Some earphones have detachable cables. It's a rarity but one we lap up, as it saves us from that sad day when the sound from one of the earbuds starts crackling away before dropping out altogether, never to be heard again. The MEElectronics SP51P use detachable elements, but it's not the cable this time. It's the back of each bud. These Franken-phones offer three sets of metal bass ports to customise the sound of your IEMs. In truth, we have seen such ingenuity before, in the shape of the Sleek Audio SA1 and their bigger brothers the SA6s, but never on such a budget model.
At first glance, the MEElectronics SP51P earphones appear normal, with a metal-bodied bullet-shaped look that's reminiscent of Denon's trusty old AH-C751 buds. But these are no ordinary earphones
These noise-isolating buds will allow you to perform brain surgery on them, changing their sonic personality with metal screw-in bass ports, like flipping over the top of someone's skull and popping a new brain in. Three sets of bass ports are included, intended to give you a neutral, enhanced and extreme bass response respectively. They're colour coded too - silver for the easy-going port, grey for the middle contender and black for the tub-thumping lunatic at the back.
Including removable elements like the SP51P bass ports is always a questionable option, as the necessary friction involved in attaching and removing these elements encourages wear, potentially reducing the product's lifespan. Both the earbuds and ports are made from metal here though, more hard-wearing than the plastic materials we're used to at this mid-range price point.
Treated with a modicum of care, you needn't worry about the threads going on the ports, unless you're going to flip between different bass "personalities" daily - and in our experience you won't. The greater worry is losing the little rubber ring that sits at the end of each bass port. It creates the seal with the bud, so you're royally up the spout if you lose one.
Hardy and strong as the buds are, there is a disconcerting crackle when the IEMs are inserted into your ears. This is caused by flexing in the diaphragm of the 10mm dynamic driver, and tends to be something we hear in earphones of less-than-spectacular build quality. This worry aside, the MEElectronics SP51P feel hardier than most bigger-name rivals, such as the plastic-bodied Denon AH-C452.
The "P" of this model's name indicates that it includes a microphone housing for use as a hands-free kit with smartphones. The housing for these extra components is a simple black metal affair, with no screw-in elements - with a call button in-tow.
For a pair of earphones with an outlandish premise, the MEElectronics SP51P are surprisingly tasteful in their looks. Unfortunately, they're most aesthetically pleasing when the black "extreme" bass port is applied - and that just happens to be the port we'd nigh-on never use. But more on that later.