MEElectronics CC-51P Review
Thanks to MEElectronics for the samples
First Impressions: It looks nice in the box but clearly nothing fancy here. Once open the first thing I note is the little case, it’s a pleasure to see MEElectronics went back to including them. The little case is such a bargain item but potentially life and IEM saving, all IEM’s should come with one so kudos to MEElec for including one. Case aside the CC51P’s are kinda pretty looking things, not sure they will sit well over the ear as I like but ho hum, can’t have everything. Pulling the tips off to swap them over I think I may have started pulling off the silvery end of them. That’s not good but a little more judicious action has the tip off and nothing else. Still that’s maybe not the best sign but how often do you change tips?
A little listen and I’m kinda torn. Driver flex in abundance and if there is an air pressure imbalance then the drivers sound rubbish. However a little playing about and whoosh, they come to live big time. I think this could be the spiritual successor to the M6. Yes boys and girls, it really is pretty damn good. Still, burn in time.
Source 1G iPod Shuffle with and without a 75 ohm adapter added
Lows: Honestly sometimes I’d like to get something like in the olden days, something that I could complain about and say its lacking of its too soft and flabby but I really can’t, not here anyway. The lows are really rather composed and really come to life when you get the air pressure just right. For such a dinky 6mm driver they can really do wonders without sounding like the world is being shaken apart (is it the same driver as in the M11+?) Listening to Mika’s “By The Time” is such a soft and gentle song but with a rich and deep low end. The CC51 still says no problem and displays those lows in their entirety. It really sounds like its being pushed to the max but it does it regardless and I must say I’m impressed. It’s like they have sneaked a tiny little sub in there as it just sounds like it shouldn’t be able to do it but it does. At the other end when you ask it to do something far faster and punchier like Owl City’s “Sunburn” all it really does is punch for most of the song and the CC51 just does it. It really is most impressive that so such a dinky little thing to have big powerful bass but be so well controlled and behaved.
Quantity wise though don’t be expecting a bass monster, the bass is pretty in line with the rest and while it can be prominent if the song demands it, it isn’t its default position.
Mids: If anything possibly its least astonishing aspect. They are articulate and detailed but neither particularly liquid nor dry. They do a very admirable job of being all things to all men. What I mean is it doesn’t excel anywhere in particular or have really any failings. If they did have any failings it would be that maybe at times they fall a little behind the bass and treble, a little V shape does sneak out. Not that anything ever gets lost, it’s in there but the mids really aren’t wowing me like the crazy bass does at times. Come on MEElec, do a challenger for the PL-50’s mids. Still I’m being a little bit whiney and picky, there really is nothing to fault, the mids here they just aren’t as good as the bass and treble that’s all.
Highs: I think here I’m a bit torn, they are a little bit abundant for my liking and I do find them a touch tiring after a while, you know there is a but coming don’t you, but they are super crisp and lively. They really are quite spectacular, fast crispy, edgy, and lots of drama. If it’s soft, shimmery delicate stuff you’re after this probably isn’t the one you want. If its liveliness you want the treble here very much delivers. It is super crisp and forthright. As I said earlier it does get a little bit tiring on my ears after a while but I can’t deny that it’s rather accomplished. Honestly given its crispiness I would have expected it to be more abrasive and gritty in the top end but it really isn’t. That’s not to say if you supply it crappy treble (either a crappy master or because your using crappy bit rates) don’t expect the CC51 to do you any favours because it won’t. That crispy edge will shove crappy treble in your face if that’s what you supply it. Is it due to the timbrely hard and physically hard ceramic enclosure? I must say the uber crispy edge to the treble does remind me of the Panasonic HJE-900.
It’s all a bit of an extravaganza.
Soundstage: It’s a fairly intimate sounding IEM most of the time, not very close in but for a dynamic it’s fairly close. Think like a small room. Separation is rather more impressive. Vocals, lows highs are remain particularly distinct and separate, as I mentioned at times it felt there was a tiny sub in there suddenly cranking lows out of seemingly nowhere. The crispy highs too seem somewhat separated at times from the mids and lows. It’s all very good.
Fit: Here I think I’ll have to bash a little. I really never get the thing manufactures have for sealing dynamics in unvented enclosures, I’d far rather they isolated less and didn’t give me any air pressure and driver flex issues. The fit was fine once I got them in and sat right but it was a good few minutes of faffing before that happened and it’s the sort of thing that is a real pain if you have to pull them out for anything. You mileage will vary but it rather bugged me.
Comfort: Well the shape of these pretty much demands your wear them down, you can get them in up but it’s not very elegant. What was a bit of a worry is that the nozzle bore on these are huge, bigger than anything I’ve ever seen before. Actually though it never was much of an issue, naturally I can’t promise you the same but it gave me no problems. I can’t say they ever just melted away though.
Cable: Unusually for MEElec it’s got a black cable. I can’t really say there was anything wrong with it but the shirt clip would at its current position sit about three quarters of the way down my chest. The Y junction too is really rather far down. Neither of these are big deals but while it is a fine cable it’s not the usual top notch MEElectronics fare with its braided black and silvery combos.
Microphonics: Given you pretty much have to wear these down you get quite a bit and the interesting position of the shirt clip really doesn’t help matters. Try not wearing collars.
Amped/Unamped: Some differences but nothing to write home about. The 75 Ohm adapter made a bit of a difference, when added it really softened and added a touch of gentility to the CC51. I can’t say it made it better, just different. Actually I preferred it without it.
Build Quality: Hmmm, silvery bit coming off aside they seem good. The cable is fine and the buds themselves in their ceramic enclosure I think must be pretty indestructible short of an accident with a hammer. The little mic and button too feels very, very sturdy.
Isolation: Easily enough to get you run over because you didn’t hear the 20 ton truck sneak up on you from behind. Probably good enough for a reasonable flight too.
Accessories: Love the little case. Case aside you just get a selection of tips which is par for the course. Still it’s a fab little case and all manufactures should provide one.
Phone use: Given a little try out with the Nexus One and all works as it should. Actually it sounds pretty decent too, not quite all that it could be but the CC51 clearly doesn’t need a whopping great powerful player to drive it. God I miss hardware buttons though, still if you want for phone use then these will do the job admirably.
Value: A cursory glance online and I can see them for US$80 or US$90 for the P version or closer to home £40 or £60 for the P ones (seems a little bit of a jump if you ask me there.) I’ve said it before but this sort of range is hyper competitive so if you don’t cut the mustard then you really have no hope. MEElectronics made its IEM name by dishing out bargain priced stuff that punched well above anything the big brand name boys could do and the CC51 is no different. It’s by no means head and shoulders better than some of what else is out there and probably isn’t going to be the best suited to all in its price range but it certainly is amongst the best value for your money.
Conclusion: There is a lot to really love here but I’m not really feeling the love, the driver flex issue really is a pain for me and it’s largely due to that. Pulling out and pushing back in really is stressing my little ears so I’m going to say if you’re always pulling your IEM’s out for just a second to hear something then maybe this inst the one for you. If that isn’t a problem then things change a lot and these then become a really great proposition. They are a whopping kick ass bass response that is crazy fast and all round crazy good. That little driver must be working its behind off and granted maybe in a vented IEM it wouldn’t be able to manage it. It goes so low and with such vim that for me it’s easily the best bass MEElectronics have produced yet in any of their IEM’s I’ve heard. Yes, it is that good. The mids too really do keep up and the highs as I mentioned are super crisp. It has a bit of a V shape at times and the mids do get that little bit pushed behind but nothing so much it would bother you. I’ve got to say fit issues aside I do rather like the CC51, its fun.