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Forget AirPods 3: These new earbuds have a killer hi-fi mode

Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus
(Image credit: Melomania)

British hi-fi brand Cambridge Audio has revealed its latest pair of true wireless earbuds, which could mount a convincing challenge to the upcoming AirPods 3. The Melomania 1 Plus costs $139, undercutting the cheapest AirPods model while promising more advanced features.

Chief among these is that the Melomania 1 Plus, unlike the original Melomania 1 buds, is compatible with Cambridge Audio’s mobile companion app. Besides custom EQ adjustment this grants the Melomania 1 Plus a “High Performance Audio Mode,” which applies improved amplification of the same type as the company’s CX range of hi-fi amplifiers.

This could unlock superior sound quality when playing high-resolution audio tracks, and it’s one of several features that could give the Melomania 1 Plus an edge against the AirPods and the rest of the best wireless earbuds on the market. 

Battery life is relatively high for a true wireless pair: Cambridge Audio claims the Melomania 1 Plus is good for 9 hours per charge, with up to 45 available from the charging case. That’s nearly twice the AirPods’ longevity, on both counts.

Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus

(Image credit: Cambridge Audio)

The Melomania 1 Plus also supports the high-quality Bluetooth aptX codec in addition to the standard SBC and AAC codecs. It's also compatible with both Google Assistant and Siri. 

There’s no active noise cancellation (ANC), but that’s rare at this price, and a relatively generous 10 sets of replaceable tips come in the box. That’s to help you get a secure fit and maintain passive noise isolation.

Like the Melomania 1, the Melomania 1 Plus has IPX5-certified water resistance as well. So it’s better protected against water ingress than both the standard AirPods, which doesn’t have an IP rating, and the IPX4-rated AirPods Pro.

Of course, Apple has a new model on the way, the oft-leaked AirPods 3, and they could be revealed as early as a rumored Apple event on March 23. But it’s always good to see some high-grade competition, especially at a relatively affordable price point.

As Audio Editor, James covers headphones, speakers, soundbars and anything else that intentionally makes noise. His favorite musical genre is rock, despite once claiming the guitar is “too complicated” for humans to play. He plays bass instead.