American Audio has always been conscientious of price when it comes to introducing new gear to the professional audio market. They do their best to engineer quality gear at a price point even the entry-level audio professional, such as the bedroom and mobile DJ or little Johnny who has a small garage band, can afford.
DJzone took the XSP 10s, American Audios’ recent entry into the powered speaker ring, to task in our new workshop test facility, AKA The Garage. Keep in mind we seriously suggest you do not do what we do in The Garage to your equipment because it could void your warranties.
Removing the XSP from the box, we found a sleek new front design that is reminiscent to the grill on a high-end automobile. On the rear we found a large heatsink for cooling and a nicely laid out control panel. Unlike many powered speakers on the market that have just one volume control, the XSP allows you to adjust separately both your line level/microphone inputs and your volume output. Having such controls along with the standard bass and treble eq ability allows you to operate these speakers in a number of situations without having to bring in an extra audio mixer.
Over the years we have listened to a number of speakers and decided to start our test with a simple sound quality check. Using a digitally recorded cd from yesteryear by a group called Papa Doo Run is one of our favorite ways to check the capabilities of a speaker. If you don’t believe us, buy the cd and you will know what we mean. Having been recorded digitally you can hear each and every instrument like you are there in person; we feel it is equivalent to BlueRay audio.
With that said, the XSP sounded great with rich highs and hard punching lows. We felt the time-aligned electronic crossover had a great deal to do with the sound quality as we were able to hear each of the bands instruments with extreme clarity. During this test it was not audible, but we felt there was an ever so slight void in the tonality of the music. We have heard the same slight void in speakers costing 3 times the price of the XSP, so we did not feel it was a demerit on the XSP. For the price, the XSP was a winner.
Our second major test was for durability. Much to our neighbors chagrin we pumped one of our XSPs built-in 200 watt amplifier for 8 hours straight with a signal of hard hitting dance music. Not a bad thing you say? Well here is the nasty. The Garage was at least 95 degrees, the speaker was hitting a slight clip according to its built in clip LED, and we covered them with moving blankets to not only muffle the sound, but to see if they could handle the extremes of the real world and the stupidity of some users out there.
After eight hours of torture, we used our handy Alltrade laser thermometer to check the heat sink on the back. Surprisingly, it was only sitting at 140 degrees. In a side by side test of the speaker that was tortured and one fresh out of a box, we found no discernable difference in the audio quality. This was pretty amazing since the tortured speaker should have been suffering from overheated voice coils which can seriously affect the quality of the audio output. This did not appear to be the case with the XSP.
The only thing we would change on this speaker would be the felt-like covering used on the inside of the speaker grill which could turn into a major dust collector without the proper upkeep or carry bags for delivery and storage. This covering appeared to be easily removable however.
Weighing the price, sound quality, control features and portability of the XSP, we give it a 9.5 out of 10 points for powered speakers of this price point. The XSP 10s would make for a great speaker for a smaller venue, ceremony system, garage band, etc. American Audio produces three other sizes of the XSP powered speaker including an 8", 12” and a 15” all with very respectable specifications.