The Melomania Touch appear to offer a step up over the already very good Melomania 1, while still remaining affordable.
- Review Price: £129.95
- IPX4 rated (earbuds and case)
- 50 hours' battery (total)
- 7mm drivers
- aptX, AAC, SBC
A couple of years after the release of the Melomania 1 true wireless earbuds, Cambridge Audio is back with the Melomania Touch.
Rather than a retread of the original Melomania (which, if you weren’t already aware, means a love of music and isn’t a reference to melanomas), the Melomania Touch come with a new design and more features for just a slight increase in the RRP.
We gave the Melomania 1 five stars back in 2019, calling them “talented beyond their price”. Are we about to see a repeat? Read on for our initial impressions…
Related: Best wireless earbuds
Cambridge Audio Melomania Touch design – An all-new look
It’s all change for the Melomania Touch in terms of design. The bullet shape of the Melomania 1 is gone, replaced by a more conventional look, but one that’s far more stylish and distinctive than other earbuds around the Touch’s price point.
For one, these earbuds carry a beautifully sculpted look. I’d describe them as more teardrop shaped than the more conventional “ear trombone” of most wireless earbuds. They come with an integrated wing-tip that should allow for greater stability – and, like the Melomania 1, they’re available in white and black finishes, although these colours are glossier than before.
Related: Best headphones
They feel super-lightweight – weighing less than 6g each – and are comfortable to wear. Of course, there remains the question of how they’ll feel over longer periods of use, but first impressions are that they fit easily with little to no discomfort.
The premium design extends to the charging case as well. Covered in a soft, premium microfibre leather (which is sure to please Vegans ), the case feels equally light, offering a reassuring feel of good quality and design.
Melomania Touch features – Improvements in virtually every area
So the design has been revamped, but what about the features? Happily, they’ve also received a spruce up.
Battery life matches the claimed endurance of the Melomania 1 at nine hours, but the case offers a further 41 hours for a total of 50, besting the previous earbuds by five hours. That does drop to seven hours/33 hours when the earbuds are in the High Performance mode, which they are by default. Charging from a depleted battery to full takes two hours.
Related: Best wireless headphones
Speaking of the High Performance mode, the difference between it and the Low Power mode isn’t simply battery performance but audio, too. High Performance uses a similar type of hi-fi grade amplification technology that Cambridge uses in its own CX amplifiers, aiming to produce a bigger soundstage, reduce noise and offer a better sense of dynamism. I haven’t tried out the Low Power mode yet, in part because switching between the two – according to the app – requires a system software update that can take up to 5 minutes. That doesn’t sound appealing, even if you’re not switching between modes that often. To change modes, you’ll need to jump into the new Melomania app.
The app looks swish, displaying graphics of how much battery life is left and what audio codec the earbuds are playing in (aptX, AAC or SBC). There’s also a toggle for enabling Transparency mode and a slider that lets you adjust from 0 all the way to 100%. You can hear what’s around you with it enabled, but it doesn’t quite sound natural.
Other app-related features include custom EQ settings, a “Find My Earphones” feature, in the event they ever get lost (you’ll need to set permissions as to whether that location feature is “Always On”, or available when the app is open); deciding which earbud controls you want on or off (it looks you can do everything without fishing out a mobile device), and a User Guide that, thankfully, is app-based and doesn’t direct you to a web version.
Bluetooth connectivity is 5.0 and both the earbuds and case are rated at IPX4. There are microphones in each earbud with CVC (Clear Voice Capture) noise cancellation for clearer call quality. Siri and Google Assistant are the voice aids of choice, but you can call up Alexa if your phone supports it, too.
Cambridge Melomania Touch Sound – Positive so far
The sound quality of budget earbuds always seem to be tarnished by the fact that they’re cheap. But as the Melomania 1 showed, it’s still possible to deliver excellent sound at an affordable price. Initial signs point to the Melomania Touch being capable of even better performance than Cambridge’s first earbuds.
However, I must admit that although I was a fan of the Melomania 1, at times they could sound a little hollow and they didn’t have the same pull at lower volumes. This isn’t the case with the Touch.
While I’ve haven’t yet played a huge amount through them so far, they’re likable from the off – at least in High Performance mode. The track Stand Tall from Awaken, My Love presents Childish Gambino’s vocals with a melodic and smooth presentation that instantly piques your attention. The slightly brittle tone I could hear in the Melomania 1 can’t be heard here.
Evey Reborn from V For Vendetta is a track that benefits from the Touch’s broad soundstage, clarity and sense of detail. There’s plenty of energy, and when the track soars in its latter half, the Melomania Touch handles the shift in dynamics well.
The bass in Turnstile (TENET) is effective – much better than I feel the Melomania 1 are capable of – and integration across the frequency range has made for a very engaging listen so far. Rhythmically, the Melomania Touch haven’t put a foot wrong, and tonally they hit a balanced approach: smooth, detailed and – well – melodic.
Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 early impressions
There’s potential for the Melomania Touch to not only match but exceed the original Melomania. Considering the number of features added and the upgrade in design and audio for a tenner more than the original’s RRP, there’s a lot more to like than dislike with the Touch. I’m looking forward to spending more time with them ahead of a full review.