Cambridge Audio Melomania Touch rating: throbbing bass, delicate appearance

"Cambridge Audio's true Melomania Touch wireless headphones offer wonderfully balanced sound for a strong emotional response and long battery life that will keep you listening for days."

  • Strong, bassy, ​​balanced sound

  • Long battery life

  • Comfortable for long periods of time

  • No active noise cancellation

Cambridge Audio has updated its true Melomania 1 wireless headphones with the new Melomania Touch earbuds with a redesigned, delicate design and soft charging case, without drastically increasing the price so as not to exceed the $ 150 mark .

The original Melomania 1 earbuds might not have the looks, but they definitely delivered Cambridge Audio's much-lauded “British sound”. Has Cambridge Audio changed this for the Touch models, and if so, is it for the better? Let's find out.

design

Put the Melomania Touch next to the original Melomania 1 and the two seem barely related. Cambridge Audio has replaced the cheap-looking plastic case with a larger, pill-shaped case that's covered in an appealing soft-touch material made of microfiber leather in black or white. There are five LED charging indicators on the front and a USB type C charging port on the back.

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The case hinges, which are opened from the back and inside of the earphones, are held in separate charging docks by strong magnets. The teardrop-shaped buds are very light and modest at just under six grams – larger than the spherical Melomania 1, but smaller than the WF-1000XM3 from Sony. The outside is shiny, while the body has a matte finish and the buds are held in your ear by a silicone tip and wing.

The floating, rather delicate appearance is a world away from the useful package of the first Melomania 1 and, in terms of presentation and the experience of the “first opening”, probably closer to Bang & Olufsen's E8 wireless headphones. The Melomania Touch comes with a selection of different silicone tips and wings to help you get the right fit. For me, I had problems with the tips as the media was a little too small and the large ones a little too big, which made an earbud feel less secure as I like it and loosened with facial movement.

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None ever failed or even felt like a possibility, and it's not the first time I've come across this with real wireless earbuds. But I felt the need to put a bud back in regularly as it was slowly working its way out of my ear. The wings are small but nice. The outer control panel contains the touch sensor, which can be personalized with the associated app.

The earbuds are comfortable to wear and have not hurt my ears even after wearing them for several hours at a time. Overall, with the design, materials and presentation of the Melomania Touch, Cambridge Audio has successfully increased the appeal of its true wireless headphones without sacrificing portability or hitting us with a massive price hike.

sound

I've used the earbuds connected to an iPhone 12 Pro and a pre-release version of the app and firmware that has been updated at least once since I've been using Melomania Touch. However, the overall sound has remained constant throughout. The earbuds include a 7mm driver that uses graphs for strength and stiffness, Qualcomm's Clear Voice Capture technology for clear calls, a pair of microphones, and AptX and AAC codec support.

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Cambridge Audio prides itself on delivering the 'British Sound' broadly defined as a guitar-forward audio experience that doesn't exaggerate the bass or treble. In my experience, Cambridge Audio's British sound has an unmistakable purity that goes a step beyond the deliciously flat, vocal forward curve heard by Japanese brands like Audio Technica.

The Melomania Touch is not quite as pure as the original Melomania 1 due to a much stronger and harder bass reproduction, but still wonderfully balanced. When listening to The Police's Roxanne's DubXanne remix, the heavier sub-bass is extremely prominent, but it doesn't overwhelm the beautifully judged mid-bass throughout the track. Boris Blanks Electrified shows a broad soundstage, and the warm midrange is skilfully mixed with the hard bass kick. The guitars in Moses Mayfield's Fall Behind have a lot of emotional presence but never interfere with Mayfield's vocals.

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How about songs that prioritize the vocals? The synchronicity of Nogizaka46 doesn't sparkle the way it should, and Sakurazaka46's Nobody & # 39; s Fault stumbles and the background becomes tangled as the bass overwhelms the vocals and mids. For example, Iz * one's sequence sounds great with its bright vocals mixed with a complex bass line and little else. Really, really, get up and dance great.

The soaring orchestra and the emotional vocal power that make up Aled Jones' interpretation of Handel's Did you Not Hear My Lady? Tell me everything you need to know about the Melomania Touch – it's a top-notch act that perfectly balances loads of power, strong and controlled bass, and a profound soundstage. How about the "British Sound" from Cambridge Audio? To my ears, it's there in spades, just with the bass amplified for greater impact.

App and touch controls

The Melomania Touch connection via Bluetooth 5.0 is complemented by an app for your phone that is ready to provide firmware updates, adjust the equalizer, activate the transparency mode and adjust other functions. The earphones are controlled via touch panels and the functionality can be configured in the app.

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I usually don't like touch controls on headphones because they're difficult to locate and rarely respond very quickly. The functionality is kept to a minimum here, with one tap to play or pause and a double tap to go forward or back. I've found the controls to be reliable. You can take calls and also choose your voice assistant. These additional functions can be deactivated in the app for the sake of simplicity. It's one of the better touch control systems I've used, aided by the relatively large and flat earpiece body.

The app is simple and easy to use. The battery level for each bud is shown, but not for the case. There's a graphic equalizer and some presets for changing the sound (I left the equalizer on the flat “Balanced” setting for checking) and the option to toggle between a low power and a high performance mode. Listening time is nine hours in energy-saving mode and seven hours in high-performance mode.

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I was unable to get this feature to work, which may be due to my pre-app. It seems like a five minute process to switch to low power, almost like a software update, but every time I tried it failed. This will likely be fixed on release. The transparency mode is good and lets in just enough ambient noise to be safe without creating an uncomfortable artificial feeling.

The Cambridge Audio Melomania Touch lacks active noise cancellation, but it seals well in your ears to block out ambient noise. The lack of ANC affects its appeal as many other true wireless headphones offer this feature for little more money.

battery

In the high-performance mode set by default, the earbuds return seven hours of listening time and 33 hours from the case, which corresponds to a total of 40 hours. When the power consumption is low, the earbuds go up to nine hours on a single charge and the drop to 41 hours for a total of 50 hours.

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

I have no reason to doubt these numbers. I used the earbuds for several hours every day and the case hit its last battery light on day 9 (there are five on the front of the case) and the app said the earbuds were still fully charged. I just don't worry about battery life at all. However, it takes more than three hours to fully charge the case itself.

Price and availability

The Melomania Touch is priced at $ 150 or $ 130 and will be available January 1 through Amazon, Cambridge Audio itself, or from the retailer Richer Sounds if you are in the UK.

Our opinion

The lack of active noise cancellation is actually just a spec list issue, and I don't consider it essential at this price point. Plus, the Melomania Touch isolates very well naturally, and the bassy, ​​emotional sound means you're turning up the volume regularly enough to drown out most of the annoyance anyway. The long battery life also makes up for this omission. I didn't want to switch to my usual real wireless earbuds during the entire test and really enjoyed the often bombastic sound of the Melomania Touch while listening to my favorite music.

Is there a better alternative?

The real world of wireless headphones is very busy. We recommend the Jabra Elite 85t headphones, sometimes retailing for less than $ 230, and active noise cancellation that comes with the great sound quality. However, the Jabra Elite 75t costs about the same as the Melomania Touch and is now equipped with active noise cancellation thanks to a software update, making it a great alternative.

The list goes on. I like the Panasonic RZ-S500W for $ 199, although it can't match the Melomania Touch's long battery life, but it comes with noise-canceling and a nice neutral sound. Spend more and the $ 299 Master & Dynamic MW07 Plus is just as wonderful as the consistently hard-to-beat Sony WF-1000XM3.

How long it will take?

Expect three years or more of useful life before considering upgrading. The case is solidly made and well protected. The earphones are made of strong plastic and are IPX4 waterproof for use in the rain and during training. Therefore, they should be durable. The long battery life also makes a difference because even as your usage increases over time, the Melomania Touch still has the power to keep up.

Should you buy it?

Yes, the Cambridge Audio Melomania Touch are affordable, good-looking, comfortable to wear, and provide a great audio experience.

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