You cannot destroy these headphones

I hate shopping for one thing low cost. There is nothing worse than that sinking sensation whenever you open one thing up and know it is not lengthy for this world. I’m additionally onerous on my gear, which led me to purchase these bulletproof headphones from an obscure firm known as German Maestro.

But with the intention to discuss these headphones, I want to speak a few totally different pair of headphones first: the Sony MDR-7506 (and its discontinued brother, the Sony MDR-V6).

I edit a variety of movies and do voiceover work. And in case you have completed any video work, you could have nearly definitely used a pair of Sony MDRs. They are iconic. You can spot the blue or pink stripe and coiled cable from throughout a set. When you go to movie college, you’re mainly issued a pair of MDRs like a service rifle, and never with out good purpose.

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First and foremost, they’re low cost. They normally go for about 80 bucks when you look out for gross sales. Their close to ubiquity on movie units means that you would be able to snag these telephones at an enormous low cost, making them among the finest offers for individuals who want a headphone to work on. Next, they’re closed-back headphones, completely remoted, which let you select imperfections within the combine. There is a purpose you see guys monitoring audio on movie units and video shoots sporting these. Third, they’re pretty “flat,” and with out getting too technical and pedantic, they do not attempt to costume up what you are listening to to sound pleasing. They’re not bass-heavy beats. These are for getting work completed. Finally, they’re fairly effectively constructed for the associated fee. They fold up and are sturdy, which is why you may throw them in a Porta Brace bag with out worrying about them getting tousled.

For what they do, the MDRs are okay. But they aren’t good.

For one factor, they’ve a manner too lengthy, non-removable phone cable that may be good in a studio setting however is comical in case you are making an attempt to hearken to music in your telephone. I hate this cable with each fiber of my being. In precept, I strongly really feel that each one headphone cables needs to be detachable, as cables can endure tons of abuse. But what actually drives me up the wall is I hate the coiled fashion of cable. I discover that it snags on too many issues too simply, and each time it received a kink in it, it drove me up the wall.

The second factor is that the froth pads on the MDRs simply suck straight up. It’s not merely a query of consolation; they’re simply actually unhealthy pads. I nearly at all times improve the pads on my headphones to both Dekoni or Brainwavz pads, however you’ll nearly definitely have to interchange these pads prior to you suppose, notably in case you are utilizing them in an unforgiving manufacturing context.

A pair of Sony MDR-7506 with badly deteriorated headphone pads.

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Finally, I simply do not love the way in which they sound. How headphones sound will get into very subjective territory, however the MDRs are, at finest, nice and, at worst, too harsh for me. These have been working headphones, however there was one thing concerning the treble that made my pores and skin crawl whereas I used to be listening to folks discuss. It’s unfair to ask extra of the MDRs for the worth, however on the finish of the day, I simply needed one thing barely nicer: a professional model of the MDRs with nicer foam, higher and detachable cording choices, and a much less fatiguing sound. At the time (November 2020), this was not supplied in America.

This led me down an extended and winding path, looking for a pair of headphones that ticked off all the identical markers: flat, indestructible, closed-back, higher cable. When you get into the upper echelons of audiophile perversion, most of your headphone choices outdoors of IEMs are open or semi-open. I researched a few of the most revered studio headphones. Many folks I do know swear by the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pros, and whereas they’re certainly a studio staple, sturdy, and have a few of the most comfy inventory pads of any headphone in its vary, they aren’t what I might name flat, and I couldn’t get used to how they sounded. The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x additionally checked off lots of my wants, however I did not just like the sound, they usually did not really feel particular or notably sturdy. A good friend of mine swears by the Sennheiser HD 300 Pros, and I might consider him, however sadly, I by no means received to check them. Sony additionally has one other obscure however well-respected non-folding large brother to the MDR-7506s known as the MDR-CD900ST that has a flat cable, in addition to a fair higher-end mannequin known as the Sony MDR-M1ST that has a removable cable , however the former was not out there outdoors of Japan till pretty not too long ago and the latter you continue to should import.

Eventually, my reply got here within the type of a 76-page thread on the Head-fi boards from 2009 to 2019 by a person named Acix titled “The German Maestro GMP 8.35 D Monitor within the studio… critical about audio, INDEED! !” I had by no means heard of the German Maestro (previously MB Quart), however from the bounce, I used to be intrigued. The headphones seemed industrial. Solid. Efficient. In a phrase, they seemed German. “Man, I’m all about perform (sic) over kind, however these should be the ugliest telephones I’ve seen,” mentioned person Bones2010. To me, they seemed stunning.

A close-up picture of the industrial logo of German Maestro.

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Many of the evaluations have been glowing, with the phrases “indestructible” being steadily talked about. Someone dropped the picture of a pair of black leather-based boots stepping on them. Another thread talked about that they have been steadily utilized in listening stations at music outlets. People appeared to like their balanced, detailed sound and the truth that they have been very delicate and thus didn’t want a robust headphone amp to hearken to them. In threads and elsewhere, evaluations in contrast them favorably to the Sennheiser HD25-1s, however higher and with a barely darker tone. Tight. Controlled. One person talked about that they have been higher in each respect to their MDRs, which is strictly what I needed on the value level.

As the thread progressed over a number of years, folks began getting artistic. Some didn’t just like the inventory pads and changed them with lush ones from the aforementioned DT770s in addition to Brainwavez HM5s. Others drilled holes in them and made modifications to the inventory cable. Eventually, German Maestro launched a model with a detachable cable and an extra inventory pair of pads known as The GMP 8.35 Mobile particularly due to requests from clients with autism. It’s refreshing to listen to an organization take suggestions like that.

Oh thank god, a detachable cable.  That's all I ask.

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The telephones appeared to tick off each single checkmark, however shopping for them turned out to be barely tough. Aside from a drop.com launch, no person within the States stocked them, so I needed to organize them instantly from the producer and pay in euros. I patiently waited, and once they arrived, they have been precisely what I wanted them to be.

I used to be instantly struck by how sturdy they have been. The plastic was thick, nevertheless it didn’t weigh the telephones down. Everything made right this moment feels low cost and flimsy. They felt like they have been from a distinct period, unstuck in time when merchandise have been measured in many years, not years. These have been the headphone equivalents of English-made Doc Martens. I might throw these issues in opposition to a brick wall, run a motorcycle over them, yank them from the tooth of a canine, and they might in all probability be nice.

They sounded the way in which they seemed: “managed,” as one discussion board person put it. I do not need to get too deep within the weeds of audiophile testing as a result of that actually is not the purpose of this weblog (though I might gladly lend my pair to Crinacle or the oldsters at Audio Science Review for extra intensive testing). They have been clear and flat, with tons of element however not terribly showy. The bass was there, however not overbearing like I had discovered Beyerdynamics to be. If one thing was incorrect with my combine, I might hear it instantly, like listening to a pair of Yamaha NS10s. I ended up preferring the velor pads, which modified the sound simply barely, however not too long ago I needed to attempt different choices out. They are usually not the perfect headphones I’ve ever heard, however throughout the parameters of what I want them to do, they’re peerless.

Of course, they weren’t everybody’s cup of tea. Some folks I’ve proven them to have discovered them a bit of uncomfortable. Others didn’t just like the sound. When I confirmed them to Alex Parkin over on the video workforce (a licensed MDR person with a well-worn pair who additionally despises the coiled cable), I might really feel his apprehension. “I might positively must get used to these,” he mentioned.

Built like a tank.

But even individuals who couldn’t get down with the sound agreed that they have been sturdy, environment friendly, and had implausible isolation. The Maestros are ultimate studio headphones made by a small and obscure firm that appears to really care concerning the product they produce. Are they well worth the hassle to import? I personally don’t have any regrets.

At the nook of my desk, I’ve two headphones hanging from a hook: a pair of Hifimans and my Maestros.

The Hifimans are large and ethereal, with comfortable Dekoni pads I substituted out. Those are my easy-listening headphones. They are large and fragile, they’ve by no means left my desk, and I nonetheless needed to order a substitute headband from the producer.

My Maestros sit subsequent to them. They are my “work headphones,” smart and durable, meant for sturdiness and focus like a Herman Miller chair. Every time I choose them up, I really feel a way of pleasure. I take into consideration that thread discussion board that went on for a decade, with new folks rotating in, discovering, loving, and typically actually hating these cans. I maintain them and know that there’s a superb likelihood that they are going to nonetheless work for many years, presumably even after I’m useless and buried, and the way actually uncommon it’s to purchase a chunk of substances made to survive you.

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