Home / TVs & Audio / Headphones / Unique Melody Mage

Unique Melody Mage review

By

Reviewed:

1 of 10

Unique Melody Mage 4
  • Unique Melody Mage 4
  • Unique Melody Mage 3
  • Unique Melody Mage 2
  • Unique Melody Mage
  • Unique Melody Mage 1
  • Unique Melody Mage
  • Unique Melody Mage
  • Unique Melody Mage
  • Unique Melody Mage
  • Unique Melody Mage

Summary

Our Score:

8

Pros

  • Crystal clear highs and rich mids
  • Vast sound stage
  • Completely customisable design
  • Easy to drive - no need to amp
  • Great comfort, build and noise isolation

Cons

  • Slightly light on bass
  • Hard plastic design has some drawbacks
  • Amost too sensitive
  • Few extras in the box

Key Features

  • Four balanced armature drivers
  • Custom moulded housing
  • Completely customisable styling
  • Replaceable cables
  • Manufacturer: Unique Melody
  • Review Price: £575.00

Recently we looked at the Unique Melody Aero, a set of custom-moulded triple-driver In-Ear Monitors (IEMs), and were reasonably impressed but they couldn't quite take the fight to the similarly priced ACS T2 dual driver set. Now we're taking a look at the next model up from the Aeros, the Unique Melody Mage. They pack in four balanced armature drivers to deliver their audio oomph. So can double the number of drivers deliver double the performance of the ACS T2? Let's find out.

Unique Melody Mage 3

Before we hit the review proper, for those uninitiated in the ways of custom IEMs, here's a brief introduction.

Unlike normal earphones or IEMs, 'customs' are created literally in the mould of your own ears. You visit an audiologist to get impressions taken of your ears (prices range from £20-£50) then send these to the manufacturer of your choice where they're crafted into perfect fitting facilitators of audiological fun.

In the case of Unique Melody, the company plans to develop a voucher scheme whereby once you've ordered your headphones you can simply hand over the voucher to the audiologist and not have to pay anything. However, currently you have to cover this cost yourself and £20 has been removed from the overall price to balance this. Also, when you order your headphones the company provides a prepaid envelope for you to return the impressions.

Where Unique Melody differs from some other custom providers is that you can also completely customise the look of your IEMs at no extra cost. Specifically you can choose from literally any opaque or translucent colour for the main plastic of the earpieces, choose a second colour for the cap (the flat section that covers most of the outer surface of the earpiece), add a background panel for the cap (like brushed aluminium) and finish it all off with a custom etching.

We went for an all clear plastic look, so as best to get photos of the insides, with inlaid aluminium panels and a couple of custom etchings. For more examples you can check out Unique Melody's gallery.

Unique Melody Mage 2

Once the impressions were made and styling chosen was done, it took around four weeks for the IEMs to arrive and thankfully upon first impression they were well worth the wait. They arrive in a splendiferous faux leather clad box (that thankfully isn't pink like on the Aeros) complete with a wax removal tool, reasonably informative instruction manual (most crucially advising how best to fit and remove the 'phones), a snazzy warranty card, and a unique sound level graph showing just how your IEMs perform sonically, at least according to some professional monitoring equipment.

You don't, however, get a carry case, inline volume control, or other such extras. And, of course, you don't get any rubber tips, as being customs you don't need them.

Pbryanw

August 16, 2011, 11:41 pm

Seeing how custom moulds improved these IEMs, it's made me wonder whether buying ACS silicon moulds would be worth the outlay for me?

I would be using them with my Shure SE315s - I'm just wondering whether I would be better off sticking to my foamies, or whether it's only worth buying them for IEMs costing over £400 (like the Mage)?

ryanw

August 17, 2011, 4:08 am

I noticed that Unique Melody also offer a reshelling service for your standard IEMs - by the looks of it, you get all the advantages of customs without the high price. It might be worth looking into: http://uniquemelody.co.uk/products.php#reshelling

Ed

August 17, 2011, 1:31 pm

@Pbryanw:

Difficult one to call actually. My gut instinct is to say not to bother as you'll get a much larger boost in performance buy simply buying a better set of IEMs. But then again you've already put down the cash for your 315s and you wouldn't recoup much of that back by selling them, in which case a custom shell would be a good upgrade. I'd be more encouraging were you getting the flush fit of the T2s, as you can literally sleep in those, but you're unlikely to find the 315s sit quite that comfortably.

@ryanw:
Well, reshelling costs £175 so if you go and buy yourself a decent set of IEMs the total cost wont be dissimilar. Moreover, in the case of the SE315, the reshelling would actually cost more than the original headphone, and that really wouldn't be a sensible upgrade.

Pbryanw

August 17, 2011, 6:57 pm

Thanks to both of you for your help. I was going to get the SE315s for my birthday, so haven't received them yet. From the sounds of it (thanks Ed) the sensible option would be to spend the extra I was going to spend on ACS moulds, towards an upgrade to the SE425s (which received a pretty decent review on TrustedReviews).

Ed

August 17, 2011, 9:52 pm

Yes, moving up to the 425s would definitely be a good move. They're a great set of IEMs.

comments powered by Disqus