MEElectronics M21 In-Ear Headphones Review

David Liu March 29, 2011 0

Last week I reviewed MEElectronics' RX11 headphones and came away pleasantly surprised by them. I liked the way MEElectronics hadn't fallen into the trap of making something that looks and feels stylish but lets you down once you stick them in your ears. So I had pretty high expectations for this next product, their M21 headphones, which MEE advertises as having "enhanced bass."



Like the RX11s, the M21s have been put together very well. As far as I can tell there are no obvious weak points where fraying is inevitable. At first glance, I thought MEE had used a braided Kevlar cable, similar to what V-MODA use in their vibe ii, which would have made them very rugged and tough. But no, it's just a silver-colored "design element" braiding inside clear rubber tubing. All the same, though, the cord feels like it'll stand up to considerable abuse before letting go. Notably, the M21's cord transmits almost no microphonics at all, which is a welcome feature. For those of you who don't know, microphonics refers to the tendency of electronic equipment to carry mechanical movement as noise; basically, you hear it when the cord moves. My first-generation V-MODA vibe's cord was so sensitive to this that if you breathed on it I could tell—through the headphones—what your last meal was as well as your BAC. 

For the M21s, MEE have elected to make both housings identical, so there's no tactile way of telling left or right. For some of you, that might not be a big deal, but for someone as anal as me about these things, it's rather annoying. I addition, the housings themselves are very long, which can be annoying if you're wearing a hat that comes down past your ears. Those minor issues aside, the M21s are well-built and rather attractive.

Because of MEE's claim of "enhanced bass," I assumed that they'd use a large driver, probably 10mm or more. But no, the drivers in the M21s are actually only 7mm. Still, though, MEE have managed to give these headphones an excellent bass range, stable and clear and loud down to about 40Hz. And, unlike most headphones, the M21s don't lose much volume as you descend into the two-digit frequency range. Perhaps the little vent integrated into the back of each housing is responsible for this improved bass response. The midrange, however, is less clear than it could be. I didn't expect crystal clarity, but words and vocals have a slightly smeared quality, making it tough sometimes to distinguish one word from the next. There is no tinniness or distortion, and most of the time you won't notice, but on tracks with fast vocals (most of Eminem's works apply), lyrics can be hard to understand. Highs are good, however, meaning the M21s' sound can best be described as an upside-down bell curve. Fans of hip hop, electronica, and other bass-rhythm-driven genres will enjoy the M21s, although classical listeners may want to look elsewhere.

MEE includes four sets of ear tips with the M21, one of which is bi-flanged. While not quite as comfortable or noise-isolating as foam Comply tips, they do a more-than-adequate job of keeping the headphones and your music in your ears and ambient noise out. Also included is a zippered carrying case.  

In short, MEElectronics' M21 headphones target a specific audience. For some people—those who appreciate heavy, crisp bass and clear treble and who don't need absolute precision in vocals—they will be a godsend. If that's you, then for $35 the M21s are a steal.

MEElectronics M21 In-Ear Headphone[$34.99]

  • Driver: 6.8 mm dynamic drivers

  • Housing: Metal with two-tone color scheme

  • Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20KHz

  • Sensitivity: 92 dB

  • Impedance: 16 ohms

  • Maximum Power Input: 20 mW

  • Connector: 3 pin stereo 3.5mm gold plated 90° plug

  • Cable: Designer black (black) or clear (blue, red, lavender) 130 cm cable (51 in) with attached shirt clip

  • Accessories: 4 sets of silicone ear tips (small/medium/large; bi-flange), clamshell zipper case{jcomments on}

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