Alto Professional TS112A Brings Power and Clarity to the Mix
(ShackMan | Posted 2011-08-30)
If I could compare Alto Professional's TRUESONIC speakers to anything, I'd say they're like a good muscle car. There aren't many buttons, knobs, or dials. Just turn the key and go. And like a good muscle car they've got power: 800 watts of it. For a speaker that I (in my scrawny and gangly form) can lift with one hand while carrying one of my keyboards in a hardshell case, it has some serious punch. Enough punch to cover, say, a small baseball field and stands. Not bad for a 36 pound active speaker. Alto Professional sent me two of them, because why just have one when you can roll out in stereo?
I opened the boxes up to find that everything about this really is made to get it out and go. It was packaged tightly and well-padded, but once I got it out, there were no pull-ties to cut or egregious amounts of tape and plastic to hack and slash through. Just a bag and a power cord with a twist tie. Open up, plug in, and go. Although they aren't as heavy as your average muscle car, they certainly are tough. The propylene shell may just look like plastic, but it's built to withstand the rigors of hard touring, from bouncing around in the back of a van, to being stood on as a monitor, to being dropped onstage (Alto Professional even DOES the last one in one of their promotional videos...that's guts!).
At home they made clean and clear monitors for the bands, vocals, and just for practicing by myself with my keyboards or working on acoustic material. Even at low volumes they still had solid punch, and the contour button helped carry the low end without needing to crank up and blow a few windows out. With a small mixer at home for practice, I found the "Mix Out" incredibly helpful for sending signals to monitor speakers straight from the mains. Even before they came out on a gig, I could see just how versatile they were, and how interconnectable they were. Each speaker could become a main speaker (either on a mount or hanging), a monitor (laying down on its side), a personal amplifier (for keys or acoustic guitar), and we even could take an output from the monitors or mains to a headphone array for in-ear monitoring of the whole mix.
Out in the real world tests, the Truesonic TS112A's 12" woofer and 1" driver made their presence known with very wide frequency response, and, especially in the case of the baseball field, their ability to cover a wide range with just one speaker. It's 100 degrees of coverage. Not too shabby at all. But it was their overall response that really impressed me. They manage to get 54 Hz to 20kHz out of injection molded speakers, and the high crossover at 2.5kHz helps keep the mix from sounding muddy.
My overall experience with them reminded me how happy I am when I don't have to carry a PA rack system to a gig, or even a powered mixer. Being able to set up and plug in my keyboard and microphone with less than 5 cables in my bag was a real treat. Even for a larger concert, the 800 watts each speaker put out made plenty of noise. Even when setting up a live mix, I still used the contour switch to bring up the vocal register and add a little extra "thud" in the low end when playing live. These get my recommendation. They're tough, loud, easy to use, and they have the connectivity to stay in your rig even as you add a mixer and a full live setup. Alto Professional's Truesonic speakers are designed to be usable for a long time, even as your home and live rigs expand, and that's the best thing about them. They're inexpensive, and they stay useful for years and years.
James Rushin is a bassist, keyboardist, writer, and composer living and working in the Greater Pittsburgh area. He has performed with Selmer artist Tim Price, Curtis Johnson, guitarists Ken Karsh and Joe Negri. His compositions have been featured in and around Pittsburgh, at West Virginia University and Valley Forge Christian College. He is currently performing with recording artist Ben Shannon and singer/songwriters Tim Ruff, and Nathan Zoob (who is still in the process of getting a website - Music to come soon!).
Got questions? Comments? James can be reached as ShackMan in the Music Gear Review forums, or you may e-mail him at James.Rushin@MusicGearReview.com.