German Maestro GMP 435 S Headphone Review – White Edition Unleashed
A month ago, I published a review of the German Maestro GMP 8.35 D Monitor headphone, one of the company’s most popular headphones, that is almost indestructible. Today we are going to look at another audiophile-grade headphone from the company – the German Maestro GMP 435 S White Edition. The GMP 435 S isn’t actually a new product, since the company already released one before. But the White Edition is the new addition to the family. The GMP 435 S White Edition also features low impedance and highly sensitive drivers making it very easy to drive even with the use of a smartphone or MP3 player. Are you looking for an open-back headphone that has a great sound staging and positioning, and also comfortable to wear as well? Check out my GermanMaestro GMP 435 S White Edition review below.
About the Company and Brand
First, let me give you a little introduction about the company Maestro Badenia and their brand German Maestro. Some of you might not be familiar with them.
The company Maestro Badenia has a long background and they are definitely not new to the audio industry. In May 2008 they started as Maestro Badenia with the brand name GermanMAESTRO. But before that happened, the company and brand was called MB Quart. However, in 2007 the guys in charge of MB Quart elected not to go for a German production anymore and switch to Asian production instead. The brand owners of MB Quart just walked away, taking with them the brand itself and leaving all the staff, including the entire production line and administration. So the entire team decided to start again under a new company name – Maestro Badenia and carrying a new brand name – German Maestro; supplying car speakers, home speakers and headphones/headsets under the new brand name.
German Maestro headphones are characterized by an over-average sound quality, no matter what price range a model is placed in. The whole headphone range is engineered and manufactured in Germany, with a focus on sound quality, reliability, wearing comfort and durability. The company only uses high quality materials for their component parts which they themselves produce mostly at their own German facility.
German Maestro GMP 435 S White Edition Headphone Review
The German Maestro GMP 435 S White Edition is a high performance, open-back headphone that is based on the GMP 400. But it comes with a lower impedance and highly sensitive drivers making it very easy to drive and can be used on the go with a smartphone, like an iPhone or an Android phone, or any portable audio players or DAP like the Hidizs AP100.
The GMP 435 S is very much capable of producing a well-balanced sound reproduction and bass performance with highest efficiency. Although it offers bass performance, it actually doesn’t have a punchy bass which bassheads loves. Open-back headphones doesn’t usually have a powerful bass, and since it has an open-back architecture, it has a good amount or wider sound staging. The sound that it produces is flat and it is geared generally towards audiophile and music lovers who are into classical music and the likes.
It features a cardamatic suspension and specifically engineered ear pads to guarantee perfect comfort and fit. This is great for several hours of audio bliss specially if you are just relaxing in your home. Comfort is actually one of the key features of the GMP 435 S. It’s light and doesn’t have a strong clamping force. Check out the rest of its technical specifications below.
GermanMaestro GMP 435 S Specifications
Frequency Response: 20 – 27,000 Hz
Nominal Impedance: 35 Ohms
Acoustical Principle: Open
Ear Pads: Synthetic leather, circumaural
Average pressure on the ear: ~3 N
Weight w/o cable: 240 g
Connector: Stereo-Multi-Jack 3.5mm / 6.3 mm screw-on adapter
Cable Type: Round cable with helix-section 3 m
A Closer Look and Build Quality
The German Maestro GMP 435 S White Edition has the same packaging as the Black 435 S headphone. The packaging itself is very simple and straightforward.
Above are photos of the GMP 435 S White edition in several angles. The body or frame itself is made out of flexible plastic. Durability isn’t one of the main features of this headphone; instead the company focused more on the comfort. Unlike the GMP 8.35 D Monitor, which is very durable and sturdy, you might want to practice some amount of care when handling the GMP 435 S. Those headbands will break if stretched too much.
There are two separate cables for the left and right channels that are joined at some point in the cable. Just below the intersection, the cable is coiled for a few inches. The main plug of the GMP 435 S is a 3.5mm jack, and it comes with a 6.3mm adapter jack where you can easily screw it on. The jacks are notably made out of high quality materials and are gold plated.
The headband and the whole white frame are actually fixed. But there is a synthetic leather which can be adjusted to fit your head properly. Unlike the GMP 8.35 D Monitor, the GMP 435 S White Edition doesn’t actually have a strong clamping force. You don’t need to clamp it on a box and let it stay for several hours. It’s very comfortable to wear and you can barely feel the weight despite that this is a full over the ear headphone. But I wouldn’t advice that you wear them when you are physically active, like jugging or running.
The German Maestro GMP 435 S White Edition uses the same ear pads that the GMP 8.35 D has. The ear pads have some good amount of noise cancelling, but you will only enjoy its noise cancelling effect if you are listening to music. Since this is an open-back headphone, you will hear the noise coming from your surrounding specially if you are listening to a very soft music / low volume music or you are not listening to any music at all.
The ear pads are not fixed and you can exchange the ear pads. If you exchange them with the velvet ones (41-6085), the sound becomes a bit more decent in the high frequencies and a bit more present in bass.
The GermanMaestro GMP 435 S also uses what the company calls “cardamatic suspension”. The speakers are actually suspended in the middle of the frame using some small rubber bands. As a result, this makes the speakers slightly movable and adjusts to the fit of your head.
Testing and Sound Quality
I have three sources of audio while testing the German Maestro GMP 435 S White Edition headphone. First is my desktop PC with a Gigabyte Z97X Gaming G1 WIFI-BK, featuring Sound Core 3D and OP-AMP: TI Burr Brown OPA2134; an iPhone 5, and the Hidizs AP100 DAP which I got recently. (Hidizs AP100 DAP Review here).
I have been using the headphone for several weeks already and I don’t think a burn in was really that necessary. The physical appearance of the GMP 435 S doesn’t look much; but the sound reproduction was really good. It produced a very clean and defined sound, and was also perfectly balanced as well.
Again, looks can be deceiving. Honestly, I was surprised since the headphone itself is made of plastic and when I initially unboxed the GMP 435, I wasn’t expecting too much from it based on its physical appearance. Well German Maestro proved me wrong again.
I again started with Chesky Records’ The Ultimate Demonstration Disk. The GMP 435 S performed well on live performances and acoustics. The voice of the artists was also very clear and pleasant to hear. Compared to the GMP 8.35 D, the GMP 435 has a wider sound stage and you can also clearly tell the instruments playing, even from the background.
The mids, highs and lows are very much present without overlapping or over powering one another. Sibilance is not an issue with the GMP 435 S and there were no harsh tones as well, even on the highs. I know sibilance is an issue specially with some IEMs using BA (balanced armatures), but you won’t be hearing any of that here.
Mids are great and you can hear the full spectrum of the music. I didn’t notice any coloration as well and generally the sound was warm and fun. Bass is also present but it lacks some punch, or not punchy at all. The Bowers & Wilkins P7 has that bass pumping action that makes you feel that you are inside a club, but you won’t be experiencing that with the GMP 435 S.
Just for testing purposes, I did try listening to some hip hop, RnB and pop music. Well I didn’t have much fun when listening to those genres, specially if you are supposed to feel the bass from the music. But when I started playing Eric Clapton Unplugged, that’s when things started to get really interesting.
I listened to classical music from Vivaldi, Pachelbel and Bach and it was fantastic. You have got to listening to the Cello playing with the GMP 435 S. String instruments were great and very pleasant to hear. Every instrument from the ensemble can be clearly heard and distinguished. Even the instruments from the way background of the stage, which you normally don’t hear on some headphones or earphones.
The German Maestro GMP 435 S headphone is very easy to drive and doesn’t really need any additional amplification. But for amping purposes, I plug it into the JDS Labs O2+ODAC Combo. The headphone clearly doesn’t need additional gain, and I didn’t need to turn the volume above 30 or 40% since it was already loud. But listening through the O2+ODAC did make my listening experience more fun and enjoyable.
Price and Where to Buy
The German Maestro GMP 435 S White Edition headphone currently sells for €225.00 directly from the company’s website, and they are offering a 3 year warranty. The price includes VAT already. I bet if the company used some fancy materials for the body or frame, this headphone would be priced even higher. Good thing they didn’t.
German Maestro 435 S Review: Conclusion
German Maestro claimed that the GMP 435S White Edition is a “high-end to-go” headphone. Well in terms of sound quality and performance it is high end, and I bet it could even beat some higher priced headphones out there. But when it comes to its physical aspect, I wouldn’t say that it’s actually high-end.
The B&W P7 with a 100% leather sheep skin – now that’s something in terms of physical look. I guess the company invested more on the sound quality and on the speakers instead of the material used in building the headphone. As a result, the GMP 435 S became light and very much comfortable to wear. The cost of manufacturing the headphone is reduced as well, making it more affordable compared to other high end or open-back headphones.
Sound quality is great and flat. Both channels are well-balanced (if not perfectly), and sibilance and other harsh tones are not present. Aside from the SQ, comfort is also one of the GMP 435 S’ strong points. You can wear them and listening to your music for several hours without putting pressure on your head or ears. This is great specially if you are just relaxing at home, with nothing but you and the music.
I also need to point out that this is not a headphone for bass lovers. Bass is not that dominant or punchy, and it is more of a natural bass. This is definitely not for bass lovers. Although the GMP 435 S can be used generally for most genre, for me it is best suited for live performances, acoustics and classical music. As long as you listened to those types of music, you will find the GMP 435 enjoyable.
Finally, the German Maestro GMP 435 S White Edition is handcrafted in Germany, and for a high end headphone that won’t break the bank, I say it’s a great deal and you should try it for yourself, specially if you love listening music.