The Doppelganger: German Maestro 8.35D

Take something forward and engaging like the HD25-1, make it a bit darker, add more bass body, and that’s roughly how the German Maestro 8.35D is. Somehow reminds me of the Doppelganger of Spider Man. Bigger sound, badder build, different enough to be unique by itself, though not exactly better or worse. After too much head time with Herr Sennheiser HD800, this is just the headphone I need to get away from all those technicalities and simply jump to the music.

I first encountered the German Maestro 8.35D sound years ago when I listened to the DBI Pro705 headphones on a local CD shop. It was generally forward, engaging, slightly dark, plenty of bass quantity, and generally a very fun sound. I don’t have the DBI Pro705 so I can’t make a direct comparison, but the GMP 8.35D reminds me of how the Pro705 sounds back then.  It has also been confirmed by the German Maestro distributor in Singapore that they indeed do OEM work for DBI and also for another brand called Chartered Oak (with the GMP 450 model), so the likelihood that both headphones are identical is highly probable. I also heard that the HMV stores supposedly use the DBI headphones too, so if you happen to have an HMV store near you, you can check it out too see if they are indeed using the DBI Pro705 (it looks identical to the GMP8.35D).

The build is very abuse proof; almost every inch of it. Looks very German too. Well, perhaps German in the 1970s.

 

The Doppelganger ROCKS!

Like the Doppelganger to Spider Man, the build is bigger and badder than HD25-1. The GMP 8.35 is perhaps the few headphone that can match and even beat the HD25-1’s shockproof build quality. The solid ABS-grade plastic and the overall construction tells me that this headphone is probably going to win in a physical combat against the HD25-1. Good thing that the use of high quality plastic keeps weight manageable, though still heavier than the HD25-1. The clamping force is relatively grippy, and though the big pleather pads distributes the force well enough, it’s still quite dizzying for long term listening. If I’m playing music by the albums on my Ipod, I have to take off the headphones after every album otherwise it’ll get too much. Though the tank-like build quality is good, I find the range of headband adjustment range to be quite limited. My head is pretty big, and the GMP 8.35 barely makes it at the maximum adjustment range. I am sure that there are others with heads larger than I, and the fitting GMP 8.35 would be a problem for them. Sound isolation, however, is quite superb, being a circumaural design with large pad area and tight clamping force. It definitely exceeds my the HD25-1 in that aspect.

It’s always good to have alternatives, and in this case the GMP 8.35 provides an alternative sound to the HD25-1. Both are similar in that they are forward sounding, fun, and engaging. The GMP 8.35 is darker, bassier, and more relaxed than the HD25-1, but overall it’s still a forward sounding headphone. The pace is more relaxed and the focus on the music is more dispersed on the GMP 8.35, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. On some albums though, like John Mayer’s Continuum or Armin Van Buuren’s Imagine, and U2’s The Joshua Tree, I do prefer the GMP 8.35’s darker and bassier presentation. So, this is a case of headphone to recording synergy, and less about which headphone is better than the other.

Having a bigger size housing contributes to a more spacious sound than what you’re hearing on the HD25-1. Larger soundstage tends to disperse the energy of the music, and in this case the GMP 8.35 is less intense and less focused than the HD25-1’s claustrophobic presentation. Again, this is a welcome change, though on faster paced music like Rage Against the Machine, the GMP 8.35 fails to transfer the energy of the music better than the HD25-1, but on other more moderate paced recordings, the GMP 8.35 makes the HD25-1 feels too uptight.

Not the fanciest look. But I bet someone out there is digging the look of the GMP 8.35.

 

The bass is what makes this headphone fun sounding. The bass areas are fatter than the HD25-1’s, so you get more bass quantity in general, but the actual punch is weaker than the HD25-1, nor is the articulation as good as the HD25-1. It’s not boomy, but each punch is more rounded and less tight than the HD25-1’s. But again, I think this is all in line with the GMP 8.35’s overall sound signature. Of course if you want the ultimate in bass quantity in punch, then you should be looking at the ATH Pro700 Mk2, but the Pro700 Mk2’s extremely bass-skewed tonal response is not going to handle different genres as well as the GMP 8.35 or the HD25-1.

Big pads surface area distributes pressure very well, but still not the most comfortable headphone for long listening time.

 

The GMP 8.35 earns my recommendation for a fun headphone to try. The sound signature is generally fun, engaging, and likable. Those looking for technicalities better look elsewhere. If you’re into Jazz or Classical, then you also should look elsewhere. This headphone is all about giving a fun sound with whatever is playing in the Top40 charts. Very wide genre bandwith, and paired with the extremely smooth Just Audio AHA-120 amplifier, I really had some highly musical moments with the GMP 8.35. However, it’s hard to see it becoming a crowd favorite, mostly because of its not-so-comfortable grippy fitting. You can probably ignore the grip for a 15-30 minutes session at the CD store, but for personal long listening sessions, it’s going to be hard to not feel it.

Thanks to Louis at the Audiohub for the GMP 8.35 loaner.



Gears used for review:
Headphones: German Maestro GMP 8.35, Sennheiser HD25-1
Amplifiers: Just Audio AHA-120, Burson HA160D

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37 Comments

  • Reply April 27, 2011

    Anonymous

    Woohooo! The Doppelganger ROCKS!

  • Reply April 27, 2011

    Sickboyzclb

    this one is two thumbs up for it all rounder and fun listening while didnt choke your wallet.Definitely recommend to try

  • Reply April 27, 2011

    J. McP

    I have the DBI pro705 and i dont quite like them, even for the 35$ I paid for them, (got lucky on ebay) at least these GM looks more confortable, the BDI pads are awful hard vynil, very hard. by your description the GM totally kicks the DBI ass in everyway but look, and build. is like the most tough headphone ever, Im sure you can kill zombies with this.

    A comparison with the trippelganger(?) MB Quart QP805 would be nice too
    http://audioshop.com.ua/images2/mbquart_qp805demobig.jpg

    still cant believe the 8.35D is 240$ in amazon…

    BTW i can put up some DBI705 photos if you want them, tho mine has been abused…

  • Reply April 28, 2011

    jendol

    I am a regular visitor to HMV stores in hongkong and elsewhere, I remember that HMV hongkong stores use DBI Pro705

    • Reply April 28, 2011

      Anonymous

      Nice.

      Did you try listening to them?

  • Reply April 28, 2011

    Anonymous

    I miss them already =(
    oh bring back~ bring back~ my german maestros to me~ =(

    • Reply April 29, 2011

      Anonymous

      Not so fast my friend. 🙂

  • Reply May 4, 2011

    Donunus

    I was told a year or so ago that the GMP 8.300D is even better. In fact it replaced this particular headfiers HD650. I’m not talking about any headfier either. This was someone with the best amps and would always go to the big meets.

    • Reply May 4, 2011

      Anonymous

      Frankly, I am not buying it. There are far too many reports of Headphone A + Amplifier B resulting in a combination that kills every other headphone in the market. But if you look at the underlying principles, the sound and capability of a headphone is dictated and is limited by the driver and the housing design.

      You can see this in almost every headphone line ups.
      HD555, HD558, HD595, HD598.
      DT880 250, DT880 600
      AD300, AD700, AD900, AD1000, AD2000
      Grado SR60, 80, 125, 225, 325, RS2, RS1

      Yes, the higher line ups have better tonality that enables you to enjoy your music better, but mostly the resolution, technicalities, and scalability are limited by the driver and housing design.

      And looking at the GMP8.35D’s housing design, and driver resolution, I don’t think it has the scalability to take it to the high end levels. Unless they planted a totally different driver in that housing.

      Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fun sounding headphone, but it’s not really a high end, reference class headphone.

  • Reply May 6, 2011

    Paweł Lasek

    I believe Empik (a book/media/etc. chain in Poland) uses the same headphones for listening gear in their music section, or at least very similar ones.

    Very, very rugged in feel 🙂

    • Reply May 6, 2011

      Anonymous

      Nice!

    • Reply June 20, 2011

      Elpaszteto

      nie, w empiku maja DBI pro 705, które sa odpowiednikiem nowych GMP 8.40 😉

  • Reply November 21, 2011

    Biergourmet

    I wonder why the 8.300 D is 30 € cheaper in their online shop:  http://www.german-maestro-shop.de/epages/61902279.sf/en_GB/?ViewObjectID=6149810

    Also there are 2 velour ear pads. What’s the difference?

  • Reply November 26, 2011

    Biergourmet

    Some photos of the 8.300D:

  • Reply December 12, 2011

    Acix

    If you’re into Jazz or Classical, you can try the 8.35 with the GMP
    Ear Pad 41-6050. Here is more info: http://www.head-fi.org/t/406658/the-german-maestro-gmp-8-35-d-monitor-in-the-studio-serious-about-audio-indeed/60

    BTW, the 6050 oval pads expand the soundstage as well. 

    • Reply December 12, 2011

      Mike

      Acix,
      The driver resolution is not that special, I really wouldn’t expect it to turn into a super headphone with a pad change.
      In comparison, the average Superlux monitoring headphones resolve more things than the GMP 8.35.

  • Reply January 26, 2012

    Shaun Gostelow

    We’ve just had a customer post a review and impressions of the German Maestro GMP 8.35 D that I hope you guys will find interesting:

    http://www.hifiheadphones.co.uk/forum/headphone-reviews/1288-german-maestro-gmp-8-35d-headphone-review-dale.html

  • Reply February 14, 2012

    Don Vittorio Sierra

    Mike, Have you heard the 300 ohm version yet? GMP 8.300 D? i was wondering if you think either of them is better than the other

  • Reply March 2, 2012

    dalethorn

    My impressions of comfort with the 8.35D I’d base on comparing to the Grado PS-500, the Beyer DT-48 with new oval pads, the Beyer DT-1350, and the Sennheiser 600/650. Although the feel of the Senn’s is different, I’d rate the comfort about the same as the 8.35D – good for hours. The original DT-1350 circa April 2011 is much worse, and the new DT-1350 about as comfortable as the 8.35D, although a different kind of fit. The Grado PS-500 I find comfy for extended listening, but I have to shift it slightly on my ears every so often since it tends to slightly pinch. The 8.35D is better, since it has no specific irritations other than perhaps some claustrophobia like the Senn 600/650. The Beyer DT-48 is of course the king of clamping, and there’s no comparison there. I can wear that one for maybe an hour max, then I have to take them off for a minute or so. But the 8.35D is infinitely better than that.

    • Reply March 2, 2012

      Mike

      Thanks for sharing with us, Dale. 

  • Reply August 17, 2012

    breizh

    Hi Mike,
    how would you rate it in comparison with the AKG K271 mkII, the ATH-M50 and the shure srh840 ? is it in the same class ?
    thanks a lot
    richard

    • Reply August 17, 2012

      Mike

      Richard,
      At least with the M-50 and the SRH-840, I don’t think the 8.35D is competitive in terms of technicalities. The K271 Mk2, I need to listen to it more to be able to make a comparison.

  • Reply August 17, 2012

    breizh

    ok it’s clear for this one 😉
    and do you confirm you still noticeably prefer the ATH-M50 over the Shure srh840 ? for classic rock wich one is the best ?
    many thanks

    • Reply August 18, 2012

      Mike

      Okay,
      Classic rock is nice, but an obvious one would be either the Grados or the Senn HD25-1.

  • Reply October 12, 2015

    Darsus

    There is an excellent PDF that shows what German Maestro and MB Quart models are identical. http://www.audiocomponents.pl/pliki/pracownie_jezykowe.pdf

    There are also DBI Pro 700 and 705 that are not on the list, which, from what I’ve seen have 8.35 (705) and 8.40 (700) drivers, but sound descriptions on forum are kinda different. I’m getting my first pair of MB Quart MBH 805 (German Maestro 8.40/DBI Pro 700?), excited! 🙂

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