MEElectronics has been on a bit of a roll lately with their noise-isolating N8P and their rather excellent balanced-armature A161P. Today, we have their N9 Premium In-Ear Headphones, a $34.99 Newegg exclusive that promises comfort, powerful sound, and durability for an affordable price.
The N9′s two-piece housings are made of metal and have enough heft and mass to inspire confidence in their durability, but not quite so much that they fall out of your ears. They are slightly forward-canted, to avoid unnecessary pressure on the ears and improve comfort over long-term use. The rubber cable is unbraided, as expected at this price point, and has soft cable reliefs at both earbuds and at the 90º angled 3.5mm connector. A small shirt clip is attached to the cable. All in all, while none of this is going to stop the N9 from becoming a tangled mess in your pocket, you can be confident that there won’t be any stress-induced fraying or splitting.
Included with the N9 are a carrying case (largely identical to the ones included with most of MEElectronics’ other headphones) and four pairs of ear tips (one of which is of the double-layer sound-isolating variety). There’s nothing out of the ordinary here, but everything you need is included.
The first thing that came to mind when listening to the N9 is how similar it sounded to MEElectronics’ SP51 with the black “bass boost” end caps installed—that is, warm and smooth sound with a very noticeable low-frequency bias. The extra low-end punch doesn’t come at the expense of treble, however, which remain crisp and clear but never harsh. The midrange is slightly overpowered by the bass, but is still very consistent and smooth. The “noise isolation” that MEE advertises is just passive isolation courtesy of the double-layer ear tips, par for the course for in-ear headphones. A version with an inline mic and remote is available for $5 extra.
I was fairly impressed by the N9. They perform admirably for daily use and general listening, and aren’t overly constrained to a single genre or style. The only major gripe I have is that the shirt clip is not removable—if you don’t use it, it’s a bit cumbersome and annoying when folding the headphones up for storage. MEElectronics notes that “the shirt clip is meant to be non-removable. It is recommended to carefully bend the plastic lip of the clip to expand the cable attachment opening before attempting to remove the shirt clip.” Aside from that, it’s hard to find any reason not to recommend these $34.99 earbuds ($39.99 if you want a mic).
- Driver: 9mm dynamic driver with neodymium magnet
- Frequency Response: 18Hz – 20KHz
- Sensitivity: 94 dB (1mW @ 1KHz)
- Impedance: 16 ohms
- Maximum Power Input: 27 mW
- Cable Length: 130 cm / 51 in
- Plug type: 45 degree 3.5mm stereo, gold plated
- Sound Output Mode: Stereo
- Connectivity Technology: Wired
- Product Type: In-ear, binaural
- Earphone weight: 0.6 oz