Almost a year ago I reviewed MEElectronics A151 in-ear monitors. At that time, my favorites under $100 were Etymotic’s MC5 but the supple and balanced sound of the A151 bested the MC5 for a whole lot less money.
Now, MEElectronics has beaten itself once and kept the top sound under $100 win with the new A161P monitors. Not only do they sound even better but they also have moved MEElectronics from a company which packages its products for impulse buyers near the checkout for to one that is quickly becoming a top tier audio group similar to Shure and Ultimate Ears.
The first thing I noticed when I got my A161p out of the brown shipping box was the incredible packaging quality. No more clear plastic used in packaging but instead thick cardboard and vivid graphics. Inside the box is even better. MEElectronics really thought about what to include in the package here. With the A161P are several various silicone tips, ear guides for cable management around your ears, and two adapters that allow you to use your headset either with a stereo source that is not 4-pin compatible or with any device that requires separate headphone and microphone inputs such as a laptop. This last adapter is an incredible inclusion allowing you to use your A161P with Skype or another computer program.
The design has moved from a unique angled earpiece from the A151 to a simple and elegant tube with a slightly angled port with a classy gold touch. You won’t look like you’re wearing cheap earbuds with the A161P sticking out.
Of course, the most impressive aspect of the A161P is the delicious sound. With incredibly soft textured bass with a very focused punch you won’t drown out the other frequencies but will still get the low frequency punch you need in some genres such as hip hop. The midrange is the best part with incredibly smooth texture and an accuracy level approaching analytical levels. It’s so good you can truly see the sound stage expanding when a high quality source is used. The highs are more balanced than the A151 leading to less fatigue after hours of listening. While not perfectly detailed, for a single driver IEM it is quite impressive.
The A161P are with no doubt the highest quality in-ear monitors for $100 and provide some serious competition for those in the upper $100-200 price range. If you don’t try a pair out, you’re really missing out.