The Dandy MEElectronics A161P and Fischer Audio SBA-03 Measurements

Editor's Note: Stunned, I say, stunned when I saw the MEE A161P measurements on the MEE website. Take a good look at the graph above and then at the measurements I made. They're almost identical! I applaud the recent trend in actual measurements by manufacturers, especially when done well. A big thanks to all the hobbyists for embracing and understanding the difficulties of headphone measurements. That understanding allows manufacturers the courage to publish real measurements, rather than flat lines drawn by marketing people. Great job Headphonedom!!!.

MEElectronics A161P Measurements

Click on graphs image to download .pdf for closer inspection.

Fischer Audio SBA-03 Measurements

Click on graphs image to download .pdf for closer inspection.

The above measurements show pretty clearly these are the same headphone. Raw frequency response measurements and 30Hz square waves show the Fischer having somewhat less bass in one channel. This is likely due to a poorer fit of the tip on one ear during measurement.

The compensated frequency response plot shows a low end that's boosted by just a few dB but remarkably flat overall. There is a slight dip towards the 500Hz mark but the earphones stay pretty flat through the midrange. The presence range from 1kHz to 3kHz also remains fairly well in line, likely delivering good coherence and balance through the low treble with these cans. There is a trough centered at 4kHz before the response rises back up for mild peaks at 6 and 9 kHz, the latter likely caused by resonance in the ear canal. The overall curve indicates an energetic but relatively mild treble response.

The 30Hz square wave plot is linear with a slight downward slope and is indicative of a tight, extended bass response. Coupled with the low distortion figures in the lower octaves indicate a tight, controlled bass response.

The 300Hz square wave plot and impulse response indicates some problems with ringing, which would typically indicate some artificialness of the sound in treble octaves. The first overshoot is mild, however, typically indicating fairly inoffensive treble.

The THD+noise plot that shows distortion in the <1% range with a fairly small difference between measurements taken at 90 and 100 dB, which typically indicates good power handeling characteristics.

Impedance is a fairly low 35 Ohms below 100hz, indicating that sources with high output impedance may have trouble maintaining the flat bass of the earphones. The large feature on both impedance and phase at 2.5kHz is likely the primary resonance of the driver. Interestingly, this feature lines up with the nicely extended frequency response feature. I'd say this is an intentional design feature that delivers the fairly flat response to this frequency. Nicely done.

Impulse response again shows a bit of ringing, though the headphone sounds pretty quick in regular listening. Isolation is good at around -34dB broadband, which matches up well with my experience out and about.

The earphones are very efficient at around 17mVrms to achieve 90dB SPL and will be driven easily to dangerously high volumes by portable players.


mward's picture

I concur with the review—really impressed by these (at least the MEElec, which is the version I have) so far. 

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Filas's picture

Wondering how those two pairs are gonna compare - or to be more exact how do A161P's stand against PFE012's on grey filters.

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ljokerl's picture

Probably closer than it should be considering the price difference. All other things equal I'd still take the Phonaks for the wider soundstage and slightly smoother and more refined sound. If you're one of those who found the Phonaks a touch lacking in bass punch, then the A161P could be a better option with more bass impact without the veiling that occurs with the green-filtered Phonaks. 

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MarcoGV's picture

What are the differences between the A161P and the older (and still shown as a new model at A151 except for the absence of a microphone on the A151?  (They do look slightly different in photographs.)

ljokerl's picture

The A151 uses a lower-end SR (Siren) armature from Knowles. It's the same type of armature you'll find in most sub-$80 BA earphones including the Soundmagic PL50, Fischer Audio SBA-01, JAYS s-JAYS, and so on. The SR is known for having a warmer sound that is rather light on treble for a BA. Compared to the A161P, the A151 lacks some bass depth and lots of treble extension, has poorer clarity, less treble energy, and 'duller', less punchy bass. The ED series armature used in the A161P is more of a 'full range' driver and produces a flatter and more accurate sound. I believe ED-series armatures are also used in Etymotic HF/ER series earphones and a number of multi-BA setups. 


And yes, the A151 has qutie a few physical differences as well - twisted cable, over-the-ear fit, straight plug, and lack of microphone/remote would be the major ones off the top of my head.

melvin's picture

Hmm.. Maybe I should give Meelec a try again. I bought the cheap M6 and totally did not like it. It sounded very shrill, harsh and thin. I also had fitting issues with it. I know its a 20 bucks headphone but since some people are pretty positive with it, I thought it would sound good for the most part. oh well.

I'd love if the A161 makes use of the braided cord the A151 has.

ljokerl's picture

Fitting issues usually result in a light-on-bass, heavy-on-treble sound balance so I'm not surprised a poorly-fitted M6 sounded harsh and shrill. When properly sealed (I use aftermarket Sony or Comply tips personally) it's a bass-heavy earphone, though still not very refined. Not worth complaining about for $20 but it's not in the same league as the A161P or the discontinued CC51. If you must have a low-end (<$30) MEElec in-ear I think the CW31 blows the rest of them away. 

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