Today we review the Unique Melody MEXT which is selling for $1,399 USD in custom version and $1,099 USD in universal version.
Disclaimer: The Unique Melody MEXT custom monitor was sent to us free of charge in exchange for this review, directly by Unique Melody. UM is not related to Headfonia in any way.
If you’ve read any of my Unique Melody reviews, you will know it’s one of those brands that just “do it” for me. The Maestro and Mason series, as well as the MEST series, have received high marks from me. I am a big fan of the way UM implemented bone conduction and I really feel it brings something extra to the party. I’m not the only one who feels this way, and since the first bone conduction IEMs from UM was released, man of their competitors have also started developing comparable bone conduction drivers for their monitors. As a result, I was really looking forward to reviewing the new MEXT with the latest version of their OBC Bone conduction driver.
The reason why we’re a bit late with the review of the MEXT is that we had to wait a bit longer for the custom version as the production of the universal version (which many used for review) was given priority. As this unit is all about bone conduction, I find it important to use it as a CIEM for optimal efficiency. For me was worth the wait.
Let’s start exploring the Unique Melody MEXT!
UM – Unique Melody
According to Unique Melody, they are one of the first and longest-established manufacturer of custom in-ear monitors in China. Since 2007, with over 10 years of research and experience in the industry, they’ve developed a wide range of products from multi-BA, hybrid dynamic and BA, to more recent units containing Bluetooth, planar magnetic, piezoelectric, and bone conducting technologies that also contain various patents.
Fast forward to 2022 and Unique Melody is everywhere, they are more structured, have a clear product line up, better communication and an up-to-date website. They also have excellent representation and MusicTeck in the US really have made it easy for everyone to get familiar with the brand.
It’s not always easy finding the right Unique Melody website via Google so here it is. If you use Facebook’s search you’ll also find several FB Pages for Unique Melody, but the correct and official page can be found here.
It’s clearly not the first time we’ve reviewed Unique Melody monitors and we have full articles about the Maverick, Martian, Maestro, ME.1, Mason V3 and Mason V3+, MEST, Mini MEST and MEST MKII. This time we’re looking at the newest UM creation, the MEXT.
Before going into detail on the MEXT, it’s important to know that the original IEM with bone conduction was the MEST. There is the original MEST as well as a universal mini MEST and a MEST MKII.
Before reading the MEXT review, I strongly advise to read up on the MEST MKI first, as the bone conducting technology and the driver is fully explained in that article. You can do so here:
The Mini MEST has won our Recommended Buy Award and it’s featured on our recommended buy list. For only $599 you get one heck of a universal hybrid monitor: it performs incredibly well for the price it is selling for and it easily beats many monitors in its price class with its engaging tuning and bone conduction experience.
The MEST MKI won our best CIEM of 2020 award, and the MEST MKII is featured on our Recommended buy list: If you like a musical sound with good speed, clarity, precision, and detail, you will love the Unique Melody MEST. MEST delivers great bass, lovely mid-range timbre, and energetic treble and it mixes that up with a wide and deep sound stage. The bone conduction driver gives the MEST something extra which we haven’t experienced before, and I am sure many other brands will follow UM’s example. For me, the MEST, in custom form, is an almost perfect all-around monitor which punches way above its price point. We don’t give scores here on HFN but if I would this monitor would get an easy 9 out of 10.
That means we (again) expect a lot from the MEXT. Let’s get started.
Unique Melody MEXT
The MEXT is a multiple driver Hybrid IEM and it sports 6 drivers and a 4-way crossover. The IEM has a low 16Ohm impedance. The driver configuration is as follows: 1 Coil OBC Driver + 1 Bass Dynamic Driver + 2 Mids BA Drivers + 2 Treble BA Drivers. For a multiple driver IEM, the MEXT is a little bit bigger in size when compared to the MEST series (at least in my custom version) and other hybrid IEMS.
The MEXT provides revolutionary breath-taking experience with the new bone conduction technology. With the combination of dynamic, balanced armature, and OBC coil bone conduction drivers, MEXT can deliver sound through both air transmission and bone conduction, generate an all-round sense of space and vibration.
The OBC driver can reach up to 200Hz-7000Hz in sound frequency with its sensitivity peak to @400Hz 79m·N. With assistance from the OBC driver, the MEXT’s sound packs a powerful punch and is more impactful at low frequencies. When you first experience bone conduction, you really have to get used to the sentiment and sound. Berkhan just received a new IEM featuring bone conduction, and he was telling me the same thing earlier. You really must get used to it, but once you do, it’s very addictive. Did you know Unique Melody was the first company to use bone conduction in their MEST IEM series?
The UM OBC driver consists of a high magnetic N52 neodymium magnet and high toughness vibrating steel sheet and high purity copper coil. The OBC driver is made using the technology of low-temperature welding. The high-quality neodymium magnet is produced by continuous debugging and sifting. The coil bone conduction driver is lightweight, wear-resistant and offers excellent conduction, indicated by its incredibly high yield rate, stability, and accuracy.
The deeper the OBC driver is placed inside the earphone, the closer it is to the ear bone. This gives the advantage to instantaneously sense the vibration of the sound wave. Moderate in physical vibration, it’s comfortable even during long listening sessions.
Headphone Type: Coil Bone Conduction + Dynamic +Balance Armature
Air Conduction Frequency Bandwidth: 20Hz-23kHz
Vibration Conduction Frequency Bandwidth: 200Hz-7kHz
Sensitivity of Air Conduction: 108dB @1kHz
Sensitivity of Vibration Conduction: @1kHz 5m·N | Peak @400Hz 79m·N
Crossover: 4-way Crossover
Driver Counts: 6 Drivers
Configuration:1 Coil OBC Driver + 1 Bass Dynamic Driver + 2 Mids BA Drivers + 2 Treble BA Drivers
Build quality & Comfort & Isolation
I don’t think I have ever seen a badly constructed UIEM or IEM from Unique Melody, and their shell and face plate work is one of the best on the market.
As mentioned, the MEXT is a bit larger in size compared to the market average. It at the same time fits perfectly, it just sticks out of your ears a bit more. The nozzles are a bit longer than in some of my other recent monitors, so the insertion is a bit deeper here. The nozzles have a 2-bore system integrated. The tip of the canal is rounded and there is no sharp edge.
The shells I chose for my set are partly transparent and, on the inside, everything looks to be precisely placed with symmetrical internals left and right. Face plate-wise I did not send in any artwork and as such I “got” the standard 2 UM logos printed on them. On the inside you find the MEXT serial number, there are no initials present. The only point for improvement to me is the 2-pin socket. UM has flush connectors on the MEXT, where I think recessed connectors would have been better looking.
The PWAudio cables comes delivered connected to the IEMS and UM/PWAudio have added a kind of removable mesh protection around the 4.4mm connector and Y-splitter so they can’t get damaged during transport. A nice detail. The cable looks simple but fancy, with a nice, elegant finish. I do have to note that the heat shrink ear hooks on the M1 are rather fierce and that’s quite annoying when you have the units just dangling over your ear. Once inserted it’s fully comfortable, however.
Comfort-wise the MEST is perfect just like my other UM customs. Of course, that all depends on your scans, but in my case there’s nothing to complain about and long listening sessions are no issue. The only thing I need to mention (and I have mentioned it before) is that there is “Driver Flex” with these IEMS inserting/removing them from your ears. Next to that they stick out a bit further out of your ear because of the shell size, but that doesn’t make them any less comfortable.
As this is a well-fitting custom unit, the isolation is high. A perfect fit means a high level of isolation, usually around -26dB.
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