Review: Meze Deco 11 (more wood)

Firstly I would like to thank Meze for sending me this sample for review, I know there was some criticism when Meze first came out because of OEM manufacturing, but they are coming out with some new products that I shall hopefully be reviewing more of soon. I will write as honest a review possible.

Gear Used:
Fiio X3 > Deco 11 (small stock tips)
Fiio X3 > Silver mini-mini > JDS Labs C5D > Deco 11

Tech Specs:
-Speaker size: 8mm Neodymium
-Frequency response:17Hz-25KHz
-Sensitivity: 101+/-2dB At 1KHz1mW
-Impedance: 14 Ohm
-Rated input power: 3mW.
-Plug: 3.5mm gold-plated
-MSRP: €65

Packaging, Accessories and Build Quality:
The packaging of the Meze is quite Apple esque, a small white box with a picture of the IEM's on the front and the specifications and accessories listed on the back. The box is very small and void of any luxuries, but simple and attractive. Also it is very easy to open and get to the product inside which is the most important part.

The included accessories are fine, again nothing too special, but they do include a very nice carry case and 3 pairs of single flange tips, S, M and L. Also included is a cable clip. Just about everything important, a few more tips wouldn't hurt but as is, the accessories are fine.

Build quality, well here we have quite a nice IEM, with a well made wooden housing, but the plastic buttons on the back of housing are not very well attached, one did actually come off when I had them (but a little superglue fixed this). So the glue that is used to attach the plastic buttons to the housing is not very good, but you can easily glue them back on. Apart from that, the cable is fine, not particularly thick and strong but should hold up fine over time. These include an apple compatible mic, with the single button. I do not have any products to test the quality of the mic with, but I assume it must be fine for phone calls. One thing these are lacking are a chin slider. The jack is 45° and has good strain relief, the housing has good strain relief and the y-split is metal and feels very nice.

Comfort, Isolation, Cable noise and Driver flex:
Comfort is very good, the housing is of a good shape to sit comfortable in your ear, these do allow for medium depth insertion, and I find them most comfortable with shallow insertion.

Isolation is good for a vented IEM, enough for standard daily usage, but you might want something with a bit more isolation for long flights or tube travel.

Cable noise is a problem, and with no chin slider it is hard to do away with unless you wear these with the cable over the ear, which is comfortable and easy to do.

Driver flex is not too bad with these, the vent helps prevent this, but there is a little to be detected when inserting them.

Lows: Good extension and punch, plenty of rumble down low and also kick when called for. The lows however are not the most accurate and come across a tad bloated, they also don't have the best speed for fast music, but they do give the IEM's a pleasant, full sound. I do find these very good fun to listen to when out and about, they fair best with modern pop music and also EDM and similar. Slower alternative rock is also handled very well, where the lows don't bleed in to the mids too badly.

Mids: Actually the mids surprised me a little, I was expecting them to be recessed and veiled, they are slightly behind the lows, but they have detail and also a realistic timbre. Female vocals do sound a little better than male vocals, just because of the slight bleed from the lows. Vocals come across with very good body yet not too much, there is no sibilance up top as there is a bit of a dip in the highs. Overall the mids are smooth and lush with good tonality.

Highs: Well the highs don't jump out at you and hurl detail at you, but they do give you a good sense of space. They are not particularly detail or have much sparkle, extension also isn't one of its strong points but the highs help complete the sound without making them harsh or thin. I am most critical of the highs usually because I enjoy well defined and detailed highs without being too bright.

Soundstage is larger than average, but not huge. Instrument separation is decent and so is imaging, they don't have a lot of air, as they have a bit of a warm/full sound, but instruments are well separated.

Overall: Apart from the build quality issues, these are actually quite good IEM's for the price. Yes there are some great budget IEM's out there from the likes of SoundMAGIC, Brainwavz, T-Peos and many others, but these have good looks, and the sound is surprisingly good. The sound is on the warmer side, the lows are a little bloated and not the tightest or fastest, the mids though are very good, if only they were a little more forward. The highs do let them down to an extent, but they also mean that it is never forgiving, and always fun to pop these in for a quick walk to the shops.

Sound Perfection Rating: 7/10 (build quality + highs let them down)

Tracks Used:
Skrillex – First Of The Year (Equinox) (320kbps MP3)
Paramore – Franklin (320kbps MP3)
Diana Krall – The Girl In The Other Room (FLAC)
Deolinda – Passou Por Mim E Sorriu (live) (ALAC)
Suicide Silence – Unanswered (FLAC)
Massive Attack – Angel (ALAC)
Eat Static – Dzhopa Dream (ALAC)
The XX – Crystalised (FLAC)
Funeral For A Friend – Bend Your Arms To Look Like Wings (ALAC)
Mumford & Sons – Little Lion Man (FLAC)
The Scene Aesthetic – Humans (259kbps MP3)
A Hero A Fake – Swallowed By The Sea (254kbps MP3)
Vivaldi – The Four Seasons, Spring Allegro (ALAC)
Johnny Craig – Children Of Divorce (161kbps MP3)
Deadmau5 + Kaskade – I Remember (Caspa Remix) (320kbps MP3)
Black Uhuru – Utterance (ALAC)
We Are The In Crowd – Never Be What You Want (226kbps MP3)
Silverstein – Discovering The Waterfront (320kbps MP3)
Concept Of Thought – Our Thought (FLAC)
Nirvana – Something In The Way (Unplugged) (ALAC)