LD Systems MAUI 44 – Plug-and-Play-PA – Product review by Soundcheck

The Maui 44 is the flagship of the LD Systems Maui series and outshines its small siblings in terms of performance with 1600 watts of column power. We have tested the PA for you.

The latest development in the field of compact-PAs is the rising popularity of column systems. Virtually every manufacturer has become aware of this trend and has at least one variant of this construction method in their catalogue. LD Systems already features several systems that differ from each other in terms of their performance. The new Maui 44 with a total of 1600 Watts (RMS) and a sound pressure level, which reaches 129 dB (maximum SPL), according to manufacturer’s specifications, is the most powerful representative in the range. Even loud enough for musicians who also want to entertain guests in the outside beer garden. The Maui 44 can also be of interest to medium-sized clubs and DJs.

Stable construction

Two neodymium speakers in the subwoofer keep the weight of the PA just under 60 kg. The ergonomic LD Systems Evolutive handles ensure convenient transportation. A castor board, which can be secured to the subwoofer by means of butterfly closures, is sold separately. The column consists of two lightweight components that are stacked on top of the subwoofer. Speaker cables do not need to be installed because the column components and the subwoofer are fitted with multi pin connectors, which automatically connect to each other when assembling. All components fit securely together thanks to integrated steel bolts. Both parts of the column are equipped with handles at the back for easier handling.

The system seems stable. The subwoofer is coated with a tough plastic layer, that easily absorbs light shocks and protects the cabinet made from 15 mm birch plywood from any damage. The two speakers are sufficiently protected by a metal grill. The column components built mainly of aluminium accommodate a total of 16 speakers, which are in turn subdivided into individual frequency groups. Here too, a metal grille protects the inside from external harm.
The connections and operating elements of the system are located on the back of the subwoofer. Here, the sub-level can be adjusted, among other things.
Goodbye cable clutter

It really is something special to assemble a complete PA without speaker cables. Only the power cord needs to be connected to the system with its special plug. The socket can be found on the back of the subwoofer, along with all the other ports. Two combo jacks (XLR/jack) and two RCA sockets are available as inputs. The signal can be transmitted via the two Line-Outs (XLR) to another system. If you would like to have even more noise in the low frequencies, you can connect an additional subwoofer.

On to the practice run

After assembling the system, we conducted a sound test with a CD player and reference CDs to make an informed assessment about the basic sound. The overall volume level and the respective contribution of the woofer are adjusted on the back of the subwoofer. With both controllers in the central position, the result is a balanced bass within a volume that is already enough to rock every small club. The relationship between the columns and subwoofer can be varied depending on the music. A DJ will want to give maybe a little more oomph, while an unplugged duo will choose a rather more discreet setting. The basic sound of the Maui 44 scores highly not only because of its loudness. The quality of the sound also makes it an excellent all-round system. This is down to the two 12-inch neodymium woofers, and the four additional frequency groups of the column array. They make the 16 full-range speakers and two Celestion HF driver abundantly heard.Once disassembled, the Maui 44 can easily be transported in a normal car.
»The void which is so often discerned in the mids with many satellites systems, is absent here.«

High dispersion angle

ritics would probably claim that a single column is only half the story. Surely that depends on the width of the stage. For mega-events, the sound engineer would prefer much larger systems, anyway. In our test scenario, which consists of a medium-sized club, the mids and highs reach even the furthest corners of the room, packed with a crowd of about 150. This can be attributed to the extremely high dispersion angle of the system (120 degrees). Therefore, no additional monitoring is necessary. The four frequency groups of the columns, coupled with the subwoofer, provide a dense sound. From the dreaded “hole in the mids” found with many satellite systems, there is no trace here. The LECC DSP integrated in the subwoofer includes the crossover as well as the equalizer, compressor and limiter. In the column, the 800 watts of the class-D power amplifier are evenly distributed over all four frequency groups. Further circuits protect the system against distortion which could damage the loudspeakers, short circuit, overcurrent and overvoltage. In case of danger, the system will automatically mute itself. LEDs on the back of the sub indicate the active protection circuits.

»”The speakers seduce with both punchy bass and clear treble”«

Good sound with DSP

The integrated DSP does a great job and provides for an exclusive sound. The speakers seduce with both punchy bass and clear treble. It is by no means restricted to certain genres. Classical music as well as pop, rock, and metal are pleasantly rendered. Especially with harder styles, this system goes beyond the threshold where other small satellite systems reach their limit. Here, the Maui 44 copes without any problems. For brutal volumes and the urge for more oomph, an optional second subwoofer (LD System Maui 44 SE) is worth considering. The PA passed the test with flying colours when rendering the sound of a blues rock band. When increasing the volume, the compressor reduces the bass automatically, which pleasantly rounds off the overall sound, since at high levels the bass tends to muddle the remaining sound.

All instruments are well differentiated and a joy to hear. The bass drum is crisp and the digital guitar amplifier that goes directly into the mixer, produces exactly the mids, which are essential for the overall sound. Even though it is not actually necessary in this location to mike them up, the cymbals in this test provide an excellent result through the system. The next challenge is the unplugged part in the set consisting of two vocals and an acoustic guitar. Therefore relaxation for the ears and a lot of work for the tweeter. Here it comes down to a certain “je ne sais quoi”. The Maui 44 reveals a silvery brilliance at the highest frequencies. Both guitar and song spread naturally and uniformly across the room.


The Maui 44 meets all requirements for a compact PA. Both in terms of sound and functionality, this system is a hit. Those who do not enjoy huge speakers and prefer something rather more discreet, will give this system the highest score. Ideal for small bands and DJs, where a small satellite system offers too little reserves.

+ Excellent sound
+ very good value for money
+ no clutter thanks to plug-in system

Interview with Viktor Wiesner, LD Systems Product Manager

SOUNDCHECK: What targets have the engineers tried to achieve with the Maui 44?

Viktor Wiesner: The target was to conceive a power PA, which differs significantly from the other products in terms of power, sound pressure, performance and appearance. The Maui 44 provides 1600 Watts (RMS) and 129 dB (peak).

SC: What challenges do the developers especially face when planning a compact system?

VW: One of the biggest challenges was to develop a system with a very good sound quality, high maximum sound pressure and homogeneous sound level distribution while accommodating a small size to meet any possible application. We reconsidered the topic column speaker from the ground up, and moved away from the technologies used by our competitors. The aim was to optimise the dispersion to achieve a far-reaching sound level distribution for distance and near-field, and at the same time, to minimise annoying side lobes, that necessarily arise in classical column speakers. The latter is achieved by our multi-channel frequency separation of the column speakers. The high-frequency reproduction stands out clearly from other compact systems; with the Maui 44 two separate tweeters work in addition to the 16 3.5 inch full-range speakers. Unlike other compact systems, we reach the higher maximum sound pressure level with two treble waveguides, which are derived from our VA4-Line-Array System. The neodymium drivers in the column are characterised by a very high efficiency, which contributes additionally to the high sound pressure. The problem that you get with high performance, is the rise in temperature of the coils. Neodymium speaker drivers are lightweight. But because of the lower magnet material, they are less able to dissipate the generated heat, so a sophisticated cooling system in the column comes into play. The column body itself, made of aluminium, serves as a heat sink.

SC: In your opinion, what does the Maui 44 have that places it ahead of the competition?

VW: The Maui 44 System convinces with its homogeneous sound level distribution in the distance and near-field, its maximum range, balanced sound image over the entire frequency range, as well as with its high feedback stability.

SC: What does the future look like? Will PA systems still continue to shrink or have we already reached the end of the flagpole?

VW: The components used for speakers have experienced an enormous increase in efficiency in recent years. Power amplifiers are also becoming more compact and powerful. Overall, there is still certainly a lot of potential for development here, but thermodynamics and price are the limiting factors. Physics is, however, the end of the flagpole and you can’t escape this. Regardless, our engineers at LD Systems are permanently in search of new solutions with the goal of achieving better sound in PA systems and of designing more user-friendly controlling elements. It is so exciting to wait for what is yet to come from our company in the future.

All product information can be found here:

Source: Soundcheck 09 / 14

Author: Gerrit Hoß

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