Unique Melody MEST - Hybrid IEM - Official Thread

The Unique Melody MEST is a new, hybrid, IEM, featuring a unique combination of four different driver technologies - dynamic, balanced armature, electrostatic and bone-conduction. It is available now, in both universal ($1,399) and custom-fit ($1,699) versions.

The driver configuration, in particular the addition of a bone-conduction element, is the most interesting departure from recent IEM designs:

  • 1x Bone conduction driver to embellish the mids and treble
  • 1x Dynamic driver serves mid and bass
  • 2x EST drivers serve ultra-high frequency
  • 2x High BA drivers
  • 2x Mid-high BA drivers

Specifications
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz-55KHz
  • Sensitivity: @1KHz 118dB
  • Impedance: 14Ω
  • Driver Count: 8
  • Crossover: 5-way
  • Driver Configuration: 1x Dynamic low 2x BA Mid-high, 2x BA High, 2x EST Ultra high, 1x Bone Conduction (mid/treble embellishment)

This is the spot to discuss this intriguing and innovative new IEM …

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I’m a little bit away from being willing to post well-formed impressions of these, but there are some things I am willing to say so far (I’m about 12 hours of proper listening in so far, and they have more than 24 hours of run-time on them now) …

For one, the MEST are the first IEM I’ve heard that comprehensively bests the classic CA Andromeda, across the board, while exhibiting better comfort and FAR less OI-sensitivity. Yes, the MEST are $300 more expensive than the Andromeda, but they more than justify that, in my opinion.

Their tuning is approaching, maybe actually (too early to say for sure), perfect for me IEM preferences (which aren’t quite neutral).

Resolution is superlative.

Might be my favorite bass performance in an IEM (both qualitatively and quantitatively).

They exhibit a tonal weight/density that puts them closer to proper headphones than any IEM I’ve heard to date. Though I’ll caveat that with saying that I have much less exposure to TOTL IEMs than some.

Where the AAW Canary lacked a little air/sparkle, even while taming the trend towards “I need massively treble-centric IEMs because I’ve screwed my high-frequency hearing by listening to Anime OSTs at 110 dB for 12 hours a day” which seems to have been pervading higher-end IEM recommendations of late, the MEST don’t. They have a bit more treble energy than the Canary, and no lack of air or sparkle. They’re more restrained than the tia Fourté in the upper registers, while delivering similar/better detail.

More to come … but these are proving to be quite addictive so far …

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Horns/trumpets in “Sing Sang Sung” (Big Phat Band, “Swingin’ for the Fences”) are replete with bite, but no harshness here.

Miles would be proud.

And the underlying bassline is melodious, rich, detailed, well-textured, articulate and perfectly present.

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I guess I’m going to do this SoC (Stream-of-Consciousness) style for a bit … mostly because it’s easier (for me) …

The amount of time I’ve spent listening to these already is notable in itself, on a pure-comfort basis; most IEMs I can only tolerate for an hour or so at a time. The primary exceptions to that have been those equipped with something like the ADEL or APEX system.

Otherwise the most comfortable IEM I’ve had in my ears, prior to these, was the AAW Canary (which I still own and use). I’d say the UM MEST are as comfortable, and were just as easy to fit … the stock, small, silicone tips being both comfortable and providing an easy and reliable seal.

Unlike a lot of universal IEMs, the housings do make significant contact with your ears (if the angular CA stuff did, they wouldn’t work at all) … and that’s by design, as it is necessary for the bone-conduction drivers to transmit their output. If you go for a custom version, they’ll have even more contact - which is supposed to enhance the contribution from the bone-conduction element.

IEMs with dynamic drivers often exhibit audible “driver flex” when you insert them in your ears, or touch/move them. There is none of that here.

Connections are via the “QDC” (C-Pin) style connectors - as seen on things like the KZ ZS10 Pro or ZSN. At time of order you specify the cable terminated with either 2.5mm TRRS (A&K etc.), 3.5mm TRS or 4.4mm TRRRS.

Packaging is neat, simple, with an ample sized, carry case - with separate pouches for the individual IEMs, and a larger area for the cable, tips, etc. The case has the stylized UM logo on it, and is manufactured by Dignis.

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@Torq I now really want to hear these! Maybe we could set up a quick meet up sometime during the next couple weeks? Quarantine and social distancing to be taken into account as well lol… I currently have the U12T and I must say I’m really enjoying them.

I’m looking forward to more of your thoughts on these as you delve further into their capabilities =)

Cheers!

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I am not being deliberately reticent in posting my thoughts here. I am just consumed with listening.

I have another 10 or so hours on the MEST today (mostly off the Cayin N8, A&K SP2000 and Chord Hugo 2) and I just keep losing myself in the music.

Even going back and forth between the tia Fourté and AAW Canary, I keep coming back to the MEST. The Canary are more neutral, with similar detail levels. But they won’t suit the Anime-OST obsessed IEM types.

Definitely prefer these to the other UM offerings.

I’d say they’re probably more interesting to most listeners than the Canary (which are a better fit for those seeking perceptual neutrality without giving up technicalities).

More specifics when I can tear myself away from listeing …

But the MEST stage better than the original 64Audio U12 or CA Solaris … out resolve everything shy of the KS1500 and tia Fourté/Trió (and are as good, maybe better, even then), are much more forgiving of source OI than Andromeda … and have immediacy, impact and slam with the best of them.

Very close to what I consider perfect for an IEM tuning (different to what I seek in a full-size can).

Ridiculously good value.

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You should try them with the U12t, my tia Fourté and AAW Canary … and of course your Andromeda(s).

I’m sure we can make that happen, even if the Guv’nr does lock everything here down in the next hour or so.

Loving these things.

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@DarthPool unique melody also uses 2-pin. :slight_smile:

just get with the times and use 2-pin. they are the best. mmcx from what i’ve seen and read has worst failure rates.

@Torq - Your impressions are making me want to really go try these out, which I’ll get to do, but it’ll be a while til the North American tour comes over here. I think i’m like 10th on the list.

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Shame about the local lockdown, otherwise you and @DarthPool could swing by and give them a listen.

Still haven’t gotten to writing up my thoughts, even SoC-style, since it’s much more fun to just listen (and I do not miss writing reviews or impressions … at all … at this point …). I’m sure I will, maybe even later today, but I’ve spent most of the last couple of days just sitting on the deck with them, and either feeding them from a Hugo 2 via my laptop, or off the A&K SP2000 and Cayin N8 …

That’s pretty rare, even with new toys, given the other full-size stuff I can listen to in that manner.

I like these enough I’m going to order a custom-fit set.

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Yeah lockdown sucks! Plus it’s costly as I find myself shopping online more… my Amazon basket is full lol

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That is quite the line haha.

I listened to the UMM at CanJam NYC with no clue what it was and it was one of the few headphones at the show that I told @Resolve to definitely try but he did not. I brought our demo iBasso DX220 to the show for listening which is what I used for a source and I was seriously impressed with the MEST. I didn’t have a chance to listen to more than a couple of songs but based on the brief listening I would rate it above the Andromeda and Solaris.

It’s directly in line with my preferred sound signature and we are part of the loaner tour now so hopefully in a couple months when I listen to it again it will be what I remember!

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Would love to hear comparison between these and U12t.

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Me tooo! Especially since I’m on the fence about buying the U12t…but @Torq threw a wrench in my thoughts with these posts lol

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U12t vs. MEST is, for me, a very easy decision … the MEST offers better performance almost across the board, with a tuning I like more, and for significantly less money.

The U12t does have APEX, which is very nice for long listening sessions, but the MEST is one of a couple of IEMs that I’ve found long-term comfort/lack of fatigue with that doesn’t need it, or something similar (the other is the AAW Canary).

Which is not to say the U12t isn’t an excellent IEM - it is - if you like it’s tonal profile. It’s probably the sweet spot in 64 Audio’s line-up, unless you need a neutral IEM (then you’d be looking at the U18t). But while it it has excellent bass, for a BA-unit, it’s still “BA-bass” and lacks the raw impact, texture, micro-dynamic subtlety and slam that is on offer with more competent dynamic-driver/hybrid models - and the UM MEST is easily in that class.

Mids are notably more lucid, detailed and rich with the MEST, also - in fact I’m not sure even the tia Fourté beats the MEST here (resolution maybe, yes, but tonal weight, lucidity, micro-dynamics and texture, no).

The U12t closes the detail gap in the upper-mids/lower-treble, and then the MEST pulls ahead again above that. Air, space, sparkle and presence all favor the MEST.

Overall sound is the closest to “holographic” I’ve heard in an IEM.

Staging of the MEST even bests the original U12/A12, which I thought did better there than the current U12t/A12t - something I primarily attribute to the older units using ADEL vs. APEX as their pressure-relief system - some of the ADEL modules gave immense staging.

It’s impressive stuff, the more so due to the very competitive price.

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The fact that you’re so impressed with it is not only encouraging, but very enticing.

You linked to their website which was in Chinese, is there a U.S. based distributor for these?

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Not that I know of; the official US dealer is MusicTeck - which is where I got mine.

Otherwise, your Google is as good as mine.

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I see your “googe-fu is as good as mine!” fingers go into fingerkeyboard-fu pose

Also, @Torq , my wallet dislikes you! But I manged to get in on the discount so fairly hefty price chunk off these… now to sell my Andromedas… I guess it was only a matter of time… I’ll post my Andromedas and SR15 DAP tonight hopefully…

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@Torq Just thinking out loud, but how much of an effect does the bone conduction do? I’m wondering how a CIEM version would enhance that effect.

I’ve done a CIEM with UM before. I believe it took roughly 7 weeks turnaround from me shipping impressions to receipt of the final product in my hands.

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Here’s the link for those interested.

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The Torq effect is in full effect and my wallet is crying…

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