I had the pleasure of being sent one ALTO TS212 speaker from InMusic to carry out a product review for publication on-line. For the first couple of days that, I had the speaker set-up in my home office / studio running in the background giving me an opportunity to get a feel of the sound and to warm the speaker up a little.
Looking at the speaker, the design is very appealing and you would think that it is a higher class of speaker than what the budget dictates. The build quality is very good and the fact that the TS212 has four main carrying handles [One on each side and handles both top and bottom] the top part of the speaker opposite the top handle also has a small recess grip handle which is very handy, so all in there are five points to handling this speaker.
The TS212 has a full face grill which looks very sleek in design and helps the aesthetics stand out against other speakers on the market. The TS212 is very easy to handle / lift for the mobile DJ – weighing only 12.86 kg and whether you are left or right handed, the speaker is manageable to lift onto most speaker stands.
After a couple of days with the speaker which I had connected up to my Denon MC6000MK2 with an XLR lead plugged into the left output of the MC000MK2 which was also set to ‘mono’ output, something wasn’t quite right with playing a mono source through one speaker when most music that we play today is recorded in stereo and most, if not all mobile DJ set-up’s utilise a stereo sound stage with a speaker either side of the DJ booth…
As a result, I got in touch with the guys at InMusic and requested a second TS212 speaker which I collected after our March SEDA ShowNight. I really wanted to have a set-up for review that was practical and fair and have the ability to playback my music in the format it was designed to do so.
Now that I have two TS212 speakers, I proceeded to set-up my DJ system at home now with my MC6000MK2 in stereo mode, and wow – what a huge difference to listening in just mono…The speaker came alive more and the sound quality so much better, and for the record the music files I was using to playback through the speakers were HQ WAV files:
- Swedish House Mafia – Don’t You Worry Child [Acoustic Version]
- Alicia Keys – If I Ain’t Got You
- Dario G – Sunchyme
- Michael Jackson – P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)
- Jennifer Warnes – The Hunter
- The Eagles – Hotel California [Live Version]
- Herbie Hancock – Rockit
- New Order – Blue Monday
- Robert Miles – Children
- Mark Ronson Feat. Bruno Mars – Uptown Funk
- Whitney Houston – I Will Always Love You
These were just a few of the music tracks I used for demonstration
The TS212 handles these music tracks very well, especially when it comes to vocals, giving a very crystal clear and bright sound with a distinctively punchy bass for the size of the 12” driver.
The whole playout system was set ‘flat’ without any EQ added and the TS212 was tested with and without the Contour Switch on for Increased EQ control, boosting the low and high frequencies by 3dB.
The TS212 has an integrated 2-channel mixer with dual XLR / .-inch combo Mic / Line inputs with independent level controls, this can be very handy if you need to use the speaker for background music / speeches at an event as you can run a Mic directly into the speaker and have total control. The speaker also has an XLR Mix Out which can be used to ‘daisy chain’ more speakers into the mix.
Also on the controls / inputs panel is a Ground Lift Switch, Power LED, Signal Limit LED, Contour button, all neatly laid out.
One thing to be wary of, or should I say careful of is the level controls when using a Mic or Line feed, as these are controlled by a volume dial, rather than an on/off switch – so accidents can happen and if set wrong could cause problems, but I’m sure the new Alto limiter circuitry will handle this! This is where the TS212 Electronic clip, thermal and transducer override protection would kick in.
The TS212 can also be used as a wedge monitor with its rear angled panel, perfect for fold-back usage on a stage. On the bottom / bass of the speaker is a pole-mountable socket for your speaker stand and the speaker also has the standard M10 suspension points, very handy for permanent install jobs.
The TS212 uses a custom engineered high-efficiency class D amplifier with passive cooling design – No fan means the speaker runs cleaner, quieter and has greater long-term reliability.
Some technical information from Alto:
Improved LF extension and control: All 3 models in The new TS2 series provide an additional 20 Hz of extended deep low frequency output. This was made possible by a higher power LF amplifier, as well as implementing an improved LF limiter. The LF limiter includes a sophisticated dynamic filter to avoid over-excursion and audible distortion as the speaker is pushed to its’ limits. This allows for a deep extended LF response at low to moderate listening levels, while keeping the LF response “under control” as the levels are increased to typical use levels for DJ or Live sound events. The TS2 series is the first product to our knowledge that implements this feature at the lower TS price points.
Custom engineered HF Waveguide: we have an all new HF horn design The new TS2 series uses the identical custom engineered and optimized HF waveguide geometry designed for BLACK series and thus the HF response is now very uniform and well matched to the LF drivers.
New EQ circuitry and improved cabinet acoustics: . The new TS2 series uses improved cabinet and HF horn acoustics to require less equalization, and it uses an improved EQ circuit topology that is more accurate and precise. The result is the frequency response is perceived in listening tests as “smoother” than other speakers in this price range . Often what people perceive audibly as more output level in a certain frequency range is actually measured as a rougher frequency response curve. We believe this is part of the sonic improvement of the midrange in the new TS2 series.
New Limiter Circuit design: Existing products in this price category mainly use a simple optical limiter, who’s design dates back more than 50 years. The new TS2 series implements a new ground up VCA based limiter with precision limiting thresholds and fully optimized attack and release times. The new models can be driven 10 to 15 dB harder than the previous models while still sounding clean and playing as loud or louder than the previous models.
• 550W continuous, 1100W peak Class D power
• 12-inch (300mm) LF driver, 2.5-inch (64mm) high-temperature voice coil
• 1-inch (25mm) neodymium driver with precision waveguide
• Bi-amplified design with precision active crossover and EQ
• Integrated 2-channel mixer with dual XLR+.-inch combo mic/line inputs and independent level controls • XLR Mix output
• Ground-Lift switch
• Contour switch for increased EQ control
• Electronic clip, thermal and transducer overdrive protection
• Compact, lightweight, trapezoidal cabinet design for easy transport and installation
• Angled rear panel for wedge monitor applications • Stand- and pole-mountable with integral M10 suspension points • Designed and tuned in the USA
Output Power 1100W peak (700 LF + 400 HF)
550W continuous RMS (350 LF + 200 HF)
Low Frequency 12” (300mm) woofer, 2.5” (64mm) voice coil
High Frequency 1” (25mm) neodymium driver with precision waveguide
Maximum SPL 127dB peak, 124dB continuous (dB SPL @ 1m)
Frequency Response 53Hz–20kHz (+/-3dB)
Frequency Range 46Hz–22 kHz(-10dB)
Coverage 90° H x 60° V nominal
Connectors (2) XLR+.-inch combo jack mic/line inputs (1) XLR Mix Output
Cabinet Trapezoidal, injection-moulded, polypropylene enclosure,
with perforated steel grille
Controls Volume, power on/off with LED, clip limiter with LED, ground lift
Protection Electronic clip, thermal and transducer overdrive protection
Power AC Input: 100–120/220–240V, 50/60Hz
Dimensions (HxWxD) 23.3” x 14.1” x 13.8” (591 x 357 x 351mm)
Weight 28.4 lbs / 12.9 kg
When you look at the packaging for the TS212, you’ll think wow! 1100-Watt speaker, awesome – NO!
Like most, you believe what is written or shown on the box or on the sticker that adorns the grill of the TS212… You’ll need to dig deeper and have a true understanding of what the actual speaker is capable of and it’s Watts.
It may say 1100 Watts on the box / sticker, but in fact the speaker is around 550 Watts continuous and the 1100 Watts is the peak Class D power. The low-frequency 12” driver is 350 Watts and the high-frequency transducer is 200 Watts when measured continuous R.M.S.
Don’t be put off by this, but just understand the difference as it’s not always about the Watts! You also need to be looking at the SPL at peak and continuous and the TS212 has a maximum SPL of 127 dB peak and 124 dB continuous (dB-SPL @ 1m)
Like anything, when you are looking to buy a new speaker you may go on-line on places like Facebook and seek advice and feedback from your peers… However, don’t just rely on the feedback given by other DJs, but look to arrange a personal demo at a local DJ Dealership where you can take along your own playout system and music to get a real feel of how things will sound, and as they say “Sound is personal” so use your own ears to decide.
For the price at the R.R.P of £239, the Alto TS212 are a real bargain and although a budget speaker, they look more expensive and even come with a blue LED light on the front [Marmite].
Compared to similar priced speakers in the market today, the TS212 will do very well I think and have their place amongst the mobile DJ circuit. Like most things you buy, it’s always best to use quality IEC power leads and good quality XLR leads and your playback system needs to be up to scratch and your media files of a high quality standard like WAV or 320 CBR mp3…
If you put crap into your system, you’ll get crap out!
Now, this is the part that most of you will be interested in…
I had the opportunity to take the Alto TS212 on the road for a real test of durability and to get a real live feel of how they sound in a working environment for both Disco and Karaoke.
I was nervous and had my reservations about using them and leaving my current sound system at home, but I should not have been. Upon arriving at a holiday camp in Whitstable, Kent I unloaded my vehicle and proceeded to set-up my disco for the evening’s entertainment which also included some karaoke. The TS212 were a joy to set-up and get in place, very easy to lift and mount on my speaker stands and looked great with my black speaker scrims [not everyone’s cup of tea].
I wired up my Denon MC6000MK2 to the TS212’s with some high quality Van Damme / Neutrik XLR leads and was ready to go… Starting with some background music as people came in and wandering around a little to get a feel of the sound out the front, I was overly impressed with how bright and clear the sound was in the function room.
The room was filling up now and I cranked up the sound some more activating the Contour button, giving me a 3dB EQ boost – now a very punchy bass coming from the 12” driver.
My playout was set to a flat EQ and VDJ 8 set at a gain of 0dB keeping things in balance for the disco and karaoke. Karaoke requests now started to come in and I had my first set of singers up to perform and gave them my two radio mics and waited with baited breath to see how the speakers would sound!
As they started to sing I popped out the front to get an idea of the levels as I normally do and I must say honestly, I was very impressed with the crystal clear vocals and the sound that was coming from these two 12” speakers – filling the room up nicely and not over-powering or distorted in any way. I will say one thing though, these speakers are very bright and carry a higher top-end for some, but with a little EQ you can take this away a little by reducing the treble and upping the Mid slightly if you so wish. Adding a small 12” or 15” sub would compensate for this if need be.
The room must have had in excess of 80 people and I feel the speakers coped very well, with no overload or clipping and still headroom for more output if needed. Compared to when I just had the one speaker being tested in mono, these pair of speakers in stereo definitely sounded much better in a live environment and for the money, you can’t really complain.
I personally feel that there is a place for the TS212 speaker and it is an ideal speaker for small functions and karaoke events with or without the need for subs, but if you intend to cover an event with say 100 to 150 people, you’ll need some sub reinforcement, but for the average pub gig or small kids party etc. the TS212 are perfect.
Now the question is… Would I buy a pair of these speakers?
If my budget could not stretch to more than say £500, then yes, I would honestly consider these speakers for my smaller events and karaoke.
On a closing note, if you wanted something a little more powerful or indeed smaller, the Truesonic 2 Series speaker range offers you the TS210, TS212 and the TS215 as well as their Truesonic 2 Series of Subs – TS212S, TS215S and the TS218S.
The Truesonic 2 Series also offers a Wireless Bluetooth option – TS215W and the TS212W
I hope you have enjoyed reading my review of the Alto TS212