A Mest have?
PROS: quadbrid driver design (DD/4BA/2EST/dBC), powerful dynamic bass impact, natural-revealing hi-res tonality, updated universal shell design with a more comfortable fit, new PWA stock cable, new AZLA Xelastec eartips, other quality accessories including Dignis leather storage case.
CONS: the sound is VERY eartips dependent, bigger diameter of the nozzle might force some to switch to custom version.
The product was provided to me free of charge for the review purpose in exchange for my honest opinion.
Unlike DAPs, it is less common to see MKII versions of IEMs because a lot of manufacturers prefer to release new models instead of updates. That is why a recent Mest MKII announcement caught me by surprise, especially when you consider how popular and well received the original Mest (OG) was last year. Even today I continue to get questions after my reviews, with people asking me why I never featured it as part of pair ups or comparisons. The reason is because I never reviewed OG and only now had a chance to spend time with OG and MKII versions of Mest, to get to know both.
Actually, if you rewind back to my CanJam NYC ’20 overview, last year in February I had a brief chance to audition OG at the show and mentioned about it in my report. But as I found out later, after trying them with provided stock silicone tips in a crowded loud space, Mest sound was very eartips dependent and my initial impressions were skewed. Maybe the seal wasn’t good or the fit wasn’t right, but I felt the sound was a bit too revealing for my taste. After all, everybody has their own personal sound preference. But I continued to read one after the other positive reviews, and questioned my initial impressions.
Especially now, after reading that one of the MKII changes was a redesign of universal Mest shell, I figured the comparison to OG version will be essential in this review and requested OG loaner in addition to MKII review sample. There were quite a few interesting things I discovered which I’m sure will be helpful for the first time Mest buyers as well as those who already own the OG and trying to decide if they should upgrade. Now, let’s take a closer look at what I found after spending every day of the last week with a new Unique Melody Mest MKII model.
Unboxing and Accessories.
MKII arrived in a giftbox quality storage box with UM logo on top. Once a magnetic top cover is lifted, you are presented with a blue leather case, also labeled with UN logo. In the original Mest you had to remove the case to get to the bottom of the box to access the remaining accessories. In MKII, Unique Melody added a drawer at the bottom which slides out from the side to give you an easier access to the rest of the included goodies.
OG Mest accessories were great, but MKII steps it up to the next level. You will still find a blue leather brand name Dignis case with a zipper top, roomy enough for your IEMs and the cable and other extra accessories. Inside, it has a flexible velcro partition so you can separate shells and the cable. This is a premium brand name product, not some filler.
Furthermore, you will find a new PWA (Peter Wong Audio) brand name copper cable, which I’m going to talk about later. Next, a plastic warranty card (the size of a credit card), with a printed S/N, website address, and a service email. This card also includes a hidden flat usb stick (16GB) that flips open. The stick had nothing on it, but in the past, I found some other UM models to include additional info about the product. Either way, it is a free usb storage you can carry with you in the wallet.
There is a grey cleaning clothe/pad to keep those shells fingerprint free. Then, you have a complete set of eartips with blue-heart silicone S/M/L, brand name Comply TSX series SM/MG/LG, and a new addition to MKII – a popular brand name AZLA Xelastec SS/MS/M eartips. Those provide a superior isolation and a very secure fit. I was surprised the largest Xelastec was only Medium size, since I typically use their large size tips, but due to a bigger nozzle diameter of MKII, M-size was just perfect in this case.
Last, but not least, UM’s custom Magnetic Earphone Clip (MEC) which you can use both for cable storage and as a shirt clip. Made from of soft leather material, there is a strong magnet to hold it together, and you can use it magnetically “clipped” to a shirt (sideways) or secured at the neckline of a t-shirt (pointing down). A little metal loop attached to MEC is where you put the cable through to secure its attachment to a shirt or a t-shirt. You can also use it around a wrapped cable to organize it for storage. Maybe not a big deal for some, but it is different and unique (no pun intended), compared to other shirt-clips I have seen.
To summarize, there are a lot of brand name popular accessories here, Dignis leather case, PWA copper cable, AZLA Xelastec and Comply eartips, and some other unique accessories such as warranty card with a built-in 16GB storage flash drive and custom Magnetic Earphone Clip which can be used for cable storage and as a shirt clip. Very impressive!
Looks like Peter (Peter Wong Audio – PWA) has been on a roll lately, collaborating with many IEM companies! While we saw his popular 1960 2wire and 4wire being included recently with other IEM releases, MKII features their new copper cable. Labeled as UM Copper M2 this is 24awg gauge high grade OCC copper wire cable with 4 conductors, braided between the plug and y-split, and twisted in pairs going up above to IEM connectors.
The cable is referred to as a pure black addition, very flexible and soft, and features PVC coating. As many are aware, 1960 and other of their wires feature a tightly braided black carbon fiber sleeving which is microphonics when you move around. The new PVC coating reduces microphonics down to a minimum.
Furthermore, it features an all-new hardware with a uniquely shaped metal plug with UM logo and gold screws, a matching design with a metal y-split, also with logo and gold screws, a retractable matching metal chin-slider, and a matching metal 2pin connector housing with UM logo which is facing outside. You will also find a pre-shaped heat-shrink earhook.
A noticeable change here is a regular straight short-cylinder connector housing, unlike angled one in OG version that also had wrap-around design. Of course, it will depend on your ear anatomy, but the combination of a fixed connector angle and OG shell nozzle angle (different from MKII) caused some discomfort with my ears. MKII with a new cable and new shell design fixed that problem for me.
When ordering MKII, you have the option of single ended 3.5mm or balanced 2.5mm or 4.4mm. Try to futureproof your purchase by choose the right termination, and also keep in mind that you can use adapter to go from balanced to single ended. Otherwise, you will have to buy a replacement cable or another PWA x UM Copper M2 which I heard might be going for over $500.