Mackie Thump15A Review

Mackie Thump15A Review

A little over nine years ago, I bought a single 15″ active speaker in the class because of positive reports on the musicians’ board, especially for standalone use with a laptop/MP3 player or keyboard – the name “Tapco Thump TH-15A”. The Thump at that time had an XLR input designed for microphone levels, had a 3-band EQ with semi-parametric mids, and, considering the low price, sounded surprisingly well-rounded.

A musician friend is now using my Thump, serving as a keyboard amp, and parent company Mackie has now released the AFAIK fourth generation of the Thump series, packed with interesting features, reason enough to bring them to @Robin Lussuto request from Mackie as a test object.


  • Outstanding sound quality
  • Bluetooth syncing
  • Mobile app control


  • Digging deep to find anything con-worthy
  • Sharp edges mean probably looking tatty quickly

Equipment, technical data of Mackie Thump15A

The DHL messenger had a bit of a struggle to lug the bulky shipping boxes of the 15″ active speakers to the front door, but only because of the dimensions, not the weight. The 686 x 442 x 356 mm box weighs only 15.8 kg on the scales, which is due to the consistent use of plastic as the main component of the housing. Only the close-meshed front grille, which gives the Mackie Thump15A a respectable “face” IMHO, is made of sturdy sheet metal. A long green LED is attached to the lower edge, which signalizes the operating status, but it can be completely deactivated with the help of a button on the back (see below).

The case shape looks angular and a little “cheap” and futuristic for me. However, there is nothing wrong with the quality, although the following details lead to minus points for me – these are probably due to the low-price range.

  • The carrying shell on the top is sharp-edged and has no real grip.
  • The carrying handles, located on the beveled sides of each housing shell, are rather uncomfortable because they are not rubberized but corrugated on the inside.
  • The box case does not have rubber feet on the underside or on the monitor slope’s sides. As a result, the Mackie Thump15A cannot be set up or laid down in a non-slip manner, and the case is easily scratched.
  • The diameter of the speaker flange on the underside is slightly too large, i.e., the speaker always wobbles slightly on a (good) tripod.
  • At the top left, there is a button to switch through the four available DSP modes – Music, Live, Mon, Sub.

As mentioned above, the button to the right of the DSP section is used to switch off the operating status LED on the front. In addition, a limit LED signals the intervention of the integrated limiter. Below the configuration buttons is the input and output section, including the 2-channel mixer.

The two inputs are designed as jack XLR combo sockets and, thanks to “Wide-Z,” i.e., a wide impedance range, are suitable both for connecting mic/line signals and directly plugging in instruments with pickups.

The output for looping the overall signal through to another top part or a subwoofer is available as an XLR male. The associated level controls are arranged above the corresponding sockets and only have a central grid. For my taste, they could be a little heavier and grippier, but that’s a purely subjective impression. At least they don’t protrude beyond the rear edges of the case for protection reasons.

The power socket and power switch are below the diagrams mentioned above. A sufficiently dimensioned mains cable with a length of approx. Three meters are included.

Finally, we come to the inner values of the Class D power, amplifier’s total power (1300 W), 300 W drive the 1.4″ titanium tweeter, and 1000 W the 15″ woofer.

Practice test, conclusion

After the two boxes were delivered shortly before the local Christmas market, I threw them straight into the cold water or, more appropriately, “into the cold winter weather” after a short function test.

On the evening of the delivery, we got into the right mood for the Advent season with bratwurst and mulled wine in the courtyard of a village community center – open-air canned music at temperatures around freezing point. It was easy to set up because the Thump15A, which is very light for a 15/2 box, can easily be hoisted onto a speaker stand by itself.

There is very pleasant, no obtrusive pop when switching on, but a somewhat unpleasant “squeaking.” I chose “Music” as the preset because an iPod with a fixed playlist and neutral EQ served as the Quick & Dirty player. For several hours, the slight “bathtub” frequency response at “half power” provided a pleasant, unobtrusive sound.

A very special kind of endurance test followed the day after. To provide sound for the stage program at a Christmas market, the two Thumps had to work outdoors for a whole day under really adverse conditions – sometimes with heavy snowfall and slightly below zero.

In addition to the usual speech reinforcement, a choir, an accordion trio, and a saxophone ensemble had to be adequately equipped with sound. Since the PA was controlled using the Allen & Heath Q-16 and the associated iPad app, the two Mackies were on the IMHO most neutral setting, “Live,” and the console’s master EQ was also almost untouched. The two boxes also completed this mission without any abnormalities and without being damaged, even if they “faced.”

The last practical assignment and highlight was a combined New Year’s Eve gig (canned and live music). In addition to party music (oldies and disco fox) from the player, the technically more demanding part of the evening was a formation of up to 3 accordions, clarinet, baritone horn, and 2x reserved for singing.

Here, too, the two Mackie Thump15A ran in the “live” preset on the A&H Qu-16, but they revealed slight weaknesses in the sound. On the one hand, the tweeter “hisses” a little too much for my taste; on the other hand, the box overdrives a bit slightly before the limiter kicks in. So a bit of caution, good hearing, and a sure instinct are required here to achieve a usable result in terms of sound.

However, thanks to the 15″ woofer, there is nothing wrong with the “depth.” For the sake of completeness, it should be mentioned that an 18″ subwoofer and a 12″ variant of the Thump complete the current series.

There are also “boosted” versions of the two Thump-Tops with the addition BST, which have a Bluetooth module and can be linked or configured/controlled via an app and offer options for flight operations. Mackie has already promised me a test position, so I will get a comparison, which will be published in a separate review in the next few weeks/months.

Mackie Thump15A Review
Mackie Thump15A Review


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