I shave my head and take pride in an all-black wardrobe. When it comes right down to it, I am all for a simple, austere, less-is-more mentality. But with that being said, I generally refuse to give up my cabled IEMs in favor of any wireless earphone just for the “convenience” of it. But the Cambridge Audio Melomania might just get me to ditch the cables one day. Because when the premier British audio company claims their new true wireless earphones are actually “wireless in-ear monitors,” they’re not just blowing smoke. But just how good can this $129 true wireless IEM sound?
Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Review
The Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 comes in a slim box that holds the earphones, the charging case, a micro-USB charging cable, and four pairs of eartips.
Design-wise, the earphones use a bullet shape. Inside each earpiece, a single graphene-enhanced driver tackles sound quality. The earpieces feature IPX5 water- and sweat-resistance. Each earpiece also sports a sensoreless touch-button control, which allows for adjusting playback, volume, or handling phone calls.
Utilizing Bluetooth 5.0, the Melomania 1 carries a Qualcomm chip supporting aptX, AAC, and SBC codecs.
Battery life comes in at 9 hours on the earphones and another 36 hours via the charging case. Charging relies on the included micro-USB charging cable.
Pairing and general use feel deceptively easy: just take the earphones out of the charging case and they automatically enter pairing mode. Once connected to a device, they automatically attempt to re-connect when taken out of the case.
One-ear listening feels like a breeze, too. Just press and hold the touch-button on a single earpiece (with the other placed inside the charging case) to force a pairing mode state.
Fit appears solid, too, though I am not a huge fan of the bullet-shape. I generally prefer designs that sit almost flush with the ear, and the Melomania 1 sticks out just a bit too much for my own tastes.
However, the real kicker here is the sound quality. This true wireless IEM does not disappoint in this regard.
Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Review – Sound Quality
In the lows, the Melomania 1 features good detail and a lifelike sound that never seems too bassy. There’s just a bit of impact here, and in general I would describe these as bass-light. But that’s pretty much what I would expect from a true wireless in-ear monitor. More than some rocking bass, I want clean articulate lows – something that the Melomania pretty much nails. However, pushing the volume above 60-70% on my iPhone results in a more bass-heavy sound. Luckily, this earphone doesn’t suffer as much of a volume issue as other true wireless models, and it can get quite loud.
The mids appear well-defined and articulate, the kind of mids that work well with everything. Vocals especially stand out, feeling intimate and close, but not so compressed like with other true wireless earphones (looking at you, AirPods). Indeed, for any earphone calling itself a monitor, these are fairly impressive mids. They can stand apart during a more focused listening session, or at lower volumes they can appear more subdued, straddling the same level as the low and highs.
A bit rolled-off, the high end delivers smooth vocals. However, instrumentation still sounds sharp and contrasting. The result sounds no less three-dimensional than the mids, but maybe a bit more energetic and engaging. This sound really handles pop, electronica, and classical tunes well, but features enough accuracy and detail to handle pretty much everything. And, deserving of that IEM classification, it never sounds sibilant or too harsh.
Good depth but a minimal impression of space lead to a fair-but-lacking sense of soundstage. While instruments and vocals seem somewhat separated, they all seem to be placed on a horizontal axis that runs from your left ear to your right ear. There is almost no sense of space here, and just a bit of overlap.
Touch-button controls can seem like a double-edged sword at times. The sans sensor design means I don’t accidentally pause my music when re-adjusting the earpieces. However, if I actually do want to pause or adjust playback, I have to press the controls, jabbing myself in the ear in the process.
Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Review – Conclusion
Pros and Cons
Pros: The Melomania offers good sound quality deserving of the IEM appelation. Battery life and build quality fare commendably.
Cons: The bullet-shaped design and touch-button controls may not be for everyone, and a narrow soundstage detracts further from the overall sound.
If you’re looking for a true wireless IEM that won’t cost an arm and a leg while delivering impressive audio, the Cambridge Melomania 1 deserves your attention. Those who can forgive the touch-button controls and somewhat flat soundstage will still enjoy the longer battery life and dense detail throughout.
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