I have owned two Martin D-15Ms over the years, but ended up selling them due to money troubles. I wanted to add an all mahogany guitar to my collection, but couldn't afford another Martin. I bought the CLD-15M based purely from the feedback on the Thomann website.
When it arrived, I almost couldn't believe my eyes. It is so well made, not a flaw to be seen. The set-up was perfect- a nice low action with no buzz and full saddle height. Perfect frets. I would hazard a guess that the guitar has been through a PLEK machine, as it seems almost too good a set-up to have been done by human hands.
The neck is a very slim low profile. I would have preferred it to be slightly chunkier but at this price, I am not complaining. I assumed I would have to change the tuners to Grovers, as cheap guitars almost universally have terrible tuners. The tuners on this guitar are sturdy, smooth and tight. The nut and saddle are bone, so no upgrade needed there either.
The sound? Nice. NICE!! It has a lovely honey sweetness to it. Mellow, rich.
The biggest difference I found compared to a Martin is the weight. It's not a particularly heavy guitar, but the mahogany Martins are featherweight. For my purposes this is fine, as I wanted it to take out to sessions and busking. This guitar seems incredibly sturdy and well built. I'm confident that it can take a few knocks.
Before buying the CLD-15M, I was seriously considering the all mahogany Sigma guitars. I can't see how the Sigma could be any better than this. It doesn't sound as good as the Martin D-15M, but the Martin is ?1290, which is nearly 9 times the price of this guitar. It is not 9 times better in sound.
I am incredibly happy with my purchase and am seriously thinking about buying the CLA-28V when it is back in stock. I am also looking at a T.bone condenser mic, as it seems the own-branded Thomann products are sheer quality.
Seems to me that Harley Benton have done something extraordinary to make these Custom Line acoustic guitars so well made. (Im conversing with many who have bought one or the other from this Custom Line of guitars and all are very happy with them).
The solid mahogani top is awesome looking, much better that on the Thomann photo which is more linear and looks like a photoflame to me. I hoped that the top will look more something like the photo of the CLA-15M and it did :) Im a happy bunny.
The neck is very comfortable and on the thin side which I love. I really dislike fat necks. This one is kind of something like the modern C shape. Very nice!
Frets are tiny but well made and there was NO fret buzz at all which is just amazing. The string action was 2mm on the 14th fret on the 1st string and 2,5mm on the low E which is very fine for out of the box guitar.
Tuners hold tune well and seem solid.
Wish the pickguard was delivered separate because I would rather choose not to use it, but thats just me. The pickguard looks nice though.
Now to the SOUND (subjective view);
The guitar came with D'addario EXP16 which in my opinion are too heavy of a gauge for this dark sounding Mahogani guitar. Tuned in standard the low E and A sounded like "thumph" with very little sustain (when fretted especially bellow the 5th fret). The other strings had more sustain though. Bending was impossible for me and bending and string vibrating is my style so lighter gauge will improve this issue for me.
I did detune the guitar one whole step down (on all strings, low E is now D, A is G, etc ... ) and bending imporved a lot and even the low E and A sounded better. So lighter gauge strings will enliven the sound of this dark sounding mahogani wood guitar.