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Title: Mackie HD1531 & HD1801
Post by: Evan Kirkendall on September 29, 2010, 02:40:32 pm
 Well, as some of you guys know, I picked up a "small" self powered PA to handle my local shows. My goals with this system were easy ins & outs, lightweight, loud and good sounding.

I explored many options. Everything Guitar Center carried, some recommendations here from the LAB and even some older powered stuff no longer in production. The Mackie HD series caught my eye early on, and I was skeptical at best. Mackie hasn't had the best track record, and their powered speakers seemed to have fallen behind the times.

I had a solid day of demoing gear at Guitar Center. We used my tracks to listen to with nothing in line other then a Mackie Onyx. I listened to the JBL and QSC offerings, as well as a few other powered boxes. The Mackie was the only powered speaker at Guitar Center that wasn't a toy. I also listened to the EV ZX5a, and RCF offerings. Neither impressed me.

So, I settled for a small Mackie rig of 2 HD1531 tops, and 2 HD1801 subs.

The form factor of the cabs are great. The HD1531 is way smaller then the QSC and JBL boxes, and looks a lot more "pro." The HD1801 sub is a cube, and easy enough to move. I can get the HD1531 & 1801 into my truck alone, but I need another person to get the tops on a pole. Build quality is top notch too. They're made from real wood, and have a tough finish on them. They've got a bunch of fly points as well.

So, let's get on to the testing. First, some SMAART traces I took today. It should be noted that all measurements were in the ground plane.

HD1531:
http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e194/HarfordSound/HD1531.png

The Orange trace is with the EQ in the flat position. The blue track was with the hi-shelf on the box turned to +3.

HD1801:
http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e194/HarfordSound/HD1801.png

Full system:
http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e194/HarfordSound/fullrange.png

I didn't really care too much about the full range response, but rather how the boxes played together at the crossover point. The green trace is with both boxes running full range. There was a noticeable dip at 160hz, as well as the overall "fullness" of the LF. But, when the top was high passed via the 1801's output, things smoothed way out and sounded much better(purple).



Alright, so how's it sound? Unfortunately, due to poor weather today, I had to move indoors to do my listening tests. I took 2 subs, 1 top and fired up the system. First, I just wanted to hear how the boxes sounded. No EQ, straight from my console to the speakers. I played some familiar tracks and right away the 200hz bump SMAART showed me was noticeable. No problem, I took the mid sweepable EQ on the back of the box, and cut it 3dB. Problem gone! I also took the high shelf and turned it to +3dB for some extra sparkle. It should be noted that the EQ on these boxes is DSP based!

So basic listening after a little EQ, here's my notes on the tops:
-Very smooth sounding cabinets.
-Nice crisp top end, but not overbearing
-Detailed midrange, smooth, not honky at all.
-Solid low mids.

Overall, they're very nice sounding cabinets. I decided to push them up to limit to see how they reacted. First, I ran some pink noise until the limit light started to flash. As advertised, they will do 126dBC @ 1m. So, I grabbed some more test tracks, and cranked it up. I was expecting a red light after the yellow light, but I could not find one. Even so, they stayed very clean, and controlled all the way into solid limit. You can hear the limiters doing their job, but it's not bad sounding at all. Much much better then some other self powered boxes in the same price range.

Sub wise, Mackie finally learned how to build a sub. It packs a lot of punch for it's small size. Plenty of low extension, and a solid thump. They get loud, and stay clean all the way up to limit. If you try to push in the 35-40hz range you hit limit a lot faster and you can hear the drivers getting a little sloppy. But, other then that, they are very solid. Even into solid limit, they do not bottom out and they stay clean. I can hear some of the low lows go away as you push them harder, but it's not bad at all. For a single 18 self powered box under $1,000, you'll be hard pressed to find something better. You'll want 2 subs per 1 HD1531 though if you like a lot of LF like me.

I was originally planing to drive the system with a DSP and do my EQ & HPF/LPF's in it, but after playing with the system today, I decided that all I need is a graphic EQ at FOH for some minor tweaks during the show. Everything else is already done for me.  

Overall, you'll be hard pressed to find something better for the money. I bought 2 subs and 2 tops for well under $4,000, and everything was brand new in the box. These make all other self powered speakers in this price range look like toys. I would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone. Mackie finally got their shit together and came out with a great box, thanks to EAW.

I'm going to be putting these guys through their paces over the coming weeks, and I will report back.



Evan
Title: Re: Mackie HD1531 & HD1801
Post by: Michael J Brown on September 29, 2010, 03:34:54 pm
Cool review!

Always awesome to hear people being more than pleasantly surprised by their purchases! If we could always be so lucky!

To be honest I have always liked the Mackie active line starting with the 450's.... The first rental/production company I worked for really embraced them when they first came to market (and the rest of the Mackie active line) and made an absolute KILLING with them because the cost is low, easy to setup and use, and the sound is at minimum DECENT if not above expectations.

I know its the cool thing to do sometimes to bash on Mackie, but they do make a nice product all things considered.

All their pieces have exceeded my expectations (sometimes with a little nudge by some processing) for the cost.

Title: Re: Mackie HD1531 & HD1801
Post by: Loren Jones on September 29, 2010, 03:47:44 pm
Hey Evan,

Thanks for the nice review.  I have had my eye on these tops for our church youth system.  I think from reading the forums that you have experience with with Yorkville U15's.  Any thoughts on how the sound of these Mackies compares to the U15(P)?

Enjoy your new rig.

Loren Jones
Title: Re: Mackie HD1531 & HD1801
Post by: Pat Latimer on September 29, 2010, 11:28:32 pm
Great review, Evan. I'm looking forward to you putting them through the, "Evan Torture Test". Cool  I'm up in the air between this package and the new QSC KW series package. Let us know ASAP after your gigs. Thanks for the review.

Pat


Title: Re: Mackie HD1531 & HD1801
Post by: Jeff Babcock on September 30, 2010, 09:35:15 am
The phase response of the HD1531 clearly shows Gunness Focusing in effect.  It doesn't get any better than that.  I was expecting the Mackie might be crippled in some way compared to EAW's offerings relating to the Focusing and limiting, but it doesn't look like many corners have been cut here.

I think I'm going to pick a pair up.  Nice to hear that the sub is improved too.  Their previous 18" sub was junk.  Nice transition at the crossover from sub to top too.
Title: Re: Mackie HD1531 & HD1801
Post by: Reggie Kendrick on September 30, 2010, 10:03:18 am
Nice review and very insightful... thanx. I think some sort of truck-type bedliner coating would be better than the 'durable' paint but that's my only qualm with the Mackie HD1531.  I thought they sounded great as well.
Title: Re: Mackie HD1531 & HD1801
Post by: Evan Kirkendall on September 30, 2010, 10:11:44 am
Jeff Babcock wrote on Thu, 30 September 2010 09:35

The phase response of the HD1531 clearly shows Gunness Focusing in effect.  It doesn't get any better than that.  I was expecting the Mackie might be crippled in some way compared to EAW's offerings relating to the Focusing and limiting, but it doesn't look like many corners have been cut here.



Yup, there really seems to be no corners cut with these boxes.

Just to really show you how good these boxes measure, here is the HD1531 again, but with no smoothing turned on:

index.php/fa/32795/0/

No smoothing, and they're still pretty flat! If you were to measure many other speakers with no smoothing, they'd look like shit!



Evan
Title: Re: Mackie HD1531 & HD1801
Post by: Silas Pradetto on September 30, 2010, 10:15:11 am
And there is less than 360 degrees of phase shift from about 100 to 16k. Impressive.
Title: Re: Mackie HD1531 & HD1801
Post by: Art Welter on September 30, 2010, 05:02:29 pm
Evan,

Did you get a chance to compare the 1521 and 1531 side by side?

The remarkable phase and  magnitude response of the HD 1521 was very impressive to me, it actually looks a bit smoother than the HD 1531, surprising for a two-way speaker.
IIRC, the top end was boosted  just a bit on the built in EQ to make it more flat for these screen shots.
index.php/fa/32799/0/
Having done the testing before listening, I thought the processing needed to effect such a smooth response might somehow sound artificial, but listening revealed an excellent, accurate sound quality.

At the time I did my comparison, I was not aware the HD 1521 was using Gunness Focusing, but listening results confirm the pretty pictures, the process really works.

Art Welter
Title: Re: Mackie HD1531 & HD1801
Post by: Jeff Babcock on September 30, 2010, 05:11:06 pm
That's extremely impressive to see it look that good with smoothing turned off.  I still find it amazing every time to see real world measurements that show how flat phase response is once Gunness Focusing has done its job.  



Quote:

 I was originally planing to drive the system with a DSP and do my EQ & HPF/LPF's in it, but after playing with the system today, I decided that all I need is a graphic EQ at FOH for some minor tweaks during the show. Everything else is already done for me.


Seeing nice alignment between subs and tops is a huge time saver.  Perfect.

I bit the bullet and am picking up the same 2 over 2 rig that Evan bought - for small gigs.  I'm in transition mode with most of my rigs right now, rethinking what gear works to cover the most ground and reduce setup time.  I think this will be a good start and should cover a lot of smaller stuff really well.

Thanks for the info Evan, your insight along with Dave Dermont and a few others has been a big help for me to make an informed decision.
Title: Re: Mackie HD1531 & HD1801
Post by: Bob Kenton on October 01, 2010, 01:08:41 am
Thanks Evan! Looks like Mackie has really turned things around. Im really curious to hear the Line array boxes now as well as the new 1221 monitor.
Title: Re: Mackie HD1531 & HD1801
Post by: Don Lind on October 01, 2010, 12:11:26 pm
The machie sales rep and factory demoed the new stuff for me .

They agreed this is not a line array.

I did order a half dozen of the small boxes to replace the JBLs I had with that awful gate in them
Title: Re: Mackie HD1531 & HD1801
Post by: Evan Kirkendall on October 13, 2010, 05:43:38 pm
I was overwhelmed with the urge to rip into these Mackie's today, so here you have it.

First, is the HD1531:

http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e194/HarfordSound/IMG_1243.jpg

Mackie did a good job packing a lot into a little space.

http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e194/HarfordSound/IMG_1248.jpg
http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e194/HarfordSound/IMG_1251.jpg

I pulled the 15 out, and was surprised to see the amp in a completely different chamber than the drivers. Cool design feature. Lots of bracing inside. The mid range driver was in a sealed chamber, separate from the rest of the drivers. All of the drivers were neo. I didn't want to rip into the MF/HF section, as it just seemed like too much work for today. Maybe next time!

http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e194/HarfordSound/IMG_1244.jpg
http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e194/HarfordSound/IMG_1246.jpg

The 15" was a nice lightweight neo driver. No idea who makes it though.


And, the HD1801:

http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e194/HarfordSound/IMG_1254.jpg

http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e194/HarfordSound/IMG_1255.jpg

http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e194/HarfordSound/IMG_1258.jpg

http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e194/HarfordSound/IMG_1262.jpg

The 18" was not a neo driver though. It was a heavy sucker, probably half the weight of the cab! Again, a nice build with plenty of bracing inside. Much smaller port then I was expecting though.



Evan
Title: Re: Mackie HD1531 & HD1801
Post by: Douglas R. Allen on October 13, 2010, 07:10:59 pm
Looking at the sub box empty. Is that the pole mount that goes quite aways into the box. Looks to be 6/8 inches into the box?

Thanks

Douglas R. Allen
Title: Re: Mackie HD1531 & HD1801
Post by: Evan Kirkendall on October 13, 2010, 07:25:48 pm
Douglas R. Allen wrote on Wed, 13 October 2010 19:10

Looking at the sub box empty. Is that the pole mount that goes quite aways into the box. Looks to be 6/8 inches into the box?

Thanks

Douglas R. Allen


Yep, it's the pole mount.


Evan
Title: Re: Mackie HD1531 & HD1801
Post by: Adam Kane on October 13, 2010, 11:50:36 pm
That 18" looks like some P. Audio woofers I've run across in the past...

I didn't spend much time on it, but a few minutes of looking at neo woofer baskets didn't turn up anything that looked quite like that...
Title: Re: Mackie HD1531 & HD1801
Post by: Reggie Kendrick on October 15, 2010, 09:51:47 am
Evan Kirkendall wrote on Wed, 13 October 2010 19:25

Douglas R. Allen wrote on Wed, 13 October 2010 19:10

Looking at the sub box empty. Is that the pole mount that goes quite aways into the box. Looks to be 6/8 inches into the box?

Thanks

Douglas R. Allen


Yep, it's the pole mount.


Evan

Evan,

Let us know how this box performs at some of your future gigs.  I've read that for a couple of people, the top-hat pole cups have busted allowing the pole shaft to go completely through the flange.   Shocked
Title: Re: Mackie HD1531 & HD1801
Post by: Justin Stern on October 16, 2010, 10:38:26 pm
Evan,

How would you compare these subs to the ls801p's/808, ls608, ucs1p?

Title: Re: Mackie HD1531 & HD1801
Post by: Evan Kirkendall on October 17, 2010, 11:44:39 am
Justin Stern wrote on Sat, 16 October 2010 22:38

Evan,

How would you compare these subs to the ls801p's/808, ls608, ucs1p?




Sounds better then the LS-08 subs, around the same output. UCS1 seems to go a little lower at high volumes, but still maxes out around the same as an HD1801.



Evan
Title: Re: Mackie HD1531 & HD1801
Post by: Justin Stern on October 17, 2010, 11:30:18 pm
Thanks for responding about the subs.

Are the tops comparable to SQ of the Yorkville Unity or EV QRX212?

Since I know you have owned both, do they also get as loud?

It seems Mackie has a real winner here, and for the price, it is excellent.

What RCF's did you compare when shopping?  Just curious.

Title: Re: Mackie HD1531 & HD1801
Post by: Justin Stern on October 24, 2010, 02:51:37 am
BUMP.....
Title: Re: Mackie HD1531 & HD1801
Post by: Mike Pyle on October 24, 2010, 02:08:13 pm
Justin Stern wrote on Sat, 23 October 2010 23:51

BUMP.....


We don't do that here.
Title: Re: Mackie HD1531 & HD1801
Post by: Richard Stringer on October 24, 2010, 03:17:24 pm
Justin Stern wrote on Sun, 17 October 2010 22:30

Thanks for responding about the subs.

Are the tops comparable to SQ of the Yorkville Unity or EV QRX212?

Since I know you have owned both, do they also get as loud?

It seems Mackie has a real winner here, and for the price, it is excellent.

What RCF's did you compare when shopping?  Just curious.




I wanted a pair myself but i've been hearing a lot of bad things about drivers failing and various other problems from people. By the way, Mike, what does BUMP mean anyway? I've never actually asked what it means.
Title: Re: Mackie HD1531 & HD1801
Post by: Adam Whetham on October 26, 2010, 01:04:48 pm
Richard Stringer wrote on Sun, 24 October 2010 14:17

By the way, Mike, what does BUMP mean anyway? I've never actually asked what it means.


it was a turn of the century internet forum move that would make the thread in question "Bump" to the top of the list in the hopes that it would bring attention to the thread, which is obsolete now days with the advent of Private Messages, and other new forum software options.


You will still see it happen in the Marketplace sub forum for unsold items.
Title: Re: Mackie HD1531 & HD1801
Post by: Richard Stringer on October 26, 2010, 02:32:47 pm
Adam Whetham wrote on Tue, 26 October 2010 12:04

Richard Stringer wrote on Sun, 24 October 2010 14:17

By the way, Mike, what does BUMP mean anyway? I've never actually asked what it means.


it was a turn of the century internet forum move that would make the thread in question "Bump" to the top of the list in the hopes that it would bring attention to the thread, which is obsolete now days with the advent of Private Messages, and other new forum software options.


You will still see it happen in the Marketplace sub forum for unsold items.


Ah ok, thanks for schooling me on that.
Title: Re: Mackie HD1531 & HD1801
Post by: Jeff Babcock on October 26, 2010, 04:18:02 pm
Justin Stern wrote on Sun, 17 October 2010 23:30

Thanks for responding about the subs.

Are the tops comparable to SQ of the Yorkville Unity or EV QRX212?

Since I know you have owned both, do they also get as loud?

It seems Mackie has a real winner here, and for the price, it is excellent.

What RCF's did you compare when shopping?  Just curious.




Hi Justin,
I cannot comment vs the QRX212, however IMHO the HD1531 sounds considerably better than the U15.  I have not pushed either the U15 or HD1531 to their limits, but the Mackie gets very loud for what it is.  Keep in mind the different patterns of these speakers.

In my opinion it is a really excellent sounding speaker at that price point (and even against higher price points for that matter) if the coverage and output are suitable for your application.  

Keep in mind that opinions vary, but I'm a fan.
Title: Re: Mackie HD1531 & HD1801
Post by: Justin Stern on October 26, 2010, 06:42:57 pm
Wow, that is really good to hear.  I have heard the U15 at reasonable levels and it sounded very clean, very hi-fi soundin so the Mackie is event better... that is great!

Jeff Babcock wrote on Tue, 26 October 2010 15:18

Justin Stern wrote on Sun, 17 October 2010 23:30

Thanks for responding about the subs.

Are the tops comparable to SQ of the Yorkville Unity or EV QRX212?

Since I know you have owned both, do they also get as loud?

It seems Mackie has a real winner here, and for the price, it is excellent.

What RCF's did you compare when shopping?  Just curious.




Hi Justin,
I cannot comment vs the QRX212, however IMHO the HD1531 sounds considerably better than the U15.  I have not pushed either the U15 or HD1531 to their limits, but the Mackie gets very loud for what it is.  Keep in mind the different patterns of these speakers.

In my opinion it is a really excellent sounding speaker at that price point (and even against higher price points for that matter) if the coverage and output are suitable for your application.  

Keep in mind that opinions vary, but I'm a fan.


Title: Re: Mackie HD1531 & HD1801
Post by: Phil Lewandowski on October 26, 2010, 10:37:18 pm
I have heard that there have been a couple reports of failures in the HD series already. Does anyone know of these reports and if they are true what has been failing?


Thanks
Title: Re: Mackie HD1531 & HD1801
Post by: Jeff Babcock on October 27, 2010, 09:28:45 am
Phil Lewandowski wrote on Tue, 26 October 2010 22:37

I have heard that there have been a couple reports of failures in the HD series already. Does anyone know of these reports and if they are true what has been failing?

Thanks


When mine arrived, one unit would randomly go into limit/thermal frequently even with no input.

Re-seating several of the connectors on the boards inside the amp module solved this.

I suspect it must have had a rough ride during shipping.

The only failures I came across were from a DJ who admittedly ran the input gain wide open and who most likely gave them a beating.
Title: Re: Mackie HD1531 & HD1801
Post by: Evan Kirkendall on October 27, 2010, 06:04:23 pm
Phil Lewandowski wrote on Tue, 26 October 2010 22:37

I have heard that there have been a couple reports of failures in the HD series already. Does anyone know of these reports and if they are true what has been failing?


Thanks



I've heard of DJ's killing the HF in the HD boxes, but otherwise, nothing major. There were a few amp issues early on, but Mackie seems to have taken care of those.

As far as HD1531 vs U15 vs QRX212, I'd rate them like this:

QRx212
HD1531
U15

The QRX has the largest horn, and stays the cleanest at high volumes. It also gets a good bit louder then both the Mackie and Yorkville. It takes some EQ to smooth out though. The Mackie needed the least amout of EQ.

More soon.


Evan
Title: Re: Mackie HD1531 & HD1801
Post by: Justin Childers on October 27, 2010, 08:02:00 pm
I recently had a chance to do a show for Evan with his new Mackie HD 1531s and 1801s. Have to say, for only 2 18” drivers, the subs really didn’t disappoint. I was pushing them a little, but I still had enough low end for the room which was about a 300 cap. The tops were little bigger than I’m used to and needed two people to get them on the sticks, however that’s the only beef I had with them. That and I wish there were halfway stops on the output and eq knobs.

They looked awesome and got plenty loud with no feedback issues through the entire show. Didn’t need to use too much eq. I had a 2 db cut at 2.5k and cut 3db at 4k and 190hz. I split the subs between the stage. Probably would have gotten some more balls out of it if I stacked them, but I liked how they looked split and was curious how loud they would be.

It was a basic local rock show with loud drums and guitars. The vocals really cut and sounded sweet through the mix with plenty of headroom. By the second band, I had the rig cranking and was barely hitting the limit on the tops. Hitting limit on the subs a little more, but still sounded plenty beefy. Evan’s getting a couple more which will really round out the system.

Unfortunately, there was no budget for a helper on this show so I thought unloading would be a bitch, but even at midnight, unloading the rig from the truck by myself wasn’t bad at all. Being someone with about a 2” bicep, I generally can’t unload a full rig alone, but it was a snap. Not unloading a heavy amp case was a big plus.

Overall, I think this rig is awesome for any small-midsized show. Crisp, tight highs, deep powerful lows, and smooth mids. Great addition to the Harford Sound arsenal.

--Justin
Title: Re: Mackie HD1531 & HD1801
Post by: Steve Sagerson on October 27, 2010, 09:23:57 pm
Quote:

I listened to the JBL and QSC offerings, as well as a few other powered boxes. The Mackie was the only powered speaker at Guitar Center that wasn't a toy.


Evan, per you comment you obviously didn't feel the same love for the comparable speakers from JBL and QSC's.  I assume you were listening to the new PRX600 series and QSC KW's?  If so what didn't you like about the other two brands?  I'm actually hearing good things so far about the new PRX's but almost no reviews on the KW's.

I'll be getting some new powered tops soon so I'm curious.

Steve
Title: Re: Mackie HD1531 & HD1801
Post by: Jeff Babcock on October 28, 2010, 09:59:30 am
Justin Childers wrote on Wed, 27 October 2010 20:02

The tops were little bigger than I’m used to and needed two people to get them on the sticks
--Justin


Lay the cab face down and insert the speaker stand into the pole cup while it is laying on the ground.  (legs of tripod already expanded)  Then grab the cab and simply walk it and the stand to an upright position.  

Just make sure that the floor is not such that it would allow the tripod feet to slide.  Move slowly and you'll have no problem.

Use the same process to take it down.
Title: Re: Mackie HD1531 & HD1801
Post by: Jordan Wolf on October 28, 2010, 02:32:28 pm
Jeff Babcock wrote on Thu, 28 October 2010 09:59

Justin Childers wrote on Wed, 27 October 2010 20:02

The tops were little bigger than I’m used to and needed two people to get them on the sticks
--Justin


Lay the cab face down and insert the speaker stand into the pole cup while it is laying on the ground.  (legs of tripod already expanded)  Then grab the cab and simply walk it and the stand to an upright position.  

Just make sure that the floor is not such that it would allow the tripod feet to slide.  Move slowly and you'll have no problem.

Use the same process to take it down.

+1 That's how I do it.
Title: Re: Mackie HD1531 & HD1801
Post by: Justin Childers on October 28, 2010, 02:37:09 pm
Yeah I prolly would have had to had there not have been someone standing around. Pretty slippery floor tho. Maybe would need to do it against a wall.

--Justin
Title: Re: Mackie HD1531 & HD1801
Post by: Evan Kirkendall on October 28, 2010, 03:07:36 pm
Steve Sagerson wrote on Wed, 27 October 2010 21:23

Quote:

I listened to the JBL and QSC offerings, as well as a few other powered boxes. The Mackie was the only powered speaker at Guitar Center that wasn't a toy.


Evan, per you comment you obviously didn't feel the same love for the comparable speakers from JBL and QSC's.  I assume you were listening to the new PRX600 series and QSC KW's?  If so what didn't you like about the other two brands?  I'm actually hearing good things so far about the new PRX's but almost no reviews on the KW's.

I'll be getting some new powered tops soon so I'm curious.

Steve



I was only able to compare the PRX500 and QSC HPR stuff. I did hear the 2 way PRX600, but not the 3 way. The Mackie box was smaller then the QSC offering, sounded better and got louder. The JBL just sounded like shit to my ears.



Evan
Title: Re: Mackie HD1531 & HD1801
Post by: Phil Lewandowski on October 28, 2010, 04:25:27 pm
Justin Childers wrote on Thu, 28 October 2010 14:37

Yeah I prolly would have had to had there not have been someone standing around. Pretty slippery floor tho. Maybe would need to do it against a wall.

--Justin



I actually have used this trick with my U15's for several years now and using the Ultimate TS-90 speaker stands have never had a floor were the stand slipped as I pushed up the stand and speaker.

Probably has a good amount to do with the stand as well though, but it worked very well when putting up a speaker that weighted almost 75% as much as I do.


Take Care,
Phil
Title: Re: Mackie HD1531 & HD1801
Post by: Richard Stringer on October 30, 2010, 06:38:37 am
I'd love a pair of the Mackie HD1531 cabs for use as dj monitors but i'm turned off by the frankly horrendous amount of reports of their drivers breaking down, amplifiers breaking down etc...My friend has just a pair here in the uk and after 5 days he used them at a gig and one of the compression drivers failed in one of them and then yesterday the other one stopped working and although it turns on there's no sound coming through it. We here in the uk have 1 month to return a faulty product so the word was today from him that he's having them picked up by the shop and exchanged for JBL PRx635 cabs instead.

I've read a lot of things also about people waiting weeks and weeks for parts and a few of them waiting more than a month for parts when supposedly Loud Technologies definately have the parts in stock.
Title: Re: Mackie HD1531 & HD1801
Post by: Phil Lewandowski on October 30, 2010, 10:46:59 am
Richard Stringer wrote on Sat, 30 October 2010 06:38

I'd love a pair of the Mackie HD1531 cabs for use as dj monitors but i'm turned off by the frankly horrendous amount of reports of their drivers breaking down, amplifiers breaking down etc...My friend has just a pair here in the uk and after 5 days he used them at a gig and one of the compression drivers failed in one of them and then yesterday the other one stopped working and although it turns on there's no sound coming through it. We here in the uk have 1 month to return a faulty product so the word was today from him that he's having them picked up by the shop and exchanged for JBL PRx635 cabs instead.

I've read a lot of things also about people waiting weeks and weeks for parts and a few of them waiting more than a month for parts when supposedly Loud Technologies definately have the parts in stock.


Wow, that is unfortunate.  All other aspects were showing that this was a real winner.

Do you know if your friend was running the cab into the limiter at all?  Even just on peaks?


~Phil
Title: Re: Mackie HD1531 & HD1801
Post by: Richard Stringer on October 30, 2010, 01:11:46 pm
No he wasn't, he was running them on nearly full but not quite, they weren't quite limiting. I had a look on the internet after that happened to see if it was an isolated case because I wanted a pair but I found a lot of problems of them by customers.

http://forums.mackie.com/scripts/forum/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=ge t_topic;f=7;t=003452

http://music-electronics-forum.com/t21564/

http://www.zzounds.com/item--MACHD1531

There's many more problems too. I've heard from a friend who works in a pa shop that he's had a few HD1531 back in for repair because of them failing as well and all this is looking bad for Mackie. I just wish they'd start manufacturing in the USA because when Greg Mackie owned the conpany in the 1990's, it was a brilliant company who made equipment with a good track record but now.....well..damn.
Title: Re: Mackie HD1531 & HD1801
Post by: Evan Kirkendall on November 16, 2010, 04:17:05 pm
Just updating this thread:

The Mackie's have been going out on rentals over the past few weeks. These are for school events, DJ's, church events, or whatever they need the speakers for. I've rented the tops out 6 times now, and they're still going strong. Nothing but positive comments from people renting them. They are going out with a small mixer, cables, stands and a few mics. No external processing or anything. No blown components, and no failures at all. I have no idea what kind of use they're seeing on the rentals, but needless to say, I've had 0 issues so far.



Evan
Title: Re: Mackie HD1531 & HD1801
Post by: Jeff Babcock on November 16, 2010, 04:50:26 pm
Like Evan, I have had no issues other than the need to reseat some connectors on one amp module following a rough ride during shipping.

I would expect blown speakers to be an anomaly.

I am extremely pleased with their performance.
Title: Re: Mackie HD1531 & HD1801 - Reliability Data
Post by: Phil Lewandowski on November 26, 2010, 05:47:32 pm
Hey,


Just wanted to see if there are any dealers out there that would be able to share what percentage of Mackie HD cabs they have actually found to have reliability  issues for one reason or another.


There have been lots of reports of multiple reliability issues with HD cabs, but then also reports of dealers that the percentage has still been under 3% which they said was about the average for speaker cabs.

So just want to make sure this issue wouldn't get blown out of proportion if it was really just a case of a couple bad ones to the same people, and a factor of the large number of these cabs that are being sold.



Thanks Much,
Phil
Title: Re: Mackie HD1531 & HD1801 - Reliability Data
Post by: Caleb Dick on November 26, 2010, 11:48:39 pm
3% failure rate is really high.
Title: Re: Mackie HD1531 & HD1801 - Reliability Data
Post by: Phil Lewandowski on November 27, 2010, 12:23:18 am
Caleb Dick wrote on Fri, 26 November 2010 23:48

3% failure rate is really high.


I would believe it and it does seem high. I remember reading it from one of the major dealers replying about the Mackie HD series saying it was finding about 2% of the cabs were being reported as having an issue.  And went on to say that 3% was about the average.

But I would have to agree that that seems a bit high.


Thanks,
Phil
Title: Re: Mackie HD1531 & HD1801 - Reliability Data
Post by: Jared Chrysostom on December 04, 2010, 03:52:45 am
Caleb Dick wrote on Fri, 26 November 2010 23:48

3% failure rate is really high.


When you factor in all of the possible causes of failure - the largest being abuse/misuse by the user - 3 failures in every 100 cabs is reasonable, isn't it?
Title: Re: Mackie HD1531 & HD1801 - Reliability Data
Post by: Caleb Dick on December 04, 2010, 02:05:23 pm
Jared Chrysostom wrote on Sat, 04 December 2010 00:52

Caleb Dick wrote on Fri, 26 November 2010 23:48

3% failure rate is really high.


When you factor in all of the possible causes of failure - the largest being abuse/misuse by the user - 3 failures in every 100 cabs is reasonable, isn't it?



Any speaker/sub, abused sufficiently, will fail.  I should have clarified - 3% failure under normal, non-abusive use is very high.  
Title: Re: Mackie HD1531 & HD1801
Post by: Jack Herlong on December 13, 2010, 12:56:03 pm
Phil Lewandowski wrote on Tue, 26 October 2010 21:37

I have heard that there have been a couple reports of failures in the HD series already. Does anyone know of these reports and if they are true what has been failing?



We have two of the HD1521's and have experienced failures on both.  The first one blew an amp module.  Mackie refunded about 90% of the purchase price so we could buy another one ASAP.  They didn't have any it stock! Yes, they were under warranty and yes that's a weird way of doing things.  They belong to my drummer and he did all of the talking with Mackie.  Whatever!

The second one just failed at this Saturday's gig.  Sounds like either the tweeter is gone, or the tweeter amp has failed.  I will know more on this as soon as the repair process begins.

We are not an exsessively loud band and do not abuse our equipment.  These speakers have seen 30-40 gigs max.

That being said, these have been excellent sounding speakers.  I have been running them over LS608's and they seem to be a fine combination.  I really hate that these failures have happened from that standpoint, because I have been totally surprised by their sound quality.  I do not trust them now, however.  Hopefully, the repairs will solve the problem.
Title: Re: Mackie HD1531 & HD1801
Post by: Jack Herlong on December 15, 2010, 09:41:06 pm
A follow-up to my post above.

Failure #2 on the HD1521's turned out to be a blown high frequency driver diaphragm.  Repaired in less than 30 minutes at the local shop under warranty.

I guess this could have been operator error, but I don't think it was.  We do not play overly loud and I'm pretty dilligent in setting the board level.

That being said, I'm willing to give the Mackies a pass on this one.

Again, these are great sounding speakers at their price point IMO.

I'll report back after several gigs and let everyone know how they are holding up.
Title: Re: Mackie HD1531 & HD1801
Post by: George Friedman-Jimenez on December 31, 2010, 02:09:04 pm
Evan and others:
Can anyone compare your impressions of the sound quality of the Mackie HD1221 and the EV QRX112? Evan I know you have had QRX212s but I don't know about 112s. My main use for either is for vocals and between-sets dj'ing in small venues with 50-200 people. The QRX112s I have now sound great but weigh a little more than I like to carry up and down my basement stairs. I don't use a sub now but plan to get one soon for the between-sets dj'ing. Thanks in advance.
Title: Mackie HD1531 vs. EV ZX5A
Post by: Evan Kirkendall on January 08, 2011, 05:54:46 pm
Robert Patch was kind enough to bring his PA along with his EV ZX5A's out today so that we could tune up his rig and do a mini "Shootout." Hopefully he adds his comments in as well.

http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e194/HarfordSound/speakers-3.jpg


Before I start any comparisons, here's what the ZX5A looks like with no processing:

index.php/fa/34657/0/

I probably could have smoothed out the phase response a little more, but it was cold and I wanted to be done at this point. Smile

We started off first by just running the tops, full range with no processing at a low/moderate volume.

ZX5A:
-Nice top end sizzle.
-Smooth, detailed midrange.
-Decent bass response.
-Lots of vocal presence.

HD1531:
-Darker, almost "dull" top end.
-Very smooth midrange.
-Overall very smooth, flat sound.
-A little low mid heavy

Then we proceeded to crank them up.


ZX5A:
-Super bright, harsh top end.
-Very brittle and thin sounding
-Painful

HD1531:
-Surprisingly smooth!
-A few midrange peaks
-Still very full sounding

It was clear some EQ was needed on both cabinets. Here's what I ended up with:

ZX5A:
EQ 1: -2 @ 250hz, Q4
EQ 2: -3 @ 2.5k, Q5.2
EQ3: -5 @ 4k, Q2.2
EQ4: -4 @ 8k, Q6

HD1531:
EQ1: -2 @ 190hz, Q4
EQ2: -3 @ 5k, Q3
EQ3:  +4 @ 9.6k, Hi Shelf

After some EQ, both boxes were much improved, however the ZX5A still fell apart at high SPL. The HF just simply fell apart. It was harsh to say the least. The box sounds great at low levels, but it needs a good bit of EQ to hold together at high volumes. The horn simply outruns the single 15, by a lot! I didn't have enough time to really dig into it and really EQ everything out, so I can't comment much else.

The HD1531 on the other hand held itself together very well at high SPL. Even as we ran into the limiters, it stayed clean, and solid. It has an "in your face" sound to it. It's not harsh, it's just right there. I did notice a little distortion on the 15" on some of the bass heavy songs, but that was well into the limiters at that point. When running with a sub, there is no distortion.

And that's pretty much it. For the size/weight, the EV box is great. But, it's going to require a lot of extra EQ to really shine. The Mackie box is bigger, and heavier, but it sounds a lot better and holds together much better at high SPL.

We also did briefly listen to the QSC K10. I actually think it sounds better then it's bigger brother. The K10 needed some EQ as well because the horn was quite hot, but it's not a bad little utility box at all. It simply didn't have the get up and go that the ZX5A and HD1531 had, so we didn't include it in our tests.

The  JTR Triple 12/Orbit Shifter were also part of the tests, but that's for another thread.




Evan
Title: Re: Mackie HD1531 vs. EV ZX5A
Post by: Robert Patch on January 08, 2011, 07:47:24 pm
To my ears, at moderate volume levels I vastly preferred the ZXA5's crisp, clear open sound to the Mackie's.  At really loud volumes, the Mackie's really came into their own and seemed much more balanced and smooth.  The ZXA5's became painfully harsh.  
Title: Re: Mackie HD1531 & HD1801
Post by: Justin Stern on January 17, 2011, 05:31:49 pm
I want to know more about the K-10 and how it compared.  How did it sound a moderate volumes compared to the others>  What if you were o double up the K-10's.  Would two keep up with one Mackie or EV.
Title: Re: Mackie HD1531 & HD1801
Post by: Art Welter on January 17, 2011, 06:18:30 pm
Justin Stern wrote on Mon, 17 January 2011 15:31

I want to know more about the K-10 and how it compared.  How did it sound a moderate volumes compared to the others>  What if you were o double up the K-10's.  Would two keep up with one Mackie or EV.

At moderate volumes, the K10 sounds good.

A pair of K10 probably could (kind of) “keep up” to a 1531, but the ultra wide dispersion causes massive comb filtering if the cabinets are placed adjacent to each other.

If you need more level than a K10, a HD1531 or HD1521 is a much better choice.
I prefer the vertical pattern control of the Mackie, the K10, even tilted down, has too much HF bouncing off low ceilings.
Title: Re: Mackie HD1531 vs. EV ZX5A
Post by: Mike Pyle on January 21, 2011, 01:47:09 pm
What was the program material?
Title: Re: Mackie HD1531 vs. EV ZX5A
Post by: Bob Kenton on January 21, 2011, 11:25:53 pm
Has anyone heard the HD1221 yet? Its suppose to have a Martin Audio horn and as the others, tuned by EAW.
Title: Re: Mackie HD1531 vs. EV ZX5A
Post by: Robert Patch on January 21, 2011, 11:46:04 pm
Mike Pyle wrote on Fri, 21 January 2011 12:47

What was the program material?


Sting- Shape of my Heart
Steely Dan- West of Hollywood
Mad Caddies- Drinking for 11