Today we are going to be checking out the Bluetooth version of Mee Audio’s classic budget earphone, the M9B.
Mee Audio, formerly MEElectronics, has been around since 2005 and is known for offering high quality, low cost products to their valued customers. Earlier this year they stepped up their game with the very well-received Pinnacle P1 but have since gone back to their roots releasing the M9B, a Bluetooth variant of the ever-popular M9 Classic. Let’s take a closer look shall we?
I would like to thank Mark with KS Distribution for connecting me with Mee Audio and a sample of the M9B in exchange for a fair and impartial review. There is no financial incentive for writing this review, nor are the comments within representative of Mee Audio or any other entity.
The M9B retails for 29.99 USD. You can check it out here on Mee Audio’s site; www.meeaudio.com/M9B
Be sure to check them out on Facebook too; https://www.facebook.com/MEEaudio/
Over the last couple years I decided to dive head first into the world of portable audio. After reading pretty much the entirety of IjokerI’s multi-earphone review thread and being greatly inspired, I took a chance and started writing my own reviews. Fast forward a couple years and I’ve had the opportunity to write about some great products for wonderful companies like RHA, Havi, FiiO, NarMoo, Brainwavz, and Meze. I don’t do it for money or free stuff, but because I enjoy it. If my reviews can help guide someone to an earphone that makes them happy, I’ll consider that a job well done.
All testing was done with my HTC One M8. I listen primarily to various EDM sub-genres (liquid drum and bass, breakbeat, drumstep, etc.), hip hop, and classic rock. When it comes to signature preference I tend to lean towards aggressive and energetic, but I try not to limit myself to one signature only. I also tend to listen at lower than average volumes.
Packaging and Accessories:
The M9B arrived in some pretty basic but perfectly functional packaging. Donned in a blue, black, and white color scheme, the front contains a high-rez, glossy image of the M9B and a quick description of them. Flip open the magnetically sealed flap and you’re greeted by the M9B in use on the left, and a viewing window showing off the product and ear tips on the right. The side panels list the included accessories and specifications. On the rear some key features are listed, such as multipoint fuctionality which enables you to connect to two devices at once. I was quite surprised to see that welcome feature included in such a low cost Bluetooth device.
Opening the package and sliding out the inner plastic tray reveals the M9B nestled in place, as you would have expected from the quick preview you got earlier. The included accessories are;
– a compact 7″ micro USB charging cable
– three sets of single flange, wide bore silicone ear tips in s/m/l
– one set of dual flange ear tips
While limited, the accessories are of decent quality and work just fine. I was able to get a consistent seal with both the preinstalled dual-flange tips and medium single flange tips. The USB cable connected firmly and charged the earphones without issue. The overall unboxing experience is basic but pleasant and functional.
Build, Design, Comfort, Isolation:
The M9B isn’t going to win any awards for their design which could be best described as minimalistic. Their small, black, lightweight aluminum housings are a straightforward barrel shape without any interesting design flourishes. Above the silver vents on the rear of each housing are L/R markings and the Mee Audio logo. It’s a very subtle, clean design that won’t be drawing any unwanted attention to you. I quite like it.
The entire assembly is about 23″ in length. Mee Audio made sure to include a cable cinch allowing you to clean up any slack. This helps ensure a stable, comfortable fit, reduces cable noise, and take up some of the weight of the offset control module. Speaking of the controller, it is very well-built. The plastics used feel very thick and sturdy and the buttons depress with a very satisfying ‘click’. It also worked perfectly with my HTC One M8, controlling music and volume with ease.
The cable is quite nice as well, though a bit stiff. It’s reasonably thick and well-relieved leading into the housings. There is no strain relief leading into the control module which is a bit of an oversight given it weighs a fair bit.
Isolation is about average for a dynamic driver, letting in just enough outside noise o ensure you can remain mostly aware of your surroundings. This could be both a positive and negative, depending on the value you place on absolute isolation from your surroundings.
The M9B was really easy to pair with my HTC One M8. Just hold down the power button and keeping holding to enter pairing mode. Turn on the M8’s Bluetooth and locate the M9B which was clearly labeled as “MEE audio M9B”. Select it. Pairing took place almost immediately, and the connection was strong with only the occasional hiccup. Subsequent automatic connections surprised at how quick it occurred, pairing almost immediately the moment both my M8’s Bluetooth and the M9B were turned on.
Mee Audio claims a 10m range, but you’re only going to get that under ideal circumstances; i.e. no obstructions. Walking around my apartment I would routinely experience breakups if I left my device on my desk. There would be at worst either a thin door or slim concrete wall separating us.
Overall the M9B offers up a pretty solid connection and extremely quick and easy pairing.
Battery Performance and Charging:
Mee Audio claims 4 hours of music playback and around 90 minutes of charging. I was easily able to exceed 4 hours of playback, probably because I listen at lower than average volumes. From the time the low volume warning first made itself known, I was able to get almost an extra 30 minutes of play from the M9B. Charging from the USB ports on my Asus G73 took just over an hour and a half on most occasions.
Overall battery performance, while not anything to write home about, was enough for my daily activities. I think Mee Audio could have squeezed in a slightly larger battery given the size of the control module that houses all the electronics, but what you get is more than acceptable, especially given the solid Bluetooth quality.
Onto the most important part; how does the M9B sound? Quite good actually, especially given they’re based off a 10 USD earphone. I enjoyed their sound just as much as the equivalently priced but more neutral sounding Ausdom S09, and much more than the treble recessed, bass heavy Brainwavz BLU-200 which commands a significant price premium.
The M9B I found to offer an exciting and energetic signature with just the right amount of warmth. It’s not super smooth and refined experiencing a couple rough edges in their treble presentation, namely with cymbals, but it works well across a variety of musical genres. You’d think that Mee would have dialed in a safe v-shaped signature, but the mid-range is very clear and prominent with a strong presence that confidently hold it’s own. Vocals are crisp and clear with a pleasant lack of mid-bass bleed to drown them out. On some tracks the enhanced bass will edge it’s way into the forefront, but it’s never so overpowering that it becomes an annoyance. This assuming you’re okay with enhanced bass levels. If you looking for Etymotic or Havi B3 Pro 1 levels of bass you should have moved on a while ago.
Soundstage isn’t much of a thing with the M9B. Their presentation is firmly in your head. Luckily, they avoid sounding congested as their imaging and separation are actually pretty solid. They’re able to present just enough of a sense of space to avoid a sense of claustrophobia.
Overall the M9B is a pretty musical earphone that will put some pep in your step and a smile on your face as your run, work out, play games, study, or do whatever is is you’re doing while you’re listening to them. They’re enjoyable, full stop.
There’s not much to say. If you want a good sounding, inexpensive, well built Bluetooth earphone with good-enough battery life and a strong wireless connection, the M9B is it. They don’t go out of their way to provide an amazing experience, but they don’t irritate or fail in any way either. The Mee Audio M9B has found itself in a very safe and stable position, and to me is the pretty much the definition of a good budget Bluetooth earphone. Well done Mee Audio!
Thanks for reading!
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