Initial impressions: Unique Melody Mentor v3

Introduction

Over the weekend I gave you some pretty pictures, and I’m sure folks were thinking I was such a tease. I’m not! I put out [content], regularly. I’m not giving anyone blue-eyes here. Here are my initial impressions from the Unique Melody Mentor v3 to lead off the Head-Fi Official European Tour for the Mentor v3 and Mason v3.

My previous experiences with Unique Melody have always left me with an impression of smoothness (ME.1, Miracle v2). Let’s see how smooth these come across.

My prose isn’t going to smooth here. I’ve got a different philosophy on initial impressions than my blog mate. Initial impressions are subject to change, and not in depth analytical. These are off-the-cuff and bullet-pointed.

Initial Impressions

  • Initial source is Opus 3 (which is somewhat on the bright, analytical side) via 2.5mm balanced output. No hiss. The source pairs really well.
  • First off, the stage width and depth are impressive. Seriously impressive.
  • Stage height is fairly limited. Stage has a 3D oval shape to it. Think an egg, if eggs were perfectly symmetrical.

  • With bass knob turned to the front, very forward stand-up bass with a bit more warmth (Macy Gray – I Try (off Stripped). One benefit of bass being delivered by BA is that the tuning control on the bass can be very precise with no bleed into the other instruments.
  • Vocals are a touch back, but not too far.
  • Overall signature is warm.
  • Funny enough even with apparent warmth, treble is probably more forward than bass.
  • These are musical, but by no means are they heavy v-shaped numbers. They have some treble extension but they don’t have any sharpness to the sound on initial listen. There’s that signature Unique Melody smoothness.
  • Don’t know if I have copper or silver connected. Let’s check.
  • The labelling is terrible. Two dots that are tiny that you have to feel is one dot to the left silver, two dots to the left is copper. Just feel for two dots. I’d like visual labelling, as it would allow for quicker switches and better ability to rapidly compare.

  • The 4-pin connectors are easy to use with metal on metal contacts, an easy to secure collar and simple joining action. The sockets are keyed, to ensure that you don’t insert the wrong way.
  • The differences between cables are subtle, as are the bass switch settings.
  • Bass a little meatier on copper, treble a little smoother. Silver more detailed. Nicer decay on cymbals goes to the silver.
  • Tuning knob for bass doesn’t touch too much mid-bass, so may not affect signature depending on what you are listening to.
  • Prefer bass boosted for this IEM. Though opening up does give some nice clarity to mids.
  • Kraftwerk – Kometenmelodie 2. Treble gets high in pitch without going shrill (silver cable, bass up, my preferred setting on this listen). Excellent extension. That’s as sharp as it should be.
  • Bass drum has really good kick.
  • Cable is a big sucker. The way to put it back in it’s shiny nickel-plated titanium (or matte grey titanium case, your choice) is to wrap the cable around the edge of the case, not the edge of your fingers. This takes longer than cables that fit in cases easily after finger wrapping. If the case was a few millimetres wider or taller, it would be a lot easier to fit everything in the case. The screw top is very secure.
  • Pro tip: open up the headphone case when going through airport security, unless you like being searched non-randomly. Who knows, maybe you’ll get some extra cop feels. I’m not into that, personally. TSA leave me alone.
  • Note: QP2R needs iFi iEMatch2.5 on these to tame some hiss. These also like some power. High gain does well.
  • Why? – As a Card, I don’t think I’ve ever heard such heavy kick or stage depth on the track. Visceral. Nice.
  • Honest representation on the bass on 2Pac – Troublesome ’96. Recessed vocal more apparent on this track, as is more forward bass, as there is more in the sub-bass going on here.
  • Bass rumble is heard, rather than felt. If you want to feel the bass, you’ll need a different driver type. Satisfying depth, just without the visceral feel. Bass is definitely thicker on the copper cable on 2Pac – God Bless the Dead, slower decay with a bit more presence.
  • I like both the silver and copper cable sounds. It’s really nice to have two subtly different tunings in the box that are easy to switch. With Hip-Hop I like the copper cable better, silver with most of my other listening.
  • Bass switch forward (enhanced) all the time, though. Yeah. That’s right. That’s how I want it.
  • The Mentor v3 has some bottom, rounded but defined, a bit warm and inviting, with the vocal whispers a bit further back, air flowing through enough to keep you alert to all your senses.
  • The video isn’t really safe for work, but it fits the feeling. This is the clean version, which actually manages to be more dirty than the explicit version.
  • I’m not sure these will satisfy true bassheads, as I don’t get that rumble assault on the ears that bassheads are looking for. This has all the sonic texture, but can’t give you the pressure demanded to ‘feel’ the bass like a dynamic driver does.

I brought the Mentor and Mason v3 over to a non-audiophile friend’s place last week, and he could clearly hear the differences between open and closed and copper and silver. These Unique Melody v3s really give you some tunability. I thoroughly enjoy both.

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