German Maestro GMP 8.35D Headphone Review by Dale

Discussion in 'Headphone Reviews' started by dalethorn, Jan 26, 2012.

  1. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2011
    Messages:
    1,611
    Location:
    Charleston South Carolina
    Note: This headphone was supplied by a distributor for this review.

    I'm going to describe the physical aspects of the German Maestro 8.35D before I get to the details of the sound, but in advance of that, here's the summary of how it sounds: Near perfect, with no obvious flaws. And some nice surprises.

    [​IMG]

    The 8.35D has a single-sided permanently attached cable that's partly coiled, followed by a straight portion 28 inches long, and terminated by a right-angle standard miniplug. A 1/4 inch (6.35mm) adapter is supplied, and screws onto the miniplug. I can't be certain whether the miniplug would fit into any of the recessed sockets on music players that have such things, but the threaded portion of the plug ahead of the business end is 7mm in diameter including the threads. The cord, to my thinking has the ideal thickness, about 4.5mm, and in use it doesn't have any tendency to pull on the left earcup when I move around in my chair, which a thicker cord can because of the weight.

    The earpads are fully circumaural, a flat spongy pleather, with openings that measure 1-1/4 by 2-5/16 inches. The inside has a spongy pad so the ears don't contact anything that would cause discomfort. The headphone exterior looks like a high-impact ABS plastic, which should be very durable. The headband feels like spring steel, has moderate clamping pressure, is covered by pleather, and has spongy pads underneath. This type of headband could cause a slight discomfort if it presses tightly on your head, so I recommend pulling the earcups down just slightly more than the minimum, to let most of the weight be borne by the earcups and not the headband.

    The 8.35D is a plain, almost industrial-looking matte-black headphone, so there's no bling factor with it. On the other hand, when it's on your head and someone is looking at you, it looks pretty good, and on that basis I would rate its appearance as a seven or better out of 10. I would also rate the comfort factor as a seven or better, above average in my opinion for a closed-back or sealed headphone.

    I noted above that the sound is near perfect, and compared to the most "neutral" headphones I've heard such as Sennheiser's HD-800, the 8.35D's signature (i.e. balance) has slightly less energy in the highs, slightly more power and impact in the bass, and somewhat more forwardness in the lower midrange (but very little of that forwardness). The highs are as near perfect a balance as I could want, although for people with very extended hearing above 12 khz or so, it will not have as much energy in that range as some of the top-end headphones.

    The bass also has as near perfect a balance as I've heard, and while the 8.35D is not bassy sounding in any respect to my ears, the bass still sounds stronger with better impact than my other headphones. I was curious about whether the bass was over-emphasized, so I ran a series of frequency sweeps and discrete tones from 30 hz up to the lower midrange, and I didn't note any emphasis at all. That is an amazing feat in my view.

    The midrange is essentially flawless with great rendition of voices and instruments, and as to the forwardness compared to my other headphones, it falls about midway between the HD-800 and the Grado PS-500, or about the same as the Beyerdynamic DT-48A with oval earpads. In other words, just fine.

    Isolation and soundstage are average for this type of closed headphone, so no surprises there. I should mention that there is no case where I felt the sound was closed in or constricted in any way - in fact the impression I have is one of airyness and good depth. Sibilants and other high frequency irritations seem less bothersome than with my other top-end headphones, and yet the high frequency detail is excellent. Another amazing feat.

    For this review I used a Dell desktop computer with a decent soundcard, and an iPod Touch connected through the line out dock to a Cute Beyond "Class A" headphone amp. These two sources didn't sound exactly the same, however the differences were an order of magnitude less than anything I've described here and far less than any differences in my headphones, so those differences won't change anything in this review. Probably 99.9 percent or more of people who buy this headphone will be using music players and amps that are different from mine, yet if those are of good quality, and since the 35 ohm 8.35D is fairly efficient, those persons should experience results similar to mine given the normal expected differences in interpreting my descriptions here.

    For anyone concerned about the ultimate resolution or accuracy of the 8.35D, I feel confident that it's as good as a Grado PS-500, a Shure SRH-940, or a Beyerdynamic DT-48A with oval earpads. In other words, comparable well above its price range.

    Now that I've covered the basics of the sound, it's time to describe how the 8.35D sounds with a variety of music that's available on CD's or as high-quality downloads from Internet music stores. I've used the following examples in two other reviews, so these will serve as good test tracks for this review, and the results can also be compared to the results noted in the other reviews.

    10000 Maniacs - Peace Train (late 80's); pleasant sound, great details and good soundstage depth.

    Andrea True Connection - More More More (late 70's): Classic disco, very smooth, big soundstage.

    Bauhaus - Bela Lugosi's Dead (~1980): Strong midrange sound effects - this is a good worst-case test for resonant-type sounds in the most sensitive midrange area. Handled very well by the 8.35D.

    Beatles - And I Love Her, Things We Said Today, I'll Be Back, I'll Follow The Sun (~1964, in stereo): Amazing sound quality and decent soundstage, with excellent voice and instrument detail. These four tracks are a perfect example of how good high fidelity recordings could be as far back as the 1960's.

    Beethoven Symphony 9, Solti/CSO (1972): Excellent overall sound and particularly striking how the 8.35D reproduces the triangles, bells and other background instruments that are often obscured with other headphones that have limited high frequency response. Of special note for this headphone are the bass impacts beginning around 10:30 of the fourth movement.

    Bill Evans Trio - Nardis (early 60's): Fairly close-up recording, and despite soft highs, excellent instrumental detail, particularly the upright bass and piano.

    Billy Eckstine - Imagination (date??): Sounds like a recent high-quality stereo recording. Excellent from top to bottom, wide soundstage and overall a great vocal demo.

    Blood Sweat & Tears - And When I Die, God Bless The Child, Spinning Wheel (late 60's): Excellent sound quality, and fortunately (I think) given the strength of the brass instruments, the highs are slightly soft.

    Blues Project - Caress Me Baby (1966): Rarely mentioned, but one of the greatest white blues recordings ever. The loud piercing guitar sound at 0:41 into the track is a good test for distortion or other problems. Handled very well here.

    Boz Scaggs - Lowdown (1976): Good sound quality - this is a great test for any nasality in the midrange. Handled very well by the 8.35D.

    Buffalo Springfield - Kind Woman (~1968): A Richie Furay song entirely, rarely mentioned, but one of the best sounding rock ballads ever. This will sound good on most headphones, but it's a special treat with the 8.35D.

    Cat Stevens - Morning Has Broken (early 70's): A near-perfect test for overall sound - this track will separate the best sounding headphones from the lesser quality types. Nothing specific, except that almost any deviation from perfect reproduction will stand out with this track.

    Catherine Wheel - Black Metallic (~1991): Goth with industrial overtones - I like this since it's a great music composition and the sound effects are smoothly integrated into the mix. This may sound distorted or mushy with some headphones, but the 8.35D renders the deliberate instrumental distortions clearly.

    Cocteau Twins - Carolyn's Fingers (1988): Unusual ambient pop with excellent guitar details.

    Commodores - Night Shift (~1985): Good spacious sound with very detailed bass guitar lines.

    Cranes - Adoration (~1991): Excellent piano sound leading into a goth-flavored song with very unusual vocals.

    Creedence Clearwater Revival - The Midnight Special (1969??): Classic CCR featured in Twilight Zone, this track has great guitar sounds and a really good ambience despite a mediocre soundstage.

    Dave Brubeck Quartet - Take Five (1959): Paul Desmond piece - good test of saxophone sound and cymbals, less so most of the other instruments, although with the 8.35D the bass notes stand out pretty well.

    Dead Can Dance - Ariadne (1993??): Atmospheric goth music - good ambience in spite of mediocre soundstage.

    Def Leppard - Bringin' On The Heartbreak (1981): MTV goth/pop/metal at its best - good ambience and high energy - the better headphones will separate the details and make for a good experience. Lesser quality and the details tend to mush together.

    Del Reeves - Girl On The Billboard (early-mid 70's): Classic truck-drivin' country tune with a Thelma & Louise theme, this song's overall recorded quality (almost typical of Nashville in the 70's) is a superb demo if you can get past the peculiar lyrics.

    Dick Hyman - Dooji Wooji (1990??): Swing-era composition played with perfect technique by all band members, with excellent recorded sound.

    Frank Sinatra - Theme From New York, New York (1980): Ultimate Sinatra with big band production and well-balanced sound.
     
  2. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2011
    Messages:
    1,611
    Location:
    Charleston South Carolina
    Additional tracks used in GMP 8.35D review

    J.S. Bach - E. Power Biggs Plays Bach in the Thomaskirche (~1970): Recorded on a tracker organ in East Germany, the tracks on this recording have the authentic baroque sound that Bach composed for, albeit the bellows are operated by motor today. The 8.35D plays the tones seamlessly through the upper limits of the organ, which are near the upper limits of my hearing.

    Jamming With Edward - It Hurts Me Too (1969): Intended originally as a test to fill studio down time and set recording levels etc., this was released a few years later for hardcore Rolling Stones fans. Although not as good technically in every aspect as the Chess studio recordings of 1964, and in spite of the non-serious vocals by Mick Jagger, this rates very high on my list of white blues recordings, and sounds absolutely delicious with the 8.35D.

    Jim Ruiz Group - Katerine (1998?): Unusually spacious and ambient indie-pop recording with a samba flavor. Every pop song should sound this good, in my opinion.

    Jimmy Smith - Basin Street Blues (early 60's): This track has some loud crescendos of brass and other instruments that don't sound clean and musical on some headphones. The 8.35D provides excellent reproduction. Listen particularly to the second crescendo at 15 seconds in, for maximum detail effect.

    Kim Carnes - Bette Davis Eyes (Acoustic version, 2006?): Stripped-down ("acoustic") version of the big hit - good voice and excellent guitar sounds.

    Ladytron - Destroy Everything You Touch (~2009): Featured in The September Issue, this song has heavy overdub and will sound a bit muddy on some headphones.

    Merle Haggard - Okie From Muskogee (1969): Another good-quality country recording with almost-acoustic guitar accompaniment. Lovely guitar sounds.

    Milt Jackson/Wes Montgomery - Delilah (Take 3) (1962): The vibraphone is heavily dependent on harmonics to sound right, and the 8.35D plays it superbly.

    Nylons - The Lion Sleeps Tonight (A Capella version, 1980's): High-energy vocals sans instrumental accompaniment - an excellent test of vocal reproduction.

    Pink Floyd/Dark Side of the Moon - Speak To Me (1973): Strong deep bass impacts will be heard and felt here.

    Rolling Stones - Stray Cat Blues (1968): Dirty, gritty blues that very few white artists could match. On some headphones the vocals and guitar lack the edge and fall more-or-less flat. If you're a really good person, playing this song will probably make you feel nervous and uneasy.

    Tony Bennett - I Left My Heart In San Francisco (1962): Frank Sinatra's favorite singer. Highest recommendation. With some of the best headphones, the sibilants on this recording are very strong, but they're not bad with the 8.35D.
     
  3. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2010
    Messages:
    1,325
    Wow, these reviews are great Dale! I really like this headphone too. They are really unassuming looking and you just don't expect them to sound so accomplished. According to German Maestro they are seriously tough too. Kornel also has some of these and is really enthusiastic about them, he uses them for making music, DJing and for normal listening.:)
     
  4. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2011
    Messages:
    1,611
    Location:
    Charleston South Carolina
    German Maestro as an alternative to....

    This German Maestro review process had me hauling out the Shure 940 mostly, and partly because the 8.35D sounds a lot like someone took the response curve of the 940 and rotated it to the right by a couple of degrees. Less energy in the highs, more energy and impact in the bass, but still that crispy-clean detail between the extremes. So I got to thinking about all of the people who really liked the idea of getting the potentially great value in sound quality that the 940 represents in its price range, but were less than enthusiastic about the signature. So for those people, I think the 8.35D might be the perfect alternative. I got started with the GM again today, day #2, wondering if the fairy coach was going to turn back into a pumpkin. Didn't happen .... still sounds the same.
     
  5. dobragol

    dobragol New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2012
    Messages:
    3
    Hi Guys.Great review .Had a chat with Kornel today who convince me to get one of these especially being really disapointed with GMP 240 before ( firstly I have to admit open back ones are not for me ,secondly really disapointed with sound ) .They should arrive tomorrow and can't wait to hear them .Damian
     
  6. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2011
    Messages:
    1,611
    Location:
    Charleston South Carolina
    Other GMP 'phones

    I read some other reviews of GMP headphones, and I found that the 8.35 and its close cousins are the models that sound most like what I think of as "normal" or even typical monitor headphones. But GM has some models that are higher priced that are tuned very differently (according to the reviews), so I suppose you have to know what you're doing if you order one of those.
     
  7. dobragol

    dobragol New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2012
    Messages:
    3
    Thanks Dalethorn ,as with HiFi Headphones they have 30 days return policy ( so not that worried ) but will need to hear them first to judge .Still hoping they are headphones I'm looking for ,if not will keep searching for better ones
     
  8. dobragol

    dobragol New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2012
    Messages:
    3
    They arrived and they're great!! .Exactly what I was looking for ! Thanks Kornel and thanks HiFi Headphones.Damian
     
  9. Shaun-HiFi

    Shaun-HiFi Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2008
    Messages:
    589
    German Maestro 8.35 D Headphones – Surprise of the year?

    We recently sent a pair of GermanMaestro GMP 8.35 D to the guys at Headphonics to review. See the link below:

    German Maestro GMP 8.35d review by Headphonics

    A really nice in depth review and some nice photography.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 20, 2012
  10. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2010
    Messages:
    1,325
  11. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2011
    Messages:
    1,611
    Location:
    Charleston South Carolina
    GMP interview

    The interview is quite effective - the pro DJ describes the accurate sound and then the durability. Once you have good sound the trick from there on is making it last. Not so good if the headphones break when you need them most.
     
  12. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2010
    Messages:
    1,325
    They are really tough headphones - I cannot stand flimsy delicate audio gear, it just isn't practical. Obviously some high end stuff will be dainty but it makes sense to build tough DJ/portable headphones -

    JFB GermanMASTRO Interview
     
Loading...

Share This Page