UM Universal MEST
Frequency response range: 20Hz-55KHz
Sensitivity: @1KHz 118dB
Driver Count: 8
Crossover: 5-way crossover system
Driver Configuration: 1Dynamic low+2BA Mid high+2BA High+2EST Ultra high+1Bone Conduction
MEST Bone Conduction Technology
Diagram 1: MEST Exploded Views
Diagram 2:The faceplates of the headphones are specially designed according to the structure of the bone conduction drivers. Bone conduction driver delivers signals by vibrating the faceplate. Then the signals are passed to the carbon fiber shell and finally delivered to your inner ear.
Diagram 3: The bone conduction drivers are made by metal vibration pieces that are covered by piezoelectric ceramics. The ceramic layers will bend the metal vibration pieces to make micro-vibrations according to the changes of input alternating voltage.
Diagram 4: The frequency curve of the bone conduction driver along with the shell on HATS.
These are my first pair of IEMs thanks to my amazing wife who bought these for me after watching me pore over IEM reviews online for months. It was down to the MEST, Thieaudio Clairvoyance and Sony Z1Rs. There didn't seem to be a good way to audition all 3 at once, so she threw a dart and picked this one out. I still haven't had a chance to compare with the other choices, so this is not much of a comparative review.
DAC: RME ADI-2 DAC FS (desk, USB) and FiiO Q5 (portable, bluetooth)
Content: Mostly YT Music and Spotify and some lossless music from my library.
Applications: Portable listening and long work-time music listening sessions mixed with video meetings.
My main desk headphones are the Fostex TH-900 (V1) and I'm a huge fan of extreme U-shaped signatures. I was looking for something less bulky, with better sound isolation and portable. For variety's sake, I was OK for something without an extreme U-shaped tuning and more mid-bass vs sub-bass.
In absolute terms, the MEST are simply very good IEMs. Listening to music with good soundstage (e.g. Amber Rubarth) is absolutely magical. Bass and bass extension is remarkable and I can actually feel the rumble thanks to the dynamic drivers! Treble reproduction seems effortless and full, but smoothed and tamed down compared to what I'm used to.
Shot-term comfort is super. All-day comfort is acceptable. My ears are still getting used to IEMs, but I feel like I might need to experiment with some third-party tips.
Sound isolation is perfect. Others can't hear my music even when loud and I definitely don't hear much of the world outside. The foam tips take this up to another level, but I don't use them much.
I still haven't really figured out how the bone-conduction drivers are contributing to the sound. I wasn't able to hear anything via bone conduction alone (e.g. making contact with the outer shell without insertion). Touching or pressing the shell doesn't seem to have any effect either.
The unboxing experience was sub-par.
The packaging and accessories are definitely lacking at this price point. As other reviewers have also pointed out, the supposedly $400+ cable was packaged in plastic outside the main box. It wasn't easy to connect the cable to the IEMs: while the left side fit smoothly, the right side seemed like the it was getting stuck because of a slightly deformed (oblong?) port. It took a frightening amount of force to actually get it in.
There was no packaged literature or a manifest of contents. I found an assortment of silicone tips, but it looks like there's 1x small and 3x medium and no other sizes (why?). There are no other cables or adapters packaged.
The leather carrying box is fine. It is very sturdy, has a lot of room and a configurable divider, but since it's cube-shaped, you can't easily slide it in a pocket. I also wish it matched the color of the IEMs - I got the red MEST but the case is blue, which I'm sure is very well color-coordinated with the blue MEST.
The best, most natural sounding IEM I have heard. Easily.
Great service, awesome product, even though they reduced the price after I bought it.
To be truthful I was expecting these to be 'ok' but nothing great. But they actually exceeded my expectations. If you get them on sale delivered for 15% off like I did, then they end up costing next to nothing compared with what you WOULD have HAD to spend in order to equal the sound of these. These are the very first IEM's which, to me, feel like they were a steal. You usually have to bend over to access this threshold of quality sound. In addition, the MEST do well with EQ. Not all IEM's respond well to EQ-ing. They have a hint of warmth, but only a hint. They are crystal clear and very rich, offering you revealing layers, each layer somehow remaining 'clear' and 'apart' from the other layers, especially in movie soundtracks...which are the most sonically demanding tracks to subject IEM's to...and these truly do exceedingly well with complex tracks. I still prefer my CA Atlas for listening to Metallica and certain others as well, only because of the unparallelled 'kick' of the sub-base and base. I'd say that the MEST, for now at least, are my 'go to' IEM's for 95% of my high-res library which is varied and extensive. I was actually expecting myself to return these and get the Odin which is what I had convinced myself was now necessary in order to get what I am now wanting, but I thought I had nothing to loose if I tried them. ..Well, I saved myself almost 2 grand AND YET I am 100% satisfied that I cannot do better than these for what I was wanting to access in terms of sound quality and refinement. They are very refined, yet the base is fairly rich on base-rich tracks. What makes them shine is the 'rich' yet 'defined' ability to display all the various sonic layers of the most complex tracks. This remains true up to a certain volume, after which, they then loose some clarity and definition....whereas, my Atlas remain totally impervious to volume.... My players are a Kann Cube and a Lotoo PAW 6000. If you have spent over 2,000 on the past on IEM's that were a disapointment, these things, for a lower price, are FAR better than QUITE A BIT of all else for sale. Period. They are an excellent deal. Period. They did seem to require at least 40 or 50 hours of use before they smoothed out....and they keep on getting more and more smooth. Comfort : Comfort is 'ok'. Nothing compares to Atlas for comfort because with Atlas you don't need the loop around your ear. I can wear the MEST for upwards of 9 hours straight with only a very slight feeling of soreness. I may end up getting these things in 'custom' version...they are 'that' good in my view. Hope this helps.
It took me 3 months to wade through all the IEM reviews from $500 to $3300. After listening for these 30, 40 seconds, I had to wipe my eyes and blow my nose — I was so happy.
I bought the unversal model with the 4.4mm balanced cable and paired them with the S1 PAW and SpinFit tips. The comfort and sound are a mindless pair.
Thank you, Andrew @ MusicTeck for guiding me through some questions and the process — could not have done better.