German-Maestro is one of the very few or only one manufacturers that insisting in ‘Made in Germany’, also hand made to tailor their headphones. For young generation that have seen a lot of ‘Made in China’(I am not saying that made in China stuff is anything bad, they have very high level of technology and industries that can easily compete among the world though) stuffs will not find ‘Made in Germany’ as a lust thing, but old folks like me see it as a luxury or blessing when I know the things are made in Europe.
German-Maestro GMP series of headphones are not latest released, GMP-400 that I have today is their top of the range or what we like to call them as flagship. GMP400 is not really as expensive as those flagship models from other manufacturers though. It is a 300 OHM headphone and don’t expect it to be easy to drive, but honestly, a normal grade headphone amplifier can do the job well, I have tried several headphone amps with GMP400 and most of them paired with it nicely.
GMP400 employs a double-sided cable which I love a lot, however German-Maestro decided NOT TO employ a interchangeable cable feature for GMP400 and other ranges as well, because they considering the durability issues. This is not a big issue though, at least from my brief examination, it is durable and should stand still after a lot of usage, as long as you don’t go to break it purposely. I have no problem with the fact that it is not that heavy like coil cable from Soundmagic HP100, Hifiman HE400 or Beyerdynamic DT770 250 Ohm, GMP400 has a thick but quite light cable, durable and versatile. I will not worry regarding GMP400 cannot exchange the cable.
Build quality wise it is very good, German-Maestro is very confident with their products, they offered a 3 years warranty for it and to be honest, I think I will not have to claim anything because it is just light and durable, although German-Maestro is not making the headphone with metal or aluminium.
Comfort Level is among the best that I have ever tried!
If I tell you that GMP400 is extremely light and you can just leave it on your head for long time, please believe me I am just to be honest. Hell man, GMP400 is so light, even my low end Creative Aurvana Live! Is not this comfortable, GMP400 exert close to zero clamping force on my head, if you move your head hard enough it might slip away, but the comfort level is really EXTREMELY nice! Audio quality and price has long been treated as the most important factors when you buying a headphone, but many have overlooked the comfort level factor. However, we over Earmass here is really treating comfort level of headphone on the same level as price and audio quality. Comfort level plays a role to decide how long you can stick to music. I am very happy to tell you that GMP400 is one of that headphone that you can just put it on and forget its existence.
I have paired German-Maestro GMP400 with Firestone Audio CustomCute, Fubar HD, Fireye HD, Bobby, JDS Labs Objective DAC and Objective 2, iFi Audio iDAC, iCAN, M2Tech HiFace Dac, Arce MDAC3 with MUA1, Kingrex UD384 with U Power, Yulong Audio D100 II and U18. All connected through Charleston Cable Company top of the line UP-OCC interconnect.
German-Maestro GMP400 possesses MAESTRO level of sound quality and I definitely love it. This is NOT an ultimately clean, rich sounding or detailed monster, No! But this is definitely an excellent audiophile grade headphone, which has a laid-back and dark sound signature. GMP400 has a warm sound signature but it is not VERY warm, the warmth added ‘WOW factor’ to the music without alters the audiophile’s standard of being ‘neutral’ and ‘balanced’.
GMP400 is well textured and layered in sound reproduction, for example, you can actually hear the vocal sounded extremely expressive through GMP400, I played the ‘Live At Blue Alley’ by Eva Cassidy, I love the vocal and instrument performance which sounded natural to my ears, definitely is what I will described as “Euphonic’. Vocal is well textured and exceptionally expressive/full with emotion. In comparison, GMP400 does not have rich sound and excellent clarity as the Hifiman HE400, but HE400 cannot touched GMP400 regarding the emotion and expression of GMP400, that I cannot find elsewhere. I am indeed in ‘Eargasm’ state when I played vocal based songs, it is not excelling in clarity but it does give me feel/emotion that I want, undeniably.
If you looking at German-Maestro official website, they claimed that GMP400 is a headphone specially designed to be used for Classical genre of music, I seconded this statement through my listening session, but think that it is good in Jazz and not bad in general listening genre.
I played the famous ‘Vivaldi The Four Seasons’ by Orchestre de Chambre Jean, the ambience of the song is good, although detail level is not top notch (Although you still can here the car passing by but the revealing power is not there compete with the best), it is not bad here, with some kind of thick but not rich sound signature, a bit of grain do bring out a little more feel and ambience, making me blend with music easily/effortless. Soundstage is quite wide and has proper depth/height to speak with. Positioning and imaging is above average, instrument separation is on average level, however, music seems blend together and performed as ‘music’ nicely.
I like the toning of GMP400, toning is a unique sound factor, not necessarily more expensive headphones will have better toning than the cheaper one, before I met with GMP400, my favourite audio toning is the cheapo/entry level Creative Aurvana Live!, this is quite surprised, but GMP400 is not that kind of ‘gentle’ toning as CAL!, GMP400 has a very ‘effortless’ type of toning and it is really good. I don’t think I have found anything is lacking in the GMP400, at time I can definitely tell you GMP400 doesn’t really has the ‘revealing treble’, ‘weighty bass’ and ‘monstrous detail level’ like some others but none of these have stopped me from enjoying my music, in fact, the technicality won’t making me stick to the music as often as GMP400 did, but overall sound quality and comfort level will, GMP400 is excellent in both of the factors.
Piano and Violin sounded natural with GMP400, I played the album ‘Favourite Violin Encores’ by Arthur Grumiaux and Istvan Hajdu, as well as ‘Duo Piano Extravaganza’ by Agerich & Kovacevich, piano sounded good and weighty, with good amount of echo. I can tell you that GMP400 suit classical music nicely, while not bad in other music genre. It is full nuanced and has good detail level of how instrument is sounded (Not the micro detail).
So how is the bass of GMP400? Bass is deep but not thumping hard or gives good impact, fairly neutral bass response. It is tight and well controlled with good presentation. For song like ‘Zombie’ from The Cranberries, the drum kicked with good presentation, you know that there is drum hitting, that is it, it is not boosting them in any respect, but give a tight and good decay bass. In short, I will not saying that GMP400 is lacking bass or not doing good in bass, even side by side with Hifiman HE400. For sure, HE400 has a much more robust and harder bass response, but in terms of ‘presence’, they are pretty much similar. But one thing for sure, HE400 is brighter than GMP400 and has a narrower soundstage (Although better imaging and positioning), just for sound preference sake, I like how the GMP400 present music to me.
If I want to listen to Beethoven Karajan Series and Vivaldi albums, my first pick of the headphone must be the German-Maestro GMP400, no questions asked. Why? Not only because GMP400 has a great sound signature for classical music but it also give one of the best comfort level in this industry. I can't stop listening to classical music on GMP400, soundstage although is wide/deep and tall, but not in a way that I will called it as a violently huge soundstage, just nice.
You will need a good headphone amplifier and DAC together with GMP400 to sound its best. I don’t know if this is just me that liking the GMP400 soooooo MUCH, but for me they are really great, especially the comfort level that is really top notch. In any terms that I have said so many good things for the GMP400, I have to clarify that none of the headphone is BEST or PERFECT, that is just headphone that will ‘clicked’ with you, for me , GMP400 certainly ‘clicked’ with me.
Well, I don’t know why German-Maestro can’t trigger ‘Tsunami effect’ such as other manufacturer among audiophiles, I knew that in MBquartz ear they are rather famous but German-Maestro has not been this famous, even they have excellent audio quality and sound signature that can easily compete with others in the price bracket. This is like one of the most UNDERATED headphone ever in the audiophile history, they just done a great job for my ears.
If you have a local dealer that bringing in the German-Maestro products, you should give them a serious and long audition with your classical music. Who know? It might clicked with you as much as I do.