Alto Professional: http://www.altoproaudio.com
Alto Professional sent me a pair of the Truesonic TS115A powered speakers for the Road Test. These speakers became gig savers but more on that in a bit. Let’s look at the specs first.
The Truesonic series comprises lightweight powered and unpowered models. The TS115A is a powered version that utilizes a 15” for the lows, and a 1” neodymium compression driver for the highs. The injection molded cabinet is 26.8” high, 16.9” wide and 15.2” deeps and weighs 39.6 pounds. Stated frequency response is 53 Hz -19 kHz at +/- 3dB. The power rating is listed at 800 Watts peak (670 watts lows + 130 watts highs) or 400 Watts continuous (335 watts lows + 65 watts highs)
Full specs are available here:http://www.altoproaudio.com/downloads/ALTO_TS115A_SPECS_B.pdf
Here is a pic with the grill off:
The boxes are pretty good looking and have a nice steel grill that covers the entire front of the box. I prefer full grills on speaker cabinets as they help protect the box better and look a bit more polished and “corporate” to me. The speakers feature a built in handle pocket on the top, as well as large handles on each side of the box, as well as a pole-socket located on the bottom of the cabinet that uses a clamp to secure the speaker to a pole or stand. The box is also set up with 6 M10 fly points with two on the top, two on the bottom, and two on the rear (more on these later)
Here is the top of the box showing the pocket handle:
Here is a shot of the side of the box:
Here is the bottom of the TS115 showing the pole socket and clamp:
The rear of the box features the inputs and controls. Two input channels are provided and utilize XLR-1/4” combo connectors. There are two gain pots, one for each input located directly above each connector. Next to the input section is a male XLR for Line output. There is a “ground” switch and a “contour” on the right side of the panel, which also features a signal LED as well as a power LED. An IEC power cord socket and power switch are located at the bottom on the back.
Here is the control panel:
Here is a shot of the bottom of the rear, note the recessed area for the eye bolt:
Normally I would take a piece of gear and set it up in my shop and do some testing and get to know how it operates before taking it out on a gig, but this Road Test was more of a trial by fire! Because I work from home for the magazine and website, gear for testing gets delivered to that address and not my company shop. After delivery one Friday, the Truesonic speakers were sitting in my garage waiting for me to take them to my shop on Monday when my neighbor came over and asked me to help him with a problem with his system. Matt, a part time DJ had a gig that night and had set up his system in his garage to test it out before his gigs that weekend and discovered that his powered subwoofer and satellite speakers had issues. After a bit of troubleshooting and scratching our heads it became clear that the amplifiers built into his subwoofer that powered the top speakers was dead.
Matt was going to run to the local music store and get some replacements when I offered him use of the Altos. Straight out of the box one speaker made the long trip next door and we hooked it up to give it a listen. Right away we were both impressed at how nice the cabinets sounded, and how loud they got. We engaged the contour switch to see what it did, and realized immediately that it added a “loudness” curve (AKA Smiley Face EQ), boosting the bottom end, and the highs. The cabinets had enough bass with and without the contour switch engaged that Matt decided to use them without his subwoofer, and just do the gig with the pair of TS115As.
Knowing that some cabinets have different sized stand mount sockets, I set up one of Matts aluminum tripod speaker stands to check that they fit. The side handles on the box made it easy to grab the cabinet and position it on the stand, and I really like the adjustable clamp that allows you to get a secure fit to different sized poles. The top handle to me was less than handy as it just does not seems to fit my hands well, and I’ve since found that it’s uncomfortable to carry the box for a long distance by just the top handle pocket alone. That said, the top handle is very convenient when you have to just grab the box and move it a short distance.
Matt used the boxes on different gigs on Friday and Saturday and reported back to me that they worked out great. They had more than enough volume for the gigs and were easier to move and set up than his three piece system with large bulky subwoofer. Because he does jobs ranging in size from small parties to larger dances, Matt does not need subs at every event, but his old system required him to bring the sub along as it housed the amps for all three speakers. With the TS115s, Matt now had the option to just bring two cabinets along to a smaller gig, and save his back.
Matt was so impressed he asked where to buy them, and wanted to know if he could use them for the next weekend until he could get his own pair!
A few gigs later I got the boxes back, and the next day received a call from my daughter’s choir teacher, who asked if I would be available to operate the school’s portable PA system for the fall choir concert that would be held in the gym. I went over the system with the teacher and decided that the school system would not cover a portion of the audience seated at the far sides of the gym on the bleachers. TS115s to the rescue again! I grabbed the boxes from the garage and placed them on their sides like floor wedges and covered the overflow seating to each side. Being powered cabinets, it was easy to integrate them into the system, and they covered the area with ease.
Shot of the TS115s being used at my daughter's choir concert:
After the concert, I finally had a chance to take the cabinets to my shop and do a little listening. I used a few of the same tracks we played at the WFX loudspeaker demo in Dallas as my source material as I was very familiar with the tracks. With the boxes set flat, they sounded good with a variety of material. With the contour switch engaged, they sounded better on some tracks, but not as good as the flat setting on a few others. If I were doing DJ stuff, and didn’t have subs, I think I would just leave the contour switch engaged.
Next I added a small 15” front loaded sub into the rig. The TS115s played well with the sub, and I thought with a pair of small subs, they would make a great small band or DJ rig. Alto makes some active subwoofers in the Truesonic series that would be great paired up with the TS115s.
Last, I tested the dual inputs. This is one of the best features of the box to me. Instead of just one line input, there are 2 separate inputs with gain pots, and the knobs are labeled “line” on the left side of the range, and “mic” on the right side of the range. So I plugged in a Shure SM58 into one of the inputs and turned up the knob. While no substitute for a mixer with tone controls, it would certainly do in a pinch if you needed to make announcements or had a small speech only gig. Then I plugged an IPod into both inputs and checked that out. That worked well also, and now I am convinced that dual inputs should be standard on all powered speakers!
While at my shop, I wanted to check out the rigging, but didn’t have any M10 eye bolts. I did notice that the top and bottom fly points are very accessible, but the two on the rear would require longer bolts due to the way the cabinet is molded. While not a deal breaker, I found it a bit odd that you would need to have 2 different bolt lengths for one box.
Last week I took the boxes out to a small corporate meeting. Normally I would have used a smaller 10” and horn box, so these were a bit overkill, but they looked good and worked great. With a little EQ I had a great sound with the podium mic as well as a lavalier.
Ability to use a microphone directly into the cabinet
Fantastic Price to Performance ratio! Great bang for your buck
Two sizes of eye bolts may be needed to fly
Top handle pocket not that comfortable