Field Test: Bag End TA-6000

Mar 1, 2002 12:00 PM, By Mark Frink

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Bag End has earned its reputation as a manufacturer of compact loudspeaker enclosures featuring accurate sound reproduction. The company offers a wide range of full-range speaker systems for touring, club, DJ and installation applications, and it produces studio monitors, home and commercial cinema sound systems, and musical instrument speakers.

The TA-6000 two-way passive loudspeaker, available in install and road versions, is a low-profile model featuring the skinny “D'Appolito” form factor with a single tweeter positioned between a pair of 6.5-inch woofers. The speaker's compact size and shape make it particularly well-suited for stage-lip frontfill and under-balcony applications. A new low-profile, horizontally optimized version, called the TA-6000-S ($735 list), is only six inches high and is designed to fit into stair steps. This model would also make an excellent choice for a center-channel playback speaker in a surround sound setup.

The standard trapezoidal TA-6000 speaker cabinet (TA-6000-R road version: $690; TA-6000-I install version: $620) measures just under two feet long, almost a foot deep and nine inches wide, with a 10° taper front to back. The cabinet is made from birch plywood coated with black-textured, catalyzed urethane, and includes rigging attachment points, a stand adapter and a rugged steel grille. A port on the back tunes the enclosure for added response around 160 Hz (and serves as a convenient handle). The two 6.5-inch woofers are crossed over (at 2.1 kHz) to a 1-inch exit compression driver mounted on a small radial horn, the same high-frequency driver as in Bag End's TA-2000, TA-1200 and AF-1 models.

The TA-6000 has a nominal dispersion of 80° horizontal by 60° vertical. The quasi co-ax form factor controls vertical dispersion to reduce ceiling and floor bounce, and improves focus and clarity. With a sensitivity of 95 dB (1w/1 m) and peak power handling of 600 watts, the TA-6000 puts out enough sound to cover near-field listening areas for any application. One popular theory regarding the proper use of frontfills is that they must get loud enough to support the entire mix, because all other speakers will be delayed back to match the arrival time of the frontfill signal. The TA-6000 is one of the loudest speakers of this type, and it can produce maximum SPL of 127 dB above 200 Hz at 1 meter.

The TA-6000's contoured response is smooth — exhibiting only one peak at around 1.8 kHz, just below the crossover frequency, which I found helpful for vocal articulation — but is also easily equalized. Bag End's philosophy is to favor time-domain performance over frequency response near the crossover point, and given the resulting clarity and imaging, this is an acceptable trade-off. I found that Bag End's proprietary Time-Aligned passive crossover electronics provided studio-quality detail, a feature that was easily apparent when I compared the TA-6000 with similar designs.

The highs are nearly flat out to 8 kHz, and gently fall off above that, a pleasant feature for any near-field application. The ported woofers provide a nicely contoured response, dipping around 250 Hz. The rear-port tuning gives the unit ample response in the last octave, and the speaker falls off smoothly below 85 Hz. The TA-6000 offers enough apparent bass and useable low end for most full-range foreground applications, while also providing a musical transition in the crossover region when supplemented with subwoofers.

As with other rear-ported enclosures, the TA-6000's low mid response changes when the cabinet is half-space loaded, such as when placed against a wall. In this configuration, the TA-6000 loses about 5 dB around 300 Hz, enhancing and smoothing the frequency contour in the low mids. Wall-mounting these speakers produces a pleasant response, making them an especially good choice for distributed sound and proscenium-edge fill applications.

The connector plate on the back of the TA-6000-R has two ¼- inch jacks in parallel with dual banana terminals and two Neutrik NL-4 Speakon connectors. Both Speakons are fully wired, passing signals on the unused number 1 pair for jumping to an adjacent subwoofer. The TA-6000-I simply has a barrier strip in place of the road version's multiple connectors and doesn't have a stand adapter. Both models have 5/16-inch hex bolts on the top, back and bottom for use as rigging or mounting points. Optional rear-mounting or end-yoke brackets are available for half-space applications under balconies and against walls.

The TA-6000-R's stand adapter can also be used to pole-mount the speaker on a subwoofer to create a powerful, compact bi-amp speaker system, and when used with a double-12 Bag End ELF, the TA-6000 makes a fantastic little P.A. The TA-6000 would also make a good choice for any or all surround sound speakers for boardroom and home theater sound systems.

Bag End Loudspeakers, 22272 Pepper Rd., Barrington, IL 60010; 847/382-4550; www.bagend.com.






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