Unique Melody MEST Mk2

Brings the BASS

Pros: Top-tier bass
Top-tier sub-bass
Great sounding mids
Wide soundstage
Excellent vocals
Forward sounding mids and bass – good balance

Cons: Some sibilant “S” sounds
Harder to drive than some

Mest Side.jpg

Up for review today is the much lauded UM Melody MEST Mk2. I got these from Musicteck: Here. My first set of these was defective, which I didn’t realize because I wasn’t expecting a brand new set of IEMs to arrive defective. That pair got a 3/5 from me, which is the same rating as I gave the Moondrop Chu. That’s pretty awful. Luckily, after sending those back and confirming they were defective, Musicteck sent me a new pair which work VERY well and you won’t be seeing a rating that low this time. The MEST Mk2 is an eight driver quadbrid IEM with 1x Dynamic, 4x Balanced Armature, 2x Electrostatic, and 1x Bone Conduction drivers. Oddly, the bone conduction drivers have no impact on the bass and don’t kick in until 500 Hz. So, the insane bass you hear with these is from the Dynamic driver. If you don’t feel like reading my UPDATED rambling below, just know that these actually deserve the attention they get.

Mest Box.jpg

Build Quality/Comfort:

The build quality is fantastic, the 2-pin connectors are the tightest I’ve ever encountered, and the case, materials, carbon fiber shells, and cable are all very well made. This is a very high-quality product (as it should be at this price.) The carbon fiber kind of looks like scratches at first, but then as you look deeper, the different layers come through and it’s a really unique melody look. The gold flakes are a nice touch also – classy. I also appreciate the vents that they added to prevent pressure build-up.

The cable is decent quality, on par with the Thieaudio Monarch Mk2 (MMk2) and the FAudio Mezzo LE (Mezzo.) That said, it is a little stiff and likes to hold a bent shape more than I would like – similar to the MMk2. Also, it’s not modular, which is really convenient, but the 4.4mm jack works great and overall it’s a premium feel for the cable. The cable is all copper, and the Mezzo’s silver cable comes across as more premium, but the Mezzo also runs $500 more.

The comfort is good, and these are medium-large size IEMs – I am using my Spinfit W1s on these because I find they fit me really well and work on basically every high-end IEM I test so I get a consistent measure. Also, I love the blue case, they should have offered an option where the shell is that color. The box and case are really nice and the accessories are par for the course at this price level with quite a few different ear tips to choose from if you don’t want to go aftermarket.

Mest Open Box.jpg


Looking at the squig.link frequency response graph, the MMK2 and the MEST have near identical frequency responses through the entire bass freq and lower mids. That is shocking because the MEST bass feels like it hit a lot harder. From the mids up, they differ greatly with the MEST maintaining a more neutral tuning and the MMk2 following more of the Harman Adjusted or Super22 curve. I am powering these off my Shanling M3 Ultra (M3U) through Tidal Hi-Fi. I am using the stock 4.4mm cable for this test and running around 30/100 – the MMk2 is around 35/100 with the same connection.

Monarch MEST.png

As usual, I don’t like to break down headphones solely by frequency range since every song has bass, mids, and highs (and I can’t tell the difference between vocals at 1900 Hz and 2100 Hz.) So, I will start with bass-heavy songs, then move to mids-focused and lastly highs-focused songs, then break down each song by how all the pieces are presented. You can find my Tidal test tracks playlist in my signature if you want to compare them to your headphones. The first song I’m using is one of my favorite bass-test songs: David Guetta’s “I’m Good (Blue).” The intro bass has tons of impact and the hi-hats are easy to hear in the background. The mid-synths come in clearly and the sub-bass at 0:32 has some fantastic rumble without drowning out the synths. The vocals come in clearly with a large soundstage, but the vocals don’t feel pushed to the back like they can on the Sony MDR-Z1R with this song. The High-mids and low-Highs here come across well without any sharpness or sibilance. Overall, a much better presentation than last time I listened to these.

The Next song I am Going to test with is Gym Class Heroes’ “Stereo Hearts.” The vocals come in cleanly again and the bass drums kick hard. I’m really surprized by the vocal representation on these as I didn’t get that feeling with the defective pair. Adam Levine’s chorus sounds excellent and doesn’t get overwhelmed by the still excellent bass. The MEST has more bass and sub-bass quantity than the MMk2 (despite appearing to have the same amount on the freq chart), so if that’s your thing, get these over the Monarch.

Demon Hunter’s “I Am A Stone” Opens with beautiful string representation and clear vocals. The bass strings in the background can be heard clearly, which is impressive since some headphones fail to display those properly, or at all – other headphones force them to drown out the rest of the song. Overall, this is a great representation of the mids and the lows – the higher strings come in clearly as well without any of the sharpness the defective pair had.

Mest Open Case.jpg

The next mids song I’m testing with is Weaving The Fate’s “The Fall” – The bass drums can be heard in the background, as can the bass guitar (impressive since this can be covered pretty easily. The guitars and vocals take the front stage on this song with clean and distorted guitars sounding detailed with a good level of clarity and reverb from the distorted guitars. The vocals sound forward, but the soundstage is still wide without sounding echoey or TOO big. I prefer the forward presence of the mids of the MMk2, but these two are very close now that my MEST Mk2 works.

Panic! At The Disco’s “High Hopes” has been my go-to song for testing Sibilant “S” sounds for a while now and this is where the MEST falls the flattest. The “S” sounds come in sharply on this song and anyone who is annoyed by sibilance will feel it. The horns in the intro come in nicely with good vocals representation throughout the song. That large soundstage is back and it feels like you’re watching them live at a small indoor venue. The bass drums come in cleanly without overwhelming the rest of the instruments. The MMk2 avoids the sibilance presented here.

On the defective MEST, Michelle McLaughlin’s “Across the Burren” was so painfully bad that I couldn’t even get through the whole song. The new MEST Mk2 doesn’t have that sharp sibilant harshness throughout the entire song. This song is an excellent display of upper-mids and low-highs, easily reaching up into the 3k+ Hz range. There is still some sharpness at some points, but it is nowhere near as bad as it was on the defective unit. This is something to keep in mind though if sharp treble bothers you – you get those highs that aren’t muted and hidden in the back, but you may end up with some sibilance or sharpness. The MMk2 doesn’t have this issue on this song at all for some reason (it kind of looks like it should.)

Mest Ferrari.jpg


The MEST Mk2 is a good alternative to the MMk2 if you’re looking for something different. If you like a bassier IEM with more laid back mids and peakier treble, the MEST Mk2 might be the one for you, especially at this price. It has near-end-game bass-head IEM performance at a mid-fi price. I’m glad that I got the chance to listen to these again – there is a reason these are highly valued and near the top of many IEM lists. If yours sound weird, check to make sure it’s not defective.

Headphone Scoring – Each category can be split into quarter points:
Build Quality.75​
Ear Pads / Tips1​

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