True wireless hearing aids are undergoing an absolute revolution in 2019, with an increase in battery life and prices falling precipitously. The first entry of Cambridge Audio in the category, the Melomania 1, is a great example of this trend, with a price of $ 129.95, while it has nine hours of autonomy in the battery and 36 incredible additional hours in its tiny case type AirPods. I've been trying the Melomania for a couple of weeks, and I have not had to recharge its case yet.
Verge's readers can remind Cambridge Audio of my review of the DacMagic XS, a small USB DAC and Amplifier that essentially functions as an external PC sound card. But the company has a much deeper and longer history than that, with 50 years of experience in audio engineering that spans speakers, amplifiers, AV receivers and even a pair of wired headphones. With the future very directed towards a wireless direction, the Melomania sprouts arrive just in time to forge a new niche for Cambridge Audio.
My expectations of these outbreaks were not very high. They have a Micro USB charging connection, which I have been insisting on since the end of 2017, and they are priced high enough to sell only in their high demand for battery life. If you could play any sound, you would think that many people would buy them only for that time of resistance. But Cambridge Audio has done a great job along with great energy efficiency, since Melomania has impressed and surprised me on several fronts beyond their battery.
First, your case. This is the best case for hearing aids I've found outside of what Apple has designed for AirPods. The Melomania case is only a little larger and has many more hours of charging. It has the same click on its upper cover that you get from the AirPods, and I find myself distracted by opening it and closing it in the same way I do with the Apple alternative. There is a great tactile quality for both products, and both are incredibly rigid and resistant. I appreciate the strong metal hinge and the magnet used by Cambridge Audio, and the five LEDs on the front give me an indication of the level of charge of the case at any time I open it.
The buds have a unique design. Each one is a rotund cylinder, completely symmetrical and without ergonomic adjustments, and it seems that they are loaded through a metal strip that sits like a belt around its middle section (so Pogo pins are not required). I would describe your fit as very accurate: I can find a comfortable way to get in my ears, but my friends have discovered that their block shape is not natural and a bit weird to use. I would not say that Melomania causes discomfort, but they are far from the effortless comfort of something like Samsung's Galaxy Buds.
The flat exterior of each headset is a multifunctional button, framed by an LED indicator light that looks like a small halo. I like both, since I have seen too many good headphones damaged by bad touch controls, and the lights are elegantly integrated.
My biggest surprise came when I heard Melomania, which is pretty good. This starts with good sound isolation, since Melomania is far ahead of Apple's AirPods when it comes to reducing outside noise. With these cocoons, I can still hear things around me and be aware of what surrounds me, but I also have a much better idea of the music I listen to as I walk through the busy streets of the city.
The stage, clarity and sound The tonal balance provided by Melomania is better than normal for true wireless headphones. There is not a low end swollen or anything excessively bright to talk about, and everything feels coherent and in balance. The voices sound natural and the guitars sound like someone is playing them on the strings. This does not suggest that the Melomania are any kind of high fidelity audiophile quality hardware, because they are not. They have their limitations, and they get entangled occasionally with fine details. But even without reaching the new pinnacles of audio perfection, they are just a very easy listening that reminds me of Apple's AirPods: they are not high fidelity nor exceptional, but they are very nice.
Cambridge Audio has also been responsible for Melomania's wireless performance, which maintains an impeccable connection with iPhones and Android devices. The buttons are compatible with Bluetooth 5 and AptX, AAC and SBC. They also have a wide variety of possibilities, so you should be able to move to the office coffee shop and return without necessarily having your phone in your pocket. However, it is a great relief not to have to worry about avoiding interference with the wireless signal of your headphones.
However, there is one thing that is terrible about these headphones, and their microphone performance. Even in a quiet room, the Melomania makes me sound like I'm calling from the middle of a thunderstorm somewhere far away. The humble built-in microphone of my MacBook Pro embarrasses the Melomania, and Apple can be sure that Cambridge Audio will not test the excellence of its AirPods to answer calls. In short, the Melomania are just for listening, with the microphones used only in the most serious emergencies or for barking orders to Siri or the Google Assistant, depending on your connected device.
I can not verify it completely because I simply can not get to a situation where I hear real wireless outbreaks like the Melomania for a total of nine hours in a row. The only time I heard your "low battery" audio signal was when I tried them for the first time and they were not loaded. What this means in practice is that these cocoons will cover you for the vast majority of listening scenarios, and their case also provides a comforting recharge.
I am willing to forgive the Melomania Micro USB charging port when it is your case. It casts a rare need. I can see myself on a week's work trips without having to carry a Micro USB cable with me, trusting that Melomania will have enough juice for themselves. And the obvious advantage of omitting USB-C is that it helped Cambridge Audio keep Melomania's price below AirPods, which is frankly essential for anyone trying to compete with Apple's much-known product.
Actually they are only two disadvantages of Melomania, but they are important. The ergonomics of these shoots is quite deficient, and their microphone performance is garbage level. However, if you can find a good fit, as I have, and do not need or do not care about a good microphone, they are excellent. Eliminate range anxiety or resistance for anyone who is reluctant to enter true wireless outbreaks. However, they have a very affordable price, are well built and come with a very good case. Imperfect, but still very attractive.
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