Unique Melody Maestro v2 Custom Monitor Review

Selected Comparisons:

UM Maestro v2 ($1979) vs Spiral Ear SE5 Ref ($1400) :


Low Frequency:

UM has greater sub-bass in diameter with slightly more powerful and dynamic hits, while SE5 provides less colored notes.  UM has more prominent notes, but SE5 is more controlled. UM offers a warmer bass department, while SE5 has a more airy one. Both provides a great speed in fast metal tracks.

Mid Frequency:

SE5 is a mid-centric earphone, so that the instruments in the midrange are closer to listener. UM provides a more full-bodied presentation, while SE5 slightly betters it in terms of the average note thickness. UM sounds cleaner and non-congested; on the other hand, SE5 is more transparent and resolved by a small margin.

In the upper midrange, SE5 offers a little smoother presentation at the cost of cutting and missing some notes. UM sounds more detailed in the upper midrange, but SE5 possesses slightly more vocal resolution and transparency in the center midrange.

By contrast of the instruments’ locations, both locate vocals in a similar position. In addition, UM has fuller and weightier vocals, while SE5 is less colored in this area. Both don’t tend to sibilance.

High Frequency:

UM provides a bit more prominent treble notes with a higher detail level and a more open tone. Both sound slightly colored, but SE5 releases edgy notes in comparison. Both have similar amount of resolution, naturalness, and speed.

Soundstage and Separation:

UM offers a wider and a bit deeper soundstage. Although the imaging levels seem to be similar, UM significantly betters SE5 in terms of layering and distances between layers. Meantime, UM provides a better separation as well as a clearer space around instruments. Due to the fact that SE5 sounds congested and instruments are much closer to each other, UM’s presentation is easier to follow in very crowded tracks.


UM Maestro v2 ($1979 vs Westone ES60 ($1299) :


Low Frequency:

UM provides greater and more powerful sub-bass hits, while ES60 sounds more technical as well as better textured and hits deeper by a small margin. On the other hand, UM is less colored and more emotional. In the mid-bass area, UM is fuller and sounds more prominent with a warmer tonality and similar control. Both don’t tighten the stage, but ES60 has a more airy bass department.

Mid Frequency:

ES60 locates the midrange slightly more distant and creates thinner note releasing, while UM offers a fuller, more dynamic, and less effortless mid frequency presentation. UM sounds more refined in accordance with the overall note weight. ES60 is more transparent and a little more resolved, but it is more colored. Still, both provide an impressive level of lower harmonics.

UM maintains fuller vocals, while ES60 creates more distant vocals by a small margin. In the upper midrange, ES60 has a more open tone and tends to sibilance more. However, both don’t have a piercing upper mid presentation. ES60 provides slightly more resolved vocals, while UM sounds less stressed and more natural.

High Frequency:

ES60 has more prominent and brighter treble notes. Although ES60 seems to offer a higher detail level, UM sounds more resolved, forgiving, natural, and effortless in the high frequency. ES60 betters UM by a small margin in terms of the extension, but UM is a little faster and performs better in very fast metal tracks.

Soundstage and Separation:

Both have a similar stage width, but UM’s stage is deeper. ES60 creates a more neutral space around instruments, but UM significantly takes the layering advantage in accordance with the deeper stage and the distance between layers.

Both have a similar coherence level, but UM’s presentation is easier to follow and its background stays cleaner in crowded tracks; that results in a separation superiority of UM over ES60.


UM Maestro V2 ($1979) vs Noble Audio Katana C ($1850) :


Low Frequency:

Both monitors have similar power in the sub-bass department, but Maestro V2 has slightly bigger hits in dimension and Katana has a more technical but colored tone. The bass room depth is similar, but Katana provides better-textured hits by a small margin pursuant to the coloration. UM possesses a more prominent mid-bass presentation, while Katana has tighter notes in this area. Both don’t tighten the stage, but Katana is slightly more airy in the bass department.

Mid Frequency:

In the midrange, Katana sounds laid back by a small margin and it creates a smaller picture. Katana is more transparent in accordance with its more open tone, while UM has a greater sub-section body in the midrange with weightier and thicker notes. Both sound clean, resolved and natural, but UM provides a more effortless and dynamic note releasing.

UM is slightly smoother and sounds thicker in the upper midrange, while Katana brightens notes and seems to articulate details more. Both don’t sound piercing in the upper midrange area. On the other hand, UM provides more three dimensional, effortless, and weightier vocals, while Katana’s vocals sound more transparent.

High Frequency:

UM provides a laid-back, smoother, and more forgiving treble presentation, while Katana sounds slightly thinner as well as brighter in the treble region. The extension level is similar, but UM offers more resolution by a small margin in accordance with the slightly faster treble presentation.

Soundstage and Separation:

The stage depth and separation levels are similar, but UM’s stage is wider and it betters Katana in terms of the layering and the imaging. Both monitors provide a good separation, but UM’s background stays cleaner and clearer in overly crowded tracks. Both have a good coherence, but UM’s treble presentation is easier to follow pursuant to its treble location in the stage.


Final Words:

Unique Melody Maestro v2 is one of the best monitors in terms of the layering, the tonality, and the overall weight of notes. It provides not only balanced, but also a full and non-fatiguing dynamism without being too intimate or bass heavy monitor. Needless to say, the craftsmanship is very impressive and there are rich design options for creating a beautiful monitor.

The custom version of Maestro v2 is priced at $1979 with the exception of the customization options. It is also possible to order it in universal shape at a cost of $1699. Please click here for the UM website.



Picture of MikePortnoy


He started listening music when he was a child. His audiophile journey has begun under the wings of a single dynamic driver IEM. He has started to search for both technical and musical perfection in audio gears. He mostly reviews high-end systems including custom in ear monitors, aftermarket cables and digital sources.


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