Pros: Stellar balanced sound, an absolute steal at $113.99, top of the class instrument separation in the price tier
Cons: Difficult to drive, your phone won’t do it justice, abandon all hope ye’ iPhone as source people. Average soundstage.
List Price: $113.99
The Massdrop x MEE Pinnacle PX was supplied to me by Massdrop in exchange for my honest opinion.
Given that it sounds the same as the MEE Pinnacle P1, and I loved that so much that it very well may have been my best bargain of 2016, all I have to compare here is packaging and aesthetics. If you want to read in detail about the sound, you can check that blue text right above you, that’s the link to my review of the MEE Pinnacle P1. I’ll give some brief impressions here with some updated new gear pairings.
This goes live tomorrow on Massdrop, so check out the drop here.
If you’d like to know more about your friendly neighbourhood reviewer, you can head over to Head-Fi and check out my full-on audiobiography. You wouldn’t take a hotel recommendation from a random pimp on the street, why take an aural recommendation from an audiophile who might like different musical strokes and instrumental arrangements than you do?
Usability: Form & Function
Build and Aesthetics
Ouside of chopping more than $80 off of the retail price, the primary differences between the MEE Pinnacle P1 and the Massdrop x MEE Pinnacle PX are here. I’ll do side by side comparisons where I can use tables. Tables are awesome.
What is not awesome, is the huge difference between the unboxing experience on the Massdrop x MEE Pinnacle PX and the MEE Pinnacle P1. The MEE Pinnacle P1 had a ridiculous unboxing experience. My description was that it will make you look like a gift giving savant. The Massdrop box will make your giftee go ‘that’s a weird pizza box.’ The box is nothing special, at all. It’s white and black in a kind of reverse Oreo kind of way. The more like the real world kind of way, where the darker shades get squeezed in the middle a bit more. The packaging below was sent to me with the assumption that this is what the final packaging would look like. It should be noted that the packaging for the PX is a rendering, and not the real thing, so it could look better or worse even if this is the final packaging.
The Mee Pinnacle P1 is on the bottom and obviously a better unboxing experience. It isn’t close. The Massdrop version just ends up looking like a chump in comparison.
The MEE Pinnacle P1’s finish was really nice looking, but over time it was exposed that the finish was painted on, and that the paint wore off. This is why when I updated my review from Head-Fi recently, I downgraded the build quality here on Audio Primate. The Massdrop x MEE Pinnacle PX addresses the painted on the textured finish issue by eschewing the finish to just have a matt blue-black coloured shell. I’m not imagining that this will have a problem with wearing off. The look is still distinctive, but not as sexy as the original finish (while it lasts). There was one other build issue they didn’t address, this still has glued in filter mesh on the nozzles. I’ve seen these come out for some people online, so be gentle with the mesh on the nozzles.
MEE Pinnacle P1
Massdrop x MEE Pinnacle PX
One funny thing about these, they say MX on them, but they are called the PX. Does this mean they are MxPx? Northwest represent, once more! Last time it was Nate Robinson slamming buckets, now it’ll be the pop-punk troubadours from Bremerton slapping bass.
The case that the Massdrop x MEE Pinnacle PX comes with is also a downgrade. It is simpler looking, with lower quality material and stitching and a Massdrop label instead of the classy Pinnacle text and serial number that was there before. Whilst I can give the Massdrop x case some grief for being poorer quality, it also happens to still be a good quality case, so I can’t dump it too much.
MEE Pinnacle P1
Massdrop x MEE Pinnacle PX
Just like the P1’s the PX require some good amping to drive. Don’t come into this thinking you’ll be able to drive this off your phone, as you’ll likely look like an ass. Get some proper amping on these babies and they really sing. I tried these with my phone, the Audirect Whistle, and my Aune M1s and TheBit Opus #3. My phone and the Audirect Whistle weren’t good enough to drive these fully. Both the M1s and the Opus #3 did a great job. In my original review of the P1, the iBasso DX50 worked best with the P1 in high gain. These need real power to do well, which means as a portable device, they won’t work well for some folks.
Weighing in on the positive side, these have detachable cables that use one of the two most common connectors, MMCX in this case. It is easy to purchase aftermarket cables for MMCX and easy to source all the materials necessary to make your own aftermarket cables.
For me, I haven’t found wearing these down to be very comfortable. You can do it, and it isn’t terrible, but it feels awkward and I don’t recommend it. At the same time the cable is hard, and rough on the top of the ears. I hope to try this with some aftermarket cables soon, as I’m sure they will be more ergonomic. Something else to note, the shirt clip is pretty cool. It has an intuitive button press release. No more fighting to unthread the clip from the cable like you see most of the time.
The package is also missing a 6.3mm connector and only comes with the one cable, but the connector is a pretty minor item. These can be found for about £0.50 ($0.60) online.
I’ll sum up what I had to say in the P1 review shortly:
- These have clear mids, with exceptional layering and instrument separation
- Drums thump in a natural and vigourous manner
- The soundstage is average width, but has good height and depth
- These have a slightly bright tone which gives them a very detailed and lively presentation without going overboard in any given area
- They need good amping for the bass to show at its best. Most DAPs do fine, but it won’t work on weak DAPs or your phone. The bass is not particularly accentuated but has good linear extension. Some will want more bass quantity. These have good bass quality.
- Natural timbre, instruments just sound right.
- Excellent attack and decay, especially in the mids and treble.
- Revealing of vinyl noise, tape noise and artefacts in recordings
|Driver||10mm dynamic, with copper clad aluminum voice coil|
|Frequency response||20Hz – 20kHz|
|Cable Connector||MMCX, 3.5mm, right angle plug|
|Max input power||5mW|
|Microphone frequency response||100Hz – 5kHz|
|Accessories||Detachable braided silver plated copper detachable microphone cable, 3 sets Comply T-200 memory foam eartips, 6 sets of silicone eartips, shirt clip, carrying case with Massdrop logo|
|Warranty||2 year manufacturer warranty|
At $113.99 this is a helluva bargain. I already loved the sound and thought that the P1 was competitive with some headphones at higher price points—I liked it better than the Fidue Sirius A91. I still feel that way about the sound, but with the price slashed by 40%, these are a no-brainer for anyone with an amplifier with enough guts to make them sing. Sing little birds, there be starving zombies ahead.