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

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  1. MikePortnoy

    I don't belive that UM will do a huge discount like Heir or Noble. However, they may do a small amount of it..

    I have never heard Merlin. I had Mentor, now it is gone :)

    You can also go to second hand and get a custom to make it remolded. It would be cheaper option. (Not really cheaper than a good BF discount)
     
  2. efib

    I don't believe that they are going to make a massive discount too , I guess I will wait and see :)
    I have tried to buy second hand and Matt had a pair for sale last month but I bought a Mac so I didn't have money at that time and now there was another guy that was selling them for 470$ and he said that several reshell companies confirmed that they can reshell merlins but to be honest I would feel safe only with um reshelling them and that's an extra 299$ . So for me to make sense I can give up to 370$ net to the seller and I'm not sure that many are willing to let them go for that price .
    Oh , you didn't like mentor ? I believe that it doesn't have a sub bass as good as merlins and a friend of mine told me that his friend bought them and he expected more for the bass, it's there but it's not wow :rolleyes:
     
  3. MikePortnoy

    I am not sure if you know Peter from Custom Art. He makes good remolds, including a Se5way which has a complex system. However Merlin has a vented shell, we have to ask Peter if he can remold it in silicone. You can send him an email. Where are you located by the way? (Edit: sorry you are from Greece :) )

    Subbass of Mentor is punchy and yet speedy. However it does not have enough quantity on its midbass. I was enjoying it but decided to get Harmony 8 :)
     
  4. efib
     
    I sent him an email and he told me that unfortunately he can't :/ anyway I'm still trying to buy a used one, fingers crossed I'll find one :)
    Thank you for your help :)
     
  5. MikePortnoy
    Any time mate :) I think it is about silicone body.. That's why he can't..
     
  6. davidcotton

    Might be worth giving Phil over at Cosmic Ears a shout.  They are in the process of moving atm, so may be slightly longer in delays than normal.
     
    efib likes this.
  7. uli87
     
    At first I was against it, but liked the idea after seeing different designs on the UM facebook page.
     
     
    I can safely say that the Merlin sound signature is nothing like any other headphone I have heard before. 
     
    First of all, the fit of CIEMs is such a luxury. You pop them in once, and never have to touch them again until you want to remove them. I always fiddle around with other headphones/iems because sometimes seals break or it gets uncomfortable. In addition, you know that the CIEM sits in your ear with the sound bores in the same exact position every time, relieving me of any concerns about positioning for optimum sound quality.
     
    Many people consider this a basshead CIEM, but for me it isn't. By my definition, basshead headphones are always very in your face and energetic with a prominent spike in the midbass for hard visceral thumps, which really isn't close to the Merlin's tuning. 
     
    I have seen some people write the Merlin off as another typical v shaped CIEM. Perhaps according to the graph of the frequency response it should sound that way but my experience is very different. I had the feeling that the Merlin should be quite similar to my Pro 900's as they are both compared to the Denon 7000 sometimes. Naturally when I first started using them, I was expecting to hear some serious bass presence, as that is what the Merlins are marketed towards. But at first the bass didn't really jump out as much as the mids did, especially vs my Pro 900 which is definitely a typical v shape sound. 
     
    The Merlin produce such an effortless and smooth sound, and it's a very different presentation than the one I was used to. In theory this was not what I was looking for, but I am very pleased with the surprise. The distant vocals and guitar solos on the Pro 900 are brought way up in the mix in the Merlins and sound very present and textured. The highs are excellent, producing tons of details on cymbals and high hats. I have worn the Merlins for hours at a time and not felt any sort of fatigue, so sibilance is not really an Issue here (For me). IMO, the highs and mids are just as worthy of their mention even though this CIEM is geared for bass lovers. Almost every review here stresses how the bass only kicks in when it is called upon, and this is true for me as well. The bass extends far and it goes deep. It has a lovely texture and can sometimes tickle your ears when it reaches very low frequencies. I never find it too powerful or leaking into the rest of the mix. When listening to EDM or Metal, I don't get an energetic thumping bass that some people might be looking for, rather a lush and thick bass that fills out the sound spectrum in a very pleasing way. To me, the bass really isn't that strong and I feel that if I had purchased the miracle instead, I would always thirst for more bass and have to use a boost.
     
    I don't understand how UM pull off such a huge sound stage in these tiny ear pieces. I was always under the impression that headphones with bigger speakers and deep cups are much better at this, but these Merlins are ridiculous. They have a much wider stage than the Pro 900 and have excellent instrument seperation that together, offer you a very 3D and immersing experience. This is one of the strongest points of the Merlin and it revolutionizes the way I hear my music.
     
     
    To summarize : The Merlin has a very smooth and wide signature with some added bass presence to give you a very thick and layered sound that does not sound dull at all, but may not be as energetic as some people are looking for. For me, the Merlins sound great with everything I have thrown at them so far but they excell with complicated symphonic or epic music and are great for movies. I used them while watching The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, and listening to Smaugs thick evil voice on these was hair raising!
     
    In one word : Exquisite.
     
    White Lotus and DeepGroove like this.
  8. Bazirker
    Agree with every word of this review, particularly the comments about the bass.  Spot on.
     
    A note for bassheads: If you use an equalizer or amp to ask the Merlin for a little more bass presence, you can rattle your teeth out with extreme fidelity.
     
  9. DeepGroove
    Thanks for the feedback. The Merlin bass is my favorite bass presentation: lean on mid-bass and rich in sub. Therefore it has an intense presence but never sounds boomy. It is also tight and fast. Great on EDM, pop-punk and soundtracks. The sound pressure in the bass is insane, you need to listen to The Dark Knight Soundtrack. The first track called Bank Robbery has a very low, almost inaudible frequency pulse and the Merlin is my only CIEM that literally compresses my brain.

    However due to extreme dynamics i feel kinda tired after 30min of listening... But "good" tired!
     
  10. bigtim
    I had such high hopes for the Merlins. Never really found a tip to make my IE8s comfy which drove me to CIEMs but they are currently my 3rd favourite headphone:
     
    Denon D7000 >> Sennheiser HD-25 >> UM Merlin 
     
    Maybe I should play about with the EQ on the DX90 see if they can't make me smile. As I type this Amy Winehouse's cover of 'To know him is to love him' just came on through my HD-25's and made me smile in a way the Merlins just never have. Hmmm
     
  11. DeepGroove
    I have both, what is it you find in hd25 but not Merlin?
     
  12. bigtim
    The HD-25s have a bit more texture and fullness. A bit more alive that the Merlins. Apologies - i'm not great at explaining. 
     
  13. uli87
    I understand what you mean. The Merlins can have a thick and full presentation but in some recordings I yearn for it and it won't come lol. Almost as if I bought the Miracles :p
     
  14. DeepGroove
    I have too many gadgets and too little time to do a proper comparison but it seems to me the Merlin do not have your typical bass. iE800 and SE5 are more classic : full mid bass with extended sub. In comparison the Merlin almost have recessed mid bass. It is not the hardest kicking (hd25 kicks well, I used it for DJing) but it is tight and moves a lot of air. In this sense it does not thicken the overall presentation too much but can still purr when well paired. I recommend you try Ak120.
     
  15. uli87
    In general, I feel that over ear headphones cannot match IEMs when it comes to texture and tiny nuances in music such as pick attack on a guitar string or sensing (not just hearing) the full impact of a snare drum. Maybe if I had a $10000 stax setup. Maybe :wink:
     
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