Cambridge Audio Melomania Touch

Great value for money on its launch, Cambridge Audio followed up its Melomania 1 wireless earbuds with the Melomania Touch. Thankfully, the rather odd, bullet-shaped earpieces that protruded from the ears and didn’t feel very secure have been ditched in favour of a more compact and practical design moulded to match the contours of the ear for a better fit. Cambridge also provides a good set of accessories, including ear-tips in three sizes – and with two pairs for each size – as well three sizes of ‘fins’, which fit around the body of each earbud in order to hold it securely in place. And, of course, there’s the charging case that can be used to top up the battery when you’re on the move.

Available in black or white, each earbud weighs 5.9g and is rated IPX4 for water-resistance, so it can cope with a sudden burst of rain or energetic workout sessions. The 7mm graphene drivers are larger than those of their predecessor (5.8mm), and Apple’s AAC and aptX Bluetooth codecs are both supported.

Unusually, the Melomania Touch operates in two different modes, which can be selected in the app for iOS and Android devices. Cambridge explains that the default ‘high performance audio mode’ uses the same Class A/B amplification as its CX amps. This provides seven hours of battery life, which can be topped up to a total of 40 hours using the case. Alternatively, you can switch to ‘low-power mode’, which uses more conventional Class D amplification and extends the battery life to nine hours on a single charge, or 50 hours when using the case.

The Melomania app scores well on other features too. There’s a five-band equaliser with a number of presets that also allows you to save three of your own. There’s no active noise cancellation, but the app does provide a ‘transparent’ listening mode that lets some background noise in so you can hear traffic or people talking.

Sound quality
The compact earpieces create a surprisingly open and spacious soundstage for Kate Bush’s This Woman’s Work. There’s a piercing clarity to the electronic chimes that open the song, with each note almost frozen as it hangs gently in the air, with just the merest hint of reverb to provide a shimmering backdrop. Yet the earbuds also capture the warmth and richness of the more mature Bush voice on this 2011 re-recording, and there’s a dramatic contrast between that warmth and the electronics.

That sense of drama is also evident on 3 Chains O’ Gold by Prince. A kind of funky Bohemian Rhapsody, the track starts like a gentle ballad, and the Melomania Touch shows a light touch on the warbling flute that flutters like a butterfly over Prince’s silky falsetto. But the earbuds know when to roll up their sleeves and get serious, as the wailing guitar enters and leads into the epic multi-tracked vocals. Like BoRap, the song ends with a heavy rock thrash, and the earbuds catch all the shrieking tension in the guitar strings as Prince finishes with one of his trademark runs along the fretboard.

My only minor criticism is the deep bass sounds a little thin as I listen to the pulsing Silent Shout by The Knife. However, a quick detour into the app reveals the ‘bass boost’ EQ preset, and the low frequencies kick up a notch – more than enough for dance music like this. There’s a clarity and immediacy to the Melomania Touch that I seldom associate with Bluetooth in-ears – and it’s all the more impressive given the modest price. With good battery life and a useful set of accessories, Cambridge Audio’s earbuds don’t put a foot wrong. CJ    

Product: Cambridge Audio Melomania Touch
Type: True wireless in-ears

● 7mm driver
●  Bluetooth 5.0 with SBC, aptX, AAC
●  7 hours claimed battery life

Read the full review in  Issue 473

Cambridge Audio