Consumer Electronics, Gadgets & Accessories

Cambridge Audio Melomania M100 Review: Excellent earbuds with a weakness

Manufacturer Cambridge Audio is a well-known name in the hi-fi segment. However, the company also draws on years of expertise in the field of headphones with the “Great British Sound”, which has resulted in outstanding earbuds such as the Melomania 1 (our test). With the new Cambridge Audio Melomania M100 model, active noise suppression and powerful features are now available for the first time. In our Cambridge Audio Melomania M100 test, the earbuds show many strengths, but also a (subjective) weakness.

Technical data

The product Melomania M100
Bluetooth version 5.3
Bluetooth codecs aptX Lossless, aptX Adaptive, AAC, SBC
Maximum operating range 10m (without obstacle)
Battery life
  • with ANC: up to 10 hours
  • without ANC: up to 16 hours
  • 52 hours in total with charging case; (varies depending on volume level and audio content)
Charging time 2 hours (for charging case via USB-C or wireless)
Size of charging case (H x W x D) 44.5 mm x 80.2 mm x 27 mm
Weight 6.65 g per earbud; 66.6 g charging case & earphones
Most important functions ANC; Transparency mode; Wear detection; Gaming mode; Wireless charging
Price € 199.00 *

Cambridge Audio Melomania M100 review: design and workmanship

  • modern, appealing design
  • comparatively large case
  • impeccable workmanship

With the Melomania M100, Cambridge Audio has created chic and modern true wireless earbuds that look great. They feature a teardrop-shaped design in a black color scheme with silver accents and a very elegant look.

With a size of 22 mm x 19 mm x 23 mm, the earbuds themselves are not particularly small, but their shape makes them much more aesthetic than the manufacturer’s previous models. The touch surface is slightly raised on the outside and curved inwards, while the word “Cambridge” can be read on the sides. The driver unit is highlighted in orange. A nice design accent that is no longer noticeable in the ears.

They are held in a comparatively bulky charging case that is around 80 millimetres long and has the same color scheme. The case has a three-stage LED display on the front and a dedicated pairing button on the underside. In addition to the USB-C port at the back, it can also be charged wirelessly using the Qi standard.

However, I don’t understand why the case has to be so huge. After opening the pleasantly tight folding mechanism, the earbuds are held magnetically at the very edge, while there is a very wide bar in the middle. This could certainly have been reduced to make the charging case more pocket-friendly, but no problem.

With a weight of 6.65 grams per earbud, the Melomania M100s rank in the good midfield. In the case, the total weight is 66.6 grams, which is also not the best value. Nevertheless, the design and, above all, the build quality are impressive. There is also IPX4 certification as protection against rain and splash water.

In addition to instructions and a short USB-A to USB-C charging cable, the manufacturer also includes four additional pairs of ear tips. In addition to two normal versions in sizes S and L (size M is already pre-installed), there are also two pairs made of premium memory foam in S and L, which promise an even better seal and greater comfort.

Wearing comfort with weaknesses

  • five pairs of ear tips included
  • uncomfortable pressure on smaller ears

Despite a total of five pairs of ear tips, the wearing comfort of the Cambridge Audio Melomania M100 was unfortunately not completely convincing in the test. I had the feeling that I couldn’t achieve the perfect fit at any time, because no matter which ear tips I used, sometimes a little earlier and sometimes a little later, there was a somewhat unpleasant pressure in the ear canal.

Cambridge Audio Melomania M100
A total of five pairs of ear tips are included with the Cambridge Audio Melomania M100. Two of them with memory foam

However, this is a purely subjective problem and is probably mainly due to my rather small ears, but also to the somewhat unconventional shape of the earbuds. Something on the cube of the in-ears always started to pinch at some point. Sometimes this was already the case after around 30 minutes of wearing, sometimes – in combination with the size S memory foam ear tips – the pressure only started after a good two hours.

But unfortunately it was always there. This is particularly unfortunate, because the feature set of the earbuds really has it all. But especially in comparison to the best in-ear headphones, which undoubtedly include the similarly shaped Sony WF-1000XM5 (our test), I simply couldn’t find a permanently comfortable position for the Melomania M100.

This might look quite different for larger ears. But the shape of the housing simply presses very quickly in the ear with smaller ears and even turning it into different positions did not help.

Excellent battery life of the Melomania M100

  • Up to 52 hours runtime including case
  • Up to 16 hours battery life for earbuds without ANC; 10 hours with ANC

The battery life of the Cambridge Audio Melomania M100 is extremely impressive. With up to 52 hours of battery life in combination with the charging case, the earbuds are real endurance runners and are only beaten by the Creative Outlier Pro (our test) with up to 60 hours of battery life.

But the earbuds themselves also score with an excellent runtime. Up to 10 hours are possible with activated noise suppression and up to 16 hours without ANC. By comparison, the Sony WF-1000XM5s last around 8 hours with ANC, while the AirPods Pro 2 only last six hours. Absolutely top.

Melomania M100 Ladecase mit Stromkabel

Fast Charge is also offered, which pumps enough energy into the earbuds for two hours of playback in just 10 minutes. A full charge for the case and Melomania M100 takes around two hours.

Features of the Melomania M100

  • modern Bluetooth 5.3 including LE Audio
  • high-resolution audio codecs
  • Gaming mode; ANC; wearer detection

The Melomania M100 from Cambridge Audio also leave little to be desired in terms of features. They use the modern Bluetooth 5.3 standard, which enabled a somewhat disappointing range of around 10 meters to the audio source in the test, without dropouts or a reduction in sound quality.

Bluetooth LE audio is also already supported with additional functions such as AuraCast Broadcast Audio and the economical, high-quality LC3 audio codec, which makes the earbuds extremely future-proof. In addition to SBC and AAC, the high-resolution Qualcomm codecs aptX Lossless and aptX Adaptive are already available, which enable playback in CD quality with suitable source material.

The Melomania M100 also offer wear detection, which automatically pauses or resumes playback when both earbuds are removed or reinserted. Unfortunately, this does not work with one earbud alone, but at least there is a mono mode. Unfortunately, there is no multipoint connectivity that would allow simultaneous pairing with two audio sources.

Pairing is pleasantly quick thanks to Google Fast Pair and Microsoft Swift Pair on Android and Windows devices. Cambridge Audio also includes a gaming mode that reduces latency to 80 milliseconds.

Another special feature is the class A/B amplifier that the manufacturer has given the earbuds. This is something we are more familiar with from hi-fi devices and not from in-ear headphones. The effects this has on the sound are explained further down in the test.

As the first in-ear model from Cambridge Audio, the Melomania M100 also have active noise suppression, which also works adaptively, as well as a transparency mode. A total of six microphones are also installed, which should enable clear voice reproduction thanks to Qualcomm cVc echo and noise suppression.

Operation: Customizable touch control

  • intuitive, precise touch operation
  • settings can be deactivated in the app
  • no acoustic signals (only for mode selection)

The Cambridge Audio Melomania M100 are operated by touch via the touch-sensitive outer sides. The operating concept is clear and intuitive and can be customized in detail within the companion app.

However, only functions can be deactivated and activated there. Unfortunately, it is not possible to reassign the controls. Operation is divided into single, double and triple touching of a touch sensor, as well as pressing and holding.

Pressing once on the right starts or pauses playback, pressing once on the left switches between the modes (ANC, transparency mode or normal mode). Double-tapping takes us to the next or previous song, while pressing and holding increases or decreases the volume.

Cambridge Audio Melomania M100

Of course, calls can also be answered or rejected, while pressing the touch sensors three times while playback is paused calls up the respective voice assistant Google Assistant or Apple Siri.

The operation of the Cambridge Audio Melomania M100 worked flawlessly in my test and, despite a minimal delay, was very precise. However, there is no acoustic indication when one of the functions is triggered. That would have been very practical. There is only an indication when changing the respective mode, and a German-language announcement can also be selected here if desired.

Audio quality, ANC and microphones

The Cambridge Audio Melomania M100 deliver an outstanding performance in the core competence of headphones, i.e. sound. 10 mm drivers work under the housing of the earbuds, which – as already mentioned – are supported by a class A/VB amplifier.

The manufacturer’s expertise can also be clearly heard in the new model from the very first notes. While the Melomania 1, for example, already offered excellent acoustics, the Melomania M100 go one better.

The new earbuds score points with a rich sound that is immediately catchy and captivating. Throughout the entire sound spectrum, on the other hand, the detailed sound is particularly impressive, combining deep and controlled bass with natural and wide mids and impressive clarity in the highs.

There is no unpleasant distortion or drop-outs in either the bass or treble frequencies that would detract from the sound. I was quite impressed by the bass reproduction, which is currently the spearhead of what I have heard so far in the in-ear headphone sector.

At the same time, the sound has an outstanding airiness that makes you feel as if you are sitting in the front row of a concert hall and enjoying a very individual performance by the respective artist.

Cambridge Audio Melomania M100

I don’t like to throw superlatives around, but in terms of sound, I pushed the M100 to the limit with my high-resolution Tidal playlist, which spans various music genres. I have never heard a better, perfectly tuned sound from any other earbuds. Absolutely impressive.

In “Freak on a Leash” by KoRn, for example, details such as the plucking of the bass strings become audible, which many other headphones swallow up. In the Dolby Atmos track “Alienated” by ZAYN, the sound is so airy that I feel like I’m at a live performance. With perfectly balanced bass drums and detailed percussion. The monumental, almost 16-minute-long “7empest” by TOOL is a real experience compared to cheaper headphones. Absolutely impressive.

Good ANC, mediocre transparency mode

The active noise cancellation can be switched between three modes in the companion app: High, Medium or Low. Fortunately, all three modes have no effect on the sound of the Cambridge Audio Melomania M100.

Considering that this is the manufacturer’s first attempt in this area, the ANC quality is at a good level. Unfortunately, the excellent class of acoustics cannot be maintained here, so that some competitors – above all Sony or Bose – achieve significantly better results in noise suppression.

Although the M100s already offer good passive attenuation, the difference between active and deactivated ANC should be a little greater. Low-frequency sounds in particular, such as passing cars or the sonorous humming of my PC fan, are filtered out very well, although not completely blocked out. At higher frequencies, however, more details come through.

All in all, a good result, but slightly below the best in-ear headphones with ANC. A few more compromises have to be made with the transparency mode. Although this is okay and amplifies voices and ambient noise, the sound is somewhat unrealistic and distorted.

Very good microphone quality in the Melomania M100

The total of six built-in microphones are equally distributed across both earbuds and, in my opinion, deliver very good sound quality. Ambient noise is minimized and suppressed quite well, while your own voice is reproduced clearly and intelligibly.

The following test recording was made on a busy road and shows quite well how good the intelligibility is.

Cambridge Audio Melomania M100 test recording:

Sony WF-1000XM5 test recording:

Marshall Motif II ANC test recording:

Qualcomm’s cVc technology does a good job here and ensures that we are always easy to understand. At the same time, ambient noise is suppressed well, not least thanks to the active noise suppression, so that we can also hear the other person very well during phone calls.

App connection: Melomania

The companion app for the in-ears is Melomania Connect, a new app that replaces the previous “Melomania by Cambridge Audio” app. It has a tidy design and a coherent range of functions.

Registration is not necessary, but results in a six-month warranty extension for the earbuds. In the main menu, we find the usual options such as firmware updates, a battery status display and the option to switch modes.

We can also use a 7-band equalizer to influence the sound and create our own settings in addition to various presets. The intensity of the ANC and transparency mode can also be adjusted and the motion control individualized.

In the settings, we can also switch wearing detection, mono mode, sleep mode and gaming mode on and off, as well as change the language of the feedback and adjust the time until automatic switch-off.

Cambridge Audio Melomania M100 test: Conclusion

Bull’s eye. With the Cambridge Audio Melomania M100, the manufacturer is launching excellent sounding true wireless earbuds that further improve the exquisite sound of the previous models and add good active noise suppression and a decent transparency mode.

The manufacturer combines all this with an excellent battery life and a convincing app connection. The biggest and only real point of criticism is the wearing comfort, which does not provide a long-term comfortable fit, at least for small ears. But that is subjective. For larger ears, things look quite different.

Anyone who values excellent sound above all else will be absolutely satisfied with the Cambridge Audio Melomania M100. In terms of wearing comfort, however, the earbuds should definitely be tried out first.

Cambridge Audio Melomania M100 Test: Gold Award

Cambridge Audio Melomania M100

Workmanship
Comfort
Sound Quality
Microphone Quality
Features
Value For Money

94/100

Earbuds with outstanding sound and excellent battery life, which have good ANC, but are much less comfortable to wear (at least for small ears).

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Manufacturer Cambridge Audio is a well-known name in the hi-fi segment. However, the company also draws on years of expertise in the field of headphones with the „Great British Sound“, which has resulted in outstanding earbuds such as the Melomania 1 (our test). With the new Cambridge Audio Melomania M100 model, active noise suppression and … (Weiterlesen...)

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