UM MEST MKIII CorgiFall Review: Carbon Dreams

I liked the UM MEXT when it launched and I gave it a positive review. I’ve only ever heard great things about the MEST series and while I’ve never had the chance to hear the MEST or MEST MKII, I was excited to check out the new MEST MKIII. The MKIII(for the rest of the review) uses 10 driver hybrid made up of 1 dynamic driver, 4 balanced armatures, 4 EST drivers and topped off with their in house bone conductor. The MKIII comes in two colors with two price points. I have the blue version that comes in at $1919($1599 without the cable). The red version can be had for $2359($1899 without the cable). 

Quick shoutout to Unique Melody for sending the MEST MKIII to check out and review. While I always appreciate the chance to test and review products sent in from manufacturers or dealers, it never affects the rating of my reviews.

Gear Used

IPhone 14 Pro Max with headphone adapter, Hiby R6 PRO II, Letshuoer Cadenza 12, THIEAUDIO V16 and Everolo Z8/SMSL SP400 stack

Looks and fit

The MKIII is a little on the bigger side for an IEM but it has a decent amount of space between the stem and shell. Which in my case, makes for an extremely comfortable fit and good seal on most tips. The shells are lightweight but they look and feel pretty sturdy overall. The shells have a nice looking semi transparent blue color with visible strands of what I’m guessing are carbon fiber from the name. The faceplate has a pretty wood design and I like the color scheme with the gold accent. I normally don’t like gold anything but I think it looks good here.

Isolation and sound leakage

The MKIII isolates well for a hybrid and it’s on par with all the other better isolated hybrid designs. It doesn’t leak sound as much either so louder listening won’t irritate those around the listener in quiet areas as much when running at normal volume levels.

Packaging and accessories

I always liked UM’s boxes and while the box is a bit on the larger side height wise, they do fill the space well enough. When you pull the sleeve off the box, it opens up with a neat little quote written inside. In the box were greeted with the warranty card and under that is the IEMS, the two different types of UM specific tips, the cleaning cloth and a nice round leather circle case which holds the cable. They also include a leather cable strap buckle which is a nice touch. I would have liked to see normal tips included since not everyone's ears will work well with the new tips they include. That being said, I think the buyers of this IEM won’t mind spending a little money to tip roll anyways.


These final impressions were done off the Eversolo DAC-Z8 connected to the SMSL SP400. These impressions are what the MEST MKIII sounded like to my ears. This was also using the Spinfit W1 tips. Things like ear tip selection and DAC/amp selection will produce different results and impressions vs what my ears hear on my specific gear.

I will note that the MKIII does benefit from tip rolling and I’ll be listing my impressions with my preferred Spinfit W1 tips.

The MKIII goes for a somewhat safe neutral tuning with a hair brighter overall sound. It’s mostly neutral but there’s a good balance between the whole frequency range which makes it more of a jack of all trades IMO. The sub-bass comes in nice and strong with good thumps when called for. The mid bass does feel a little lean which on first listen can make it sound a little thin overall. After a track or two of adjusting, I can appreciate the bass in general though. The mids are accurate and neutral as are the vocals. The vocals do have a good sense of space and presence without sounding artificial or too far forward. The upper mids are a little sharp but I think it stays under the line of sibilance. The same thing applies to the treble which is still somewhat bright in the lower treble but it never sounds extreme and it starts to trail down near the upper end which results in detailed instruments without the splashy or ultra sharp annoyances. This could possibly sound a little tame to those but I think it pulls in wonderful details regardless. I actually really like this tuning but I’ve come to appreciate the safer neutral tunings as of late for higher priced IEMs.


I personally believe what sets the UM products apart from the competition is the use of their bone conductors which almost always add a more unique and bigger sounding stage. The drawback is a slightly noticeable “echo” effect as I call it. I would say that while it might take a track or two to adjust, I think the staging on the MEST MKIII makes it stand out and adds to the overall enjoyment. The imaging is accurate though but it can sound strange at times before adjusting to the staging from the MKIII. Especially if you go from one set of IEMs straight to this set.


I find the MKIII to be mostly easy to drive. It does get up there on my desktop stack for volume but it only requires slightly more power than normal. I would say anything modern will be able to drive these fine. It does scale decently from higher end gear but isn’t required. It’s also not sensitive and picks up zero floor noise from my current audio gear.

Stock cable

So the neat thing with the MEST MKIII is that it can be had with or without the cable. Which is nice since the stock cable will definitely not be for everyone. The stock cable which is super high quality, is also a flat-ish cable which makes it somewhat annoying to unravel once out of the case. Not a deal breaker but I almost always have to fiddle around in order to get it “prepped” for listening. The nice thing is that once the cable is straightened out, it never tangles or kinks on its own. I wouldn’t swap it out and continue to use this cable with the MKIII. I like that they however offer the option for those with their preferred cables to simply buy just the MKIII on its own.

IEM comparisons

LETSHUOER Cadenza 12

Both these IEMs go for a somewhat safe tuning. The Cadenza 12 has a slightly stronger and fuller bass vs the MKIII. The mids are about the same but I would say the Cadenza 12 does sound a little smoother here. Vocals sound a little more natural and life-like on the Cadenza 12 but it's a small difference over the MKIII. The upper mids are a little more intense on the Cadenza 12 but both are very good at not being sibilant. The lower treble sounds brighter on the MKIII but I think it’s well controlled enough that it doesn’t sound too sharp. The Cadenza 12 in comparison sounds like it has a strong upper treble but I found both to be comparable in detail retrieval and resolution. With the edge maybe going to the Cadenza 12. Staging however sounds wider and deeper on the MKIII thanks to the unique staging caused by the bone conductors. I think both are fantastic and I find myself struggling on which I want to listen to constantly. 

THIEAUDIO Divinity V16

The V16 continues to be another favorite of mine. Mostly for the warmer and smoother tuning. I would say the V16 produces a fuller overall bass where the MKIII produces the stronger sub bass thump but lacks that mid bass the V16 manages to provide. The mids are fantastic on both but the MKIII has a more accurate presentation. The Vocals are more natural on the V16 and I prefer them here over the MKIII. The upper mids and treble go to the MKIII however. It just sounds better tuned and provides better detail retrieval. The staging also goes to the MKIII as well. That unique bone conductor staging really beats everything out IMO. I still love the V16 but I do find myself constantly using the MKIII over it.

Amping Combinations

Hiby R6 PRO II

The R6 P2 is my favorite neutral-warm DAP and it really compliments the MKIII tuning. It adds a little of the missing mid bass presence back which can make the MKIII sound a little more balanced down low. I would say that’s about all it really adds compared to my desktop stack. The mids and vocals sound about the same and the treble is a little more relaxed sounding. I would say the staging, while wide, doesn’t quite sound quite as spacious compared to my desktop stack. Overall, a good pairing and I would say for most, something like the R6 PRO II is gonna perform super well with the MEST MKIII.

Eversolo DAC-Z8/SMSL SP400

This desktop combo is what I use to review all my current audio gear with. I do find the MKIII does actually scale and I can notice a small but decent difference between something like the Moondrop Moonriver 2 Ti dongle and this desktop stack. Do I think the MKIII needs super high end gear? Nope!! I think you can get away with mid range gear and be super happy. I mostly use this set on my Hiby R6 P2 DAP and even the Moondriver 2 Ti dongle attached to my Macbook without any complaints.

Overall thoughts

I always enjoyed the way UM designed their IEMs and the added unique sound stage via the bone conductors really make the MEST MKIII stand out from the pack. I never had a chance to hear the original MEST MKI and MKII but I have to say I really like the MKIII. It plays it safe but indeed sounds like a well tuned and detailed sub $2k IEM. This is an easy recommendation and I think if you can at least give the MKIII a listen, you won’t be disappointed! Great job to the team over at Unique Melody! I look forward to what they conjure up next!! Thanks for reading!!!

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