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I am a singer/songwriter based in Des Moines, Iowa. Recently, I was fortunate enough to win the Mackie FreePlay LIVE giveaway through Performer Magazine. I want to quickly thank Mackie and Performer for the opportunity to give my honest review of this awesome PA.
First off, I was very impressed by the appearance of the speaker. The older version did not look quite as professional (in my opinion). This one looks really nice, a big improvement.
The sound is also incredible. Despite its size, it packs a punch. The lows, mids and highs were excellent right out of the box. I didn’t have the urge to change anything with the mix right away. I wasn’t thrown off by any EQ issues, but I wouldn’t call myself a sound guru. Depending on the venue, audience size, etc. I also use a Bose L1 Compact PA. I have the treble turned up and the bass lowered quite a bit (Bose speakers are generally bass heavy). I’ll need to keep performing with the FreePlay to get a better feel for it, but I’m happy with how it sounds for now.
I hadn’t previously owned a PA that is battery powered. Mackie states that the battery can last up to fifteen hours. I have performed with the FreePlay for five hours at a time with no problems. I often play at the Des Moines Farmer’s Market in the summer and rent a generator for my equipment. This will be a nice change, though I am concerned it may not be loud enough (I play for 5,000+ people walking by).
The FreePlay Live app acts as a mini soundboard on your smartphone. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much from the app. I quickly discovered how easy it is to navigate around it. There’s reverb, EQ and volume controls. It also allows you to play a backing track in addition to Channel 1 and 2.
Performing with the FreePlay Live is a natural fit for me. The sound is great. It looks professional. It takes minimal time to set up. There’s nothing wrong with it or out of the ordinary. It’s simply a reliable mini PA system that is great for busking, small coffee shop shows, and performances that don’t have access to a power source. This speaker has come in handy on numerous occasions, and I’m happy to be using it!
photos by Warner Pool