1. Build Quality & Comfort
My Maestro looks great. There are no scratches, no bubbles, the faceplate closing is perfect, the recessed connectors fit nicely and there’s no excess glue or anything. As these aren’t see-through I can’t comment on the internals but as far as I can see, and with the CIEM-experience I have, this is as good as it gets. Real craftsmanship.
The monitors arrived all shiny and I was surprised to see they actually were incredibly small for housing 12 drivers. UM opted for a 3-bore setup with one big bore and two small ones that go all the way to the tip of the monitor. Comfort wise my Maestro is perfect as well and they sit so comfortable in my ears that I can listen to them for very long periods. The Maestro, together with the Cosmic Ears CE6, is the monitor I’ve listened to most (and longest). It’s impossible to break the seal and your ears don’t hurt in any way during or after listening. Perfection.
Unique Melody of course asked me how I wanted them to look but as usual I didn’t request anything special. “Just make what you want people to see” was my answer and so I had no clue how they would look.
When they arrived I was very pleasantly surprised. The monitors have a light black color and they are decorated in grey. Both monitors on the side show a graphic equalizer screen and both faceplates show the UM logo. Right under the connector going to the canal they put my initials while the insides show a left (blue) “L“ and right (red) “R” together with the serial number. Simple and classy, I love the design.
Going by MusicTeck’s website, Unique Melody offers the following customization options:
- Shell Color
- Face Plate
If you want a faceplate insert you can choose between six types of wood, black or silver carbon fiber and even titanium and gold. Of course you can also just op for a face plate logo with or without custom artwork. You can choose to have your initials printed on the monitors or not and last but not least you have the choice between recessed or flush sockets.
The cable that came with the Maestro is a very basic 4-way cable terminated with a 3.5mm L-shaped plug. There is a piece of memory “metal” at the left and right connector. It comes with a very nice personalized Velcro wrap cable tie but that’s the most exciting thing I can tell about it.
I’m lucky to have a whole bunch of IEM-cables at my availability – including the Linum cables I like a lot – but the two cables I ended up using with this particular TOTL custom monitor are the Effect Audio Mars (gold plated silver) and the Effect Audio Leonidas (gold-silver hybrid). Both of these cables show what the Maestro really is capable off but more on that in the part on sound. The Linum BaX and Music cables also sounded really good. I couldn’t try the SuperBaX as it only works with flush sockets.
While I certainly think cables impact the sound, you can never expect your monitor to sound completely different with another cable. The difference is limited but a monitor of this level does deserve a nice aftermarket cable.
4. Price & Accessories
Most of the top of the line custom monitors don’t come cheap and it’s no different with the Maestro. The standard version starts at $1599 and depending on the customization options you select, the price will go up. The universal version of this monitor costs $1499 but I fully advise everyone to go for the custom version.
The Maestro arrived in a very nice square black box which says “Handcrafted with love” on top. On the side it says “IEMs inside box” which seems pretty logic to me. Inside the black box you’ll first find another black box that holds the accessories: A 6.3 to 3.5mm plug, a cleaning tool, a cleaning cloth and an airplane L/R adapter. Under this box you’ll find a small aluminum container with UM’s logo (the same as on my ciems) on top. The container is small and inside there’s a tiny pouch that is holding your monitors and the cable. The container is portable but as the lid doesn’t close very well I hardly ever use it to protect my monitors on the go. Instead I use a simple Pelican 1010. Overall I’m quite happy with how the Maestro is presented.
5. Customer Service
Like I mentioned earlier I am glad that Unique Melody decided to go with MusicTeck as a dealer. Communicating with UM at Canjam Essen and later by email in English wasn’t the easiest but Andrew now luckily is my “middle man”.
Beside the new US dealer I’m not sure there even is customer support in Europe. I honestly have no idea how their customer service works but everything was so good up till now that I didn’t need to get in touch for a refit or a repair.