Mackie’s reputation for offering superb powered loudspeakers goes all the back to the original SRM450s—debatably the first mass produced loudspeaker with an onboard amp. It was a game changer, especially for live touring performers and DJs, prompting a lot of listings for used amps on eBay.
When a company puts so much emphasis on loudspeakers, it needs more than one model in order to reach consumers with various means. So in the years since the original 450, Mackie’s line up of powered loudspeakers has grown extensively, and is, in fact, now undergoing another huge make-over.
Last year, the big news was the DLM series, IMHO one of the finest portable systems I’ve ever had the pleasure of evaluating. They are also pricey at very close to $4,000 street price for complete set-up (2 DLM 12S subs and DLM 12” tops).
But what if you just don’t feel like spending that kind of cash? What’s Mackie offer you that benefits from the technology in their higher end models?
What you are looking at here is the NEW Mackie Thump Series. I stress the NEW as they are far better looking and considerably more powerful than the previous thumps (which, frankly, didn’t knock me out). The ones sent for this evaluation are the Mackie Thump 15 boasting1000 Watts. The previous model (TH-15A) was 400 watts—nice, but just not enough.
From a marketing stand-point, 1000Watts is impressive, but with all the variables in determining loudspeaker output, and that strange power vs. SPL way these numbers are derived, in the end, it’s just a number. While on paper that power increase is minimal—In practical application, it does make a big difference as it has all been put to good use—at the low end where it was needed.
I’ve not had an opportunity to take them out for a bona fide road test, but out of the box, I do see some things I like. First off, they are not only lightweight (around 33 pounds) but the handles have been properly placed to make them seen even lighter. There’s a top mounted handle that’s molded right into the cabinet, and two side handles properly placed to keep the boxes balanced when lifting on to stands.
The back panel is strictly no-frills, with just a combo XLR-1/4” input and an XLR output. There’s also a gain control and 4 bands of EQ with a handy guide for suggested settings based on the application. That’s about it. The molded cabinet appears to be tight, strong and well-braced. Hopefully, that will remain the case after some slightly abnormal wear and tear. Oh, and here’s a cute feature, on the bottom, there’s a “shoe-horn” slot that helps you guide the speaker onto a stand with out having to crane your neck and smash your fingers. Somebody was thinking.
How do they sound? So far, I’ve only had the opportunity to patch them up to my iPad, but improvements in bass and clarity over the previous version is quite apparent. The bass is full and punchy as the 15” low-end drivers move about gobs of air as if they were fan-driven.
For solo performers and general PA, two Thump 12 or Thump 15 speakers should get the job done fine in the average size venue. They should also make good stage monitors. For Mobile DJs—playing high schools and larger venues—adding a sub would be advisable, especially with the bass requirements of EDM. If you typically play smaller events, like wedding receptions with mixed crowd of 100 or less, you should be fine with just the two tops, but so much depends on the venue. If you need a sub, check out the Thump18S which is designed to support the low-end on the Thump 12 and Thump 15. Unfortunately, they did send one of those for this evaluation. Maybe next time.
How high on the “Bang for your buck scale?” Near the top. At $350 the Thump 15 is a great buy, as is the Thump 12 at $300 and the Thump18S at $600. I’ll have them out on the road soon so look for a follow up report and a comparison with another good “budget” choice: The Behringer B615D—Robert