Unique Melody Mason V3 – The Age of Indulgence

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Select Comparisons

Silver-Tone vs. Copper-Tone

Sonically, the Dual-Tone cable does provide alterations in sound, albeit ones that are incremental in nature. The shifts in tonality aren’t the largest I’ve experienced, but it allows the user to maintain the inherent signature of the IEM whilst fine-tuning for different genres, mixes or listening scenarios. My unit came with a choice between pure silver and pure copper conductors. On the copper cores, the Mason V3 assumes a warmer response, because of a chestier lower-midrange and a richer bass response. Impact does not increase from this change, but more warmth does emanate from the low-end into the vocal region. Both male and female singers gain depth, almost as if they sang from their diaphragm rather than their throat. Though, on some tracks where this region is already emphasised, vocals become slightly nasal-y and incoherent. The overall atmosphere of the stage also gains some warmth, but only by a slight margin.

Shifting to the silver cores, the Mason V3 instantly becomes more precise and dynamic, due to a greater contrast between the treble and the low-end. Bass impact is now more jab-like without the buttery sense of weight, and this affects the lower-midrange considerably as well. That rich chestiness is now leaner, more controlled and more linear according to the Mason V3’s energetic upper-midrange. Notes lose slight amounts of density and solidity, but it’s more agreeable to subpar tracks, because vocals no longer run the risk of sounding throat-y when oddly mixed. This setting, however, is less resolving than the copper-equipped one, especially when taking into account harmonic detail. The slip in note weight combined with the Mason V3’s inherently neutral vocals also cause slightly quicker fatigue. But, this pairing is the one to pick if you’re looking to maximise the Mason V3’s laser focus with a leaner, crisper and airier presentation.

Verdict

The Unique Melody Mason V3 is an instant gateway to the world’s most exclusive opera-house experience. Showcasing a marvellous knack for spaciousness, imaging and stability, the 16-driver flagship complements its strong detail retrieval with admirable coherence and proper linearity. However, all of its technical achievements come at price. The Mason V3 is one of the most expensive IEMs I’ve ever heard, and its modest versatility will undoubtedly limit its audience. Fans of immense soundscapes and classical music will fall head-over-heels for the Mason V3’s theatrical presentation, while audiophiles searching for large notes, intimate vocals and gobs of emotional resonance will find themselves reaching into the soundstage, yearning to get to the front row. But, with that said, the Dual-Tone cable and the dB-Go modules do add impressive value to the overall package, which will only improve as more options hit the market.

Overall, the Unique Melody Mason V3 is a technical powerhouse – sometimes to its own detriment – that honestly justifies its price with a spacious presentation and strong resolution. It may lack the musical verve that invites and allures the listener into a silky arrest, but its precision, expansion and separation is on a league of its own. It’s a level of finesse that many only strive to achieve, and it’s a testament to how far Unique Melody have come in a few, short years.

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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: https://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

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