The Melomania Touch and 1+ in-ear monitors review – Can you have your audio cake and hear it too?

REVIEW – A couple of years ago, I reviewed the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 earphones. In that review, I said, “If the fit and call quality issues can be worked out, these earbuds should be at or near the top of any list”. Well, Cambridge Audio did work out the fit issues—sort of. They took care of the Melomania 1’s fit issues by creating a completely new pair of earphones: the Melomania Touch in-ear monitors. However, they also updated the original Melomania 1 to the Melomania 1+ in-ear monitors. Same size, same fit, improved in other ways. At first glance, it looks like Cambridge Audio now lets you have your audio cake and hear it, too. Let’s see if it’s true.

What is it?

The Melomania Touch in-ear monitors (earphones) are Cambridge Audio’s new premier totally wireless (no wires) earphones. They are shaped to fit the human ear better than the original Melomania 1 (and even the newer 1+) earphones. Battery life is rated at 9 hours of continuous play with the case able to charge the earphones over 4 times between charges. They feature the latest Bluetooth 5.0, a mic for calls, IPX4 Water Resistant rating, voice control, and a 7mm graphene dynamic speaker.

The Melomania 1+ in-ear wireless monitors are very similar to the original Melomania 1s. The only differences are improved battery life, a larger selection of ear tips, USB-C, and access to the new Melomania smartphone app.

Melomania Touch Specs

  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Dual-core 32-bit processor
  • aptX, AAC, SBC codecs
  • 7mm graphene-enhanced diaphragm driver
  • 20Hz – 20kHz frequency response
  • 9 hours battery life (each earbud)
  • 50 hours battery life (includes a case with 4 additional earbud charges)
  • 120 min. charging time
  • Microphone with Noise Cancellation
  • Siri (iOS) / Google Assistant (Android) voice assistance
  • IPX4 water resistance
  • Weight: .2 oz (each earbud); 2 oz (case)
  • Color: Black microfiber leather; White microfiber leather

Melomania 1+ Specs

  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Dual-core 32-bit processor
  • aptX, AAC, SBC codecs
  • 5.8mm graphene-enhanced diaphragm driver
  • 20Hz – 20kHz frequency response
  • 9 hours battery life (each earbud)
  • 50 hours battery life (includes a case with 4 additional earbud charges)
  • 120 min. charging time
  • Microphone with Noise Cancellation
  • Siri (iOS) / Google Assistant (Android) voice assistance
  • IPX5 water resistance
  • Weight: .16 oz (each earbud); 1.3 oz (case)
  • Color: Black UV lacquer; White UV lacquer

Design and features – Melomania Touch

To my ears, the Melomania Touch is such a substantial (non-audio) upgrade to the Melomania 1, that I can’t imagine anyone choosing the 1+ over the Touch. They couldn’t be more different. The 1+’s bullet shape can’t measure up to the Touch’s ergonomic molded shape that just twists into place, providing that all-important seal. Without the seal, bass is severely compromised—something I experienced with the Melomania 1 and now the 1+.

Just holding the Melomania Touch earphones is a treat. They exude class in how they feel and the build quality. You just want to wear them. Did I say how comfortable they feel? The case is covered in a nice faux leather that’s easy to grip. Charging is done via USB-C using an included charging cable.

The Melomania Touch earphones come in black (what I’m reviewing) or white—no cool colors, unfortunately. The earphone’s glossy exterior is a fingerprint magnet, which are unavoidable since the earphones have to be touched (they’re called Touch for a reason) to operate. 

Operating the earphones is accomplished by tapping the sides while wearing. There’s a lot to learn about how to change volume, skip tracks, answer a call, ask for voice assistance, or even activating transparency mode (more on that later). The good news is that these controls can be turned on or off inside the new Melomania app, as well as explain how to control them using tapping. However, I turn most of them off because if I adjust the earphones in my ear while wearing, I always seem to do something I didn’t intend. Also, I’m more old school and use my iPhone for music control.

Once paired with the Touch earphones, the Melomania app shows battery life in both the left and right earphones. But that’s not all. There’s a built-in graphic equalizer with six presets as well as 3 additional custom settings. Yet even with all those choices, I generally leave the settings on flat (no tweaking). I’m not a fan of adjusting the frequencies of my music unless there’s something lacking in the earphones or headphones. There’s nothing lacking in the Melomania Touch—except one thing.

After trying several included ear tips for the Melomania Touch, I settled on a pair of Comply foam tips—not included. Why? They just fit my ears better than anything Cambridge Audio offered. I understand that most people will be perfectly happy with the supplied silicone tips (four each of L, M, and S) and while I did like the large-sized tips, the Comply foam tips isolate a bit better for my ears. It’s a personal thing.

Along with a good selection of ear tips, Cambridge Audio supplies three sizes of what they call fins. These fit over each earphone and tuck under the main fold in the exterior of the ear. The fins make the earphones feel much more secure and hold them in place for a better seal. This helps with both bass response and noise isolation—a good thing because there’s no active noise cancelation (ANC). Let’s look at that.

ANC is almost becoming a necessity for wireless earphones—both for convenience and marketing purposes. Many people will pass on earphones without ANC, no matter how well implemented it may or may not be. Passing on the Touch earphones because of no ANC would be a mistake. Even with no ANC, the Touch earphones seal pretty darn well and block out much of the background noise of everyday life. And as an added bonus, Cambridge Audio added “Transparency Mode”. This allows you to hear the outside world while listening to music. It’s a great safety feature in an urban environment when you need to hear what’s going on around you. In the end, however, ANC could be a big selling feature for future versions of the Touch.

Music is where the Melomania Touch earphones show off their British heritage. The Brits are known for their loudspeakers—they just get it right. Cambridge Audio has infused that Brit DNA into the Touch earphones. Along with their comfort and audio, I could listen to these all day, or until the battery needs recharging. Listening to the Touch earphones is like having a concert in your head without inflated ticket prices!

Design and features – Melomania 1+

The Melomania 1+ is a minor upgrade to the original. They are still as cool-looking as before. The major benefit comes from the Melomania app integration. Now you can customize the audio and settings and update the firmware when needed. 

I could not detect any improved audio performance with the 1+. As with the original Melomania 1, fit was the main issue I had with audio quality, no matter which ear tips I tried. Because of the width of the earphones, I just can’t get any decent bass without physically pressing the earphones into my ears—which isn’t feasible. When I did push them into place, the sound expands and improves dramatically. I just wish they would remain in place. 

However, I know that fans of the original Melomania 1 will appreciate the updated 1+. If you don’t have fitting issues like me, the Melomania 1+ has a lot to offer. 

What I like Melomania Touch

  • Extremely comfortable
  • Well built
  • Ergonomic design
  • Sound wonderful
  • Transparency Mode
  • Long battery life
  • Useful app

What I’d change

  • Could benefit from active noise canceling (ANC)

What I like Melomania 1+

  • Decent upgrade
  • Works with new app
  • Sound is as good as original
  • Improved battery life
  • Well built

What I’d change

  • Same fit issues
  • More expensive than the better Melomania Touch 

Final Thoughts

Melomania has almost hit a home run with the Touch earphones. They sound great, fit great, look great, are well made, and are less expensive than the inferior 1+ earphones! I’m left scratching my head over that fact. 

The Melomania 1+ earphones have been upgraded as well, but the differences are not enough to warrant the price increase. However, if you are a fan of the original Melomania 1 earphones, you will love the new 1+ earphones.

Price: Melomania Touch $129.95 US;   Melomania 1+ $139.95 US
Where to buy: Amazon
Source: The sample of this product was provided by Cambridge Audio.

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