MEElectronics M31 IEM Review
I’ve been racking my brains trying to come up with a decent start to this review, in the past I’ve told a short story that tied into the review in one way or another. Hmm, should I start writing about all the rebranded IEMs coming from China, should I talk about MEElectronics strong marketing approach via social networking media by providing free IEMs for posted reviews or should I just talk about these for what they are and how they perform?
I decided on the latter and you may be surprised to read that for a low-end (sub-$50) product the M31’s could be a miser’s dream for bassheads, yet they are enjoyable across the whole audible sound spectrum. You heard me right they provide plenty of roar and thunder in the low end, enough clarity with detail in the midrange and ample shimmer in the highs.
So read on if you’re interested in why I think these IEMs are worth a listen.
Design, Build & Specs
When looking at them from their rear the M31 housing reminds you of a hollow point bullet shape. The housing is made from metal and sports a rear vent/baffle with two toned aluminum available in various colors: black, red, purple, gold and blue. The nozzle size is 0.197 inches (5mm) and is fitted with a paper filter. While the housing is 1 inch (2.5 cm) without an ear tip and 1.13 inches (2.9 cm) with a standard silicon ear tip. This is too long for me as the housing extends out from my ear not allowing me to wear the cable over my ear and creating a wind noise.
Speaking of this, they’re not good for sports or use in windy weather unless you like noise. I believe this is also a byproduct of the rear vent, as I stood outside this morning a breeze blew by before turning on the music and I noted it from the vent as well. Knowing this I have been wearing them down behind my neck under my shirt which helps reduce cable microphonics. None of this is important if you’re walking in a low wind environment, shopping in a mall or just hanging out.
The cable is coated in a clear plastic allowing you to see what seems to be the braided wire inside. Measuring 35 ¾ inches (90.8 cm) to the Y-splitter and 16 ¼ inches (41.3 cm) to the IEM stress relief, with an overall length of 51 ¾ inches (131.4 cm) they’re just the right length. The Y-splitter is sturdy and slim which doesn’t get caught on shirts. The stress relief at the right angled plug and at the housing are more than adequate, although if the cable breaches near the housing it may prove very difficult to re-cable as the housing build quality is tuff as steal and most likely impossible to open successfully without damage.
They’re easy to insert/seal and when engaged into a conversation with someone just as easy to remove. They’re fine to wear without any discomfort for the few hours a day while I’ve been testing them and I would say the isolation is about medium. Although your mileage may vary as you know isolation can also depend on the tips you use and seal you achieve. Overall the cable does not produce microphonics if worn correctly. I would say at least 3 on a scale from 1 to 5, with 5 being the worst and certainly not near the bad microphonics the CX300s rubber cable produces. At any rate the cable is flexible and its design does minimize tangles to some extent.
Wrapping up the cable dissection the 3.5mm right angled plug is gold plated and made with a low profile which I find extremely nice if you run with your digital audio player inside your pocket. Currently I only have around 50+ hours on these and regardless of what I state here I’ll follow up within the abi forums as to how the cable holds out over the long haul.
Now what we’ve been waiting for, “so how do they sound?” Let me start out by saying if you don’t like bass and you are looking for an accurate balanced sound signature you can stop reading here. But if you want some fun IEMs with good bass quantity and an acceptable overall sound signature at an affordable price read on.
To test the M31s I used a combination of tracks from FLAC to 192 VBR rips on a Cowon iAudio 7, iAudio 9 and a Rockboxed Sansa Clip. I also used my laptop with the same combination of rips out via DAC to the M31s. The IEMs currently have around 50 hours on them and as far as I can tell they haven’t changed much from out of the box or I just got use to their sound signature right away and they haven’t changed yet.
They seem to have all the bass the CX300s or the CrossRoads XB have or had in the latter case, but with better definition and none of the muddy extension the CX300s have. For me the M31s are laid-back with a serious seismic bass, decent sub-bass extension that doesn’t come across overbearing and although the upper bass does bleed into the midrange a little, it doesn’t kill it or damage it. The M31s bass bleed only warms up the mids a tad without any major interference to the vocals. I would say that they are not accurate to life but do provide decent detail and spark in the upper mids and treble range. Although they do show signs of a slight bit of sibilance in the upper highs depending on the track but overall they’re engaging and fun to hear so that can be easily overlooked.
Keep in mind that all I’m saying changes with different tips and it’s important to note that the lower the volume the less pronounced the bass comes across, allowing for a bit more of a balanced sound. But depending on the volume they do come across as transparent and although the imaging is fairly accurate the soundstage is a little tight for dynamic drivers.
So are the M31s a miser’s dream for bass lovers?
I would say yes to those looking for good bass response, plenty of punch, roar and thunder in the low end without losing any serious pace in the other frequencies. They come across as lively and fun to use beating out many other contenders in the sub $50 dollar price range bringing out the miser in all bass lovers …
The M31s can be purchased direct from MEElectronics with a MSRP of $44.99 although they’re also available at Amazon and various other websites.
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Last edited by WalkGood; 04-28-2011 at 04:19 AM.
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