Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 in-ear headphones review Earbuds, Tru

Cambridge Audio Melomania 1

Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 in-ear headphones review Earbuds, Tru

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The Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 earbuds boast an outstanding 45 hours of battery life, top value for money, and fantastic audio quality. Of course, this is no huge surprise considering that Cambridge Audio is known for its high-end audio equipment. But until now, the brand hasn’t ventured into the world of truly wireless earbuds.

As great as these new earbuds from Cambridge Audio are, the big question is: are they truly better than the Apple AirPods (2019) or our current favorites, the Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Earbuds? We spent some with the compact wireless earbuds to find out. 

Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 in-ear headphones review Earbuds, Tru 2021

 We’ve spent some time getting to know the latest Cambridge Audio wireless earbuds. The Cambridge Audio Melomania Touch come with 50-hour battery life, upgraded audio, and a new app to boot – and so far, we’re impressed. Stay tuned for our full review in the next week.]

Price and availability

The Melomania 1s are available to buy for $129.99 / £119.95, which is significantly cheaper than our current favorite true wireless earbuds, the Sony WF-1000XM3s – around $100 cheaper, in fact. RECOMMENDED VIDEOS FOR YOU

That works out at around AU$185 RRP, though they’re not available to buy in Australia (yet) and we haven’t had any official word about when they’ll be arriving.

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Design

The Cambridge Audio Melomania 1s look very sleek indeed, with a compact, bullet-like shape and slim charging case that fits easily into your pocket – or ever the waistband of your running shorts, if you’re that way inclined. 

The outer housing of each bud features an attractive LED band that indicate their charging and pairing status; a design echoed in the charging case, which sports a row of five LEDS on its front. 

When you flip open the lid, these LEDs switch on to reveal how much juice the charging case has left, with each LED corresponding to 20% of the total battery level. The buds themselves snap snugly into their magnetic holding place, keeping them secure until you next need to use them.

Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 in-ear headphones review

These earbuds are pretty long compared to similar models like the Samsung Galaxy Buds, which means they do stick out of your ears a little bit when you wear them. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it does mean they sometimes feel insecure, particularly if you’re wearing them on the move – initially, we were worried that they would fall out if we moved our head too suddenly.

Despite our reservations, they didn’t fall out once – thanks partly to switching to one of the smaller eartips included in the box. Cambridge Audio gives you a selection of rubber and memory foam tips to play around with, so you should be able to find a comfortable fit, as well as a good seal against your ear canal. 

Weighing just 4.6g each, these earbuds are incredibly comfortable to wear, even for long periods of time – and feel secure enough to run with. They also come with an IPX5 water-resistance rating, which means they should be able to withstand a little sweat if you do want to use them for working out. 

Features and battery life

Pairing the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 true wireless earbuds is super easy; simply remove the buds from their charging case and make sure Bluetooth connectivity is enabled on your device. 

Both earbuds will appear separately in your Bluetooth settings – just tap on one of these to pair them. We didn’t experience any Bluetooth dropouts while using the Melomanias, and found the connectivity to be very good. 

As audiophile earbuds, it’s no surprise that the Melomania 1s support Bluetooth 5.0 for a stable signal, as well as AAC and aptX codecs, which means you can listen to lossless Hi-Res Audio over a wireless connection.

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Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 True Wireless Earbuds

The outer housing of both these wireless earbuds double up as control buttons; to turn the volume of your music up, press and hold the right button, and do the same with the left button to turn it down. 

These buttons also allow you skip back and forth through your tracks, answer and reject calls, and summon your smartphone’s voice assistant, where you use Google Assistant or Siri. 

If you’re the forgetful type, you’ll be pleased to know that Cambridge Audio include a credit card-sized cheat sheet that lists all the different button press functions; simply pop it in your wallet or purse and you’re good to go. 

One downside of placing the buttons on the outer housing of any true wireless earbuds, is that whenever you need to push the earbuds in or adjust the fit, you run the risk of pausing your music or skipping a track by mistake. It’s a small niggle, but this can become annoying. 

Cambridge Audio Melomania review: tiny buds with epic …

Battery life is simply outstanding; you get nine hours from the buds themselves, with a further 36 hours of juice contained within their charging case. That’s over double the playback time offered by the Apple AirPods – despite the latter costing a much higher $159 / £159 / AU$249 with the standard charging case, and $199 / £199 / AU$319 with the new Wireless Charging Case bundled in.

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Sound performance

For a pair of true wireless earbuds, the sound quality offered by the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1s is sensational. In fact, it rivals some of the best over-ear headphones, which is all but unheard of for buds of this size. 

Inside the compact little buds are 5.8mm drivers with diaphragms made from graphene, a material used for its “outstanding strength and flexibility,” according to Cambridge Audio, which says that these qualities give these headphones the “dynamism and response to deliver music with a clarity and presence that belies their tiny size and near-imperceptible weight”.

Clarity and presence are the keywords there, qualities the Melomania 1s deliver in spades. Listening to Debussy’s Arabesque No. 1 displayed a level of precision that we haven’t heard from true wireless earbuds before. Complex descending piano arpeggios were conveyed with dexterity and nimbleness, while deep bass notes loomed warmly in the background. Advertisement

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Melomania 1 – True Wireless Earbuds | Cambridge Audio US

Bjork’s Venus as a Boy was similarly impressive; these earbuds had no problem navigating the sultry bass riffs and jangling percussion, and they snapped and crashed around Bjork’s enigmatic vocal. 

As the track progressed and dreamy string flourishes started to sweep about the mix, that wide soundstage seemed to extend even further, resulting in a stunning, open sound. 

While the Melomania’s handle Venus As A Boy’s light, textured sound world with aplomb they also excelled in conveying the depth and richness of Joga’s vast sonic landscapes, as digital textures swept through the lush strings and vocals. 

To see how these wireless earbuds handle bass frequencies, we tried the song Win Is Enough by The Last Artful, Dodgr. Deep synth accents bloomed up from the depths of the mix, as cardioid kick drums thump below. They don’t overpower the other frequencies, while the vocals remain clear and detailed even as echoing keys reverberate. 

Final verdict

If you’re looking for a pair of audiophile true wireless earbuds, you can’t go wrong with the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1s. They look great, feel comfortable, and the sound quality on offer is fantastic. Advertisement

They may not have the noise cancellation technology offered by the Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Earbuds, but they are $100 (around £80) cheaper – and have a superior battery life. 

They certainly outperform the Apple AirPods, in all respects apart from the lack of wireless charging case. This is a small price to pay for that exceptional audio quality, though, and we think they represent much better value for money, too. 

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Cambridge Audio’s Melomania buds have epic battery life, good sound, and a unique design

True wireless earphones are going through an absolute revolution in 2019, with battery life increasing prodigiously and prices dropping precipitously. Cambridge Audio’s first entry into the category, the Melomania 1, is a great example of this trend, coming in at $129.95 while boasting nine hours of battery life in the buds plus an incredible 36 additional hours in its diminutive AirPods-like case. I’ve been testing the Melomania for a couple of weeks, and I still haven’t had to recharge their case.

Verge readers might remember Cambridge Audio from my review of the DacMagic XS, a tiny USB DAC, and amplifier that functions essentially like an external sound card for PCs. But the company has a much deeper and longer history than that, with 50 years of audio engineering experience that spans speakers, amps, AV receivers, and even a wired pair of earphones. With the future very much headed in a wireless direction, the Melomania buds come just in time to carve out a new niche for Cambridge Audio.

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Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Earbuds, True … – Amazon.com 2021

My expectations of these buds were not super high. They have a Micro USB charging connection, which I’ve been urging against since the end of 2017, and they’re priced keenly enough to sell on their big battery life claim alone. So long as they can play any sound at all, you’d think, plenty of people would buy them just for that long endurance. But Cambridge Audio has done plenty of good work besides the great power efficiency, as the Melomania have impressed and surprised me along with a number of fronts beyond their battery.

OUR REVIEW OF CAMBRIDGE AUDIO MELOMANIA 1

VERGE SCORE7.5OUT OF 10

GOOD STUFF

  • Outstanding battery life from a tiny, sturdy case
  • Easy, enjoyable sound
  • Flawless wireless performance

BAD STUFF

  • Terrible microphones
  • Not a particularly ergonomic design
  • Micro USB charging

Buy for $129.95 from Amazon

Firstly, their case. This is the best earphones case I’ve come across outside of the one Apple has crafted for the AirPods. The Melomania case is only marginally larger while fitting in many more hours of extra charge. It has the same clicky snap to its top cover as you get from the AirPods, and I find myself absent-mindedly opening and closing it in the same fashion as I do with the Apple alternative.

There’s just a great tactile quality to both products, and both are incredibly rigid and sturdy. I appreciate the strong metal hinge and the magnet that Cambridge Audio uses, and the five LEDs at the front give me an indication of the case’s charge level anytime I crack it open.

The buds themselves have a unique design. Each is a round cylinder, entirely symmetrical and making no ergonomic accommodations, and they appear to charge via a metal strip that sits like a belt around their midsection (so no Pogo pins required). I’d describe their fit as very hit-and-miss: I’m able to find a comfortable way to tuck them into my ears, but my friends have found their blocky shape to be unnatural and a little weird to wear. I wouldn’t say the Melomania ever cause discomfort, but they’re far from the effortless comfort of something like Samsung’s Galaxy Buds.

The flat exterior of each earphone is a multifunctional button, framed by an LED indicator light that looks like a little halo. I like both, as I’ve seen 

too many good headphones spoiled by bad touch controls, and the lights are elegantly integrated.

Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 in-ear headphones review Earbuds, Tru

My biggest surprise came when actually listening to the Melomania, which are really rather good. This starts with good sound isolation, as the Melomania are vastly ahead of Apple’s AirPods when it comes to turning down exterior noise. With these buds, I can still hear things around me and be aware of my surroundings, but I also get a much better sense of the music I’m listening to while walking through busy city streets.

The soundstage, clarity, and tonal balance that the Melomania provide are all better than usual for true wireless earphones. There’s no bloated low end or excessively sparkly highs to speak of, and everything feels coherent and in balance. Voices sound natural and guitars sound like someone’s plucking at their strings.

This isn’t to suggest that the Melomania are any sort of high-fidelity, audiophile-grade hardware, because they’re not. They have their limitations, and they do garble up the occasional bit of fine-grained detail. But even without reaching new pinnacles of audio perfection, they are just very easy listen that reminds me of Apple’s AirPods: not hi-fi or exceptional, but highly enjoyable.

Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 wireless earbuds just hit there.

Cambridge Audio has also taken care of the wireless performance of the Melomania, which maintain a flawless connection with both iPhones and Android devices. The buds support Bluetooth 5 and AptX, AAC, and SBC. They have plenty of range, too, so you should be able to roam to the office coffee maker and back without necessarily having your phone in your pocket. It’s just great peace of mind to not have to fret about avoiding interference with your headphones’ wireless signal.

There’s one thing that’s terrible about these earphones, however, and that’s their microphone performance. Even in a quiet room, the Melomania make me sound like I’m calling from the middle of an electric storm somewhere far away.

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Cambridge Audio MELOMANIA 1 True Wireless In-Ear Monitors

My MacBook Pro’s humble built-in mic totally embarrasses the Melomania, and Apple can rest assured that its AirPods’ excellence for taking calls will not be challenged by Cambridge Audio. In short, the Melomania are for listening only, with the mics to be used only in the direst of emergencies or to bark orders at Siri or Google Assistant, depending on your connected device.

As to that big battery life claim, I can’t verify it entirely because I just can’t get to a situation where I listen to true wireless buds like the Melomania for a full nine hours at a time. The only time I heard their “battery low” audio cue was when I first tried them and they weren’t charged. What this means in practice is that these buds will cover you for the vast majority of listening scenarios, and their case provides a reassuring top-up as well.

Brand – Cambridge Audio – Melomania 1 – Comply™ Foam Tips

I’m willing to forgive the Melomania’s Micro USB charging port when their case makes charging such a rare necessity. I can see myself going on week-long work trips without ever carrying a Micro USB cable with me, trusting that the Melomania will have enough juice by themselves. And the obvious upside to the omission of USB-C is that it’s helped Cambridge Audio keep the price of the Melomania below that of the AirPods, which is frankly essential for anyone trying to compete with Apple’s much better-known product.

There are really only two downsides to the Melomania, but they’re major ones. The ergonomics of these buds are rather lacking, and their microphone performance is garbage-tier. On the other hand, if you’re able to find a good fit, as I have, and you don’t particularly need or care for a good mic, these are pretty great. They eliminate range or endurance anxiety for anyone reluctant to get into true wireless buds yet, they have a very attainable price, they’re built well, and they come with a terrific little case. Imperfect, but still highly appealing.

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Is there an app for Cambridge Audio melomania 1?

There’s also no dedicated app for the Melomania 1s and while this makes everything refreshingly simple when pairing, there is no scope for EQ alteration.

How do I pair my Cambridge Audio melomania 1? Features and battery life

Pairing the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 true wireless earbuds is super easy; simply remove the buds from their charging case and make sure Bluetooth connectivity is enabled on your device. Both earbuds will appear separately in your Bluetooth settings – just tap on one of these to pair them.

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How do I turn off Cambridge Audio melomania?

Your Melomania Touch earphones can’t be manually turned off. When you’re done using your earbuds, make sure to place them back in their case. This will disconnect them from your device and will automatically begin charging your earbuds.

What are the best earbuds 2021?

  • Innovative design. Samsung Galaxy Buds Live. …
  • Impressive for around $50. Earvin Free Pro. …
  • Top sound-quality earbuds. Grado GT220. …
  • Anker’s AirPods Pro alternative. Anker Liberty Air 2 Pro. …
  • Improved over time. Jabra Elite 75t. …
  • Best value Samsung earbuds. Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus. …
  • Android-centric earbuds. …
  • Top-notch performance earbuds.

Conclusion

They may not have the most attractive design on the wireless headphone market, but that doesn’t matter if Cambridge Audio has nailed it in so many other areas.

We found the Melomania 1s comfortable due to the lightweight design and the buttons are more useful than most once you learn the code for presses. Battery life is a standout feature with a total of 45 hours between the earbuds and the charging case.

They also sound great when you throw all kinds of different audio at them. With AAC and aptX codecs, they are also versatile in terms of the devices you can pair them with and maintain good quality. Really the only thing you may want is noise cancellation, but it’s not to be expected at this affordable price.

Cambridge Audio Melomania 1
Cambridge Audio Melomania 1

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