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|fxer||1:57pm on Tuesday, July 20th, 2010|
|really good sound 4 mixing,especially with the subwoofer offer u a good clean sound!|
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TAPCO S5 ACTIVE STUDIO MONITORS
S5 Active Studio Monitors
Can this pair of inexpensive speakers really help the computer musician achieve studio monitoring standards? Dan Goldstein lends an ear
S5 ACTIVE STUDIO MONITORS Manufacturer Tapco Price 400 Contact Mackie UK www.tapcogear.com
The S5 enclosures are moulded to minimise internal reflections.
ts easy to put off buying a new pair of studio monitors. They make no sound of their own and, for all the advances in material technology, theyre hardly a match for todays digital lifestyle products. Even if you do decide to upgrade, you run the risk of disappointment: loudspeakers are arguably the most personal of all studio products, and embracing a new pair that doesnt possess the qualities you knew and loved in the old pair can be a demoralising experience. So why spend hundreds on new monitors when for the same money you could have a spanking new set of virtual instruments or DSP plugins and keep the speakers you already know you can live with? The answer is that just because you can live with your speakers, it doesnt mean theyre good for your music. No matter what kind of sounds you make, the need for accurate monitoring never varies. And a sound thats easy to listen to isnt always an accurate one. Out there in PC studioland are thousands of musicians still merrily monitoring with the tiny multimedia speakers that came bundled with their computers. Unburdened by the need to listen at high levels or play their mixes to others, they may be reluctant to enter the unknown world of real studio monitoring. These are the people Mackie is addressing with the release of the S5s the first studio speakers to
Theres plenty of punch to be had from the S5s, so go easy when it comes to using the low-frequency boost control, and be sure your room acoustics need compensating for first.
bear the companys recently revived, entry level Tapco brand. Together with their bigger siblings, the S8s, these speakers are designed to bring serious monitoring to the masses. Theyre much cheaper than established studio favourites such as Mackies own HR series, yet theyve been designed to provide everything the desktop studio owner needs to gain a quick and substantial improvement in monitoring accuracy.
Looks arent everything
At a time when home cinema and hi-fi speakers have never looked more impressive, studio monitors are something of a poor relation. The S5s are a case in point. The grey-finished enclosures are constructed from 16mm MDF, with slightly thicker 19mm front baffles. Adiabatic foam damping is used to reduce cabinet resonance and all the corners are rounded off to minimise internal reflections. Mounted slightly proud of the baffle is a 5.25-inch, polypropylene low-mid driver with a steel chassis and above this sits a 1-inch waveguide-loaded silk dome tweeter. Peeping out from the upper edge of the waveguide are two LED
indicators: green for power on and red to indicate clipping. As with most powered monitors, the S5s rear panel is dominated by a large heatsink designed to dissipate surplus heat from the built-in power amps. The AC mains connection and power on/off switch also live here, as does a narrow bass port which runs along the lower edge of the panel to extend low-frequency response. Line-level audio enters the S5 via balanced XLR connector, balanced 14-inch jack, or unbalanced phono sockets. Alongside these is a rotary input level control used to vary the sensitivity of the speakers input stage so that it can accept signals between +4dBu and +20dBu. Finally, there are two switches which can be used to make subtle adjustments to the S5s frequency response. The HF switch offers 2dB of cut or boost at 5kHz, while the LF switch offers a boost of 2dB or 4dB at 65Hz. As Mackie points out, these switches should be left in the flat position unless youre certain your room acoustics require some form of compensating; adding too much at the LF end, for example, may give your mixes more welly at home, but that extra depth not to
March 2004 MUSIC TECH magazine
mention some of the bass you started off with will vanish into thin air when you play it back on another system.
Smoothly does it
There can be no doubt that the S5s will be a huge step up for anyone used to monitoring with multimedia or cheap hi-fi speakers. In terms of sound pressure levels alone, theyll take you closer to your mix than any PC-style speaker. Mackie quotes an output power of 60W for each of the two amps, which means 120W per channel or between ten and 20 times what the average multimedia system can pump out. Of course, level alone is not enough, especially if the speakers in question are tiring to listen to for long periods. This is where the S5s really score, maintaining a smooth sound even at high SPLs. That means you can mix with them for longer especially if youre exposing yourself to repeated crashing hi-hats, trashy snares and sibilant vocals. The bass end is well articulated but could do with greater depth. You can see why Mackie has included an LF boost option but this should be used with caution. Stereo imaging a vital aspect of studio monitor performance is solid, and can be improved further by mounting the S5s on solid speaker stands. So, subjectively as well as in paper spec terms, the Tapco S5s make it easier than most for you to step up to serious monitoring. Time, for once, to pass on that new plug-in everyone is raving about. MTM
KEY FEATURES Two-way active monitors Active design (120W per channel) 5.25-inch low-frequency/mid driver, 1-inch tweeter Bass-reflex enclosures Three line-level input connectors WHY BUY Plenty of power for the pound Smooth top end Solid, spacious stereo imaging WALK ON BY Cut/boost switches need to be approached with caution Bass extension could be better
Mackie has always prided itself on its informal approach and the Tapco S5 manual is no exception. As well as technical specs and a setup guide, it contains useful, readable advice on the mixing process in general.
One of the cheapest and easiest ways to turn your monitoring system from an afterthought into an essential studio tool.
Solar Powered (110V Version available) No AC Power Required Easy Installation MUTCD Compliant Proprietary Day-Viz Circuitry
TAPCOs brilliant innovation of enhancing traffic signs with LEDs (Light-Emitting Diodes) makes intersections safer, reduces accidents and saves lives! Day-Viz (Daylight Visible) BlinkerSigns feature an array of incredibly bright LEDs that flash in unison, once per second, commanding the attention of drivers DAY AND NIGHT. Any MUTCD sign can be transformed into a BlinkerSign!
Patents #6,943,698; #6,693,556 Other Patents Pending
nstalls easily onto any I new or existing sign post an be integrated into C an ITS (Intelligent Transportation System) igh intensity Day-Viz H LEDs command attention day and night an be programmed to C operate continuously (24/7) or on solar time clocks, push-buttons and/or motion (vehicle) detectors roprietary circuitry P automatically adjusts light output for maximum visibility and battery efficiency ultiple signs can be M synchronized eightened driver H awareness ncreased visibility at high I incident intersections
#6,943,698; #6,693,556 Other Patents Pending
Sign Specification- MUTCD #S5-1
Sign Substrate Reflective Sheeting MUTCD Compliance Battery Battery Lifespan Autonomy- Functionality without Charge Flash Pattern LED Type LED Life Expectancy.080 Highway Grade Aluminum 3M DG3- with anti-graffiti overlay MUTCD Section 2A.08 Compliant Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH)14,000mAh Up to 5 years Up to 30 days in 24/7 operation MUTCD Compliant High Power Luxeon 1 watt Over 100,000 hours 1 Full Year Warranty
Day-Viz Management System (patent pending)
Smart Activation Options
24/7 continuous Time clock activation (Windows based software programmable) Wireless control activation Vehicle detection activation
*All specifications subject to change without notice.
For complete specifications and details call or visit www.tapconet.com
5100 W. Brown Deer Brown Deer, WI 53223 Ph: 262.814.7000 800.236.0112 Fax: 262.814.7017 800.444.0331 www.tapconet.com www.tapcostore.com
ew school zone locations N High incident intersections Rural roads
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