I have to say upfront, that as a performing musician and songwriter, the original SRM Series portable loudspeakers from Mackie were the systems I favored at the time and used the longest. That was likely because, not only did they sound good, they sounded good in a wide variety of situations. I was pretty excited to try out the company’s new SRM V-Class speakers, which come in 10”, 12” and 15” sizes. I recently unboxed a pair of SRM210s and was not disappointed.
It was obvious from the outset that these speakers represent a new design that is both practical and artistic. The specifications offer that the speakers will output an SPL of 131dB (maximum) with a frequency response of 45Hz – 20kHz. Those are very respectable specifications for a compact cabinet with just a 10” speaker and Mackie’s custom SymX™ horn, weighing in at just under 31 lbs. As a quick test, I powered a speaker up and set up to play some recorded music.
The combination of Mackie’s V-Class 2000W Class-D amplifier; low-frequency transducer and horn; and an intelligently designed cabinet made an impressive, full-range sound and both low and moderate volume levels. Recorded acoustic instruments sounded remarkably clear and very real. For applications that could push the system to its limits, the amplifier offers protection with advanced system limiting and protection.
Past speaker design and quality components, the V-Class electronics offer some impressive DSP tuning and mixing options from the back panel with the system’s built-in 4-channel digital mixer with Bluetooth. The system provides dual independent channels that support mic, line, and instrument signals along with a dedicated 1/8” stereo aux channel. The Bluetooth option allows for streaming music from any Bluetooth enabled device. The 210 also provides convenient direct outs on channels 1 and 2 plus a mix out. Single knob and color display with good contrast provides for easy access to the mixer, EQ, Bluetooth setup, and select speaker features (Speaker Voicing: Flat, Live, Speech, Club, or Monitor and Location: Inside or Outside). Selections are made with a knob to move through menus and push to select options. All features are also accessible via wireless control with the SRM Connect app for Android or iOS. However you control the V-Class 210, the layout is very straight forward.
In performance situations, the V-Class 210 offered outstanding tonal balance and output levels with guitar, keyboard, and vocals. For solo acts, simply plugging instrument and vocal into the speaker’s two channels will make for an easy setup and performance with excellent sound.
Even when the system was challenged with an outdoor performance situation, these speakers offered very respectable flat response with more punchy bass and headroom than one might expect from a relatively light 10-inch speaker configuration. A crisp high-end and smooth response of Mackie’s custom SymX™ horn flattered acoustic instruments and made for clear, realistic vocals.
It should be mentioned that with the V-Class 210, you get many features of much larger systems. Important features for bands or acts that require filling larger rooms with sound is the system’s transparent limiting, low-frequency management system and protection features, all of which serve to monitor and protect the amplifier–and the sound of your act–in real time. This means that you can push the system when you need to, and the protective electronics will preserve the sound quality and tonal balance, so your music still sounds good. Like having an audio professional mix for you, when inputs to the system are too ‘hot,’ before they distort, the V-Class 210 is smart enough to limit them. Of course, basic adjustments like channel levels and EQ are available along with more advanced features, including venue-specific voicing modes, crossover points, and alignment delay are at your fingertips, too. Once you get it sounding right, you can save and recall your set-ups with up to 10 user presets.
For precise room coverage, the V-Class 210 offers a 90°(H) x 60°(V) coverage pattern and a dual-angle pole mount that includes a 7-degree downward tilt to adjust speaker position when performing on elevated stages. The cabinet’s dual-angled design allows for its use as a floor monitor and an easily graspable, recessed handle on the opposing side makes for easy transport. M10 flypoints are engineered into the design for permanent vertical installation.
An interesting and very useful feature is the wireless linking of two SRM V-Class speakers together for music streaming applications. Essentially, users can take advantage of this feature to extend the V-Class 210 system to other compatible remote speakers via Bluetooth. The system provides for both stereo or dual zone linking modes and allows users discrete control over the inputs and outputs of the entire system across two rooms or zones–without cables! The latest Bluetooth technology allows up to 100 meters between linked speakers. Along with access to system settings and zone setups, the SRM Connect app also gives users access to an information portal with manuals and useful videos.
All in all, the Mackie V-Class 210 gets you more technology than you might expect from a basic 10” loudspeaker and horn. But, most importantly, you get an easily transportable system that can be used on its own or in a bigger system configuration to deliver a lot of great sound to fill a lot of different venues. It’s surprisingly good for its size.
Street price: $699.99