Unique Melody Mason Fabled Sound Special Edition

General Information


Product Name: Mason Fabled Sound Special Edition

Headphone Type: BA+ Bone Conduction

Driver Counts: 13 Drivers

Sensitivity: @1kHz-116dB

Frequency Response Range: 20Hz-35kHz

Socket: 2-pin Socket

Shells: Prestige Stabilized Cholla + Resin

Crossover: 5-way Crossover

Impedance: 19Ω


4 Bass Drivers + 4 Mids Drivers +

2 Mid-Treble Drivers + 2 Treble Drivers +

Full Range Bone Conduction Driver

Cable: UM Attila Custom Cable


Packaging And Accessories

Headphones: One pair of MASON FS (Fabled Sound)

Cable: UM Attila Custom Cable

Case: UM “ESP" Double Drawer Black Gift Box

Carrying Case: Dignis Turquoise Leather Case

Warranty Card: Warranty Card

Others: Premium Grey Cleaning Pad

Eartips: AZLA SednaEarfit Xelastec SS/MS/M


+silicone S/M/L

Storage clip: Storage device


Latest reviews


100+ Head-Fier
The Beauty for the Beasts
Pros: Detail Monster
Instruments separation
BCD latest generation for great slam
Stunning Visual
Cons: Cost, unless you wanted to buy this PW cable anyway
BCD requires a good fit with UIEM, Custom is preferred
Shielded cable ergonomic is not for everyone
The name...

Few words about my taste so you understand my bias:
I am a Traillii lover, I like the neutral, smooth, airy sound with great respect for the vocals.
But I have always got a nice affinity for the UM brand. Lately, the MEST Indigo is one of my favorite IEM.
That's why I used both these IEMs to compare the UM FS LeJardin.
(I love the Fir Audio Xe6, but it is a bass oriented set that is not playing in the same category)

I did not check any review, any FR graph before I wrote the following, to share my impressions with minimum influence.
It is a very expensive set yes, and this review is not here to answer if it is a good value/price item. I would consider this item a piece of jewelry or luxury accessory.
The build quality is the one you could expect from an expensive set.


Lovely box, lovely leather case, however way to big to be considered a transport case. I wish more brands would include some Van Nuys carrying pouch. Things that are actually useful!

Review is not my thing
So we are clear: I am terrible are reviews. I probably don't have the earing capacity for specific details or the memory to compare both sound signature with accuracy.
Moreover, lately I had trouble to make up my mind if I prefer or not an item when doing A/B testing. (Sony M2, now the UM FS)
That's why I took time to publish that, cause I changed my mind a crazy amount of time.

Non SQ stuff

I guess we can't talk about the UM LeJardin without mentioning how gorgeous they are. The first thing I did when receiving them has been to take pictures


They look good from every angles, whatever the light, they are just the most beautiful IEM I own.


Unlike the UM Mest Indigo which feels fragile, or the Xe6 UIEM that get scratches super easy, this IEM feels solid. doesn't show fingerprint, or anything.
I would still not carry it in my jeans pocket without protection.

They are larger than the Traillii or the Indigo. Not as big as the EE EVO / Odin.
They are slightly bigger than the Elysian X.


From left to right: UM Mest Indigo, Oriolus Traillii, FirAudio Xe6, Elysian X, UM LeJardin

Fit and BCD
Finding the right eartips is the challenge. As recommended by friends, I went with smaller Eartips size than usual and it did the trick.
While I went away from the Xelastec at first, I went back to it after many tip rolling. But I indeed took 1 size smaller than usual and it really helped to feel the BCD.
They are a bit bigger than I like. (Traillii, MEST, Xe6 are perfect to me)

Speaking of the BCD:
It is really an improved version, nothing alike the MEST mk2 or even the Mest Indigo. (or the EE EVO)
It is a good and bad thing! Cause depending how well the IEM is positioned, it really changes the song. I would definitely suggest CIEM if you go for such a purchase to get the full experience. It is my only regret with this UIEM, I feel like sometime I don't get the best out of this BCD. It is the first time a BCD is really making a difference for me.


The cable


I already own a shielded PW First Times, so this cable was not really a discovery. I did not do proper comparison of the two, but they do sound similar. Most important: They have the same ergonomic. You love or hate it.
Very stiff, lot of memory after the splitter, and it takes more space than any 8 wires cable I own.
Disclosure: I am an EA Centurion fan.
However, the PW FT is on my Traillii at the moment.

Surprisingly, I switched the PW MeetAgains for the Centurion as it felt too warm to my taste. I felt that the Centurion has been helping on the vocal and treble.
However, after a week, I went back to the stock cable and kept it. I feel it gives the bass it is supposed to and a nice organic feels with some instruments.

It is a nice cable, if you don't own an Orpheus or FT, it is something to have in your TOTL collection.
No Microphonics at all with the shielded version.

So, how does it sound?

I did the usual and went through songs I know well and compare with Traillii and Indigo.
However, the conclusion was always the same, so I will go quickly over it:

While the Bird will sound brighter with more focus on her voice, the UM will have a better slam, better drum, claps.

The Bird has a bigger soundstage, but it is more than that, the positioning of the instrument feels really different between the two.
The UM LeJardin feels as if most of the sound are lined up in front of you, but you can really feel some instruments in the top left/right corners, maybe due to the BCD. It is the first time I can locate sounds this much in the corners.
With the Bird, I feel in the middle of the instruments, with a lot of space between.

The UM Indigo is more V shaped, with stronger bass presence and yet forward vocals. It is where the A/B testing makes it difficult for the UM LeJardin as it is a more neutral set.
The UM Indigo is more engaging on this song. However UM LeJardin is better with Guitars, more sparkling sounds, but it is more linear than the UM Indigo.

From this song, I started to realize how great the UM Lejardin is at instrument and vocal separation. It is a detail monster as well that is less forgiving with bad recording.
This song unfortunately was better with the UM Indigo, as some details of the recording are not showing up.
I started to see the technicality superiority of the UM LeJardin from here. That said... the song is more enjoyable with the UM Indigo!

On the Indigo, more bass but less textures compared to the LeJardin.
The Bass are too dominant with the Indigo, I definitely preferred the song's presentation with the LeJardin.
The Traillii is very similar to the LeJardin, but more open and less slam. I could repeat this statement for all songs between these two.
Probably cause I listened to this song 400 times with the Bird, my preference goes to it, but the LeJardin is excellent and right behind.

Same old... Brighter with the Bird, more open. More bass and slam with the UM Lejardin, very enjoyable with both.
I compared way more songs but the conclusion is the same.

About the source

Most of the listening and the comparison have been conducted with the N8ii, ssd setting, P+, High Gain.
I tried it with multiple sources, this set likes power. I could plug it to a desktop amp and have a nice sound, similar to the Elysian X. It scales well, but the N8ii was more than enough.
It paired very well with the Fiio K9pro (the AK version)
With the Ifi Go Bar, Xbass and Xspace settings, it sounds awesome. Since I paired them, I am no more using the N8ii for the UM Lejardin. Surprisingly, you must use the IEM Match, then increase the volume to get the best potential.

So What?

I went through many emotions while evaluating this set.
Loved it, had moments of regrets due to the price, I wondered if it was this good, etc...

I brought it outside for a full day, and it is how I fell in love with it. No more A/B testing, just enjoying the sound. It took more time for brain burning than other sets.
It is a detail monster and great at instrument separation, I enjoy to hear some choir or side voices more clearly on many songs. The bass are definitely better than the Traillii, so it helps enjoying a larger library.

I will probably change my mind in the future, but for now, it is my main set. I still enjoy the Traillii, but I feel like I miss something compared to the UM LeJardin.
If I want to go Electro, I can use my bass canon Xe6, but for the rest, the UM LeJardin is a great choice.

It is a beautiful set, a beautiful sound.



Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Bone Conduction Driver, unique sound qualities, astonishing sound reproduction, technical performance, musicality
Cons: price, cable a bit stiff and heavy, packaging and accessories (comparatively speaking)

Unique Melody will by now need little introduction from me, since they’re not only a very well-known and established company from China, but also one whose products I have now reviewed on several occasions, usually to great rapture and applause (mine, concerning the quality of the product in question, as opposed to reader’s, concerning the quality of my reviewing) :laughing:

Pasted below are the IEM details from authorised dealer MusicTeck’s website:


This link also has photos and explanations of the tech that features in these IEMs.
The Fusang retails at USD $4’588. A bit of background might be helpful here, for those who are relatively new to this IEM. So, earlier this year, UM released the latest (and probably greatest) edition of their flagship IEM, the Mason.

In this case, it was called the ‘Mason Fabled Sound’ (or ‘Mason FS’ for short). It retailed at an eye-watering (and indeed Traiili-competing) $6k.
Nevertheless, it attracted quite a few buyers, along with glowing reviews.

A bit further down the road, UM released a cosmetically altered version, the Mason Fusang (generally just referred to as the ‘Fusang’). This featured more conventional resin-based shells (as opposed to the rare Cholla wood bodies of the Mason FS), and where the Mason FS featured the more expensive Attila cable from PW Audio, the Fusang features the less expensive (but still fairly premium) ‘Purple Charm’ cable, which is another PW Audio produced cable.
This offered essentially the same sound quality as the Mason FS (it’s been quoted as being maybe 5% different from the Mason FS) at a reduced price.

Personally, I actually prefer the shell design and cable appearance from the Fusang, so I for one was delighted to read about this new model!
So, going forwards from here, when I refer to the Fusang, pretty much all of those comments should apply equally to the Mason FS.

Now, UM – outside of its venerable world-class all-BA offerings – have been busy shaking up the IEM world with their hybrid (quad-brid!) models, particularly through the introduction of the use of Bone Conduction Driver (BCD) technology. Furthermore, they have been continuing R&D on their BCD design, first with the original MEST, then with the MEST Mk II, and now with the Mason Fusang (and Mason FS of course too).

The BCD featured in this IEM represents the pinnacle of that evolutionary process thus far, featuring a BCD that covers the entire frequency spectrum of the IEM, along with a redesigned housing for the driver that further contributes to its performance and character.

Indeed, one of the comments from UM regarding the Fusang was that they felt they’d pretty much reached as close to perfection as they were going to get with regards to tuning an all-BA flagship IEM (after several iterations); the introduction of the BCD was their way of seeing how they could evolve that sound even further, whilst still staying true to the BA-based signature build.

Disclaimer: I was provided with the Fusang free of charge, in exchange for my honest opinion, which is indeed what I shall be providing! My thanks to UM and MusicTeck for making this happen.

So, with all this introductory preamble aside, I suppose you’ll want to see how these things actually look in real life? Alright, go on then..
Photos coming up. In, perhaps unsurprisingly, the following section titled ‘Photos’


Build Quality and accessories:

The Fusang are solidly built with no visible blemishes or flaws of any kind.
The only small criticism I could level at them (same as with MEST Mk II) is that if they were going to go with the conventional 2-pin design, then I would have preferred the sockets to be recessed within the body of the IEMs, so that they don’t have the less attractive part of the connectors sticking out (or used a different 2-pin plug on their cable), or that – if there wasn’t enough room available inside the IEM body to do that – then they’d gone again with the same design used on the original MEST.

This small caveat aside, the Fusang comes in what I personally consider to be an improved design aesthetic, with a black carbon fibre appearance with thin purple lines appearing to be etched into the surface; a detail which is further complemented by the somewhat unusual choice of a tasteful purple cable. Anyone with goth leanings will doubtless find this black and purple combo to be a source of great joy and Cthulu-esque profundity, but I’d say it has a universal appeal too. They’re one of the most attractively designed IEMs I’ve seen, with classy logos (the artistic-looking Fusang tree on one earphone and the UM logo on another) and a visually coherent colour scheme.

They come with a 0.78mm 2-pin OCC copper Litz 8-wire cable, which can be terminated with your choice of plugs.
After a period where – due to issues with a supplier – UM were only able to offer 3.5mm or 2.5mm options (albeit with a free adaptor included), it’s really great to see the 4.4mm option back on offer, and this was indeed the one I chose.

Again, I just want to praise UM for continuing to offer a choice of cables; I’ve seen far too many TOTL level IEMs being released with just a 3.5mm or 2.5mm cable, and no options. Choice is king! Let the consumer choose the one that fits their needs!
(Layman1 climbs back down from his soapbox)

The cable here is 8-wire, which I was happy to see personally. It is, I must advise you, rather heavy and not the most flexible of designs. However, I have no trouble using it on a daily basis and haven’t had any issues with microphonics or fatigue. And plus, all that weight is offset by the sheer gorgeousness of the thing :D

The Fusang comes with a good range of accessories.
As can be seen in the photos, in addition to the various things included previously such as premium Comply ear tips, and an artisan Dignis leather case, the Fusang comes bundled with 3 various-sized pairs of Sedna Xelastec ear tips, which would normally set you back $30 or so by themselves, not to mention a completely upgraded cable offering (which I just mentioned).

I think the only criticism I could level at the Fusang in terms of accessories is that they’d already raised the standard so high with their MEST releases (which were sub $1500 releases). As such, for an IEM costing 3 times as much (4 times for the Mason FS!), it’s perhaps a bit of an anticlimax to have a set of packaging and accessories that are virtually identical to a much lower-priced model. An almost identical leather case, albeit with a slightly different design (I actually preferred the design of the case bundled with the MEST models personally) and same box and packaging. I think for a flagship release – especially ones at such lofty price points, perhaps UM could raise the bar a bit.

Having said that, it’s still a good range of accessories (particularly the ear tip selection), it’s just that they’ve kind of spoiled us for choice with previous releases already!


Regarding my gear and music for testing, I have a few tracks which I’ve only found available on MP3; the rest are FLAC or WAV in 16/44 or 24/192, with a few DSD56 tracks sneaking their way in too.
For the purposes of this review, the sources I chiefly used were the Sony WM1Z (using MrWalkman’s ‘Midnight Plus’ free custom firmware), iBasso DX220MAX and iBasso DX300 (with AMP12).

The Fusang has been an interesting experience for me. By way of a bit of background regarding my own preferences, my tastes have evolved over the years I’ve spent in this delightful (albeit wallet-busting) hobby. I started out (pre-audiophile days) desiring the earphone with the most bass (X-Bass anyone?!). As I got deeper into the audiophile rabbit-hole, I became enamoured of the neutral-reference sound signature. I think this was due to being entranced by the levels of detail retrieval, along with clarity and size of soundstage and separation. Then I began to appreciate and embrace the qualities that more a more warm and organic sound signature had to offer. I think since the overall quality and range of choice of IEMs has skyrocketed in the last 5+ years, it’s now eminently possible to enjoy stellar levels of technical performance outside of the neutral-reference tuning, which has allowed me to appreciate those benefits in conjunction with more musical sound signatures.

Things like note weight, note thickness, warmth, richness, impact, slam and rumble have all become qualities I’ve found quite addictive in various IEMs. Not to mention the appeal of the hybrid designs, with all the sound qualities the various drivers have to offer.

I first reviewed the Mason V3 a few years back, whilst I was still (I think) mainly favouring the neutral-reference tuning. I found that to be a remarkable IEM that would still give most within its genre a run for their money to this day. So now, I have come full circle, via heavily-coloured (sonically speaking) IEMs such as my beloved Stealth Sonics U4 and EE Phantom, via audiophile bass cannons such as the Legend X and Nemesis, via vivid, hard hitting technical paragons such as the MEST models, all the way back today to the latest UM flagship in their traditionally all-BA neutral reference model.

I have to admit, I was a bit apprehensive how I’d feel, coming back to this kind of sound signature after all the gear I’d come to love in the intervening years between now and when I reviewed the Mason v3 some years ago. Would I find it anaemic or unsatisfying?

Could I, as a reviewer, set aside my bass-head predilections and review this IEM objectively, when I might be constantly feeling disappointed by the lack of low-end power?
Read on, intrepid adventurer, to find the answer to this question, and indeed many more!


So, let’s get this out of the way, first up; the Fusang is NOT a bass-cannon. Obviously, it was never designed to be, and that’s ‘OK’. The good news is, it’s far better than I was expecting.

I find it to have a fairly linear tuning in the low end (and indeed overall); there’s perhaps a slight lift in the mid-bass, but I do like that the sub-bass extends deep.

The bass is – as one would expect from a BA-based implementation, fast, accurate and tight.

However, this is where those bone conduction drivers start to work their magic; there is a presence, power and precision here that astonished me.

By way of an analogy, in sports and martial arts, there’s power that can come from size and muscles, but also power that can come from perfect technique and precision (Roger Federer in tennis and Judd Trump in snooker spring to mind immediately; I’m sure there’s many other examples!). This is the kind of power that I feel the Fusang brings.

It’s always controlled, focused and harnessed; never muddy or loose or flabby.

The Fusang surprised me with the amount of impact and slam it was able to reproduce.

Would I like MOAR bass? Of course, I’m Layman1 :D

I funk, therefore I am.

But can I love the Fusang despite it not being a bass-cannon? Absolutely.

I keep coming back to it because it has enough to satisfy, and it just does it so ridiculously well, with remarkable tactility and texture as well.


This is the aspect of the Fusang which has probably gained the most praise, and rightly so.
Despite the relatively neutral-reference signature, there’s still a small tinge of warmth and musicality here, but what really stands out for me again is the note weight. The notes aren’t especially thick, but they are weighty, with a real presence. This does wonders for acoustic instruments and both male and female vocals, but also extends to electric guitars and indeed most things I fed into it. As with the lows, there’s a gorgeous texture and tactility that I usually find in dynamic driver-based IEMs.

Finally, there’s also a pretty unique quality that seems to come from the BCD’s; there’s a subtle kind of reverb effect on some vocals and instruments. It doesn’t sound artificial to me in any way; indeed, it actually enhances the realism greatly and makes me feel like I’m there in the room with the artist(s). It’s as if I’ve gotten used to how regular IEMs present vocals and instruments, and when listening to the Fusang, I’m reminded about what they sound like in real life. It’s also a physical feeling, as much as a musical one.

I listened to two tracks by The Stranglers, from their ‘About Time’ album, where the main singer had been replaced by someone who sounds a bit like a lounge singer but which I actually really like. ‘Golden Boy’ and ‘Sinister’, two outstanding tracks from the album.

Golden Boy opens with a kind of humming, thrumming sound, and I noticed, from around 11s to 15s into the song, the Fusang delivers a level of physical power to this bit that I’ve never heard before. This is followed almost immediately by some percussion (drum rim taps I think?) and again, there’s a remarkable level of tactility and realism here.

The track ‘Sinister’ opens with a mixture of kick drum and snare and a cello comes in shortly after. That cello sounds remarkably good; there’s a real grain and texture to it with the Fusang, as well as a delightful depth and weight to it.

Moving on to something completely different, it’s my favourite classical opera review test track, Handel’s Lascia la spina, sung beautifully by Hong Kong based soprano Alison Lau.

What I always look out for here is a point from 14s to 16s, where the strings all descend into lower notes. I love it when an IEM renders this part with real body, richness and weight, and the Fusang does not disappoint in this regard. Even more so, considering the other IEMs which I typically love in terms of how they handle this section of the song are usually ones that are rather (or exceptionally) warm IEMs, such as the EE Phantom and Stealth Sonics U4.

So for a relatively neutral IEM like the Fusang to still deliver the goods here is high praise indeed.

One more here; R.E.M. ‘Nightswimming’ (24-192 HDTracks). The piano on this is just jaw-droppingly good with the Fusang. SO much sustain, note weight, and a stunning resonance that seems unique to the Fusang, likely a product of the bone conduction drivers.


To continue with The Strangler’s ‘Sinister’ song notes, furthermore, some of those IEMs that excel with the strings as they swoop low, do comparatively less well with the sparkly harpsichord in the background; sometimes that sparkle is a bit muted or dull, but here is has a lovely soft sparkle.

Generally, I can commend the Fusang for those who might have a sensitivity to treble (such as myself) or upper-mids for that matter. Even with tracks such as the aforementioned Alison Lau opera song, where she hits some piercing highs which can trigger my sensitivities with other IEMs, the Fusang remains marvellously smooth, yet never dull or rolled-off.

I feel the Fusang highs are carefully balanced with the lows and mids. They suffuse air and separation throughout the whole sound signature, without any shrillness or harshness. There’s enough brightness and sparkle to keep things feeling alive and captivating, but this is not an excessively ‘trebly’ IEM.

And as if on cue…

Technical Performance:

Yeah. It’s really good. Haha.
As I’ve mentioned, in addition to the expertly implemented BA drivers, those Bone Conduction drivers have worked some flat-out magic here with this IEM. It presents details in a way I’ve come to appreciate with other IEMs; naturally and organically, not in terms of tonality but in the way I just naturally notice details as an holistic part of just enjoying the music. It’s not an ‘in your face’ kind of presentation of detail, or one which is constantly drawing one’s attention away from the appreciation of the song as a whole.

Nevertheless, I found myself consistently hearing things I’d never noticed before (which, given the amount of quality gear I’ve been privileged enough to hear over the years, is a noteworthy observation). Imaging and layering are simply superb and the degree of separation is excellent too. Each component of a song (instrument, vocal) is easily picked out and can be focused on at will. Soundstage is an interesting one.. I think it extends quite far and is holographic for sure, but I only noticed the extent of this extension on certain tracks (‘Love Dies’ by Club 8 for example); most of the time, the staging of the Fusang seems to be smaller, with more of an ‘intimate venue’ type of feel; spacious, but you’re close to the action, not 50 meters away up in the high stands.


Well, I know that here people would normally expect to see comparisons.
I decided to omit them, simply because I'd be comparing apples and oranges.
I don't as yet simultaneously own any other IEMs worth $2k+, and of those $1k - $2k IEMs I do own, they are so very different in sound signature that I can't really see much basis for comparison. Add to that the frankly unique qualities of the Fusang and I hope you'll appreciate why I decided to simply let the Fusang speak for itself here. As it were. :)

Sources and synergies:

I have predominantly used the Sony WM1Z in this review, as I found it’s smoothness and musicality lent itself rather well to the extensive listening sessions this kind of review inevitably entails.

With the DX220MAX, I found the Fusang to sound more crisp and slightly less smooth, more open and airy, and with a small increase in note weight. More neutral in signature, but still very musical. Details seemed to pop out more noticeably vs the WM1Z. Low end slightly more impactful. A really nice shimmer.
With the WM1Z, I found the sound to be more warm, organic, full-bodied, smooth and musical.
It has great timbre and is effortlessly engaging.

I found the DX300 (with AMP12) to fit sonically somewhere in between the WM1Z and DX220MAX; it has the lovely shimmer of the DX220MAX, and detail retrieval is almost on a par with that DAP too. It seems to have more richness and power than the WM1Z, but bears some similarities to the WM1Z with a fairly warm and organic signature. Soundstage is on a par with the WM1Z, and there’s not quite that huge sense of air and space that I get with the DX220MAX.

So, as I remarked in a previous review, if you were reading my notes on the DX220MAX and WM1Z synergy and thinking “Gosh, Layman1, if only there were a DAP that could combine some of the great qualities from each of those two!” then today’s your lucky day :D

Overall, I felt the DX220MAX had the best synergy as it pretty much doubles down on everything that I love about the Fusang; astonishing note weight and presence, fairly neutral-reference tuning but with a tonne of musicality, superb detail retrieval. It expands out the soundstage and separation of the Fusang, bringing a significant increase in air and spaciousness, but still with no loss in richness and impact.

The only negative (and the reason I still often reach for the WM1Z, is that it’s such a pinpoint, vivid and detailed presentation, that I sometimes find myself getting a little fatigued with long sessions. However, I have sensitivities to various sounds/frequencies, so this may not be an issue for most.

The WM1Z on the other hand, is effortlessly smooth with an organic musicality that I can just get lost in for hours. So, the choice is yours :)

Bonus cable roll (!!):

Eletech Plato X Socrates 8-wire (limited edition):

It’s a testament to the quality of the stock cable that the changes I hear are not that pronounced at all. With other IEMs and their stock cables (EE Nemesis and Phantom for example), I heard a significant (positive) difference with the Eletech cable.

With the Fusang, I hear a small increase in clarity, shimmer, impact, soundstage and separation when using the Eletech cable.

I feel the stock cable has a bit more smoothness and musicality though, so it’s probably going to come down to personal preference.


Well, the Fusang has pretty much blown my mind. It really is that good.

It does things I’ve never heard other IEMs do (courtesy of a stellar bone conduction driver implementation). It manages to take the neutral-reference template, stay quite faithful to that, whilst injecting a musicality, weightiness and presence that has to be experienced to be believed. Technical excellence combined with pure soul.

Even for an unabashed basshead like myself, I’ve felt nothing to be lacking here.
I’ve thrown every genre I can think of at it and loved what I’ve heard.

I cannot really comment on whether it merits a $4k+ price tag, since such matters are personal and relative. What I can say is that if you are willing and able to part with such a sum, then I’d highly recommend giving this IEM some serious consideration.
Last edited:
Nice review, totally out of my budget, but I would love to hear it, maybe at the next Canjam...


Headphoneus Supremus
From a bass head to a bone head
Pros: stellar vocals, instruments
speaker like physicality
extracts a new dimension from recordings
Cons: soundstage is small, hinders complex passages
doesn't work for synthetic music well
not versatile across multiple genres
Disclaimer: Fusang and Fabled Sound Special Edition are similar iems. They both use the same driver topology. Fabled Sound differs by included a premium cable (Attila) and a limited edition luxurious shell design. I suspect this review can be applied to Fusang, however I have not auditioned the Fusang so I will leave such a comparison to others.

“Every once in a while, a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything” - Steve Jobs

Music. That’s why we’re all here. This universal language that transcends limitations of spoken word. A language that can tell stories of pain or triumph, a drama from a different era. A tool to help us relax at the end of a stressful day or give us that extra push when needed. I have eternal thanks for the artists who can hone their craft of being able to stimulate just the right part of the brain at the right moment to evoke an emotional reaction. Whether we traverse the path of nostalgia or trying something new, these sonic visions are those that can be remembered for many years after.

Before and Now

A key contribution to this journey of musical enlightenment is of course, the gear. At times I do feel somewhat guilty, I can become too focused on the gear and not on the music. In an effort to get closer to the artist, one can engage in the gear chase or ‘upgrade-itis’. This is the endless search for the right gear and yet…still wanting a little more if possible. Many of us remember purchasing a gear, declaring it to be ‘end game’ on the forums, then only to upgrade it soon after. For some, it’s that touch of extra sub bass that’s needed for the visceral feel, for others more treble extension and wider soundstage for the desired sound.
For the past several years, the summit tier level of iems have yet to realize a breakthrough comparable to the explosion of developments in the low to mid tier of iems. Even accounting for the infamous Oriolus Traillii, with a nearly perfect record on Headfi, nearly all the iems on the market are currently using well known technologies (BA’s, EST’s, DD’s and in some cases planars).


These conventional drivers in iems, ranging from Blessing 2 Dusk to Oriolus Traillii, operate on the same principle however. Regardless of the driver technology the manufacturer uses, they all push air into the ear drum. This is known as Air Conduction (AC). While a Legend X can sound quite different from an Anole VX, one can somewhat appreciate the differences in sound signature in a written assessment. When perusing an iem review, many of us can quickly understand terms such as ‘DD slam’ or ‘BA bass’ without even auditioning the featured iem in question.
However a review of Mason FS will not be afforded the advantages of iems that have come before it. The Bone Conduction (BC) driver and how Unique Melody gave it the prominent role it plays in the Mason FS/Fusang requires one to demo it to understand. I will attempt to describe the magic behind the combination of BC and AC driver implementation, but I can’t stress enough how this iem (Mason FS and Fusang) requires an audition.


*credit Unique Melody

Mason FS employs a dual sided Bone Conduction driver (500Hz-20kHz) along with their 12 BA array. Bone conduction is a driver technology which is famously used by Unique Melody in their IEMs such as MEST. Simply put, bone conduction works by piezoelectric ceramics which bend metal vibration pieces. These metal pieces generate a vibration which travels through the IEM shell, your ear and to the temporal bone. The design intent of employing the BC driver is to add weight and density to music which conventional air conduction technologies are unable to replicate.

BC driver aside, the Mason FS employs 12 custom designed large sized BA’s arranged in a 4 Bass, 4 Mids, 2 Mid Treble and 2 Treble configuration. In conjunction with the BC driver, this system is controlled by a 5-way crossover.

Special Edition

IMG_1127 2.jpg

In the box, Fabled Sound includes a cable specially tuned for Mason FS, the Attila. Attila is a collaboration with PW Audio and is an upgraded version of the 1960s 4 wire. I purchase cables based mostly based on aesthetics and ergonomics. My ears are not gifted enough to hear the differences in cables unfortunately. What I will say is Attila is a much-improved version of 1960s 4 wire and many Mason FS owners love Attila. However, those looking for minimal microphonics may want to look at TPU cables such as Eletech’s Iliad or Aeneid. Disclaimer, I am picky with microphonics and am switching out Attila with an Eletech Aeneid cable. Most of my testing with Mason FS has been with Attila, to best capture Unique Melody’s design intent.


I am lucky enough to straddle the headphone world, iem world and speaker world. I’m sure most of us can agree that speakers offer the very best audio experience possible. On the other hand, this requires space and money. Those with the funds for speakers may not have the space, and others may have the space but lack the required funds. One can stretch a dollar more in the iem world than the headphone world. This can also hold true for the headphone world when compared to the speaker world. The cost no object headphone system, Sennheiser Orpheus HE1 costs a mere 59k USD, while a cost no object speaker system can exceed 1 million dollars (not including room costs).

Nevertheless, speakers have this physical quality that no gear in the headfi world can replicate, regardless of price. It’s that feeling of a sound wave traveling through your entire body and allowing you to feel the music as if you were there. I played piano for nearly 10 years and have a good understanding of how a note should feel physically. Not just as a listener, but as a player. As much as headphones and iems try, they have not been able to overcome this challenge of physicality. This physical connection to music is perhaps why, up until this point, I’ve seen myself as a basshead (in the iem/headphone sphere), or at least someone who places a premium on bass presentation. When using iems and headphones, I am keenly aware the music is emanating from two points on my head (or in my ears). This goes for even summit level gear such as Oriolus Traillii and Hifiman Susvara.

IMG_1133 2.jpgIMG_0181.jpg

Last year, I embarked on a home project to install a speaker system. Thankfully this project has been completed after several covid related logistic delays. However, my speaker journey led me to a discovery in how I enjoy iems/headphones vs speakers. With iems/headphones, I tend to prefer equipment that has a stronger bass presence but with speakers it seems I prefer reference leaning tunings. Perhaps this shift in personal preferences can be attributed to how elevated bass in iems/headphones may serve as a compromise to make up for the lack of physicality speakers can provide. The way a soundwave travels through the floor on a full range speaker and then propagates throughout your body contributes to the ultimate form of audio reproduction.

Feeling the Vibrations

Mason FS Showcase Music:
  • Fall on Me by Andrea Bocelli
  • Paganini 24 Caprices: Sueye Park
  • We Are One by Yao Si Ting
  • Sonorite by Tatsuro Yamashita Sonorite, Track 4 (忘れないで)
  • Sugar by System of a Down
  • Mozart Piano Concertos by Murray Perahia
  • Essential Yo-Yo Ma by Yo-Yo Ma
The Mason FS has altered my listening patterns. Previously, I would reserve acoustic instruments and vocals with my full range speakers, as this this is what they were designed for. Mason FS allows me to take my speakers with me, wherever I go.

Mason FS brings life to instruments (plucked strings, electric guitar, wind instruments, piano etc) and vocals. The sensation of a vocalist’s voice vibration travelling into my jaw approaches the authority speakers can deliver. This is likely due to the magic of the Unique Melody’s Bone Conduction driver implementation. Such a rendition is more intimate and speaker-like than anything else I’ve heard in the headfi realm. Listening to an orchestra, I feel sweetness of the strings and the meaty cello as if I am in the venue. FS communicates the texture of violin I’ve only felt when I briefly played one. This is beyond just bass, this is physicality. And this physicality is traveling through your ears and seemingly into your jaw.

This incredible presentation doesn’t just extend to classical music. The same holds true for rock, such as one of my favorite rock test tracks, Sugar by System of a Down (time code 0:20-0:30). Feeling the texture of the guitar in between Serj’s raw rendition reminded me seeing them live those many years ago.

Air Conduction drivers seem to be at a disadvantage in comparison. With other equipment, such as Oriolus Traillii or Hifiman Susvara, I felt that I was having the absolute best experience listening to a recording. The Mason FS combines the strengths of iems and physicality of speakers to create something unique and in its own category.

Mason FS allows you to feel the music as if you were playing the instrument or sitting inside the vocalist’s throat. This is unlike anything before it.

The Fabled Sound

Mason FS is tuned to be natural and reference oriented. Brief note on the tuning UM chose. This is neutral, but pleasant. Almost sweet sounding and very natural. The Mason FS will take after which ever source you pair with it. As I prefer slightly warmer house sound, I paired with the Shanling M8, and Shanling is one of my favorite house sounds. This gives Mason FS a neutral with a tilt towards warm. Other reviews have note Mason FS is neutral warm from the start, but I’m waiting for my N6ii to come back from repair to confirm this.


credit: pixabay images

Regarding soundstage, this iem is has a spherical intimate staging. Think of a small jazz club venue vs a large opera house. This iem shines with solo performers that one would typically see perform in such smaller venues.

This tuning is a love letter to musicians. I am keen to see a classical musician or guitarist review this set. For those looking for a fun/engaging iem, this is not the one for you. Perhaps Unique Melody could create a Mentor FS to address this? :wink:

The bass presentation is well defined and accurate just as you expect from a BA. It’s not bloated, but firm and well balanced. The mid bass is slightly elevated, but perhaps this is the M8 influencing the presentation. This is not a lean bass presentation, however. For the longest time, I’ve owned single DD iems as BA bass didn’t provide me the authority that was needed. Not to worry with Mason FS. If the song requires a firm bass note, the Mason FS delivers with absolute authority. In this regard, Mason FS bass reminds of Wilson Audio bass presentation. The bass is reserved but when needed it will punch with absolute authority and is clean. The BC is taking a backseat here and is reserving itself for the mids.

This is where I find Mason FS beats out iems and headphones. This is where your money is going. The BC vibration creates this extra dimension with vocals, this ‘air’ that many folks are describing. The Mason FS gives vocalists their own dimension, their own room to perform. The echo I hear with Tatsuro Yamashita’s album Sonorite, Track 4 (忘れないで) gives atmosphere that I’ve only ever heard with speakers. The reverb in the track is lifelike, Yamashita’s voice is vibrating through your ears, the guitar feels like you’re strumming the strings, it’s unbelievable.
Paganini 24 Caprices by Sueye Park will bring any violinist to life. Hearing the vibrations is one thing, feeling them interact with the air is another.

I’m trying to be objective here, but this presentation so unique and a step above than everything else I’ve heard it caused a major reassessment in my headfi career. This isn’t a curveball UM has thrown, it’s a whole new ball game.

Restrained, in a good way. I feel UM has tuned the treble around the mids and pulled away unpleasant harshness one may find in a IER Z1R so the listener can enjoy the mids more. Given the BC is a full range, I think the BC assisting in the treble more so than in the bass section. Perhaps this is contributing to Mason FS’ nonaggressive treble presentation. I can see some calling the treble a weaker aspect of this set, but in the context of the mids and bass, the tuning is thoughtfully well done. For cymbals, xylophone and the triangle the BA’s and BC work to present an accurate rendition of the sparkle we expect from these instruments. For genres like EDM, this treble presentation doesn’t seem to work.

However, there are caveats to Mason FS.

First, you need the right music. EDM or synthetic music will not sound right with these. If we distill what Mason FS’ strengths are, we can anticipate its weaknesses. Mason FS needs music which generates vibration from an organic source. For a vocalist or an instrument, we can listen to the first rendition without any additional processing straight from the instrument. Synthetic music however requires processing through console and to a transducer, through which it is heard. It is an artificial recording in a sense. In this way, synthetic music like EDM is composed for air conduction drivers from day 1, whereas classical music recordings are attempting to capture the natural sound straight from the instrument. I love my EDM, and Mason FS just doesn’t work with this genre. To give you an idea, I prefer Blessing 2 Dusk for EDM. It will be interesting to see how Unique Melody approaches this challenge for the ‘wilder’ counterpart to Mason FS, the Mentor FS.

Next caveat, the staging is intimate. I’m not sure whether this is an intentional choice by Unique Melody or a limitation of the Bone Conduction driver, however at this level of iem I expect the gear to grow with the music. While orchestra does sound excellent on this set, it fails to replicate the venue to the degree my other reference gear can. When a recording starts adding multiple voices, multiple instruments, the Mason FS can’t seem to scale with the music.

The third caveat is Mason FS is a little picky with source gear. Mason FS does not require very expensive gear, but it does require the right gear. Perhaps a quirk of Mason FS leaning into the Bone Conduction for sound presentation. The DAP you pair Mason FS/Fusang with needs to exercise plenty of control to achieve the right dynamics. A popular choice with Mason FS is Shanling M8, I have been using this combination for most of the time I spent with Mason FS. On the flip side, Mason FS scales immensely with the gear you pair it with. Again, I suspect this is BC driver scaling. When I paired the Cayin C9 headphone amplifier with Shanling M8, the result was so good I ended up listening until the M8 ran out of battery.


After experiencing the marriage of BC and AC on Mason FS, I’m reassessing how to perceive value and sound in the headfi realm. We’ve witnessed pricing in this hobby shoot higher and higher with mostly incremental improvements on conventional technologies. Unique Melody however, offers a new approach in their high end offering and extracts a new dimension out of recordings. Mason FS and Fusang, are gear which showcase leaps forward in acoustic reproduction, technological innovation and almost live up to expectations the price tag set. At this level, I expect excellence in every genre at the very least. The fact I need to look to Mentor FS as a potential solution to Mason’s shortcomings in certain genres is a prominent negative. However, after using Mason FS, everything else just sounds off, empty and hollow. Factor in that you can get Fusang at $4580 (Musicteck will give you a better price if you ask) softens the blow somewhat.

One may do a double take at manufactures who charge similar prices for air conduction sets. Headphones, once touted as the superior alternative to iems, now stands challenged by bone conduction as well. Even the best gear like Susvara and Traillii are constrained by the fundamentals of Air Conduction, unable to deliver the extra dimensionality Fusang and Mason FS can deliver.

We are at the first inning with BC implementation in high end hifi gear. The key challenge UM needs to deliver is, can Mentor FS address the shortcomings with Mason FS and complement it? Can it provide the larger soundstage and work with synthetic music like EDM?

Closing one chapter, starting a new one
The question you need to ask, do you listen to the right music? Are you interested in a novel experience that may alter your perception of other gear? If so, get your packing tape ready, you may go down my path and sell everything. Unique Melody is offering, what I believe, the next chapter for iems and possibly the future of audio. I’m not sure where the journey will take me next, but I do know one thing. I am a bone head :wink:


Testing Equipment:
Sony DMPZ1, Shanling M8, Cayin C9, ifi ZEN DAC Signature
Eartune Fidelity U Tips (strong recc), Eletech Aeneid, Unique Melody Attila.
Last edited:
Fantastic review, well written, and the examples you used were excellent. It's also refreshing how honest you were about the Mason's shortcomings, and described specifically what sort of music it's best suited for. Too many reviews praise or critique the gear without specifying music choice, which doesn't make sense considering that's utlimately what it's used for. Well done, look forward to future reviews.


There are no comments to display.