At the start of 2015, LD Systems surprised us with the announcement of a compact column PA for €549. Now we have one to review. It is slim, stylish and lightweight. It also packs in a personal butler, in the form of an onboard mixer. Now it just has to sound good. We ask Ms. Maui for a dance.
At just 11 kilograms, the Maui 5 is a true lightweight. The subwoofer measures 305 x 405 x 105 millimetres, the three column speakers 82 x 535 x 105 millimetres. Two of them are empty, and in the third top part are four speakers. There was a redesign of the column connectors so that they join together better and can be taken apart again easily. The designers also gave the Maui 5 a stylish and high-quality ABS plastic covering, in which a class D amplifier does its job with an 8-inch subwoofer and four 3-inch hi/mid speakers.
A compact, four-channel mixer is also integrated into the sub. This manages a line signal (stereo to mono), a dynamic microphone, a Hi-Z and other line sources (combined), as well as a Bluetooth source feed.
As well as the master controller, there is also a high-boost and volume controller for the subwoofer. The back of the box has an operating switch and the connector for the cold-device cable, which has a freely accessible safety fuse. Incidentally: The diodes for Bluetooth activity are joined by an operating light and display for associated signals, as well as the limiter and protective circuit LED.
The most time-consuming part of setup is taking the individual parts out of their Styrofoam container. Apart from that, the components are simply inserted in the subwoofer. The speaker on top, obviously. The empty columns and the speaker section share the same design, a very pleasing, rounded look. Depending on location or purpose, the top section can also be operated with only one empty column element. When completely put together the system is easy to carry to where it is needed, even by people who are not so strong. Nothing wobbles excessively.
The sound is refreshingly clear and has a solidly packed bass. The frequency response starts at 50 Hz and goes up to 20 kHz. The competition is not necessarily any better. Though this makes the Maui 5 only of limited use for a dance party, the speaker has enough to reproduce a kick drum and regular bass line.
The problem, which is not unusual in this type of system, is more with the reproduction of the low/mid frequencies; there is a noticeable gap between the bass and the midrange. If I crank up the Hi-boost and dial in a little more bass, this weakness is apparent. However, in neutral operation it is easy to live with.
Tight sound dispersion from the top means that careful setup of the box is very important. The sound doesn’t spread spherically, but rather beams along the axis of the speaker. Even though it states a dispersion angle of 120°, I couldn’t reproduce this. The performance, on the other hand, is adequate: two 100 watt RMS create a sound pressure of 114 dB. At its top, the column even calls up twice 400 watts and 120 dB.
This is enough power for a crowd of 150 to 200 people. The sub bass controller means that the bass performance can be adjusted to suit any occasion. A little less boom for the lounge, a little more for a small gig. For me this is the most useful feature of the Maui 5. As well as this, a DSP-based multi-band limiter ensures reliability at signal peaks.
The Bluetooth receiver is initially disabled at the start of operation, and is activated by pressing the button (six seconds). Data transfer works well within a radius of around ten metres, even when other Bluetooth devices are polluting the air. Line and MP3 inputs also function without any problems, and can be levelled well in the overall, though the main emphasis for me here is the Hi-Z input, as I prefer to feed digital inputs via the Bluetooth channel.
The instrument input strengthens weak pickup currents, and guarantees a hum-free, powerful sound. My bass guitar really growls, and manages to assert itself well against the ongoing playback. There was even quite a bit of headroom left above the controllers, so it can go even higher.
The microphone channel also has plenty of power. The voice can be adjusted well, and easily asserts itself against the playback. However, the Shure SM58 sounds quite dull, and the two-band EQ is missing. This leaves me only an external pedal (Boss VE-20, TC-Helicon, Digitech Vocalist) or a mixer. This really needs to be reworked. Especially, when I perform with a playback that is highly polished and compressed, I want to be able to be able to keep up tonally as a singer.
Handling the hot microphone is not a problem, even at high volumes. In fact, I only manage to create feedback by directly tapping the open microphone on the housing of the top speaker in the sound column. Respect; this I can work with. When I sing loudly while standing with the microphone directly to the side of the system I hear a slightly metallic echo, but this is mentioned only for the record.
A word about the ABS plastic housing of the Maui 5. This material is not only lightweight and very recyclable, it is also resistant to oil, fats, weathering and ageing. The continuous service temperature is 85 – 100° Celsius. And just in case your live set is really hot: the melting point is 220 ° Celsius.
The LD Systems Maui 5 is a slim and elegant column PA with integrated four-channel mixer, clear sound and sub bass controlling. The application possibilities are very versatile: presenters, singer songwriters, small ensembles or organisers of mobile dance events will be happy with the Maui 5. The design is outstanding, and is sure to be popular on small stages, in bars and in conference rooms. You just have to learn how to work with the narrow sound axis, and then this system is unbeatable. And that for a small budget of €549. That’s why it gets 4 stars and a double thumbs-up!
+ Low weight
+ Mixer on board
+ Clear sound
+ Very stylish design
+ Redesigned connectors
+ Setup in a few steps
+ Adjustable sub bass volume
+ Very feedback resistant
– Very narrow dispersion angle
– No microphone EQ
– 8-inch bass reflex subwoofer
– 4x 3-inch high/midrange driver in the sound column
– Four-channel mixer
– Bluetooth interface
– Two-band master EQ
– Class D amplifier
– Cooling: Convection
– Performance: 200 watt RMS / 800 watt peak
– Features: Signal processing with LD LECC DSP (limiter, equalizer, compressor, crossover) Hi-boost, 100 Hz high-pass filter in the microphone channel
– Simple connection via a multi-pin connector
– Frequency range: 50 Hz – 20,000 Hz
– Sound pressure: 114 dB SPL / 120 dB peak
– Subwoofer dimensions: 305 x 405 x 105 mm
– Column speaker dimensions (3 pieces): 82 x 535 x 105 mm
– Housing: ABS
– Operating voltage: AC100 – 120 V, 50/60 Hz | AC 220 – 240 V, 50/60 Hz
– Power consumption: 300 W
– Temperature range: 0 °C – 50 °C
– Price: €549
Source: Bonedo.de, Dec. 15, Germany: http://www.bonedo.de/artikel/einzelansicht/ld-systems-maui-5-test.html
Author: Axel Erbstösser
Learn more about the LD Systems Maui 5 here: