MEMT is back again with another earphone for the people. Today we’re looking at the MEMT X9s, an IEM with a single dynamic driver and classy red copper shells. The description says it’s designed primarily for games & videos and use with mobile phones so we’ll keep that in mind but in the end, we’re here for the music right?
At the time of writing the MEMT X9s is listed at $29.
This product was provided for the purpose of an honest review. All opinions and observations here are my own, based on my experience with the product.
Good build quality
Thick, undefined bass
Upper treble sound metallic
Cable length: 1.2M
Rated power: 3mV
Sensitivity: 100 ± 3dB
Plug: 3.5mm gold plated
Frequency response: 20-20000Hz
Package and Accessories
The X9s comes in MEMT’s regular style box. There’s a cardboard sleeve with an image of the IEM on the front. Under the sleeve is the now-familiar blue box with the model number on the front and a small transparent window, showing the IEMs inside.
Opening the magnetically sealed front reveals the X9s, seated in black foam. Above the earphones is the black storage pouch. Inside the pouch are the included accessories.
The package contents are as follows: MEMT X9s, storage pouch, a product brochure and 3 x pairs of silicone eartips (S, M, L).
Build Quality and Design
Just like their other models, the MEMT X9s has all-metal shells. The shells have a smooth, glossy finish and a trumpet shape that flares out towards the front. There is a small bass port just in front of the cable connector.
On the rear of the shells is the MEMT branding in white text. The angled nozzles have a good lip on them that holds the eartips firmly in place. There’s also a metal mesh covering the end of the nozzles to protect the drivers from ear wax and debris.
Once again we find magnets in the rear of the shells which makes it easy to strap the earphones around your neck when not in use. I find that the magnets also greatly reduce the likeliness of the cable getting tangled too. I like it!
Overall, the build quality is excellent, as I have come to expect from MEMT products. Considering the price, this is a very well-built IEM.
The cable has a fabric braid cover below the Y-split. Above the split, it has a standard rubberized sheath. It’s quite supple and doesn’t have kinks or any springiness.
There is a lack of strain relief where the cable connects to the shells. Whether or not this affects durability only time will tell. However, microphonics (cable noise) is quite low, which is great.
On the right side of the cable is a metal inline remote and microphone. The remote has 3 buttons which makes it ideal for mobile phones. You can adjust the volume, skip/rewind tracks, answer and end phone calls etc.
The Y-split is metal and has the model number printed on it. There’s also a chin slider; something that every cable should have whether you choose to use it or not!
The cable terminates with a right-angled 3.5 mm metal plug. Overall the quality of the cable is not bad but the lack of strain reliefs at the top and Y-split might be a concern later on.
Comfort and Noise Isolation
The X9s is a very comfortable IEM. This style of shell is tried and tested among several different brands and always works well in terms of comfort.
There is a bit of weight to the metal shells but they’re not at all heavy. The smooth finish and rounded edges all lend to solid ergonomics and I could wear these all day.
The passive noise isolation is about average for this type of earphone. It doesn’t block a great deal of external noise but if you’re listening to music you won’t hear much else. I’d say it’s suitable for most normal everyday situations and environments.
The MEMT X9s has a V-shaped signature with a boosted bass and treble and slightly recessed midrange. With an impedance of 32ohms, it’s easy to drive from any source, including smartphones but it doesn’t mind being hooked up to a desktop amp either.
I was happy to discover that the X9s has a more sensible bass than the X7. Yes, it is well-accentuated but it doesn’t come across as intrusive. Those who like some extra bass, in general, should appreciate what the X9s brings here.
Most of the emphasis is on the sub-bass, which has a deep, slow rumble and is fairly well extended. It does sound a little loose – in other words, it doesn’t have the same control as something like the Revonext QT2 (review here). On tracks with a lot of sub-bass, it does tend to be a little overbearing.
The mid-bass is better behaved in general. It’s still big but doesn’t overshadow the midrange like the sub-bass can. It has a slow attack that leads to thick-sounding bass notes and has a natural decay.
The midrange is surprisingly good despite the overreaching sub-bass it has to compete with. Vocal tonality is on point, making male and female vocals sound warm and natural. Female vocals, in particular, seem to pop on the X9s.
Looking at the graph, you might expect vocals to sound thin or hollowed out but that’s not the case. Intelligibility and clarity are good, more so towards the upper midrange, thus slightly favouring female vocals. Guitars and strings also sound nice and have plenty of texture and density.
The X9s’ treble is fairly average. It doesn’t do much to excite me but it does, however, lend some much-needed lift to counteract the boosted bass and it prevents the tonality from being overly warm or dark.
There is a bit of a dryness to it though. It does provide good clarity and detail retrieval but doesn’t sparkle. The upper treble sounds thin and metallic.
The soundstage is fairly intimate. While the width is maybe a little more narrow than average, the depth is quite good and prevents the sound from coming across as flat. Positional cues are not bad but instrument separation takes a hit in busy tracks.
Tin Audio T1 (tested at $37)
The T1 has a more evenly balanced and less V-shaped signature. The mid-bass is slightly less boosted than the X9s but it has a better definition. In the sub-bass there’s a bigger difference – the X9s gets over-enthusiastic and tends to dominate the sound.
Vocals on the T1 don’t have the same density as the MEMT and in this specific area, the X9s sounds a bit more natural. Treble on the T1 is smoother and not as accentuated – it sounds more solid and tangible but neither earphone is particularly adept in the highs.
The build quality on both is very good, although I do prefer the all-rubberized cable on the T1. Comfort is good with both IEMs but the T1 is a bit more fiddly to put in your ears. The T1 has much better noise isolation so would probably be more suited to public transport.
Hypersense HEX02 (tested at $25)
The HEX02 (review here) shares similarities with the X9s in its sound signature. In fact, if you compare the frequency graphs of these 2 IEMs they’re remarkably similar.
It’s another bass-centric IEM but the HEX02 focuses more on mid-bass, where the X9s is more about the sub-bass. The shift in the difference between the two is pretty minimal though.
Vocals and midrange sound a little warmer and less recessed on the HEX02 but are pretty close in general. The treble is a hint smoother on the HEX02 and this is probably where these earphones differ the most.
Both have good build quality and offer a similar accessories bundle. Likewise, comfort is about the same on both but again, as with the Tin Audio T1, I prefer the rubberized cable to the braided fabric.
MEMT X9s Conclusion
The MEMT X9s is not a bad earphone for the price but there’s nothing exceptional about it either. It’s yet another bass-focused IEM from this company that seems to be very good at physical design but is fixated on the same type of tuning for every new release.
For its advertised purpose i.e. games and video for mobile phones, the X9s is great. If you’re seriously into music though, it won’t be difficult to find something better for the same price.