Cambridge Audio Melomania Touch Earphones
Music is a massive part of my life. It always has been and as I get older, it becomes more important and more ingrained in who I am. Not even music but sound itself, which is what music is. I own and have owned enough instruments to start several bluegrass and folk-rock bands. From mandolin, banjo, many acoustic and electric guitars and amps, to a mouth harp, fish, and more.
It’s said all beautiful instruments have been found. With the Theremin or perhaps Matt Mayes’ “guijo” (a banjo head with a guitar neck) I don’t know of many other “new” instruments that have been introduced in any seriousness. I’ve seen Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood play some sort of lemon. And they use a plastic bottle full of sand, and most anything else they can find that makes nice sounds. So I keep my eyes and ears on Radiohead, which is one of my favorite bands.
So it makes sense that I care about the reproduction of sound. (Since I can’t have live bands play in my living room when I want, I try to re-create the experience fully.) I have written here about some of the audio equipment I have had and still have and use the most. Klipsch, Cambridge Audio, Wharfedale, SVS, etc…
And I fine-tune everything. There are guitarists who constantly buy new guitars and gear and other people can’t understand it. They think they’re crazy (which may be true) or just obsessed with guitars (which may be true) and have money to burn (which also may be true). But what they’re probably doing is chasing the perfect tone.
I admit I do that too, budget allowing. But I also am chasing the perfect audio setup for me. Notice I said for me. I believe everyone has different preferences, although I could argue that some audio setups should be to reproduce the original sound and composition and stage and arrangement and experience faithfully, as if you were on stage, in the pit, 5th row-center, in the studio, standing in front of, or whatever the artist and producer wanted. That’s what I’m after.
I have it to a degree. I can play my stereo, sit on my couch, close my eyes, and be right there at a Grateful Dead show in 1972, or when/wherever. I can locate the musicians on the soundstage, hear almost every note while tuning and breath they take near the microphones, and it’s an unbelievable experience. I don’t think most people have had that experience because either they don’t care about it or don’t know it’s possible. But for those of us who do, it’s transformative. It takes you to another place and time, which is akin to being in a time machine.
Although I own some Sennheiser headphones, I prefer the relative freedom of listening to loudspeakers. Headphones, especially top-tier ones like Grado are what some people swear by. And if you live in an apartment, in close proximity to others, that may be your best bet. You don’t want to power up dual 1500 watt 18-inch subwoofers and Klipsch Fortes above your bodybuilding downstairs neighbor at 3 am. I’m fortunate enough, and not by chance, to always live in a house with brick or thick walls, and plenty of space between me and my neighbors. I intentionally look for housing that allows me to use my stereo equipment at high volume.
I have several iPhones. Actually, I have one iPhone and my 5-year-old daughter has several iPhones. And tablets, as she calls them. iPads. And a Chromebook. It’s crazy, I know. She’s just learning to read and her numbers now. She picks up on games and how to use these devices as if she learned it in the womb.
But I just got a new iPhone 12 Pro Max and I have Apple’s Airpods which I got back when I got my iPhone X, which is now my daughter’s. They, of course, pair nicely with all my Apple gear. (I like PCs but for some reason, I’ve ended up using a MacBook Pro and closeting the high-performance Dell PC I have, and selling the awesome Dell U2711 monitor I owned. That’s a great monitor for design, development, or anything.)
As luck would have it, Cambridge Audio recently put out a call for marketing help. They’re based in London and known for “Great British Sound,” which they indeed provide. I love my CX80. It powers my Heresy IIIs and SVS PB-2000 very well. And it has a clean design and some super-nice features, which I couldn’t find in any other component in its price range.
And, being a master marketer who’s in the market for a job, I put my eyeballs back in my head, picked my jaw up off the floor, and got busy applying. I sent in an application via the website advertising it, and also sent in a cover letter and resume to the email address specified in the listing.
Neither, it seems, made it to the right person. Which was serendipitous for yours truly.
Because I sent an email to the President & CEO of Cambridge Audio asking him if they got my resume after not hearing back for several days, possibly weeks if I remember.
And, true for a man of action and who has his act together, he responded the very next day. He’s in Paris so we have a time difference. He apologized for not receiving the resume and we began a back and forth which led to an interview with him. He’s heading up the Melomania line and marketing efforts, which is what the job, which I want very badly, is about.
I sent him the longest email I’ve ever written to someone, which wasn’t meant to be inconsiderate of his valuable time or discourteous. It was meant to be thorough, and that’s all. I may possibly post what I had to say to him here, depending on how things go. I don’t want to disclose sensitive correspondence for hopefully obvious reasons. I cherish trust and confidentiality and strive to be a person who can be confided in and trusted. So that info is proprietary.
However, he generously sent me a pair of Melomania Touches which is their premium earbud product. It sits aside the Melomania 1, which is a less-fancy, but still stellar-sounding and fitting item that retails for about the same, depending on where you look. They each have features that differentiate them from one another, which I discussed with James, the CEO of CA.
He Fed-Exed the product to me overnight, so I would have them to evaluate. And evaluate I did.
The Melomania Touch blows the Airpods away, in my mind. I’ve listened to them for about 3 days now while exercising, grocery shopping, and just tinkering around the yard and garage. They have many of the same features, such as a location ability, a chargeable case, and, true to the name of the “headphones” you can touch them to direct many commands. Many. More than the Airpods. And they don’t dangle out of your ears like jewelry.
The comfort level is better, too. The Melomania Touches come with sets of tips and bands(fins) which CA recommends to try all of them for the very best fit since the best fit will render the best sound and experience. You get 5 tips and 4 different size bands, ranging from small to large. You also get a charging cable of course.
One thing that sets the Melomania earbuds apart to me is the app. (You’ll see these referred to as “headphones” around the internet, but let’s be honest — they aren’t headphones. They’re earbuds. Be precise.) The App is robust and serves quite a few purposes.
One, which is important if not crucial, is to update the firmware and the App itself. That should be done before anything else when purchasing these. After that, there are loads of features available on the App.
An equalizer, which has 6 presets as well as the ability to save 3 custom settings, which is great. You can register your product and get updates and the CA newsletter, which I recommend. You can locate your earbuds with the app if you misplace one or both.
You can choose what Earphone controls you want on or off. There are 10 controls, which cover all the bases as far as I can think.
You can select the codec. You can choose the Audio Mode, being “High performance” or “Low power.” You can update your firmware and app from the app as well. You can choose what language you prefer the Voice Guidance: Cantonese, Chinese, English(which has a lovely British accent), French, German, Italian, Japanese, or Spanish.
You can also access the User Guide, Technical Support and give feedback via the App.
You may also adjust the fade on the “Transparency Mode,” which allows you to listen to the earphones and ambient surrounding sounds simultaneously. This is a super-nice feature.
Cambridge Audio’s Melomania Touch earphones blow away Apple’s Airpods. The sound is superior. The fit is superior and far more customizable. The features are superior. And the experience is superior.
An update to my seeking to work for Cambridge Audio marketing these earbuds is that the CEO chose to go with someone based in the UK/Europe since that’s where their greatest market is. That makes sense to me, especially as I did further research into how I might market these in America. Amazon and World Wide Stereo are the two main outlets responsible for the bulk of their sales in the US currently. I bought my Cambridge Audio CX80 from World Wide Stereo, which carries some very nice products at very nice prices.
But by and large, America sticks to some very “American” brands. I don’t mean they’re made in America. Most are made in Asia or the Philippines. But they’re marketed by American companies, which is largely what big US companies become anyway, like Nike and Apple. They don’t manufacture shoes or phones whatsoever. They design and market them only in the US. They’re all manufactured in China.
Anyway, Cambridge Audio needs to build awareness for their brand in America to compete alongside Apple’s AirPods and Bose’s products, which I dare say are inferior in some senses. As are their other competitors. There comes a moment when some products, like earbuds, become commodities, and they aren’t far from that time, which is a tough time to try and break into a big market like the US. I’m just being honest.
But if you’re in the market for some, I highly recommend giving CA’s Melomania Touches a go. They are superior. And getting better all the time.
They’re sold in both white and black, and there may possibly be the option to either customize the case or purchase it in a variety of designs and colors in the future, which I hope. Small, but important points of differentiation are important to consumers and therefore the experience, which makes it vitally important to marketers. I personally would like to have them match my iPhone case: