Details: Slim-shelled budget-oriented earphone from Meelec
MSRP: $19.99 for M16 (manufacturer’s page); $24.99 for M16P with mic + 1-button remote (manufacturer’s page) (discontinued)
Current Price: $13 from amazon.com for M16; $15 from amazon.com for M16P
Specs: Driver: Dynamic | Imp: 16Ω | Sens: 92 dB | Freq: 20-20k Hz | Cable: 4.3’ L-plug
Nozzle Size: 4.5mm | Preferred tips: stock single flanges
Wear Style: Straight down or over-the-ear
Accessories (3.5/5) – Single-flange (3 sizes) and bi-flange silicone tips, shirt clip, and clamshell carrying case
Build Quality (4/5) – Like the pricier M21/M31 models, the M16 is mostly metal but the strain relief isn’t as convincing and the stubby nozzles lack filters. The build quality is still very good for the price but it won’t be putting Meelec’s older M9 to shame
Isolation (3/5) – Good but limited by the earphones’ rear vent
Microphonics (4/5) – Reasonably low when worn cable-down, nonexistent when worn cord-up
Comfort (4/5) – The housings of the M16 are similar in size to the M21 model but the nozzles are shorter and the strain reliefs are oddly angled. They can still be worn over-the-ear but the M11 housings are just a bit more convenient
Sound (5/10) – Competing directly with Meelec’s legendary M9 model as well as the RX11 from the new ‘Rhythm’ series, the M16 is an interesting earphone with a somewhat uncharacteristic sound signature. The bass is tight but impactful. Extension is average and so is detail. In general, the bottom end of the M16 borrows heavily from the pricier M21, with similar mid-bass emphasis and a touch of softness. However, the mids of the M16 are slightly recessed compared to those of the M21, making the bass appear more prominent. As with the M21, bass bleed really isn’t an issue.
The midrange recession of the M16 bears a similarity to the aging M9 but is less striking due to the more intimate presentation of the former. The mids are slightly veiled but not offensive on the whole. There is some unevenness towards the top of the midrange and the M16 boasts the most prominent treble of the recent M-series additions (the others being the M21 and M31). As a result, there is a bit of sibilance and harshness on some tracks. Treble roll-off is somewhat more noticeable than with the M9 but there is a good bit of treble sparkle and the high end doesn’t seem lacking. In terms of presentation, too, the M16 doesn’t quite sound as spacious or airy as the M9 but it is more precise in terms of positioning. The soundstage has good width but generally sounds a bit tubular next to the more spherical stages of the M9 and RX11. Next to the pricier M21, the M16 has slightly poorer separation and the timbre is less natural to my ears. The M16 is also a bit more fatiguing as a result of the greater treble emphasis. When all is said and done, however, its sound is still quite impressive for an entry-level earphone and makes for an interesting alternative to the more v-shaped M9 and the more bottom-heavy RX11.
Value (8/10) – Rounding off the latest batch of additions to Meelec’s M-line, the M16 is a slightly v-shaped contrast to the more balanced (and pricier) M21. With a slight emphasis on bass and a more significant one on the lower treble, the M16 can alternate between sounding well-rounded and tiring, depending on the track. As usual, the build quality, fit, and day-to-day usability of the M16, while not as exemplary as those of the M11+, are more than adequate for the asking price so what it comes down to is the sound. For those worried about the heavy bass or recessed midrange of the M9, the M16 is a safer option. However, despite its flaws, I still find the M9 a bit more agreeable on average.
Pros: Good build quality and fit; decent isolation
Cons: Treble can be a bit too prominent