Mackie Thump: Powerful & Portable [REVIEW]
Portable powered speakers for mobile DJs hit the scene in the mid-1990s and quickly became the obvious solution to speedy set-up and tear down. With almost all of the cables now internal to the enclosure, the issues of correct connections, forgotten cables, etc., are just a faint memory today.
Other important characteristics in a powered speaker—good sound, substantial volume, portability, reliability and affordability—are on the top of the list, and the bottom line on Mackie’s Thump series is that it’s got it all.
The design team that developed Mackie’s respected SRM powered speaker series set out to come as close as possible with a 30-percent cheaper and lighter product, and the result of this effort is the Mackie Thump series. The 12-inch version (TH-12A) street price is a bit below $300 each, the 15-inch Thump (TH-15A) around $350, and the 18-inch powered subwoofer (TH-18S) priced around $700.
The enclosure is a tough, polypropylene plastic, and the drivers include a 15-inch woofer, 1-inch compression driver with the horn molded into the front baffle. The 15-inch Thump weighs about 36 pounds and the 12-inch Thump only 25 pounds. (The sub, incidentally, goes 73 pounds.) The design is bi-amped with an electronic crossover, and the bass amplifier is a high-efficiency (low heat) Class D with 300 watts, and the horn gets its own 100-watt amp.
I was impressed that the Mackie engineers put the effort in to provide for time-alignment of the acoustic centers of the woofer and the compression driver. This is a nice refinement that results in both cohesive vocals and better and more efficient transition between the drivers at the crossover point. Thump loudspeakers also feature a user-adjustable 3-band EQ for tone control to better balance the sound for the room and crowd.
An active limiter for each driver provides optimum protection and thermal circuitry protects the amplifiers and power supply if the system is overdriven.
The TH-15A’s large woofer provides decent bass, but for DJs whose style and music and for the jobs require more serious bass, the TH-12A along with the Thump 18-inch sub is a better fit. We strapped a pair to DJ Times taste tester Tony Roxxx and sent him off to a job for his comments:
According to Tony: Out of the box, the new Mackie Thump 15 units are pretty light and they have a decent look and feel. The Thumps are easy to grab and lift. As the Thump speakers cost only about $350, I didn’t expect much—but they surprised me. Though not as nice-sounding to my ears as its brethren (the SRM450s), the cost-to-sound ratio was good. I pushed them hard for 12 hours and not once did the speaker shut down. (Mackie speakers are supposed to shut down if they get to hot or if the circuitry overloads). The balance between the highs and lows is also good, even if the sound quality is not quite what you’ll get from Mackie’s more expensive speakers.
Bottom Line: I’d say for the DJ on a budget looking for a speaker that will be dependable and loud, you will certainly get a bit more then you pay for with the new Mackie Thump series. Call it a sound investment.