After a little accident with my ThinkSound ts02+mic, I was on the market for a new pair of everyday-use in-ear monitors (IEMs). I didn’t want to spend too much, as I already know from my Beats by Dr Dre Tour with ControlTalk, higher price does not necessarily imply better sound quality and not keen on having my hard-earned cash thrown away in another incident. :)
Unlike headphones, you cannot go into a store and try IEMs, so I start of my search looking at the low-end Bose IEMs because I have a Bose AE2w & SoundLink Mini, so have a good idea of the sound performance I could expect from their IEMs. There were several clearance sales due to Bose re-branding their entire range. Luckily (speaking now) I missed out of the fire sales and was back on square one.
The next stop on my search was the ThinkSound range. I loved the performance of the ThinkSound ts02+mic, there was just two things holding me back from buying another pair – I found them a bit too bulky & big for my ears, it was not very comfortable to use. And it was over my budget of $100.
Finally, I decided to browse the Head-Fi.org website for sub $100 IEMs and discovered the MEElectronics M6 PRO noise-isolating musician’s in-ear monitors.
MEElectronics is not as well known as Bose, Sennheiser or Sony. This is both a good and bad thing. It’s good for us consumers, we can pick some great quality products without having to pay a premium for the brand. But it’s not so great for the company, their great products gets glossed over by the majority of the public who get sucked in by the bigger industry players’ marketing efforts.
In this article, I hope to help people who are sitting on the fence to make their decision and that great products do not necessarily need to cost a lot.
Disclaimer: This is an independent review of the MEElectronics M6 PRO musician’s in-ear monitors. I do not have any association with the manufacturer(s) or supply chain(s).
The design of the M6 PROs are a bit different from all the past IEMs I’ve owned. Not just the shape of the IEMs, but how the cable does point upwards instead of downwards.
I was skeptical about the odd shape due to my previous purchase of the Beats By Dr Dre Tour with ControlTalk. The beats were nice to look at, but in practical use, it wasn’t so great. I have to constantly push them back into my ear to prevent them from falling out. Some may say, that’s why the beats came with ear-clips to hold them in place, however, the ear-clips were not very comfortable to wear – that’s why I never used them.
The good news is the M6 PROs do not have any of these issues, they sit perfectly within my ear and I actually have come to really like how the cable wraps around the top of my ear. This approach has resolved one of my pains with traditional IEMs, where the cables come off from the bottom of the ear, there’s nothing to hold the cables in place from falling on my face when I go for runs or put my head on a downward angle.
The M6 PRO is the only IEM I’ve used so far that:
- Sit comfortably in my ears (they’re so comfortable, I barely notice I have them on).
- I could have them on for hours (even sleep with them on all night) and not have to take them off to give my ears a bit of a break.
- No feeling of the IEMs falling out of my ears (even when running).
To test the performance of the M6 PRO, I used the following:
- By Your Side – Sade [Formats: FLAC and 320kb/s MP3]
- No Ordinary Love – Sade [Formats: FLAC and 320kb/s MP3]
- Halo – Depeche Mode [Formats: FLAC and VBR230kb/s MP3]
- World in My Eyes – Depeche Mode [Formats: FLAC and VBR230kb/s MP3]
- Dos Gardenias – Buena Vista Social Club [Formats: FLAC and 128kb/s MP3]
- Freedom – Akon [Formats: FLAC and 256kb/s AAC]
- Eye Of The Tiger – Survivor [Formats: FLAC and 256kb/s AAC]
- Summer Love – Stevie Hoang [Formats: FLAC and 256kb/s AAC]
- 2013 Retina MacBook Pro
- Nokia Lumia 930
- Sony SBH-52 Bluetooth Headset
Audio Format Results
As highlighted in my FiiO e17 Review, you need to have ‘decent’ headphones in order to make out/tell a difference between the input source. Therefore, I was a bit skeptical in putting the sub $100 M6 PROs through this test. However, to my delight, the difference in sound quality was quite noticeable between the FLAC file format and the other two, less so between 320kb/s MP3 and 256kb/s AAC.
This is a testament to the superb sound quality the M6 PROs delivers.
Audio Equipment Results
The sound quality between the different hardware playback devices was a bit less impactful – as expected. MacBook Pro produced best sound quality, while the Sony SBH-52 suffered due to the lack of APT-x codec support. The difference isn’t significant, but it’s noticeable, the difference in sound quality is comparable to 320kb/s MP3 vs FLAC.
Comparison to my Other IEMs
Comparing the M6 PROs to the Beats by Dr Dre Tour with ControlTalk; I can say they are about the same in terms of clarity and both require a higher volume to drive. But main differences to me are, the Beats sound very distant and lacks bass. Where as the M6 PROs do not sound as distant and when volume is turned up, you get the bass back, not too punchy, just right to my liking.
Comparing to the ThinkSound ts02+mic; the M6 PROs can be considered to perform the same as the ThinkSound with a couple of distinct differences. One – the ThinkSound does not need to have the volume turned up to produce the bass, it’s like as if there’s a in-built amp. Two – I feel the ThinkSound’s dynamic range is not as good.
I have been using the M6 PROs for about a week now. I absolutely love them. They’re so comfortable, I barely notice I have them on. They are by far the best IEMs I’ve used and for such a low price, is unbelievable.
The M6 PROs are one of those rare hidden gems that comes along once in awhile. Even though, they’re marketed as in-ear monitors for musicians, I would highly recommend to everyone. In fact, my recommendation is to not waste your time and money looking at other sub $150 IEMs.