MEE CC51 Review
This is the first time I have written a review, this is my opinion based on my subjective ability to hear, as well as my preferences. I received this as a review pair from MEE, they can be purchased on their website for $79.99. Primarily I am a classical music listener, because of this my bias is for analytical, balanced phones. Please keep this in mind. However I listened to a lot of non-classical music for this review as I recognize that is the proper context for these IEM's. With that said the genres I listened to varied, from Prog Rock, Rock, Jazz, Drum and Bass, Dubstep, Down-tempo, Vocal, Pop, Folk, Country (Little Big Town). Equipment used was a Rockboxed Clip, Rockboxed Fuze, and a Dell latitude E4300 Laptop, files used were MP3 VBR -0, 320K and streaming 192k Shoutcast.
* Driver: 6.0 mm micro-drivers
* Housing: Ceramic housing with aluminum nozzle
* Frequency Response: 18Hz – 20KHz
* Sensitivity: 98 dB
* Impedance: 16 ohms
* Maximum Power Input: 5 mW
* Connector: 3 pin stereo 3.5mm gold plated 90° plug
* Cable: solid color 130 cm cord (51 in) with attached shirt clip
* Accessories: 4 sets of silicone ear tips (small/medium/large; bi-flange), clamshell zipper case
The Packaging was different then what I am used to from MEE, the box was thin cardboard, the headphones were nestled in plastic that is felt lined. A nice change of pace from the clear all plastic box I am used to. No tools were needed to open the box.
Small Medium Large and dual flange tips are included as well as a clamshell case and shirt Clip. As noted on their website, please be careful when removing the shirt clip. I, like two other reviewers managed to make a small cut in the cord, nothing that affected the use of the phones. I patched it up with a bit of super glue. Joe the VP of sales and marketing said "we will be using a different shirt clip in future CC51s to remedy this issue and are working on a resolution for the current CC51s."
Pre Burn-in thoughts
Right out of the box, these are very detailed, with a great balance of highs, lows, and sweet mids, vocals really shine. I am having a hard time thinking that these are Dynamic drivers because they are so detailed, especially with good jazz recordings. When I was listening to jack johnson strum on his guitar the sound is very engaging, up front and warm. The construction is solid, the cable is different from all the other MEE phones that I own, it is thinner and more flexible. The bass does not bleed into mid-range at all and they are not bass monsters, although in no way bass anemic either.
I burned these if for 50 hours using a variety of frequency sweeps, pink noise, white noise, heavy bass drum, and my own custom track list of Jazz, Bjork and NIN. The only difference that I noticed is that the bass settled in just a bit and was better defined.
What follows are notes that I made while I listened to the listed tracks.
Beethoven's 9th Bernstein Conducting
1st movement - The timpani during the quiet passages as well as the bass plucks really stand out. The highs are not analytical but are not lacking by any means. The mids here from the cellos are well defined, precise and surprisingly audible. The separation is surprisingly good even during very busy passages. The treble is a little bit laid back.
The upright bass being played with the bow is fun to pick out the placement is neat. The sound stage is average, although better then I expected from a micro-driver, they are also more detailed then I expected them to be.
Wagner RheineGold - Karajan
The beginning of this opera builds and builds and builds with the basses and cellos, and then the voices of the rheinmaidens, singing beautifully, no sibilance at all, the highs are gentle and relaxed, not piercing or too aggressive. Decay on the low end is pleasing and natural, mid-range timpani decays very nicely.
These won't be my favorite for classical, of course these were not meant for classical.
Little Big Town - Shut up train
The vocals are right up front, guitar is just in the back behind the vocals. Higher guitar secondary is up front as well, so great placement of instruments and vocals, drums sound really life like and crisp. Sound stage is average here. Details are excellent at -25 db on the clip. Separation is outstanding.
A to Zink tonight, jazz. upright bass has a nice body to it, piano is up front with great clarity and detail.
great clarity and detail of the drum stick hitting the hi-hat.
Listening to Damien Rice O - track 2
volcano, the detail again is amazing. its hard to believe that these are dynamic phones. warm, engaging, and very detailed.
I found the large single flange to give me the best isolation and comfort, I was able to use the double flange but since I have large ear canals I found that the large singles were best.
I took them outside and mowed the lawn with them in, they isolate very well, and I did not have to turn up the volume more then 5 more db on my clip. While the mower was off and I was dumping the bag I was unable to hear my wife yelling my name standing right behind me. That was the end of the outside isolation test.
These have quickly become my favorite pair of headphones for any non-classical musical listening. The instrument placement is excellent, sound-stage is very nice. They are so very detailed in the mids and the bass has plenty of kick and body that is detailed. I don't have much to compare these to as far as dynamic drivers go, I am a BA kind of guy. These perform so well for their price. They compete with my UE700's and I prefer the CC51's for anything outside of Classical listening. Going from the CC51 to my aurvana 2's (same price bracket) I find the Aurvana's dry and stale by comparison. These are my first pair of IEM's that I was really excited about listening to. They have provided me with a new appreciation of how great a dynamic IEM can sound. While I have not heard anything that would be considered top tier, I think these are a great value for the money. They are built well and feel very solid, strain reliefs are very good and the ceramic housing gives them a nice weight. If you have comments or suggestions please feel free to leave them.
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