MUSE HiFi’s Power Planar made a good impression on me, and it made the brand one to look out for. Now they have a new IEM at the same $199 price point. The ME1 is a dynamic IEM that looks to be an alternative to those not looking for a planar IEM. Does the ME1 do anything else that sets itself apart from the Power Planar?
What You Get
- ME1 IEMs
- 2-pin Litz cable
- 2.5mm, 3.5mm, and 4.4mm adapters
- 3 sets of ear tips
- One set of double-flange tips
- Carrying case
Look and Feel
When I first took the ME1 out of the box I was pleasantly surprised by its design. I’m a fan of the Power Planar’s aesthetic, and the ME1 keeps the same level of build quality with a whole different style. Its shell is a metal casing with a lining of gold for added style points. The part that is really unique is the shark-grille pattern that makes the ME1 slightly open. Its in-ear cavity is shaped in a very particular way to be more ergonomic, and it succeeds in providing comfort and support.
The ME1 uses a 10mm dynamic driver with a DLC diaphragm, and a Knowles balanced armature. A new dual magnetic system is implemented to increase the magnetic flux which can enhance dynamic range. It has a 32 Ohm impedance and can be easily driven from any device.
I wasn’t expecting a wider soundstage than the Power Planar, but the ME1 does an excellent job of setting itself apart. It maintains organization while enlarging the image for a grander output. You can feel the size of the instruments gathering in a closer headspace, but they never lose their accurate positioning. Localizing performances is more straightforward here than how the Power Planar portrayed its layering. The ME1 has a closer appearance while simultaneously placing the sound elements in front of you. Instruments, sound effects, and vocals all appear with a specific origin in mind, rather than coming at you from a driver. Distance and dimension are well communicated, but the staging is still fairly linear with average separation.
These MUSE HiFi IEMs really know how to slam. The ME1 offers some good impact, with a tight and quick punch. It is an effective bass tone that easily envelops you with deep, vibrating resonance. Sub-bass textures are there, and they’re subtle enough to have purpose without overstaying their welcome. The same goes for the mid-bass, which is thinner but has more precision. In terms of overall timbre, this bass isn’t the most detailed but its heavily featured elements are given clarity, with a touch of extended rumble.
There doesn’t appear to be much power given to the midrange as the lows, but the vocals are quite crisp. The instruments don’t appear hollow, but the fundamental region is a bit unfocused. They lack articulation here, and some elements feel like they’re missing a whole layer of tone. For instance, you only get the bottom end of electric guitars. You’ll get the punch, but the real meat of the performance is more recessed. Things get better in the upper mids though. There is more clarity and resolution to instruments and vocals here, and they’re given the drive needed to reveal more detail in this region.
The treble has a natural timbre. Its frequency content can be quite dynamic, showcasing brightness only when called for in the mix. For the most part, the highs are smooth and feature some nice height and airiness to bring texture to their tone. I would have enjoyed more sizzle here, but the response you get is still easy to enjoy.
I enjoyed my time with the ME1, and I appreciate its sound on an equal level to the Power Planar. Its build quality and aesthetics are fantastic for a two-hundred-dollar IEM, and you’ll find the bass to be very fulfilling. It is not a perfect sound signature even for the price, but what is offered here is more than enough to potentially catch your interest.
The MUSE HiFi ME1 is available from Linsoul.