The LD Systems MAUI 5 is one of the smallest column PAs on the market. We’ve tested how it sounds and which areas of use it’s suitable for. A small, compact package was left at the editorial team’s door. At just over 11 kg, the LD Systems MAUI 5 is a genuinely lightweight product. Let’s open the packaging.
Our first impressions of the LD Systems MAUI 5
The box contains a sub unit, three column units, a power cable, and a multilingual user manual. The sub comes with a handle—very practical for transportation!
The column units are so similar it’s hard to tell them apart. However, only one of them contains the speaker system. This houses four 3” speakers, while an 8” bass reflex is found in the sub, all driven by a class-D amplifier. The three modules are easily slotted together, as well as onto the sub. If necessary, you can also do away with one of the spacers.
Using the LD Systems MAUI 5 After easily assembling the system, we connect the power cable and take a look at the controls. It all looks very positive: everything is big, easy to read, and clearly arranged. This should be a matter of course for live shows in particular, where things can get somewhat hectic.
The top row of the slightly rasterized knobs is used to adjust the volume of the up to four different input signals. Controller 1 is reserved for a line signal; the appropriate inputs (2 XLR/jack combo sockets) can be found on the back of the sub. Controller 2 regulates the microphone input, which is located on the right of the panel, also as an XLR/jack combo socket. The third controller is for both MP3 and Hi-Z inputs. Here, the volume has to be controlled on the respective feeds. A large jack is available for the Hi-Z input, while a mini-jack socket is typically provided for the MP3 input, to which you can naturally connect everything with a line signal.
LD Systems MAUI 5 Bluetooth
There’s also a volume controller for the Bluetooth channel. Incidentally, connecting to a Bluetooth device is extremely easy: simply press and hold the button on the sub and connect the MAUI 5 that appears on the transmitting device—done.
LD Systems MAUI 5 Hi-Boost
This knob is used to adjust the sound’s treble level. A high-shelf filter can be used to increase the treble by turning the knob to the right. There’s no further sound control, but there is still a volume control.
The volume on the LD Systems MAUI 5 is controlled using two knobs: one for the overall volume and one for the sub unit. The latter can be used to suitably increase the bass.
LD Systems MAUI 5 LECC DSP
OK, it contains a DSP. You can’t see it, but it does a great deal in the LD Systems MAUI 5. Separate (multi-band) limiters for the bass, mid, and treble regions limit the signal if the level exceeds a value that could have negative effects. This protects the speaker and prevents overload-induced distortion. Thanks to the limiting, the system can also be used with more sound pressure as signal peaks are intercepted. A great idea!
An automatic multi-band EQ processes the entire frequency range and optimizes the system sound. An automatic compressor is activated to increase the bass at lower volumes and create a more powerful sound. As the volume increases, the bass boost automatically reduces.
The DSP is also responsible for the crossovers. It assigns the audio signal to the appropriate speakers. The amplitude and run-time optimization of the crossovers also ensure that all frequencies are evenly emitted and reach listeners at the same time. This worked extremely well when we tested the LD Systems MAUI 5.
Practical test of the LD Systems MAUI 5
We tested the LD Systems MAUI 5 in several smaller venues as these are what it is predestined for. The sub stands securely on five rubber feet. The column attachment is the only thing that’s not quite perfect. Although the module connectors seem to be extremely stable, the connection between the column as a whole and the sub is slightly wobbly. Despite this, shoving the system with light to medium force didn’t cause any problems during the test. The LD Systems MAUI 5 simply returned to its starting position and the sound connection was retained. Whether this is good for the plastic in the longer term is another question.
Let’s move on to the sound: the LD Systems MAUI 5 supplies 2 x 100 W RMS (2 x 400 W peak). With a maximum sound pressure of 120 dB (all manufacturer specifications), it also emits well from a few meters away.
The sound produced by the LD Systems MAUI 5 is extremely balanced, although the bass can also be happily exaggerated somewhat in smaller venues if so desired. Thanks to the ability to increase the treble, the system always has a good, clear sound. Compared to larger systems, the LD Systems MAUI 5 is simply lacking a bit in terms of tweeters, although this wasn’t noticeable in the small venues.
The LD Systems MAUI 5 should ideally be used for small concerts, readings with a little accompaniment, or, in some cases, lectures in rooms with up to perhaps 50 people. When used at multiple venues, the system truly comes into its own with its benefits such as excellent portability and automatic DSP functions.
Something I would like to have had would have been an audio output so that I could connect a second LD Systems MAUI 5. On the other hand, bags for the sub and column modules are available as extras.
A brief comment about the LD Systems MAUI 5 user manual: it is perhaps somewhat confusing, as each point appears in six different languages one after the other. However, that didn’t actually matter as I didn’t need it anyway!
LD Systems MAUI 5 test summary
If you want to simply grab a small, compact column PA under your arm and head to your next gig, the LD Systems MAUI 5 is the product for you. It is ultra-portable and easy to assemble. As long as you can put it somewhere that the columns won’t be continually knocked, nothing should go wrong when using this system (optionally available in black or white) at smaller events. Incidentally, the system’s feedback is so low that you can place it behind the mike without any issue. The price of 549 euros is perfectly acceptable.
+ very compact and light
+ extremely easy to use
+ good sound for small venues
– no audio output
LD Systems Maui 5
Portability: 5 /5
Source: musikerplus, Dec. 15, Germany: http://musikerplus.de/buehne/ld-systems-maui-5-klein-pa-anlage/
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