Box & Accessories
With the Mini MEST we get the classic UM package: a nice outer black box with a magnetic flip. On the inside, the typical multi colour custom case by Dignis which holds the set of Mini MEST earphones, the 4-wire silver plated copper cable and a set of (XS/S/M/L) silicone tips. This cable looks like the one from the MEST, but it is thinner and lighter.
In the main box you will also find a grey cleaning cloth and the UM warranty card with the serial number on it.
It’s a nice, simple but very complete package. The only things missing are a cleaning tool for the mesh grill and perhaps a set of foam tips. But more on that later.
Build Quality & Design
The main shell of the Mini MEST is 3D-printed using a deep blue resin material. The shell is a somewhat transparent, and if you look closely you can see the positioning of the drivers inside. The faceplate has a dual tone (black/blue) finish and it’s made from carbon fibres. The faceplate closing is smooth and as good as it gets.
The Mini MEST is a very small monitor and it is very light. The face place design is nice but for the rest it’s a pretty simple monitor when it comes to design. The carbon fibre face plate design is more visible on the bigger MEST IEM. The face plate here is really small, so the unique finish isn’t as apparent.
The build quality is exceptionally good. As said above, the faceplate closing is top notch. The typical UM 2-pin connector feels sturdy and it is nicely integrated in the shell. The cable connects tightly, yet easily, to it.
The monitor’s canal isn’t the shortest but the build quality is impressive. The end of the canal has a metal finish and it’s ribbed so the tips will stay in place. The end of the canal also features a mesh filter to keep dirt and wax outside. If you look through the filter you will spot the metal tubes on the inside.
It’s quite impressive but we don’t expect anything different from UM, and at this price level.
Fit, Comfort and Isolation
As stated, the Mini MEST is really small and light, and it’s just really comfortable because of it. With foam ear tips, the Mini MEST because of the somewhat longer and thicker canal, does stick out of my ear. With the silicone tips, the ear shell is more inside your ear.
The good thing here is that the shell doesn’t really touch my inner ear anywhere, even with the silicone tips. And as such it’s very comfy. The downside with foam is that it looks rather ridiculous with the small shells sticking more out of my ears. Luckily, looks aren’t as important.
Isolation-wise this IEMs scores just like any other new universal IEM, and that’s pretty good. Add foam tips to the mix and you’ll completely block out external sounds. I personally like this but you might not. For sure it’s less safe when you’re on the go but this again is all about personal preference.
In this part I want to comment on the use of silicone versus foam tips. The Mini MEST only comes with silicone tips, so UM feels it works best with these. You can however stick foam tips on the Mini MEST and this will result in an even fuller, and heavier sound. Bass and especially the lower mids will get bigger in body and there will be less of a v-shaped signature.
With silicone tips you get a lighter, but much more clear and clean sound. Bass is still impressive but it’s a bit lighter and especially the lower mid body is less present, leading to a more v-shaped signature.
I personally appreciate the Mini MEST with both types of tips, but I do have to admit that the silicone tips make the Mini MEST sound more coherent and energetic. The technical level and retail retrieval certainly is best with the silicone tips and so we’ll be using these for the rest of the part on sound.
The UM Mini MEST has a powerful presentation, in an energetic and fun way. Admittedly, it’s perhaps more fun than technically strong (compared to MEST) though it certainly isn’t lacking in this department.
The Mini MEST is more coloured than it is neutral with a slightly warmer and smoother presentation, but not overly so. I love the good contrast and energy this IEM has. You can describe the Mini MEST as having a more V-shaped signature but with the foam tips the mids are fuller and the V-shape is less present.
The sound stage width and depth are quite good for a hybrid IEM with a lower driver count. You get a nice sense of openness because of the spaciousness, but it at the same time isn’t the most “out of your head” sounding IEM either.
The depth is impressive in the bass region, but also in the mids, where you get a very nice level of layering and a really lovely timbre. The bass and mids are delivered in a warmer, smoother way and in the mids the (energy) focus is on the upper mids and vocals.
The part on sound continues on page three. Just use the click here.