Since Dual-Tone cable and dB-Go module offer you a combination of 4 sound sigs, for my sound analysis I decided to use the one with a copper cable side and dB-Go closed to enable sub-bass boost. This combination offers a more balanced sound signature with more weight in the low end and more controlled highs at the top. It’s all a matter of a personal sound preference, and I know some might prefer more energy in the treble or maybe a more neutral bass. Either way, you have choices to fine tune the sound to your liking by utilizing dB-Go module and Dual-Tone cable in addition to tip-rolling if you have universal model and can switch between eartips to control the seal of earcanal.
Even so I said that relatively speaking copper side and closed dB-Go port yield a more balanced sound sig, the sound itself still has more emphasis on bass with additional treble sparkle, making overall signature to be leaning toward v-shaped. If you go to another extreme with open dB-Go to flatten the sub-bass and silver side of the cable to brighten the top end, signature shifts more toward the mid-forward sound.
The sound itself is very resolving, and with a brighter lower treble it can reach a micro-detail level of resolution without sounding too harsh or fatigue. If you find it too bright for your taste, you can switch to MA3 for a smoother and more organic top end where I had to switch to silver cable to bring out more details.
With a soundstage, I find it to have a good out of your head (but not too far out) depth, and above the average width. Once you switch to Mason V3 and hear how wide it expands, you realize that Mentor v3 doesn’t exactly reach that level. But it still gives you a good sense of instrument placement and sound positioning, without exaggerating the imaging.
The layering and separation here is excellent, where every sound detail could be easily distinguished. Neither Mason nor Mentor sound congested or veiled, but in a relative comparison Mentor with its more revealing upper frequencies has better separation of sounds in comparison to a smoother and more reserved natural tonality of Mason.
I already mentioned multiple times that I preferred to bring up extra sub-bass by closing the dB-Go port, adding extra sub-bass rumble which adds a layer of texture with extra weight under the fast punch of mid-bass. With sub-bass off, bass sounds more neutral and more typical of BA performance, while dialing it up gives the bass a more analog dynamic texture. Bass is still articulate and well controlled, not on a basshead level, but you will notice its quantity.
Lower mids are neutral with either cables, though I do hear a little more body when switching to copper cable, and a little more transparency and neutrality with silver cable. Upper mids are clear, detailed, revealing, and very nicely layered. The tonality is a bit on a brighter side, but I still hear vocals to sound realistic, either male or female.
Treble is crisp, very well defined, not harsh but with plenty of crunch and airiness which can scale up with different sources and by switching Dual-Tone cable. Relative to Mason v3, here the 12k peak is more elevated, giving treble more energy and crisper details. It’s not fatigue, but if you prefer a smoother and more natural upper frequencies tonality, it could be a bit too much for you.
As I mentioned already, for all sound evaluation, comparison, and pair up testing, I kept ME3 with a copper side of the cable and sub-bass fully engaged using dB-Go module. The volume was matched in every comparison.
Mentor v3 vs Mason v3 – MA3 has a noticeably wider soundstage in comparison to ME3 which has more depth than width. Both have a very similar bass response with ME3 having just a little more punch, but sub-bass extension and rumble are very similar. With lower mids, MA3 is a little more neutral while ME3 has a bit more body. Both have a very similar detailed transparent upper mids with a natural tonality that is tilted a little more toward revealing brighter side, without crossing analytical threshold. Treble is where I hear the most difference between these two, where MA3 is smoother and more controlled, while ME3 has a more prominent peak, giving it more crunch and higher definition with a brighter tonality extension. As a result, Mason v3 sounds more neutral and more balanced, while Mentor v3 has a mild v-shaped sig with a little more emphasis on bass and treble.
Mentor v3 vs Maestro v2 (a.k.a. Mason v2) – Here, soundstage expansion is closer in width. MA2 bass has a little more sub-bass rumble and lower mids have more body (a little different from Mason v3). ME3 mids have noticeably better layering and separation and more transparency, while MA2 mids are a little more organic. Treble is also quite different where MA2 is smoother in comparison to crunchier and brighter ME3.
Mentor v3 vs HiFiMAN RE2000 – I found this to be an interesting comparison due to some similarities. RE soundstage is a little bit wider. Both have a very similar mid-bass impact, while RE subs have a little more quantity. Lower mids are nearly identical, while upper mids are more natural in ME3, while RE upper mids are brighter and thinner. Also, RE treble is splashier while both do have a bright crisp treble. I know, from my description above it sounds like they are different, but they are not too far off. The most noticeable difference is in upper mids where ME3 sounds more natural, more organic (not warm, but more natural).
Mentor v3 vs Noble K10UA – both have a very similar soundstage expansion. K10 bass has more sub-bass while mid-bass punch is similar. Also, K10 has a little more body in lower mids while ME3 is more neutral. Upper mids are different as well where ME3 is more revealing, while K10 is a little smoother, and the same goes for treble where ME3 is brighter and crisper while K10 has a little more control and less crunch.
Mentor v3 vs 64 Audio Tia Fourte – Fourte has a little wider soundstage and a more depth, with more out of your head spacing. ME3 bass is a little more neutral in comparison to warmer subs of Fourte. Lower mids are very similar. Upper mids are more natural and more realistic in ME3 while Fourte has their presentation a little more out of your head and brighter, more revealing. When it comes to treble, here I find them to be quite similar, both very crisp, detailed, and energetic.
With 22-ohm impedance these IEMs are very easy to drive, though with 108 dB sensitivity I had to turn the volume a few clicks up. Here is how ME3 pairs up with various audio sources. I will also note if I hear any hissing. SPK was my baseline pair up and others were compared to it.
A&K SP1000 SS – absolutely hiss free; above average soundstage width; neutral punchy bass with a textured sub-bass extension that has a more neutral quantity; neutral lower mids, natural-revealing upper mids, bright crisp extended treble.
Lotoo LPG – a very faint hissing; a little wider soundstage (in comparison to SPK), bass has a little more rumble, the rest is very similar with a neutral lower mids, natural-revealing upper mids, and bright crisp treble, maybe just with a little more crunch.
Hiby R6 – without iEMatch, the sound is very similar to SPK, just a little thinner and a touch brighter. But with iEMatch I hear a noticeable more rumble in the sub-bass and treble is a little smoother, with more control. Because of this change, the sound is more balanced. Hiss free. This was one of my favorite pair ups with iEMatch for Mentor 3.
iBasso DX200 w/amp1 – very similar above the average soundstage and hiss free performance. Bass quality and quantity is nearly the same as well with a punchy mid-bass and nice sub-bass extension that has more neutral quantity. I hear lower mids being more neutral and upper mids more natural-revealing, while treble here is a little brighter and crisper, more in line with a reference nature of the AMP1. Something like AMP5 would pair up better here.
FiiO X5iii – tried this pair up knowing it’s a warmer source. Soundstage is similar, above the average. Sub-bass has a little more rumble, similar mid-bass punch, smoother more organic mids and treble is more under control. But unfortunately, hiss is very noticeable, and the sound doesn’t have a good layering and separation. This was my least favorite pair up.
Unfortunately, some of the audiophiles who are looking for flagship IEMs with TOTL tuning limit themselves by focusing only on models with the highest number of drivers, thus missing a few gems. In my opinion, I consider both Mason V3 and Mentor V3 to be UM current flagships. They both feature dB-Go bass tuning module, innovative Dual-Tone copper/silver dual cable, and a new shell design. And while Mentor offers 12BA drivers vs Mason with 16BA, besides the price, the main difference here is the tuning, especially the treble where it all comes down to an individual sound preference.
As I mentioned in my Mason V3 review, these IEMs were not tuned for those seeking an enhanced low-end impact, but if you want more treble energy with a higher resolution sound – Mentor V3 is your best bet, while Mason V3 will be your more “natural” spacious bet. And once you figure out your sound preference, either of these models will offer a premium build, fine-tuning sound options, and two-in-one premium bonus cable. Every manufacturer is trying to stand out from the crowd, especially when it comes to flagships. Here, Unique Melody accomplished it with both Mason V3 and Mentor V3 models.