General Information

Product: MEST MKII

Driver Types: Dynamic + Balanced Armature + Electrostatics (EST) + dBC-S Dual Sides Bone Conduction System, 4-way quadbrid.

Driver Counts: 7+1

Sensitivity: @1KHz 112dB

Frequency Response: 20Hz-70kHz

Cable Sockets: 2-pin Flat

Shells: One Piece Carbon Fiber + Gold Foil

Crossover: 5-way Crossover

Resistance: 12.3 ohm

Driver Configuration: 1 Dynamic Bass Driver + 2 BA Mid Drivers+ 2 BA treble Drivers + 2 EST Ultra-High Drivers + 1 Full Range B2 Bone Conduction Driver

Cable: UM M2 24AWG Upper-Grade OCC Custom Cable

Ear Tips: AZLA SednaEarfit Xelastec SS|MS|M; Blue Heart UM Custom Eartips S|M|L; 3 Pairs of Comply Foam Tips

UIEM MSRP: $1499
CIEM MSRP: $1799

(Only available at Musicteck at this moment)
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Latest reviews

Layman1

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Holographic soundstage, technical performance, tone, detail, musicality, extension, cable
Cons: none worth mentioning for me.
Introduction:

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 product in question, as opposed to readers’, concerning the quality of my reviewing):stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
Pasted below are the IEM details from authorised dealer MusicTeck’s website:
https://shop.musicteck.com/collecti...um-universal-mest-mkii?variant=39279351529534

This link also has photos and explanations of the considerable amount of tech that features in these IEMs.
The MEST retails at USD $1’499 (I believe MusicTeck have a sale on them at present).
Given some of the upgrades this new product offers (read on for more), that’s an impressive amount of
price-hiking-restraint shown by UM, and I thoroughly applaud them for it!

The MEST is a hybrid IEM. Perhaps this now increasingly common term fails to give them the credit they are due; specifically, they are, to the best of my knowledge:
The World’s 2nd or 3rd $1k+ Quad-brid-Hybrid-IEM-Type-Product (!!) :)

Here we have a combination of a single Dynamic Driver (DD) with 4 Balanced Armatures (BA), 2 Electrostatic drivers (EST) and if that wasn’t enough to induce the kind of drooling that would put a teething toddler to shame, it also comes with UM’s patented Bone Conductor Driver as well!
This veritable cornucopia of drivers has been arranged for your delight in the following configuration:

1 x Low (DD)

2 x Mid (BA)

2 x High (BA)

2 x Ultra High (EST)

1 x Bone Conduction Driver (BCD).

Note that UM, far from resting on the laurels of their previous MEST-based achievements, have continued their R&D efforts and the new MEST Mk II now features a new and improved BCD that spans the whole frequency spectrum of these IEMs, rather than just the mids and highs as the original MEST did.

It is a source of vicarious (but thoroughly legal) pleasure to be able to tell you that another area in which UM made changes with the MEST Mk II was with its appearance.
So, without any further ado, Layman1 cordially invites you to proceed to the section that - with almost Brutalist utilitarianism - is merely entitled ‘Photos’ :)


Photos:
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Build Quality and accessories:

The MEST are solidly built with no visible blemishes or flaws of any kind.
The only small criticism I could level at them 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 Mk II’s come in what I personally consider to be greatly improved design, with carbon fibre appearance flecked with gold, which goes marvellously well with gold (or black and gold) DAPs, such as the Sony WM1Z.

They come with a 0.78mm 2-pin 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.

The original MEST came with a pretty impressive array of complimentary accessories, and I’m delighted to report that the Mk II once again brings improvements and further value.
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 Mk II 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).

The cable itself is – for my preferences – a huge step up from the one that came with the original MEST. That was good enough, but I find the new one to be slimmer and lighter, very soft and supple whilst still feeling robust. Aside from that, this PW Audio designed and built cable is frankly gorgeous. It has some seriously great design touches, with the fairly glossy looking black cables offset by matte black plug, connectors and Y-split, and the UM logo prominently displayed on all of them.


Sound:

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) and iBasso DX220MAX.

Rather than have a separate comparisons section, I’ll be including comparisons between the MEST Mk II and the original model scattered throughout this section, simply because I think it’s the single most-requested comparison with the Mk II and also because the similar DNA shared by both IEMs makes it easier to compare apples with apples, so to speak.

Lows:
One of the things I liked a lot about the original MEST was the controlled but powerful low end, and the Mk II does not disappoint at all in this regard. I feel it has quite a deep sub-bass extension with more power, depth and impact than that on the original MEST. With both models, I feel there is more emphasis on the sub-bass than the mid-bass, although that’s certainly not lacking. Indeed, I feel it’s one of the areas in which the Mk II differs from the original MEST, in that there’s a bit more mid-bass presence that helps to add some warmth and body to the mid-bass and the mids that I felt was slightly lacking in the original model.

Mids:
I hear the MEST Mk II to be moderately full-bodied (this quality varies from DAP to DAP).
I do feel that it has more body and note weight in the mids than the original.
This quality was more noticeable when listening with the DX220MAX, which I’ve reviewed previously and observed the authoritative amount of power and weight it infuses into the notes on most IEMs I plug into it. With the WM1Z, there was comparatively a little less note weight, but this was not really a negative point at any time, since the WM1Z brought its own organic richness to the mids of the Mk II.

As a comparison, I used two tracks from 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.

I notice with Golden Boy, from around 1m55s into the song, it breaks into a brief guitar solo followed by a quick instrument breakdown and re-introduction.
With the original MEST, I heard the guitar riff, bass and drums to take a very slight step back in the mix to the lead guitar solo, and yet this had the effect of increasing the musicality for me, bringing a delicate warmth and richness to those other instruments and making this part of the song as a whole sound a little more dynamic.

On the other hand, with the MEST Mk II, I found this section of the song to sound great, but slightly more homogenous and indistinct. I’d guess that this was down to a two possible factors; namely the tonality of the tuning in the mids of the two IEMs, and perhaps the way in which layering is implemented in each of them (or the effect of the tuning of the mids upon the layering).

Aside from this, with MEST Mk II, I felt the rim-taps of the drummer (or whatever that percussion effect was that came in just after the solo and breakdown) had more of a ring and chime to them than with the original MEST.
With the track ‘Sinister’ an immediate difference becomes clear.

The song opens with a mixture of kick drum and snare and a cello comes in shortly after.
I hear a good deal more thump, impact and body to the kick drum with the Mk II, a little more clarity and edge to the high-hat on the original MEST, and with the Mk II again the cello also benefits from the increased body and weight, as well as exhibiting a more realistic timbre with a lovely texture.

Generally with vocals, I hear a bit more body and meat and texture with the Mk II, and this quality is noticeable with guitars too, both acoustic and electric.
Playing ‘The Boy in the Bubble’ by Paul Simon on my DX220MAX, I noticed an absolutely captivating meaty, engaging and full-bodied tone with the accordion instrument that the song opens with. This wasn’t so pronounced on the WM1Z.

The original MEST has some qualities more reminiscent of an ‘Eastern’ style tuning, whereas the tuning of the Mk II leans a bit more towards a ‘Western’ style.
Whilst both IEMs can be described as having a W-shaped sound signature, I feel the original MEST has more of an emphasis on the upper mids and treble, with less body, warmth and richness in the lows and lower-mids.
The Mk II rather flips this on its head, with increased weight, richness and body in the lows and lower mids, and the upper mids – whilst by no means recessed – taking a more equal place with the lower mids.

What this means in practicality is that if you’re a fan of music featuring female vocals from places like Japan, India, Chinese-speaking areas, Korea, Thailand etc – and to some extent even some of the comparatively higher pitched male vocals from these areas - you’ll probably find the original MEST to offer more sweetness and clarity to those vocals, whereas for male vocals, especially Western ones, I feel there’s more richness, meatiness and body on offer with the Mk II, which really brings out the best in them.
There are always exceptions to both rules of course, but this is just some general guidance.



Highs:
This is an area in which there’s a fair degree of overlap between the two models, when one examines this part of the sound signature in isolation. I make that distinction, because my original immediate reaction with the Mk II was that it was less spacious and extended than the original. However, further critical listening disabused me of this misconception.

It’s simply that the increased note thickness and body in the mids and lows of the Mk II have the effect of using up comparatively more of the space available within the soundstage, leading to the perception of slightly less spaciousness and air. In actuality, the highs of the Mk II are pretty much just as extended, and the air and spaciousness is there; it’s just filled in a bit more with this model. Clarity and detail are equally stunning on both models.

Technical Performance:
The original MEST frankly astonished me with its technical performance, and the MEST Mk II not only matches that, but I think lifts the bar slightly higher too.

With the Bone Conduction Driver in the Mk II now handling its entire frequency spectrum, I feel there’s a touch more coherence and slightly more accuracy in the timbre overall.
It’s a close thing and not a huge difference, and of course one’s perception of this is going to be slightly skewed by the differing tonal presentation of the two IEMs.

With the original MEST, detail retrieval is perhaps a touch more apparent, simply because the somewhat leaner presentation and smaller note size leaves more space between the instruments and vocals, allowing details a bit more room to pop out. However, I think the Mk II possesses equally fantastic levels of detail retrieval, but due to the somewhat busier mids, those details are a bit more organic and natural in the way they present themselves.

As with the original, the soundstage is stunningly huge and holographic, the separation – whilst not quite as obvious as with the original MEST – similarly world-class, and the imaging, layering and resolution are equally superb. For the price point – and even aside from any consideration of price points – its performance is superlative.


Sources and synergies:

iBasso DX220MAX:
With the DX220MAX, I found there to be a remarkably good synergy with the MEST Mk II.

This DAP brought out a little bit more of a meaty and full-bodied tone, along with a significant amount of note weight. However, it also brought a nice touch of clarity, space and separation that allowed the Mk II to open up a bit more and have more breathing room.
This meant that there seemed to be a bit more space between the notes, and the details seemed to pop out with more clarity. The mids seemed to be pushed slightly more forwards; on the majority of tracks this was A Good Thing, but on one or two occasions, I found it to be a tiny bit sharp, compared with the more organic and laid-back signature of the WM1Z. Generally there seemed to be a bit more air and extension in the highs too.

Sony WM1Z:
As mentioned, this has a comparatively warmer and more organic signature than the DX220MAX, and I found it to be a really enjoyable pairing with the MEST Mk II.
The WM1Z, with MrWalkman’s custom FW (Midnight Plus), has a strong technical performance too, and this matched up well with the Mk II, allowing the marvellous technical qualities of this IEM to shine.
I found the mids and highs to be a bit more smooth and neutrally positioned compared with the DX220MAX. The lows had a bit more mid-bass presence, whereas I feel the sub-bass was comparatively a touch more enhanced with the DX220MAX.


iBasso DX300:
I didn’t spend much time with this pair up simply because, with the MEST Mk II, it felt tonally like somewhere pretty much mid-way between the signatures of the DX220MAX and the WM1Z. I found more of a significant contrast when listening with those two DAPs, and more of a noticeable synergy with each, albeit in different ways.
However, a couple of caveats:

Firstly, this was still a high-quality pairing, and if you were reading my notes on the two DAPs above and thinking “Gosh, Layman1, if only there were a DAP that could combine some of the qualities from each of those two!” then today’s your lucky day :D

Secondly, I was listening using the stock AMP11 that came with the DX300.
I just received the new AMP12 whilst finishing up this review and I suspect I’m going to like its sound signature more than that of the AMP11. So I’ll include the MEST Mk II in my review of that AMP unit, once I’ve burned it in and spent some time listening to it :)


Conclusion:

I think people who prefer a leaner signature, or one with more forward mids, or one that favours Eastern style music from the Asia region such Japan, Korea, Chinese-speaking countries and so forth, will perhaps feel more at home with the original MEST, which is – as I have often said – a superb IEM. Similarly, people who have enjoyed the Empire Ears Odin or Zeus may find more in common sonically with the original MEST.

I’d describe the original MEST as being comparatively a little bit more vivid, bright and forward than the MEST Mk II.
Conversely, for those – like myself – who loved the original MEST but would have preferred a bit more body and richness in the mids, or a more ergonomic fit or slicker design, the new Mk II is going to be worth a listen, or even an outright blind purchase :)

Simply put, the Mk II picks up the gauntlet thrown down by the original MEST, offering the kind of holographic soundstage, separation, detail, clarity and timbre that one would normally expect to find in an IEM with an extra thousand plus dollars slapped onto the price tag. Not only that, it brings a somewhat more conventional tuning with increased body, richness and warmth in the mids, a touch more impact and slam and weight in the lows and improvements across the board in ergonomics, design, engineering and accessories.

At this price – and at this price one can only speak comparatively – I believe it to offer excellent value for money and I have no hesitation in recommending it.

skedra

Head-Fier
New Favourite
Pros: Great fit, great package, extremely good tuning, immersive stage, amazing performance across the board
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Overview:
Last year Unique Melody released the MEST, which quickly became my favourite IEM. With its unique driver setup, it sounded different than everything else I’ve heard before re-defining its price bracket. A few months ago Unique Melody released the MEST MK2, based on the same driver setup with an improved bone conduction driver, better airflow management and different shell design.

Big thank you to Unique Melody and MusicTeck for providing the demo unit in exchange for an unbiased review. The opinions expressed below are my own.

The Unique Melody MEST is available for sale on MusicTeck

In the box:
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  • IEMs
  • Case
  • 4.4 to 2 pin copper cable (source termination is selectable)
  • Magnetic cable clip
  • 4 sets of standard silicone tips
  • 3 sets of SednaEarfit Xelastec tips
  • 3 sets of Comply Foam tips
  • Cleaning cloth
  • USB warranty card

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Build quality and accessories:
Starting with the IEMs, the shells are made nicely, the clear acrylic mixed with carbon fibre and specs of gold gives the faceplate a bit of depth and makes it more interesting to look at. Same as the original MEST the MK2 shells have a great finish to them, no sharp or rough edges, the pins are flush with the shell which is a nice improvement over the originals which used QDC pins (wired as 2 pins). The back vent being covered is also a nice addition, makes for a much more polished product.

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The cable is very good, especially in terms of the plugs used. They are bespoke for Unique Melody and fit the theme and look of the IEMs really well. They appear to be either made by Pentaconn or AEC, both of which supply very high-quality plugs. The wire itself is a little bit stiff, but not to the point of being bothersome or take away from the build quality.

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The Y split isn’t something that I usually pay attention to, but in this case, it matches very well with the overall cable aesthetics and while light gives that premium feeling in contrast to the shrink wrap used on the original MEST cable. The slider also works very well, doesn’t rattle and when set stays in place.


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The cable clip and the way it’s recommended to be used by Unique Melody is something completely new to me. However, it’s also something more manufacturers should do. It keeps the cable neat in the case and also doesn’t dangle on the cable when using the IEMs while helping to keep the cable neat and comfortable.

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The case is the same case used for the original MEST, and as I mentioned in that review it’s a great case, both in terms of being protective but also the build quality. I do wish Unique Melody made the case match the colour of the MK2 by making it black, grey and gold. That would have added a matching feel to the whole package.

In terms of other accessories, the Xelastec tips are an amazing addition, I found they were something that worked very well with the original MEST and this is still the case with the MK2. The fact Unique Melody provides a selection pack also means you can figure out the size you may need to buy in the future. The card/USB warranty card is also an admirable touch to make the package that bit more premium.

The whole package feels like a mature version of what came with the MEST MK1, everything that needed improvement was improved, more small things were added to make it feel more worth the money spent.

Fit and comfort:
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The fit on the MEST MK2 is great. And I say this having owned a fair few pseudo custom IEMs in the past, which oftentimes are a bit too “aggressive”, making parts of the ear hurt after a while because while the IEM fits securely it also presses against them to achieve it.

The MK2 takes an approach that ends up being extremely comfortable, a shorter stem (or closer to the shell stem) also makes shell contact much easier to achieve.

Thanks to the above I found I can wear the IEMs for 8h straight without much if any fatigue from the shells pressing on my ears.

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Sound:
It’s rare for me to say something is tuned perfectly for all music, but I think this may be the time to say this. MEST MK2 has, what I would call a slightly downward shifted W signature. Usually, things that are tuned for everything aren’t actually good at anything, this may be one of those times this ain’t true.

Bass:
Fast, deep, very dynamic and textured. Listening to “Trentemøller – Evil Dub” every single bass note has a definition and texture to it, it makes listening to it a visceral experience, you can almost touch the bass notes. “Bonefield – Window” shows how deep the bass can be on the MEST MK2, it can literally shake your jaw, even when pushed to really high volume I never found it to distort, which makes me think for those who want more of it EQ should work just fine. Finally, listening to “Infected Mushroom – Demons of Pain (Remix)”, usually here is where small dynamic drivers can’t keep up, yet again MEST deals with it like it was nothing, it punches hard and keeps bass control throughout the song.

Midrange:
Again, an extremely good performance here, the midrange is full-bodied, remarkably textured and while “fun” sounding, it never takes away from being natural in presentation. This is one of those IEMs where you can pick up the slightest reverberations in a vocal or a finger sliding on a guitar note when that note is played, while not forcing that information onto the listener. “Accept – Beat the Bastards” guitar solo is almost overwhelming with how much raw texture is pulled out by the MEST. Listening to “John Frusciante – Scratches” conveys his voice in a smooth yet detailed manner, imagine a drink with a lot of character, but so well balanced it never feels like there’s too much of it.

Treble:
Yet again the treble is tuned very well while keeping a great performance across the board. As someone who listens to both really well recorded and mastered music as well as the opposite side of the spectrum with really badly recorded and mastered punk / electronic / metal, I always appreciate a product that can shuffle between all of them while not making me want to skip songs from either category. I’d call the treble a touch on the darker side, albeit this is mostly due to it being relatively less “boosted” than the bass and the midrange.

Imaging and Soundstage:
I think MEST MK2 still has the magic of disappearing, you no longer listen to an IEM, instead, you listen to this landscape of music presented in front of you, with things jumping out of nowhere. The absolute best example of this is listening to the album Dark Days Exit by Felix Laband, sounds happen all around you, as well as inside your head. It’s a wild experience I wish everyone can try.

Tip choices:
I won't get into too much detail in terms of tips for the MK2, my recommendations go to Beyerdynamic Xelento silicone tips (the asymmetrical ones). They provide a very deep fit without actually going very deep into the ear canal. This to me makes all the difference in terms of comfort for longer periods of time. The second choice would be xelastec tips, they are more secure than the Xelento ones but do need to go deeper into the ear. In general MEST tends to work really well with wide bore short tips. Anything else skews the FR to either have too much bass or lacking bass. A shallow fit/fit without shell contact with the ear also kills the effects of the bone conduction driver.

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MEST MK1 vs MK2 Comparison:
I think this is what a lot of people came here for. Is the MK2 worth the upgrade?

Starting with fit, the MK2 is much better than the original, the shells feel smaller, they keep in the ears better, they are less tip picky. Additionally, the use of standard 2 pin connectors means you get more choice in terms of cable upgrades in the future.

Sonically, the MK2 feels like a mature version of the original, bass is faster, much more dynamic and feels even more textured.

The midrange has more body to it and even more texture while keeping the smoothness of the original MEST. The MK1 had a bit more of an upper midrange forwardness/bite, which made it a touch more suited for specific genres in that regard, but after spending the time with the MK2 it becomes apparent that this comes with tradeoffs which to me aren’t worth it.

The treble on the MK2 has as much definition and what feels like even more detail (while being less prone to being fatiguing) than it was on the MK1. As someone who uses headphones hours at a time, this is another welcome addition.

The stage on the MK2 may not feel as “vivid” due to a bit less bite still has the same ability to show you the music in that special MEST way.

To me, MEST MK2 is a grown-up version of the original, and as such, it is a worthy upgrade.

Conclusion:
Unique Melody does it again. I can wholeheartedly recommend the MEST MK2 to pretty much everyone. There is nothing it does wrong and a whole lot it does amazingly well. It’s a great improvement over the original MEST. Finally, I wish more companies took the feedback from the customers like what Unique Melody did with the MEST MK1 in creating the MK2.

Find the original review here:
https://vikingaudioblog.com/2021/05/23/unique-melody-mest-mk2/
Last edited:
Sajid Amit
Sajid Amit
Great review!
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starouterspace
starouterspace
Great review and amazing photos especially!
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M
Mentros
Awesome review, glad they fixed the fit. More companies need to start listening to customers, like Unique Melody:ksc75smile:.
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bluestorm1992

Headphoneus Supremus
UM Mest MKii - A Steady Step Up
Pros: Improved fit. Improved set of accessories. Incredible Sound Stage. Neutral and revealing tonality. Excellent value.
Cons: The harshness in sound is sill there but to a lesser degree; pairing with certain sources fixes this.


Here comes my impressions of the Mest MKii and a comparison with the Mest OG. In the above pic, OG is the one with blue chips in the shell and silver-colored cable. MKii is the one with gold chips and black-colored cable. Like my other review, let me get my conclusion out first.

The Mest MKii is a steady step up from the OG. Put it simply, it addresses a couple of the biggest complaints I have for the OG, which are:
  • The number one complaint I had with OG was the fit. It was too big for my ear. Most of the time I need to push it in to get an OK fit, but after hours' long of listening it can still get a bit shaky and I need to readjust the position of it. I tried 5 different kinds of tips and none of them fully solve this issue. MKii is noticeably smaller in size and with a modified form of the shell which achieves a much better fit to my ears. Now, MKii fits my ears like a CIEM. I will share some side-by-side pics below.
  • The recessed mids and the edges/harshness in sound I can hear from time to time. That was another big complaint from me as I listen to vocals a lot. I strongly suspect that this is due to my poor fit with OG. With MKii, the recessed mids thing gets significantly improved. The harshness in sound is somewhat improved, but I find that the degree of improvement depends on the source you pair with it.
Mest MKii also comes with a better set of accessories. The cable is now made by PW Audio and is a very nice copper cable. I find it to be more premium and comfortable to have on compared to the cable in OG. MKii also comes with a set of AZLA ear tips which are incredible. In fact, on OG I ended up using the AZLA tips as it gives me the best fit, so I am pleasantly surprised that MKii comes with this as standard in the package.

And, what are the things that MKii keeps from OG? Basically, MKii preserves the strength of OG very well.
  • The excellent sound stage. Just incredible.
  • A neutral tuning with decent clarity and imaging. The layering and separation between bass, mids, and treble are also quite well-achieved, although some people may think that there is a slight lack of coherence among them. I find the lack of coherence to be less in MKii than in OG. Again, this could be due to the improved fit I get.
My quick suggestion for people who had the OG and are curious about MKii:
  • If you are an OG owner and have fit issues, then of course I will recommend moving to the MKii, especially if you are into vocals. The improvement is just so obvious to me.
  • If you get a good fit already or if you have a customed version, I don't think you will need to upgrade. For OG, I have seen from several reviewers that the sound is supposed to be smooth if you find the right tips and have the right fit. Hence, if you do not have any real complaints about it, especially about the recessed mids and edges in sound, and you find the OG to be comfortable in long listening sessions, then I think the benefit of upgrading is small. The benefit could be there, but I doubt it will justify the cost of roughly $600 (the difference between buying a new MKii and what you get from selling the OG).
  • If you are debating between OG and MKii - MKii is a safe choice to go as it is able to preserve most of the good stuff in OG and comes with an improved fit.

Now, let me dive into and give more details about the FIT and sound signature of Mest MKii. Most of the listening is done with LP's new dongle W2. The test is done with 3.5mm termination for both OG and MKii. A DDHifi 2.5 to 3.5 adapter is used with MKii.

The Fit Comparison between OG and MKii

I think it is most direct for me to use side-by-side pics to demonstrate the size comparisons between OG and MKii. Overall, MKii is smaller. Its shell has more curvatures that should work with your ears better. I also find it to be slightly lighter when wearing it for a long time, but this could be due to the improved fit. The left is MKii and the right is OG.



The Sound Signature of MEST MKii

This section is mostly for the people who are new to Mest. Welcome and I think you are in for a treat.

Mest's biggest strength is its sound stage, which is (at least partially) enabled by its innovative bone-conductor driver. I would describe the sound stage of Mest as wide, deep, and real. From time to time I do not feel that I am listening to an IEM - everything feels so real around me. This is really an experience different from any other IEMs I have tried, except for the Traillii. The benefit of this incredible sound stage is that the music feels real to the listener. You can feel that you are really there, on the performing stage or in the recording room, listening to the artist performing.

Because of the depth Mest is able to achieve in the sound stage, it creates the "room" for Mest to achieve good separation and clarity in the sound. Things are rarely "compressed" together and I rarely feel the sound to be muddled. The imaging you get is also quite good.

Sound Comparison between Mest OG and Mest MKii

Overall, I would say both Mest OG and MKii have a neutral sound signature.

For OG, it has good bass and good treble extensions, but I have found its mids to be quite recessed. This has created difficulties for me to appreciate the emotion the singer tries to deliver, and I don't feel enough of the "impact" from the music. Most of my listening is on female vocals, so this troubles me a lot. In some sense, this is similar to the problem I had with the Sony IER-Z1R, which has excellent soundstage and clarity of music, but the recessed mids made me move away from it.

For MKii, I have found the mids to be significantly better to my ears. It is more forward but not too intimate. Kind of at the perfect balanced position to me. Because of this, the imaging of the mids improved quite a lot for me. Overall, with MKii, I can say that the bass, mids, and treble achieves a good balance.

Regarding the coherence between bass, mids, and treble. In OG I have found them to be pretty "separated". Some people like this and some people don't. In MKii, I have found the coherence among them improves quite a lot, and this is achieved without suppressing them together.

It is also worth noting that I have found both OG and MKii to be quite revealing of the signature of the source, and MKii is the more revealing one of the two.

The Potential of Mest MKii

As I have hinted above, the coherence of Mest MKii can be improved by pairing it with the right source. Because this is a quick impression, I have only been able to do my assessment mostly based on LP's new dongle W2. I managed to spend some time to test its pairing with SP2000 and my "ultimate" IEM machine Cayin N6ii + C9. What I can say is Mest scales up BIG when you find a good source to pair it with. When using Cayin N6ii + C9, I get an incredible experience of the imaging and presence of the music. Everything is vivid and soooo real! I have no more complaints about the harshness of the sound. The sound stage is even better and more extended. WOW. This is possibly the best IEM experience I have had and competes with my experience with Traillii - too bad that I longer have the little bird for a side-by-side comparison. (A side note: Cayin and UM are from the same city and their employees have a very good relationship, so I suspect UM has done quite some tuning test with Cayin's products).

OK let me calm down a bit and stop raving about this pairing. In the coming days, I will spend more time trying out Mest MKii with different sources, including Lotoo S1, Cayin N6ii (E02), SP2000, and of course the N6ii +C9 stack. My initial impression across these pairings is that Mest is quite revealing for the signature of the source. As a result, its performance scales with the source, and it opens up the possibility for you to use an appropriate source to achieve an "optimal" sound to your ears.

Verdict and The Value of Mest

I think Mest is easily my most recommended IEM at the price range of $1000-2000. It can certainly be the BEST choice for a lot of people. I have owned or tried many IEMs that are more expensive than $2000 (check out my signature lol). Now they are all gone and Mest is the one I am keeping as I find it to be of incredible value and also because I have enjoyed its incredible sound stage so much. Although I have had some complaints about the fit of OG, this still does not stop me from keeping it as my daily driver. So, when MKii is announced, I am incredibly excited to get one and I am happy to report that UM listens and is able to deliver an improved version of the Mest that will be a better fit for a group of users. Incredible value from the Mest again and nice job UM!

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KickAssChewGum
KickAssChewGum
Thanks! Great review and fantastic photos! The red one is insane!

Comments

UniqueMelody

Sponsor: Unique Melody
@UniqueMelody I'm seriously considering the pre-order!
Will there be a international and a japanese version for the MKII as well? Thanks and looking forward to what future brings!
This is the MKii international version. There will be a JP/HK special edition but it will be released probably next year with the same tech inside, but different tuning like what we did for the original MEST and MEST JP. And I believe the MEST JP mkii would be very different from the int MKII. The Int MKII will be a lot more suitable for rock, metal,Jazz, EDM, Western Pop, and some classical (more bass, less bright, larger dynamic range, thicker notes , fuller sound, quicker response, neutral-warm tone). JP mkii would lean towards female vocal, Asian pop, anime theme etc (airier treble, brighter, slightly forward mid, clearer vocal image, softer bass). But the JP mkii is just a blueprint, not exactly sure how it will sound like.
 

Leviathant

100+ Head-Fier
@UniqueMelody

Hi, You kindly reached out for feedback a couple of months ago as I (amongst a few others) was experiencing fit issues with the original universal MEST. I’m wondering if you could provide more specific information on how exactly this has been addressed in the revised MKII (as I’m very intrigued in giving MEST another go now).

Previously you said that the Universal MEST needed deeper insertion to ensure good contact with the ear which allowed the listener to get the best out of the bone conductor driver (BCD). Is it now the case that the placement of the BCD within MKII shell means that deep insertion is less important? If so, is this because the BCD comes into contact with more of the shell surface (internally) and therefore more of the ear makes ‘successful surface contact’ with the BCD even with a shallower insertion? Or, would you say any intended sound improvements are more to do with providing a smaller shell which naturally fits closer/tighter in a typical ear shapes and thus more contact with the BCD that way?

Also, with the new SednaEarfits ear tips supplied... Are these intended to provide more grip for deeper insertion and to stop them sliding out more? (If deeper insertion is still recommended?). Previously I’ve found the wider bore of the SednaEarfit has made the sounder brighter (raise the treble), has this played a factor when tuning the MKII at all? (Is the MKII tuned specifically for these tips?)

You also mentioned previously that the custom MEST was clearly designed to provide a different (and ‘better’) musical experience because of the contact of the BCD with the ear (amongst other reasons?)... Would you say the MKII is now closer to the custom experience (compared to how the original MEST)? Did I read it right that the MKII is a bit darker sounding than the original universal which is more typical of a custom sound (UIEMs across the market typically have more treble vs their custom counterparts)? Would you say this is a fair assessment?

Appreciate your thoughts on this! Thanks in advance!
 

UniqueMelody

Sponsor: Unique Melody
@UniqueMelody

Hi, You kindly reached out for feedback a couple of months ago as I (amongst a few others) was experiencing fit issues with the original universal MEST. I’m wondering if you could provide more specific information on how exactly this has been addressed in the revised MKII (as I’m very intrigued in giving MEST another go now).

Previously you said that the Universal MEST needed deeper insertion to ensure good contact with the ear which allowed the listener to get the best out of the bone conductor driver (BCD). Is it now the case that the placement of the BCD within MKII shell means that deep insertion is less important? If so, is this because the BCD comes into contact with more of the shell surface (internally) and therefore more of the ear makes ‘successful surface contact’ with the BCD even with a shallower insertion? Or, would you say any intended sound improvements are more to do with providing a smaller shell which naturally fits closer/tighter in a typical ear shapes and thus more contact with the BCD that way?

Also, with the new SednaEarfits ear tips supplied... Are these intended to provide more grip for deeper insertion and to stop them sliding out more? (If deeper insertion is still recommended?). Previously I’ve found the wider bore of the SednaEarfit has made the sounder brighter (raise the treble), has this played a factor when tuning the MKII at all? (Is the MKII tuned specifically for these tips?)

You also mentioned previously that the custom MEST was clearly designed to provide a different (and ‘better’) musical experience because of the contact of the BCD with the ear (amongst other reasons?)... Would you say the MKII is now closer to the custom experience (compared to how the original MEST)? Did I read it right that the MKII is a bit darker sounding than the original universal which is more typical of a custom sound (UIEMs across the market typically have more treble vs their custom counterparts)? Would you say this is a fair assessment?

Appreciate your thoughts on this! Thanks in advance!
You are mostly spot on! The idea of "deep insertion" was often mistaken by some of our customers. But you are exactly right, deep insertion is only for more skin contact between ears and shells. MKii is in a semi-custom shell that no longer requires deep insertion for most ears, you can easily get the sound from BCD with normal insertion.
The Dual Sides BCD is more of a technology revolution than a change of placement. It was newly designed it now provides 2 sides of vibration covering different FR. So the main purpose of the new BCD driver is to provide a wider frequency response range, not for increasing contact between driver and shell.

We didn't tune for SednaEarfits ear tips, but we choose SednaEarfits ear tips based on the tuning of MKii. We have tested basically all major brands and found xelastec and Comply provide the best fit and sound synergy with MKii--one of the brighter, engaging sound/ one for the darker, smooth sound.

The sonic differences between custom and universal are mainly from the fit and isolation. The retuning plan was directed by the 4 factors-- our own thoughts on the original MEST, customer feedback/surveys, online reviews, and Spotify databases. We filtered out some main genres that western audiophiles tend to prefer from the surveys and Spotify 2020 datasets( unfortunately, Tidal and Qobus's databases are not widely available online and Spotify is less relevant to the audiophiles community, so the major data input is still from the survey). In short, approximately 55% of votes went to Rock/POP/EDM/HipHop which is classified into one category; 35% went to Instrumental Jazz, Acoustic, Classical; Rest in Vocal/Jazz Vocal. The major sonic weaknesses of OG MEST we detected from feedbacks and reviews are-- mid is a little bit thin, the treble is sharp for some records. We made some tuning adjustments based on the information we have collected. So we mainly changed the sound texture and timbre, not the FR distribution. We added a little bit more sub-bass and mid-bass on MKii; let the BCD play a more important rule to add some flesh to the mid without letting the mid being too forward and interrupt the overall image; retuned the EST drivers to let them have a better synergy between BA and BCD to reduce some edgy spots at the ultra-high frequency; expand a touch front to back soundstage to let MKII more capable for instrumental music.

I hope these can answer your questions, if you have more questions feel free to PM me at any time.
 

Leviathant

100+ Head-Fier
You are mostly spot on! The idea of "deep insertion" was often mistaken by some of our customers. But you are exactly right, deep insertion is only for more skin contact between ears and shells. MKii is in a semi-custom shell that no longer requires deep insertion for most ears, you can easily get the sound from BCD with normal insertion.
The Dual Sides BCD is more of a technology revolution than a change of placement. It was newly designed it now provides 2 sides of vibration covering different FR. So the main purpose of the new BCD driver is to provide a wider frequency response range, not for increasing contact between driver and shell.

We didn't tune for SednaEarfits ear tips, but we choose SednaEarfits ear tips based on the tuning of MKii. We have tested basically all major brands and found xelastec and Comply provide the best fit and sound synergy with MKii--one of the brighter, engaging sound/ one for the darker, smooth sound.

The sonic differences between custom and universal are mainly from the fit and isolation. The retuning plan was directed by the 4 factors-- our own thoughts on the original MEST, customer feedback/surveys, online reviews, and Spotify databases. We filtered out some main genres that western audiophiles tend to prefer from the surveys and Spotify 2020 datasets( unfortunately, Tidal and Qobus's databases are not widely available online and Spotify is less relevant to the audiophiles community, so the major data input is still from the survey). In short, approximately 55% of votes went to Rock/POP/EDM/HipHop which is classified into one category; 35% went to Instrumental Jazz, Acoustic, Classical; Rest in Vocal/Jazz Vocal. The major sonic weaknesses of OG MEST we detected from feedbacks and reviews are-- mid is a little bit thin, the treble is sharp for some records. We made some tuning adjustments based on the information we have collected. So we mainly changed the sound texture and timbre, not the FR distribution. We added a little bit more sub-bass and mid-bass on MKii; let the BCD play a more important rule to add some flesh to the mid without letting the mid being too forward and interrupt the overall image; retuned the EST drivers to let them have a better synergy between BA and BCD to reduce some edgy spots at the ultra-high frequency; expand a touch front to back soundstage to let MKII more capable for instrumental music.

I hope these can answer your questions, if you have more questions feel free to PM me at any time.

Wow fantastic, thanks for that!

I really appreciate the explanation and also your commitment to tweaking your product based on user feedback etc.

I’m sure I’ll have a few more questions in time so I’ll let you know! Thanks again! :)
 

lmf22

1000+ Head-Fier
I pre-ordered last Friday (March 12)! I have been reading the MEST impressions thread and got really excited about them. Great to hear about the changes that were made for the MKII. I'm happy to hear that the MKII is smaller, has a warmer sound, less bright on the treble, and doesn't require as deep insertion as the first version.
 

UniqueMelody

Sponsor: Unique Melody
I pre-ordered last Friday (March 12)! I have been reading the MEST impressions thread and got really excited about them. Great to hear about the changes that were made for the MKII. I'm happy to hear that the MKII is smaller, has a warmer sound, less bright on the treble, and doesn't require as deep insertion as the first version.
Thanks to the power of big data... We know what you need and we make what you want.
 

chi2

500+ Head-Fier
@UniqueMelody Thanks for this valuable information on the MK II. Do you happen to have comparative frequency response measurements with the og Mest?
 

unnome

New Head-Fier
@UniqueMelody Thanks for this valuable information on the MK II. Do you happen to have comparative frequency response measurements with the og Mest?
I think it's here --> tinyurl.com/3pdrejc2 (it's a link to page 129 of the "Unique Melody MEST MKII/MEST/mini MEST Announcement and Impression Thread." in this website)

However you do have a good point: might be helpful to cross post the information
 

chi2

500+ Head-Fier
@unnome Thanks for the link. Much appreciated!
The main difference seems to be in the bass with up to about 4 dB plus for MK II. Now I am most happy with the og's low frequency presentation and more power there may be too much for me. My only gripe with the og MEST is a bit too much high frequency presence. Comply foams however make it very nice for my ears and the extension and air is a welcome contrast to U12t and PP8. The minor changes in frequency response of MK II in the highs doesn't seem to make compy tips dispensable for me. Guess I'll stick to the og which I still find most impressive and which is, together with IER-Z1R, U12t and TiaTrio, one of my favorites.
 

Frainen

New Head-Fier
Received mine, I was really looking forward.
I don't have the skills to write a full review, but in few words I consider them better than the previous JP version.
Smaller with a better fit, really nice to wear, I would forget them.

I slightly prefer the bass on the Mkii, but it is really with the mids that I heard the difference with the JP version.

The cable is definitely a good improvement compared to the terrible one that was bundled with the JP version. This one is quite good, I took 4.4mm. It is not at the level of what you would get with an Empire Ears Odin, but it is a good cable, no microphonic. It just tangle a bit too much for my taste. However I believe I will use it for a while.

Paired them with the Fiio m15 using the balanced output, it is really great.
No fatigue listening to this set, I was a MEST lover, but sometime regretted how shy it could be with sub and mid compared to the Odin that I like. Now I would say the Mkii do the job for most of the music library and the advantage of the Odin is not enough to justify the fatigue you can have with them for the High.

Don't story short, Love them.
 

mclover

Head-Fier
Is anyone able to offer a comparison between the 3dt and the mest mk2? The 3dt is one of my favorite iems and I too have owned a fair share of phones.
 
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