MEE audio M6 Pro Review
Thanks to MEE audio for the sample
First Impressions: These do look very much like there namesakes, the M6 (no Pro) but these come with a detachable cable. You know I can’t help but cast the mind back to when the M6 first came out. It was at the time, far and away the cheapest thing that was specifically designed to be worn over the ear. You know, like a “professional” monitor type earphone. I look at these, their price tag, and cant help but be impressed that these are not only over ear, come with two cables and you can buy each or any part as a replacement. Yeah not only will MEE audio sell you a new cable if you kill these two but replacement buds. Take a look, they have a whole page of bits. You can buy any ear tip, any cable, be it with or without a mic, hell you can a get a single terminated cable, if you want to just use one side for monitoring purposes. Then to crown it you can buy either or both buds themselves!!!! Yes that means if you break say the right one, you can for US$15 buy a new right one!!!!
Anyway… so as I’m sure you all know, I loved the look of the clear M6 and so no surprises that I think the clear M6 Pros’s look fantastic too. I mean just look at them, don’t they look fantastic?
On to how they are in the ears, hmm I note that they could have put a bigger pair of Comply’s in the box as they sit rather shallow so I only just get a seal. Hmm I may have to swap them at some point. Otherwise they sound rather good. Rather more monitor like in balance than the normal 6, or is it maybe the light seal but these don’t seem to be hardly bass boosted at all. You know aside from the visual, I’m not sure why these are called the M6 Pro, to me that makes me think they are an M6 but with a detachable cable and they clearly aren’t that.
Source: FiiO E7/E9 combo, Hisoundaudio Studio V 3rd Anv., HiFiMAN HM-650, 1G Ipod Shuffle, Nexus 5, Lumia 735 and a Graham Slee Solo Ultra Linear.
Lows: They are competent and capable. I however am not particularly finding the love for it. it’s good, it’s just not very interesting nor exciting. It really does however deserve its Pro title, it’s so very even handed, controlled for a dynamic, polite and linear. On its own I know I ought be praising it more but there is a strident spike in the upper mids and that comparatively makes the bass a little too polite. Maybe it’s also a function of me getting a reasonably light seal? The bass on something in this price I want to be rumble more, be a little bit more unruly and playful. Still if you are 17, putting together your own band and you want to “pro” it up and get some “monitors” then great. Their even handed and controlled composure will be just what you’re looking for.
Quantitatively they are highly balance, no real boosting to speak of. If you throw on something bassy it will rise somewhat to the occasion but it’s never a bass beast, it just won’t do it. With my sensible hat on I recognise its ability is high but my hearts just not feeling the love.
Mids: Here things start looking up in terms of emotive capacity. Still highly linear and controlled aside from that strident upper vocal, they are very good. Mids are a touch upfront and I cold maybe even say a little forward. They are highly noticeable, clean and have a slightly elevated prominence. Again if you’re looking for a bargain basement monitor, grown up monitor balance and sound you’re on to a winner. If you’re a vocalist primarily then this would work out very nicely I’m sure. Me being a bit of a midhead I’d personally like a little bit more of a vocal bump, these really are good, nearing BA good for this sort of money. They please me and make me smile. Fire up a little Susan Wong, Tori, Beverly Craven, the Krall woman, etc etc and you’ll see what I mean. These are just begging to be “My First Monitor” for vocalists.
Qualitatively they are good. A BA would still spank them in forwardness and purity but these are great in the mid range, if they could just tame that stridency in the upper area they would be fantastic.
Highs: Monitor esq once more in their balance and presentation. The highs then go nicely up and are pretty tame in style. No surprises (aside from the upper mid / tower treble spike) and they then can feel alittle like the bass. On paper and with my sensible hat on I recognise they are good, capable, well controlled, highly competent and so forth. They aren’t however the most captivating listen, they aren’t fill with the joy of life that I so like music to bring. They are good for sure and they don’t do anything wrong by any stretch…… they just aren’t captivating. It’s a rather monitor like quality, monitors are for use as an analytical tool. As such they are not supposed to add anything, to bumps, no flavouring, no influencing the musical output in anyway and that’s what they do.
Quantitatively and qualitatively they are both highly monitor like. The treble quantity is for the most polite unpronounced, even in quantity but they are lacking in any sort of a brutal edge. This may make some feel the lack in abundance but it’s not, they just lack ear ravaging bight. That’s great for me and in a monitor it’s exactly what you want. If you’re going to listen to them all day then the last thing you want is hard cutting treble. Detail levels are good at the price but it’s rather subtle so again some may feel its lacking because it’s not thrusting detail in your face. It’s there, it’s just a little shy.
Soundstage: For the most part they are rather upfront and err towards intimacy. Most notable in the vocal ranges they want to be right there before you. The bass and treble a little more diffuse, a little more in the background. Instrument separation and such is so so but the inverse, the level of musical integration is very nice. The bass and treble are pushed behind the vocals but it’s all highly coherent.
Fit: Awesome. I’m a great, huge great big fan of wearing things over the ear and these make you, they are also, despite having a memory wire attached, great. I had absolutely no trouble at all getting them to sit perfectly in my ears. The memory wire even can be used to really tightly hold them in place. If your some crazy head banging rock band member then I dare say you could do your worst and these would still stay put.
Comfort: Awesome. They fit me perfectly and were perfect in my ears. I could and did wear them for sever hours at a time and was always perfectly pleased with them.
Isolation: As a function of them not sealing super tight in my ear, they sit rather shallow you see, accordingly they don’t isolate super great. Well actually for a typical dynamic they are pretty good but for a sealed dynamic they are not as isolating as I might have hoped. Still they would be fine for most uses, out and about, on a bus but as ever not probably my first choice for a Tube commute or flight. However my warning still stands, they are more than enough to make you road kill of you don’t use your eyes when out near traffic.
Phone Use: Awesome. You know how not all phones use the same standard placement for the headphone jacks? So getting volume controls that works is very hit and miss? Well MEE audio have done the sensible thing. Just stick a god damn variable resistor in the thing. So you can use the little slider in the mic bit. Use it in a phone or anything and you can control the volume nice and easily with perfect compatibility. Otherwise the single button, which acts as a play / pause / skip button. So I rang someone up and they reported they could hear me just fine, as I could them.
Accessories: Well there is no denying you get everything. Two cables, with shirt clips, one with a mic and one without. A pair of Comply’s and a bunch of silicon tips too. Then there is a 6.25 to 3.5mm adapter. Then of course keep in mind that any singe component is replaceable from MEE audio. Break one bud, no problem you can replace it on its own. Why doesn’t everyone do this? Lastly though there is that case. Now it is a nice case, it looks nice and its nice to the touch but……its huge. Sure if you want to stick an Ipod or something in there too but I’ve literally never once wanted to do that so I’d pretty much have to buy a sensible size case for them. Now MEE audio will happily sell you a whole range of case alternatives and I like that but I fail to get why these come with such a massive case to begin with.
Amped/Unamped: They barely need any power to sound good and if anything were on the whole more pleasing when coming out of a phone. The relative lack of power meant that strident upper mid disappeared. Seriously they if anything were better balanced when driven by a phone. I presume that’s because they are designed to be a companion for mediocre sources, you know if you’re buying a “monitor” for professional uses that costs just US$50 then it’s a reasonable assumption you’re not going to be plugging them into a Solo Ultra Linear. Something a bit warm, a bit meh like the Nexus 5 or Iphone 5 and the M6 Pro’s were perfect companions to them.
Value: MEE audio have always been a very high value producer of things and the M6 Pro’s are not going be denting that well-earned reputation. For something like this, not just how they sound, that they are pitched as a monitor and I think they can quite righty be called such. That you get two cables, then the fact you get a totally modular system is amazing. That they offer easy replacements for a cable, without a mic, with a mic, a gigantic 72 inch cable, then even a single sided cable, if you’re just wanting to use one ear for proper performance monitoring!!!! Who else gives you any of that?
Oh and then on top of all that they offer a “Lifetime Replacement” offer where if you kill your pair they will sell you a new pair for half price. Toss on top of all of that the fact its IPx5 water resistance rated MEE audio must be pretty confident of its abuse surviving powers.
Conclusion: The M6 Pro, is a great product. I may not quite get its name, sure they share a look but when I A/B them they are nothing alike. The Pro’s are on another planet better than the plain old M6. Sure they cost different amounts so you’d expect the Pro’s to be better but I think their name does them a disservice. I think you could easily be forgiven for thinking that the Pro is simply a detachable cable version and nothing more. I know that is what I assumed by my first glance at their name. Naturally the second I noticed the specifications it was clear they were different but not everyone may do that. Honestly I think it’s a silly move on MEE audio’s part to name them so.
With that name out of the way, I’ve pretty much run out of negatives regarding the M6 Pro. Acoustically they are very highly capable for the price tag and come with an insane level of modularity for those with specific needs. These are actually deserving of their Pro naming. In not just terms of that fit and their wild customisable modularity but in their acoustic balance too. They aren’t consumer targeted, no hugely boosted bass, no ear and attention grabbing treble. The mids are highly, very highly coherent and totally even. Now while I can’t say these compare to something like the UM3x but then these cost not just a fraction but barely the slightest sliver of their price. Price is what is core to the M6 Pro, they aren’t competing with the likes of the UM3x never mind going into the world of custom moulded IEM’s with god knows how many drivers in them. The M6 Pro is what a bunch of guys starting out with their band in high school, the church that wants to kit out everyone in the choir with a pair of something, the people who want to use something as a monitor but still needs to count the pennies.
So should you get one? Well if you’re just starting your own band, or you’re a budding YouTube cover singing or song writing, presumptive star in the making, then bluntly, yes. They are made plainly with you in mind, they will perform evenly and balanced as one would desire of a monitor. They are comfy to wear for hours on end and the acoustically kind enough to the ear that you can listen to them all day too. They will do the job for a fraction of what anything else suitable costs. Hover if you’re a consumer then it’s a more mixed bag. They aren’t what most people might expect for US$50. Their bass for one isn’t vast and beside the normal M6 is positively diminutive. However if you want something that is what it claims to be, a monitor, a flat, evenly balanced, well behaved, a highly coherent and composed In Ear Monitor, then that is exactly what they deliver.