Right at the top of MEE Audio’s earphone range sit the Pinnacle P1s, doing their best to make the Sennheiser IE80s and Shure SE535s look cheap, with all-metal shells and enough accessories for two pairs.
An earphone of slow-burn appeal and subtle musicality, the £180 just made picking a premium IEM that bit trickier.
Build and comfort
The Mee Pinnacle P1s have some of the same design traits as another important flagship, the Shure SE535s.
They have large earpieces and a curvy, slightly aggressive look, even though each only needs to fit in a single 10mm dynamic driver instead of three. We’ll give Mee the benefit of the doubt and assume there’s more going on inside.
They’re built to impress too, the entire earpiece outer is made of metal, using two pieces of zinc alloy for the main shell. We wouldn’t advise treading on them to test their strength, but they’d probably survive the ordeal. The moody grey brushed finish might not, though.
The Mee Pinnacle P1 can comfortably be worn over the ear or with the cable simply dangling down, and a comprehensive array of tips is included to ensure a good fit.
There are three standard silicone sets, three double-flanged silicone pairs and three Comply foam pairs.
MORE: Shure SE535 review
As usual, the Comply foam tends to provide the best seal and isolation, but the soft silicone ones feel a little less invasive. Play around to see what works.
In a more unusual move, Mee audio also includes two cables with the Pinnacle P1. One is a ‘standard’ cable with a black finish and a one-button mobile phone remote, the other a chunkier translucent cable with no remote housing but a silver-plated oxygen-free copper wire. This one is the ‘audiophile’ choice.
The cables pop off the earpieces using standard MMCX connectors, although you won’t want to switch them over daily as these plugs can become loose if they’re fiddled with too often.
In the box there’s also a neat little synthetic leather carry case bearing a brag-ready unique serial number and a shirt/belt clip.
Using this is a good idea as the heavy cable can cause some annoying microphonic noise, although in the trade-off isolation is good, particularly using the Comply foam tips.
More after the break
The Mee Pinnacle P1s use a single 10mm dynamic driver, the whole package the result of two years of development, according to Mee audio.
What has resulted is a subtly charming earphone with some of the character of a good bookshelf or mid-size hi-fi speaker.
Their strongest aspect is a detailed but very smooth mid-range that can deliver vocals with a natural and musical sensibility.
There’s some extra warmth that stops the Mee Pinnacle P1s from seeming detail-oriented at first listen, but this is really what the pair is about.
The smooth transition from mids to highs also does its best to stop any single element from sticking out like an attention-grabbing star player.
There are some slight weak points to consider too, though. The Mee Pinnacle P1s’ bass is solid, but only down to a point.
These are not earphones that can really deliver the earphone equivalent of a chest-rattling bass, they tend to create those ultra-low frequencies at a lesser amplitude.
The Mee Pinnacle P1s’ appeal may not immediately jump out either. Their sound is slightly narrower than we’d like, which when paired with a warm-leaning tone, limits the impression of separation and the general scale a little.
It’s also contrary to what we’d expect from a premium earphone with this tone, although as the detail and texture are there to be heard, this means you’ll likely grow to appreciate this pair the more you listen.
Another little tonal surprise is that there is at times a slight granularity to the treble.
It’s not enough to be called flat-out hard or harsh, but is at odds with the otherwise smooth sound, which may make it all the more obvious to your ears.
The Mee Pinnacle P1s are complex, at times oddly contradictory earphones, but their ability to supply detail without a hint of the cold or analytical style of some similarly-priced pairs is sure to win them fans.
Earphone of subtle charms and a pair sure to grow on you, the Mee Pinnacle P1s are smooth and natural-sounding. Low bass power isn’t quite what you might expect given the muscular-looking shells but for those after detail without a remotely clinical sound, the Pinnacle P1s are a good bet.
See all our Mee audio reviews