Mackie Thump15BST Review

 The newly redesigned Thump Series from Mackie is an excellent solution to just about any band or DJ’s PA needs. We got our hands on a pair of the Thump15BST speakers, which were pretty impressive – both in terms of clean volume and features.

Let’s get sound quality out of the way first; yes, these sound fantastic. A battery of live instruments as well as pre-recorded DJ tracks proved to be no problem for the new Thumps. Even at high volume settings, audio was crisp and clear, and more importantly, defined across the frequency range. This means that there’s no “congestion” in certain parts of the spectrum; keyboards, drums, vocals and guitars were all articulate in the mix, with no competition for sonic territory.

If you were just looking for a set of PA speakers that could handle permanent installations, live gigs, outdoor performances or intense DJ sets, you could stop here. But where the new Thump line really shines is in its Bluetooth integration.

Most portable PA systems and Pro Audio solutions tend to toss in Bluetooth as an afterthought, just so they can add the logo to the box and make you think you’re getting added features. As most of us can attest to, the reality is quite different. Most of the time that big, shiny Bluetooth logo on the box just means you can stream tracks from your phone between sets and activate a blue LED on the front of the enclosure. Big friggin’ whoop.

With the new ThumpBST speakers, you get an incredibly useful suite of Bluetooth features in the palm of your hand. For starters, you get a Bluetooth channel for streaming, in addition to your normal cabled inputs. With a pretty powerful built-in mixer and DSP, you can plug a few instruments and mics directly without the need for an external compact mixer or front-of-house setup. For coffeehouse owners or house concert warriors, these are all you need.

What’s more, you can control the mix remotely from your smartphone via Bluetooth. And this isn’t some crummy “freeware” app, it’s a completely useful (and almost indispensable) program that makes mobile mixing both easy and intuitive. Big kudos to the Mackie team for adding in this functionality.

You can also wireless link two speakers to act as a stereo pair, and even use the Thump Connect app to change levels, adjust EQ and recall settings with your fingertips. You can even do zone mixing with the app if you’ve got two speakers linked that are perhaps set up in different rooms for an event, and it’s truly a snap to manage.

We were impressed enough with the sheer volume and power these speakers gave us; what really stunned us was the Bluetooth integration and functionality that far surpassed our expectations. With that in place, we think these are the “killer apps” of the affordable loudspeaker world.

PROS: Amazing sound, deep low end, fantastic Bluetooth and app integration.

CONS: Might be overkill for some bands and DJs.

PRICE: $499/each

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