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What 56 years of audio expertise sounds like!


56 years. How does a company pay tribute to such a long legacy? Well, it keeps making great devices that show how it’s been able to stay in business for so long. Cambridge is a British audio company that hit the scene back in 1968. It’s become synonymous with top-tier audio. That association is well deserved, as the company has launched some rather amazing products over the past half-century. I was given the opportunity to review the Cambridge Melomania M100, Cambridge’s first TWS earbuds.

The road to being an audiophile is not a cheap one to travel, and you’re likely to run into some roadblocks…. by that, I mean you’re likely to run into some super expensive piece of hardware that you can’t hope to afford. Getting the best audio quality imaginable requires several pieces of equipment, but it doesn’t have to always be that way. The M100 are a pair of TWS Bluetooth earbuds, and their price is more than attainable for the average Joe.

As such, you know that you’re not going to be getting the same quality as what you’d get from an expensive pair of wired headphones. However, what makes any company great is the ability to make quality products despite innate drawbacks. Cambridge designed these earbuds to give you amazing sound quality, no matter what sort of technology they use. Are these a quality pair of earbuds, or does the company’s legacy stop at 56 years? Let’s find out.

Cambridge Melomania M100 Review: Design

Cambridge’s devices have a certain aesthetic to them. They mostly have a sleek and professional look. There’s a lot of gray and a lot of sharp corners. I think that the M100 stays to this aesthetic. They only come in one colorway, and that’s a dark gray color. They won’t stand out because of their color.

However, it doesn’t mean that they’re boring. The Melomania M100 have a pretty sleek design with a pleasing irregular shape. We see one of the microphones on the outside which lends a metallic accent to the design. Also, there’s a pleasing ring around the touch-sensitive buttons that do much the same thing.

The company wasn’t going for flashy, as that’s not a part of Cambridge’s identity. Rather, it went for a more elegant and downplayed look. They don’t need to have a radical look to them anyway. Samsung’s earlier earbuds like the Galaxy “Beans” really stood out for their design because that was back when Samsung was the fun company. So, it made fun-looking devices.

What 56 years of audio expertise sounds like!

With the Melomania M100, you’re not exactly buying them for their radical looks. These earbuds aren’t going to turn heads like a phone would. They do look very nice, regardless.

The charging case shares this look. It’s a very straightforward pill shape, but it has a nice silver ring around it to give it a little bit of flair.

Cambridge Melomania M100 Review: Build quality

Durability seems to be more of a hot topic with phones, but you shouldn’t ignore the build quality of the earbuds you’re using. Earbuds are small; they can fall out of your ear or be stepped on. Cheaper earbuds wouldn’t really be able to take a ton of abuse without some sort of damage. I’ve used earbuds in the past that have gotten damaged from simple falls.

When I pick up the Melomania M100, I get the sense that they’re well-made. All TWS earbuds are light, so the difference in weight between cheaper and more expensive earbuds isn’t all that significant. However, it’s still a difference that you can feel.

Just like with smartphones, you can get a sense of how much effort went into putting the earbuds together. The Melomania M100 feel like they were made with quality materials. When I pick them up, I can feel a nice little bit of heft to them. It’s not immense, but they’re a little bit heavier than cheaper earbuds. Also, it doesn’t feel like the plastic being used is of low quality. Even smaller devices can be built properly, and I think that these earbuds were definitely built properly.

The same thing goes for the charging case. Just like the earbuds themselves, the charging case is susceptible to drops. The case does feel like it was made with quality plastic. It feels like both the case and the earbuds will last me a long time, and that’s the best feeling to have with any device.

Cambridge Melomania M100 Review: Audio quality (Part 1)

Now, let’s dig into the most important aspect of these earbuds. When it comes to reviewing any sort of audio equipment, I focus on the scientific side of testing, and I also focus on the experience. It’s hard to give a good assessment of a pair of earbuds without paying attention to both.

As a disclaimer, there are ways for you to customize the audio through the Melomania app. However, I will be testing the earbuds using the out-of-the-box settings. So, if it sounds like these earbuds have a quality that you don’t like, just know that you’ll be able to make a change if you want.

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Starting off with the scientific side of the equation, I ran these earbuds through a few test pieces. Each piece focuses on one aspect of the audio experience. I have a piece that tests the Bass, one for Treble, one for Vocals, one for clarity, and one for Immersion.

Cambridge Melomania M100 (6)Cambridge Melomania M100 (6)

Bass

Starting off with the bass, I think that these earbuds handle the bass in quite possibly my favorite way. I’ve used my fair share of earbuds and headphones that put too much emphasis on the low-end. It’s good never when cheaper headphones come like this because they’re not properly calibrated to present that heavy bass in a pleasing way. They wind up sounding muddy.

This is a problem that I didn’t experience with the Melomania M100. There was a good amount of bass to the sound, but the company was able to make it significant without sounding muddy. When I played the test piece, the bass immersed my ears, it didn’t smother them.

The test piece that I used is a short orchestral piece with a heavy emphasis on the lower instruments. It has instruments like Double Bass, Bassoon, Contra Bassoon, and Bass Clarinet along with other instruments to fill out the sound. While the bass was substantial, I was still able to hear the subtle details in the sound like the texture of the Bassoons’ sound and the grit from the bow running across the bass’ strings.

The low end is warm and encompassing, but it gives the ears room to breathe.

Treble

The treble is another area I feel Cambridge did a great job. The test piece I used focused on higher instruments like Violins, Celeste, Piano, and Flute. So, it’s important that these instruments are heard without sounding shrill. If the high-end isn’t properly calibrated, then it could be uncomfortable to hear.

With the Melomania M100, every note sounded crisp and clear. None of the notes were uncomfortable to listen to, and I could hear every detail in them.

It’s often easy to overlook the treble in the sound. A lot of modern music focuses on adding more low-end into the sound, and this is why so many companies design their headphones accordingly. However, if you plan on listening to music for extended periods of time, then you’ll want to make sure that all of the higher notes you hear aren’t causing you any sort of fatigue. These earbuds sound great on the high-end.

Vocals

Unless you have other diabolical plans, you’re buying earbuds to listen to music. As such, they’ll need to reproduce voices nicely. The voices should sound clear and project over the rest of the music.

I’d say that this is the only area where I wasn’t blown away with the M100. Don’t get me wrong, I think that the vocal performance is great. I can hear the voice in the test piece clearly. I’m able to hear all of the nuances and details in the voices.

The only thing is that the voices tend to get just a little bit swallowed up by the music. There are times when I would have liked to hear just a bit more power from the voices. It’s not bad, but I just feel that it could have been just a bit better.

Clarity

If you’re streaming 4K content, what’s the point of watching it on a 720p display? It doesn’t matter how high-quality the music is that you’re streaming, you need to use a pair of earbuds that can properly reproduce a high-quality sound.

The Melomania M100 use Qualcomm’s aptX codec, which means that music can stream at up to 24-bit/96kHz, which gives you a max bit rate of 4,608kbps. So, you can listen to some highly detailed music. This, in tandem with the well-engineered audio drivers in the earbuds, produces a very detailed sound.

The sound comes out crisp and clear, and that goes for the whole frequency spectrum. That was one of the things that struck me when I first started using them. I can hear so much detail in the sound.

 

Immersion

Lastly, you’re going to be using these earbuds to listen to grand and encompassing music. You’re also likely to watch movies with them as well. As such, you’ll want to make sure that you’re right in the middle of the audio you’re listening to.

In terms of overall immersion, I think that these earbuds do a great job. The sound surrounds me. I feel the same way when I’m watching movies. I can feel everything that happens on the screen.

Overall

When it comes to the scientific test, using specifically-tuned benchmark pieces, I think that these earbuds are fantastic. They focused on different aspects of the sound taken alone. However, there’s more to the audio experience than that.

Cambridge Melomania M100 Review: Audio Quality (Part 2)

In this next section, I’ll be focusing on putting it all together. I’ll give you my experience with listening to several genres of music rather than test pieces. I’ll be using certain genres of music that I typically listen to and some that are outside of my listening circle.

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Cambridge Melomania M100 (3)Cambridge Melomania M100 (3)

Speakers and headphones convey different genres of music differently. If you’re buying a pair of earbuds, then you’ll want to know how they perform with your favorite genres of music. So, let’s dive in.

Classical

Classical music is an extremely diverse genre of music, but I think that the overall balanced audio that these earbuds produce makes listening to classical extremely enjoyable. Earbuds that focus too much on the bass really ruin the classical listening experience because you lose so much detail in the lower instruments because of the muddy reproduction. However, that’s not the case with the Melomania M100.

This, coupled with that crisp and clear audio makes these great earbuds for classical. I’m able to hear so much detail in all of the instruments’ sounds. It doesn’t matter the timbre or register, I can hear it all.

70s pop

Let’s jump ahead a few hundred years. 70s pop had a very specific aesthetic that I enjoy. There’s a certain warmth to the sound, and I think that it plays nicely with the Melomania M100. The deep electric bass rings nicely.

80s pop

Making the shift to 80s music, we hear a shift to a focus on higher tones. As such, I didn’t really hear as much warmth as with 70s music. But there was something else that I heard, punch. Hearing those electronic drums, loud snare crashes, and synthetic basses just added so much impact to the sound. I really liked how much punch I was hearing without needing to turn the volume up too much.

Also, since these earbuds are great at reproducing higher tones, everything sounded nice and balanced. Those trademark 80s high synth and synthetic horns sounded great.

90s R&B

In the 90s, we saw a reintroduction of warmth, and things got even warmer. I liked how these earbuds did with 70s music, but I think that the sound is much more engrossing and wide with 90s music.

Just like with the bass test piece, the bass sounded powerful, but it didn’t sound muddy. That’s one thing that I appreciated with the overall sound.

It’s not only about the low-end. I felt that there was an excellent balance overall with the higher tones. Getting a good balance with music that’s so warm is a challenge, and the Melomania M100 did a great job.

Modern pop

Nowadays, music tends to bring more punch and bass than music from a few decades ago. This is something that I noticed. Just like I said with 80s music, the punch was really satisfying, and I was able to feel a ton of impact without needing to turn the volume up all that much. The bass wasn’t quite as warm, but it was still really significant.

One thing I noticed was that I could hear the voices just a bit clearer with modern pop than with other genres. It wasn’t a massive difference. However, it’s something that stuck out to me.

Overall

There goes the unscientific test. I listened to several genres, and I think I was able to cover a wide range of moods. The Melomania was able to excel in all of them. Everything I listened to sounded amazing, and I wasn’t surprised after the scientific test.

Cambridge Melomania M100 Review: Noise cancelation

When you have a high-quality pair of earbuds like these, you know that they’ll come with ANC (active noise cancelation). This technology is great for eliminating background noise from your environment to better isolate you with your music.

Just like everything else with these earbuds, I think that the noise cancelation is top-notch. With it on and turned to its maximum setting, I feel like the world gets turned on mute when I activate it. The earbuds do a great job at eliminating a wide range of noise.

There are three different settings that you can use for the noise cancelation. The Low setting won’t block as much noise from your environment. I mostly use that setting when in my room. Middle will cancel out a bit more noise, and that’s good for people in slightly noisy indoor environments. Lastly, there’s the High mode. This mode filters the widest range of noise in my environment. It uses more battery, but it’s worth using when I’m out and about or in a coffee shop.

 

Overall, this is the best noise cancelation of any pair of earbuds that I’ve reviewed.

Cambridge Melomania M100 Review: Feeling in the ear

I mentioned that these earbuds have a little bit of weight to them. However, they still feel light. They’re lightweight enough to sort of “disappear” in the ear. I often forget that I’m wearing them, and that adds to the overall experience.

Cambridge Melomania M100 (10)Cambridge Melomania M100 (10)

It’s the goal of earbuds makers to make it feel like you don’t have anything in your ear. They want to make you feel like the sound just exists around you. It’s like how VR headset makers are trying their hardest to make it feel like there’s nothing on your head so you can feel like you’re inside of the action.

They’re extremely comfortable to use, and I can wear them for long stretches of time.

Cambridge Melomania M100 Review: Battery

A pair of earbuds can be the best pair on the market, but they’re not much if they don’t turn on. Battery longevity is a major subject with earbuds because they’re so small. You’re likely to bring your earbuds with you on a long work day or trip, so being able to last the long haul is super important.

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In all honestly, I’ve used these earbuds for both work and play, and I’ve yet to get to the point where they died on me. I have them connected to both my computer and phone, so they see a lot of use in the day. I’ve used these for between six and seven hours a day usually, and I still have some gas in the tank before I have to put them in the charging case. This is with the ANC constantly on as well.

Cambridge says that these are rated to last up to 10 hours on a single charge. I know that I won’t be able to get that number, but I know that I should be good to get up to about eight hours on a single charge. With the charging case, I’m able to get about a day of consistent listening. So, if you’re a casual listener, then you should be able to get about two or three days of listening before you need to plug in the case.

Speaking of the case, I like that the company gave the case wireless charging. When I charged the case, it took about two hours to charge completely. That’s something that you’ll need to keep in mind when you’re charging it.

So, when it comes to battery power, the Melomania M100 are some of the best on the market as far as TWS earbuds go. It’s really good with the ANC turned on. With it off, it’s incredible.

Cambridge Melomania M100 Review: App experience

This is a pair of premium earbuds, so of course it’s going to be an app experience. These earbuds connect through the Melomania app, and it allows you to change certain settings to customize your experience.

The app experience is definitely one of the best that I’ve used, and it’s available for both Android and iOS. I feel that it falls a few steps behind the Edifier Connect app, but it’s still a great experience.

Cambridge Melomania M100 (9)Cambridge Melomania M100 (9)

In the app, I can adjust the built-in EQ, change between normal, noise cancelation, and transparent mode, adjust the audible feedback, enable sleep mode, enable gaming mode, and choose an auto power-off timer.

EQ

The EQ is a welcome feature. When you open the EQ, you’ll see six different EQ presets that are set to different types of content. If you want to have a little more control over your sound, then you can adjust the EQ manually.

It’s a 7-band EQ, and it gives you some nice control over the sound. It’s not as intricate as the EQ in the Edifier Connect app, but it’s still pretty nice. Once you make your adjustments, you have the option to save your settings as a preset.

Touch controls

The Melomania M100 have 10 different touch controls that you can use. That’s a good amount compared to other earbuds. You’ll use a combination of tap gestures, hold gestures, and double-tap gestures to use certain controls. Unfortunately, you’re not able to choose which gestures perform which action. What you can do in the app is enable/disable different commands.

The app experience

The overall experience is pretty nice, to be honest. I mentioned the Edifier Connect app, which is more robust. However, it takes about 20 seconds for you to actually get into the app. You have to go through a lengthy splash screen and then wait for it to detect your earbuds. It’s pretty tedious. As for the Melomania app, it takes a few seconds to get in, but it’s closer to five or six seconds.

Everything is laid out in an easy-to-read feed of items, so you don’t have to dig into menus. If you want to change a setting, all you have to do is flick your finger and you’ll most likely see it. Also, once you change a setting, you’ll hear the effect right away.

I don’t have any real complaints about the app experience itself. You’ll want to install it if you want to boost your overall experience.

Cambridge Melomania M100 Review: Final verdict

This is Cambridge’s first pair of TWS earbuds, and I feel the same way about these that I felt about Beyerdynamic’s first earbuds. Even though the company dipped its toe into a completely new form factor, it did an amazing job. Just about every aspect of these earbuds is amazing. From the sleek and elegant design to the app experience to the battery life, everything is high-quality.

Also, let’s not forget about the sound! I was extremely impressed with just how amazing these earbuds sound. I was surprised at how great a pair of Bluetooth earbuds can sound. Not only are these earbuds held back by the limitations of Bluetooth itself, but I was using them with my Android phone. Android caps out at a 48kHz sample rate. Even with these drawbacks, the Melomania M100 sound truly amazing. The audio is so detailed and clear, and it brings so much punch.

Cambridge Melomania M100 (1)Cambridge Melomania M100 (1)

If you’re looking to become an audiophile, why not use a pair of earbuds from a true audiophile company? The Cambridge Melomania M100 are some of the best TWS earbuds that you can buy on the market, and I highly recommend that you buy them.



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John Smith

My John Smith is a seasoned technology writer with a passion for unraveling the complexities of the digital world. With a background in computer science and a keen interest in emerging trends, John has become a sought-after voice in translating intricate technological concepts into accessible and engaging articles.

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