Unique Melody UM MEST MKII

Sound Analysis.

I analyzed MKII sound performance paired up with LPGT while playing a variety of test tracks, such as Agnes Obel “The curse”, Sandro Cavazza “So much better” (Avicii remix), C-Bool “Never go away”, Ed Sheeran “Shape of you”, Alan Walker “Darkside”, Galantis “Hunter”, Iggy Azalea “Black widow”, Indila “Boite en argent”, Dua Lipa “Love again”, Counting Crows “Big yellow taxi”, David Elias “Vision of her”, and Michael Jackson “Dirty Diana”.  I let MKII play for about 2 days in a loop before I started analyzing the sound.  I used stock Xelastec eartips and stock premium cable in my analysis.

I found MKII to have a mildly U-shaped signature with a natural-revealing tonality that has quite a resolving sound characteristic.  Also, right off the bat, I found its sound to be VERY eartips dependent where the sound signature could go from a more pronounced to a mild U-shaped and even balanced W-shaped.  The seal, material, and bore opening diameter of eartips could change the sound sig and tonality in a big way here.  But if I would to characterize the overall common signature, it would be U-shaped with an elevated deep bass impact, natural-revealing mids/vocals, and extended, airy, energetic, non-harsh treble.

The retrieval of details is high, not on an analytical level, but the extra treble energy gives the sound higher resolution with a better layering and separation of the sounds.  The sound is non-fatigue or harsh, but due to its more forward revealing nature, those who like a smoother and more natural tonality will have to spend time experimenting with different eartips in order to tame down lower treble energy.  Furthermore, considering 4 different drivers, their overall interaction is actually quite coherent, to my ears even better than in OG due to a fuller body of lower mids and less fatigue lower treble.  I wouldn’t go as far as saying all 4 drivers work in a perfect unison, but with the right set of eartips I hear MKII to be more coherent than OG.

The soundstage is wide, way above the average, and I would even go as far as saying its imaging approaches holographic level when it comes to placing instruments and vocals.  But I felt that it was stretching wider left/right, creating a more of an oval soundstage shape where there was more width than depth/height in its expansion.  Overall, to my ears and considering not a very deep insertion of the shell/nozzle, the sound space felt natural with less out of your head type of expansion, bringing you closer to the performer.  The soundstage does scale up with some of the sources, stretching wider, but depth/height remained the same.

I found the bass to be the star of MKII tuning, having a deep extended textured sub-bass rumble, more elevated than in original Mest, building a solid foundation underneath of a strong and articulate rounded mid-bass punch.  Bass is well controlled, has quite a noticeable presence, not overwhelming or basshead quantity level, but when called upon will elevate the low end with a textured deep rumble and strong rounded punch.  This is unmistakably a DD quality bass with an average attack and decay, impressive weight, and analog quality.

Mids have fuller body than in original Mest, thanks to a meatier lower mids, but they are not too thick or too smooth.  I do find their tonality to be quite natural and revealing thanks to more energy in lower treble that elevates the resolution and helps with layering and separation of the sounds.  Mids are not too forward, and as mentioned already, depending on eartips selection can be more balanced or slightly pulled back in their presentation.

Treble is extended, airy, crisp, energetic, and yet not harsh or sibilant.  This is another improvement from the original Mest where its notorious 6.5kHz peak is slightly attenuated down, still keeping the energy and the definition of the lower treble, but making it less fatigue and more controlled.  Here, the eartips selections will be important as well because if you have a relaxed seal or use eartips with a narrow bore opening, treble didn’t sound right to my ears, but with the right selection of eartips it was just perfect.  The combination of EST and dBC drivers creates a perfect extended harmony of upper frequencies in MKII.

Also, I found MKII to work great with any genre of music I threw at it.

um_mest_mkII-09

Page 4 – Eartips selection and Cable pair up.
Page 5 – Comparison, Source pair up, and Conclusion.

7 thoughts on “Unique Melody UM MEST MKII

  1. 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!

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    1. 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.

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      1. 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!

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  2. 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

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  3. 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.

    Vince

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