by Will James
there were affordable Mackie mixers, followed by affordable Mackie
power amplifiers. Mackie is actually the company that started this
whole "affordable" business. It has now unveiled its latest
speaker product, the SR-1530.
The Mackie SR-1530
($1,199 each) is an active, three-way speaker system. Its trapezoidal
plywood cabinet is finished with a rugged polymer skin and has
recessed handles on both sides. The proprietary components are a
15-inch woofer (rated at 250 W RMS), with a 2.5-inch voice coil, and
a 6-inch cone midrange (rated at 60 W RMS), mounted to a
cabinet-integral, wide-dispersion horn.
The high frequencies are
handled by a 1-inch Mylar-diaphragm driver coupled to a wide-dispersion
horn that resides at the top of the front surface, just above the
mid cone. The internal power amplifiers are rated in the Mackie
owners manual by "burst capability" (peak) 300 W to the
woofer, 100 W to the mids and 100 W to the tweeter. The heat fins
from the power amps protrude about an inch on almost half of the
entire rear surface.
The low-to-mid crossover
frequency is at 700 Hz and mid-to-high at 3 kHz. The entire package
is sizeable, being almost 4 feet tall, 19 inches wide and 18 inches deep.
In addition to the heat
fins, the rear panel is home to the power on/off switch and male and
female XLR connectors, allowing for main connection as well as
daisy-chaining to another Mackie or other powered speakers. Mackie
recommends having eight amps of 125 VAC available to fire up the SR-1530s.
Mackie sent me a pair of
the SR-1530s just in time to take them to a weekend festival for
which my company was providing sound and lighting on three stages.
The first application for
the Mackie speakers was simple voice and music playback on the
midsized stage. I fed signal from a Soundcraft 400B mix console with
dbx one-third-octave EQs inserted on the main outputs. The initial
test was to run a CD player through the system and check out the
frequency response of the speakers.
The response was quite
good, with the 1530s exhibiting good, full-range sound. Although they
required a little tonal adjustment to compensate for the poor
acoustics of the tent in which the speakers were located, they were
quite smooth with both voice and recorded music through them.
For the next test, I
relocated the 1530s to a stage unencumbered by the acoustic nightmare
canopy and the audience surrounded the system to a depth of about 50
feet. This time, live music was mixed through the Mackie powered
speakers and the results were far more favorable. With a normal
assortment of SM58s and 57s and Sennheiser 421s, they sounded quite good.
Both male and female
vocals were smooth and friendly. There were a few noticeable
frequencies that required equalization, but for the most part, the
SR-1530s sounded great. Such instruments as acoustic guitar, piano
and drums sounded clear and full.
The Mackie SR-1530s are
good all-around, affordable active speakers. These 100-pound
workhorses were not too cumbersome for two people, but they would
require a hand truck or cart for one person to move. The XLR-style
connectors make for an easy hookup, but these speakers will accept
only XLR signal. If your mixer has unbalanced outputs, you could
experience some buzz when converting connector styles. I would like
to have seen 1/4-inch, unbalanced inputs (possibly RCAs as well) in
addition to the XLRs, to accommodate the more casual users of a
speaker system like this.
The 1530s are definitely
too tall and heavy to stand-mount, but not quite tall enough to floor
stand. Risers or road cases are needed to elevate them, if you do not
have enough room on stage. I liked the 1530s for their very good
sound and rugged durability; they will give you years of solid use.
Will James, owner and
chief engineer of Atlantis Audio and Lighting, is a contributor to Pro
Bands; rentals; schools;
houses of worship
Full range; 500 W
Mackie at 800-898-3211; www.mackie.com.
Mackie SR-1530 Powered Speakers
Manageable weight for three-ways
No unbalanced input
Too heavy to stand-mount
A solid and versatile
three-way active speaker at an affordable price.
Audio Review Magazine Copyright 1999 IMAS Publishing Group. All
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