Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus Review

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Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus Review Rating

Summary

The Cambridge Audio Melomania 1+ are a pair of excellent all-around TWS earbuds that are priced attractively with nothing notable for me to nitpick over.

Overall
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  • Overall - 90%
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Pros

  • Excellent out of box performance
  • EQ can significantly change the sound profile to your preference
  • Good battery + IP rating make these good for fitness
  • Good price

Cons

  • No wireless charging
  • Some may prefer a flatter sound
  • Battery life claim is a touch misleading, because you are not going to switch to low-performance mode (it is still good though)

The Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 has been out for a few years now, and a few months ago, they were updated with a + model.

Looking on Amazon they are one of the best-reviewed earbuds on the market, and these opinions are reflected by most critics. I have frequently suggested these when doing earbuds reviews but never actually used them until now. So, do they live up to all the glowing recommendations?

Features / Specification

  • Chipset: Qualcomm QCC3026
  • Bluetooth: Bluetooth 5.0, Class 2
  • Profiles: A2DP, AVRCP, HSP, HFP
  • Codecs: aptX, AAC, SBC
  • Driver: 5.8mm Dynamic with Graphene-enhanced Diaphragm
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
  • Total Harmonic Distortion: <0.04% @1kHz 1mW 
  • In use battery life: Up to 9 Hours (Continuous A2DP Playback) *In Low Power mode
  • Total battery life with case: Up to 50 Hours (9 + 41) *In Low Power mode
  • Charging: USC-C 120mins full charge, no wireless
  • IP Rating: IPX5 (Water Splash Resistant (Earbuds & Case))
  • Earbud Weight: 4.6g each (9.2g both Earbuds)

Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus vs Melomania 1

It looks like the older Melomania 1 is now discontinued. However, the new + model appears to be the same underlying earbud.  The only difference is that these now have USB-C charging, and they are compatible with the Melomania App while being about the same price.

Design & Fit

The Cambridge Audio Melomania have quite a unique design, almost as if not much thought went into the design in the first place. It is just a tubular bud you shove in your ear. I didn't think they would fit well or be very comfortable, but they actually are. They are a little smaller than I imagined them to be, so they don't stick too far out of your ear.

One thing I always love to see is lots of ear tip choices. You get two sets of eartips, one foam the other rubber, the rubber has 5 sizes, the foam four. I think this is the widest range of ear tips I have seen from a company, which is very impressive to me. I don't know why everyone doesn't do this, a good fit is essential to achieving a decent sound, and it seems like a negligible cost to add a few more eartips in the pack.

Normally I am not keen on foam tips, they don't seem to stay in my ears well, but with a bit of experimentation, I found that the foam options for these provided the best overall sound.

Fitness / Running

The 9 hours playback and IPX5 rating tick a lot of boxes for a fitness earbud. I did have the right earbud slip out on one long run, I think I have a wonky shaped right eardrum, so this isn't a one-off for earbuds, I just normally adjust them before they fall out.

For other runs as well as weight lifting and cycling in Zwift, the earbuds have had no issues.

I also experienced no issues when switching to the foam tips.

Sound Quality

I have read a few reviews of the Melomania in the past, and these seem to be a good example of how people perceive sound differently. One site suggests these are very bass-heavy and it can muddy your tracks. In contrast, others suggest a punchy low end with criticisms about the bass emphasis.

Frequency response curves confirm that these do emphasise the bass which is almost a given with mainstream consumer-focussed earphones.

I am on the side of these having a punchy low end, with the bass coming out more dependant on how good you get the fit of the eartips. There are significantly more bassy earphones out there, the Jabra Elite 75T spring to mind, which I still use frequently.

I don't find the bass muddies the other frequencies and found that the Melomania offered good clarity throughout the ranges. Mids and vocals were warm and rich, while treble remained crisp even though it was less emphasised than the low end. I personally prefer a little less treble as I am prone to finding higher frequencies a little harsh.

App & EQ

Should you not like the out of box performance, you can tune the sound to your preference using the Cambridge app. Quite a few earphones have apps with EQ options now. These often only offer a relatively subtle tweak to the sound, even when adjusting the dials to the extreme. The Cambridge app seems to offers a superior EQ with a large variance in the sound profiles, which should allow you to customise them to your tastes quite easily.

I found the neutral EQ worked best for myself, while rock and electronic did bring out the bass a little bit too much. For those that don't like the emphasised bass, I thought the immersive offered the best balance, while the voice option massively reduces the bass while emphasising the upper mids.

Beyond the EQ, the functionality of the app is basic. The most important function will be keeping the firmware up to date

Battery

These are rated at up to 9 hours, but you need to put the earbuds into low-performance mode, which requires a change to your firmware. It is a bit of a faff.

Switching to the low powered mode does have a negative effect on the sound quality. They still sound good, but there is not quite the same level of detail or warmth.

Out of the box, and what you are likely always going to use, these use high-performance mode, which gives closer to 7 hours use. This is still on the higher end of normal and similar to many premium earbuds without ANC on such as the Jabra Elite 75T and 85T.

I can't say I have ever used earbuds for anywhere near 7 hours, so this is plenty for me.

The case then offers up to an additional 41 hours of use (when in low power), which works out at around 32 hours in high-performance mode, assuming my ability to do maths is correct.

These lack wireless charging, which is not an unreasonable sacrifice to make at this price point. While it is nice to have, it never bothers me too much when a device lacks it.

Price and Alternative

One of the best things about the Melomania 1 Plus is the price. At £99.95, they are not cheap-cheap but certainly affordable for a reputable audio brand.

But there are plenty of options at around this price.

For about £100, you have:

  • Jabra Elite Active 65t for about £70 – I have not used them, but I like both the 75T and 85T
  • Sennheiser CX 400BT True Wireless Earbuds for about £85 – Not used them but well-reviewed, not IP rated.
  • Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless for £101 – IPX4 rated. Not used them but very well-reviewed
  • Huawei FreeBuds Pro for £90 – Great value for money, including ANC, but lack an IP rating.  
  • Nothing ear(1) for £99 – Not launched yet, IPX4 rated with ANC. Receiving mixed reviews online, but if you were to believe the marketing hype, these are the best things ever.

Overall

I like the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1+ a lot. They have excellent out of the box sound, which you can then customise to your liking with the app, comfort is good with a superb range of ear tips, battery life is above average, and the IPX5 rating makes these an ideal fitness focussed earbud.

The £100 price point is a sweet spot in my opinion, you can get great earbuds from reputable brands, but it is not devastating should you break or lose them.

Overall, these are a superb pair of earphones and are ideal for fitness use.

Last update on 2021-09-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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