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

bluestorm1992

1000+ Head-Fier
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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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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