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.
Manufacturer website: Unique Melody. Available for sale on Musicteck.
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.
Page 2 – Design.
Page 3 – Sound Analysis.
Page 4 – Eartips selection and Cable pair up.
Page 5 – Comparison, Source pair up, and Conclusion.
17 thoughts on “Unique Melody UM MEST MKII”
Since you recently reviewed FiR 5×5, what is your impression of each as a choice for EDC iems? There is a $400 price tag difference so I’m trying to make up my mind and these two units both suit my sound profile preference. Thanks!
Correction: $500 price difference
well, part of the price difference is that MKII comes with $560 PWA cable (apparently, will be sold later as standalone), $50 Dignis leather case, and $30 AZLA Xelastec eartips. But in terms of sound performance, apples and oranges. 5×5 will be more balanced and more neutral while MKII has more bass and more treble, creating U-shaped sound sig. Actually, 5×5 soundstage is a little wider, but technical performance of the sound layering and separation in MKII is by far superior. 5×5 is great EDC and you can definitely save money, but MKII is more audiophile tuned with higher resolution and comes with a superior set of brand name accessories.
Thank you very much for your reply. I rarely listen to iems at home (vs over-ear fulls) where UM Mest MKll’s superior technical superiority, cable, and kit over FiR 5×5 would be realized, so I’m now leaning rabbit! Cheers!
Thanks again for helping me clarify the next step I really wanted/more practically should to take purchasing an iem. Without going into naming my brands of my open over ears, I’m very satisfied with one top dynamic and one top planar with a respectable chain- at the moment – LOL. So even tho I would like to have both MKII AND Firry 5×5 if I could afford it simultaneously, the actual step I know now to take, is to get a superior EDC. That would be 5×5. Not that I wouldn’t appreciate the MKII at home and away, mind you. Next time, maybe. Another thing is that I read preceding 5×5 (Erik?) review, and it stuck out to me that I, too, like DAPs that have a good analogue sound. I own a an early gen Bur Brown 1792 -based DAP from a top co. that I like a lot and so, done! Sorry this was long but thank you for helping me decide! Best, -Mark
Thanks Twister for another excellent review.
Do you think that will be big difference between the CFA Solaris 2020 and the UM MEST Mark II?
I am looking a bit more bass (quantity and quality) and better dynamic for classical music.
Appreciate for your input.
Maybe not a big difference, but if you want more quality and quantity bass, you should look into MKII, I prefer its bass over Solaris 2020
Thank you for your review. Have you tried paring Mest with Cayin N8? I’m concerned with the hiss from both SE and balanced output if I were to pair Mest with Cayin N8.
Sorry, don’t have N8 for testing, only burrowed it for a few days when working on C9 review.
I just bought these. My personal sound preference is thick, warm, lush sound like Westone UM PRO 50. I am kinda disappointed with the thin, bright sound signature of Mest II. May be it is too early to judge. Do these need some burn in to perform better? I find your reviews to be very accurate. Is there any IEM that sounds very similar to UM PRO 50 regardless of the price?
Maybe look into VE Elysium? It has a unique driver config of BA bass, DD mids, and EST treble. Also, with Mest MKII, try foam eartips, they usually tame down peaks of upper frequencies, it could help.
Loving your reviews Twister6. Very helpful, I look out for your stuff on Head-fi too. I own the Mest II and absolutely love them…however I wonder what I am missing (if anything) compared to the Odin? I know you’ve listened to both but not sure if you’ve done a side by side? Lots of comparisons of the original Mest to the Odin online but I can’t find (m)any for the MkII. Cheers!
what do you think is the main difference between the mest mk2 and the ibasso it07? Do you think the price difference is justified?
IT07 has a bigger bass impact while MKII has more resolving upper frequencies with better treble extension. You can argue that MKII is a quad-brid with DD/BA/EST/Bone Conduction drivers and PWA premium cable, Dignis leather case, Azla premium eartips, so in this example price difference is definitely justified.
I have the Audio 64 U12T. I would love to hear your thoughts on what the MKII might compliment the U12T or whether I should think about trying another IEM—under $2,000–if possible. I love the pressure equalization of the U12T because I think it’s easier on my older ears. Thanks for the thoughts!
Hi Dean, these are certainly complimentary in tuning. U12t is smoother due to its more polite treble response, and also overall more balanced in tuning. MKII will give you more sub-bass rumble and more of that dynamic driver bass texture. Also, MKII has a more elevated treble. Now, more elevated treble can be too aggressive for some sensitive ears. But if we are talking about “older ears”, it will only give you higher resolution and more clarity. I think MKII is the best price/performance iem on the market now, considering quad-brid design, premium PWA copper cable, Dignis leather case, premium eartips, etc. And I see that Musicteck constantly having those ridiculous sales on it, was it $899? Even if it is not on sale, contact them for best pricing if they can match that sale.
Wonderful response. Exactly what I was looking for. Thank you, thank you, thank you.