Do you need a battery powered speaker solution in your setup? You may want to consider the Maui 5 Go. Here are my first impressions.
How Did I Get Here?
Before we kick this review off, a little background on how I even came to possess a Maui 5 Go. I was on a couple facebook group chats talking about general speaker placement for ceremonies and the criticality of sound in a situation where hiding wires and your equipment is a massive challenge along with trying not to be an eyesore for a photographer.
One of the DJs made a profound statement that sound is so important that placement be damned; if it’s in the picture it’s in the picture. Now as someone that has always tried to stay out of photographs completely it somewhat ran against my philosophy of being completely transparent. But the more I thought about it, after years of doing ceremonies, it started to ring true that placement is critical. Having to place speakers further out introduces delay and echo, along with the potential for more feedback. So one just has to use the right tools to make it as elegant as possible. The goal is super stealthy and elegant.
And I have to admit, when I first heard about the Maui 5 Go I was a bit skeptical with the numbers. Great sound with a 5-hour battery life near max output and 30 hours nominal output. And with an all-plastic design, I was worried the sound might be a bit hollow sounding. But since I had a pair of weddings that placement would be absolutely critical while trying not to be in the shot would be harder than ever. So with the Maui 5 Go I invested in a second Sennheiser IEM 300 for my ceremony rig to give me not only an extended battery option but a completely cordless option, allowing me to place my speakers anywhere need be.
And with this solution, it gives me a unique selling point for ceremonies. Not only can I now offer all these complex mixing capabilities with multiple mics, but now I can have a completely cableless speaker option.
Now with a couple gigs out of the way, I can report I am pleasantly surprised that the sound is pretty damn good. Is it an EV Evolve 50? No, not even close. Its design is pretty minimal with an 8″ subwoofer on the bottom, and it’s small driver column array on one of a 3-piece stem that is part of the design. But for me, this is not meant as a replacement for that for reception sound. But what it does offer, it has a pretty rich sound, a little bit hollow, but that can be mitigated by EQ a bit. For a ceremony or cocktail, it certainly can be a great option, especially in super tight situations where power is in a bad place or non-existent.
For the battery design, it has an ingenious concept of being part of the stem and it can be swappable. So if you need more than 5-30 hours, you can have a spare battery stem on hand, and within seconds be on that battery.
I want to make sure I set expectations properly. The sound is not spectacular from my critical observation. You do have to push them a bit hard to get to that moderate playback level a Mobile DJ would desire. But it’s far from terrible, or bad, it’s actually quite good. And don’t take my observation of sound. I had one of the couples from both events specifically tell me how good the sound was with the Maui 5 Go. This was a question that was not sought out by me and serves as a testament to what a couple will think of it.
The First “Extreme Use”
I had a situation where I decided to use the Maui 5 Go not only for my ceremony but throughout the entire event. Things kicked off at 4pm for pre-Ceremony sounds and carried on till 10:30pm for the final song. For the first 90 minutes, the Maui 5 Go was unfortunately not in a sheltered area from the intense sun and 88º temperatures. But it performed flawlessly for the entire pre-Ceremony and Ceremony time. As a side note, the officiant out of the blue commented on how great things sounded and once again I wasn’t even seeking out that question.
After that I moved the array over to a higher level of the venue where it was serving as fill for cocktail, dinner, and dance. The area was shaded and the sound was superb. When I collapsed things down, I still had three LEDs of four illuminated. That is somewhere around 50-75% power still available after 6.5 hours of significant use. I am beyond impressed.
There is no doubt I am pretty satisfied with the Maui 5 Go that it will become my ceremony go-to solution. I will likely use this for my cocktail setup as well in some cases. I don’t think there are any other battery-powered column arrays out there, and those other battery powered options really do not tick off the elegant mark in their designs. If these speakers end up in the picture, they are diminutive and sleek enough to be in the picture, allowing myself to accept virtually any placements in the scene.