If you’re looking for true wireless earbuds under $100 with a great balanced sound, the Cambridge Audio buds are among the top options.
But while they sound great, they lack in other areas. To find out what, read the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 review to the end.
Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 are true wireless earphones for regular listening. They come with IPX5 water resistant but not ergonomic design. They don’t feature any fancy or unique technology, nor active noise cancelling.
Finding flat wireless earbuds today is hard. Most brands color the sound output with more bass and treble to conform to popular demand. Not Melomania 1.
For that reason, they’re a rare find that’s going to be appreciated by those who seek neutral sound in a modern pair of earbuds.
- Natural sound signature
- High build quality
- IPX5 water resistance
- 6.5 hours per single charge with relatively quick charging
- Affordable price under $100
- Easy to use built-in controls
- Sleek design
- Bad fit if you don’t find proper eartips
- Outdated Micro-USB cable
- Can’t get super loud
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What’s in the Box?
- Cambridge Audio Melomania 1
- Carrying/charging case
- Micro-USB charging cable
- 8 pairs of ear tips (6 silicone, 2 foam)
- User manual
Comfort & Fit
You get an unassuming design that’s more comfortable than you’d expect, especially when you put on memory-foam eartips.
Today, most earbuds come with some kind of ergonomic design with flaps, wings, and unique ear tips. Contrary to that, Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 are simple. Basic earbud design with regular eartips.
But surprisingly, it works rather well. The first eartips probably won’t work for you, but with the selection of 8 different, you’re sure to find ones that fit. You get 6 silicone and 2 memory-foam pairs.
And the right eartips are crucial for the fit. If they’re too small, the earbuds don’t stay in place, and you often have to readjust them.
The big, memory eartips worked for me, and they’re likely to work for you too. Since the earphones themselves don’t create stability, it all falls on the tips.
It’s better to use bigger ones that create more stabilizing pressure, especially for active users. Thanks to the lightweight buds, you don’t need a perfect fit for good results.
Without the right tips, Melomania 1 aren’t comfortable nor stable. They’re hard to keep in your ears, and you always feel slightly irritated. Try all of them before making a judgment.
But once you find the right setup, it becomes a non-issue. Due to low mass, it’s easy to wear them for hours without discomfort. And with a tight fit, you can enjoy them during sports too.
If you expect an unstable fit due to the simplicity of the design, don’t worry. It’s not an issue, and you can easily use them for home listening or a run (after you find your fit).
With 8 pairs of eartips, including memory foams, the earbuds block a lot of ambient noise, especially if you insert them deeper into ears.
In-ear earphones are generally good at blocking background noise. Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 are no different.
Once you find the right eartips for your ears, you notice a much lower ambient noise. It helps music come out in focus with fewer distractions.
Foam tips are the best as they create an airtight fit even if your ear canal is unusually shaped.
If you want more awareness, use smaller eartips that will let in more air and thus noise. You can adjust the level of passive isolation, but keep in mind that it also impacts bass power. For better bass response, go for max isolation.
Typical Bluetooth 5.0 performance you can rely on—average range and strength with the occasional hiccup.
The Cambridge Audio earbuds generally work up to 33ft (10m) range, after which the Bluetooth connection starts distorting. It also works well over 1 wall, but it’s unlistenable over 2 walls. This is common for Bluetooth 5.0.
The one “hiccup” that you will experience regularly is the two earbuds not connecting to each other.
You can connect either side as the main one or use one side alone for phone calls. And once you take both earphones out, they should connect to each other automatically.
This doesn’t happen every time. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But a simple long-press on the dead earbud usually solves the problem. It’s a minor issue, might be just our pair, but other brands have this figured out.
All in all, the wireless connection works fine and as you’d expect from modern wireless in-ear monitors.
Is There a Delay when Watching Videos?
There’s no noticeable audio lag when watching YouTube thanks to fast aptX Bluetooth codec and decent integration of SBC and AAC. They all work fast enough to make audio lag a non-issue.
While they promise 9 hours, that would be great battery life, you can expect roughly 6.5 hours per charge at half volume (from our test). The charging case includes additional 4 charges, about 25 hours more.
6.5 hours of playback (6h 40min in our test) is still plenty of power that is enough even for more demanding users. Honestly, how often do you listen to music for 6 hours straight?
And the moment you take a break and put them back in the case, they charge up again. From 0% to 100% in 30 minutes, a 15-minute break fills them up for over 3 more hours.
While this isn’t the fastest quick-charging we’ve seen, you almost can’t run out of power.
Now keep in mind, if you blast these at max volume, they won’t last as long (and it’s unhealthy for your ears). So, you shouldn’t do it for too long anyway.
All in all, battery capacity is similar to other modern true wireless earbuds, and it’s more than enough.
You can fill the charging case with a Micro-USB cable, and takes roughly 2 hours. The outdated charging cable is the only complaint.
There are 5 LED lights on the case that show you how much power is left every time you open the lid. It’s super useful, and all charging cases should include this feature.
But there’s one more thing that doesn’t work correctly. The battery % indicator is off quite a bit.
In our test at 34%, a female voice prompt warned is about “low battery.” Then a couple minutes later, the % indicator falls to 2% quickly. Mere moments later, the buds disconnected.
The time from 30% to shut down was around 10 minutes, and that’s not 30% of the full battery life. The % indicator seems a bit skewed.
Durable plastics and IPX5 water protection make them resistant to daily use.
Most of today’s earbuds have some kind of water protection. It’s measured in IP or IPX rating. The higher the number, the better.
With IPX5, the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 aren’t fully waterproof but you can easily expose them to sweat, rain and even wash them under tap water. For better protection, see the best waterproof Bluetooth headphones.
But you can’t put them underwater. Nonetheless, the brushed plastic casing is minimalist and resistant to bumps or accidental drops on the floor.
The physical buttons on the top of the earbuds offer good feedback. They click when you press them, and they instill confidence in their quality.
The plastic charging case is also water-resistant with IPX5, so if you accidentally leave it outside in the rain, it won’t hurt them. It can fit into a standard pocket. Also, the lid feels solid, and it stays closed thanks to magnets.
It feels like a high-end product that’s well designed and doesn’t show any weak points.
Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 are simple Bluetooth earbuds without fancy features. But the things they do have are well implemented.
When we say simple, you get:
- Wireless connectivity where you can use each earbud separately (not all TWS earbuds support that)
- Built-in physical controls for music, volume, calls, and voice assistant
- Voice assistant support works with Siri, Google Assistant, and others.
- The battery indicator on the charging case with 5 LED lights that shows power inside
- Clear microphone for phone calls
There is no:
- No multipoint, Melomania 1 can’t connect to more than 1 device at the same time
- No active noise cancellation
- No automatic start/stop if you take them out of the ears
- No app for equalizing or changing settings
Melomania 1 are affordable headphones under $100, so you can’t expect all the features of premium models from Apple or Sony.
But you can get alternatives at the same price point with more technology, though not necessarily better sound.
The focus is on base features and audio quality, which is money well spent, in our opinion. Apart from enjoying your favorite artists and having comfortable phone calls on the go, what else do you really need?
The extra gimmicks add small improvements to the user experience, but you have to pay considerably more. And for a price-conscious audiophile, it’s unnecessary.
The microphone is good with a clear voice recording, but also quite sensitive. So, it picks up most of the background noise as well. Check the microphone test below.
The balanced sound quality will put a smile on audiophiles and those who appreciate natural audio. Reaches higher than what the price suggests.
For the price under $100, you’ll have a hard time finding better sounding true wireless earbuds. Cambridge Audio has done fantastic tunning with Melomania.
They sound great for all music genres. You can enjoy some rock with guitars strings and strong vocals. Maybe fancy something calmer in a classical tune. Or enjoy the beat with some modern hip hip.
Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 can do it all with ease. Granted, these are neutral sounding, so if you’re a basshead, you won’t be happy with their power quantity. See best bass earbuds instead.
But when it comes to jack-off-all-trades, a neutral signature is the best you can get. And this is exactly what Melomania 1 are.
Clear, detailed highs that make you believe you’re listening to a guitar in the same room. With good soundstage and imaging you hear more than with most earphones.
There’s no harshness even at higher volumes, which is surprising at this price range. You get clarity and details people pay much more money for.
The middle range and vocals take the centerpiece position and don’t get overpowered by other ranges.
And while you might think the bass is taking a step back, that’s not the case either. There’s ample beat and sub-bass when the occasion calls for it. It’s not as exaggerated, as with Beats headphones, but you can have plenty of fun with bassy singles as well.
They create a good beat and rumble that’s rare in Bluetooth earbuds under $100.
The only thing that’s a bit annoying is that you can’t get them uncomfortably loud when you want to blast your favorite songs on those special days.
And, due to balanced sound, they’re not the best fit for bassheads.
For fantastically balanced Bluetooth earbuds, Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 are the go-to best choice under $100.
Why Buy Cambridge Audio Melomania 1?
Do you want to get better value for money than most people? Do you want great sound for less money? Then you should shortlist these.
Many people pay $200+ for earbuds with similar audio quality. Hey, you can spend even more and get worse too.
But in the world of maximum sonic fidelity for $100, this is it. They’re a steal.
And that doesn’t mean you’re getting outdated earphones with older technology either. They come with Bluetooth 5.0, solid battery capacity, and a satisfying user experience.
You can use them in the gym thanks to water-resistance, or enjoy some music when reading a book at home. They look the part in all situations with their unassuming design.
How do they compare to similar wireless earbuds?
First, you have to compare them to 1MORE Stylish. They’re similarly priced and have great balanced audio quality. They have a better fit for working out thanks to ergonomics and ear wings but not official IPX water protection. Since they’re a bit older, you get lower battery life, outdated Micro-USB charging, and no battery indicator on the case.
Even though they cost a bit more, the Apple AirPods 2 are in the ballpark price range. And they don’t sound as good and last for quite a bit less as well. Sure, you don’t get the “cool effect” of having an Apple product and seamless integration with your iPhone. But is that enough to listen to worse sound quality for more money? I think not.
Other comparable TWS earbuds are Aukey T10. These workout earbuds have USB-C charging and also support Qi wireless charging through their case. They’re stable, waterproof, and generally fit for sports. But their sound isn’t as good as Melomanias, and their touch controls are spotty.
|Weight:||10g both earbuds, 48g with the case|
|Mic & Controls:||Yes|
|Battery life:||6.5h + 25h in case|
|Charging time:||2h + quick charge – Micro-USB|
|Active noise cancelling:||No|
|Bluetooth codecs:||SBC, AAC, aptX|
|Wireless range:||33ft (10m)|
|Microphone:||Built-in, MEMS cVc|