Rank #5: Unique Melody Maestro V2

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With a growing trend to excel in performance, that ultimate pursuit of finer detail, the Maestro V2 takes a step back and focuses on one of the core values of sound: a faithful reproduction of timbre. Maestro sounds balanced, and tonally accurate. It doesn’t strive to dazzle you with more than you came for; it delivers what you expect, but rarely hear – a sound that is true to the tone, and a realistic resemblance of the music.

Unique Melody Maestro V2
-Drivers:                    12 BA drivers
-Design:                     4-way crossover, 3 sound bores
-Impedance:             20 Ohm
-Sensitivity:               109 dB
-Fit:                             Custom

-PRICE:                        $1968


Cable

The Maestro (V2) comes with the choice of 2 quality stock cables: a silver-plated copper and copper/silver hybrid, each in 8-wire configuration. The hybrid was used for the current review. The hybrid 8-braid has a fairly neutral tone, and is neither particularly warm nor bright. In addition, its top-end extension is only average. However, the cable not only provides a clean but smooth sound, it provides significant depth to the stage, contributing to the size and three-dimensionality of the Maestro’s stage, and as a result, its separation. As such, the cable forms an excellent contribution to the Maestro’s overall performance, resulting in one of the best pairings in the shootout.

Sound impressions

Presentation
The Maestro is a unique monitor, with a built-in contradiction: it seems to excel in ordinariness. But even so, it comes with a delayed ‘wow’ factor; it might not seem very exciting at first, since the signature is neither particularly warm, nor sparkly. But on further listen, this evolves as its strength. The Maestro might well be the definition of an ‘uncolored’ sound, or at least the one that comes closest to what neutral is meant to imply. There isn’t a dominant warmth in the tone, that emphasizes naturalness or smoothness. And even though its timbre might be very accurate, more than anything, its priority seems to be on sounding realistic – without showing off. This isn’t a glamorous portrayal of sound; it just sounds right.

Maestro’s signature is qualified by a 6 KHz peak, a region commonly associated with a reference-tuning. But there’s a crucial difference with monitors like the Samba or Dream: Unique Melody tuned the Maestro for timbre, by tweaking the right balance in its tone. The key lies in strongly attenuating the lower treble following the 6 KHz peak, and completing it with a well-dosed boost in its mid-bass. But the sense of balance is not only present in its tone, but its presentation; although Maestro’s vocals aren’t overly dense or powerful, they have great size, and excellent balance throughout the vocal range. In addition, instruments are full-bodied and clear, and Maestro presents them with authority. The beauty not only lies in the accuracy of their tone, but their presence on the stage.

But at this point in the shootout, a balanced signature won’t be enough to get you here. The Maestro presents its music in a grand stage. A stage wide and deep in even dimensions, recreating a superb three-dimensional image. And a rather clean stage as well. As a result, there’s an abundance of air between the instruments, resulting in a musical presentation unlikely to tend towards congestion. In addition, its layering is very good, and its imaging precise. As a result, the structure of the stage is organised, with every instrument finding its place. So even though its resolution and transparency are only average, it’s a fairly detailed presentation, resulting from its near-perfect separation. The image as a whole is clear, and well-defined.

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About Author

Nic is currently in pursuit of a PhD degree in social neuropsychology, while trying not to get too distracted by this hobby. In pursuit of theoretical knowledge by day, and audiophile excellence at night. Luckily for him, both activities are not mutually exclusive which helps to lighten the workload. Always on the go, Nic's enthusiasm for hi-fi is focused on all chains of the portable system: iems, cables and daps.

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