Selecting the right loudspeaker is among the most crucial components of your setup. No matter how talented you are a poor-sounding speaker will quickly ruin your performance. Recently we had the chance to check out the re-imagined SRM V-Class series from Mackie. The previous generation of these speakers was a great success so I was eager to see what this new series had to offer. Spoiler warning! It’s a fantastic loudspeaker.
The all-new Mackie SRM215 V-Class loudspeaker manages to deliver on several fronts. Let’s check out the highlights before diving into the detailed review.
There is a lot to love about the new SRM215. From the loud and satisfying sound to the sleek and modern design. Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of why this speaker has become one of my favorite 15-inch speakers available today.
There is no better place to start than with sound quality. And that is the operative word, quality. Mackie re-engineered this new V-class series from the ground up. Years of being in the pro audio scene are on full display here.
The new SRM series offers exceptional sound quality.
First the top end. It’s clean, crisp, and exceptionally clear. This is due to the custom-designed Sym-X horn. This 1.4” high-frequency driver does an excellent job of keeping the top end flat and refined. There is no tinniness or harshness in the high-frequency range. Little to no abnormalities even at higher volumes.
The mids are just as satisfying. Rich tones with definition and depth. Mid tones are often among the most hit-or-miss elements in speakers. Mackie has done an excellent job of keeping these frequencies balanced without impacting tonal quality. The Advanced Impulse DSP keeps everything in check.
As a DJ the low-end is often what I am most critical of. I need a deep, punchy, and warm low end. This is one area where the SRM215 shines. There is no boominess or muddiness in the low end. And with an extension to 40Hz, there is plenty of satisfying depth to the bass response.
The custom Sym-X Horn delivers excellent clarity.
One of the most impressive features is how the SRM215 manages to maintain quality at higher volumes. Many other loudspeakers tout a high Max SPL but often fail to deliver at those volumes. That isn’t the case here. With a Max SPL of 136dB, there is ample headroom. And even if you do need to go all the way the quality of the output remains exceptional.
We tested a range of genres to see if the SRM215 played favorites with certain musical elements. From deep tech house to classical it remained true to form. Heavy sub-bass from hip hop tracks was lush and full. EDM kicks were punchy and clean. Melodic compositions in progressive house tracks maintained definition and harmonic integrity.
Satisfying is the word that keeps coming to mind when listening to this speaker. And when it comes to performing that is exactly what you want your speaker to deliver.
I’ve reviewed several of Mackie’s entry-level products. These affordable options always punch above their weight but don’t always have the most robust components. I was excited to see what the team at Mackie had to offer when they weren’t shackled by a strict budget. The results are exactly what I had hoped for.
The Mackie SRM215 features a rugged black polypropylene enclosure.
The cabinet is solid and durable and instantly inspires confidence. The tough 16-18 gauge perforated steel front grille adds to the appeal with a nylon net backing. In demanding performance environments it’s great to have that level of protection. The carry handles don’t feel cheap and the textured finish helps prevent fingerprints and scuffs.
The high quality continues to the back panel. Clean and neat. The connection points are all secure and the knobs are also excellent. Mackie states they didn’t spare any expense and I’m very much inclined to believe them. Everything feels robust and tough.
The Mackie SRM215 offers up some impressive specifications.
The ultra-efficient Class D amplifier puts out 2000W at peak performance. 1800W for the low-frequency driver and 200W for the high-frequency driver. There is plenty of power here and the max SPL of 136dB is a testament to the fact the power rating is not a fluffed up number. There is plenty of headroom here to cover small and medium-sized venues with ease.
The SRM215 offers plenty of headroom with 138 dB Max SPL.
Frequency response is also broad at 44Hz – 20kHz (-3dB) and 40Hz – 20kHz (-10dB). Plenty of range here to cover both lower and higher frequencies. What is more impressive is the excellent delivery of those frequencies. Clear and precise with a smooth flat delivery. The high-quality 15-inch woofer offers large, durable, and powerful magnets. Excellent enclosure design also minimizes heat build-up. Excessive heat is a common problem with lower quality speakers so I’m very pleased with how well the SRM215 performs here.
Despite the rugged enclosure and high-quality components, the SRM215 is still relatively lightweight. At just 48.9 lbs (22.2kg) it’s not overly cumbersome. The handles distribute the weight evenly and allow for easy setup and tear down. Heavy speakers are the bane of most performers (and a goldmine for chiropractors!). I’m glad that Mackie has taken the time to keep the weight of the speaker within a reasonable range.
This speaker sounds great straight out of the box. But, you’ll always come across situations where you’ll need to adjust output based on location. The Mackie SRM215 gives you plenty of flexibility to do just that.
The back panel features an easy-to-use single knob. The screen is bright and clear and just big enough that you won’t need to squint to make changes. Navigating the menus is intuitive and responsive.
There is a range of built-in presets you can select from. Flat excels when you want maximum transparency. Live keeps the low end in check which is ideal for bands. Speech refines the mid and high range and helps balance audio levels. The Club setting delivers a more pronounced bass response that is perfect for DJs. Finally, Monitor alters output to remove low range resonance when the speaker is on its side on a hard surface.
It’s simple and easy to set presets and adjust settings in the SRM Connect app.
The SRM215 takes it further by allowing you to select location type. Inside or Outside. We gave this a test and it was true to form. Within an outdoor setting, many loudspeakers lose their appeal due to the wide dispersion of sound. The SRM215 rebalances frequencies to prevent this. The result is that it sounded just as good inside as it did outside. A handy feature I hope to see in more speakers in the future.
These presets are easy to use and function as intended. Perfect for quick setup or for beginners overwhelmed with the idea of adjusting granular mixer settings.
Speaking of granular settings the SRM215 gives you full access to adjust output to suit your individual needs. Detailed 3 band EQ for all channels with an added HPF for channels 1 and 2.
Full control is available to adjust the EQ settings to your preference.
Navigating and making changes is straightforward enough. But it can be a little tedious. This is where the SRM Connect app comes in. After a simple pairing process, you’ll have access to the full mixer at your fingertips. This is leaps and bounds easier than making the changes on the speaker itself. Even better is the ability to make changes at a distance. No having to run back and forth to see if the speaker sounds the way you want it to at a venue.
Further Subwoofer and Delay settings are also available rounding out a full suite of options.
Mackie has struck a great balance between functionality and ease of use. The simple to use SRM Connect app elevates it further giving all types of musicians direct and accurate control.
Aesthetics is highly subjective. But, it’s fair to say that the SRM215 is an excellent-looking speaker.
Right out of the box you’re presented with a sleek and stylish speaker. It’s modern and professional while maintaining the unique Mackies style. The front grille is attractive and features sharp distinct edges that add to the futuristic look. The Mackie logo is front and center along a strip that gives the speaker a unique look compared to other offerings in the market.
The Mackie SRM215 features an angled cabinet.
The bottom LED strip adds some extra color and is customizable with green, white, or multi-color options. You can even opt to have the LED off if you want. The other interesting design choice is the indented lines both at the top and bottom of the speaker. This once again breaks from the classic monotonous square look that is prevalent in the loudspeaker space.
The angled cabinet allows for placement on the floor as a monitor. Small rubberized edges ensure a firm grip and protect the cabinet from scratches.
The SRM215 also looks great when in the monitor position.
The Mackie SRM215 exudes quality and modern design sensibilities. A statement speaker that not only looks the part but also sounds great.
When it comes to size the SRM215 is similar in dimensions to other 15-inch powered speakers. At 28.8” (732mm) tall it is a large speaker that commands a presence.
The SRM215 is a large speaker but it is still relatively lightweight.
Despite its large size, the SRM215 is relatively lightweight but there are lighter options out there. It also features dual-angle pole mount options along with M10 fly points.
The Mackie SRM215 offers a selection of practical connection options. Channel 1 and 2 offer XLR/TRS combo jacks while the third channel is a ⅛” stereo TRS input. You’ll also have access to XLR Direct Out and Mix out options to daisy chain multiple speakers.
The Mackie SRM215 has a solid selection of connection options.
Bluetooth connectivity is also present. This isn’t just for connecting speakers or working with the SRM Connect app. You can also stream music directly to the speaker. The pairing was quick and seamless and we didn’t experience any dropouts when using Bluetooth streaming. The audio quality was also surprisingly solid. Bluetooth streaming degrades tonality but the SRM215 does a great job of maintaining sonic integrity.
Straightforward, simple, and versatile the SRM215 will have you well covered.
The SRM line from Mackie is its top-of-the-line series. And with that increased attention to detail and quality comes an increased price point. There are plenty of cheaper alternatives available that still produce great sound. Even Mackie’s own entry-level and mid-tier levels are viable alternatives if you are on a budget. But if you do have the money to spend the Mackie SRM215 offers a premium level of quality. While it may be on the higher side price-wise, it is well worth it.
Quality Vs Quantity
When establishing your sound setup there can be a desire to buy a pair of speakers and possibly a subwoofer. But this is not always the correct choice. Taking into account your own needs is critical to making the right choice.
Having two tops and a sub is the usual go-to preferred option for most sound setups. But depending on your budget this can either become extremely expensive or you’ll need to sacrifice quality.
Investing in quality gear will save you money in the long run.
Where possible it is always better to spend more on better quality equipment that will last you longer and perform better. You can always expand upon your existing setup as your budget allows. I’ve seen it countless times where DJs or performers end up ditching their old sound system in favor of a more premium option.
Your livelihood depends on putting on a great performance. It makes sense to invest as much as possible into your sound setup. For most DJs and performers one solitary quality loudspeaker is enough for most gigs. Unless you are performing for hundreds of people the bass delivery from a 15-inch speaker is often enough.
If you are on the fence I’d suggest you explore the option of one high-quality speaker over several lower quality options. You’ll often find you’ll end up better off in the long run. Not only will your customers enjoy better quality sound you’ll end up saving money in the long run. Buy it once and buy it right and your bank balance will thank you down the track.
If you are looking for 15-inch powered speakers there are some other options available. Here is a selection of alternatives to the Mackie SRM215.
Yamaha DBR15 Review
The Yamaha DBR15 is an entry-level option that is very affordable. While it may not look as nice as the Mackie it is a dependable 15-inch powered loudspeaker.
- It offers good sound quality that retains a neutral response.
- Solid construction to handle the rigors of frequent use.
- Extremely limited tuning options and no Bluetooth.
Turbosound iQ15 Review
The Turbosound iQ15 is in roughly the same price range as the Mackie SRM215. It has some excellent features. For the right performer, it’s a great choice.
- Rich tonality with distinct highs and mids.
- Klark Teknik tuning is easy to use and effective.
- The bass response is not as rich and full as the SRM215.
Mackie Thump 15A Review
If you want to stay within the Mackie ecosystem of products the Thump series is a great budget alternative. While it may lack some of the refinement of the SRM series it offers excellent value for money.
- The aggressive price point makes this speaker an excellent entry-level option.
- Clean and modern design with decent sound quality.
- The low end is a bit over-emphasized.
Should You Buy?
The Mackie SRM215 is an awesome loudspeaker. Perfectly suited to DJs while maintaining enough versatility to suit a wide range of performers. The combination of intelligent design and modern aesthetics makes it an appealing option. The sound quality is excellent. The build quality is top-notch. And the added features like Bluetooth are fantastic inclusions. If you are looking for a high-powered and capable 15-inch loudspeaker the SRM215 is an excellent choice.