Meeaudio Pinnacle P2 Review – K2
Meeaudio have received no shortage of acclaim, achieved mainly through their very affordable sports orientated in-ears and their flagship Pinnacle P1 that really shocked reviewers. The P1 was an ace example of a budget flagship done properly with gorgeous metal housings, class-leading ergonomics and a clear yet refined sound. However, even that model came with some caveats; namely, their heavy shells weren’t perfectly stable during activity and their high-impedance and brighter tuning really mitigated portable use. Moreover, their $200 asking price, while modest considering the product on offer, can still be considered inaccessible to a lot of buyers.
However, with such a winning formula, Meeaudio didn’t reinvent but rather went back to the drawing board, redesigning a new model that seeks to address all of these aforementioned issues. The P2 is the second earphone in the Pinnacle line-up and one that seeks to achieve more widespread appeal through its very attainable $100 asking price, warmer tuning and higher sensitivity better suited towards smartphone use. However, with such changes, can the new P2 retain the refinement of the original P1 and does it earn its Pinnacle moniker? Let’s find out.
I would like to thank Mike from Meeaudio very much for his quick communication and for providing me with the Pinnacle P2 for the purpose of review. All words are my own and there is no monetary incentive for a positive review. Despite receiving the earphones free of cost, I will attempt to be as objective as possible in my evaluation.
The P2’s packaging presents well and Meeaudio includes a thoughtful selection of accessories. The P2 comes packaged with an assortment of tips, 3 pairs of regular silicone tips, 3 pairs of dual flange tips and a single pair of medium Comply foams.
Meeaudio also provide a ¼” adapter for use with a desktop amp in addition to a nice faux leather zippered hard case that finds a nice balance between protection and portability. A small shirt clip helps to keep the cable in check during portable use.
Those who have experience with the original P1 will find a familiar experience here with the P2, both are easily among the best fitting earphone designs on the market. Meeaudio’s new model utilizes the same shell shape but exchanges the hardy metal shells of the original for a lighter weight plastic construction. As such, the P2 doesn’t feel quite as solid or premium but their housings are well finished, smoothly sculpted and less cumbersome in the ear. They are also a compact earphone, far more so than competing models from TFZ, Kinera and Simgot, achieving almost flawless long-term comfort. In addition, their light weight design combined with their strong seal makes them perfectly stable in the ear, staying put during a 6Km run without requiring adjustment.
The P2’s also possess a very low profile fit that is perfect to sleep on and noticeably less susceptible to wind noise than more protruding designs. This is complemented by excellent noise isolation, the P2’s have a small vent on the outer face but they attenuate as much noise as most sealed in-ears if not quite as much as models like the Shure SE215. In addition, while the P2’s are most at home with an over-ear fit, they are also designed to be worn inverted or cable down (cable orientation must be swapped). This style of fit is almost as comfortable and will be more familiar to newer iem users though those that intend to use the P2 for activity will still want to wear them over-ear for the added stability.
The P2 also retains the same removable MMCX cable system as the original but the included cable is, unfortunately, a far cry from the excellent units included with the P1. The cable is quite thick and feels sturdy, but it’s incredibly stiff and uncompliant with a lot of memory and a very grippy texture. The cable does have a smart remote but its excessive thickness makes it difficult to live with. Furthermore, while the connectors were tight and snappy on the earphones themselves, they were quite loose on the cable resulting in some intermittency in the left earpiece. Luckily, the cable is easily replaced since MMXC is so widely adopted and there are plenty of fantastic options available for cheap. I found a good experience with the Ourart upgrade cable, it’s far more compliant than the stock cable, silver plated and retains a mic/remote for smartphone usage. I also didn’t experience any intermittency from my other MCMX cables.
The P2 utilizes a single 10mm dynamic driver like the P1 before it, however, it has been reworked to achieve easier drivability and a generally friendlier sound. Of note, I gave my unit 150 hours of burn-in before my final verdict to little effect, perhaps bass tightened up slightly but I cannot confirm any changes. I also tried swapping out the stock cable with both the original and silver plated P1 cable and did not notice a huge transformation besides ergonomics. That said, the P2 definitely does benefit on some level from a silver plated cable. Even a cheap one, if authentic, helps to smooth the P2’s midrange and slightly increase resolution without leaning out the low-end. That said, it’s hardly an economical investment, you would be $50 off the P1 if buying through Meeaudio for example. Users should not feel that the stock cable is bottlenecking the P2’s sound, I would suggest replacing the stock unit simply due to its frustrating ergonomics.
The P2 has a lightly v-shaped sound with a mid-bass bump, slightly brighter midrange and a modest treble spike that gives them a more aggressive high-frequency presentation. To my ear, they are actually a little better balanced than the P1 as their warmer low end and less recessed lower midrange better balance out their brighter treble. The P2 is also significantly more balanced than most competing models such as the TFZ Exclusive 4 and 5 in addition to the Kinera H3. They also lack the forwardness of the TFZ King and though their treble is aggressive, they are still markedly more linear than all of the aforementioned models within the higher frequencies.
The P2’s low end is agile, defined and well controlled, especially when considering their asking price. And despite their mid-bass focus, the earphones find a nice balance between engagement and linearity, neither sounding excessively bloated nor lean in any way. They have good sub-bass extension with noticeable but not bothersome roll-off though impact is tight and rumble defined, more so than the Simgot EN700 Bass and higher end TFZ earphones. And as with the P1, the P2 doesn’t possess huge slam, rather they pursue a slightly smoother, more organic tone with rounder note presentation. As such, the earphones lack muddiness that accentuates the more agile nature of their bass response. Upper bass is also emphasized though tastefully so, creating a midrange that is slightly warmed but well separated nonetheless. Through this tuning, the P2 sounds very inviting yet natural, some bloat is evident though they are easily one of the more mature offerings around this price.
As a result of their smooth sculpting and lack of any muddiness, the P2’s low-end sounds quite clean and defined. They also have excellent resolution for their price, matching the TFZ King on technical ability. Bass notes are well separated and though texturing falls just short of the H3, they find a nice medium between the technicality of the TFZ and the musicality of the Kinera. Listening to Bruno Mar’s “24K Magic” and the P2 was quick and tight with nice sub-bass slam. Mid-bass had plenty of body and though notes were slightly rounded, bass never came across as tubby or bloated. The P2’s also well complements slower songs such as Hyukoh’s “Tokyo Inn” where the Meeaudio’s provided a clean, snappy drum beat set to the concise plucking of bass guitars. So while the P2 may lack some sub-bass slam and a little texture on certain tracks, they compare very well to class leaders around this price with their agility, definition and control.
Mids are among the most balanced around this price; the P2’s are slightly bright with great clarity and resolution, well-suiting pop, acoustic and Asian music while slicing through the muddiness of poorly mastered albums. However, they achieve brightness, not through a sense of upper midrange forwardness, but slight recession of the lower mids. That said, the P2 isn’t scooped like the Kinera H3 or even the more expensive P1, but the upper midrange is the main focus in both quality and quantity. Some tonal oddities are present, manifesting through odd voicing to some vocals though the P2’s are no worse than the TFZ Exclusive and Kinera earphones. Lower mids are the weakest aspect of the P2’s sound, male vocals come across as quite dry, thin and truncated, something the more recessed P1 doesn’t suffer from. And while midrange resolution is very good throughout, the P2’s lack of lower midrange body really saps texture and detail. By comparison, the more bodied Simgot EN700 Bass and K3 HD both sounded more natural with more accurate timbre and greater detail retrieval within these regions while the similarly voiced Kinera H3 and TFZ Exclusive 5 both experienced similar difficulties.
However, the P2’s middle and upper midrange are quite the opposite with much-improved quality and vastly smoother tuning. Higher male and female vocals sound consistently clean with excellent definition. Female vocals, in particular, have superb quality with quite a refined tone and great resolution of layering and detail. Clarity is also especially good without becoming overbearing and the P2 never suffered from excessive sibilance in my testing. Their brighter tone definitely preferences engagement over naturalness and upper mids on the P2 still doesn’t extend like those on the Rose Mini 2, but female vocal aficionados will no doubt enjoy the P2. So despite not besting my personal midrange benchmark from Rose, the P2 is still a terrific performer with a more vibrant presentation and warmer low-end finding greater engagement in daily use. Mids may not hold the greatest emphasis within the sound, but they do have many redeeming qualities that draw more attention to the intricacies within this frequency range.
High-frequencies are on the aggressive side, bringing details to the fore as with the P1 before it. However, the P2 counterbalances their spiked lower-treble response with a slightly greater sense of body, allowing instruments to retain surprisingly accurate timbre and texture despite the nature of their tuning. As such, the P2 sounds more natural than earphones like the Kinera H3 and TFZ King with a similar approach overall to the Magaosi K3 HD. Extension is good but not outstanding, high-hats sound pretty thin and higher notes lack detail in general. And while the P2 doesn’t lack treble air or separation, they don’t excel either, the King and H3 both providing noticeably superior performances. The P2 also isn’t the most detailed earphone though they are very close to class leaders without being quite as peaky. As a result, though the K3 HD and Kinera H3 retrieve more raw detail, the P2 presents them in a more realistic, natural fashion akin to the Rose Mini 2.
However, coming back to their somewhat uneven tuning; where lower treble is aggressive and well-detailed, they do smooth off above that, clearly lacking the extension of the P1. Higher notes are very thin and some are quite distant. Their slightly rough high-end tuning does compromise a lot of higher frequency information that more linear earphones handily resolve. The Mini 2 best embodies this, its less exciting but more linear high-end providing a more consistently nuanced performance. This was highlighted when listening to Guns n’ Roses “Sweet Child O’ Mine” where the P2 had a very clear reproduction of guitars and cymbals but also suffered from a distinct lack of air. Some air was evident and treble doesn’t suffer from blunting or congestion, but high-hats and atmospheric effects tended to get a bit lost in the mix. Still, though the P2 is bright and can tire after longer listening sessions, the earphones never sounded harsh with a smidge of refinement providing just enough high-frequency restraint.
Soundstage, Imaging and Separation –
As the P2 lacks the outright resolution and extension of the P1, it also fails to retain the wide open soundstage that model could produce. Width is still commendable but they never reach outside the head and depth is more intimate. As a result, the P2 is just above average in space but is quite coherent in its presentation. Imaging is accurate though some details can be too distant due to their sculpted treble and lower midrange. Centre image is strong and separation is very good on account of their cleaner, clearer sound.
The P2 was designed to be much easier to drive than its predecessor that could struggle during portable use. And with a 16ohm impedance and 100dB sensitivity, that is no longer the case with the P2. While not the most sensitive earphone around this price nor the outright easiest to drive, the P2 will happily sing from any decent smartphone. And being a single dynamic driver earphone, they also aren’t overly affected by output impedance if at all, I didn’t notice huge tonal changes when switching from my Chord Mojo to my HTC 10 besides the tone of the sources themselves. That said, the P2 scales better than most competing earphones, thriving off some additional amplification and a musical source. The aforementioned Mojo provided an excellent companion as did the Shozy Alien+ that both granted lower mids with a bit more body and smoothed the P2’s treble response. And even affordable sources like the Fiio Q1 MKII provided a nice bump over my smartphone with a noticeably smoother sound, more treble body and detail in addition to a little more bass control. The P2 is certainly a lot easier to drive than the P1 and doesn’t absolutely require a DAC/AMP but it does benefit quite a bit from a musical dedicated source.
Rose Mini 2 ($100): Both feature removable MMCX cables though the Rose unit is far more compliant. Both are also very comfortable and isolate similarly well though the P2 will likely be more stable in the ear for most people due to its size and shape. The Mini 2 has a more controlled, even bass response with greater definition at the cost of the fullness and sub-bass extension of the P2. Both are agile and tight, the P2 is more dynamic and the Mini 2 is more articulate. Mids are quite dissimilar, the P2 is V-shaped, brighter and considerably clearer while the Mini 2 is more neutral, linear and natural. As such, the Rose sounds cleaner and doesn’t suffer from the same lower midrange issues as the P2 but it can sound quite mellow compared to the very glossy P2, especially within the upper mids.
The P2 also has a slight midrange resolution advantage with superior retrieval of background detail in some areas though the Rose is more consistently detailed on account of its more even tuning. Treble is considerably more aggressive on the P2, the Mini 2 is actually more detailed and micro details are far more present but the P2 has a lot more shimmer. However, the P2 is also quite thin, the Mini 2 has more body and more extension so it doesn’t overshadow higher details like the peakier P2. Both separate well, the P2 has a wider soundstage though the Mini 2 images better. While it may seem that the Mini 2 is the obvious choice, that is most certainly not the case since its very mellow, balanced tones can come off as bland to many listeners. The P2 fits better and is considerably more vibrant without coming off as overly sculpted, making it a better choice for listening in louder environments.
Kinera H3 ($109): Both earphones are completely plastic but feel solid in the hand. The Pinnacles are a little more solid, they’re also lighter and much smaller creating a more comfortable fit. Both have a removable cable, MMCX on the P3 and 2-pin on the H3 though the cable on the H3 is far softer and more compliant while the P2’s cable is very rubbery and has a lot of memory. Sonically, the P2 is more balanced while the H3 is considerably more v-shaped; bass is more prominent with considerably more slam and increased mid-bass fullness. However, the H3 has a more defined, textured and extended bass response though it is more bloated and lacks the agility of the P2. The H3 also has greater midrange clarity but it sounds thin, the P2 sounds dry but still more natural overall than the H3, especially upper mids.
Both have a brighter tonal tilt with scooped lower mids and more upper mid presence, the H3 to a greater extent due to its greater bass and treble presence. Both also have somewhat spiked treble, the H3 more so, making it very aggressive. The P2 is also a more aggressive earphone in its own right but treble is more even than the H3. I feel that the P2 will be more forgiving of lower bitrate files since it is less aggressive and generally smoother than the H3. If you want a lot of engagement, the P2 might be a bit lean for your tastes where the H3 really flourishes. Both are similarly technical, the H3 has a slight upper hand on raw detailing and definition though the P2 is certainly no slouch. The H3 does still have better end to end extension.
Pinnacle P1 ($200): The P1 is shaped identically to the P2 and finds similar comfort as a result. However, the P1’s metal construction is superior in every way and its two included cables are light years ahead of the tacky unit included with the P2. Sonically, the two are similar as expected though the P2 has some little tweaks that better suit portable use. This starts with their lower impedance/higher sensitivity that omits the need for external amplification. In addition, the P2 has a warmer low end with slightly greater sub-bass emphasis and notably more mid and upper bass fullness. They have a thinner, drier midrange than the P1, especially lower mids though lower mids are more present, creating a less skewed midrange.
Upper mids have great clarity and are quite smooth but the P1 still holds a notable lead in overall refinement and resolution, they are just smoother and more nuanced throughout. Treble presentation is similar on both, the P1 is more aggressive while the P2 has been smoothed off a little. The P2 is still on the more aggressive side, notes are nicely crisp but detailing doesn’t quite match the P1 due to some roll-off. I think the difference between the P2 and P1 can be somewhat likened to that between the 1More Triple and Quad drivers, the P2 is warmer and more consumer-friendly while the P1 is a bit more revealing and generally improved in terms of technicality.
The P2 is undoubtedly a great earphone with some truly outstanding aspects offset by some smaller technical quibbles. On a superficial level, they are shockingly close to the P1 in tuning and some tasteful sculpting does make them more universally appealing. Moreover, extended listening reveals that they retain much of the same clarity and agility of Meeaudio’s higher model with excellent resolution to top it off. Ergonomics are another high point, the P2 is easily the best fitting earphone I’ve tested around this price even if their plastic construction doesn’t inspire as much confidence. Of course, they aren’t perfect, and at $100 I wouldn’t expect them to be; most of my complaints stem from the lower midrange and included cable with treble more or less coming down to personal taste. They aren’t polite nor are they the most explicitly engaging earphone around this price, but the P2 reciprocates with excellent ergonomics and a sound that well balances its slightly fuller low-end with a crystal clear treble response.
Verdict – 8.75/10, The P2 combines all-day comfort with tonal maturity even if their sound isn’t absolutely refined. Their tacky stock cable and aggressive treble won’t find universal praise but buyers looking for a balanced yet vibrant earphone will find nuance within the P2’s agile, high-resolution sound.
The Meeaudio Pinnacle P2 is available from Amazon (US) for $99 USD, please see my affiliate link for the most updated pricing, availability and configurations.
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