Any artist trying to make a living from their craft needs to strike a balance between income and expenditure. Having a set of high-quality powered speakers can get expensive. When you factor in the costs of the other equipment in your line-up it can be overwhelming how much you need to spend.
In this review, we check out the budget-friendly Mackie Thump 12A.
Mackie Thump 12A
The reimagined Mackie Thump 12A aims to offer an affordable alternative to other powered speakers. With a good selection of features, it’s an attractive option for the budget-conscious individual. But how good is it? Let’s find out.
The Mackie Thump 12A sits in an interesting position in the powered speaker market. Let’s dive into the details and find out what this budget speaker offers.
Sound quality is one area where the Mackie Thump 12A does show some flaws. It is a loud 12-inch powered speaker that can put out some serious volume. But, loudness is not a sign of good sound-quality.
The low-end is meaty and should please bass lovers. Yet, the clarity behind that bass is lacking. You’ll be able to fill a room with bass. How much you’ll enjoy that bass will be a matter of taste and perspective. You will notice the difference compared to some of the more expensive speakers available.
While the lows are hefty enough it is the mid and highs which are a little off. The clarity on the mids is not as crisp as with more expensive speakers. The highs are okay but can sound a little tinny at times. The speaker does sound good but there is room for improvement.
Considering the affordable nature of these speakers it’s hard to beat up on them too much. The sound quality is more than enough for most people. But, after hearing so many speakers in my days there are some noticeable differences that I can’t overlook.
Mackie is not known for having the highest build quality. When you are trying to offer a budget speaker there are some corners cut. Plastic is not uncommon these days but these do feel more flimsy than other speakers. In some cases, this is a benefit as each speaker weighs in at 13.2kg. This does make them more portable but also adds to the cheap feel of the speakers.
The Mackie Thump 12A comes with a 1300 Watt Class D amplifier. It has 1000 Watts for the low end and 300 Watts for the high end. It offers a 12-inch woofer with a 1.4-inch titanium dome compression driver.
The Mackie Thump 12A is one of the lightest 12-inch speakers available.
Frequency response comes in at 50Hz to 23 kHz at -10 dB which is plenty of coverage. Speaking of coverage it throws at 90 degrees. This makes it easy to arrange a pair of these to cover a dance floor.
Most people like loud music and at 126 dB max SPL, the Mackie Thump12A is loud. But, pushing it up to those volumes does begin to alter the sound quality.
There is a range of basic tuning options available to help get the most out of your speaker. Each channel offers a gain knob. There is also a master gain knob as well.
Beyond that, you can choose from 4 presets. “Music” for the working DJ. “Live” gives a flatter response for musicians. This setting emulates what powered studio monitors do. “Monitor” which is useful for vocals. The last option is “Sub” for when the speakers are part of a setup that includes a subwoofer. More options would have been great as these 4 options will restrict you. But, once you consider the price I’m still happy there are some choices.
The more expensive Thump 12BST opens up an extra two modes. Plus you gain access to the Thump Connect app for even more fine-tuning. But, at a much higher price point, you can’t compare the two.
The redesigned Thump12A is a big improvement over the previous generation. It’s more sleek and professional looking. The angular front grille looks nice both horizontally or vertically when you are using it as a monitor speaker.
The Mackie Thump 12A is a professional-looking loudspeaker with convenient transport features.
A small Mackie logo and the power light is the only other component on the front face of the speaker. The design also incorporates two handgrips on either side of the speaker. There is also an extra hand grip at the top. It makes it easy to pick up and transport.
At 13.2kg it is very light compared to other speakers. If the idea of lugging around bulky speakers is daunting these make for a good option.
The Mackie Thump 12A offers two combi jacks for inputs. These support XLR or TRS connections including Hi-Z connections for instruments like guitars. A mix out option is also available so that you can daisy-chain several speakers.
The Thump 12A has two combo jacks that support TRS and XLR connections.
There is also extra Power Factor Correction built-in to the speaker to prevent unstable AC sources from causing issues. It also handles all types of wall power thanks to the universal power supply.
There are a few nice accessories you can pick up for the Mackie Thump 12A.
A Mackie speaker case is available for transporting your speaker. It has space for your cables and even a spot for your business cards. Durable zippers and protective skids make it a good pick up if you need to move your speakers around a lot.
For performances, it’s important to have a speaker stand. The Pyle Universal Speaker Stand is a good option for the Mackie Thump12A. Non-slip feet and easy height adjustment allow you to get up and running quickly at a gig.
There is also a number of bundles available. There is a single speaker bundle which is useful for the solo performer playing small and intimate locations.
The bundle pair takes it up a notch if you need to be able to fill a larger room. Each comes with stands and XLR cables.
There is also an excellent all-in-one bundle that comes with a pair of Mackie Thump 12A speakers, two speaker stands with carrying cases, XLR cables, and two Rockville bags.
I do recommend you pick up a pre-designed package if it is within your budget. It saves you the hassle of finding the right cables and stands. Plus you won’t have to wait for all the various components to arrive separately.
The base range of A models from Mackie comes in 12-inch and 15-inch versions. The Mackie Thump 15A isn’t that much more expensive so it’s worth considering if you have a little extra to spend. It offers a bit more in the low-end.
Both versions are also available in the BST models. The Thump 12BST gives you access to onboard tuning options. It also comes with Bluetooth for connecting speakers. This is a good choice if you don’t want to be running heaps of cables.
These upgrade models including the Mackie Thump 15BST also open up access to the Thump Connect App. This makes pairing speakers quick and easy. It also opens up more granular control over the EQ. These upgraded models are a lot more expensive. If you do have that much to spend it’s worth checking out some of the other competitors at the same price point.
The value proposition for the Mackie Thump 12A is strong. It’s a budget-minded speaker that can still put out some decent sound. While not the best sounding speaker it will get you started and able to play gigs. It’s also a good back-up speaker. It does strike a good balance between functionality and price. A statement that doesn’t apply to some more expensive speakers.
What Others Have To Say
There is a range of opinions when it comes to the Mackie Thump 12A. Some people love the affordable entry-level speaker. Others are not as impressed.
Price Isn’t Everything
The adage of “you get what you pay for” is not as black and white as it seems. There are many cases where you can still buy high-quality gear without paying exorbitant prices.
The powered speaker market is no different. There is a long list of options and each manufacturer is vying for your attention and dollars. There is always a certain feeling of comfort when you buy from an established brand. For example, I’m far more confident buying a pair of Pioneer DJ headphones compared to some unknown brand.
Sometimes it will be the case that cheaper products are cheaper for a reason. They can cut corners or use lower-quality materials. There is still the capacity to strike a balance between quality and price. Always read reviews for the product and make an assessment. There is a lot of satisfaction from picking up a quality product at a bargain price. Luckily there are gems hidden among the trash.
Buying budget speakers can free up more money for other parts of your setup.
This becomes even more important when you or your band are on a tight budget. You may need to sacrifice some quality in the short-term with the goal of upgrading once you are more established. There is nothing wrong with budget gear if it means it gets you started down the path you want to pursue.
Price can be a sign of quality but it shouldn’t be a gatekeeper to following your passion.
There are several other options available when it comes to powered speakers. Check out these other choices if the Mackie Thump 12A is not what you are looking for.
QSC K12.2 Review
If you have a lot more to spend the QSC K12.2 is an outstanding speaker. Excellent design and sound quality establish the QSC K12.2 as one of the best speakers in the market.
- High build and sound quality.
- A solid range of tuning options.
- Not budget-friendly.
Read our full QSC K12.2 review for more detailed information.
Electro-Voice ZLX-12P Review
The EV ZLX-12P is another good speaker. Offering extra features like an LCD screen for tuning selection also makes it an easy speaker to setup.
- Mid and high frequencies are well balanced.
- Excellent range of tuning options.
- Lacking in low-end delivery.
Read our full Electro-Voice ZLX-12P review for more detailed information.
JBL EON 610 Review
If the price tag of the other options is too high the EON 610 is another budget-friendly option. It offers good sound quality but is a little lacking in volume.
- Solid balance across all frequencies.
- Uses JBL’s Waveguide Technology for consistent response.
- Not as loud as other speakers.
Read our full JBL EON 610 review for more detailed information.
JBL EON 610
Should You Buy?
The Mackie Thump 12A is an interesting choice. The low price tag makes it an appealing option. This becomes even more important if you are starting your live performance career. While it doesn’t offer some of the bells and whistles that other speakers provide it still gets the job done. If you do have more to spend there are some better options. But, I can recommend the Thump 12A if you’re on a tight budget. They are one of the best choices in their price range.
Mackie Thump 12A