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“Quadbrids” aren’t actually a new novel thing in the IEM market, but the MEST does have something unique that no other IEM has: a bone conduction driver.
Living up to their namesake, Unique Melody bursts into the spotlight with their surprisingly-not-a-flagship MEST model: an IEM that not only has the typical BA-DD hybrid configuration, but also tacks on the ever-popular Sonion electret tweeters, and then on top of all that, the aforementioned bone conduction driver right up at the faceplate.
Then again I expected nothing less out of the company that built the world’s second hybrid IEM in the original Merlin, just after Ultimate Ears’ Super Fi 5 Extra Bass.
I’ve actually managed to get my hands on a universal MEST (courtesy of “Valoncia” on Discord) and I was pretty impressed with them initially, though the whole bone conduction driver thing made me wonder if there were additional benefits to going custom on the MEST (beyond the usual improved seal for bass frequencies, deeper fit for smoother treble characteristics). Unique Melody then contacted me to give me a shot at a custom MEST, and so here we are.
So the MEST is certainly unique, no doubt. But at the end of the day, esoterism is no substitute for good sound. Can the MEST satisfy or is it simply another gimmick set?
Driver configuration: 1DD + 4BA + 2EST + 1 Bone conduction driver
This MEST was kindly provided by Unique Melody.
My unboxing posts are pretty much the only times I’ll ever talk about build quality, accessories and the like. I’m not really the person to ask about these things as I don’t really care about them that much.
- Semi-hard zip case
Cable: 4-wire “Dual-Tone” cable in round-braid configuration. Not the softest cable around and some kinking has started to manifest.
The “Dual-Tone” means that 2 of the 4 wires are copper, with the other two being silver.
Connection: recessed 2-pin. No complaints, this is my favourite.
Build: no customisability beyond choosing between “Red Carbon” or “Blue Carbon”. Shell quality looks good, no outward flaws at first glance.
Fit: no complaints. The customs were built using digital STL files sent over, and so the whole process was quick and hassle-free.
Isolation: like any other custom.
- A lot warmer than the universal version.
- I found myself wanting more upper midrange and “bite”, especially with female vocals and brighter-leaning instruments
- Treble is more smoothed out and extended, though not necessarily a positive given the previously mentioned upper midrange recession.
- Strong sub-bass presence with a robust (but not overbearing) mid-bass punch. Hits are precise and sharp, with no bluntedness even in the mid-bass.
- Excellent imaging; at least above average.
- Overall a strong performer, with really only that one weakness in tuning (that’s wholly subjective anyways).