3DT with 3 dynamic drivers have a few unique traits to it. The way it steers clear of any anomalies of harshness is simply admirable. The cleanliness of vocal region can be mesmerizing too.
Matching with sources
Feel inside the ear
Value for money quotient
I don’t think there are many who are not aware of Unique Melody. It is one of the oldest and one of the most desirable Brands. They were one of the first brands to come up with planar IEMs, the ME1. Unique Melody used to cater to heavy rollers. Maven and Mentor are their flagship IEMs which most of the average buyers can only dream of. Thankfully UM has introduced some mid budget IEMs recently. Their MEST Mini can be call as a mid budget IEM but the recently released UM 3DTerminator 3DT is more affordable with a fairly unique configuration.
3DT houses 3 dynamic drivers in total, all of them are dynamic drivers. It has two 7mm compound diaphragm dynamic drivers for the bass (which is kind of strange, some IEMS dont even have two BA for bass in this price) and one 10mm CNT dynamic driver for mids and highs. Priced at $399 officially (retails for $319 now) It comes with a unique wood and resin compound shell giving each unit its unique design.
It faces tough competition from similarly priced IEMs likes BGVP DM8, DK-2001, Fiio FD5 and a lot many.
Get one from these links:
PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES:-
3DT comes in a small and tidy retail box with a simple packaging. It does not have any trickiness to it, leading to a fairly simple unboxing experience. First accessory that greets us is the ever so common UM zipper carry case, its an Italian PU leather case made by Dignis, it is of semi hard type, fairly spacious but isn’t crush proof. It looks funky nevertheless. The IEM and cables are placed inside the case. All the accessories are placed inside a paper box placed under the case. There is 3 pair of silicone tips in S/M/L sizes. A UM warranty card and cleaning cloth are the only extra articles out of the box.
HOW IS THE CABLE:-
I am one of those who believe a good IEM should ship with a equally good cable. The 3DT ships with a decent quality cable out of the box. It uses a 4 core silver plated oxygen free copper cable. This cable has a nice feel to it, there are no unnecessary layers of rubber on it hence it’s not bouncy. It’s fairly supple but the thinner 2core cables coming out of the y splitter are slightly prone to tangling. There is no microphonics to worry about though. The straight 3.5mm gold plated jack has a nice metal finish to it and is reinforced with some stress reliever. Some might feel the wire inserted cable guides are a bit difficult to handle but once set its easier to put on. The heat shrunk Y splitter is the smallest cable splitter I have seen on any earphone till date, helping the cable shed unnecessary weight. Putting on the 2pin jack is easier thanks to the low resistance of the socket.
BUILD AND ERGONOMIC:-
Build quality of the 3DT looks good and unique at the same time. The shell made with resin fused wood looks excellent and the fully wooden one has a different kind of charm. It has a mildly semi custom type body which sits inside the ear comfortably. The shell has a few layers of resin on it and feels solid to the hand. The overall build quality is very good. I will not like to drop it on solid floor though.
Nozzle of the 3DT is on the wider side, compatible with t400 size tips. It does not have a really deep fit but is deep enough to give a secure feeling. The shell is larger than most of the IEMs and might not fit the smallest of ears. The smallish wing design on the inner shell provides good traction inside the ear. It has a vent at the top of the face plate for the twin 7mm dynamic drivers.
3DT has a different kind of driver balance, one might find a dual BA for bass and single BA for mids and highs but the 3DT has this same setup with dynamic drivers. Even when the 3DT has two 7mm dynamic driver responsible for the lower end it doesn’t have the heft to it. It in general delivers a fairly balanced sound with impressive cleanliness. Depends on perspective it can sound V shaped if looked at projection point of view but if looked from the emphasis point of view it has a bit more emphasis to the vocal region.
Signature wise 3DT has a slightly bit of cold and dryness to it. The tonality and timber are fairly accurate. It has the tranquility and calmness, rarely found in this price.
I am using Shanling UA1 and M6 for this review.
UM has gone for a different approach with the 3DT. When we see 3 drivers, we assume that it must be one ofr bass one for mids and one for highs but the 3DT has two 7mm dynamic drivers taking care of the bass region. Strangely it doesn’t have the vim and vigor I was expecting from the twin drivers, which is a good thing. It has no wooliness or flab to worry about. It does not get too bassy or out of control, at all and it has excellent sub-bass rumble and extension. The mid bass is slightly more prominent but does not get anywhere close to dominating the lower end. What it does is move good amount of air with a sizeable slam with good amount of control over notes. Mid bass has more energy and body giving the lower end a fuller and meatier feel. The upper bass is well controlled and blends nicely into the lower mid range.
The decay speed is slightly slower than most of the BA based earphones and is faster than Penon Orb and ISN H40. The slightly slower decay gives it better precipitation and a wholesome weight. It doesn’t seems to be in a hurry and lets the listener enjoy the music. 3DT delivers very good texture and the level of details is right up for this price segment.
The quality of the bass which accounts for definition and resolution is where the 3DT is very good. It feels stress free and composed even under load.
MID RANGE :-
If the lower end is good the mid range, especially the vocal region is very good. It does have a different kind of feel to it when it comes to placement and emphasis. It is placed slightly below the bass and treble region but is places closest to the ear. Emphasis wise it has the much better cleanliness and room when compared to the lower and treble region. Held up by a single 10mm dynamic driver 3DT delivers a smoother still detailed mid range with very good clarity. Notes sound slightly fuller still accurate with thickness without having any sharpness to them. This is where one can distinguish the slight bit of coldness. Even James blunt starts to feel a bit cold.
The transition from upper bass to lower mid region lacks a hint of forwardness but still has good amount of clarity to it. Earphones like Fiio FD5 do better in this phase with better transparency and energy.
The vocal of the 3DT is textured and creamy. It feels stress free and more airy than even the Fiio FD5. Both male and female vocals sound tonally correct with right amount of energy to them. Notes have pleasing depth and thickness, vocals barely leave much to be desired. It does not try to iron the texture and nuance out.
On the down side 3DT does not have the instrumental attack for instruments not present in the upper mid region. It just lacks the bite and energy. It lacks a bit of transparency and micro details too. But the upper mid is pushed up with more energy but still keeps fairly clear of any sibilance or discomfort.
That same 10mm driver is assigned for the treble region too and it does acceptably well. The extra energy of the upper mid region is carried over to the lower treble region and can feel a bit tiring over longer sessions. This is the part where the single driver feels a bit stressed.
As a whole the treble region has good amount of spark and energy to it, it doesn’t bite like the Fiio FD5 or BGVP DM8. The extension is average as it loses good amount of energy after the 10-11k region. Even with the lack of energy it does not try to apply cream over the treble region to make things smooth. It has good sparkle and tingliness. Thanks to the elevated lower mid to mid treble it does not feel dark. It has the agility and liveliness we do not see with some BA based IEMs like TSMR4 and Audiosense T800. Layering and separation of the treble region is up to the class with good amount of air between instruments. The stage size is bigger than most of the earphones in this price range.
STAGE AND IMAGING:-
3DT is a very good with staging. I have barely any complains about it. It has good depth, width and height but is not the best as the Audiosense T800 has bigger dimension in every direction. The interesting bit is the imaging here. It has the vocals originating at the middle of the head and do not extend beyond head and placed just under the ears. Most of the instruments are around the vocal region with the upper mid instruments placed over the ear just out of the head while the treble is placed atop of everything with the furthest projection. This gives a well spaced and layered feeling I am unable to find with the Fiio FD5.
PAIRING WITH SOURCES:-
UM 3DT is not a demanding IEM. It does not sound bad with weaker sources like our daily driver mobile phones. It has a 25.4ohm impedance which is ideal for most of the mobile phones and the SPL of 113db is more than enough to get loud with anything. It still delivers better separation and layering with better sources and a bit more power. It sounds very good even with the Shanling UA1.
VS BGVP DM8 and Audiosense T800:-
These two IEMs have different flavors to their tuning but are priced similarly to the UM 3DT.
Where the T800 has similar lower and as the 3DT with slightly more mid-bass body and similar decay it lacks slight bit of texture and details. On the other hand the T800 is much tighter lower end with smaller body and impact. The sub-bass rumble is not as intriguing as the T800 or 3DT but it has better composure and similar details and texture as the 3DT.
Mid range is where the T800 pulls ahead. It is more linear and has much better control and evenness, let it be vocals, instruments or the upper mid. It has slightly better details and clarity than the 3DT but the 3DT has better vocal texture and the extra bit of notes depth. T800 has more details and clarity but is slightly pushed back without the best tonality. Upper mids are excellent with the T800.
Highs are calmer and more extended than the 3DT while having better details. T800 has more pronounced highs and are more extended than the 3DT.
Stage size of the T800 is biggest with DM8 being the middle ground while the 3DT has the clumsier stage without much depth.
If you are interested here is my comparison review video:
Unique Melody 3D Terminator is a very capable IEM, no doubts about that. An unique setup with some excellence under its belt. It has some of the best Vocals one can find with IEMs under $500 and is very capable with lower end, especially with sub-bass. Its ability of keeping any kind of offensive feelings away is simply admirable. Even when it’s shell is on the larger side I do not think anyone will have much problems with it. The only downside I see is the slight smoothness and less emphasis with upper treble region.
If you want a fun sounding but inoffensive IEM, the 3DT is a very good choice, but if you want the extra bit of treble extension and upper treble energy look into the Fiio FD5.