Customer Reviews: MEElectronics M31-BK In-Ear Headphones for iPod, iPhone, MP3/CD/DVD Players (Black) (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
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on June 24, 2011
The following review is for the MEElectronics M31. I'd like to thank MEE for providing me with a review sample. The M31 is the top of MEElectronics' revised M line of IEM's. It is advertised with having a fun, bassy sound, with lots of air. Basically, you should believe what MEE says. But I intend to get more in depth than MEE, obviously.

The housing of the M31 is very sturdy feeling two toned metal. They do stick out of my ears more than I'd like, but it's a trivial negative point. The cable is a standard MEE cable, but very attractive for the $45 you'll pay. They do retain some memory though, but it's hardly something to cry about. The plug, unlike previous MEE models, is right angled, instead of the hockey stick 45° type, and feels like it would take a fair amount of abuse.

First Impressions:
Knowing that these would be a fun sounding IEM, I first used the M31's with...wait for it--a Lady Gaga album (Fame Monster) for the heck of it, and it's hard to contest that it isn't a fun album. I must say, it's nigh on impossible not to tap my foot to the album, as much as I might not particularly like Gaga, the M31's sure make music involving. They don't have the best mids, best treble, or even tight bass, but they don't try to sound perfect; instead, they focus on, as Rebecca Black has said, "FUNFUNFUNFUN." First impressions are pretty positive. The average consumer would love these.

To review the M31's, I'm using a NaNite N2, a DAP with a class A amp section, so while it isn't as optimal as an actual external amp, it'll do well enough. The N2 is already a warm player, so keep that in mind. Tracks are 320kbps. Tips used are the MEElectronics "Balanced" double flanges. To me, they provide the most bass (which is the M31's main thing) while not overly masking mids and treble in the stock package. I'll include a tip comparison at the end.

Bass: Bass is the hallmark of the M31. It is probably the bassiest IEM I've ever heard, and people that know me would assume I hate that, considering my favorite headphones have "No Bass(tm)," but the M31 manages to be super-bassy without murdering the mids in the process, for the most part. I can hear a bit of bass bleed, but it's rather negligible. It is boomy and uncontrolled, even bordering on tasteless and undetailed, but something about it draws me to it for anything pop or electronic. The CC51 murders the M31 in bass detail, even the lower M21 is more detailed and controlled, but the M31 bass is just fun. I expect a Head-Fi mod burning my lawn, but I don't care--the bass is fun, and I like it. Despite my gushing about the bass, it is mostly midbass. They struggle at 35hz and lower. Then again, this is a $45 IEM, with a 9mm driver at that, so I'll let that slide.

Mids: Now this is where the M31's struggle a bit. Frequency graph of any sound device is akin to a body of water. If there is a rise/wave in the water, some parts of the body have to lower. The same principle applies here. The bass of the M31's is very accentuated, so the mids and treble suffer. The mids are warmed up by the bass, and that's extremely apparent in any track. Instruments are warmed up way too much to be called accurate, and tone of voices is totally off. However, the mids aren't as recessed on the M31's as the M9's.

The treble of the M31's is smooth, but with the wrong tips, can change drastically and be painfully sibilant, to the point where snakes and dolphins can get headaches. With the balanced tips however, it's smooth, but nothing special at all--even veiled. Still, it's one of the tradeoffs for their boomy, bodacious bass.

The soundstage of these is peculiar. The stage is very wide (for an IEM) but not very deep at all. About a foot of depth max, while the width is about 3 feet across.

It's pretty average at best. There's nothing particularly wrong with that, but I'd like a little more. The veiled treble is probably at fault for that. Timbre and tone, as mentioned before, are a bit below average because of the bass bleed.
Rather than state how specific genres sound with the M31 (spoiler alert--electronic, rap/hip hop, pop and indie sound good, while metal and anything involving many instruments or vocals tends to sound smeared and unimpressive.) it'd probably be more beneficial to have another tip comparison.

Stock Single Flange: The mids are a bit more prominent on these than the double flanges, and bass impact is sloppier. Treble can get piercing. Soundstage is more compressed.

Balanced Double Flange: Surprisingly, the sound is less balanced on these. The bass reaches deeper, but the mids are more recessed. Treble smoothens out, and the soundstage grows a bit.

Ultimate Ears Single Flange: The midbass increased, vocals sound digital and wrong, instruments sound plasticky, and treble can get harsh and sibilant. Soundstage is between the MEE tips.

Monster Foam Supertips: Bass is more impactful than all but the Sony's, but the mids are balanced. Treble is smooth. Soundstage is moderate.

Monster Gel Supertips: Bass is less than the Foam tips. Mids are equally balanced, treble is laid back. Soundstage is rather small.

Comply Tips: These are the darkest of the tips I have. The mids are the most recessed, and the treble is rolled off at the cost of some booming bass.

Sony Hybrids: The bass is the most impactful of the tips, and the mids are still balanced, moreso than any of the other tips. The treble is very smooth, but a bit veiled at times.

Conclusion: It's no secret that I like the M31's. I probably like them a bit too much. They're inaccurate, bloated, and headache inducing, but that's exactly why I like them. I don't analyze my music when using them. I just rock out to the music. Sure, they don't do well with complex music, but these love synth and bass centered tracks, and if you're in the market for a bassy IEM under $50, the M31's should be on the top of your list! In a perfect world, these would be sold at any given electronics store, taking any and all business away from Beats if people could actually try them.
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on June 29, 2011
I'm not going to pretend to be an audiophile- I'm not. However, the bass on these earbuds is ridiculous. I can hear all of the more subtle basslines which I never heard on my laptop speakers or even on Logitech 2.0 speakers, or my cheap(now dead) pair of Coby Jammerz. At 100% volume, the treble and mids get a little "hissy", but either reducing the treble, or lowering the volume and increasing the bass fixes this. So, it's pretty bass-heavy(this is a good thing to me). I got them in red, aesthetically the red/black combo is great.

Build quality- the right-angle headphone jack has a good amount of flex, so it seems it'll be fairly durable. I've only used them for a few hours so I can't speak on long-term durability.

Also I've been reading that these are similar to the M21's, but just bassier. The M21's are a little smaller but these are not huge, like others make them out to be. They stick out a little, but they don't seem big or heavy. Overall at the price this is one of the better options, and I'm glad I chose these.
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[Note: the following review is intended to match with the company's M31P-BL (the P representing the included miniature mic), whereas the pictured phones are the M31-BL (no mic!). At a quieter moment, I'll reposition the review (next to M31P-BK, since I don't see the model with mic in BL on Amazon, though apparently it can be ordered direct from the manufacturer.]

I too was suspicious of the brand when Amazon had a Gold Box special on the MEElectronics M9, which sounded like a quickly manufactured name for a mass-produced generic product. But upon receiving the phones, I knew immediately I'd gotten my money's worth. Not only were they well-built and finely detailed, but the little carrying case, cord wrapper and disentangler, 4-5 sets of extra eartips were by themselves worth the price. The driver is on the small side (9mm), but once you find the right-fitting ear-tip (small always does it for me), the bass is clearly in evidence without being boomy or intrusive.

As the pictures make all too evident, they're a handsome set. But they're good performers as well and, in my case, have held up. Even the in-line mic and iPod control work flawlessly (more than I can say for a cheap set of generic "Premium" phones and even a pair of Apple phones). Still, the cost on these will seem high to some potential users, so I can understand the cautiousness, especially about an unfamiliar brand. At the same time, I've had the earpiece of the much-publicized, pricey (twice as much as these), highly reviewed Klipsch S4 snap into two different pieces the first time I applied mild pressure while swapping out ear tips. And phones this small are always easy to misplace or snag and break (if it's a constant problem, try the Colby phones for five bucks).

Another angle worth considering, especially for the consumer who is not overly impatient, is that MEElectronics' top-of-the-line phones, the A151's (which Cnet called the best phones available for under a hundred), were recently going on Amazon for less than ten bucks more than the current price of the M31's. Frankly, if I had a choice like that, the nod would go to the A151 phones.

If you don't need the mic assembly and prefer a brand name along with guaranteed extra-high fidelity, the first phones I'd look at in this price range (we're talking IEM phones, of course, and not full-sized headphones) would be the Sony MDR-EX300LP phones. Most users would not be able to distinguish them from Sony's top-of-the-line earphones, which cost 6-10 times more.
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on December 1, 2011
I think it's relevant to let you know that I got these headphones as part of the Mee What promotion Meelectronics was having over Black Friday this year. The promotion gave the opportunity to pay $20 and be sent a random set of Meelctronics headphones from a varied subset of their in-ear offerings. So please keep in mind that I may not be the typical "bass head" customer they are marketing these headphones towards.

Very high quality so far, as expected from Meelectronics. Comes with a small selection of tips including a bi-flange which is nice, but I would have liked to see a pair of foam tips as well. Cable is thick and durable without being stiff or unmanageable; it's coated in Meelec's usual clear protectant.

Form factor:
90 degree 3.5mm jack on the end of the cable that feels very sturdy. The headphones will stick out of your ears quite far, if you're the type of person who likes to plug them in and lay on your side that's not going to be possible with these.

Probably the best bass I have heard from in-ear-headphones just about ever. Compared to other low-cost "bass" headphones these will just blow them out of the water if that's your thing. My roommate compared it to having a subwoofer in your ears, and I think he was pretty spot on.

Overall Sound:
The bass is powerful, but the overall sound is just not clean. I'm definitely no audiophile, but for example I recently got the opportunity to listen to some ViSang R02 headphones and I was hearing parts of my favorite songs that I'd just never noticed before. They enhanced and enlivened the music I thought I 'knew'. With these M31s, I was actually losing a lot of the detail even when compared to a pair of JVC Marshmallows I picked up for 5 bucks... If I had to sum up my impression of the overall sound in one word-- it would be "muddled".

Overall, they're decent headphones. If you're buying them just for the bass impact you'll be more than happy if you snag a pair. If you're hoping for a pair of headphones that don't forget the bass but otherwise stay balanced, my recommendation would be to look elsewhere. That said I know I could recommend these to many of my friends and family members and they would absolutely love them. It depends on your personal taste, and I think it's great that Meelectronics makes these types of products that seem to be forgotten in all but the lowest and higher end products. BUT for me they just don't rate higher than a 3.

I was hasty in reviewing these. It is heavily dependent on what music you happen to be listening to. What was I expecting but overpowering and muddled bass when I decided to play "Bassnectar"? I've been listening to a bit of "The Who", "Queen", you know: music instead of noise. And I must say that the bass often does overpower the mids but it can also serve to warm up and compliment a song that doesn't rely on just bass. So I'll bump it another star.
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on April 12, 2013
I already own the big brother of these ear buds, the MEE model A151. The A151's are outstanding: excellent construction, clever braided cord and amazing clarity. I bought the MEE M31s as an extra pair of buds for the gym and to save some bucks. The M31 ear bud itself seems well constructed out of metal but the cord is relatively stiff plastic and seems susceptible to crimping and cracking. The real problem though in this model is not the construction but the clarity. Where the A151 is clear, the M31 is muddy; vocals in the more expensive pair are crystal, where in the cheaper M31 they are muffled. Even for the gym they aren't worthy of the MEE label.
I should have spent the extra $30 and bought the excellent MEE A151.
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on November 15, 2012
I bought the blue ear buds, and they look great. I use these in the office, plugged into my laptop. I bought these because of the great review that CNET gave to these ear buds and to their predecessor, the M9. These have a much richer sound than the ear buds that came with my mp3 player, and the noise cancellation works great. I have a new appreciation for my music now that the sound is so clear. The little shirt clip is also a plus, because now the ear buds won't jerk out of my ears when I move to grab something out of my desk drawer. Overall I am happy with this product.
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on April 15, 2013
Wow-what can I say about these headphones that hasn't already been said? The sound is so clear that I could hear a crackling sound during a song I was listening to but it wasn't the headphones, it was scratches on the cd itself. Perfect amount of bass pumps through these little bad boys, but does not rattle your eardrums. For the price, these are definitely worth purchasing and even at full price they are worth it. They run under $50, which is awesome and I plan on buying another set because now my son wants a pair too. He is almost 16 and goes through headphones like they are going out of style. I let him borrow these and had to "steal" them back from him. The cord attached keeps them from getting tangled up. The handy shirt clip keeps the cord in place during my walks and exercising at the gym. The extra ear buds are handy as replacements. The headphones stay in place during fast paced walks and also while I am on the elliptical at the gym. That itself is reason enough to buy them. No more fiddling with them during my workouts and I can focus more on getting through my workout instead of adjusting my headphones. I am petite in frame (5'2) so my ear canals are small and the ear buds that came attached with the set fit perfectly. Highly recommended A++++++
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on December 4, 2013
Just got these in today, first off was iam using these with my htc one, with beats audio. All i listen to is techno, so the higher the bass the better. Been using the headphones that came with the htc and those blew me away day one, its almost like having a mini sub next to my ear which is awesome and what iam looking for in a headset. Put these on and went to the gym and seems like the more u break em in the better, the bass increased as they warmed up and are now doing better then my htc headphones. For the the price its worth it and a good upgrade to what ive been using.
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on December 4, 2012
This cute little headphones are just what I expected and work perfectly at cutting outside noise. I have used them to listen to white noise in order to drown out snoring and while mowing on a riding lawn mower (which is very loud) and found that I didn't need to adjust the sound much at all. I love that there are different sizes for the ear pieces and the handy case that keeps the cord from getting tangled when I want to thrown them in my purse. No complaints at this time.
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on January 4, 2014
Nice earbuds, but within a couple months I couldn't hear anything out of the left earbud. I wish there were some affordable earbuds out there where you didn't lose the sound on one side. The earbuds are very comfortable though and I still use them. I wear them all day at work listening to books and music on my Ipod.
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