Review: Cambridge Audio Melomania 1

Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Feature
Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Feature


General Usage 70.5
Audiophile Usage 71.4

Score Breakdown

88.0
What We Like
  • UX and build quality of the charging case are well thought out
  • Great Portability
  • 36 hours of battery juice in charging case
  • Earbuds holds 9 hours of playback time
  • Great Mids and Treble
What We Don't Like
  • Bad Mic quality
  • Inconsistent bass
  • Unstable Bluetooth connectivity

Where to buy?

Case

Battery

Key Notes

  • 36 hours of battery juice
  • Can recharge the earbuds 4 times
  • Micro USB charging connector
  • Doesn’t support wireless charging

UX

Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Charging Case
Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Charging Case

Key Notes

  • The charging case can be easily open with one hand
  • Strong magnetic hold keep the earbuds intact
  • 5 LED light indicator (20% increment)
  • Design of the sensor position limits the choice of ear tips

Overall, the Melomania 1 has one of the better charging case in the market.

Simple to use and intuitive. Manufacturers tend to be too fancy with their charging case and neglected usability. With a slight indent on the top of the case, you can easily push open the cover with your thumb. Although the cover doesn’t stay in place, it has some resistance which prevents it from closing down immediately.

Sensor pin inside the case
Sensor pin inside the case

Like all proper TWS should, the earbuds disconnect from the audio source when it is back in the charging case. The Melomania 1’s charging case has two sensor pins that will be in contact directly with the front of the earbuds. However, this presents an issue – your choices of ear tips will be limited.

If the ear tips are too big, it prevents the direct contact of the earbud from the sensor. Hence, it cannot disconnect itself from the audio source.
Check out the third-party foam tips recommendation by Cambridge Audio

Design

Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 with the cover open
Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 with the cover open

I must say, the understated Melomania 1 design slowly grew on me. The rounded matchbox style, combined with the smooth matte grey material, gives it a retro vibe that I dig.

However, when I show it to a younger crowd, the reaction was a tad different. Words like “monotonous” and “boring” were involved. Sigh…


Portability

From Left to Right: Apple Mouse, Melomania 1, Jabra Elite 65t, Saabat E12
From Left to Right: Apple Mouse, Melomania 1, Jabra Elite 65t, Sabbat E12

Key Notes

  • Total Weight: 46.2g [Case + Earbuds (4.2g each)]
  • Total Volume: 5.9*5*2.2 = 64.9 cu cm or 3.96 cu in

Despite packing 36 hours of juice, the overall weight of the case and earbuds is only at an impressive 46.2g.

The slim design of the charging case slots in easily into my jeans pocket and is great for portability.

Earbuds

Cambridge Audio Melomania: Charging case with the earbuds out
Charging case with the earbuds

Battery

Key Notes

  • 9 hours of battery juice
  • 15 mins of charging give around 100 mins of playback time

UX

Key Notes

  • Control Mechanism: Mechanical
  • Controls Supported: Play/Pause, Prev/Next Song, Volume, Calls, Activate Voice Assistant
  • Mono-use: Both
  • Master: Both
  • You cannot manually power off the earbuds
Qualcomm QCC3026
Technology in TWS market moves fast due to the innovation of Bluetooth audio SoC makers.

Cambridge Audio uses the Qualcomm QCC3026 chipset as its Bluetooth driver. What makes the QCC3026 special is this it allows both earbuds to be either the master or the slave.

Most true wireless earbuds can only have one side of the earbuds as the designated master while the other side is the slave.

This enables mono-usage for any sides of the earbuds since both earbuds can be the master.

Cambridge Audio made the weird decision of not allowing users to power off the earbuds manually outside the case. It has an Auto Power Down (APD) mode that activates after 10 mins of inactivity. But that comes with a catch.

If you are still connected to the audio source, the APD doesn’t work and your earbuds will continue to be switched on until it drains completely. This is a major design flaw to me, especially when I don’t carry the charging case with me all the time.


Design

Key Notes

  • Cool Halo ring effect
  • Not cool when you wear it

The gray tone of the charging cover continues with the earbuds itself. The earbuds have a ring around the body that lights up when it is charging or in pairing mode. The slow glowing animation of the ring pushes up the cool factor.

However, when I put on the earbuds, I don’t look as cool as I imagine it to be. The bullet-style form factor causes the earbuds to obnoxiously stick out of the ear. 

Not a stylish look
Not a stylish look
A positive note for the bullet-style earbuds is that you can easily get a snug fit but just twisting it into the ear canal

Mic

The mic is pretty bad. You can hear the static that mic picks up in a quiet environment. When it comes to a noisy environment, a significant amount of background noise unsurprisingly gets into the mic too. 

Jabra Elite 65t is still the clear winner in terms of mic quality. Hear it for yourself.


Sound

Overall, I like the musicality of the Melomania 1 but it is far from perfect. The mids and treble are tuned perfectly to my ears but the occasional lapse in bass consistency dampens the overall dynamism of the earbuds.

Bass

The lows of the Melomania 1 is a tricky one to judge. There are songs where the attack of the bass can be felt and you have your head nodding in no time, but there are cases where the bass is so flat that it turns you off.

But after countless listens to different songs, I have a hypothesis.

Before I dive into that, let me touch briefly on the sub-bass: It is weak but present. If the song has the sub-bass portion isolated, you can hear it. Listen to the 03.30 min mark of the Why so Serious? By Hans Zimmer. Or Limit To Your Love by James Blake. It is no sub-woofer quality but it’s there. However, in songs with complex layers, the sub-bass becomes hard to find.

Now back to the hypothesis.

Melomania 1 bass works in songs that have a heavy bass line such as Billie Eilish – bad guy and Dead Prez – Hip Hop. But songs with vocals and instruments layered in, the bass starts to fade quickly. You can try Limitless by Adventure Club.

This hypothesis holds for the songs that I have thrown at it. If you have the Melomania 1, try it and let us know in the comments if it works for you.

Don’t be mistaken though. When we say it works, we meant that the bass rhythm is more pronounced and has more drive. But in terms of other bass qualities like extension and quantity, it still doesn’t hit the sweet spot for me.

Mids

Fortunately, the mid-range of the Melomania 1 turns the table for us. Both male and female vocals sound velvety with no coloration. The mids are just slightly behind the treble but overall, it is able to bring out the musical energy of the instruments in the mids.

I quickly lose myself when I’m listening to Lost in Translation by Moira and Nieman. That’s my reference song for testing mids. If I can forget that I’m critically listening to a song, that’s where it hits the mark for.

Treble

The treble is the star of the show.

The Melomania 1 is blessed with a killer combo – having the right amount and control of the treble response. The presentation is plenty enough to bring the music to life without sounding harsh nor overly-bright. It managed to smooth the tricky electronics violin distortion in Daniel Jang – Rude brilliantly without abruptly dulling the song.

Classical music sounds big and open with the Melomania 1.

The treble works best in electronics songs where there are creative synth and riff arrangements. Try Titanium by David Guetta.


Connectivity

Key Notes:

  • Supported Proprietary Codec: AAC, aptX
  • Multi-point Connection: No
  • Bluetooth Version: 5.0
  • Bluetooth Audio SoC: Qualcomm QCC3026

Despite having the support of a more powerful Bluetooth audio SoC, my experience with the Melomania 1’s Bluetooth connectivity wasn’t great. I experienced drop-out now and then, especially so when I’m at crowded settings, like a co-working space, where there’s plenty of other interfering Bluetooth devices.

Although Melomania 1 is supposed to automatically connect to the paired audio source when it is out of the case, that is not the case. I will say the success rate is around 60%. Other 30% of the time, I had to manually connect to the Melomania from my phone’s Bluetooth menu and it will work.

It is the last 10% that is the most frustrating.

It is the last 10% that is the most frustrating. Only one of the earbuds will connect, leaving the other earbuds with no sound. You have no choice but to place both earbuds back to the case and take them out again. Rinse and repeat a few times before it starts working.


Waterproof

Key Notes:

  • IPX Rating: IPX5

I have brought my Melomania 1 out for multiple sweaty runs and I have no issues so far.

6 comments

  1. I have what seems to be a static hiss in the left bud, it’s low but not so low that it does not annoy me. Very disappointed about this. Thanks for your review.

  2. You must be using an ancient phone with Bluetooth 4.0 like once of today iPhones because I’ve never had connection dropouts with the Oneplus 6, both in crowded settings and outside in open areas. It’s a lot not robust than the Samsung Buds that can occasionally cause dropouts. I’ve also never had them not auto-connect when it of the case and when I put the master bits in the case it instantly switches to the other bud. You may have a faulty one or are not using a phone with the latest and greatest Bluetooth 5.0

  3. I’ve found the connectivity of my pair to get increasingly more unstable over time (first got them in October 2019) – even as I’m typing this comment I’ve just had a good 5 minutes of choppy sound as it cuts from one ear to another, pauses entirely. Switching my bluetooth on/off and putting the earphones back in their case before taking them out again doesn’t seem to make a difference – honestly now it feels like it’s a matter of luck whether they’re going to stay connected and stable or not, which is a shame because other than that I really love the sound/fit/charging case etc.

  4. my connection is brutal. “melomania conncected. bluzztooth disconncected” every time.. other than that, they’re wonderful.

  5. I’ve had no problem whatsoever with dropouts or failure to connect. They work perfectly out of the big, every single time without fail. I’m hugely impressed with these buds.

    For those having problems, it may be worth contacting the manufacturer for advice but most people tend to forget that a Bluetooth connection is only as good as it’s source and I suspect that is more likely to be the cause of the problem.

    Regarding the revised, you should not be too surprised if you’re having problems in a busy office with all sorts of devices competing for bluetooth and WiFi airspace, but again I’ve had no problems. I’ve also had no problem with phone calls and everyone I’ve spoken to has said they can hear me fine – it’s the first question I ask when making or receiving a call.

    Sorry, I dint mean to be contradictory but I also think the bass sound is perfectly good too, instead of going for the bass heavy thumping sound that many seem to favour, these have a very well balanced sound and I cannot fault them in any way.

  6. I’ve been using mine for a couple weeks now – busy areas, quiet areas, at home and a mixture of music from rough “trap” music, to old school hip hop, pop, a bit of rock, indie and the odd classical song thrown in etc. My playlist is all over the place 🙂

    I haven’t used them for phone calls though, so can’t comment there.

    Connectivity has been solid – I use them with a Galaxy S10 which has the Bluetooth 5.0 chipset, so that could be a factor. Battery life is as they claim – I’ve only just had to charge the case after 2 weeks of use! Insane battery life for a tiny bit of kit. Reassuringly takes away any battery anxiety I had for long use.

    I agree with the review regarding bass – I love bass heavy head/ear phones, and the Melomania are good for tracks where bass is the main event but I agree it gets “hidden” by mid / high / vocals on other tracks. Which is a shame, and partly I blame to the fit of them.

    I’m happy with them because they are convenient and overall sound good, but my main issues so far are:

    – Fit. They are secure, but I think the perfect seal is difficult to find. Either you push them in too hard and it feels like your ears are blocked (like on a plane) or they are too loose and you feel the sound isn’t as good as it could be. The foam plugs are good for finding a sealed fit, but brings me to my second point…

    – Exercise. I’ve used these for running and high-intensity exercises, never fallen out once – and I’ve never worried they would fall out save for one occasion when I first used them. But when your sweat, inevitably, gets into your inner ear you have two problems depending on the bud you use. Either the silicone bud becomes wet and starts to “squeak” in your ear, or the memory foam bud becomes a bit saturated with sweat and affects the seal of them – this is not only “yuck” but also requires me to clean them thoroughly after – unlike just wiping the silicone bud dry.

    To be fair – the latter problem is common on all in-ear headphones I’ve used, but with the tricky fit of these it’s a bit annoying.

    I’m still find myself playing with them in a constant, never-ending mission to find that elusive “perfect fit”. That could just be me though 🙂

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