Disclaimer: I do not own any of these units, and am basing my impressions on the demo units I tried at Stereo Singapore.
Unique Melody China
I doubt Unique Melody needs much introduction, given how long they have already been on the audio scene. Their hi-end line up consists of various great offerings, with my personal favourite being the Legacy.
Mirage and Maven are two new additions and will utilise new custom drivers. The Mirage uses a custom open mid-range driver while the Maven utilises a custom semi-open tuning unit. Also interesting to note is that while the Maven packs a whooping 11 BAs per side, the Mirage makes do with only 3 BAs.
I will first review the Maven followed by the Mirage, as that was the order I listened to them. As for the build, they are both similar with the 3D-printed titanium shell, which looks highly premium and sleek, while being impossibly light. They almost feel weightless due to the lightness of titanium.
Ridiculously light and great fit. That was my thoughts when I picked them up and popped them into my ears.
The first thing that struck me was the sound-stage. It wasn’t just wide, but rather wide while feeling perfectly natural. There wasn’t a slight bending along the axis when iems attempt to convey greater sound stage. Rather this simply feels like sitting in a huge room listening to the performance itself.
The bass came in next, with high accuracy while having a large presence. Extremely full-bodied without a touch of bleeding into mids. Decay is on-point, quick enough to prevent congestion but still enough to provide warmth. Nothing I can poke at to fault here, as even the depth is great on this.
Mids had a surprising amount of space and separation. While I do not know which range the open tuning works on, but I’ll assume it is in the mids to at least upper bass, as space has natural air to it. However, the upper-mid vocals feel oddly unbalanced, turning hollow often. In terms of emphasis, it feels balanced in the lower mids and a touch recessed in the upper mids.
Trebles come in with great detail and speed. However it doesn’t feel tightly controlled, and while headroom is plenty, it feels loose and can get sharp. A notable emphasis on the trebles is present, and get ready for a ton of sparkle.
Overall V-shaped sounding with overwhelming space. While I felt that the technicalities could be better, the Maven is unique on its own and no doubt will draw its own following.
Unique Melody Mirage
When I listened to this after the Maven, I couldn’t believe this only had 3 BA drivers. I only believed it when I checked its specifications.
While this doesn’t come in with a wham and bam bass like the Maven, the Mirage takes on the role as a balanced sibling. Smoother bass texture with less sub-bass presence, yet maintaining a good punch plus decay speed. The Mirage is more of a neutral-slight boost bass tuning with good extension. However, it has slight bleeding into mids, though not enough to make an issue out of it. Depth is still amazing and gives you the low rumble physicality on par with some dynamic drivers.
The mids are sweet and vocals are intimate. Full-bodied with good separation, the Mirage provides a relaxing tone. Detail pick-up is quick plus sound stage is still plenty, albeit not as much as the Maven. Upper-mids have a similar issue of sounding hollow and oddly recessed, though the issue is less prominent on the Mirage.
The highs do not pack as much energy like the Maven. The Mirage also loses some headroom and detail pick-up, but reduces sibilance and is noticeably more well-controlled plus smooth than the Maven. Sparkle is toned down, but you will still get lovely shimmers from cymbals.
Overall the Mirage feels slightly forward and less aggressive than the Maven. While it loses out in bass extension and some detail pick-up in the highs to the Maven, I actually find the Mirage’s timbre more coherent and pleasant.
The Maven plays the role of the bold and daring one, while the Mirage is more conservative and smooth sounding. While my vote goes to the Mirage due to personal taste, I believe both iems will find their own following.
Plus the designs of both iems are simply lovely. You have to see the titanium shells for yourself to see the exquisiteness, pictures simply don’t do it justice.
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