The British company teased the new announcement for a few days, waiting for the exhausting barrage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday announcements to cool down, to finally reveal a refreshing product in the true wireless category. The new Melomania Touch earbuds will be available to purchase directly from Cambridge Audio and Amazon from January 1st, 2021, priced at $149.95 or €139.95 EUR - another clear sign of how direct-to-consumer is becoming a prevalent strategy since the pandemic hit.
Cambridge Audio has been crafting innovative, transparent-sounding and beautifully engineered audio products for over 50 years, and its award-winning London-based design team has ensured the Melomania Touch is a product that respects the brand and follows that tradition. These TWS earbuds differentiate first and foremost for offering an innovative High Performance Audio Mode that uses hi-fi grade amplification technology. Based on the Qualcomm QCCC3020 Bluetooth 5 Audio SoC, featuring a triple-core processor architecture that combines a dual-core 32-bit processor application subsystem and the single-core 120MHz Qualcomm Kalimba DSP audio subsystem, the platform offers an extremely low-power solution for the company to explore the ideal balance between audio performance and longer battery life.
The Melomania Touch delivers a genuine step forward in sonic performance also by combining the company's experience in amplification and what this modern true wireless platform enables. As the company describes, the result will allow users to enjoy an even greater soundstage, lower noise and a higher dynamic range for the form factor. But the Cambridge Audio engineering team also added its own custom 7mm driver design, enhanced with graphene. The combination is what allows for the dynamism and response needed to deliver the superior sound quality. As the company describes, the Melomania Touch earbuds offer "deeper controlled bass, realistic voices and clearer highs."
The Class 2 Bluetooth 5.0 true wireless design also enables for strong signal stability and support for the both AAC and aptX codecs – meaning all smartphone users can stream high-quality wireless audio without signal drops even in busy areas. Additionally, the inclusion of two high quality microphones and Qualcomm’s Clear Voice Capture (cVc) noise-cancelling technology ensures that voice calls over smartphones, tablets and laptops remain crisp, clear and free from background noise during working from home meetings on Microsoft Teams, Skype, Zoom and other collaboration tools.
In another determined choice, which has not yet proven to be a determining option for most consumers, the team opted to equip the Melomania Touch with touch controls, directly considering the demands of real-world use. "Whether you’re listening to your favorite playlist or podcast on weekly commutes, soundtracking a massive work out, or tackling video calls on a laptop – these tiny earbuds are ideal for busy lifestyles and music lovers alike," the state. And effectively, we can acknowledge that the unique design with its large flat surface not only looks good but significantly enhances touch interactions.
The new earbuds were also crafted using data points from over 3,000 pairs of ears to ensure the perfect combination of long-lasting comfort, noise-isolation and immersive sound quality. They are super lightweight – each earbud weighs just under 6 grams – and are supplied with multiple silicone ear tips and selectable fins that allow every user to find its perfect, snug fit. On-the-move use should also be improved by the compact size, adjustable fit, and intuitive touch controls.
Standard touch options for the Melomania Touch include play and pause music, skip tracks, change volume, take handsfree calls, switch on Transparency Mode and summon Siri or Google Assistant. Thanks to IPX4 certification, the Melomania Touch design is also protected against water and sweat, so the headphones can withstand a sudden spell of rain or a daily exercise.
And of course the new Melomania Touch comes with a new compact charging case finished in premium microfiber leather and sporting a fast-charging USB-C port, offering even longer battery life. In Low Power Mode, the Melomania Touch true wireless earbuds offer 9 hours of battery life on a single charge. And users can fully recharge the headphones more than four times over using the supplied charging case – resulting in a further 41 hours of truly wireless listening. Full charge is achieved in 120 minutes.
Even in High Performance Audio Mode, Cambridge Audio’s engineers have worked their magic to achieve around 7 hours of battery life on the earbuds, and up to a further 33 hours via the charging case – quite an achievement and still comfortably ahead of most competitors.
Finally, no TWS design is truly complete without its own dedicated app, and Cambridge Audio did try to offer a significant differentiator also from that angle. The new Melomania app, compatible with iOS and Android devices, enhances the experience of using Melomania Touch, allowing users to customize EQ settings and tailor music playback to their individual sonic style, locate misplaced earbuds using a phone’s map location, and check each earbud’s battery life. The design looks amazing and the graphics are stunning and captivating.
One of the features that is quickly becoming mandatory in true wireless earbuds, even when the design doesn't involve active noise cancelling, is activating Transparency Mode or a version of it. In this case, Cambridge Audio leveraged the platform's resources and built-in MEMS microphones to feed in outside ambient noises so the user remains aware of surroundings, even while still enjoying music at the same time. Users can turn the Transparency Mode on or off using the touch controls on the earbuds - one of the best and most intuitive uses of touch - while being able adjust the transparency levels within the Melomania app.
The app also allows users to upgrade the firmware, which means the product will improve over time, something that will quickly become appreciated by users (even Android-sufferers not so familiarized with the notion of gaining new features with updates). For an affordable design, the Melomania Touch truly offers great value and hold the potential to be perceived positively when available. And there's certainly a lot of margin for Cambridge Audio to leverage its most faithful user-base to launch a more sophisticated version with ANC and further features (augmentation?), that can upheld a premium price.
The Melomania Touch is available in both black and white versions, with a glossy outer surface on the earbuds, which is always a sensible choice, and works particularly well with this distinct design. Shipping from January 1st, 2021, priced at $149.95 or €139.95 EUR.