Mackie Thump 12a Review.

The recent advent of Class-D fast recovery amplifiers, together with lightweight neodymium magnets has advanced speaker technology to the point where powerful full-range lightweight speakers are a reality.

Enter the Mackie Thump range. Consisting of the 12” Thump-12a (Reviewed) and the 15” Thump-15a, these economy speakers sure pack plenty of punch for their size and cost.

Both units offer 400watts peak power (200RMS) with 300 to the 12” inch woofer and 100 to the 1” tweeter.

Construction is of tough plastic with recessed handles both on the sides and the top. This makes it a breeze to carry two 11.6kg units in one load-in trip to your venue. The Thumps are pole mountable and can also be used as monitor wedges thanks to their angled design.

Connections provided are XLR in; which can accept input from a mixer or directly from a microphone, and XLR through, which is useful for daisy chaining other units such as monitors fed from an auxiliary feed. A three band EQ section provides useful tone shaping, whilst a level control is also provided. Thermal shutdown protection is also standard.

Now that we have covered the specifications, let’s look at the sounds. These speakers put out 200 watts RMS, have a range of 57- 20 Khz, and put out 117 DB at 1m. Translated this basically means that they will be able to handle the low end pretty well while maintain nice crisp highs, at a decent volume.

I have personally I have a pair of the Thump 12a’s which normally cover monitor duty for my band. They perform this role very well with the vocals coming in very clear, and enough low-end so we can monitor our other instruments. We put everything into our mix and use midi tracks for drums and other instruments, so monitoring is very important to us. These speakers certainly have enough power and clarity to deal with this situation. I have also taken them out to a solo DJ gig and again no problem playing pre-recorded tracks from CD players or laptops using DJ software.

The only this to note with these speakers that has also been mentioned by many owners is a small digital hiss when high pitched, low volume sounds fade away, however during normal use this is unnoticeable.

A colleague of mine in Oklahoma who runs a PA rental business also uses them for small to medium events, although he very rightly says that the Mackie SRM450s outperform the Thumps by a long way as they push out 400 watts RMS. Then again the 450s even though they are roughly the same size are double the price and double the weight. He has also tested the Thump 15a and these have more pronounced handling in the low end department due to the bigger 15” Speaker.

One thing that would also be useful actually would be for all companies to standardise on which “watts” to quote Peak or RMS. Even Mackie themselves quote 400 peak for the Thumps and 400 RMS for the SRM450s, big difference !

In summary a great set of speakers, if you are looking to cover small to medium venues or use them as monitors.

By Ernest H Slade