Details: Meelec’s high bang/buck contender in the $20 range
MSRP: $24.99 for M9 (manufacturer’s page); $29.99 for M9P with mic + 1-button remote (manufacturer’s page)
Current Price: $20 from amazon.com; $23 for M9P with microphone; Note: an updated M9P Second Generation model has since become available
Specs: Driver: Dynamic | Imp: 16 Ω | Freq: 18-20k Hz | Cord: 4’ 45-degree plug
Nozzle Size: 5.5mm | Preferred tips: Stock single-flanges
Wear Style: Straight down or over-the-ear
Accessories (4/5) – Hard clamshell case, shirt clip, single-(3 sizes) and bi-flange silicone tips
Build Quality (4/5) – While the old version had known build issues, the new M9s are very solidly constructed out of metal using the same cables as rest of the range – striped silver on the silver version; dark grey on the black version
Isolation (3/5) – Longer housings and included bi-flange help achieve deeper insertion and greater isolation despite the vented design
Microphonics (4/5) – Low when worn cable down; nonexistent otherwise
Comfort (3.5/5)– Shallow insertion and fairly light weight make these quite comfortable for long term use but bi-flanges may be required for the best sound. The sound is very sensitive to insertion depth so all of the tips are worth trying
Sound (5.3/10) – The M9 share their general signature with the Meelec M6, which happen to be my favorites from the entire Meelectronics lineup. The soundstage is fairly wide and they sound quite airy – much more so than the top-of-the-range M11. They have great extension at the top end and very strong bass. The bass is sometimes excessive in quantity and tends towards ‘boomy’. The mids are slightly recessed and a bit dry, just like the M6. Though clarity is great all-around, they can be overwhelmed a tiny bit by busy tracks and there is some upper-end harshness. Treble is strong and sparkly, boasting surprising detail and extension for a $20 earphone. Of note, the sound they put out is very fit-dependent; experimentation with different tips may be necessary to get the best out of them.
Value (9/10) – The sound of these is easily worth the price of admission. Clarity and detail are superb and the sound is more airy than any of Meelec’s other models. It’s very hard to compete with the detail these are capable of producing at such a low price point. Meelectroncs’ excellent customer service deserves a nod here too.
Pros: Excellent accessory pack, excellent sound at the price point, good build quality, very low microphonics
Cons: Can be difficult to wear over-the-ear, bass may be too strong/boomy for some