ProSoundWeb Community

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

Pages: [1]   Go Down

Author Topic: RCF NX12SMA 12" Coaxial Stage Monitor  (Read 3100 times)

Luke Geis

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1570
    • Owner of Endever Music Production's
RCF NX12SMA 12" Coaxial Stage Monitor
« on: March 31, 2018, 12:05:01 am »

I am rather shocked that there isn't a full review of this unit yet so I am going to do a review on it. This post will be updated over time, but for now lets just say it is my initial impressions and observations. I have not yet had an opportunity to try them in the real world yet; seeing as how I only got them about 5hrs. ago.

How about a small background. I have been using a set of Renkus Heinz CFX121M's for the past 10 years or so now. If you have not heard of them, well you would not be the only one. I will say that they are a pretty good monitor overall, but not quite what I had always hoped. I found a way to get by with them, but have always wanted a better unit. The plus sides are they are very clean and clear sounding, have a large 2" compression driver and a cast aluminum basket for the woofer. They are definitely not a chumps wedge. So this and my JBL SRX812SP will be what the RCF NX12SMA will be rated against. So here we go.

Opening the box you are met with a readily available handle that has only about a hands width to grab and it is a little off center of the speaker, despite the handle appearing to go the full width of the unit. Not a big deal really. As you go to lift you are surprised by the lightness of the speaker. It weighs in at about 36lbs!!! Very easy to handle. There are only feet on what is supposed to be its bottom side, so you have to set it down gingerly, or grab the pole socket hole to rotate the box as you set it down. This is a minor issue, but if you do any kind of outdoor stuff where the box will be placed on rough surfaces, it will make short order of the paint job. The paint job is a textured paint that looks very nice ( as most do when new ), but like any painted box, will scuff and chip when rough contact is made with it. You have to jump up to the TT series in the RCF lineup to get the Rhino lined stuff. Aesthetically the speaker is very nice looking and the monitor angle is very nice. It is a very low profile speaker and it has a pole socket so you can make dual purpose use out of it.

Speaking of dual purpose, it has two ( count it, 2 ) modes for EQ; Freefield, or Monitor mode. It has a recessed switch to change the input sensitivity between line and mic. There is 1 knob that controls the volume of the box. It has three input / output options with an XLR in / out and a single 1/4" balanced connector. They are all hard wired together and the volume knob does not effect their pass through capabilities. Despite what some may be worrying about with an input sensitivity switch and a volume knob in the control cavity, it would be very difficult to knock them around even when setting up. They are buried pretty good within the control cavity and you would have to be fairly deliberate to make an unexpected change. The volume knob is the only one that could be actually moved or touched.

So you power the beast up and you are met with about the quietest self powered speaker you can imagine. There is very little to no self noise at all. So low that you pretty much have to put your ear to the grill to know for a fact it is on. The input knob does not effect this self noise ( provided nothing is plugged in ). The speakers volume knob appears to act more like a regular attenuation knob, not a unity and then +6db  type style of volume control. Its input sensitivity is +4dbu so you can expect to reach clipping at the input about the time you reach unity gain on most modern mixers. That is par for the course with most powered speakers. They get very loud and even trying to turn things up to see yellow lights, I could not stand the amount of SPL created and still never saw limit lights blinking

How does it sound? As the specs suggest, very linear and flat! It doesn't have a sound per-se, it is simply a very neutral speaker that has the slightest low mid hump that is shown in its specs, so no surprises. Compared to the CFX121M, it definitely wins in terms of smoothness of sound and accuracy. The CFX121M always seemed to have a weird spot in it around the crossover point with a little too much high end and a mid range hump that had a howl like sound to it. The NX12SMA is very much still a full range speaker and it sounds like you would expect a full range speaker to sound. I compared the NX12SMA to my SRX812SP and they are very, very similar in sound. I actually think the RCF sounded a little better in the monitor position to a fault. The RCF had a little more low mid woof to it ( again as shown in the specs ) which could be to its detriment?

When I plugged in a mic and performed a stability test between the CFX121M and the NX12SMA, the CFX was quick to show its weakness around the crossover point ( as is typical anyway ) at about 1.6khz - 2khz. and with a few db more ( than the CFX ) the NX12SMA showed signs of weakness in the upper octave. While stable at the frequencies that count, the NX12SMA liked to run nearer the 10khz mark with the mic I used ( an Audio Technica ATM510 ). I could get the NX12SMA to feedback at the 2khz mark by cupping it and forcing the issue, but otherwise it was a little more stable. These two speakers are spec for spec, nearly identical. The CFX121M is rated for 1000 watts peak and 70hz to 18khz +/-3db and has a peak SPL of 128db. As far as I can tell, it is not far off from that. The NX12SMA is only rated for 1db more peak SPL and a +/-3db range between 50hz and 20khz. They also have relatively similar peak power ratings. As you can imagine I had some expectations of the NX12SMA considering the specs and the marketing. I never intend to use my SRX's for monitors so their specs are not really of interest to me for comparison other than for sonic impressions. I never really had issues with the CFX121M's in terms of overall SPL, but they would only get so far and their stability didn't get better and they didn't sound ( or couldn't be made to sound ) appreciably good when they were loud. I.E they did great until they didn't have any more to give. You either got loud, or you got quiet with a somewhat nicer quality of sound. My hope is that the NX12SMA's will provide a better quality of sound while also maintaining a few db more in stability. So far it seems the case? I still have to run them through a show to see. That is the initial impression so far.

I took a few moments to day to run pink noise and an rta to see what it looked like at different locations. This thing is definitely set up to be used in the monitor position and with the monitor EQ mode selected it really is linear.  When you are on axis a couple feet back of the wedge ( literally on direct axis to teh face of teh speaker ) there is an evident bump in the high frequencies between about 8khz to 12khz. This is where I was seeing issues with my stability test. However when you scoot in closer to the wedge so you are tucked right up to it, the frequncy response flattens out to almost a board flat, linear response! So while the freefield EQ shows a slight low end hump, the monitor EQ mode seems to flatten that out considerably.

I had a chance this last weekend to get some real world use and opinions of the RCF NX12SMA! The verdict is easy. The NX12SMA is a winner. I had three singers and two of them were on the NX12SMA's and they could tell who had what. The interesting thing is that I was able to use a lower mix level with them than previously with the RH units with the same singers. The singers said that they were simply clearer sounding and natural. The fullness that I was worried about did not seem to be a problem after all. I rolled off stuff below about 100hz anyway to save some headroom and that was it. No other EQ was required and the singers asked for less monitor than they ever had before! I can't wait to round out the rest of my inventory with these. Another positive is that these have a really small footprint. They are very low profile and they are so happy to just cruise along for you.

Take care everyone and have a nice day. I will report back again later.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2018, 05:22:23 pm by Luke Geis »
Logged
I don't understand how you can't hear your self

Caleb Dueck

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 839
Re: RCF NX12SMA 12" Coaxial Stage Monitor
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2018, 08:04:07 am »

I am rather shocked that there isn't a full review of this unit yet so I am going to do a review on it. This post will be updated over time, but for now lets just say it is my initial impressions and observations. I have not yet had an opportunity to try them in the real world yet; seeing as how I only got them about 5hrs. ago.

How about a small background. I have been using a set of Renkus Heinz CFX121M's for the past 10 years or so now. If you have not heard of them, well you would not be the only one. I will say that they are a pretty good monitor overall, but not quite what I had always hoped. I found a way to get by with them, but have always wanted a better unit. The plus sides are they are very clean and clear sounding, have a large 2" compression driver and a cast aluminum basket for the woofer. They are definitely not a chumps wedge. So this and my JBL SRX812SP will be what the RCF NX12SMA will be rated against. So here we go.

Opening the box you are met with a readily available handle that has only about a hands width to grab and it is a little off center of the speaker, despite the handle appearing to go the full width of the unit. Not a big deal really. As you go to lift you are surprised by the lightness of the speaker. It weighs in at about 36lbs!!! Very easy to handle. There are only feet on what is supposed to be its bottom side, so you have to set it down gingerly, or grab the pole socket hole to rotate the box as you set it down. This is a minor issue, but if you do any kind of outdoor stuff where the box will be placed on rough surfaces, it will make short order of the paint job. The paint job is a textured paint that looks very nice ( as most do when new ), but like any painted box, will scuff and chip when rough contact is made with it. You have to jump up to the TT series in the RCF lineup to get the Rhino lined stuff. Aesthetically the speaker is very nice looking and the monitor angle is very nice. It is a very low profile speaker and it has a pole socket so you can make dual purpose use out of it.

Speaking of dual purpose, it has two ( count it, 2 ) modes for EQ; Freefield, or Monitor mode. It has a recessed switch to change the input sensitivity between line and mic. There is 1 knob that controls the volume of the box. It has three input / output options with an XLR in / out and a single 1/4" balanced connector. They are all hard wired together and the volume knob does not effect their pass through capabilities. Despite what some may be worrying about with an input sensitivity switch and a volume knob in the control cavity, it would be very difficult to knock them around even when setting up. They are buried pretty good within the control cavity and you would have to be fairly deliberate to make an unexpected change. The volume knob is the only one that could be actually moved or touched.

So you power the beast up and you are met with about the quietest self powered speaker you can imagine. There is very little to no self noise at all. So low that you pretty much have to put your ear to the grill to know for a fact it is on. The input knob does not effect this self noise ( provided nothing is plugged in ). The speakers volume knob appears to act more like a regular attenuation knob, not a unity and then +6db  type style of volume control. Its input sensitivity is +4dbu so you can expect to reach clipping at the input about the time you reach unity gain on most modern mixers. That is par for the course with most powered speakers. They get very loud and even trying to turn things up to see yellow lights, I could not stand the amount of SPL created and still never saw limit lights blinking

How does it sound? As the specs suggest, very linear and flat! It doesn't have a sound per-se, it is simply a very neutral speaker that has the slightest low mid hump that is shown in its specs, so no surprises. Compared to the CFX121M, it definitely wins in terms of smoothness of sound and accuracy. The CFX121M always seemed to have a weird spot in it around the crossover point with a little too much high end and a mid range hump that had a howl like sound to it. The NX12SMA is very much still a full range speaker and it sounds like you would expect a full range speaker to sound. I compared the NX12SMA to my SRX812SP and they are very, very similar in sound. I actually think the RCF sounded a little better in the monitor position to a fault. The RCF had a little more low mid woof to it ( again as shown in the specs ) which could be to its detriment?

When I plugged in a mic and performed a stability test between the CFX121M and the NX12SMA, the CFX was quick to show its weakness around the crossover point ( as is typical anyway ) at about 1.6khz - 2khz. and with a few db more ( the the CFX ) the NX12SMA showed signs of weakness in the upper octave. While stable at the frequencies that count, the NX12SMA liked to run nearer the 10khz mark with the mic I used ( an Audio Technica ATM510 ). I could get the NX12SMA to feedback at the 2khz mark by cupping it and forcing the issue, but otherwise it was a little more stable. These two speakers are spec for spec, nearly identical. The CFX121M is rated for 1000 watts peak and 70hz to 18khz +/-3db and has a peak SPL of 128db. As far as I can tell, it is not far off from that. The NX12SMA is only rated for 1db more peak SPL and a +/-3db range between 50hz and 20khz. They also have relatively similar peak power ratings. As you can imagine I had some expectations of the NX12SMA considering the specs and the marketing. I never intend to use my SRX's for monitors so their specs are not really of interest to me for comparison other than for sonic impressions. I never really had issues with the CFX121M's in terms of overall SPL, but they would only get so far and their stability didn't get better and they didn't sound ( or couldn't be made to sound ) appreciably good when they were loud. I.E they did great until they didn't have any more to give. You either got loud, or you got quiet with a somewhat nicer quality of sound. My hope is that the NX12SMA's will provide a better quality of sound while also maintaining a few db more in stability. So far it seems the case? I still have to run them through a show to see. That is the initial impression so far.

I took a few moments to day to run pink noise and an rta to see what it looked like at different locations. This thing is definitely set up to be used in the monitor position and with the monitor EQ mode selected it really is linear.  When you are on axis a couple feet back of the wedge ( literally on direct axis to teh face of teh speaker ) there is an evident bump in the high frequencies between about 8khz to 12khz. This is where I was seeing issues with my stability test. However when you scoot in closer to the wedge so you are tucked right up to it, the frequncy response flattens out to almost a board flat, linear response! So while the freefield EQ shows a slight low end hump, the monitor EQ mode seems to flatten that out considerably.

Take care everyone and have a nice day. I will report back again later.
I listened to these recently, pretty nice.  That 8-12kHz "sizzle" was a bit strong, but otherwise nothing jumped out in a bad way.  Plenty of stable SPL with a B58 and a pair of wedges. 

Sent from my VS980 4G using Tapatalk

Logged
Experience is something you get right after you need it.

Dave Garoutte

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1282
  • San Rafael, CA
Re: RCF NX12SMA 12" Coaxial Stage Monitor
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2018, 01:03:14 pm »

I recently got an NX10SMA to try out (thanks Mr Pyle).
We did an impromptu test on a small stage between the RCF, QSC k12 and Yamaha DXR10.
The three of us listening all agreed that the RCF was the best monitor of the three.  A bit more articulate.  Perhaps a little lacking in lows for non monitor use, but it is a 10 after all.
It's also a very pro looking enclosure.
I'll be getting another 10 for vocals and probably a couple of 12s to use for guitar and keys.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2018, 04:37:08 pm by Dave Garoutte »
Logged
Nothing can be made idiot-proof; only idiot resistant.

Events.  Stage, PA, Lighting and Backline rentals.
Chauvet dealer.
Inventor.

Dave Garoutte

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1282
  • San Rafael, CA
Re: RCF NX12SMA 12" Coaxial Stage Monitor
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2018, 04:29:21 pm »

I just got a 12" to try.
I did a crude side by side with my 10" playing various tracks.
VERY similar sounding between the 10 and 12.
I would say the 12 was a tiny bit smoother and fuller sounding.
Also, I thought the 12 has a slightly larger sweet spot, both side to side and front to back.
They both get louder than I would ever want.
These two will definitely play well together, plus they have the same profile (the 12" is 4" wider), so they look right together.

We'll try them at the open mic next week and I'll edit this.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2018, 04:34:25 pm by Dave Garoutte »
Logged
Nothing can be made idiot-proof; only idiot resistant.

Events.  Stage, PA, Lighting and Backline rentals.
Chauvet dealer.
Inventor.

Robert Lunceford

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 294
Re: RCF NX12SMA 12" Coaxial Stage Monitor
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2018, 02:45:20 am »

I just got a 12" to try.
I did a crude side by side with my 10" playing various tracks.
VERY similar sounding between the 10 and 12.
I would say the 12 was a tiny bit smoother and fuller sounding.
Also, I thought the 12 has a slightly larger sweet spot, both side to side and front to back.
They both get louder than I would ever want.
These two will definitely play well together, plus they have the same profile (the 12" is 4" wider), so they look right together.

We'll try them at the open mic next week and I'll edit this.

Hi Dave,
Where and when is your open mic?
Iím in Sebastopol, not too far up the road.
Iíve been using FBT Verve12ma for quite a few years. They are another Italian 12Ē coax active monitor.

Robert
Logged

Dave Garoutte

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1282
  • San Rafael, CA
Re: RCF NX12SMA 12" Coaxial Stage Monitor
« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2018, 05:01:32 pm »

Hopmonk Novato on Wednesday evening.
We will play with them before or after.  Possibly during.
Logged
Nothing can be made idiot-proof; only idiot resistant.

Events.  Stage, PA, Lighting and Backline rentals.
Chauvet dealer.
Inventor.

Dave Garoutte

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1282
  • San Rafael, CA
Re: RCF NX12SMA 12" Coaxial Stage Monitor
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2018, 04:31:19 pm »

Did our mini shootout between the RCF nx10sma and RCF nx12sma last night.
We ran live vocals and guitar through them, both together and separately, as well as house music.
My initial impressions were borne out.

I actually thought the difference between them was slightly more apparent than in my tiny studio.
While we all liked these monitors a lot, interestingly enough, we ended up with three slightly different opinions;

I preferred the 12", as it is slightly fuller and smoother to my ears. 

The singer-guitarist who runs the open mic preferred the 10" as he felt it had a little more pattern control and he liked the slightly reduced lows, helping to keep the vocals clear.

The in-house sound guy could tell the difference, but wanted the 15" version, because everybody is always asking for kick and bass in the monitors.

Thanks for listening.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2018, 08:41:30 pm by Dave Garoutte »
Logged
Nothing can be made idiot-proof; only idiot resistant.

Events.  Stage, PA, Lighting and Backline rentals.
Chauvet dealer.
Inventor.
Pages: [1]   Go Up
 


Page created in 0.076 seconds with 23 queries.