Tuesday, April 10, 2012

German Maestro M-Line MS 6508 6.5 Inch 2-way Component System Review

I remember growing up in high school with my first car stereo system. Everyone liked a lot of bass. Big amps, big subwoofers, and the brands of choice were usually Rockford Fosgate, Kicker, or Orion, to name a few. They gave a lot of bang for the buck. But it was widely known that if you want the best, its gotta be MB Quart.
The German Manufacturer MB Quart, was the best. But in 2007/2008 they were bought and the plant was shut down. So employees found themselves without a job. But not to be kept down, German Maestro was formed, and is run and operated out of the same located by a majority of the same management and employees. So the old MB Quart magic is alive in the new German Maestro brand name. The factory, the hundreds of years of combined experience, and the R&D. It was all there. So it was mostly just a change in brand names. They even service and repair the old MB Quart products for customers.
I was previously given the opportunity to review a pair of their headphones in our 2011 Headphone Shootout. And when given the opportunity to review a pair of their car stereo component systems, I naturally jumped at it! I was pleasantly surprised when a pair of their top of the line M-Line series 2-way component systems, the MS 6508, showed up on my doorstop. I was familiar with the old school MB Quarts. And knowing the story behind the new company, I was ecstatic to confirm that things really haven't changed. And like the top quality MB Quart, these are also hand made in their German plant.
Their features and specs include:
-Tweeters based on exclusive UltraSphere™-Technology with inverted two-piece titanium dome and extremely powerful neodymium ring magnet system. Dome nano-ceramic coated
-Woofers with die-cast aluminum chassis and nano-ceramic coated polypropylene cone
-Edge wound 1.5" (37 mm) high-performance voice coils with powerful passively cooled neodymium magnet system
-Connection terminals gold-plated allowing for the best possible signal transfer
-Technology with the MultiMOUNT System (MMS). Four- respectively three-level tweeter- and midlevel attenuation with rotary switches. Choice high-end parts
-Bi-wiring and bi-amping enabled
-Numerous flush and surface mounting accessories included
-Diameter T/W: 1.6" (40 mm) / 6.5" (16 cm)
-Power Handling: 90 W RMS / 290 W Max.
-Frequency Response: 30 – 32.000 Hz
-Impedance: 4 Ω
-Crossover Frequency: 2.000 Hz
-Sensitivity: 84 dB (1W/1m)
The packaging was top notch. Opening the box revealed a set of tweeters, midrange and crossovers sitting on red velvet. Also included was the owners manual, install instructions and hardware. Inspecting the drivers and crossovers revealed top quality components made from top quality materials. Build quality and fit and finish was also excellent.
Pulling the plastic wrapper off of the tweeter revealed a solid driver. The tweeter was shipped with a plastic cap for further protection. Removing it showed the coated titanium inverted tweeter. It was fairly large for a tweeter, and had a powerful neodymium magnet. Looking at the large 16 gauge wiring at the back of the tweeter was a hint to the quality and power handling capability. Tweeters often come with 20 gauge or higher wiring. So the large gauge wiring on a tweeter is quite a statement. The back also showed the 6 ohm rating, and made in Germany stamp. Mounting options are flush or surface mount. Protection to the tweeter's inverted dome is provided by either two thin bars that go across the surface, or a black mesh grill.

The 6.5 inch midrange is also a very solidly built component. Just like the tweeters are shipped in the box with a plastic cover over the top of the tweeter for protection, the midrange is shipped screwed into the surface ring and covered with the grill for protection. The German Maestro builders take pride in a top of the line product. And the small details like the cap over the tweeter show the pride in craftsmanship that German Maestro has in their products.
I took off the grill and unscrewed the driver from the surface ring, so I could get a better look at the midrange driver itself. Starting at the rear, we find the solidly built and relatively thick cast aluminum basket. Printed on the back was informative info on the driver, showing 4 ohm resistance, and 90 watts power handling. The motor system is powered by a small yet powerful neodymium magnet. It was obvious by the small size of the magnet hidden behind the basket.

I like the fact that German Maestro went with Neodymium for the magnet. It is easy for consumers to have the perception of more is better. So a big magnet must be better than a small one. This is not reality though. Neodymium has the same abilities, but in a much smaller size. And in a car stereo speaker this also translates into more installation options with a shallower depth. It opens up the number of car manufacturers and models that would accommodate the driver.

I also liked the design of the driver. The cast basket was painted gloss black, and gave an elegant look. And I really liked the terminals for the speaker wire. They were gold plated for a good connection, and also allowed for two connection options: bare wire and terminal connector. The tinsel lead was well secured at both ends, with a quality solder at the terminal, and glued to the back of the speaker cone. The spider also appeared of high quality and was well attached to the basket. You could see from the back side that they used a black polypropylene cone, and as shown from the front was the nano-ceramic coating. The front of the cone was well coated, and had a quality rubber surround. A generous amount of adhesive was used to attach it to the basket. It appears to not only be built for some decent excursion, but can handle doing so for years.
The crossover network was of the same build quality as the tweeter and midrange. There were 4 levels of tweeter and 3 levels of midrange attenuation. It has an elegant look, and the level of detail was also applied to installation options. You can mount the crossover both vertically and horizontally.
Installation was also not left out of the equation. Included was a well written manual with pictures and diagrams. They even provided large cutout stickers. This would be applied to the mounting surface and you just cut down the line with your preferred power tool. And to show you are a fan, you can attach the included German Maestro stickers to your vehicle.

The German Maestro MS 6508 2-way component set loves to play music. It was an aural seduction from the moment I turned my reference system on! I went through all of my reference material, and every music type that I listened to was a tasty treat to my ears. Fresh Air II: Going To Another Place was just so clean sounding. The percussion was crisp and the flute had a lot of air. And the resolution was amazing! I could actually hear the tonguing of the flute. A Fresh Aire Christmas: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen had the same clean sound. Percussions were crisp and the horns were smooth. There is also a lot of use of drums, with them going back and forth from left to right channels. Pitch definition was excellent, and the drums were tight with great authority. Brunson Brothers: Fleace Movae, showed off trumpets the way they were meant to be heard. I am personal long time friends with them, so I have been listening to this for a very long time. Yet still, I amazingly heard details I had not previously heard. What appeared to be 32nd notes, played by Strunz & Farah, were so fast yet each individual note could be heard! The German Maestro MS 6508 component system is that good. Vocals were also excellent. Boys To Men II: Yesterday was so silky smooth, it was like Dove chocolate for my ears. Top 40 and rock also sounded superb with every instrument and vocals that tried to challenge them. And the harmonics were overall excellent with no noticeable coloration.
The sound will provide for anyones listening tastes. If you prefer your sound a bit bright, they will deliver. The sound initially was a bit bright for me, with the crossovers tweeter attenuation setting on A. Turning them to setting C toned them down a bit without losing any of their detail. I was impressed with their midbass performance as well. The MS 6508 sounded amazing as a 2-way component system. And the midbass driver has the goods to be a stellar dedicated midbass driver, as it is in the MS 654010 3-way component system. Any cons? Well, it is a 2-way system, and 3-way component systems tend to be more dynamic. However the MS 6508 was about as dynamic as my Vibe Space 3D 3-way component system. I know that is a stretch for a con, but what can I say? They really are that good, and EXTREMELY musical. The MS 654010 3-way component system should be an even better treat, and will be in for review soon. So stay tuned for another treat.
Well, while the name has changed, I am glad to have heard that what really matters most...the end product, has not changed. At least not for the worst. The guys out at the Obrigheim factory still have the magic. Listening to the German Maestro MS 6508 was pure aural bliss that began as soon as the power was turned on my receiver. With an MSRP at $1,650, this special product is not cheap. But oh is it worth it! For the audiophiles who have a taste for fine sound, it is worth listening to. And the connoisseurs who pick up a pair will forget about every penny paid. They have easily won our Editor's Choice Award. For more info and complete specs, check out their website at www.german-maestro.com. Reference gear used included Kenwood Excelon DNX9980HD Multimedia Receiver, Vibe Audio LiteBox Stereo 4 Class GH amplifier, Vibe Audio Black Death Bass 1 Class GH mono amplifier, Alpine Type-X SPX-13PRO 2-way component speaker system, Kicker Solo-Baric L7 15" Subwoofer.