I think by now I’ve said enough about the UM Mage that most of you are googling “Unique Melody” on your browsers. Hold on just a little bit more. If you visit the website, don’t let the website with its broken english and the amateurish photographs distract you. My experience with Sam at Unique Melody has been a very good one. The entire process, from getting my ear impression done, shipping it to China, until I receive the finished product took roughly five weeks. That’s a little long, but Sam has always been very communicative during the process, answering every email I sent him within 24 hours. Again, please understand that English is not his first language, but he definitely takes his time to answer your questions.
Unique melody gives you an option to choose the color of your customs as well as engraving an artwork to your customs. I chose mine to be red and clear. Red for right side, and clear for the left side, just so I can get a good look of what’s inside. I really should have opted for an artwork, cause I’ve seen some really nice artwork on these Mages. Unique melody utilizes a Westone cable (with Westone’s brand on the Y-split!) that I find to be one of the best cable for IEMs, completely free of microphonics. The cable plug is removable, so you can install a different aftermarket cable in the future. They also added a roughly 1″ long thin steel wire at the plug end, so you can bend the wire permanently to the shape of your ears. A luxury that even the Westone 3 or the UM3X doesn’t have.
If you are going to get a custom IEM made, it’s very important that you find an audiologist with a lot of experience in doing IEMs. The quality of the impression is critical. The fit on my pair happens to be perfect, and these customs are actually easier to wear and take off than some IEMs like the Etymotics ER4 or the Westone UM3X, at least in my experience. Also, getting a good seal is quite important, cause that’s how good bass response is achieved. So, make sure you get the best audiologist to do your ear impressions.
GOOD: Mind blowing soundstage, instrument separation that rival full size cans. Very musical sound that goes well with almost all kinds of music. Works well from a portable source.
NO GOOD: Very sensitive to noise and hiss.
System for auditioning:
Headphones: Unique Melody Mage IEM
Source1: Lossless files on MacPro > Grace m902 DAC via Toslink
Source2: Lossless files on Ipod Classic
Amplifier: Grace m902, TTVJ Slim