakes were high. I finally choose the Merlin because of the good reviews, good price and excellent contact with the local UM rep.

    18 months after I am very happy with my choice. I have demoed dozens if TOTL IEMs and IMO the Merlin's bass is unique. If you like thickness look no further. On some tracks with a purring bassline (signature sound of Dance artist Ian Carey) the Merlin sound is literally fat! Like a super-marbeled piece of meat.

    Today I am upgrading not because of the bass, but in spite of. I am looking for lusher mids and treble. Maybe one day I will send my Merlin for a mod to replace the BA drivers, but no one will touch this DD!
     
  2. uli87
    The BA drivers are TWFK, supposed to be TOTL aren't they? I guess it would be more tuning them differently than replacing them. 
     
    Although, maybe if the mids and highs were tuned differently then you wouldn't have prominent lows, or possibly a more narrow soundstage. It's funny how humans are never satisfied though, always want more change :wink:
     
    What are you upgrading to?
     
  3. efib


    I had narrowed down to 8.a and Merlin too :rolleyes: but I think that I'll go for the merlins , I just want to hear the bass and soundstage that everyone is talking about :cool:
    It will be my first custom too , I can't get a good fit with universals :/
     
  4. White Lotus
    You honestly won't be disappointed. 
     
  5. DeepGroove
     
    It is a never-ending cycle of upgrades and that is what makes this hobby so fun (and so painful to our wallets)
     
    I'm getting SE-5. Different flavor but I wanted to get a custom which can really sing. I recently paired the Merlin with a silver/copper cable from DHC and it had mixed results. The bass is more controlled and impactful and the vocals are really clear. But it sounds thiner overall and the treble are impossibly harsh. When it comes to treble I prefer smooth to sparkly. 
     
    Tuning may be more important than the drivers themselves. That being said, a friend did not like the sound of TWFK drivers. As they are widely used in TOTL CIEMS, he went on to build his own CIEM with different drivers.
     
  6. efib

    Nice thing to hear :D
     
  7. uli87
    Got my Merlins, and they arrived on my birthday :) 
     
    At first I wanted to go with some custom artwork, but Stephen Guo suggested I go with one of the default designs like carbon fiber or wood as it might not be printed exactly how I imagined. After seeing some of the dissapointments (together with a good amount of happy customers) in this thread I chose to follow his advice. Here are some pics : 
     
     
    IMG_20140924_112126.jpg
    IMG_20140924_112933.jpg
     
    Very sturdy and solid box that has some sort of velour padding inside.
     
    IMG_20140924_112240.jpg
    IMG_20140924_112301.jpg
    IMG_20140924_112353.jpg
     
    Great workmanship on these things (I haven't compared them to any other CIEM) and they both fit and isolate very well. When I went to the audiologist, I took the printed instructions that UM have on their website and did the impressions while biting on 2 fingers (biting blocks are too mainstream).
     
    I will listen to them a bit more before I post any impressions, but for now it seems that Merlin is a very appropriate name as these are quite magical.
     
  8. Bazirker
    Man I wish I did like you and went with the right-left color coded eartips, those look awesome!
     
  9. efib
    Does anyone know if UM usually does Black Friday discount?
     
  10. MikePortnoy

    I suppose they do.
     
  11. efib

    But you aren't sure so I guess I'll wait until then.
    I did some research and couldn't find anything Black Friday related so I thought I should better ask,
    Thank you
     
  12. MikePortnoy

    Just from the memory, I saw a post about BF discount on their Facebook page. You may check it to see if they did it or not :)
     
  13. efib

    I only saw a 14% New Year's Eve discount and it was while the prices were lower, so I can only hope for an 20% discount so that I can take the merlins ..
    The -40% for heir 8a seems nice so I'll make my mind later :rolleyes:
     
  14. MikePortnoy

    You are correct mate, this is the discount that I saw. I just checkted it. Try to talk to Stephen. Perhaps he say something about BF discount.

    Heir audio makes a huge discount for their products, as you said. :) Noble too maybe?
     
  15. efib

    I'm actually talking with um Brazil and even if I ask I believe that no one will tell me if they are going to do BF sales :p
    I like noble 8c but I don't believe that they do massive 40% discount and the price of merlins 880$ is the absolute max price that I'm willing to pay :/
    I believe that you have mentors, right ? Do you have or have used merlins as well ?
    Thank you :)
     
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