Auditions: Snapshot Product Reviews

Feb 1, 2008 12:00 PM


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MACKIE SRM450 Version 2

Active Sound Reinforcement Speaker

When Mackie introduced its original-model SRM450 at NAMM in 1999, the developers had no idea that it was to become one of the best-selling live sound speakers of all time. I've been using a pair of SRM450s for years now, and they've held up to the abuse of countless rock 'n' roll gigs while still having the delicacy for acoustic material.

At last month's NAMM show, Mackie unveiled the second generation of the SRM series, the 12-inch, two-way SRM450 V. 2 and the smaller SRM350 V. 2. The new versions are outwardly identical to their predecessors, other than the switch to a midnight blue (rather than original gray) in the molded polypropylene enclosures. All have side and top handles, 10 rigging points with M10 threaded inserts, pole-mount socket and wide-dispersion 90×45-degree HF horns, allowing the units to be used vertically as mains or horizontally as stage wedges.

Likewise, the rear panel is the same, with XLR thru and input jacks, wide-ranging line/mic gain pot, switchable low-cut filter and acoustic contour (smile curve), IEC power socket and an AC switch. Inside, Mackie has retained the 24dB/octave Linkwitz-Riley crossovers and onboard phase-alignment/EQ/time-correction functions. The big change is in the 300-watt amp powering the woofer, now a Class-D (switch-mode) design resulting in lower weight. This is now paired with an (also lighter-weight) neodymium 12-inch woofer with a larger 3-inch voice coil. The 100W HF amplifier on the titanium-diaphragm compression driver is unchanged, still a Class-A/B type.

With the new woofer and Class-D amp, the SRM450 V. 2 is now a svelte 40 pounds, down from the 51-pound original, which I appreciated on my first gig, especially when placing the speakers on a tripod stand. On rock gigs, I was pleased by the SRM450 V. 2's sound, which is consistent with the original, except that the low end seems to have more punch due to the beefier woofer. The switch-mode amp had no problems keeping up, even with bass-heavy rock material. On acoustic shows with guitar vocal duets, the top end exhibited that same transparency of the originals, and there was no harshness in the 1.6kHz crossover point.

It doesn't happen often, but the SRM450 V. 2 is a sequel that's better than the original. Retail is $899 each.

Mackie, 866/858-5832,
George Petersen

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