Lately I have been playing with a lot of audio gadgets headphones, earphones… you name it, and they all differ in sound, build quality and even the price range. For some people Music is life, and they like it to sound amazing when they listen to it. And spending a 100’ish dollars for a good looking and sounding earphones does worth it.
This month, I got a new pair of headphones from a company called Master & Dynamic located in New York, United State. The ME03 a 160USD pair of earphones is what we are going to review in this article, but is it worth it?
Inside the box:
I was impressed at the packaging right off the bat, the unboxing experience really gives a premium look and feel for the earphones, at the end you didn’t pay 100’ish dollar just to get an earphone in a box.
Inside the package, you’ll find the earphones themselves, one set each of XS, S, M, L single flange silicone ear tips, a low-profile canvas mobile earphone carrying case, a rather nifty looking leather circular hard clam case for home storage and manual instructions.
Build and Appearance:
No doubt about it, these are a good-looking pair of earphones; they’re classy without looking boring and they’re understated enough to wear with a suit, or whatever the hell you want. The cable is a tangle-resistant flat cable that is a traditional Y-split and it terminates in a right-angle connector.
The ME03 is all about compactness and usability. The IEMs housings are fashioned from machined anodized aluminum and are barrel shaped for an easy fit and have a single 8mm neodymium driver inside. The workmanship on the housing is excellent with no signs of defective or shoddy workmanship. Although aluminum, the housings are quite light, overall weight of the IEM is 25g, and during my review time I found the ME03 to easily retain a good fit while active. The bore of the housing itself is on the average size side, not overly big or overly small, with a white covering (think filter designed for specific tuning). Although designed to be worn cable down the ME03 can also easily be worn behind the ear cable up without jeopardizing seal.
These cost $159, which is not exactly cheap, but it’s also about the going rate for a quality pair of earbuds. So, how do they sound? They sound very good, but not great. I’ll explain further; vocals are very forward; I can hear vocals in every track very clearly and the bass is very full sound. I can’t hear pretty much anything in a track fairly well once there is bass, but that’s me, as clearly when dealing with sound it can be a very subjective thing.
Having said that, separation here isn’t exactly excellent, and the soundscape is fairly narrow. For $159 I would have expected a little more, but these aren’t bad by any means. In fact, I would rather keep these in a jacket or bag over many other higher-end pairs of earbuds. Why? Well, for one they look the part and for another I’m guaranteed a decent listening experience each and every time.
I wore these things for hours on end in my tests, they definitely withstood the test of time in my ears. The ME03’s are comfortable and well designed. The build quality is high as well. Additionally, as I previously mentioned, the ME03’s are extremely lightweight. You really don’t even feel like you have anything in your ears.
The ME03’s offer a built-in controller attached to the cable, this controller only works on iOS devices. Which brings me to my next minor issue: I’d really love to see a Lightning version of these earphones, especially now that Apple has moved away from the headphone jack with the iPhone 7/7 Plus and also an Android Version.
Earlier in this review, I wondered if Master & Dynamic ME03 earphones worth buying. Well I think they are worth it, but for 150’ish USD these aren’t perhaps the best value out there, although from a manufacturer looking to strike a balance between looks and performance, these sound really quite good. I’m not quite as confident that these will last too long in the hands of some listeners, but these reproduce pretty much everything with good results, and they’re the pair I’d keep in a jacket or bag simply because I’m guaranteed a good listening experience every time. Sure, they’re not amazing, and I’m sure that there are Sennheiser or Sony buds out there that sound much better than these, but for a plug-in, listen and forget pair of earbuds these are some of the classiest around.
I was provided the ME03 earphones as a review sample. Head over Master & Dynamic website to know more about their products.