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Lifewire / Yoona Wagener
Comes with a charging/storage case
Water- and dust-resistant
Extremely long battery life
Full bass sound
Button controls are unintuitive
Uncomfortable for extended wear
Bluetooth connection inconsistent
The Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Earbuds offer a compelling way to free yourself from wired earbuds with a dual charging/storage case and great audio quality, but long-term use could be a challenge because of fit, design, and connectivity issues.
We purchased the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Earbuds so our expert reviewer could thoroughly test and assess it. Keep reading for our full product review.
If you’re interested in changing to a truly wireless audio experience, consider the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Earbuds. These wireless earbuds are portable and offer great versatility for the gym, commute, or just lounging at home. I used this product for a few days as my main audio accessory and noted my experience with the fit, audio quality, and battery life.
The Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 is an extremely portable product. Other than the small micro USB charging cord, the product is contained in a charging and storage case that resembles a pack of dental floss. The case looks much sleeker, of course, with a smooth silicone build that’s available in six colors and features an easy-to-open lid. I barely noticed the whole unit in my bag or jacket pocket, which isn’t a surprise since the earbuds weigh only 0.32 ounces.
The earbuds themselves come in two color options: black and stone. And while they’re small, they’re rather bulbous in a way that lands somewhere between a gumdrop and foam earplugs. Unlike earplugs, though, these stuck out of my ears in a way that looked more awkward than stylish.
These earbuds excel when it comes to portability, but they don’t match this appeal in comfort. They come with three different silicone tip options along with a pair of memory foam tips. I tested the silicone tips and found all of them to be too small to create an even seal. Because of this lack of a close fit, my first impression was that the sound quality was harsh and overwhelmingly tinny.
The memory foam tips created the best seal and sound, which were fine for walking and cycling, and probably secure enough for running, but wearing them for even an hour was a challenge. My ears quickly fatigued and the seal with the memory foam tips loosened even without much movement.
If bass and balance and relatively accurate sound quality are important to you, these will be of interest.
The wire freedom that comes with wireless earbuds is a true asset for those who like to be active or move without feeling any restrictions from an audio accessory. But the true test of usability is how well the button controls work, since everything is placed on this small surface area. Unfortunately, this wasn’t my favorite way to control my audio experience.
Because the earbuds already felt a bit too big, I was reminded of the fit issues every time I attempted to use the press-button functions. It took me several tries to get the hang of the volume controls, which require a consistent pushing and holding motion. More often than not this motion gave me the sensation that I was simply pressing the earbuds further into my ears. Advancing or moving backward in a playlist requires tapping prompts, which didn’t bring on that same sinking feeling. Instead, I couldn’t get used to the loud beeping sound that accompanies this touch prompt.
There’s also some work involved in learning the functions for using a voice assistant and taking phone calls, all of which can be found on the handy cheat sheet. It’s small enough to carry around in your wallet until you memorize all of the functions, if you’re so inclined. For these reasons, though, what seems like a simple and elegant product at face value feels weighed down by extra details.
If bass and balance and relatively accurate sound quality are important to you, the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 will be of interest. They support the common audio codecs used in modern mobile devices including AAC, which you’ll find on iPhones, as well as SBC (low-complexity subband codec), and aptX, which is supposed to produce CD-like music quality.
The Cambridge Audio manufacturer has been creating high-quality audio products in the UK for over 50 years, and that long tradition of audio expertise is evident in these earbuds. Inside, there’s a 5.8-millimeter driver that’s enhanced with graphene, a light and strong material that helps improve the clarity of low bass, middle tones, and high treble notes. Bass frequencies aren’t out of this world, but they definitely shine. Mid-range frequencies also register as warm and well-balanced.
And while there’s no active noise canceling behind the scenes, I did find that these earbuds blocked out background street and traffic noise—while both inside and outside—to an adequate degree. Overall, these earbuds offer a well-rounded listening experience without putting too much of a strain on your wallet.
The Melomania 1 offers truly impressive battery life. Cambridge Audio claims that the buds are good for 9 hours of playback on a single charge, which is spot on. They also recommend at least 30 minutes of initial charging out of the box. I charged the earbuds for a full hour but still found the 9-hour claim to be accurate.
The case took about 2.25 hours to charge from fully depleted, which is 25 minutes more than the manufacturer claims. But once it was charged it hung around for well over 36 hours. These earbuds will definitely last you for a full day of use at the office, your next marathon, and maybe over the course of a week if you only log short listening stints from day-to-day.
The Melomania 1 feature the latest Bluetooth 5.0 standard and support up to seven device connections. Connecting these earbuds was nearly instantaneous and easy, but once connected I noticed issues with signal spottiness with almost every use. Cambridge Audio says that this product has a wireless range of about 98 feet, but I could only make it about 20 feet away before I noticed signal spottiness or lost the connection altogether. I paired these earbuds to my MacBook Pro and even while using the laptop, I experienced signal spottiness and loss. At other times, there was no issue with connectivity, but the inconsistency and full range were a bit of a letdown.
These earbuds excel when it comes to portability, but they don’t match this appeal in comfort.
You can own the Melomania 1 for just about $100, which isn’t bad given the strong, well-rounded audio quality and the perk of the self-contained charging/storage case with incredible battery life. Some of the biggest players in the wireless earbuds game cost well over $200.
A competing model that’s closer in price is the Jabra Elite 65T. These wireless earbuds retail for about $150 MSRP (see on Amazon). While they only offer up to 15 hours of battery life from the charging case, they do present one additional color option and an extra year of warranty protection. Where the Jabra earbuds have a clearer advantage is fit and a better microphone. I didn’t spend much time testing the Melomania 1 microphone, but when I did attempt to receive one phone call, the recipient reported that the reception was terrible on his end.
The Jabra Elite 65T packs in a four-microphone technology system that is supposed to reduce background noise and deliver clear voice quality. The design of the Jabra Elite earbuds is also focused on a more streamlined look. The earbuds sit more flush inside the ear, rather than protruding outward. Like the Melomania 1, you have three sizes of tips to choose from, but there’s no memory foam option. If you like to make a lot of phone calls and prefer a more discreet fit, you may find it here.
Great battery and audio quality, but comfort and convenience fall short.
The Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Earbuds combine portability with top-notch battery performance and strong audio quality. In opposition to these strengths, though, are general comfort issues, a subpar microphone, and connectivity mishaps. For the relatively modest price, you might be comfortable diving in and experience none of these issues. But consider extending your search of wireless and wired earbuds if you need a high-quality microphone in your earbuds and you’re sensitive to earbud fit.