Review: Unique Melody Mason V3 – Groot!

2. Personalization

 

Of course Unique Melody offers a whole series of colors, face plates and standard decoration options which you now all can discover by using their online configuration wizard: http://en.uniquemelody.org/product/style.html.

The configuration tool is very easy to work with and you can even upload your own creativity. The only minor thing is that you at the end of the config have to print the form and send it to them. The US based MusicTeck also has an online tool for the Mason V3 which is fully automatic, you can find that one here: https://shop.musicteck.com/products/um-ciem-mason-v3-16-drivers.

Color changing shells! Yes, it’s something new Unique Melody is offering nowadays. Depending on the temperature in the room or outside, the color simply changes. The only issue I have with it is that the color changes below or under 31°C and well, that’s never happening in Belgium where I’m located. It’s a cool option though and I’m sure many others living in a warmer climate will appreciate it.

I normally never ask for anything specific when it comes to design but this time I did. I chose a clear shell – so that I could see the internals of the Mason V3 – in combination with a light colored wooden faceplate and a print of mini Groot. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Guardians of the galaxy movies, Groot is a character made of wood that gets reborn in the 2nd movie. I love baby  Groot and figured it would look nice on a wooden face plate. Lawrance made sure it was going to look nice and I am very happy with how UM designed my Groot Mason V3.

3. Cable

As said, UM uses a double cable in a 4-pin configuration for the Mason VE. One cable is 6N 8-core single crystal copper and the other is 6N 8-core silver one. In order to listen to the different cable you simply switch the left cable to the right monitor and vice versa. The difficulty is that the cables aren’t clearly marked silver or copper, you won’t find an obvious printed marker but at the top of the plastic jack you’ll see and feel two little bumps on one side and a single bump on the other side. The dual bump on the left side means you’re listening to the copper cable and when they’re at the right side, you’re listening to the silver cable. The difference in sound of course is very much noticeable and I always find myself listening to the silver cable, as it to me sounds best.

The Build quality of the cable is really nice: the braiding is nice and tight, the screw-on connectors sturdy and the 3.5mm plug has a plastic strain relief. The splitter and chin slider are made out of see-through plastic and for a monitor of this level, that maybe could have been a little more up-level. The memory-part of the cable which goes over your ear has a metal wire to keep it in the shape you want. I’m not a big fan of this type of memory wire, but I can live with it.

Like with the JH monitors – which use a comparable type of cable – it will be very though to find a replacement aftermarket cable for the MasonV3. When my set was made there was no 2.5mm cable termination available and so it’s terminated with a 3.5mm plug. That also means I can’t listen to the Mason V3 in balanced mode. Luckily UM now lets you choose between the 2.5mm, 3.5mm and even the 4.4mm termination.

4. Price & Accessories

A 16 BA-driver high-end monitor doesn’t come cheap and the price starts at $2699 USD. Depending on the chosen options this price will of course increase. The Mason V3 does come in a nice box and inside that box you’ll find another beautiful titanium storage case with a screw-on lid. It’s gorgeous. The inside of the titanium box is finished with a soft fabric so your monitors will be optimally protected. The titanium box isn’t the biggest however and getting your monitors and the cable to fit inside is quite the challenge. It’s doable but master level Rubik-skills are welcome.

Also inside the box you’ll find the plastic warranty card with serial number, which also is a 15GB USB memory stick. On the stick you’ll find some documentation about the Mason V3 and some pics of when your set was being constructed.

The other accessories are the before mentioned Dual-tone cable, a nice magnetic earphone shirt clip and a cleaning cloth/kit. The Mason V3 comes with a 30 day refit warranty and a general 2 year warranty.

So for the price you do get some really nice accessories, simple but top quality.

5. Customer Service

Lawrance has always been my single point of contact for this review, the personalization and everything else. I have not spoken to any other Unique Melody employee(s) and I didn’t even use the IEM configurator. But if you get the same top quality from UM as I got from Lawrance, then you’ll be a very happy camper.

6. Sound

First of all let’s explain what the DB-GO module’s effect on the sound is. By a simple twist forward or backward you increase or decrease the bass impact (with 4dB). With bass light music the effect is not always immediately audible but with bass heavier music, the extra punch is clearly there. It’s important to know however that even with the 4dB gain however, you don’t turn the Mason V3 into a bass monster. Without gain you get a tight and neutral bass, and with extra bass it’s just above neutral but enough to feel the extra impact. Personally I have the DG-GO module always activated as you get a more engaging and contrasting sound.

Readers not believing in the impact on sound based on the type of cable used better skip this paragraph. In general I most of the time prefer a copper over a silver cable but with the Mason V3 it’s the other way round. The copper cable makes everything a bit slower and less defined, resulting in a relaxed presentation. The silver cable gives it more clarity and precision, resulting in a more energetic delivery. For me personally the technicalities, speed, tightness, clarity and precision are much more clear with the silver cable and you really get to hear what the Mason V3 is capable of.

The Mason V3 emphasizes, resolution, tonal balance, clear vocals, and an expansive soundstage.

That’s how Unique Melody is describing the sound signature in one sentence and I think the guy who wrote that, is spot on. Especially when using the silver cable option. No matter what configuration you go for, the Mason V3 is dead silent with all amps and sources I tried it with.

Copper

With the copper option you get a slightly slower and relaxed sound, bass and mid body is full but never too much. The typical copper warmth and smoothness is audible here for sure and especially the mids and their lovely texture get highlighted. Bass is more present and extended than treble is, but at the same time you’re not missing out on anything. The softer and less energetic, maybe even less extended treble is one of the typical characteristics why a lot of people love copper cables. If you’re fan of clarity and really clean sound, you’ll probably prefer the silver combo over this one, but with the copper you get an easy to listen to, and easy to like, rich and musical sound.

Bass has good impact and body, goes deep and has good layering. With the copper smoothness, the detail and precision isn’t always as clear as with silver. Bass isn’t loose but it isn’t as tight or fast as with the silver option. The mids section is very rich and musical with beautiful string work and vocals. You again have that smoothness and warmth making the Mason V3 an easy to enjoy, romantic midrange monitor. Treble, as stated, has all the detail but it’s not as extended or energetic. It’s soft, easy on the ears and musical.

The next part on SOUND can be found on PAGE THREE, right HERE

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Lieven is living in Europe and he's the leader of the gang. He's running Headfonia as a side project next to his full time day job in Digital Marketing & Consultancy. He's a big fan of tube amps and custom inear monitors and has published hundreds of product reviews over the years.

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