Review: Unique Melody ME1 – Planar Bliss

Cable

 

The ME.1 comes with a high quality hybrid 8-braided 6N Single pure silver and pure copper cable with a single ended 3.5mm straight angle jack and it looks and feels great. The 3.5mm plug has a good, thick strain relief and the cable itself is coated with a see-through plastic. The splitter is nice and works very well to keep the cable tight under your chin or behind your head. The 2-pin connectors are sturdy and I don’t see these breaking anytime soon.

Sound-wise this cable is also really nice. Sure you can replace it with other aftermarket cables if you want, but I never felt the need to do so, even though I did try the ME.1 in balanced mode with the Effect Audio Leonidas cable. The result was a lighter bodied sound with greater clarity, more width and extra treble extension. While I personally like this sound signature, the description of the sound later in this review is done based on the stock cable.

It will be hard using this nice cable in combination with other IEMs, simply because the UM cable has a special 2-pin connector, where the pins are protected by a cover. As a result it most of the time is impossible to get the pins in deep enough in other monitors.

Price & Accessories

The UM ME.1 is available in a universal fit or in a custom molded design. The price for the universal fit like we have is $769. The custom IEM’s price will depend on the chosen options and design and this version starts at $1069. The Audeze iSine10 and -20 go for $399 and $599 so the ME1 is the most expensive of these three.

For all of that money you get:

  • 3 pairs of foam tips (S/M/L)
  • 4 pairs of silicone tips (VS/S/M/L)
  • Rubber storage case (large, UFO size)
  • Padded “soft” carry case (large)
  • Cleaning tool
  • 3.5-6.3mm adaptor
  • Airline adaptor
  • Warranty card
  • 1.2m two pin (0.78mm) earphone cable
  • Unique ME.1 IEMs

Specifications

  • Impedance: 23.1 Ω
  • Diaphragm Diameter: 18.5 mm
  • Magnet Type: Dual-Layer High Strength Neodymium
  • Shell: 3D Printed Medical Grade Acrylic with CNC Finish
  • Connector Type: 2-Pin Protruding Connector
  • Cable: 6N Single Crystal Copper
  • Cable Termination: 3.5 mm Headphone Jack

 Sound

The ME.1 has great speed and attack and they to me have a more neutral tuning. Because of the open design, you get an airy presentation with a really nice sense of space. It’s not overly wide either, it sits just right and there’s great separation.

The ME.1 also scores very well for what clarity and cleanness are concerned and Unique Melody has managed to make the ME.1 musical, yet detailed and very natural sounding. While the ME.1’s price wouldn’t immediately say so, the ME1’s sound is worth of a flagship level IEM. The transparency level is very good and with all of the DAPs and sources I tried the ME.1 with, it had great dynamics. I do feel they scale up when using better gear and amplification, but more on that later.

You get a full bodied sound from the bass to the highs, and beside the sometimes more forward sounding upper mids and the vocals, I still call this a fairly balanced sounding IEM. I personally, especially with the foam tips, don’t feel the ME1 has a V-shaped presentation unlike some others have mentioned.

For bass, think quality over quantity. Bass is tight and fast, has a very good level of detail and goes low. The amount of body also is to the more neutral level, and while it goes really deep, it doesn’t have that big rumble and impact down low. If you’re looking for big and bold bass, this is not the planar IEM for you. I however really like how UM tuned the ME1’s bass, with good detail, excellent layering and a fast, tight pace. The impact level the bass has for me is good but at the same time I wouldn’t want anything less. For some it might be on the light side, for others it might me perfect but I don’t think anyone will say this is too much. Bass never bleeds into the mids and they’re perfectly connected.

In the mid section there undeniably is more focus on the vocals and the upper mids, with a slightly more forward presentation. The lower and mid mids are still very present however (good body and impact) and they are very rich in detail. Like the bass, the mids are detailed, clear, layered and very well separated. I love the timbre and spacious delivery of the smooth, musical mids. Especially with the AK SP1000 the pace and dynamics are really impressive.

The treble section has good extension, clarity, detail and precision but I never found it too be harsh or too sharp sounding. Treble flows perfectly from the mids, and even though there’s a little incoherence I find the ME1’s treble section to sound really good, sparkling with energy and natural. Great timbre and layering with good speed and a high musicality level. Do we need more?

When I first started listening to the ME1, I had just finished reviewing the Audeze iSines and coming from those, the ME1 was quite the shock as they are tuned so different. Once my mind and ears adapted however, I completely fell in love with these ME1’s sound signature and if it wasn’t for the slight discomfort after many hours of listening, I’d have these in all day long.

Click here to go to the 3rd and last page of the review

4.4/5 - (38 votes)

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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.

4 Comments

  • Reply December 16, 2017

    Michal

    Great review Lieven!

    Do You have any idea if UM has an EU distribution? Is MusicTeck the only way to get them?

    Thanks!

    • Reply December 16, 2017

      Lieven

      They were represented by Audiogarden.fr but you can work with them directly or via the MusicTeck guys in the US. And thank you

  • Reply December 16, 2017

    Pade

    Would the custom option be too much to ask for a review?

    • Reply December 17, 2017

      Lieven

      We covered the universal because no one was getting the ME1 in a custom version. So no, it won’t happen

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