Firstly I would like to thank Master & Dynamic for sending me this sample for review, I will try and write as honest a review possible, these received over 50 hrs of burn-in, a few small differences were noted.
Dell XPS 15 > Sybasonic D31A > ME03 (audiofly triple flange tips)
iPod Classic 7G > ME03 (audiofly triple flange tips)
Driver - 8mm dynamic
Impedance - 16Ohms
MSRP: $159 (£129)
MSRP: $159 (£129)
Packaging, Accessories and Build Quality:
The packaging is very good, it comes in a very sleek, apple esque white box, with a picture of the IEM's on the front and a window on the back displaying the IEM's and remote, underneath this is information about the IEM's and also a list of included accessories and specifications can be found on the bottom of the packaging. You pull out the main box from this outer sleeve and the IEM's are held securely in a foam insert, you can see the leather case underneath with the included tips inside. A well thought out and attractive packaging.
Accessories are good, you get XS, S, M and L single flange tips, a soft fabric carry case and also a very nice leather storage box. The leather storage box is very luxurious but I would have liked to see more tips included, also tips that fit the nozzle a little better would be good. Overall not a bad amount of accessories, but more tips would be welcomed.
Build quality is very good, as soon as you take them out of their packaging you are greeted with perfectly machined housings, with excellent finishing, the cable is flat and strong, the L shaped jack is sturdy the y-split which has the smart-phone buttons on it is a little big but again strong. The mic is metal also and perfectly placed on the cable, the housing looks like it is open back with the mesh, it does give a slight retro look and I really like it. Strain relief is good all-round and I think these could stand up to some abuse and last a long time.
Comfort, Isolation, Driver flex and Cable noise:
Comfort is good once you have a good seal, the housing isn't too heavy, neither is the cable, the housing does have quite sharp edges but I do not find this to be a problem. What I did find to be a problem was the stock tips, one got stuck in my ear as they are a little loose fitting on the nozzle, and also they move slightly on the nozzle, this then creates pressure and the sound goes very bad. I recommend using Sony hybrid tips, or the Audiofly AF-1XX series tips, the triple flange tips worked best for me. You could also stretch some Comply tips to fit, and that would work very well with these.
Isolation is fairly average for an IEM, they block out enough for daily usage, but on a flight you might want a little more isolation.
Driver flex was an issue too, I found that with the wrong tips you get bad driver flex and it did not seem to equalise, so it would stay that way until you take them out and re-insert, that is why I recommend using other tips that the stock ones. Using the triple flange tips I had no driver flex issues which is strange.
Cable noise is present, but you can wear these with the cable going behind your ear which eliminates the little cable noise these have.
Lows, these are advertised as having a deep warm sound, and they do, the lows punch with authority and extend with ease, but they don't feel all that controlled sometimes. They are however very articulate, bass guitar is always present and audible, they handle most genres very well. In acoustic they give good body whilst in rock they give very good kick, electronica you never lose track of the underlying beat, but the lows do sound quite thick and lack a little in speed and recovery.
The mids for the most part handle male and female vocals well, there is a little warming from the lows but nothing overwhelming, but these also seems to be a peak in the upper mids that accentuates the sshh, it is not ear piercing sibilance but it sounds a little odd. The mids do retain good detail sounding quite balanced and clean, and you can easily distinguish between the different sounds in the mids. Electric guita have good power, acoustic guitars sound very delicate and all details can be heard. I do like the mids overall, but the peak really lets them down.
Highs are not the highlight of the sound, they also have some peaks which make some of the highs quite sharp but most of the time they are fairly inoffensive and don't stand out much. They definitely take a backseat in the overall sound, and the highs don't sound all that airy, making them sound a little congested on faster tracks.
Soundstage is good, not spectacular, but better than average, good instrument separation but a warm sound with not a lot of air.
Conclusion, well these are not bad, and for the general consumer they will be a hit, they look good and sound better than a few other options. They also have smart-phone functions which is great for those who use their phones for music. I can think of a few other models that sound better for the price, but these are easier to get hold of and will be available at Apple stores. The sound is warm and fairly inoffensive, there are a couple of peaks and dips and the mids are the focus on these, being clear and detailed. I can recommend these for your daily commute, but for the price there are a few better options available.
Sound Perfection Rating: 5/10 (ok for the price, but better options available)