There used to be a time when DJs didn’t have the best choices for speakers. Luckily things have changed and there are now plenty of excellent speakers available. Recently we got the chance to check out the new SRT215 from Mackie. This affordably priced speaker sits in the middle of the range of options from Mackie. And it’s a strong contender to be one of the best active PA speakers at this price point. Read on to see what we thought of this 15-inch speaker.
The Mackie SRT215 is a large, loud, and powerful speaker with a range of excellent features. Check out the highlights before we break things down into more detail.
After recently exploring the top-of-the-line SRM215 I was eager to see how the more affordable SRT215 stacked up. Let’s dive into the details.
The first and most important test was the sound quality. There are plenty of competitors at this price point so my expectations were already fairly high knowing what is out there. But any fears were soon alleviated once we put the SRT215 through its paces. The speaker sounds great straight out of the box.
The SRT215 utilizes the same Sym-X horn as the other new Mackie speakers currently available. This delivers exceptionally clear and precise top-end delivery. Speakers can suffer from distortion when pushed to their limits but everything is under control with the Mackie SRT215. No distortion or harshness. The mids are equally impressive. Rich depth and warmth without overt colorization. Tonality is smooth and very satisfying.
The Mackie SRT215 offers excellent sound quality even at higher volumes.
As a DJ I play bass and kick-heavy music. This is one area I pay extra attention to. Nothing brings the feel of a party down quicker than poor low-end.
Once I threw on some of my go-to test tracks I was pleasantly surprised at how good the response was. Very similar to the thump that the more expensive SRM215 delivers. Warm, full with plenty of punch.
Consistent performance at all volume levels is also present. Plus the dispersion was very impressive. Far too many speakers offer a very narrow sweet spot. This results in having to run multiple speakers in specific configurations to achieve full coverage.
With the SRT215 I was able to move across the entire area and enjoy the same quality sound. In an outdoor environment, it still performed well but not as well as the SRM215.
While I do play primarily electronic music genres I also like to ensure I check other styles of music. Not everyone has the same needs and tastes after all. While exploring a vast variety of genres there was never a point where I felt the SRT215 wasn’t doing the music justice. From smooth jazz to rock it delivered.
If you want consistent, loud and clear performance. The Mackie SRT215 is up to the task.
The Mackie SRT215 also excels in this area. When first lifting it out of the box I immediately noticed how much lighter it was than the SRM215. This led me to believe that it might feel more “hollow”. But once it was out and I had a chance to move it around and feel the cabinet my concerns melted away. It’s a solid speaker.
The Mackie SRT215 offers a high level of build quality.
Attention to detail is also high. No flashing from the molded cabinet. Everything is where it needs to be without any obvious signs of poor craftsmanship. The handles are also solid and robust. A must-have for the active working professional. The small rubberized edges ensure protection for the cabinet when in the monitor position.
The back panel is also another highlight. It offers the same color screen as other new Mackie loudspeakers. It’s bright, clear and a good size. All the knobs and connection points also inspire confidence.
Considering the price point the SRT215 goes well above my expectations.
Despite it being a cheaper version of the SRM215 the SRT215 still delivers in the specs department.
The Class D amplifier is ultra-efficient and handles 1600W of power. 1400W for the low-frequency driver and 200W for the high-frequency driver. It packs a powerful punch topping out at 133dB Max SPL. This can comfortably fill a small space and is often enough for medium-sized spaces.
The Max SPL of 133 dB is enough to fill small to medium-sized venues.
But the real draw here is the way Mackie handles higher volumes. The multi-band compression keeps tonal integrity at higher volumes. Many large speakers start to dip significantly in quality when they get loud. That is not the case here.
The SRT215 also maintains a nimble weight. At just 37.1 lbs. (16.8 kg) it is over 10 lbs lighter than the SRM215. While I still found the SRM215 manageable the SRT215 takes it further. Highly portable and easy to lift to place on stands.
On the frequency front, the SRT215 offers 46Hz – 20kHz (3dB) and 42Hz – 20kHz (-10dB). Lots of depth here to deliver clean crisp highs and a meaty low end.
The Mackie SRT215 also offers up an excellent selection of tuning options. The easy-to-access back panel contains a clear screen and a one-knob operating system. Cycling through the various menus is responsive and snappy.
For quick setup, there is a range of available presets. Flat, Live, Speech, Club, and Monitor. These all work well.
Flat is perfect for natural representation of the source material. Live is ideal for times where you want to minimize low-end delivery. Speech places a focus on clarity while keeping the low-end in check.
The club setting introduces a more thumpy curve for increased bass presence. The monitor setting is the final option. This setting alters the output for when the speaker is in the monitor position.
The SRM215 offers five effective presets to adjust to different applications.
But you don’t need to limit yourself to these presets. You can set up your own presets which is very handy for regular gig locations. Granular control over lows, mids, and highs allows you to customize to your needs.
If you don’t like the idea of fiddling with the back panel you can take advantage of the Bluetooth connectivity. The SRT Connect app gives you comprehensive control from a distance. It makes life much easier. Within a few quick taps, you’ll be well on your way to the perfect setting. The single knob is great but the App is a gamechanger.
Granular control and custom presets are also available.
The app is very similar to the SRM Connect app but does lack a few of the extra bells and whistles. The SRM Connect App offered control over whether the speaker was inside or outside. This feature made a huge difference to outdoor performance. If you play outside a lot the SRM215 may be a better option. There are also a few other small exclusions but nothing major.
The SRT215 gives you extensive control. While I may be nitpicking a few small details it is still far beyond what other speakers offer. Solid, precise control to deliver an output that suits your needs.
I love the look of the new generation Mackie loudspeakers. They look smart and professional while maintaining the unique Mackie design aesthetic. I like how Mackie incorporates some unique elements to set it apart from the competitors. The angled lines give it an edge that instantly catches the eye.
The SRT215 is easy to transport and versatile.
I’ll always lean towards performance over appearance. But I’m also happy to see both come together effectively. This is one area where Mackie is head and shoulders above other offerings.
The SRT215 is a large speaker. The 15-inch woofer demands a big cabinet. But it is still within the same types of dimensions you see from other similar-sized speakers.
The Mackie SRT215 is similar in size to other 15-inch loudspeakers.
It is light and easy to transport. Optional accessories like a cover or rolling bag are also available. The SRT215 also offers flexible mounting options for both pole and flight installations.
Mackie presents a refined set of connection options. Two primary combo jacks give you access to TRS and XLR. These connections are the most common within the music space. You’ll be well covered irrespective of your preferred equipment. But it does lack any RCA connection options. While not a huge concern there are some DJ controllers out there that only support RCA. In this case, you’ll need to invest in conversion cables.
There is a good range of connection options available on the SRT215.
The SRT215 also offers direct Bluetooth connectivity. This is great for the SRT Connect App but also available for direct streaming of audio. An excellent feature for backing tracks or a warm-up tracklist before your gig. It is simple to pair and get started. Bluetooth is an in-demand feature so it is great to see Mackie embrace it.
The SRT is a mid-priced loudspeaker. There are cheaper options out there. But, these cheaper speakers do offer lower quality components and fewer features. Comparing the SRT215 to other mid-priced speakers highlights how much value is on offer here. Expansive features, excellent sound quality, and robust build. Mackie has always managed to strike an excellent balance between price and quality and that tradition continues.
Why Mounting Options Matter
When you are looking at buying loudspeakers it is worth taking some time to consider mounting options. Most speakers will offer a pole mount option but there are more features you can look out for.
Pole mounting is fairly universal. Most speakers will be compatible with a range of speaker stand brands. But, the key thing to look out for is whether you can angle the speaker.
A downward tilt is a good option to have up your sleeve. This allows you to point the speaker down towards the dancefloor if you are on a stage.
To attain the best coverage and sound quality you want the sound to hit the crowd at head height. Without an angle mount option, you may be unable to achieve this at some venues.
For more permanent placement it is best to mount speakers from the ceiling.
For more permanent setups you may want to explore loudspeakers that offer fly points. This allows you to mount the speakers from the ceiling facing downwards towards the dance floor. This keeps your speakers away from punters. It also eliminates the risk of tipping that standard tripod mounts can experience.
Whether you are a mobile DJ with a portable setup or a venue owner mounting options are important. They can make a huge difference to how your gig or venue sounds.
If you are looking to buy a 15-inch loudspeaker there are some other alternatives worth considering. Here are 3 options that may interest you.
JBL EON615 Review
If you are working with a smaller budget the JBL EON615 is a good alternative to the Mackie SRT215. It offers a decent set of features in a solid cabinet.
- Broad sweet spot thanks to JBL Waveguide technology.
- An affordable price point that is great for beginners on a budget.
- Fiddly Bluetooth can be difficult to pair.
Mackie SRM215 Review
If you do have some more to spend the next model up from the SRT215 is the re-imagined V-class SRM series. It boasts extra features and more power.
- A loud clear output that performs great both inside and outside.
- Distinct Mackie styling and high-grade build quality.
- On the expensive side but still affordable.
EV EKX 15P Review
The EV EKX 15P is another good quality 15-inch speaker. It sounds great and offers some impressive features that make it a viable option as your primary DJ speaker.
- Crystal clear clarity with excellent tonal range matched by a powerful 134dB Max SPL.
- Super solid construction that can handle the rigors of frequent transport and gigs.
- At 53.9 lbs. (24.4 kg), this heavy speaker can be a hassle to transport.
Should You Buy?
The SRT215 is an excellent offering from Mackie. A great balance between affordability and features. It offers fantastic audio quality, simple to use tuning options, and a rugged build. The modern appearance also sets it apart from the other bland options out there. If you are looking to buy a 15-inch mid-priced speaker the SRT215 is among the best out there.