Welcome to my review today of the MEE Audio Pinnacle P1 earphones. These are earphones that put many higher end models to shame, so if you’re looking for earphones that deliver a high level of sound quality, comfort and value for your money, then these are an excellent choice.
But that being said, the sound signature as good as it is, won’t satisfy everyone. So in this review I’ll give you an overview of what it’s like to use these as well as helping you to navigate whether these will provide the listening experience you’re after or not.
Now currently these cost just a bit under $200, but you can click below to see the current lowest price.
So included with these earphones are two high-fidelity audio cables (of which one includes an inline mic and remote), there’s a premium leather carrying case, six pairs of silicone eartips, a shirt clip and a manual.
Both cables are silver-plated and terminate in a well constructed, right-angle jack. They’re 3m long and a bit on the stiff side, due to the durability of the braided material. But these braided cables that are some of the best stock cables I’ve seen included with earphones.
DESIGN & BUILD QUALITY
Regarding the design, the P1 is extremely well built and ergonomically shaped. The housings are made of a polished zinc alloy and feel substantial in your hand, but yet they’re also not at all bothersome to wear. The cables connect via an MMCX connection and a stainless steel nozzle connects to the eartips.
The P1’s allow you to wear them cable down or up. Either way you’re able to easily get a secure fit. However, when worn cable down you do get a little more microphonics this way.
Now what’s nice about the fit is these have a negative profile design. One of the benefits of this is that when you’re outside, wind noise will be less of an issue. Also, it’s easier to lay down on your side while wearing these since they’re not sticking out of your ears very much.
In terms of the comfort, these can easily be worn for several hours at a time without any discomfort. They’re so comfortable in fact, that you can forget you’re wearing them.
Also, even with these being made out of metal, you never get the sense that they’re too heavy feeling in the ear. They do an excellent job staying secure so you don’t have to worry about them coming loose and falling out. This is made possible by the nice selection of eartips so it’s easy to find a size that fits you best.
And then the noise isolation that these provide is outstanding. It all comes down to choosing the right eartips though, which again is easy to do since they give you several options to choose from. So with no music playing, most external noises become muffled out, however once you start playing music through these, almost all external noise is difficult to hear.
This lets you enjoy your music more freely when you’re out on the go or in noisier environments. Even when listening to these on a subway system, you can hardly hear the train moving or the people around you. It’s almost dangerous how good the noise isolation is. The bottom line is that these are very good if you’re looking for a pair of in-ear monitors that will block out as much outside noise as possible.
Next I’ll cover the sound quality which is amazing. These are extremely neutral and natural sounding earphones that don’t exaggerate any one frequency. The clarity is superb and as a result, you’ll really be able to hear everything in your music. There’s also just a hint of warmth which prevents the P1’s from sounding lifeless or boring.
Overall, these really excel at allowing you to hear your music the way it was intended. However, something to keep in mind is that this type of sound signature may not be as appealing (or at least initially) to those who are used to earphones with a boosted bass and/or treble.
Now the bass is very well controlled, natural and will likely across as toned down compared to other sound signatures where the low end is emphasized a bit. So if you’re not used to the bass being presented this way, your initial thought may be that the bass is lacking.
But in reality, the bass is just very accurate. So when listening to songs with more intense bass, the low end will rock your eardrums nicely. And the same can be said for songs with faster paced bass like Josh Vietti’s electronic remix of Canon in D minor. Here the mid bass slams down hard and leaves just enough decay to leave you satisfied.
And because the lower frequencies are so well controlled, they don’t ever get muddy in the slightest. Even on tracks which have a lot of things going on at once, like “Touch” by Daft Punk, the P1’s are still able to maintain an amazingly clean lower end. When the track calls for it, the bass shows up, but it doesn’t intrude when it doesn’t need to.
Now while the very clean sound of the lower end does work well with most genres and does have a strong bass impact, it doesn’t always portray genres like rap or hip/hop as best as they could. For example, some tracks can sometimes sound a bit thinner than they would sound on other earphones.
But this is a minor flaw and it doesn’t always happen. On most tracks with a prominent lower end, these do a great job at portraying the bass. But, if you’re used to having more lower end presence will have then you will have to adjust to having less bass. So overall all, these are very adept in the way they handle the low end, and you’ll definitely enjoy the presentation as long as you appreciate a more natural portrayal of bass.
Then moving up to the mids, something that you will immediately notice is that they are equally represented just as well as the bass and the treble. It’s kind of like removing a barrier that always seems to lay on top of the mids. So as a result, voices sound more clear and other middle frequencies like those from pianos or cellos sound very realistic and not washed out.
A great example of this is on the song, “The A Team” by Ed Sheeran. On this song you’ll notice that his voice not only sounds more upfront, but also more organic. There’s a definite sense of realism that comes form the mids here.
Now that’s not to say that the mids are too upfront or honky. It’s just the mids on the P1’s aren’t subdued in any way as they typically are with earphones in this price range.
Another good example of how great the mids sound is on the track, “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion. Because often times when an earphone is heavy on the mids, it becomes very apparent when you’re listening to female vocals. Thankfully these don’t do that as there are no obvious peaks that would cause the mids on this track to sound overly harsh. Celine’s voice sounds clean and clear all the way through.
And then regarding the treble, you’ll find the P1’s have some of the best sounding treble of any earphones in the $400 range and under. The presentation is neither subdued nor overly bright, it just strikes the perfect balance between detail and smoothness.
A great track which showcases this is “Within” by Daft Punk. The cymbals and sparkle at the beginning of the track come through with an outstanding amount of detail. Everything is layered so well and you can really hear every last nuance in the song. The presentation is extremely clean and clear yet without ever being harsh sounding.
Another great example is when listening to Canon in D minor. The strings at the beginning of this piece jump out at you and you can clearly hear how each individual string is strung. And in tracks with lots going on at the same time, the impressive layering that that the Pinnacle has, is able to clearly dissect all the different sounds from the music.
For instance, when listening to “Touch” by Daft Punk, there are many things going on at once and sometimes it’s can be difficult to pinpoint where everything is. However because the layering is soo good on the P1’s, it’s easy to define what and where everything is.
You can kind of think of these like a magnifying glass that lets you peer into your music just enough for you to hear everything clearly, but not so much like a microscope where you start hearing things that disrupt the music and your listening experience.
So overall, the P1’s treble response is very impressive. It’s amazing how well they are able to execute the high frequencies, yet still remain very neutral in their overall sound signature. And while the neutrality of these IEM’s is staggering, they’re not lacking in musicality. They have just a hint of warmth to their sound which prevents them from sounding too cold or sterile. This also makes them easier to listen to for longer listening session and it helps prevent poorly mastered tracks from sounding too harsh.
The P1’s would be an excellent choice for studio use and also make great all-rounders for anyone who appreciates a more neutral sound signature.
Now, as great as these earphones are, there are some reasons you may want to consider something else.
First, if you prefer a more fun sound signature then these may not be as enjoyable for you. While these do an exceptional job of providing a neutral sound that’s not lifeless or boring, they aren’t the most dynamic sounding earphone. By this I mean that they don’t sound as immediately engaging as some other earphones or headphones do.
So if you’re not used to this type of sound signature, it can take some time before you begin to appreciate how well executed the sound really is. Or if you know that you prefer a more dynamic sound signature, then you may want to pass on these.
Next, if you primarily listen to bass heavy music such as with rap, EDM, hip-hop, etc. then you may find that some of these songs can come across a bit thin sounding at times. Although the bass on the P1’s is extremely well managed and very well executed, it’s not overly emphasized either. So if you listen to a lot of contemporary genres and if you like at least a little emphasis in the lower frequencies, then you may want to choose something else.
Finally, if you prefer earphones that have additional features such as NFC, wireless capabilities or active noise cancellation then these wouldn’t be an ideal choice. But keep in mind that often those extra features can come at the expense of better sound quality, which is what these wired IEM’s excel at.
But otherwise, if you’re after as much sound quality as possible for your money then these could be an amazing choice. The P1’s walk the line between giving you lots of detail and clarity, without going too far to the point where it can be disrupting to listen to. So whether for studio use or for personal enjoyment, if you’re after a neutral sound that’s not lifeless or boring then you will definitely love these.