Review MEElectronics A161p

Discussion in 'Audiophiles: Headphones, Earphones, etc.' started by tinyman392, May 21, 2012.

  1. tinyman392

    tinyman392 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    MEElectronics | In-Ear Monitor | $ 100.00
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    MEElectronics has been a strong contender for great quality. Recently, they have updated their line with four new models: two wireless models, the S6, and the A161. This review will take a look at MEE’s new flagship, the A161p. Like it’s older brother, the A151, the A161 offers listeners the detailing and speed of a balanced armature. Offering a good upgrade over the A151, the A161 fixes many of the problems that plagued the A151.

    Specifications
    • Driver Type: Single Balanced Armature Driver
    • Frequency Response: 20 Hz - 20 kHz
    • Impedance: 16 ohms
    • Sensitivity: 110 dB
    In the Box
    • MEElectronic A161p
    • Carrying Case
    • 6 Pairs of Silicone Tips (Single Flange - S/M/L; Triple Flange - S/L; Duo Flange - M)
    • Ear Guides
    • Shirt Clip
    • TRRS Adapter
    • PC Adapter
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    The A161 comes with a wide variety of accessories.

    Design

    Taking steps away from the A151’s larger design, MEE decides to take the minute route and create something that would be a little more subtle. A slate-colored plastic housing shines deeply as the gold nozzles separates itself from the rest of the design. The entire design as a whole has a glossy look to it. Although the housings are plastic, the finish on them is beautiful and professional. The housing design is absolutely gorgeous in a deep slate color.

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    You really get lost in the beautiful slate coloring when looking up the A161.

    Design: ★★★★

    Audio

    The audio is alive and energetic. The A161 takes a lot from it’s older sibling the A151, but adds some better quality overall. The bass is more texture focused rather than mid-bass focused while maintaining a neutral ground. The mids are more upfront and extremely sweet and energetic while the highs settle themselves in a slumber in the background.

    Bass
    The part of the bass I enjoy the most on the A161s is the one that is the softest; texture. It’s beautifully textured to such a delicate level that is intricate and really just shapes the low end. That said, the A161s do dig deep into the low end spectrum, but lack in the higher end. The lows do give some punch, but can definitely use some improvement here. The impact is there though, which does make for a different sound in the bass. The bass is anywhere but upfront, and that can cause some issues with presence at times.

    Bass: ★★★★½
    Mids
    These mids are sweet. They offer energy beyond belief; this energy being the driving force behind the entire midrange. Packed within everything is the highly accurate timbre that is involved in keeping this IEM top notch. Detail retrieval is infused nicely into these IEMs, but they are far from analytic while the clarity really shines through letting every note ring through the air in a crystal clear fashion.

    Mids: ★★★★
    Highs
    The high-end presentation is wonderful, but definitely the Achilles Heal of the the A161. It offers beautiful separation, along with the extension into the higher mids. This leads to energetic high hats and sparkle. Clarity is not problem either. The main things however are the lack of the micro-detail in the highs; although most details are there, some are missing. The second thing is that the highs are not present the whole time, which can make them seem lost at times.

    Highs: ★★★★

    Audio: ★★★★½

    Build

    The build quality is either hit or miss with these IEMs. For the most part, they are a good IEM, but in others, they miss that target. A new case design is included with the A161s compared to previous models. The case is slightly taller in size, but still suitable for portable use.

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    MEElectronics has updated their case design to reflect their new logo.

    The housings are made of plastic, and that really isn’t a problem here. The finish and feel of the housings themselves feel nice and solid. I doubt they will break on you. Coming out of each housing is a large strain relief... When I say large, I mean it’s huge. This really isn’t a problem.

    The main problem arises with the cable. The cable is thin, and feels very brittle. It is tangle prone and made of plastic. The entire cabling seems very cheap and can fall apart. My cable has already done that as the connection to the right housing has broken (although sound isn't affected). I still don’t find the cable to be really well built; I was really expecting more from a new flagship.

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    There is a remote and mic included, but the cable itself seems weaker and prone to memory effects.

    The headphone jack, feels stronger than the cable, but is also made of plastic. It is sturdy, but also feels softer than it should be. It is flexible, but a little too flexible. It is angled however, which does help create less stress on the weaker cable.

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    The headphone jack does make up for the cable somewhat.

    Build: ★★★½

    Comfort

    There are really no complaints here regarding comfort. With my small ears, I was able to wear them up or down. Ear hooks are included to ensure a secure fit up, however, they may not be the best for people with small ears.

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    Ear hooks are included to make wearing the IEMs over the ear a little easier.

    There are a total of 6 pairs of tips included. They are made to fit a variety of ears, and do fit comfortably and deliver a proper seal. I really have no complaints regarding comfort, it’s actually just top notch.

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    Six sets of tips are included to fit a wide variety of ears and just add to the comfort of the A161s.

    Comfort: ★★★★

    Value

    At just around 100 bucks, these IEMs deliver a bountiful bang for the buck in terms of sound. However, like the RE0, we find out quickly that sound isn’t everything. The build quality of these, specifically the cable, can use some major upgrades and can be a let down if the IEMs break. Still, these IEMs deliver a beautiful design and offer great comfort. A remote is also included for smartphone users. However, what you really pay for is the sound that these single armature IEMs produce. In that case, if you ignore build, these have amazing value. Unfortunately, I can’t ignore the build; after all, what good is an IEM if it just breaks?

    Value: ★★★★

    Final Thoughts

    MEE has brought up another winner, and a great addition to the line up. The new sibling comes up to outdo just about every single aspect of the A151, except for one trait. Although the cable may be it’s weakness, the strengths are still able to shine. As long as you baby these, I don’t see any reason why someone would enjoy the comfort, design, and especially the sweet sound of the A161p.

    I’d like to thank Mike for the review sample.

    Overall Score
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    † All prices are in US currency.This review was written by the iFans.com Review Team. Cumulative scores are rounded to the nearest half or full star.
    This accessory, product, or app was received as a sample.
    Thanks Mike for the product sample.
  2. iZach

    iZach Member

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    Nice review as always tinyman. Not to fond of the gold though and a little out of my price range. But still a great review!
  3. tinyman392

    tinyman392 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    LOL, I don't mind the design, you don't even see the gold when they are in your ear :p There are plenty of good IEMs in other price ranges, none came out recently (all companies seem to be releasing new flagships :p). In my honest opinion, if you want a quality pair of headphones, you really can't spend less than 50 bucks, unless they are on sale (I've heard one exception to this rule thus far :p)

    I'm gonna be doing a few headphone reviews in the coming month, taking a short break from IEM :p
    iZach likes this.
  4. tinyman392

    tinyman392 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    This may not pertain directly to the A161, but I don't know where else to put this. It is MEE, so I might as well post it here:

    http://sellout.woot.com/plus/meelectronics-headphones

    Absolutely amazing prices for these headphones. The A151 for 35 bucks is a steal, the wooden CW31s are a good deal at 20 bucks as well :) I haven't heard the other models though.
  5. Johnny Jumper

    Johnny Jumper New Member

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    Just ordered a161's online. Question: are they as good as or better than shure se215?
  6. tinyman392

    tinyman392 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I haven't heard the SE215, so I won't be able to tell you. From what I've read, the 215s will have more bass than the A161.
  7. tinyman392

    tinyman392 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    If anyone wants to try these, they are 30% off on Amazon right now (Lightning deal) making them 70 bucks. Great value for the price.

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