Cambridge Audio just announced its first pair of true wireless headphones — the Melomania 1 — and, admittedly, it’s a bit of a surprise. The British hi-fi maker is renowned for its extremely high-end audio products, like the Alva TT turntable ($1,700) and its beautiful Edge series of integrated and powered amplifiers that cost several grand each. In fact, before the Melomania 1, Cambridge Audio hadn’t even made a pair of headphones.
Still, there’s good reason(s) to be excited by the company’s first true wireless earbuds. Cambridge Audio has recently made a push to be affordable, as shown with its recently announced AX range of audio components, and the Melomania 1 also fit that bill. At $130, they’re more affordable than Apple’s AirPods ($159+) and significantly so compared to other high-end true earbuds like the Sennheiser Momentum TW ($299) and the B&O’s Beoplay E8 2.0 ($350). It’s going to be interesting to see how the sound quality stacks up, given the low cost and Cambridge Audio’s high audio standards. If they could pack an audiophile-grade sound in earbuds that undercut the rest of the field — that’s exciting.
Other than price, the big selling point of the Melomania 1 is battery life. Cambridge Audio says each earbud can last nine hours on a single charge, which is a big jump up from an AirPod’s five hours if it’s accurate. And the charging case is able to give each earbud an extra four charges, meaning you can listen to them for a total of 45 hours before needing to charge anything again.
If there are any bones to pick with the Melomania 1 before hearing how they sound, it’s that they charge via micro-USB instead of the USB-C that most new-age true wireless earbuds have seemed to have adopted which means that the case won’t recharge quite as quickly and you won’t be able to use the same charging cord as you use with your MacBook or Nintendo Switch. There’s also the fit. These earbuds look very similar to the Sennheiser Momentum TW and, like with those, these earbuds might not fit everybody’s ears.
The Melomania 1 are available now; you can order on the company’s website. They are available in two colors: black or white (aka stone).
Drivers: 5.8mm graphene-enhanced diaphragm
Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
Voice Control: Siri (iOS) / Google Assistant (Android)
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0
Water Resitance: Yes, IPX5
Battery: 45 hours (total); 9 hours (each earbud)
Charging Port: micro-USB
Fun fact: The Melomania 1 are named after the live music venue on the ground floor of Cambridge Audio’s London R&D center.
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