Maui 44 LD Systems – Backstage Magazine
From the very start, the planning of original systems has distinguished leading suppliers from the other brands. Although LD Systems cannot be defined as such, with these small Pas, the audio supplier manages a truly major step forward
The German company was established more than ten years ago and is one of the brands from the German Adam Hall Group. LD Systems operates in the medium price bracket of the pro audio sector, and distinguishes itself through the sale of original and innovative devices which offer good value for money, in accordance with the slogan “Pro Audio in Motion”.
The customer care and support departments have an excellent reputation. There are numerous options for direct contact, and the website impresses with a blog which is full of explanations and updates. The audio catalogue includes hundreds of items, from radio systems to accessories. The section for small PA systems is particularly interesting – the Model 44, which we tested, is the largest and most powerful of the MAUI series, which also includes two additional, somewhat smaller models (MAUI 11 and MAUI 28).
A good couple of years have passed since Christian Heil revolutionised the public address system market by using (and perfecting) the functional principles of the line array system. In the last ten years they have been seen in all areas, though it seems that there are still strong creative limitations in the development of new systems which satisfy the requirements of a market which is more demanding than ever when it comes to the optimisation of the ratio between performance and practicality.
All the traditional brands (and many newer ones) have grappled with the production of line array systems of medium and high performance and different heights. In the installation sector (especially in churches and other places of worship) there has been a great leap forward, thanks in part to usage of the latest capacities in the area of digital processing.
The combination of these two very different areas of application has created a new generation of products which have spread very quickly: The compact “column speaker”. The system was primarily developed for DJs, but has also proven useful for professional leasing companies who want to offer a comprehensive range of applications, and who don’t require particularly high performance, but do require fast set-up times, an elegant design and the ability to adjust the sound without making compromises in the frequency spectrum and overall audio quality.
It is not a complete innovation, and many brands already have this type of product in their product line. However, this model shows that the technology is ready to secure its place in professional use, and not only as a small system for musicians.
The MAUI 44 System is made up of three elements which are assembled very quickly:
• a subwoofer with two 12″ neodymium speakers in a Bandpass case. The case is made of 15 mm plywood, clad with polyurethane, and has non-slip rubber feet. The weight of approx. 40 kg is relatively low in light of the performance and the fact that it includes the entire electronics (amplifier and processors). The relatively “flattened” shape contributes to the stability of the complete system, especially if the floor is not completely flat.
• A “middle” column (approx. 85 cm tall) consists of eight 3.5″ neodymium speakers with multi-pin connectors and guide pins at both ends, and weighs a little more than seven kilograms (aluminium casing, with passive cooling).
• A top column (approx. 1 m tall) with eight neodymium speakers, two Celestion tweeters with waveguide (one with a 7° tilt). Both columns are protected on the outside by a robust metal mesh, and have two convenient handles attached to the back for carrying. The entire system can be assembled in a couple of seconds, and no stand or cable is required between the components.
All that needs to be done is that the mains cable (with PowerCon plug) is connected to the subwoofer and the signal of the mixer. If the subwoofer is on the ground, the tweeter is tall enough to not be shielded by the crowd, and the range is about 4 m (for a seated audience). With a height of 2.20 m, the weight is less than 60 kg. The horizontal radiation angle is 120°, the (stated) frequency response is 40 Hz to 20 KHz. The total amplifier power of the system (RMS) is 1600 W in class D (5 paths!) for a maximum sound pressure level of 121 dB (SPL continuous) (SPL (Peak) 129 dB).
Other features and sound
The column consists of a total of sixteen 3.5″ speakers and two tweeters with waveguide. After reading the manual (and with careful listening at close proximity), it becomes apparent that the division of the signals corresponds with a relatively complex plan (see illustration). The subwoofer is amplified with the two Hypex UCD400 amplifier modules (each 400 watt RMS) and with four class D 200-watt amplifiers. The system is digitally processed with a DSP, known as LECC (Limiter, Equalizer, Compressor, Crossover), with settings which are not visible to the user, and which cannot be adjusted.
The special nature of this product means that we completely understand this decision – orientation and optimisation don’t need any further changes beyond the adjustments made in the factory. The only parameters which can be changed by the user, with the controllers on the back of the subwoofer, are the volume of the entire system and the volume of the subwoofer itself. It’s worth noting that a second subwoofer (available separately) can be connected to increase the bass. Not that this means that the bass is weak.
On the contrary, the deep frequency response seems reasonable, with a nicely defined bass range which is surprisingly powerful despite the small dimensions of the subwoofer. If you want to completely exhaust the volume, then a second subwoofer can be helpful, especially for outdoor events or “heavier” musical styles. Generally it can be said that the DSP manages outstanding performance. The protective mechanism can only be perceived acoustically if it’s really turned up. The frequency response is surprisingly extended and soft, with crystal-clear treble and lively mid-range, which are never disruptive and always have a well-controlled bass (automatic bass boost for low volumes). As well as a multi-band limiter, the system is also protected by a protective circuit against overheating, overload, short circuits and excess current.
It should be emphasised that the performance of the system is positively influenced by some advantages of the line array technology despite its small size: The clarity and presence of the mid-range and treble range are better at a close range of a few dozen metres than traditional systems with similar performance, and the system achieves balanced (sound) dispersion in the zone of 120° (horizontal) and an attenuation of side loading in the vertical zone. The “stability” promised in the brochure proved to be a reality: We’re not talking about a miracle, but in any case, it is a remarkable achievement for a product in this price class and for this intended use.
– MAUI44 SE: An additional subwoofer for increased performance in the bass range. It can be positioned either next to or under the system: In the latter case, the PA is also lifted, which can be useful if a greater range is desired.
– LDM44CB: Caster board with butterfly locks to connect the subwoofer.
– LDM44SUBPC: Softly lined protective case for the subwoofer.
– LDM44SATBAG: Transport bag with handles for the column speakers.
Use and comments
The typology and price class of the product put the device close to the high-priced market of semi-professional devices, for temporary installations in locations where a subtle external appearance and high functionality is important. We take the liberty of also recommending it for leasing companies who operate in the event and theatre sector (prose and small musicals), as well as for music events with semi-acoustic ensembles (well suited for jazz!).
The only disadvantage is that the device can’t be hung, and the subwoofer can’t be separated from the top part. A double stereo input (a pair of combo XLR jacks and two RCA sockets) and two outputs make plug and play installation with optimal sound performance possible in situations where an inconspicuous appearance is required (exhibitions, conferences, small DJ sets etc.). Its application as a delay is interesting (the system comes without a stand or cable, making it easy to set up and also acceptable in small locations), and, last but not least, its usage as a side monitor shouldn’t be underestimated.
Usage of an additional subwoofer also lets the system be used for high-quality DJ sets with reasonable sound volumes, or for rock concerts with audiences of a few hundred.
• Simple setup
• Usage of the subwoofer cannot be bypassed
Source: BACKSTAGE magazine, December 2014, Italy: http://www.backstagenews.it/ Author: Gian Luca Cavallini
Click here to learn more about LD Systems Maui 44:
Leave a Comment
You must be logged in to post a comment.