MEE audio Pinnacle P2 Review – K2

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Sound –

The P2 utilizes a single 10mm dynamic driver like the P1 before it, however, it has been reworked to achieve easier drivability and a generally friendlier sound. Of note, I gave my unit 150 hours of burn-in before my final verdict to little effect, perhaps bass tightened up slightly but I cannot confirm any changes. I also tried swapping out the stock cable with both the original and silver plated P1 cable and did not notice a huge transformation besides ergonomics. That said, the P2 definitely does benefit on some level from a silver plated cable. Even a cheap one, if authentic, helps to smooth the P2’s midrange and slightly increase resolution without leaning out the low-end. That said, it’s hardly an economical investment, you would be $50 off the P1 if buying through MEE audio for example. Users should not feel that the stock cable is bottlenecking the P2’s sound, I would suggest replacing the stock unit simply due to its frustrating ergonomics.

 

Tonality –

The P2 has a lightly v-shaped sound with a mid-bass bump, slightly brighter midrange and a modest treble spike that gives them a more aggressive high-frequency presentation. To my ear, they are actually a little better balanced than the P1 as their warmer low end and less recessed lower midrange better balance out their brighter treble. The P2 is also significantly more balanced than most competing models such as the TFZ Exclusive 4 and 5 in addition to the Kinera H3. They also lack the forwardness of the TFZ King and though their treble is aggressive, they are still markedly more linear than all of the aforementioned models within the higher frequencies.

 

Bass –

The P2’s low end is agile, defined and well controlled, especially when considering their asking price. And despite their mid-bass focus, the earphones find a nice balance between engagement and linearity, neither sounding excessively bloated nor lean in any way. They have good sub-bass extension with noticeable but not bothersome roll-off though impact is tight and rumble defined, more so than the Simgot EN700 Bass and higher end TFZ earphones. And as with the P1, the P2 doesn’t possess huge slam, rather they pursue a slightly smoother, more organic tone with rounder note presentation. As such, the earphones lack muddiness that accentuates the more agile nature of their bass response. Upper bass is also emphasized though tastefully so, creating a midrange that is slightly warmed but well separated nonetheless. Through this tuning, the P2 sounds very inviting yet natural, some bloat is evident though they are easily one of the more mature offerings around this price.

As a result of their smooth sculpting and lack of any muddiness, the P2’s low-end sounds quite clean and defined.  They also have excellent resolution for their price, matching the TFZ King on technical ability. Bass notes are well separated and though texturing falls just short of the H3, they find a nice medium between the technicality of the TFZ and the musicality of the Kinera. Listening to Bruno Mar’s “24K Magic” and the P2 was quick and tight with nice sub-bass slam. Mid-bass had plenty of body and though notes were slightly rounded, bass never came across as tubby or bloated. The P2’s also well complements slower songs such as Hyukoh’s “Tokyo Inn” where the MEE audios provided a clean, snappy drum beat set to the concise plucking of bass guitars. So while the P2 may lack some sub-bass slam and a little texture on certain tracks, they compare very well to class leaders around this price with their agility, definition and control.

 

Mids –

Mids are among the most balanced around this price; the P2’s are slightly bright with great clarity and resolution, well-suiting pop, acoustic and Asian music while slicing through the muddiness of poorly mastered albums. However, they achieve brightness, not through a sense of upper midrange forwardness, but slight recession of the lower mids. That said, the P2 isn’t scooped like the Kinera H3 or even the more expensive P1, but the upper midrange is the main focus in both quality and quantity. Some tonal oddities are present, manifesting through odd voicing to some vocals though the P2’s are no worse than the TFZ Exclusive and Kinera earphones. Lower mids are the weakest aspect of the P2’s sound, male vocals come across as quite dry, thin and truncated, something the more recessed P1 doesn’t suffer from. And while midrange resolution is very good throughout, the P2’s lack of lower midrange body really saps texture and detail. By comparison, the more bodied Simgot EN700 Bass and K3 HD both sounded more natural with more accurate timbre and greater detail retrieval within these regions while the similarly voiced Kinera H3 and TFZ Exclusive 5 both experienced similar difficulties.

However, the P2’s middle and upper midrange are quite the opposite with much-improved quality and vastly smoother tuning. Higher male and female vocals sound consistently clean with excellent definition. Female vocals, in particular, have superb quality with quite a refined tone and great resolution of layering and detail. Clarity is also especially good without becoming overbearing and the P2 never suffered from excessive sibilance in my testing. Their brighter tone definitely preferences engagement over naturalness and upper mids on the P2 still doesn’t extend like those on the Rose Mini 2, but female vocal aficionados will no doubt enjoy the P2. So despite not besting my personal midrange benchmark from Rose, the P2 is still a terrific performer with a more vibrant presentation and warmer low-end finding greater engagement in daily use. Mids may not hold the greatest emphasis within the sound, but they do have many redeeming qualities that draw more attention to the intricacies within this frequency range.

 

Treble –

High-frequencies are on the aggressive side, bringing details to the fore as with the P1 before it. However, the P2 counterbalances their spiked lower-treble response with a slightly greater sense of body, allowing instruments to retain surprisingly accurate timbre and texture despite the nature of their tuning. As such, the P2 sounds more natural than earphones like the Kinera H3 and TFZ King with a similar approach overall to the Magaosi K3 HD. Extension is good but not outstanding, high-hats sound pretty thin and higher notes lack detail in general. And while the P2 doesn’t lack treble air or separation, they don’t excel either, the King and H3 both providing noticeably superior performances. The P2 also isn’t the most detailed earphone though they are very close to class leaders without being quite as peaky. As a result, though the K3 HD and Kinera H3 retrieve more raw detail, the P2 presents them in a more realistic, natural fashion akin to the Rose Mini 2.

However, coming back to their somewhat uneven tuning; where lower treble is aggressive and well-detailed, they do smooth off above that, clearly lacking the extension of the P1. Higher notes are very thin and some are quite distant. Their slightly rough high-end tuning does compromise a lot of higher frequency information that more linear earphones handily resolve. The Mini 2 best embodies this, its less exciting but more linear high-end providing a more consistently nuanced performance. This was highlighted when listening to Guns n’ Roses “Sweet Child O’ Mine” where the P2 had a very clear reproduction of guitars and cymbals but also suffered from a distinct lack of air. Some air was evident and treble doesn’t suffer from blunting or congestion, but high-hats and atmospheric effects tended to get a bit lost in the mix. Still, though the P2 is bright and can tire after longer listening sessions, the earphones never sounded harsh with a smidge of refinement providing just enough high-frequency restraint.

 

Soundstage, Imaging and Separation –

As the P2 lacks the outright resolution and extension of the P1, it also fails to retain the wide open soundstage that model could produce. Width is still commendable but they never reach outside the head and depth is more intimate. As a result, the P2 is just above average in space but is quite coherent in its presentation. Imaging is accurate though some details can be too distant due to their sculpted treble and lower midrange. Centre image is strong and separation is very good on account of their cleaner, clearer sound.

 

Drivability –

The P2 was designed to be much easier to drive than its predecessor that could struggle during portable use. And with a 16ohm impedance and 100dB sensitivity, that is no longer the case with the P2. While not the most sensitive earphone around this price nor the outright easiest to drive, the P2 will happily sing from any decent smartphone. And being a single dynamic driver earphone, they also aren’t overly affected by output impedance if at all, I didn’t notice huge tonal changes when switching from my Chord Mojo to my HTC 10 besides the tone of the sources themselves. That said, the P2 scales better than most competing earphones, thriving off some additional amplification and a musical source. The aforementioned Mojo provided an excellent companion as did the Shozy Alien+ that both granted lower mids with a bit more body and smoothed the P2’s treble response. And even affordable sources like the Fiio Q1 MKII provided a nice bump over my smartphone with a noticeably smoother sound, more treble body and detail in addition to a little more bass control. The P2 is certainly a lot easier to drive than the P1 and doesn’t absolutely require a DAC/AMP but it does benefit quite a bit from a musical dedicated source.

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About Author

Avid writer, passionate photographer and full-time student, Ryan's audio origins and enduring interests lie within all aspects of portable audio. An ongoing desire to bring quality audio to the regular reader underpins his reviewer ethos as he seeks to bring a new perspective on the cutting edge and budget dredge alike.

8 Comments

  1. Amin on

    Dear Mr. Ryan Soo,

    I am new to the world of high end in ear earphones. My first step into this league is with the MEE M6 Pro. As I am on a budget and I want to buy a new pair of earphones, could you kindly suggest me a pair under $100. It would be of great help to me.

    Thanks for all your help.

    • Ryan Soo on

      Hi Amin,

      Are there any features that you are looking for in particular? For example, how much isolation, comfort, type of sound? The P2 is quite a safe choice but it may not be the best one if you prefer more bass.

      Cheers,
      Ryan.

  2. Yannick Khong on

    P2 seems very seductive! How does the p2 compare to the SE215 special edition and oriveti basic? thx! 🙂

    • Ryan Soo on

      The BASIC is just as comfy and isolating with better cable and build. It has more sub-bass emphasis, more recessed midrange and darker tone with less aggressive treble. It is generally smoother throughout but also not quite as clear or detailed.

      I don’t think the Shure is a great choice for pure sound quality in 2017, but it still has a sound that is easy to enjoy. It isolates the most of the bunch and fit is super stable. It is L-shaped like the Basic but much warmer with regards to bass and lower mids. Upper mids are a bit wonky and treble is quite rolled off, it is quite a laid-back earphone compared to the P2.

  3. Xcrailer on

    Hey Ryan!

    How would you compare the Pinnacle P2 to the DUNU DN-2000?

    The dn-2000 have been my favorite IEM to date due to their excellent soundstage, resolution, micro detail and sparkly treble extension as well as sounding very natural with vocals.

    I use to get all my recommendations from Joker but he seems to be occupied with other things these days and I was curious on your take on this.

    I will be driving the headphone I choose with an iPhone 7 so there will be no amps involved.

  4. Carlos on

    Thank you for the reply! Very helpful. A little bright shouldn’t bother me, I have a pair of DT990s which i enjoy very much and people are always talking about how sharp the highs can be, but I haven’t noticed.

  5. Carlos on

    As someone who is making their first jump into high(er) end in ears, would you recommend this over the 1More Triple Driver? As in is the P2 the more capable in ear?

    • Ryan Soo on

      Hard to say, unfortunately, I haven’t heard the triple, only the quad driver. The P2 is certainly a very well done earphone, it is slightly brighter and more revealing than the Quad Driver and the Triple from what I’ve heard but may fatigue if that kind of sound isn’t for you. The P2 fits way better and isolates more making it a better choice for commute. The removable cable will also greatly aid longevity, it is definitely a feature to look out for longer-term investments. I would say that overall, the P2 is the most well-rounded earphone.

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