MEMT R7 review – The most beautiful IEM under $100?
Hello readers. Welcome to my review of the MEMT R7 hybrid earphone / IEM. Gorgeous isn’t it? This in-ear monitor has a single dynamic and single balanced armature driver. Let’s take a closer look.
I’ve reviewed a few earphones from MEMT in the past. The only one that really impressed me with its sound was the X5 (X5 review here). But I can tell you that in my opinion, MEMT is making some of the best looking earphones in the sub $100 bracket. Their designs are always really nice but the R7 takes that to another level entirely.
How does it sound? Well, it sounds pretty darn good, assuming you like a large dose of bass. Want to know more? Follow me now.
This product was provided for the purpose of an honest review. I’m not affiliated with the company and all observations and opinions here are my own.
Great looking earphone
Excellent build quality
Bass is overpowering and unbalanced
Driver: 1 dynamic + 1 balanced armature
Frequency Response: 20Hz-40000Hz
MEMT R7 Package & accessories
The MEMT R7 packaging stands out from the norm immediately because you’ll notice right away that it comes in a wooden box. First of all, there’s a black, cardboard sleeve with an image of the earphones on the front.
Sliding of the cardboard sleeve reveals the wooden box underneath. It has a sliding lid that is nicely embossed with the brand and model number (and something written in Chinese – leave a comment below if you can translate it!)
After you slide the lid open you’ll find a plastic sheet covering the contents. When you lift that up you’ll see the R7 earphones and a pretty good selection of eartips, all nestled into a slab of black foam. There’s also a little box containing a vinyl carrying pouch, plus a thank you and warranty card.
There are 6 pairs of eartips in the box, including 5 pairs of silicone tips and 1 pair of foam tips.
Overall it’s a nice bundle and one that is befitting the price of the product. The wooden box does add some novelty and originality, which is nice.
MEMT R7 Build quality & design
You can choose between black and silver versions of the R7. Each comes with a gold-coloured trim and I reckon they’re both stunning to look at.
The shells are all metal with a beautiful brushed-finish look. Don’t let the looks fool you though: the housings are perfectly smooth, you can’t even feel the slightest trace of the etched lines.
The earphones taper down towards the rear, where there is a silver-coloured grill encircled by a gold-coloured ring. Although the grills look open I believe they’re just decorative, because covering up the back does not alter the sound in any way.
On the front end of the shells is a gold-coloured dome with the angled nozzle protruding from it and a pinhole-sized vent just near the base. The nozzles have a good lip for holding your eartips secure. There’s also a protective metal mesh in the end of the nozzles to keep that nasty ear wax at bay.
The MEMT R7 sports a fixed cable which is becoming the exception instead of the norm in recent times. Fortunately, this is a nice, high-quality cable and I don’t miss the MMCX alternative at all.
At the top end, it starts with very nice strain reliefs, leading to the cable itself which is rubberized above the Y-split.
On the right side is a metal, single button inline controller and microphone. The single plastic button is easy to find by touch and has a proper tactile click.
The Y-split is also metal with good strain reliefs and is paired with a matching metal chin slider.
Below the split, the cable has a braided fabric cover. I’m not always a fan of this type of cable but in this case, it’s lightweight and supple. It sits well and has very little microphonics. There’s also a Velcro strap with the MEMT branding attached to the cable.
Finally, the cable terminates in a right-angled metal 3.5 mm gold-plated plug with an excellent strain relief. Overall this is a superb cable and is leagues ahead of the one on the MEMT X5.
Comfort & isolation
I find the R7 to be extremely comfortable to wear. The smooth, rounded shells are not exactly lightweight but they’re nowhere near what I would call heavy (like the TFZ Balance 2M!)
There are no sharp edges anywhere and the angled nozzles offer a natural position and fit in the ears. I can wear these all day long, no worries at all.
Noise isolation is about average. When you’re not listening to music you can hear what’s going on around you. Once the music starts though, these earphones are good for most normal situations. Noisy environments and buses or trains are places where the R7 is ideal.
In a nutshell, the MEMT R7 has a warm, rich sound with articulate highs and a huge low end. The sound signature is V-shaped, but it’s lopsided and emphasises the lower frequencies. I would categorize it as a basshead IEM first and foremost but there’s a lot more to it than pure bass.
It’s an easy earphone to drive, so is find straight out of your smartphone or mp3 player. If you have multiple sources available though, I would suggest you pair it with the leanest or most neutral one for the best results.
Undoubtedly the star of the show is the bass. Well, let me elaborate on that: The emphasis is hugely swayed towards the bass but it’s probably my least favourite aspect of the R7. It’s gargantuan, bold and heavy. With a slow attack, it’s the kind of bass that delivers massive impact but little in the way of texture and definition.
For some genres, it works quite well. Albums like Departure Songs by We Lost the Sea are quite enjoyable with the R7. This instrumental post-rock album has sparse, light bass lines that the dynamic drivers reproduce with a lackadaisical nature. But when you play something like Sade’s “Cherish the Day” the R7 comes across as too heavy-handed.
While it can be overbearing I will say that the bass has good control. It doesn’t become loose or distorted at higher volumes.
The sub-bass is, to put it simply HUGE. If you want that skull-compressing, walls coming down around you kind of feeling then this is the perfect earphone for just that.
The midrange on the R7 is rich and smooth. In the previously mentioned “Cherish the Day” Sade’s sultry voice is rendered nicely. There is some extra warmth in the lower mids but it doesn’t leave them sounding unnatural or muddy. The tonality is not entirely accurate as there’s some colouring but it’s within a reasonable range.
Female vocals have more texture as the colouring tapers off towards the upper midrange. Male vocals still sound quite good though. Listening to “On Bended Knee” from Boyz II Men, the R7 does justice with a richness and warmth. Despite that colouring, this earphone still carries good detail and separation, thanks to its hybrid driver configuration.
In fact, I really like the mids of the MEMT R7 but all too often the bass comes in like a pissed off school bully and beats everything into submission.
Now, this is an area where I think the R7 really shines. The treble is lively with an airiness that breathes space back into the bass-heavy mixture. It reminds me a bit of the treble on the Whizzer A15. It’s energetic with a touch of sparkle but is in no way harsh or fatiguing.
The rapid-fire hi-hats in Katatonia’s “Shifts” come through clear as day, where some IEMs make the subtle hits difficult to distinguish. Cymbal sheen has a natural decay and timbre and in my opinion, this BA driver has been tuned close to perfection.
Thanks to that lovely treble and the detail in the midrange the MEMT R7 has a pretty good soundstage. Sounds reach out to the limits of the headspace but don’t go much farther. Depth is also portrayed nicely and when listening to vocals it’s almost as if you’re in the 3rd or 4th row at a live show.
On bass-heavy tracks though, the soundstage feels more confined as it takes a stranglehold on the music.
The A15 is similarly priced IEM that also has metal shells and a braided cable. Its bass is pretty big and a little on the loose side but it’s not as in your face as the R7. In fact, it quite tame when listening to the two side by side.
It shares a comparable airy treble that is perhaps just a shade more on the airy side. Another similarity these two IEMs share is the midrange, but the A15 gets more of a chance to showcase it as its lighter bass gives things more room to breathe.
These are both really well built but the R7 looks and feels like a more premium product. Comfort for both is good but the R7 sits better in the ears (at least in my ears) and feels more secure.
This little IEM has a hefty bass impact and punchiness but still doesn’t reach the levels found on the MEMT R7. The NC50’s bass has cleaner lines and better texture as well as being less dominating.
It’s a little recessed in the midrange but has a very clean sound that’s full of detail. The R7’s treble sounds more crisp and precise in comparison.
The NC50 is an extremely comfortable earphone and is comparable to the R7 in this regard. It has very good build quality even though it’s plastic compared to the metal shells on the MEMT.
MEMT R7 Conclusion
There’s no doubt that MEMT can make some stunning looking IEMs. The MEMT R7 blows me away with its appearance and stellar build quality. You just don’t see many earphones built this well at this price.
The midrange is good and comparable to some of my favourite budget IEMs but it’s the treble that I really like about this in-ear monitor’s sound. Overall though, I feel it falls a bit short on sound quality. It’s just too unbalanced.
If appearance and build matter the most to you when you’re looking for earphones then the MEMT R7 would be perfect for you. If you’re looking for a refined, balanced or neutral sound then this isn’t the one for you.
However, if it’s a competent midrange, great treble and massive bass that you’re looking for then be sure to check this one out.