Unique Melody MEST

General Information

MEST is our first hybrid headphones that use four different types of drivers-- bone conduction, EST, balanced armature, and dynamic.
Drivers Configuration(per side):
1x Bone conduction driver to embellish the mid and treble.
2x EST drivers serve ultra-high frequency.
2x High BA drivers.
2x Mid-high BA drivers.
1x Dynamic driver serves mid and bass.

Estimated MSRP:
$1399 for a universal fit
$1699 for a customized fit

Latest reviews

Pros: Excellent resolution, imaging and holographic soundstage
Nice shell design/artwork and fit
Relatively inexpensive for how it sounds
Cons: 6K treble bump may be deal breaker for some
Bass can be muddy at times, but seems to vary depending on tip and seal.
Tip dependent

Unique Melody’s brand name has always been what I’d call appropriate. They’ve always never been shy of thinking well outside the box and coming up with very unique in-ear monitor ideas, from crazy design choices, to using unique drivers, such as the planar driver in the ME1, which I own, and to using additive manufacturing to produce a crazy web of titanium for a custom IEM shell.

UM’s latest model, the MEST, is yet another product that shows they aren’t afraid of trying something fresh and new. This IEM is features 4 separate driver technologies in a single unit. The IEM includes a single dynamic driver, 4 balance armatures, 2 electrostatic tweeters, and a bone conductor driver. Yes, I am not making that up. They added bone conduction to this foray.

Let me just quickly thank Unique Melody themselves for allowing me to participate in this MEST tour. I was able to listen to this IEM for a week’s time before shipping it to the next user on the Head-Fi Loaner tour.


Now back to this interesting setup. I’ve only tried a few bone conducting earphones in the past with my experience primarily around the Aftershokz. This popular bone conducting earphone seems to be pretty popular with the bicycle commuter crowd, as everyone I’ve met that owns them is bicyclist of some sort. They earphones themselves do work, and whatever voodoo it does actually produces music in my head, and that’s pretty rad. They aren’t really great for audiophiles though, as you do lose quite a bit of resolution and some technical performance, and my experience equates them to somewhat mediocre to poor audio performance, but it still produces music that is listenable and not terrible.

I was most interested in how UM was going to implement this driver, while at the same time pack in the others as well. The EST drivers for example, have been rather poorly used in most all IEMs that have featured them outside of a few very niche products that cost well over $3K USD (The Vision Ears Elysium and Elysian Audio Annihilator). What surprised me while reading the promotion pieces on the bone conductor driver was that UM targets this driver to handle the upper mid-range and lower treble duties, which wasn’t at all what I was expecting. But remembering how Aftershokz sound, it does make some sense.



Before I get too deep into the whole sound thing, I do want to quickly mention the package the UM MEST comes with. The small package box was a lot smaller than my previous UM IEM packaging, which was a large wooden box – this time Unique Melody ships in a smaller cardboard box that’s sleek and elegant. Inside, the IEM comes with a leather blue and black zippered case that looks quite attractive and neatly has the UM branding on it, though looks far from distasteful. Included is a braided cable that does feel a little thick, but I didn’t find it too heavy in actual usage. The cable is terminated in 2.5mm balanced, but also came with 4.4mm and 3.5mm attachments, which may be exclusive for this tour unit. I believe users will get to choose the termination of their choice if ordered.


When I first popped on the Unique Melody MEST, my first thoughts were that it sounded slightly W-shaped with a raised low end and some sort of peak in the lower treble, although it sounded semi-neutral, but colored in some ways. Generally, I found the signature unique, and fits somewhere between a balanced U-shape and a more fun V-shaped sound.

One thing to point out is that I found the MEST to be highly tip dependent on first tests. With certain tips, perhaps something to do with seal, I found that the MEST was very bright and lacked low end bass, while with other tips, the bass can actually be rather overwhelming.

After listening to it for a few days now, I think the MEST to be a unique yet very fun and well-resolving IEM. It’s hard to really pin point exactly how it truly sounds because it sounds very unique.

The bass has a lot of textures, though can come off sometimes smeared and overdone. It’s definitely more elevated, but focuses on subbass lift, with a bass curve that is quite similar to 64 Audio’s U12t in both measurements and in actual listening. When I listened to various songs, say GoGo Penguin’s Version 2.0’s record, I can find the double bass guitar’s power to be a tad overbearing and drowning out some of the other parts of the song at times on the U12t and at times on the MEST. That said the MEST has a nice bass line with good slammy nature and impact that I sometimes do miss when using multi-BA sets.

The resolution of the MEST is actually fantastic. I am surprised at how much details come out of songs and perhaps the lift at 6KHz brings out a bit more of the harmonics in certain instruments in specific tracks, but I always feel like I am hearing more things that I normally would in most IEMs, outside of my very best. I think it can compete in the realms of the best I’ve tried, as I’ve been playing it side by side with the qdc Anole VX this week and I think it can trade blows well, while to me, sounding a little more accurate at the same time.

Unique Melody MEST.png

Another thing I found nice and perhaps strange is the imaging and the soundstage. There were many times where I felt like the MEST was intimate and closed-in with instruments feeling very forward, yet the imaging and separation didn’t feel lacking at all. In my typical bluegrass tunes, I was able to hear each instrument across a small band across my head with no problem despite feeling less wide AT TIMES. Then some other instrument, say a drum will hit, and it’ll feel like it’s totally coming from the farthest part of my left ear, and I’m left puzzled. Is this IEM closed-in and intimate, or does it have good width? It’s weird, but I enjoy this game.

In similar vein, depending on the music genre and what instruments are playing, I found depth to vary just as much as width. This all goes back to an interesting experience listening to the MEST and really makes the presentation of songs I am familiar with stand out in almost a different light, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Perhaps this is another one of those holographic soundstage types – the kind of staging and imaging that I felt when I listened to the Campfire Solaris, with music coming in more of a half-spherical illusion in front of you, rather than one that is just left to right and forward and back. One song where I find this quite noticeable is Tingvall Trio’s Vulkanen, a nu-jazz treat where at the beginning the piano sounds like its coming in your head, but the drums and cymbals are off to either side of you, while the bow’d strings are doing their thing straight in front of you, so much that I thought it was coming out of my speakers at first.

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MEST vs U12t silver.png

Where I do find the MEST may affect some, and may not others, is how it approaches the upper-mid range and the lower treble regions. The upper mid-range has a nice rise, but then it plateaus just prior to another sharp rise up in the lower treble range which makes some of that exciting detail come forward, and is typical of a V-Shape-style sound signature. I think the treble rise hovers at the warning track, where just a little more could be rather fatiguing and potentially could cause people ringing and maybe sibilance depending on sensitivity. For me, I find this rise just below my threshold. I never found it sibilant nor too harsh. I think it does accentuate certain things a bit more than they should, though not to the point where I find timbre to be totally off either. I think UM strikes a nice balance here.


Final Thoughts

Listening to so many different genres, I feel like the MEST works pretty well as an all-arounder IEM. Just remember that the IEM itself isn’t what I would call neutral, it has got its own flavor with an emphasis in the lower treble region, as well as a bass lift. That said, it’s got some addictiveness to it that I was a bit shocked to really enjoy.

While I don’t know how much the bone conduction driver actually contributes to the overall sound, if any, at least in a universal form-factor, I still think the mid-range is really solid and this is a good overall IEM that I am now happy to recommend at least trying out. It has some qualities that make it look like a solid deal to a bargain at it’s asking price of $1399, since its resolution is very good, it’s got excellent imaging and one of the rare multi-driver IEM setups that I don’t find has any major flaws.

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Pros: Stunningly detailed, technically excellent, holographic soundstage, musical, balanced
Cons: sound signature might not be for everyone (see main review)
The One And Only - A review of the Unique Melody MEST IEM


Unique Melody will by now need little introduction from me, having already become well established as prolific purveyors of premium products in the IEM world.

IEM details from the MusicTeck (authorised dealer’s) website:


This link also has photos and explanations of the considerable amount of tech that features in these IEMs.

The MEST retails at USD $1’399 (I believe MusicTeck have a sale on them at present).

The MEST is a hybridIEM. Perhaps this now increasingly common term fails to give them the credit due; specifically, they are to the best of my knowledge:

The World’s First Quad-brid-Hybrid-IEM-Type-Product (!!) :hushed: :sweat_smile:

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 quite literally blow you away, they’ve only gone and innovated a bone conduction driver thingy (to use the technical term lol) and whacked one of those in too!

I picture a scene at UM HQ, where after cramming all the drivers inside the shell, someone had to strain to hold down the lid whilst the other one welded it into place :)

Which admirably demonstrates both my vivid psychedelic imagination as well as an embarrassing ignorance of modern manufacturing techniques :)

Well, this plethora 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 for the mids and highs.

I know what you’re thinking; “pics or it didn’t happen!”.

So without any further ado, here are some photos of the MEST upon which you may feel free to feast your eyes forthwith :)




Build Quality and accessories:

The MEST are solidly built with no visible blemishes or flaws of any kind.

They come in a contemporary design, with carbon fibre appearance and are available in any colour you like, so long as it’s black (with red, or blue).

I chose the red ones, and I am very happy with their appearance.

They come with a 0.78mm 2-pin cable, which can be terminated with your choice of plugs.

The cable itself deserves praise for being very soft and supple whilst still feeling sturdy and robust. It’s a grey and silver design, 4-core 6N SPC 26AWG. Hot damn, I love acronyms! :ksc75smile:
The plastic slider and lack of branding on the cable hardware is a slight negative, especially at this price point where some manufacturers are now bundling premium branded cables from Eletech, Effect Audio and the like.
However as we will see later, the sonic performance of the cable is clearly where the money has gone and that's not left me with any disappointment overall.

The MEST came with a pretty impressive array of complimentary accessories, as can be seen in the photos, including premium Comply eartips, 2 free adaptors for my 2.5mm cable (4.4mm balanced and 3.5mm single-ended adaptors), a ‘thank you’ note and, as if that all wasn’t enough, a Dignis leather case that I’m absolutely in love with :)

With many manufacturers of higher-end IEMs these days offering a metal case of some kind, it was a really refreshing change to see UM going with a leather case, and not just any leather case but one by premium Korean artisans Dignis. This is the kind of case that will make you feel better about the money you spent on the IEMs.
Note that the IEMs themselves should also make you feel good about your investment :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


As ever, my preferred method of testing is to try out the product(s) in question with a selection of songs from various genres and to let that process draw out the comparative strengths and weaknesses of each product, with a summary at the end for those who lack my infinite saintly patience :wink:

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, I used the Sony WM1Z DAP.

Of course, you may just want to flick through, pausing only when you see a song that you know well, or one that belongs in a genre you favour.

Morcheeba – Big Calm (16-44 FLAC)

Immediate impressions:

This was the song with which I ‘christened’ my new MEST.

The first song on them (coming from a session with the EE Nemesis earlier in the day).

Firstly the MEST seem surprisingly easy to drive. Volume was on 72 at the loudest this morning (listening to rock and pop on high gain, Sony WM1Z), whereas I’m feeling the MEST to be equally loud on a volume of 55.

The song opens with notes, distortion, effects, before the music starts to creep in.

I’m instantly struck by the clarity and how spatially open and airy the MEST sounds.

The details are all standing out to me much more than they did this morning with the Nemesis.

There’s what I can only describe as a really good feeling of texture across the whole spectrum, from lows to highs. I feel things more physically as well as hearing them.

This is a mark to me of a well-implemented dynamic driver, but I would imagine that this is also an effect of the Bone Conduction driver coming into its own here.
Let's investigate the low-end.

Ohh, I can breathe a sigh of relief..

I’ve gotten quite addicted to the bass of the EE Nemesis.

For those that don’t know, the Nemesis features a dynamic driver designed specially by Empire Ears, and it features not the usual one per side, but TWO.

So frankly, pretty much every IEM in my collection now seems to vary from “a bit less than I’d like” to “frankly anaemic sounding” in the low end in comparison, with the exception of the EE Phantom and the Stealth Sonics U4, although they are BA-only IEMs, so I don’t really judge them by the same criteria :)

But when the drums kick in on ‘Big Calm’ a smile spreads across my cherubic features (ahem), along with an involuntary whoop of relief and joy :sweat_smile:

I notice the male vocals also benefit from the texture and detail that MEST brings to the presentation of timbre.

Dropkick Murphys – Fields of Athenry (16-44 FLAC)

Again, I’m really impressed by the levels of detail I’m hearing. It’s TOTL stuff.

I find my attention drawn the to the tactility of the strumming of the acoustic guitar in the background (not very noticeable on most IEMs), then to the crunch and texture of the electric guitar riff on the opposite side of the soundstage.

Then to the vocals, again very rich and accurate in timbre.

I can see how some people have commented that the sound signature could possibly be slightly fatiguing at times. It’s not that they have sharp treble; I am quite treble-sensitive, so I would notice this straight away.

Rather that they present so much detail, so engagingly, that once the song is in the chorus and every cylinder is firing on ten (metaphorically speaking) it reminds me of the Star Wars scene (from Return of the Jedi) where they’re attacking the Imperial fleet and there’s TIE Fighters swarming around them everywhere and the Rebel pilot utters the immortal words “There’s too many of them!”

There’s just details and engaging content coming at you from everywhere at some points.

It’s an exhilarating rollercoaster ride, that’s for sure :)

Club 8 – Love Dies (16-44 FLAC)

This is a song I use for testing soundstage. From around 40 seconds to 1m06s, the song adds more sounds and you can hear the soundstage unfolding out like a blossoming flower in the latter stages of this section, as more sounds come in outside the pre-existing perceived outer edge of the soundstage. The MEST executes this part to perfection, displaying a wide and holographic soundstage. It also captures perfectly this crystalline and beautiful song, never once sounding shrill or sharp (as some other IEMs I’ve tried have with this song).

Electric Light Orchestra – Sweet Talking Woman (16-44 FLAC from the ‘Wembley or Bust’ live album)

Again, I’m just so impressed by the detail and accuracy here.

It starts with audience noise, which quickly swells to roars and cheers as the signature line from the solo violin begins the song.

But the audience sound is so real and immersive, not a wall of noise but the real feeling of hearing a multitude of individual voices interacting together.

Separation, layering and imaging are truly excellent on the MEST.

Hip Hop – Dead Prez (16-44 FLAC)

The synthetic beats here are presented very well; there’s depth and power to the low end, along with a wonderful physical impact, but it’s tight and controlled. Fairly fast transients, and certainly not boomy or bloated in any way.

Again, there’s just a musicality and engagement that has me nodding my head whilst waving my arms around and making complex hand signs like a true OG :sunglasses:

Keane – Everybody’s Changing (16-44 FLAC)

Yet again, I’m immediately struck by how musical and engaging the MEST is.

And yet again, the technical performance is absolutely top class.
You really can have your cake and eat it.

On a side-note, where did that ridiculous phrase “you can’t have your cake and eat it!” come from? I make a point of physically disproving it whenever the opportunity presents itself :sunglasses:

Park Ji Yoon – 성인식 Sunginshik (Coming-of-age ceremony) (320k mp3 – only because I can’t find it in FLAC or on CD anywhere! Help!)

This is a sultry, driving, grown-up piece of K-pop.

Wow! That bassline! It goes SO deep on the MEST. We’re talking subterranean here. Seriously, people Down Under are probably hiding under tables right now.

Good grief, the song is just embarrassingly engaging with this IEM. It’s all I can do to stop myself from casting the laptop aside and leaping up to strut my funky stuff.

Oh, the sacrifices I make for my loyal readers (and all the other people who just clicked this link by mistake) :p

Counting Crows – Angels of the Silences (16-44 FLAC)

I came to this track having just listened to it with the £2000 Final Audio 8000 IEMs.

Now, that’s a great pair of IEMs (see my review – and others – for details), but a slight weakness in my humble opinion is that the low end is not particularly powerful. It works fine on songs where the bass and drums are mastered with a decent level of power (or are altogether absent), but on rock songs such as this one, where the bass and drums are mastered relatively neutrally, it just sounded a bit tinny and anaemic when combined with the splashy cymbals and rather high pitched guitar lines on this track.

Conversely, the MEST handled the track with great authority, imbuing the low end with the much-needed extra power and presence required to balance the song and drive it along.

Simply, it sounded terrific on the MEST.

Counting Crows – Miami (16-44 FLAC)

Another ‘Crows track, this is one of my ‘go-to’ tracks for critical listening.

It’s very complex, with a great variety of instruments that get steadily added into the mix before all going full-bore in the last minute or two.

Straight off the bat, the MEST impresses hugely.

The timbre of the instruments, even in the first 10 seconds is magical!

There’s drums, a kind of swirly keyboard effect (sounds slightly like accordion too; not quite sure what this one is) and an energetically-strummed guitar line that sound stunningly life-like and vivid. The same with the vocal, sounding like it’s just behind my head, singing into my ear. When the second guitar and more instruments come in from around 58 seconds, again, the timbre is just astonishingly good. Every guitar crunch and strum is tactile, the transients are extremely well-handled, everything just sounds vivid, life-like and just ‘right’ :)

Bear in mind that this is one of my all-time favourite songs, that I’ve heard literally hundreds of times, including with pretty much every item of audio gear I’ve ever owned, reviewed or demoed. Then appreciate what it takes for me to be able to say that I’ve noticed at least 3 new details in this song that I’ve never noticed before. Stunning.

Make that 5! Holy smokes.. I’ve never been able to clearly distinguish the “Ooh..Ahh” backing vocals from 3m37s onwards (not to be confused with the more prominent “Ooh..Ahh” female vocal that occurs just before these ones, haha).

It also is separating out things somehow; not with wide spatial separation, but it just makes every instrument, effect and vocal clearly distinguishable from each other.

It’s the first time I’ve been able to really hear Adam Duritz’s vocal from 4m18s onwards with such clarity and be able to hear so clearly his individual timbre and vocal inflections in this part of the song, where all instruments are maxed out. Wow.

Hanson: Change in my Life (16/44 FLAC)

This is an acapella song, featuring harmonising of the excellent voices of 3 brothers who’ve been singing and performing together for about 30 years.

This is a useful test track for testing midrange and seeing how well the IEM can handle the 3 voices, individually and as a group.

Immediately noticeable were the size of the soundstage, and the top-class separation and imaging. However, the star of the show here is the timbre.

I was able to effortlessly pick out the separate voices as they harmonised and accurately hear the timbre of each, simultaneously. It’s possibly the best presentation I’ve ever heard for this song on any IEM. If vocals are your thing, this is your IEM :)

Alison Lau – Handel’s ‘Lascia la spina’ (HDTracks 26/96 FLAC):

A staggeringly tranquil and beautiful piece of opera.

The singer, Alison Lau from Hong Kong, has a terrific and versatile voice, able to swoop lower than a lowballing vendor in a flea market and higher than a circa 1990’s investment banker on bonus day. The song also features string arrangements which are useful for testing the timbre of IEMs (as well as being glorious to listen to, I ought to mention!).

Well, I suppose by now it may come as little surprise to know that the MEST performed superlatively yet again (and indeed caused me to run out of superlatives).

The voice never became too sharp for me to bear (which has happened with other IEMs), but again captured the vocals superbly, and to my delight also presented the strings outstandingly well. I was wondering how the MEST would fare here, because it doesn’t strike me as a noticeably warm IEM. It’s certainly not neutral or lacking in warmth, let’s be clear. But compared for example to my Stealth Sonics U4 (which is extremely warm and presents the strings on this song outstandingly well) I would probably describe the MEST as being averagely warm.

However, in addition to that small amount of warmth, they have an exceptional technical performance. I really do suspect this is some dark magic bought about by the bone conduction driver, but the presentation of timbre on the MEST is outstanding.

Well, I’m going to stop here. I’d normally include more songs and more impressions, but to do so here would be to risk sounding like a broken record, to borrow an audiophile vinyl-lovers reference. I’ve listened to jazz, blues, classical, pop, rock, metal, EDM, folk..

Everything sounds superb, and the same comments on timbre and detail and engaging musicality keep coming up again and again.

IEM Comparisons:

I’ll be comparing the MEST against the Itsfit Fusion and the Empire Ears Nemesis, along with a few 'from memory' impressions against the EE Valkyrie.

Of the IEMs in my collection, those first two are the ones that have the greatest similarities to the (admittedly pretty unique) MEST; they are both hybrid IEMs, both at least vaguely in the same ballpark in terms of pricing and both having tunings that bear a degree of resemblance with the MEST.

Itsfit Fusion & UM MEST:

So, first up, the Itsfit Fusion (USD $950):

1 Magnetostatic driver – highs
2 Balanced Armature drivers: high-mids & mids
1 Electro-dynamic: lows

Trying them with “New Routine” by Fountains of Wayne, an excellent piece of pop-rock storytelling. I try the Fusion first, and notice how well it presents the crunch of the electric guitar in my right ear in the opening 15 seconds; I can really hear and feel the texture and bite of that guitar and everything sounds balanced.

Moving to the MEST, the separation is excellent but that guitar doesn’t sound quite so distinct, although it’s just as detailed.

What I do notice immediately is that the MEST sounds just more musical and cohesive and fleshed-out. The beat of the song was fairly neutral with the Fusion; it had impact but I didn’t notice any bass tone to it. But with the MEST, whilst everything is still balanced nicely, the beat now has some bass, some feel, some driving force behind it. Nothing remotely excessive or unbalanced, just presenting what’s there in the song at its most engaging.

I think the effect of this overall is that whilst that guitar I referred to at the beginning is still as detailed and the timbre with which it is presented is still just as faithful, there’s more depth, warmth and musicality with the MEST overall, so that the guitar is no longer so prominent in the more sparse and tight presentation of the Fusion.

Eric Clapton – Lonely Stranger (unplugged) 16-44 FLAC:
The MEST sounds more rich and full bodied with greater note thickness and weight.

Increased separation, a little larger soundstage. The thump sound (could be a foot tap or a bump of the hand against the guitar body) has more depth and impact on the MEST, is much more tactile.

Fusion sounds a little bit brighter in comparison (although I’d never describe the MEST as dark!); I think this is coming from the notes sounding less thick and full-bodied than with the MEST.

I feel the MEST seems to sound as if everything is placed on a blacker background than the Fusion, and everything has slightly increased definition and presence as a result.

Marit Larsen – Faith and Science
MEST: big thump and impact and a rich timbre from that opening drum beat
Piano chords have a lovely shimmer, resonance and decay. They are separated out more than with the Fusion

Fusion: opening drum beat has impact but less depth and body
Piano doesn’t seem separated out so well

Madeleine Peyroux – Ophelia (24-96 HDTracks FLAC)
Both perform outstandingly well on vocals with no great noticeable differences.

The hi-hats seem a little more sharp and distinct on the Fusion, but decay more naturally on the MEST.
The MEST presents background details with greater clarity and definition

Fusion & MEST - Summary:

I’d say the Fusion seems to sound a bit less full-bodied and rich than the MEST, although they are both equally vivid and energetic.

They both have expansive soundstages, excellent separation, layering and imaging, but I’d probably give the edge to the MEST in these areas, although its certainly not a night and day difference. MEST has a bit more thump and depth in the low end and a bit more shimmer to the mids and treble.

EE Nemesis & UM MEST:

Next up, the Empire Ears Nemesis (USD $1599):

5 Proprietary Drivers

2 W9 Subwoofers

3x BA: 1 Mid, 1 High, 1 Super High

8-Way synX Crossover System

Madeleine Peyroux – Ophelia (24-96 HDTracks FLAC)

Switching to the Nemesis, the overall sound signature immediately sounds darker and more intimate in a way that reminds me of the EE Phantom (another outstanding IEM).

There seems to be a touch less clarity than with the MEST, and the soundstage feels a bit more intimate. The low end on the Nemesis sounds warmer and more congested – unsurprising given the twin WeaponX dynamic drivers the Nemesis is packing on each side.

Note that I wouldn’t generally describe the low end of the Nemesis as being congested; I think this impression is an artefact of going from the MEST suddenly to the bass-cannon Nemesis. However, with extended listening sessions with the Nemesis, I find the bass to have excellent control and the sound signature to enjoy good separation and clarity overall.

The hi-hat percussion is somewhere in the middle (tonally speaking) between the Fusion and the MEST; it has the clarity of the Fusion and the natural decay of the MEST.

I think the vocals on the MEST sound a little more engaging and realistic, with a touch more warmth and clarity and a beautiful timbre.

The guitar on the Nemesis seems to stand out a little more in the mix, with a lovely timbre.

Back to the MEST.
Immediately, it sounds more wide open, spacious, clear.
Greater separation, improved technical performance.

Back to the Nemesis, and this time back to Marit Larsen – Faith & Science (16-44 FLAC):

Funnily enough, this was the test track I used when deciding which IEM to buy when I was on a mission to buy an ‘audiophile bass-cannon’; specifically, the IEM with the greatest bass impact and slam, although this had to be matched by its audiophile qualities too.

The Nemesis won overall and this track reminds me why.

That opening drum beat is just magnificent on the Nemesis.

For bass impact, slam and rumble, it left even the mighty Legend X trailing.

It may lack the bone conduction driver of the MEST, but I can feel that drum beat in my skull, no joke :)

It doesn’t sound bloated, excessive or anything. Just magnificent.

The piano chords have a good level of shimmer and an engaging tonality.

The vocals aren’t as forward or clear in the mix as with the MEST, but are still presented well.

Haha, coming from the Nemesis on this particular track, the MEST sounds almost tinny for a moment, until my brain adjusts :)

But it adjusts quickly, and I can say that whilst the MEST isn’t on the same level as the Nemesis in terms of bass impact, slam and rumble (and in fairness, I don’t know any other IEM on the planet that is; the Legend X would be its closest competitor), still the MEST has a meaty, satisfying low end. It’s never excessive, intrusive or uncontrolled, but it’s got the good stuff I need, oh yes baby :)

Overall, the Nemesis serves a specific purpose for me of being the IEM I turn to when I’m in need of thunderous low-end impact, when I want to feelthe music as much as hear it.

I use it primarily for rock, pop and hip hop, and it does exactly what I require of it, and does it very well. Having said that, when I listen to Alison Lau (Hong Kong soprano) singing Handel’s “Lascia la spina” over an arrangement of strings, I feel the low end of the Nemesis injects a wonderful warmth and richness into the strings, without compromising on the technical details.

However, whilst its technical performance is certainly very good, in my opinion it’s not quite in the same league as the Legend X, or the MEST.

Nemesis & MEST - Summary:

They are not very similar and so a direct comparison is difficult.

I’d say the MEST, by virtue of its less hardcore bass is able to work well with any song or genre. Mostly, the Nemesis can too, but there’s occasional times when ‘dat bass’ becomes a bit too much.

Conversely, give the Nemesis a track like Marit Larsen’s “Faith & Science” and it absolutely mauls it, and I mean that in only a positive way :)

It makes any other IEM seem wimpy in comparison; it steals their lunch money, spanks them and sends them running home crying for their mummies :)

Overall though, I’d have to say that with the MEST, everything is just a bit more vivid, clear, defined, open, spacious, separated, but still cohesive and balanced.

Quick bonus – EE Valkyrie & MEST:

Ok, disclaimer time. I heard the Valkyrie at CanJam last year for about 10-15mins in total.

So please take these brief impressions as what they are – potentially fallible memories, but added here just to try to give some basic ideas to those who have no chance to demo either.

I feel the MEST is overall a little bit more rich and with greater note weight and thickness.

I think the Valkyrie is more V-shaped in tuning and has perhaps a brighter and more expansive treble. I’d guess they’re about even in the low end, and I’d probably guess that the MEST would have the edge when it comes to the mids.

They’ve got more in common than they have dividing them, and they both impressed me upon first listen. I’m hesitant to say much more because I’d rather wait until I have the chance to listen to both side by side, but I merely wanted to throw in a comparison with what I personally feel may be one of the closest IEMs to the MEST right now in terms of the whole package of price, technology inside, tuning, packaging and so forth.

Cable swaps:

Going to do a quick bit of cable swapping here too, to see what I can see.
Or, rather, see what I can hear :)
I'll be using the Ares II+ and the Eletech Prudence, both with 4.4mm Pentaconn plugs.

Ares II+

Not a great difference. The differences I describe below are very subtle and took a bit of effort to pick out.

A touch more warmth, thickness to the low end although surprisingly I feel the impact has decreased slightly.

Slightly more cohesive and smooth overall, as it seems to tame down the energy of the IEM a little bit.

Eletech Prudence

I noticed an immediate slight increase in sub-bass extension, and overall low-end impact along with a slight increase in clarity and soundstage size; not night and day, but I felt it was definitely present.

Cable swapping summary:

It’s quite a testament to the stock cable that the differences I noticed were fairly subtle.

The tuning of the IEM itself will be a factor in this too of course.

I recall demo’ing the EE Valkyrie at CanJam.

I recall there that switching to the Ares II+ with the Valkyrie had a very big and noticeable effect on the sound signature, adding meat and impact to the low end, but taming that sense of spaciousness and air, but that wasn’t really the case here with the MEST.
The Prudence has a noticeable (positive) effect on pretty much every IEM I've tried it with, but again here, the effect was minimal.

Overall summary:

The MEST is a pretty spectacular and innovative IEM.

It performs like a top-of-the-line flagship, at a price that – these days – is near the bottom of the TOTL price range.

Not only that, it’s employing bone driver technology that no one else is using, not even UM themselves in their own flagships as yet! I do feel it is a definite factor in the unique qualities of the MEST, and salute UM for making it available to us all at a price that – comparatively speaking – is approachable without being stratospheric.

Add to that an exquisite Dignis artisan leather carrying case and it just really impresses me what Unique Melody have been able to offer at this price.

The MEST has a black background that serves to present each note and sound in a stunningly vivid way. There’s excellent clarity, superb detail retrieval and the technical performance is similarly outstanding. The low end is never overbearing. It’s controlled, but with wonderful impact and depth.

I’ve heard people wonder if these IEMs are fatiguing or lack cohesiveness.

Now, I definitely have a known sensitivity to some things in the upper mids and treble of some IEMs I’ve listened to, but I didn’t get that with this.

What I will say is that you’re being exposed to a lot of detail that’s all being presented with great vividness and clarity. As such you’re probably going to require a bit of time to get used to this sound signature, especially if you’re coming from an IEM with a rather different one.

But that patience will pay dividends. Listening to Madeleine Peyroux’s “Ophelia” in 24-96 HDTracks was just pure bliss and I could physically feel myself relaxing deeply as I did so.

Pretty much the polar opposite of fatiguing. If I listen to hours of hard rock on pretty much any IEM then I’d get fatigued, so it’s also a question of what you’re subjecting your brain to, I suppose :)

Overall, I’ve had a terrific time reviewing these IEMs and they are getting a significant proportion of my listening time. I can wholeheartedly recommend these IEMs, for being innovative, hugely enjoyable – and at times breathtaking - to listen to and overall a hugely competitive IEM that’s laid a new marker down for the rest of the market.
I concur! It's a marvelous IEM that I will be purchasing soon.
Excellent review!
I feel like these are a baby LegendX. The caveat being their treble extension is better and the bass isnt really close. But, thats how i always felt when listening to the mest. Like you mentioned, they have that same beautiful black background. Real solid iem.
Pros: Wide, deep, tall soundstage. Rich, layered bass. Detailed, extended, smooth highs. Comfortable fit. Accurate timbre, rich texture and tone. Big, bold sound with tons of detail, layering and slam. Rich, detailed, layered mids.
Cons: Highs need to be tamed, stock cable is lacking. VERY dependent on cable and tips. Need to be comfortable with W sound signature, tho brain burn may win you over! Mids can 'possibly' be too forward. Need top quality recordings for it to really shine, tho mediocre recordings fare well too.
I was at Canjam NYC this past February, when I found myself in front of the Musik Tek table. The gentleman at the table eagerly asked if I would like to try a new hybrid IEM with “Bone Conduction” technology. In the sensory overload environment of the show, I misunderstood his description, and thought the bone conduction was a “sub-woofer” technology. I put them on, using my A&K SE100 DAP, and while they sounded good (I remember liking the bass), I couldn’t really discern any ‘tapping’ sensation in the bass. It all sounded gimmicky to me anyway. Looking at the literature, I noticed all these drivers: EST, bone conduction, dynamic, mid-high, high, ultra high…it was confusing. After a few moments, I decided that I basically liked them, but wasn’t too convinced of this “Sub-bass bone conduction thing.” They were expensive. I smiled, handed them back, and moved on to other things.

Fast forward to Spring, and I saw the ad in Head-Fi for the MEST review tour. I have a policy of basically applying for any and all review tours; after all, it’s free, and if it’s free, it’s for me! To my delight, I was chosen and found myself second on the list. In between Canjam, and being accepted for the tour, I sold my SE100, and bought the SP2000 copper. Once ‘the virus’ set in, everything became uncertain and I decided that caution was the better part of valor, and returned the 2000, (it was too heavy, anyway, but it sounded great). I asked Andrew if he could bounce me to the end of the list, because I found myself without a DAP, and I was stuck using my Fiio BTR3 as a backup, which I deemed insufficient for the task of a review.

In the interim, I was reading good things about the BTR3 successor, the BTR5, which I ordered off Amazon for $109. WOW, this BTR5 is a gem! A dap killer, this thing sounds fantastic! My palms grew itchy for the MEST. I emailed Andrew and told him I was ready to review, and to my delight, I found the MEST in my mailbox a few weeks later (Thank you Andrew!) I eagerly opened the box, threw on my favorite tips, the yellow Spinfits, grabbed my cell phone, fired up the 5, plugged them in, and…was disappointed. There was a graininess and incoherence to the sound. But I liked the bass. Oh, well. I packed it up and let it sit in my closet.

After 2 or 3 days, my curiosity got the better of me, and I broke them out again. Nope, don’t like them. The individual elements were OK; the mids were a bit forward, definitely a ‘W’ presentation (which I am not fond of). The bass was good, the treble was hot but detailed. The soundstage, layering, high end extension, sub-bass rumble, and mids-detail were all there. I liked the individual elements, but when you put it all together, it lacked coherency: it sounded ‘ham-fisted’. I figured the cable was a copper, SPC hybrid, but didn’t know. SPC cables always sound harsh to me, so I put on my EROS II silver/copper hybrid from my EE custom Valkyries, and WOW! MUCH better! The highs were smoother, but they still sounded too ‘busy’ to me, too fatiguing. I replaced the EROS II with my PWAudio Limited pure copper, and BAM! suddenly these things came alive! Yet even in the face of all this, the treble still seemed a teeny bit too hot, and the mids a bit too forward. My Head-fi pal Cr3ativ3 suggested I replace the Spinfits with the Type E, which certainly is known to tame the treble. Well, once I had this kit together, The MEST won my heart. I had them on while grocery shopping, and I had to laugh out loud and admit that these things won me over! So, I spent some quality time with them, put together a playlist, made some notes, and I’m ready to write up a proper review. Lets jump in!

I will spare a description of the technicalities of the MEST, it’s rather well documented, and focus on sound impressions. Below is the playlist I used for my analyses.

The following track list provides song name, artist, and album. All files are flac format. All tracks are 44,100KHz, except Black Dog and 9th Symphony (96,000).

Numb, Andy Stott, Luxury Problems

Edyocat, Andy Stott, Merciless

Dominion Day, Gary Numan, Exile

Los Ageless, St. Vincent, Masseducation

Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Deep Blue Something, 11th Song

Visions of You, Jah Wobble (feat. Sinead O’Conner), Rising Above Bedlam

You’ve Got Another Thing Coming, Judas Priest, Screaming For Vengeance

Sir Duke, Stevie Wonder, Songs in the Key of Life

Spinning Wheel, Blood, Sweat and Tears, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown

First Light, Harold Budd, Brian Eno, The Plateux of Mirror

Delta Rain Dream, Jon Hassell, Brian Eno, Fourth World Vol. 1 Possible Musics

Pride and Joy, Albert King w/ Stevie Ray Vaughn, In Session

Black Dog, C.C. Colletti, Rock: Reimagined

Journey to the Center, Journey to the Center, A Night of Chesky Jazz Live at Town Hall

The Second Part, The Hillard Ensamble, English and Italian Medieval Madrigals

Suite No. 1 in G BWV 1007, M. Rostropovitch, The Complete EMI Recordings

Toccata & Fugue in D minor, Christopher Herrick, Bach: The Complete Organ Music

Idomeneo, re di Creta, K.366, Mozart Opera Arias, Anna Netrebko

Symphony No.9 in D minor, Barenboim, Beethoven for All

When I set the volume, I like to put the vocals at a comfortable distance in front of me, and let the bass and high end fall where they may. With my Valkyries and CL2, this works great, but with the MEST, on some tracks, this puts the bass and treble too far in the rear. In order to get the full effect of the bass, I had to turn the volume up, putting the mids a little too forward of what I am used to. This is not true on all tracks, tho, so lets break it down!

Numb, Andy Stott: This song is an example where the forward vocals are most welcome. Alison Skidmore’s vocals exhibit hyper detail with rich, beautiful tonality and elegant layering. The menacing bass tones emerge out of a primal blackness contrasting the vocals with rich layers and detail. That is going to be buzz-word in this review: Detail. The sound stage is wide, high and deep and the vocals remain comfortable in their own space. At the same time, infinite layers of bass tones breath and pulse in there own reality. Stunning.

Edyocat, Andy Stott: I decided to go with another Stott song to illustrate the sub-bass rumble, which is absolutely fabulous. The synthesizer’s buzzes and beeps occupy their own space and tonality yet again, while the bass yet again exhibits a rich, detailed, layered presentation with tons of impact and slam. It is not the fastest bass, nor should it be. There is a relaxed, yet accurate presentation, with just the right amount of attack and decay. The sub-bass reaches low and will rattle your teeth, while the high end is polished and smooth, accentuated with just the right amount of sizzle, while not being exhausting or sibilant in the least. Well done.

Dominion Day, Gary Numan: We move on to one of my favorite albums in recent years. This is a tricky track because the bass is so multifaceted and can sound over-whelming and muddy to lesser IEM’s. If there is any song I know that could sound like a muddled mess, it is this one. Over the years I have spent a lot of time finding a flac recording of this album, just to try and get this song to sound the way I feel it should sound. Whenever I buy a new IEM, or cable, or DAP, this is usually one of the first song I try. It is an avalanche of bass, sub-bass, layers, vocals, effects and synthesizers. As I sit here listening to it now, my eyes are tearing up. It sounds spectacular! I crank up the volume, forward mids be damned, and revel in the avalanche of sounds lashing my ears. Gary’s vocals, which are usually buried in the Malmstrom, sing out, filled with agony and rage at the injustice of the deity. The sound stage is vast and layered, and the detailed layers extend out to infinity. Finally, I can enjoy this song and album the way Gary intended.

Los Ageless, St. Vincent: Going to another favorite, we see an example of where the mids are not served as kindly. The vocals are far too forward, and the guitars and synthesizers are rather incoherent and fatiguing. Perhaps it’s the mix, but the bass seems to overwhelm and drown out St. Vincent’s vocals. Ah, too bad. Still rich with detail and slam, the sound stage sounds a bit too closed in. I had originally planned to review a Sheryl Crow song, Run, Baby Run, and found it suffered the same fate as St. Vincent. Is it the recording? Is it “female vocals”? Is it the pop genre? Let’s forge on and find out…

Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Deep Blue Something: Staying with pop, for the moment, let’s see if the MEST is genre specific. The guitar intro is clean and breezy sounding with lots of detail and air. The vocals are cool and tamed. The sound stage and presentation is roomy, airy, filled with richness and ‘pop’ (no pun intended). The electric guitar chords ring out with authority and musicality; they have a rich layering with perfect ‘note’ and tone. There is a richness there. The drums are in the back where they belong, and I can hear the high hats and cymbals crashing and sizzling with perfect effect, Each instrument and element sits in its own space with layering and tonality. The bass is, again, filled with detailed and emotion. Fantastic!

Jah Wobble, Visions of You: This track is actually from an album of remixes of the song Visions of You off the Rising Above Bedlam album. It features Sinead O’Conner on background vocals. Jah Wobble is by far my favorite bassist and one of my favorite artists. He is prolific, and vastly under-rated. I chose this particular mix because of Jah’s synthesized bass. It is, again, rich with detail and tone. Sinead’s ethereal, other-worldly vocals surge teasingly in and out of the forefront, poking in and out of the background blackness. Jah’s vocals are smooth and rich, and every element of the song lives in it’s own layer and space. The composition of elements show fantastic coherency, and once again the MEST interprets all these musical elements effortlessly. The sitar solo bounces up and down, left and right, warbling in the sound stage with a 3-d holographic effect. Beautiful.

You’ve Got Another Thing Coming, Judas Priest: A guilty pleasure. I’m not a big ‘metal’ guy (tho I love my Zeppelin, if they can be considered ‘metal’) but I love this song. Let’s crank it up and see what we see. Right off, the bass and bass drum sound like they are slamming in my throat. The cymbal crashes sizzle with smooth extension, not hot or sibilant in the least. Rob’s vocals are smooth and fantastic: If I close my eyes, I can easily visualize him standing there, posing and screaming, his voice perfectly removed from the incessant guitar riffs. It’s a clean, big, bold, slamming, beautiful sound. Wonderful!

Sir Duke, Stevie Wonder: Let’s return to pop for a moment, and try a few songs known for their complexity and musicality. Wow, those horns on the intro come in with authority, and you can discern each individual element. Stevie’s organ, the drums, the horns, the vocals, drums, cymbals, all yet again are filled with richness and detail. The timbre and tone is spot on, and the soundstage is detailed, uncluttered, and each instrument occupies it’s own space. If I had to criticize one thing, it’s possible the bass may be a BIT too much if you are a treble head. If you love your bass the way I do, I think you will love these IEMs.

Spinning Wheel, Blood, Sweat and Tears: Staying with pop for just one more song, I wanted to see if the wonderful horns of Sir Duke carried over to a band whose horn section I have always admired. This song sounds amazing. Timbre, tonality, and tone is spot on. Nuff’ said.

First Light, Harold Budd, Brian Eno: Switching gears and genres, lets go minimalist and see what the MEST can do, where subtlety is required over slam and impact. Turning the volume WAYYY down for this ambient masterpiece, Budd’s haunting piano chords ring and chime out of an ethereal haze. If you ever wanted to find a song that acts like a musical version of an abstract expressionist work from Rothko, this is it. There is no “bass” here, no rumble, no slam, no sizzle, no ‘timbre or tone’ (well, maybe tone): but there are ‘effects’; lots and lots of effects, and ‘treatments’. It’s one of the things the Father of Ambient, Brian Eno, is known for. With the high, mid high, and ultra high drivers of the MEST, these ethereal, subtle expressions, as fine as gossamer threads, theoretically should be brilliantly captured, and they are! The MEST is showing amazing range and adaptability here. Bravo.

Delta Rain Dream, Jon Hassell, Brian Eno: Staying with Eno and ambient, I wanted to take a look at this song, because it has all the subtlety and nuance of First Light, but adds what sounds like African bongo drums. The synthesized background contrasts the drums marvelously. Jon’s synthesized trumpet, the drums, and the synthesizers create a vast, layered, detailed soundscape which has all the extension and vastness of the sky. Or the ocean. Or space, even. The drums… you can almost see the palms and fingers smacking the skins…

Pride and Joy, Albert King and Stevie Ray Vaughn: Moving to the blues… Well, what is there left to say. The vocals and mids are perfectly presented. The drums, cymbals, high hat, and guitars all sound perfect and effortlessly rendered. In the middle of all this, the tickled piano keys float in mid-air occupying there own space.

Black Dog, C.C. Colletti: Going high end here with a Chesky recording taken off an audiophile sampler. I wanted to get to the bottom of this “forward mids” claim I have been making. It seems to come and go. C.C.’s vocal, singing a Zeppelin cover, are not forward at all. The band surrounds her; if anything, the vocals are a tad recessed! The recording is amazing, and I am running out of adjectives. Micro detail. This sounds perfect. The vocals are velvety smooth and beautiful. The bass, drums and acoustic guitar sounds like it is in the room with me. What more is there to say?

Journey to the Center, Journey to the Center: Giving a nod to the Jazz genre; yet another Chesky recording, and I guess at this point you know what I am going to say…. Well, here, If I had to make one criticism, the bass could be a teeny bit thick… Then the smattering of applause ripple like waves, and the trumpet solo begins, and all I can do is smile…

The Second Part, The Hillard Ensamble: I wanted to focus on vocals, so what better than medieval polyphonic. The performers sound like they are singing in a cathedral, and all the subtlety, harmonics, and atmosphere is brilliantly rendered. There is a richness here… The voices sound natural, musical, articulate and beautiful.

Bach Cello Suite #1 in G, Rostropovitch: The next 2 tracks are designed to explore this dynamic bass driver. Mstislav’s cello is filled with, you guessed it, richness, timbre, tone and microdetails. You can almost taste the resin.

Toccata and Fugue in D, Herrick: No music will disseminate an IEM's bass performance like some good ol’ pipe organ music, and what better than Bach’s Toccata and Fugue? Harmonic overtones are astonishing and perfectly rendered and the cacophony of notes effortlessly portrayed. Magnificent.

Idomeneo, re di Creta, K.366 - Act 1 - 'Quando avran fine omai' - 'Padre, germani, addio!', Anna Netrebko: One last examination of the mids and female vocals: what better than a Mozart aria? The contrast of the bass and cello and harpsichord against Anna’s vocal is mesmerizing. The orchestral passages are rendered with air and ease: The vocal soars above the orchestra majestically.


I was taught many, many years ago by my audiophile mentor, Nick, (may he rest in peace), that if you truly wanted to understand the ability of a sound system, an audiophile sound system, you HAD to listen to a symphony. Only by accurately rendering the complexities of a proper symphonic piece with all it’s majesty could a system or a piece of equipment TRULY be called AUDIOPHILE. Audiophile is a word that is far too easily thrown around now a days. Popular, modern music is fine, I love a good techno dub as much as the next person, but if you really wanted to see what’s what, you have to render a proper symphonic work. And if you really want to go there, why not throw in a good chorale passage section or two to boot. So for the last work, I will analyze the grand daddy of them all, the 4th movement of Beethoven's beloved 9th Symphony. I hear the stirrings of strings, and the brooding, pulsing ebb of bassoons and oboes. Shhh…they have already begun. Let’s sneak in past the usher and find a seat center aisle, 1/3 back from the stage…

Symphony No.9 in D minor, Op.125 - "Choral": 4. Finale (Presto - Allegro assai), Daniel Barenboim: First impression from the opening salvo of the tympanis, strings and horns is that of grandeur; it sounds like the onslaught of a thunder storm, then the strings come in playing the main melody, and there is yet again, a richness and detailed tonality. The bass and cellos rumble. Each section occupies it’s own space. The sound stage is easily discerned. The woodwinds, to the right, the strings to the left. I can hear the players sucking in breath. Within the strings, the violins, bass and cello are easily distinguished. Like Numan’s Dominion Day, the MEST handles this complexity with aplomb. In the quiet string section, where the violins are placidly playing the main melody, I can hear the microdetail of the bows changing directions on the strings. Then, as the woodwinds come in, the stage is perfectly rendered as each melody and part delicately occupy its own location. As more and more instruments pick up the melody, tears are filling my eyes. It is so emotional and musical! There is a swelling and I know any second all hell is going to break loose, and indeed, it is glorious. The horn and brass have taken up the melody, and they sit above and behind the strings. The soundstage is marvelous! Once again, if I had to make a criticism, it would be the bass could be a 'little’ thick. But I also know that if I put on my yellow Spinfits, there will be a tad more treble energy injected to counterbalance the bass… lets see…Yes…more air… The chorus has come in, and the height and width of the soundstage is apparent! The chorus clearly sit above and behind the symphony. The soloists are now singing, and they are down front where they belong. I’m sure if I was using a proper dap, the strings would come alive with more richness and detail. But as it stands now, they sound great. The chorus is at crescendo, and the harmonics are fantastic. There is a modulating effect between the voices which I know is no accident; these performers practice for hours to get it just so at the conductors command, and with maestro Barenboim at the helm, the effect is captured perfectly. Now the triangle is ringing out in the middle of the full maelstrom, and the high end extension and rendering is perfect! The chorus is singing Ode to Joy at full volume, and yet the symphony sits in front and below in their own space, each section clearly discerned… That is impressive! At the climax, the cymbals, chorus, and yes, even the triangle are all perfectly rendered. Very, very impressive! Well done Unique Melody!


Phew! What a ride! My original plan was to compare and contrast the MEST with different tips and cables, then do A/B compare against the Valkyries and CL2. To be honest, I don’t think it is necessary, and I don’t think I have it in me! This review ended up being a lot longer than I originally intended, but I think the MEST deserved it. I am listening to the playlist again with my custom Valkyries, and suddenly, where I didn’t like W presentations, I find myself suddenly missing the mids! I know brain burn is real, (yeah, it’s a thing) and after a day or so I will be back in happy land with my customs. Cr3ativ3 asked me if I was going to buy a pair of MEST and the question rather stunned me. Would I? No, my Valkyries are my babies, but now, I’m not so sure. I can’t help but wonder how the MEST would sound as a custom… hmmm… I truly don’t know, but now I’m thinking I may start saving my pennies….

I took off half a star because of the stock cable, but with the right cable and tips, the MEST is a 5 star winner!
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If i had to buy a "lower" tier TOTL type iem it would probably be this or the Valk. From what i can remember the valk treble presentation is not as hot as the MEST and maybe even a little less detailed. The MEST, as you mentioned might/will be an issue for treble sensitive people. However, the MEST fills the void of the Valks being a bit thin up-top. MEST has similar black background as the EE line - thumbs up there.

I thought the MEST needed more bass but the way its implemented is interesting. Its powerful but its not in some odd way. Can't really put that into words. it sneaks up on you but definitely not bass head. Just north of average.
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I agree completely, especially your thoughts on Valkyrie vs MEST.


Interesting. Any details about how the bone conduction driver works? I remember the "Bone Phone" from the late '70s, but they wrapped around your neck and used your collar bones for conduction. There doesn't seem to be any bone nearby enough to that tiny IEM driver to make it effective.