The Massdrop x MEE Audio Pinnacle PX brings affordability to the in-ear monitor (IEM) market. These ‘buds are made to accompany you on your daily adventures, and the flexible, braided cable can withstand nearly anything. If you’re skeptical of true wireless performance, these wired earphones are a great option with a few quirks worth discussing.
Who is the Massdrop x MEE Audio Pinnacle PX for?
- Audiophiles on a budget should consider these earphones for their neutral-leaning sound, excellent isolation, and array of varied ear tips.
- Listeners who value sound quality over features should get the Pinnacle PX earphones by MEE audio because, just like the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless, the bulk of your spending affords raw performance instead of things like water-resistance.
What’s it like to use the Massdrop x MEE Audio Pinnacle PX?
Similar to Massdrop’s exclusive Noble Kaiser 10 IEMs, the Massdrop x MEE Audio Pinnacle PX earbuds take sound quality seriously. Each removable housing hosts a 10mm dynamic driver and MMCX connector, and removing the earbuds is a matter of pulling the housing away from the cable. This typically requires a safe amount of force, but there were a couple of instances when a housing self-disconnected in my backpack. Again, it only happened twice, but it’s concerning. I suppose that’s why Massdrop included a magnetized carrying case.
You can wear the earbuds so they descend directly from the ear canal or so the cable wraps around the top of the ear like many of RHA’s earbuds; the latter fashion proves more secure and comfortable. Drop claims the PVD finish to be scratch-resistant, but the paint on our review unit already chipped away near the MMCX connector. Drop’s discussion board is full of users reporting similar paint-chipping problems. This doesn’t degrade audio reproduction, but it’s disappointing considering the $115 price.
The braided cable feels great but plenty of noise travels up it, making it difficult to hear music playback when walking around. To lessen the transfer of cable noise, curve the cable up and around the ear and tighten the cable slack with the integrated slider joining the left and right wires. You’re limited to how far you can bring the slider up toward your jaw as an integrated one-button remote and mic interrupts the right cable.
Massdrop and MEE audio provide listeners with a single MMCX cable, which terminates in a 3.5mm jack. It’s 130cm long, which left a lot of slack when I walked around. If you’re taller than I (165cm), you may enjoy the extra cable length. Listeners whose smartphones don’t feature a headphone port will have to buy an MMCX-to-USB-C cable or a dongle. Make sure you connect the MMCX connectors until you feel a snap. If the connections aren’t secure, you may experience audio cut-outs on either channel.
As illustrated by the frequency response chart above, the MEE Audio Pinnacle PX have a relatively tame sound with minor attenuation to sub-bass frequencies. This de-emphasis makes it less likely for auditory masking to occur between the bass and midrange frequencies. Since the most important frequencies (100Hz-1kHz) experience little deviation, the Pinnacle PX IEMs are well-suited to accurately reproduce any audio playback from pop-punk to podcasts. It can, on occasion, be hard to differentiate instruments from one another, especially their resonant frequencies.
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Isolation is excellent for a pair of non-noise cancelling earbuds, low rumbles will be minimally hushed, while higher-pitched noises and distant chatter will be markedly quieted by the seal created with the earbuds. Of course, this means you should take a few moments to find the right fit, and it will take a bit as Massdrop and MEE audio provide listeners with nine pairs of ear tips.
Lows, mids, and highs
The song Man on Fire by Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros sounds lovely through the Pinnacle PX. Vocalist Alex Ebert begins humming just three seconds into the song, which remains distinguished from the repeated plucking of alternating G and C chords on the acoustic guitar. The attenuated sub-bass is apparent in Man on Fire, though, as the kick drum hits at 0:08 and on every two seconds until the pre-chorus. Treble frequencies like the jangling triangle are easy to detect, though.
The microphone is great when you’re speaking from a quiet environment. See how the solid blue line hugs the dotted red line? That means the Pinnacle PX microphone is able to reproduce and transmit those vocal frequencies accurately because the dotted red line represents the platonic ideal. If you happen to walk outside while on the phone, however, wind noise and rustling cloths will be relayed, too, which could be annoying to the person on the other line.
Massdrop x MEE Audio Pinnacle PX microphone demo:
How do the Massdrop x MEE audio Pinnacle PX compare to other in-ear monitors?
If you’ve been considering affordable in-ear monitors for some time now, you may have stumbled upon the likes of 1More, Sennheiser, and Shure. All three of these companies manufacture excellent products with 1More leaning more toward consumer audio while Sennheiser and Shure both produce commonplace and professional products.
If you want a more stylish design than typical IEMs offer, the 1More Triple-Driver earphones are an economical choice. Listeners who value durability and sound quality should think about these earbuds. If you want something a bit more premium while retaining the same stylish appearance, the 1More Quad-Driver earbuds will serve you well.
Another option are the Sennheiser IE60 wired earbuds, which are rated to passively attenuate up to 20dB of noise. The earphones include detachable ear hooks, so you can wear them traditionally or around the ear like the Pinnacle PX.
Related: Why I’m sticking to wired headphones
Then there are the Shure SE215 earbuds. These may be removed from the cable, thanks to the MMCX connection interface. Not only does this make the cable easy to replace if it happens to fray or tear, but it also means you can convert the earbuds into wireless ones with the Shure BT2 module. The nozzle diameter is significantly smaller than the MEE audio Pinnacle PX, making them more comfortable for small ears.
Should you buy the Massdrop x MEE audio Pinnacle PX?
Yes, the Massdrop x MEE audio Pinnacle PX earbuds are fairly priced: sound quality is excellent, but there are a few major drawbacks such as loose connectors. Hopefully, our review unit is anomalous, but the fact remains that random detachment shouldn’t occur, ever. If you’re willing to test your luck and don’t mind premature paint chipping, the MEE audio Pinnacle PX sound fantastic and are comfortable to wear for hours at a time.
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