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MACKIE SRM450V2 - INTRODUCTION
Mackie speakers have been around for quite a few years now and I have been in a few bands that have used SRM (Sound Reinforcement Monitors) speakers and I must say that I have always thought they do a very professional job, are reliable with a great build quality and sound great. However, Mackie then decided to re-design them and so they now have a version 2 range of SRM speakers on the market! I just had to find out more...
I always thought that the Mackie SRM450 (both version 1 and 2) had 15 inch woofers because of the frequency range that they both cover (from 45Hz - 20KHz), but to my surprise I found that they actually have 12 inch woofers! This frequency range is as good as many 15" active monitors on the market, so I was already mightily impressed!
MACKIE SRM450v2 - WEIGHING IT UP
As I have said before, the weight of a PA speaker is becoming more of a consideration when making a purchase. This is especially true with active speakers as they include built-in amplification, which seriously adds to the burden of what you have to carry about.
Nowadays, to keep the weight down companies are using injection-molded polypropylene for their cabinets. The Mackie Thump with a 15 inch Woofer weighed an incredible 36 lbs. / 16.3 kg and this weight is extremely hard to beat. The Mackie SRM450s are of a stronger build but this unfortunately does mean that they weigh more. Version 1 weighed 51 lbs. / 23.2 kg and this felt a bit on the heavy side. However, the Version 2 SRM450's are 11lbs lighter - coming in at a very acceptable 40lbs / 18 kg. The fact that they have a 12 inch woofer means that they have a slightly smaller design than 15 inch monitors as well, which when combined with a great weight means that these are a very portable option.
I really noticed this when I mounted it on a speaker pole as it felt easier due to three of its attributes; size, weight and weight distribution. The two comfortable handles on either side are positioned perfectly to provide you with an evenness as you lift - they say that the design is Asymmetrical Trapezoidal (try saying that after a few drinks). There is also a third handle on top to help with manoeuvres. With their optional extra holder bag, they can also pack easily into the back of your car. The sizes are:- 660 x 390 x 376 mm / 26 x 15.4 x 14.8 inches
MACKIE SRM450v2 - WHAT'S VERSION 2 ALL ABOUT?
Well, apart from being 11lbs. lighter, it looks identical to its predecessor! However, version 2 houses a new lightweight neodymium woofer, a new heat-treated titanium compression driver and Class-D Fast Recovery amplification, which allow the units to stay very cool. On top of this, the transducers have been upgraded, along with the three-inch voice coil. These improvements provide greater power with more clarity and punch than version 1 had.
MACKIE SRM450v2 - WOOFER AND COMPRESSION DRIVER
Mackie's main design criteria was to have studio sound quality on stage and I seriously believe that they achieved this. Version 1 SRM450s delivered a punchy bottom to the sound, but incredibly this has improved in version 2 by way of its servo feedback technology, which locks the 12 inch woofer in place with the positive and negative outputs of the amplifier to make them sound even larger. For the lower frequencies the 12 inch / 300 mm Woofer has a 3 inch / 75mm voice coil and a frequency range of 45 Hz to 3kHz, whilst for the higher frequency range there is a heat-treated titanium 1.75 inch / 44.5 mm compression driver, which has a frequency range of 1kHz to 20kHz for accurate reproduction of the Mid and Upper range. Both have a nominal impedance of 8 ohms.
MACKIE SRM450v2 - AMPLIFICATION
There are two power amplifiers (Low and High), which Mackie say are 'Fast Recovery'. This basically allows them to recover quickly if they were driven into 'Clipping'. The Specifications for them are: - The Low Amp produces 540 watts peak (300 watts continuous) before clipping and the High Amp produces 150 watts peak (100 watts continuous) before clipping.
Mackie also tell us that 'you get a complete loudspeaker system, with complex electronics and carefully chosen components, all precisely tuned and tweaked to work together. The result is a loudspeaker with phenomenal sound quality and power, that's completely plug-and-play and no EQ is needed'. I wouldn't fully agree with that statement. Despite Mackie doing a great job, there are many situations which require some EQ. In my own case I have been used to a 15" woofer as some Synth sounds have a really big low-end and although these 12 inch woofers cover a similar frequency range they are not as warm as some 15 inch woofers. However, with a little bit of EQ, this can compensate to some extent for this.
With nothing plugged into the SRM450v2 I found that there was no unwanted noise or hiss. You can only hear a little bit as you get anywhere between very high and maximum volume, which you are unlikely to do anyway. Also I used the SRM450v2 for a good 4 hours and it did not get warm and the sound was still very clean.
MACKIE SRM450v2 - THE CROSSOVER
Mackie explain their crossover very well, which gives me every confidence in their product. They tell us that 'the built-in electronic crossover is a 24dB / octave Linkwitz-Riley design, which is more expensive than other designs but that the benefits include:- 1) Absolutely flat frequency response throughout the Bandpass without the characteristic ripple near the crossover point exhibited by other designs. 2) The sharp 24dB per octave roll-off of the filters ensures that the transducers are not reproducing frequencies outside of their capabilities. 3) The acoustic sum of the two driver responses is unity at the crossover frequency resulting in perfect power response. 4) They provide perfect phase response yielding phenomenal accuracy even at 20 feet away'.
This sounds extremely impressive but how good do these Version 2 speakers sound?
MACKIE SRM450v2 - LIVE SOUND TEST
I decided to use one of the Mackie SRM450v2s as a keyboard / vocal stage monitor. As I played, the band commented on the warmth and clarity of the sound. They were able to hear my keyboards clearly through the loud guitar and drum sounds on stage and I think this was partly due to Mackie's ultra-wide dispersion of sound, because no matter where you stand you get the full depth and definition of the mix. Sometimes I struggle to hear my own vocals against the power of our lead vocalist but with this Mackie, they was much more defined. I have to say, I don't think I have had a better on-stage sound. If you can hear clearly, you can play tighter and you are more relaxed. I experienced all of these and it was a very pleasing experience. The dynamic range of my synth certainly put the SRM through its paces but it performed admirably. The other thing that I was aware of was that I had little to no feedback from my vocals during the sound-check, where it was pushed to ascertain the limit.
MACKIE SRM450v2 - SET UP
You can position and angle the SRM450v2's in every way possible! They have been designed to be pole-mounted from the bottom, you can fly them vertically or horizontally via their integrated M10 mounting points, or you use them as a wedge monitors. Plus, with their lighter weight, this is now so much easier.
Ok, so let's have a look around the back where you will find all of the connections and controls logically laid out and clearly labelled. At the top of this control panel are three indicator lights for 'Thermal', 'Peak' and 'Signal Present'. The Power On/Off button has a useful addition in the form of a 'Time Turnoff' switch. I like this because it puts the SRM450v2 into an energy saving mode after three minutes of silence, then cleverly reactivates if it receives an input signal.
My first surprise was the fact that there appeared to be no EQ, so what have Mackie done instead? Well there is something called a 'Contour' button, which reduces the mid-frequencies between 100Hz and 12kHz and a 'Low-Cut' button, which allows you to roll off the bass frequencies below 75Hz. These do a good job and could be a very quick solution to playing in places where there are already high levels at these frequencies, but I think I would still prefer a 3 or 4 band EQ.
Also on the back panel are an XLR Input, a Thru socket and a Level control. The XLR input can take either a line or microphone signal, which allows you to use the SRM450v2s as a basic vocal PA without a mixer. If you do go down this route then you can just use the Input Level control knob to adjust the microphone volume. I put my Shure SM58 directly in and although there is no EQ, it gave a great clear, crisp sound to my voice.
If you need to add more SRM450v2 monitors for a larger PA, you can daisy-chain them using the XLR Thru socket. Lastly, there is a thermal cut-out indicator that activates if the unit has been driven too hard and for too long. This automatically switches it into a protected mode until it has been given time to cool down.
MACKIE SRM450v2 - CONCLUSION
Well there you have it; a very reliable, high output powered speaker with a great frequency range and great punchy, clean sound in a very portable and nice looking package! They do not get hot however hard you push them and at this quality level the Mackie SRM450v2s are a great price. They have been designed to sound like monitors so that in a 'live' setup they give a detailed and accurate mix, but also have a fantastic ultra-wide dispersion to hear the sound clearly wherever you stand.
They also have built-in protection circuitry for long life, with a built-in limiter for less distortion at peak levels. You can easily position and mount them anywhere and at only 40lbs they are not going to break your back. Plus, to me, the Mackie SRM450v2 PA speakers sound just right...
For more information on the Mackie SRM450v2, click the link below: