Meelectronics made a loud splash at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The California-based audio hardware company is taking on much bigger headphone manufacturers like Sony, Panasonic, JVC and Koss with a selection of earbud and over-ear designs looking to create high-end performance with moderate, consumer-friendly pricing.
Company reps sent over a selection of their headphones to CraveOnline, allowing us to try their most expensive and advanced to their most pocket book-friendly models. Here are the results, item by item:
We start with our favorite design – an earbud with a natural material casing that looks recreate the warmer, more natural analog sound of good, ole’ fashioned wooden speakers. The simple wood construction fits the ear well and successfully generates the very friendly, natural reverberation its design claims to seek.
Most importantly, we were unable to induce any of the bass rattle some designs of earbuds suffer from as loud rock or electronic. The mix of plastic and metal in some low range earbuds can literally shake apart from the inside out as low end sound works on the assembly points. The solid wood construction of the CW-31 keeps the warm sound coming without disintegrating the in-ear design.
Retail: $54.99 to $49.99.
While all Meelectronics designs aspire to secure, in-ear comfort, the M6 is the best design for someone looking for a set of high-end headphones for exercise and other activities. The earbud contoured shape is complementing by an over ear wire compliment to keep the headphones tucked in place during any sudden movements. The M6 also includes a unique conical ear mount that leads the sound deeper into the ear and aid the snug fit.
Retail: $54.99 to $29.99.
If Meelectronics designs have any weaknesses at all, it’s the company’s choice to go with the rubber adapter inserts as add-on attachments. They’re not alone in the inclusion of these annoying attachments. The idea is to go away from “one size fits all” earbuds and allow users to adapt the sizing to fit their inner ears. But, they always fall off. You lose them. And, if you run out of replacements, you have to buy more to avoid sticking a small piece of metal into your ear. Of all the units tested, the M16 suffered from this choice. Make no mistake – the sound is very strong from the M16, but we lost more than one set of add-ons.
Retail: $29.99 to $24.95.
Considered the entry level model for Meelectronics, this basic design is solidly built and offers better than average bass for use with iPods and other common MP3 players. In fact, considering that the SX-31 exists to fit a sort of quick buy, disposable role in the manufacturer’s line, this model is reliable and resilient, which is absolutely necessary considering users are likely to wrap them around their portable devices and to give them a good battering.
Retail: $14.99 to $9.99.
On the more fashionable side of the Meelectronics line, the M21 is the sleekest design with least intrusive profile with in the ear. The idea is to make the leanest possible housing that still packs the necessary high-end performance. While the M21 might lack some of the range and clarity of Meelectronics’ most expensive offerings, we still couldn’t find a musical style it couldn’t handle. And it’s highly comfortable and secure while in-ear. The M21 also comes in a selection of colors for accessory matching to your iPod, earrings, etc.
A step up from the M21, the M11 offers more full-spectrum sound in a similar, narrow casing. The M11 also boasts an extra resilience of some waterproofing. You can’t swim in them, but, they’re secure enough for outdoor use in damp or wintery conditions. Finally, like many of Meelectronics designs, a curvature of the M11‘s audio input connect makes it less like to snag when running out of an iPod or other player.
Retail: $69.99 to $44.99.
An over-ear design, Meelectronics combines comfort with solid bass and audio depth in a compact set-up that folds up for easy transport alongside a laptop, portable DVD player or MP3 unit. While fitting lightly enough over the ears, the size doesn’t encompass the ear, limiting the amount of uncomfortable heat build-up cup designs can provide.
Saving the best – and the most expensive – for last, the A151 Balanced Armature In-Ear Headphone combines Meelectronics most advanced fitting with its most varied high-end audio performance. The A151 provides the richest sound range with the most reliable bass performance. Most importantly, the design packs noise cancellation technology for use on airplanes and other noisy environments.