After reviewing a Pioneer car audio system as an upgrade to my 2018 MK7 Golf R, I received an invitation from Mapletech Audio, a BC-based Canadian car speaker company that does its design and engineering here in Canada.
Mapletech Audio sells a variety of car audio products including power amps, subwoofers, and speakers in three classes (Performance Series Integration, Performance Series Competition, and Reference Series) and has an upcoming DSP/amplifier combo unit.
Since I have no intention of changing my Golf R Pioneer system this early after the installation, so I asked the owner/designer, Edwin Jonathan Halim, what he would suggest for my other car. I don't really have a problem with the sound system in my 2018 Mercedes CLA250 4Matic. It's nothing fancy, just a standard system that yields decent mid bass and nice enough treble for a factory system. It's far from perfect, but more than listenable for short drives. I drove the car once for two hours (each way) along the 400 highway and at the end of the day, I had to turn the treble down by -3 dB to avoid fatigue and boost the bass by 6 dB to compensate for road noise. Suffice it to say, although the system is fine for daily driving, it's not good enough for long hauls.
After mentioning these findings to Halim, he recommended the Mapletech Audio PS-1.65C component speakers from the competition line as a potential solution. He showed me these speakers in his demo car, which is identical to mine.
The speakers came in an elongated rectangular box, featuring 6.5" woofer and tweeter components with in-line crossover design to save installation space. Visually, I could see the upgrade of the cones in the structure and material qualities in contrast to the factory speakers.
Where the system really differs is in the quality of sound it produces. While the speakers don't offer quite the same bass frequency shape as the factory sound system, the highs and mids are off the charts (considering the price) and the bass is much cleaner. I have a hard time thinking of a $200 6.5" car audio component speaker that produces a cleaner and more smooth sound.
These new settings appeared after installation the Mapletech speakers.
Installation took just half an hour at Ultra Auto Sound in Mississauga, ON. There is no additional EQ or amplifier used, so most car stereo enthusiasts will be able to handle the installation themselves.
While these speakers can be powered with a head unit, you're able to unlock their true potential by pairing them with a more powerful amplifier. While that can be said with all component speakers, it holds especially true with Mapletech, especially due to the 70W power handling (140W max). After all, they are from the competition series. This means if one day I change my mind and want to add a power amplifier, I can do so without having to change the speakers again.
The conclusion? For more serious listeners looking for the clean and balanced reproduction of the music they're listening to, especially while driving more than an hour each way, these speakers are hard to beat. While they're a bit on the expensive side to be considered as a value upgrade, I still find that the extra cost is worth the bump in audio quality.