Unique Melody Mason V3 – The Age of Indulgence

8

DISCLAIMER: Unique Melody loaned me this Mason V3 universal demo in return for my honest opinion. I will send the unit back following the review. I am not personally affiliated with the company in any way, nor do I receive any monetary rewards for a positive evaluation. The review is as follows.

Unique Melody is an undoubted veteran within the in-ear monitoring industry. First making waves with their six-driver Miracle (which I still own to this day), the Chinese company have showcased excellence in both longevity and innovation. Four years ago, they were reshell specialists who even offered installing additional drivers for superior performance. And today, they’re an engineering powerhouse capable of developing their very own planar magnetic in-ears, metal-shelled hybrid IEMs, and a slew of new technologies including dB-Go modules, Dual-Tone cables and the Dreamweaver shell. The culmination of all this is their sixteen-driver flagship: The Mason V3. Equipped with one of the highest – and priciest – driver counts in the industry today, can the Mason V3 and its bag of tricks justify the luxurious price tag?

Unique Melody Mason V3

  • Driver count: Sixteen balanced-armature drivers
  • Impedance: 24Ω
  • Sensitivity: 104dB @ 1kHz
  • Key feature(s) (if any): Dual-Tone cable; dB-Go modules; Dreamweaver shell
  • Available form factor(s): Universal and custom acrylic IEM
  • Price: $2699
  • Website: en.uniquemelody.org

Build and Accessories

The Mason V3 comes in a black, textured box with the company name embossed on top. Lifting off the top cover reveals a foam-lined interior with precision-cut depressions to secure the owner’s card, a satchel of multi-sized tips and a round metal case. The card comes embedded with a USB stick which supposedly contains photos of the in-ear throughout different stages of production, but since this was a loaner unit, I chose not to tempt the possible risk of breaking it. The puck-like case is not dissimilar from the ones offered by JHAudio, and they do a brilliant job of keeping the IEMs safe. Accessories aren’t plenty at this price range, but Unique Melody win big in presentation. This is a visually-stunning package that exudes class, even if the addition of a cleaning cloth or a carabiner-clad carrying case wouldn’t have hurt.

As far as build quality is concerned, Unique Melody have absolutely hit it out of the park. Externally, the Mason V3 is one of the most solid IEMs I’ve ever encountered. They aren’t heavy at all (especially in the ear), but they have immense density. And, I must attribute that to their Dreamweaver shells. While other companies cure liquid resin until enough of it solidifies to form a single wall around the perimeter of the shell, Unique Melody have employed a novel method where acrylic is painted and cured onto the IEM layer-by-layer. This essentially produces multiple walls around the shell to further bolster its strength. Unique Melody also offer a design where strands of a wool-like material are placed between each layer to form a spider-web-like effect, as seen on my unit. Cosmetically, the IEMs have also been finished with a flawless layer of lacquer, and the monitor’s internals have been tactfully arranged to maximise finesse.

Dual-Tone Cable

Unique Melody developed the Dual-Tone cable to further increase the Mason V3’s sonic customisability, as well as to simplify cable-rolling on the go. The Mason V3 (and the Mentor V3, for that matter) comes equipped with a screw-in, 4-pin connector not unlike the ones on JHAudio’s Siren Series monitors. But – where the latter uses the four pins to separate bass, mids, treble and ground – only two of the four pins on Unique Melody’s IEMs are ever active at all times. The conductor connected to these two active pins will be the one carrying the audio signal from your source to the IEM, while the other remains inactive. This is designed such that when you swap the cables left and right, you’ll be using a different conductor material to listen. Sonic comparisons between the two will be on the last page of the review.

Ergonomically, Unique Melody’s option is light enough for daily use. Flexibility is okay, but it understandably can’t compete with standards set by the likes of PlusSound or Effect Audio. However, these are but minor gripes when compared to the cable’s memory wire. Unpleasant and stiff, it would actively prevent me from listening to the IEM on the go for any longer than 30-minute stretches. Although the cable’s flexibility and weight are pleasant enough to not warrant any immediate changes, I’d love for Unique Melody to ditch the memory wire completely. Companies like Han Sound Audio don’t even bother pre-shaping ear bends and they work just fine, so this is an option I’d love to see offered on all Dual-Tone cables from now on. The screw-on sockets do need casual re-tightening, but considering my unit is a review loaner that’s been passed around multiple individuals, some wear-and-tear is expected.

dB-Go Modules

The Mason V3 also comes with what Unique Melody are calling dB-Go modules. They take the form of dials protruding from the faceplate, visually akin to Asius Technologies’ ADEL MAMs (Manually-Adjusted Modules). According to Unique Melody, they relieve pressure from within the ear canal – for a less fatiguing listening experience – whilst simultaneously functioning as a sub-bass adjuster. In practice, the adjustment aspect of the modules only allow for two realistic scenarios: Full up or full down. This is because the dials only ever tighten on either extreme, and any setting in-between can’t be maintained because of how sensitive the dial is to the touch when unfastened. Sonically speaking, though, appreciable changes can be heard on either setting, affecting – as advertised – the sub-bass and the sub-bass only. Certain instruments gain a a greater sense of growl down low, This aids musicality on EDM tracks especially, adding a necessary sense of cadence to bass drops and climaxes. Again, it’s a nifty gadget that bolsters the Mason V3’s customisability, and I don’t think it’d be unrealistic to expect more variants on this module some time down the line.

1 2 3
Share.

About Author

Church-boy by day and audio-obsessee by night, Daniel Lesmana’s world revolves around the rhythms and melodies we lovingly call: Music. When he’s not behind a console mixing live for a congregation of thousands, engineering records in a studio environment, or making noise behind a drum set, you’ll find him on his laptop analysing audio gear with fervor and glee. Now a specialist in custom IEMs, cables and full-sized headphones, he’s looking to bring his unique sensibilities - as both an enthusiast and a professional - into the reviewer’s space; a place where no man has gone before.

8 Comments

  1. Clarence on

    I’d rather prefer Mentor V3’s musicality with full body engaging mid, just never get tried of it.

    • Deezel on

      Hi Clarence,

      Yes, a few people I know have said the same as well. I’m extremely eager to try the Mentor V3, and I’ll talk to Unique Melody soon about a possible review for it – as soon as my workload clears up a bit, first. 😀

  2. MFHRaptor on

    How would you compare the Mason V3 to the likes of tia Fourté or Advanced AcousticWerkes W900? (Especially in terms of soundstage depth, width, and elevation)

    • Deezel on

      Hi MFHRaptor,

      I can’t compare them directly because I don’t have the Mason V3 with me anymore. But, in terms of soundstage width and depth, it’s probably some of the largest I’ve ever heard from a universal demo of a custom in-ear. It’s about as wide (from memory) as the W900 whilst being deeper and a touch taller, but I can’t comment on the Tia Fourte for now. I’ve heard a number of variants of the Tia Fourte and I’ve yet to fully familiarise myself with the final production tuning. If I ever get the chance to compare them all, I’ll let you know. 🙂

      Cheers,
      Daniel

      • MFHRaptor on

        I can’t thank you enough for such an insightful review devoid of hype or fanboyism. I’ve read it 3 times already. I now have a solid understanding of what the Mason V3 is all about.. What it tries to achieve, and it what it accomplished in its pursuit of that goal.. and the slight niggles that can take away from its overall performance.

        In my research for my next (and first) high-end IEM, I believe the Mason V3 stands a middle ground between analytical and musical. I’m a headphones guy, but considering my work and commute routine, I don’t have much time to sit at home to enjoy full-sized headphones.. So, I became convinced IEMs of the highest regard is my only viable way to enjoy music. That’s why I’m going for the best there is, as my one and only IEM for many many years to come. Spaciousness and headroom have the most important consideration, because I’m trying to get a full-sized headphone experience in the form of in-ear headphones, and that led me to such products as the Mason V3, W900, and tia Fourté.

        • Deezel on

          Hi MFHRaptor,

          Thanks so much for your kind words. 😀 If spaciousness and headroom are indeed your greatest considerations, then the Mason V3 should rank very high on your list. I’d warn against the W900, because I highly dislike its lower-treble peak that makes instruments like hi-hats annoyingly prominent in the mix. But, AAW did release an interesting revision of it recently, the impressions of which you can check out in my CanJam SG 2018 article. The Tia Fourte is also a fantastic technical performer, but I have reservations against its thinner/leaner presentation as well as its universal-only form factor. I can imagine the Mason V3 gaining even more coherence and smoothness in its custom form (as I’ve experienced with a lot of universal vs. custom comparisons), so it’s an even greater contest once you take that into consideration.

          As I pointed out in my review, the Mason V3 is a soundstage-head’s dream and I think it’d fit your preferences pretty well. I’ll let you know if I get to try the Mentor V3 which also looks incredibly promising. 🙂

          Cheers,
          Daniel

          • MFHRaptor on

            Thanks for pointing towards your CanJam SG tour. I’ve just spent my whole day reading it over and over.

            Considering your advice on AAW W900, I decided to drop it completely. However, the POLY got my attention. Just from appearances alone, its smaller vents might aid in isolation and maybe it is not very open like iSines or UM ME.1.

            What brightened my day was the knowledge that 64 Audio are providing lesser models with Tia technology. This just convinced me that this is where my final decision is going to be. The Mason V3 will always rank high for me personally, but in all honesty, I’m a fan of the Tia, and APEX is a huge boost for me to go with one of 64 Audio’s offerings.. The question is: Which one?

            I understood why you loved the U8t, and now I consider it the model to look for. If only there’s another higher model that can have its “Tia drivers tuned just right” like you said. This requires a direct comparison between the top 2 Tia Fourte and Tia Trio, and from the small comparison graphs they put on their official website, it appears that Fourte is treble inclined, while Trio is mid-centric. I hope to hear from you or your mates in THL doing the full review on the Tia top variants. Thanks again for your time and effort.

            • Deezel on

              Hi MFHRaptor,

              Thanks for taking the time to read it! 😀 PinkyPowers has already reviewed the Tia Fourte and he’s in love with it. His review’s here: http://theheadphonelist.com/the-will-to-rule-a-review-of-the-64audio-tia-fourte/

              I auditioned the Tia Trio very briefly in Singapore and it is indeed warmer than the Fourte, but there’s a weird incoherence in the midrange between the lower mids and the upper mids. The articulation of notes sound audibly louder than the overtone or the decay, which aids clarity, but prevents it from sounding effortlessly natural. Though, if that’s not a problem for you, I can recommend it as a richer alternative to the Fourte.

              Cheers,
              Daniel

Leave A Reply