The Unique Melody Mentor V3+ flagship sees the original V3 from 2017 upgraded, retuned, and enhanced with a new carbon fiber shell design. The retail price is $2599.
Disclaimer: The Unique Melody Mentor V3+ was sent to us as a loan sample in exchange for our honest opinion. It will be returned after the main review. We thank Unique Melody for this opportunity.
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Unique Melody Mentor V3+
The Mentor V3+ is an excellent V-shaped sounding monitor. Though not reference class it is well above the regular V-shaped stuff out there with impressive midrange imaging and a nice vocal presence to go along with that punchy low-end and finely balanced treble.
So, we have had the Mentor V3+ for a few weeks now since the initial First Contact, and for that read that you may wish to push on to page 2 for our more in-depth discussion on the sound, synergy, and comparisons. For everyone else here for the first time, please read on.
The Mentor V3+ is a tweaked version of the original Mentor V3 released a few years ago. And by tweaked, I mean fairly heavily overhauled. Now for my part, I have not heard the original Mentor V3 so I cannot tell you exactly the improvements except what is on paper.
However, I can tell you how it sounds compared to a few competing monitors out there and draw some comparisons with the new co-flagship Mason V3+ which was released at the same time. Let me tell you right now, there are a night and day sound differences between these two high-end monitors. If you like one sound signature, chances are you may not be fussed on the other.
That is a good thing. At $2599 you want to be sure you are paying for a sound signature that suits your preferences. So, if you are into an exciting high-energy and highly resolving performance, then the Mentor V3+ could be it.
Inside, the Mentor V3+ is a 12 balanced armature driver monitor with a configuration of 4 for the lows, 2 for the lower-mids, 2 for the upper-mids and four for the highs. All of this is laced together with a 4-way crossover system. I am presuming it also uses a Penta bore style tubing system with four for the driver groupings and 1 bore for the DB-GO bass module.
A lot of what makes the Mason V3+ unique is here in the Mentor V3+ also. That means an improved and more accurate control of the bass performance via the DB-GO module, a titanium-gold tubing system resistant to corrosion and that upgraded silver alloy internal wiring.
On the outside, you also get the new stronger carbon fiber shell on the universal version. Since it is the universal format I can now see the sizing difference Unique Melody mentioned as a direct benefit of the new materials. The Mentor V3+ has a pretty small form factor for a 12-driver IEM.
Like the Mason V3+, the new shell is also designed to complement the new tuning for the Mentor V3+. Unique Melody has described the new tuning for both the Mason V3+ and Mentor V3+ as having more body and sounding more coherent than the previous version.
Since this is in a universal format the Mentor V3+ has some obvious difference to the custom version. As mentioned earlier, the Mentor V3+ is quite a bit smaller than I imagined a 12-driver universal might be. Looking at some online pic of the older Mentor V3 the new V3+ does seem a bit tidier and more compact.
Like the Mason V3+, the visual is much the same for the carbon fiber finish. The shell is a dark smoky translucent black with tons of fibrous materials creating that collage type effect of black and light grey strokes. UM has also infused a very light spattering of gold flecks in the Mentor V3+ design as opposed to the Mason V3+ which has silver fleck. It is literally the only way to tell them apart if you place them side by side and both are universal.
The DB-GO module is the same new sturdy design with a new bigger screw with a better grip than the previous version. It is much easier to use than the older thin screw on the Mason V3 from 2017. I will presume the same applies to the older Mentor V3 DB-GO module.
The 4-pin connector on the new V3+ does not seem to have moved that much from where it was on the older Mentor V3. That being said the new design seems to have pushed it a shade higher and closer to the front. I can’t be too sure unless I saw them side by side to confirm that.
Cable & Connectors
Phanes Upgrade Cable
You can also buy the Mentor V3+ with the same premium Phanes aftermarket custom-designed cable for an upgrade fee. The new upgrade cable was made specifically for the V3+ by Effect Audio of Singapore.
The Phanes is a 1.2m 8-core UPOCC Silver Plated Palladium+ Gold Palladium Alloy combination and I presume a 26AWG wire in their UltraFlexi jacket. Sadly, no testing cable arrived in time for the review so here is hoping we can test it for the Mason V3+ review which is the next UM review.
The stock cable I am told is the same as the Mason V3+ but visually it looks a bit different. Like the Mason V3+ dual-tone build, the Mentor V3+ dual-tone cable is a bigger cable than the original Dual Tone that came with the V3. The original cable was 4-core and this one is 8-core though they do not mention exactly what gauge it is. I am presuming 26AWG.
The two-tone wire material of the stock cable seems unchanged from before. I will confirm for the main review but presuming that means 6N 4-core single crystal copper and the other is 6N 4-core silver, (combined for 8-core).
However, the visual jacket finish is copper and black as opposed to copper and silver of the Mason V3+ stock cable. The cable has the same matching dark grey aluminum splitter and jack/connector barrels as the Mason V3+ stock, however, the darker jacket finish on the wire seems more in keeping with the black tones of the carbon fiber shell.
UM has retained that very unique feature of being able to swap around the 4-pin connectors from left to right and vice versa to activate either the copper 2-pin side or the silver 2-pin side. Hence, two unique flavors of sound inside one wire. The way to change those connectors looks much easier also and is the same upgrade as you will find on the Mason V3+ stock cable.
Previously, it was an obscure ridge system on the top of a plastic right-angle connector that you really only could detect via physical touch. Now the connector barrels are a stronger metal alloy to match the splitter and jack barrels. They also use a much more legible labeling system on the left and right for faster swapping.
Comfort & Isolation
Sadly, you will not get the same unbelievable level of passive isolation as the custom Mason V3+ or I presume a custom Mentor V3+. However, the small form factor has a custom universal contouring so it is very comfortable and light in the ear.
The positioning of the connectors slightly to the front also means the cable nicely clears your ear without any pressure on them, unlike the older right-angle plastic cable connector which digs in a bit.
The tip performance is quite varied with the Mentor V3+. The foams do a pretty good job, maybe about 60-70% of the custom isolation level and above average for universal form factors. The nozzle is reasonably long on the Mentor V3+ so the tips go in quite deep. Combined that with the large THX-500 Comply tip I was able to block out most of the lower-level aircon hum from about 1m away from me.
The silicone tips are more porous and do shape the sound much more to the bright side and you also lose a bit of bass response. Personally, I will stick with the foams on the initial impressions.
Accessories & Packaging
The unboxing experience with the Mentor V3+ is incredibly similar to the Mason V3+. That means you get the exact same box, packaging, and accessories with the outer sleeve color being the only qualitative difference. And yes, at this price point I am hoping for a little more also. It is good, but not awesome compared to some of the competition.
The hard screw lid case looks like the same one as the previous Mentor V3 and is also the one included in the Mason V3 in 2017. It has more of a matte finish than the fingerprint magnet chrome finish of the new Mason V3+ version. I actually prefer this one a little despite its more muted aesthetic. You get less fingerprinting and pretty much the same quiet high-quality titanium carrying case.
Inside, you receive a cleaning cloth and a handy MEC (magnetic earphone clip) cable organizer strap which doubles up a shirt clip. The strap is pretty nice actually as it is not a click button but a soft suede strap with a magnet underneath so it just snaps together real easy. Subtle but useful stuff much like the original V3 version.
You also receive a variety of tips with the universal version including s/m/l in single bore silicone and s/m/l TSX-500 Comply foam tips. I would love to have seen a few Final E, SpinFit or biflange thrown in there just to widen the variety a little.
Click on Page 2 below for sound impressions and comparisons