Monday, March 02, 2015

MEElectronics M9 Classic: Your Budget M8



Disclaimer: I was given the MEElectronics M9 Classic in return for a review. The opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own, and were not influenced by MEElectronics in any way.
Before I begin I'd like to thank Mike at MEElectronics for sending the M9 Classic out to me for review.




Packaging

Looking at this gorgeous brown cardboard box, you see the MEElec logo in a stunning shade of matte black...
Ok, so frustration free packaging may not be pretty, but it gets its job done: Being as cheap as possible, and holding the IEM's until you open the box. On a IEM so cheap, I'd rather have the money I spend be on the product rather than presentation anyways. Speaking of which...

As soon as I opened it, my eyes nearly popped out of my head. A metal bodied IEM with a fantastic cable that's decently relieved and comes with a shirt clip and 4 pairs of tips including a bi flange... Surely they must have sent me the wrong one!

Nope. It's the M9 Classic.

Examining this 10$ marvel of build quality further:

The cable is very flexible with very low memory and has next to no microphonics worn cable down, and none when using the included shirt clip and/or when worn around the ear. It also looks fantastic and is far more well relieved than you'd think to see at this price point. On the IEM's, you have a hard relief with notches cut out to give it a little flexibility, and on the jack the relief is semi-flexible. The only spot without relief is the Y-split, but again, I'm surprised that they even put as much strain relief on these as they did anyways. With the cable being as good as it is, I can see these lasting well over a year. Only time will tell though. If it ever does quit on me, I will update this review.

The metal used in the construction of the IEM seems to be of a decent quality, and has a driver port on the rear. They have a rather small profile, and the bi-flange tips that come with them are longer than the actual driver housing itself. (minus the nozzle)


Sound Quality

Popping them in my ear, I can instantly tell they didn't skimp on sound either.
(All of my findings on the sound is relative to the price unless stated otherwise)
Listening to "First Encounter With The Omnitican" by Omnitica, the moment the sub-bass kicked in, I was astounded. They remind me of the UE6000 in active mode, except more neutral and less detailed. (Note: Only active mode. Passive mode on the UE6000 sounds very different)
Overall signature is an exciting V-Shape with excellent bass extension and texture, decent treble extension with a small amount of grain, recessed mids, and a decent soundstage.

Bass: Very well extended and detailed, with a focus on sub-bass. Rather impactful and punchy with plenty of rumble. Very clean might I add. If I had to pick my favorite aspect of the sound, it would be the bass.

Mids: On "Midnight Motion" by Kenny G, the soprano saxophone can get a little hot on upper octaves, and I had to turn down my volume once. Not the smoothest midrange I've experienced, but it gave the sax a little bit of bite and excitement. Male and female vocals are recessed relative to bass, and sound a tad thin to my ears (vocals tested on "Rocket" by Def Leppard, "Never Say Goodbye" by Bon Jovi, and "Rhiannon" by Fleetwood Mac). My take is that the upper midrange has a bit of a spike somewhere that causes the glaring irregularity I heard with the saxophone, and the lower midrange is recessed a tad.

Treble: A bit grainy and smeared, but by far the best I've heard for the price. On "Rocket Queen" by Guns 'N Roses (Lossless WMA), cymbal brushes are fairly well distinguished from one to the next,  but lacks micro detail.


Comparisons

Panasonic RPHJE120K:
Build: Cheap plastic, hard strain relief, cheap feeling cable. Winner: M9

Bass: It has at least 20 db more bass than than M9, and not only is there a lot of it, its also boomy and slow. Sounds like a thick layer of mud thrown over the recording. The M9 wins again.

Mids: Shrouded by the thick layer of bass and has next to no detail. Sometimes entire instrument lines are inaudible under the bass. Its like the bass drowned all the other frequencies. Vocals sound like they're coming from the next room over. M9 wins by far.

Treble: No extension at all. Extreme rolloff. Some of the worst I've heard, just because of the lack of it. What is there isn't particularly good either. M9 absolutely destroys the Panasonics on every level.


Thinksound Rain 2:

Not really a fair comparison, as how the Rain2 is a 100$ IEM, but I'll just throw it out there anyways.

Build: The M9's cable is less microphonic, but the cable material quality seems to be about the same, maybe a little bit in favor of the M9. The strain relief of the Rain2 is superior by far however, and the wood and metal housings look and feel fantastic. Winner: Rain2

Bass: Faster and better controlled, and less midrange bleed. Winner: Rain2

Mids: The Rain2's mids are extremely natural with a pleasant warmth and gives vocals a fullness that the M9 doesn't have. Winner: Rain2

Treble: The Rain2 is smoother with more sparkle and detail up top, and is less fatiguing. Winner: Rain2

It was to be expected that the Rain2 would come out on top, but the difference between the M9 and the Rain2 is smaller than the difference between the M9 and the Panasonics. Pretty impressive.


Conclusion 



For what the M9 Classics cost, they are nothing short of amazing. They blow away the competition and punch above their price. For the audiophile on a budget, I can think of nothing better. Well done, MEElectronics; you have a winner here!


  

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