We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – the portable column array has been a game-changer for the DJ and event professional. We’d also venture to say that the integration of batteries into event gear, from lights to speakers, has been a game-changer as well. Well, we recently got on our hands on a new speaker that marries these two game-changing ideas together. That speaker is the LD Systems Maui 5 Go 100, and there’s a lot to get excited about. It looks phenomenal on paper, but how does it stack up in the real world? In this blog post (and our accompanying YouTube video), we are going to do a proper review, demo, and test of this awesome speaker.
LD Systems Maui 5 Go 100 – The basics
This wouldn’t be a proper overview if we didn’t share a few important specs (but we promise to move on quickly). Power-wise, you’re looking at 800 watts peak power with 120dB max SPL. The built-in battery offers 12 hours of runtime on a 2-hour charge. For those that care, it’s a 3200 mAh battery which takes it to that 12-hour mark. It has four 3″ neodymium drivers with an 8″ woofer in the base. There’s also a 4-channel integrated mixer with Bluetooth capability. All these specs boil down to this; a speaker that will excel for wedding ceremonies, cocktail hours, one-man corporate functions, and smaller events.
The speaker is a polycarbonate (aka plastic) build that comes in at only 25lbs! This has to be one of the most impressive things about this speaker. The column portion breaks down into 3 pieces and, combined with the lower weight, make this speaker ultra-portable.
What stands out
There are a million powered PA speakers on the market these days, so what drew us to the Maui 5 Go 100? The first and most obvious is the column array design. This ever-increasingly popular separates your low frequencies to the ground and your high frequencies above the heads of the audience. Having your high and low drivers separated like this increases clarity and bass response. The column design also offers a wider dispersion pattern of sound; in the case of the LD Systems Maui 5 Go 100, angling of the drivers increases the spread to 120 degrees so you can cover more space with fewer speakers.
Another benefit of the column design is eliminating the need for a tripod. There’s one less piece of gear to carry around, and it looks better to boot. The Maui 5 Go 100 comes in a white finish, further improving the aesthetics. If you are doing more elegant events, the speaker should blend seamlessly into the background in a lot of different venues.
LD Systems Maui 5 Go 100 – Testing
Playing with the speakers in our house was fun and all, but we wanted to push these to their limits. For that, we needed to take them on the road. Before getting on our way to a venue, we thought it would be worth mentioning how transporting these speakers works. Two words – Super Compact. After stowing them in the back of our crossover, we had SO much space left for any other gear we wanted to bring along.
Once we got to a large, open outdoor space we set the system up. Oh yeah, another benefit of column arrays – setup takes all of 10 seconds. After slotting the column into the base, we paused a moment to check out the mixer section of the speaker. You’ll find standard inputs and controls for 1/4″, 3.5mm, and XLR cables. You’re able to connect “Hi-Z” inputs like a guitar as well, making this speaker a solid choice for the solo musician. There’s also a parallel through output for linking multiple speakers together or adding an additional subwoofer. If you want to go completely wireless, you can also connect via Bluetooth.
Firing things up
Track #1 – A poppy hip-hop beat. We didn’t waste time with background music levels – we cranked it up to put the 8″ woofer to work. After walking around in front of the speaker for a while, we made a few observations. The 120-degree dispersion pattern had a very nice, evenly-dispersed sound throughout the listening area. We couldn’t hear any distortion and the sound was quite rich.
Track #2 – A downtempo EDM track. Despite the very digital, electronic track the sound was very smooth and clear. There was no harshness or “tinny” quality to the sound; everything was balanced. All of the different basslines, melodies, and drums were easy to pick out and not muddy.
Track #3 – A rock track. Because this LD Systems Maui 5 Go 100 isn’t just for DJs, we also wanted to throw some rock music on to hear how guitars sounded through the system. We chose a slightly harder track and turned things up even more. As we walked backward away from the speaker the sound dropped off (of course), but it remained much more consistent than we expected.
Microphone test – Using our XVive U3 wireless mic system we did a test of the sound quality and output for speech. Spoken word testing was clear and easily understandable from 100 feet away, no sweat. Our voice sounded natural and full, with no obvious dips in the lows, mids, or highs.
LD Systems Maui 5 Go 100 – Final thoughts
When it comes to cons for this system, we had to get pretty nitpicky to find any. Really, the only thing that stood out to use was the bag for the column, which wouldn’t stay upright while we were packing (but this is probably just us complaining). The Bluetooth occasionally dropped out when we wandered too far from the speaker, but that’s more a fault of Bluetooth than the speaker itself. Lastly, the speaker was a touch wobbly. During our testing on some grass it wasn’t rock-solid, so make sure you’ve got a good base to set it on during use.
All-in-all, the sound was clear, full, and powerful for the size. The obvious first thought people have when they see a system like this is “wedding and cocktails,” but the uses for this speaker are so much more. Why not book some corporate AV jobs during the week that you wouldn’t normally do? Because of how lightweight and portable this system is, we really can’t think of a unique, everyday use that this speaker wouldn’t thrive in. From parks to backyards, the LD Systems Maui 5 Go 100 will excel just about anywhere.