Headphones have been with us for quite a while. Early telephone operators used them in the 1880s. Unlikely as it seems, the Cambridge Audio Melomania is a distant cousin of those first efforts. Those early headsets weighed ten pounds and had to rest on the person’s shoulder. The earbuds today weigh ounces. And most of the time, you might not even know you were wearing them.
The first what you might call ‘earbud’ was developed in France by Ernest Mercadier in 1891. It even possessed a rather crude form of noise-canceling using rubber surrounds.
The earbud we know today, like the in-ear headphone, started to arrive in the 1980s. But not much happened with them until years later when Mr. Jobs and Apple arrived with Airpods. Since then you could say that they have become big business.
So, let’s find out more in our in-depth Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Review. But before we do, who are Cambridge Audio?
As you may have guessed, they were founded in Cambridge in the UK in the 1960s. Some Cambridge University graduates got together and started to design high-end audio. Fifty odd years later, they have a big reputation and a wide-ranging product portfolio.
The product range includes everything from earbuds and headphones to speakers, music systems, and DAC’s.
They are headquartered in London these days but have representative offices throughout the world. The Melomania 1 is one of their excellent products, so let’s see what it is all about…
This is a set of earbuds that seem to have been designed to suit everyone. Quite often, some products are designed for those who use them in various situations. That could be in the gym, just for listening to music, or on the daily commute. You don’t often find a product that will satisfy the requirements of a variety of uses.
You could argue that these do exactly that. The sound is very good, and they are built to let you take them to the gym. There are also some nice additions, as we shall see, from a comfort perspective. And they have an exceptional battery life. Add to that a nice design and a charging case you can carry around with you. It seems Cambridge Audio has thought of everything.
Let’s now have a closer look at Melomania 1…
These are a good looking pair of earbuds. Clearly, some thought has gone into making them practical but also with a sleek, stylish look. And that applies to the charging case as well.
The earbuds have a bullet-shape design. On the body of each bud is an LED band. This is to let you know the status at any one time of the pairing and charge remaining. Besides being informative, the LEDs are a nice design feature.
This design is mirrored on the charging case, which we shall discuss a little later.
The barrels of the buds are made from quality hard plastic. Tough enough to withstand some rigorous use but at 4.6 grams each also lightweight. Inside are 5.8mm drivers to produce a high-quality sound.
The buds are a little longer than many of their competitors. This can lead to a feeling that they might fall out when in use. But they are actually very secure.
If you are using them outdoors either for fitness or other reasons, then the IPX5 water resistance is an advantage. This rating applies to both the buds and the case. Getting caught out in a shower is not then a problem.
If you look hard enough at anything, you can probably find something you don’t like. The build quality of these buds is very good. As we shall see, the comfort level is also catered for.
The only issue you could raise is the quality of the microphone. There is a mic in both earbuds. The quality is what you might call acceptable but is not as good as it possibly could be.
The Charging Case
The case is one of the highlights of the design and build, in our opinion. It is certainly comparable to what most see as the industry standard in the Airpod.
Using a clamshell design, the case is magnetized inside. Therefore the buds slip neatly into place and are held securely. Even the placement of the Cambridge Audio logo is useful. It is embossed and acts as a gripping point as you use your thumb to open the case.
It is quite compact, and when the lid is closed, it measures just 2.3 by 2.0 by 0.9 inches. Easy to carry around, even in your pocket.
The light show…
As you open the case, there are five LEDs on the front that automatically switch on. They indicate how much charge is left in the case. Each LED represents 20 percent of the 100 percent needed for a full charge.
Likewise, the LED rings on both earbuds also glow. Always a good design feature to let the user know the battery condition before use.
This is one area where the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 really excels. How it sounds and the Connections we will discuss later. So why are they so good?
You can get up to 45 hours of use from these earbuds without having to recharge the case. Each full charge will give you about nine hours. But the charging case will hold four more charges to the buds. That is a lot of hours of use. The case will recharge the earbuds in about thirty minutes. The case itself, when it needs to be re-charged, will take about two hours.
One interesting issue that will disappoint some people is the method of charging the case. Cambridge has opted for a MicroUSB. Some will consider that a bit ‘yesterday’ and may wonder why they didn’t decide to use USB-C instead.
For today’s world
One feature that is right up to date, though, is with voice assistants. Google Assistant and Siri work well and are easy to use.
Voice calls are also handled with the minimum of fuss and bother. If you get the fit right, then your distraction levels are low when speaking on the phone. Although minimizing background noise will depend on the fit as these are not noise canceling.
Functional and practical…
We shall be dealing with other performance issues in their own sections. Yet, suffice to say that Cambridge Audio has made the earbuds easy to use and very functional.
There are one or two things that maybe they could have improved upon. However, we think these perform at a higher level than the price point suggests they might.
Let’s move on…
Getting high marks for performance must include how they sound. The Melomania 1 earbuds have decided that they should sound in a way that the users want. Therefore, you will immediately notice the added emphasis on the lows and highs.
Deep lows and crisp highs…
The bass frequencies are the first thing you may notice. They are punchy and prominent but not to the point of overwhelming everything else. Listening to Rock and Classical music, they are perfectly set up for a great consumer sound.
For hip hop and similar bass-heavy genres, the lows may not be as prominent as some products designed for that market. We don’t think you can possibly satisfy both areas with a perfect sound.
Sound for the consumer…
The highs are also given a little extra. Harmonic resonances are excellent and provide real clarity at the top end. With powerful bass and some emphasis applied to the high frequencies, the mids are bound to suffer a little. They are there but a little lower in the mix.
But then these are earbuds and not reference sound equipment. They are made for the consumer. That is why the sound is designed as it is.
Inside the buds…
We have already mentioned the 5.8mm drivers, but they are worth some further comment. The diaphragms are made from Graphene. Graphene is a single sheet of carbon atoms that are bonded into a single layer, and is known to be flexible but extremely strong.
The flexibility and strength mean the sound is dynamic and very responsive and helps to provide the clarity that we can hear quite clearly.
Once again, we have found an issue in that the Melomania 1 does not have the ability to adjust the EQ. The sound is set up for you already. So it may be that it was considered unnecessary.
Getting a decent fit to ensure a good sound is one thing. But they have to be comfortable in the ear. They are very lightweight, as we have already said, so that is not a problem. There will always be a discussion of whether silicone or foam tips are more comfortable and efficient. Cambridge Audio has decided to include both to please everyone.
Comfort is a subjective matter with a product like this. What suits one may not suit another. And these earbuds are quite long. In regards to comfort, that can cause problems as they do tend to protrude from the ears somewhat.
There is no angle on the earbud, and so they can feel like they are not insecure in the ear, and some people might be concerned that they may fall out.
But they don’t…
But even in the case where you use them in the gym or running, they stay put. And that is all you need to know. Yes, they could feel vulnerable if you concentrate on that issue. But when they are in place, it’s you, not them, that will be moving around.
They are very comfortable to wear once you have ‘broken them in.’ And at this weight, the only problem you will have is remembering you are actually wearing them.
Another area scores heavily in our Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Review. They feature Bluetooth 5.0 with the latest Qualcomm technology. A great connection, so that even in busy areas, there are virtually no dropouts.
They operate at the standard distance of about 100 feet or 30 meters. They support AVRCP, HFP, HSP, and A2DP.
Pairing is easy as well. Just take the buds from their case and ensure your device has Bluetooth enabled. You will see both earbuds appear in your settings. You only need to tap on one to complete the pairing procedure.
They will pair up with most devices, including tablets, smartphones, and computers. They operate with both iOS and Android operating systems.
This can be a bone of contention with earbuds. There isn’t really an awful lot of space to make controls easy to operate. They carry the usual features, such as Play/Pause, Volume up and down, as well as Track skip. There are also controls for taking calls and voice commands.
Some of the more used commands are made easy. Adjusting the volume can be done by pushing either earbud for two seconds. Similar access can be made to virtual assistants by holding down and double pressing. It’s all quite basic and straightforward.
Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Review Pros and Cons
- A good strong build.
- Water-resistant rating.
- Choice of silicone or memory foam tips.
- Great battery performance.
- Attractive LEDs on the case and earbuds to show battery status.
- A great-looking charging case that is easy to carry around.
- Latest Bluetooth technology.
- Good sound from the drivers with added bass and top-end.
- No noise canceling.
- MicroUSB system of charging.
- Microphone quality can sometimes be a little below par when used with a computer.
Looking for Something Else?
The selection of earbuds on the market can be staggering. Check out our in-depth reviews of the Most Comfortable Earbuds, the Best Noise Isolating Earbuds, the Best Wired Earbuds, the Best Sound Quality Earbuds, and the Best Earbuds Under $100 you can buy.
Also, take a look at our reviews of the Best Wireless Bluetooth Headphones, the Best Earbuds for Running, the Best iPhone Earbuds, the Best True Wireless Earbuds, and the Best Airpods Alternative currently available in 2021.
Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Review – Final Thoughts
If you want a set of earbuds that are stylish and well-made. These are them. Likewise, if you want great battery life, you won’t find anything better than these.
If you want the latest Bluetooth connection with aptX and AAC support, you will get it. If you want all that at a great price point, then look no further. It is true they do not have noise-canceling as some do. But then you pay a lot more for that feature.
The bottom line is the sound is great and can rival the very best. And they are much cheaper than Apple’s Airpods. At this price point, you are getting a great set of earbuds that represent tremendous value.
Don’t take our word for it. Check them out. You won’t be disappointed.
Until next time, happy listening.