Bi- and tri-amplified systems always sound better than passive speakers driven by a single power amp. When those components have been hand-selected and designed to work as a complementary system, the sound quality and functionality of that system increases exponentially. Mackie Active electronics take all the guesswork out of system configuration and hookup. Just plug in the power cable and the signal line from your board or snake — we've already done the rest for you. It couldn't be easier.
There is no need for massive racks of amps and processing gear when you've got Mackie Active Loudspeakers. The built-in active crossover divides the incoming signal and sends a sonically optimized, phase-aligned, and time-corrected signal to each of the internal amplifiers, which were designed specifically for their respective transducers. This means all of our internal amplifiers are perfectly mated with their speakers, eliminating any possibility that transducers will be over or underpowered. With Mackie Active Technology, we take all the hassle out of "multi-amp" systems.
All Mackie Active Loudspeaker systems include multiple active electronic EQ stages that perform tasks no coil-and-capacitor crossover could possibly do. Since there is no transducer on earth which has "ruler-flat" response across its entire frequency bandwidth, we enlisted the gurus at Eastern Acoustic Works (EAW) to tune the SAz models' parametric equalization. The brain pool at EAW both optimized the transducer's output, and solved the inherent phasing problems. This same electronic system also makes it possible to create a smooth, precise soundstage with proper, controlled phase response.
When the signal is completely in phase, the results are detailed imaging, greater depth of field, and real definition. When the signal is not in phase, you hear inconsistent sound with lots of muddy artifacts, which spoil the listening experience throughout the room. Even typical 2- and 3-way systems, with properly connected components encounter phase anomalies that are too expensive and unwieldy to correct due to the high cost of premium passive crossover components.
The Active onboard electronics inside the SAz and SRz series allow us to refine the phase alignment characteristics to eliminate such anomalies. The result is clear, consistent sound, as well as superior dispersion characteristics. What it all means; every person in your audience will hear the same thing. In the back. In the front. On the sides. The difference will be instantly noticeable. (see Fig. A)
Each transducer has a "plane of origin" where its sound generation begins. The compression driver's plane of origin is deep inside the enclosure. The woofer's sound-producing cone is much closer to the front of the enclosure. The result is bass that arrives at listeners' ears sooner than treble. In the case of a 3-way system, you end up with three staggered time arrivals. To solve this puzzle, you need a method of correctly timing the arrival of electrical impulses at each transducer. In other words, the HF transducer needs a "head start" over the LF transducer so the differences in sound generation speed can be accounted for, and both signals can arrive at the listeners' ears simultaneously. (see Fig. B)
Clever electronics inside our 2- and 3-way systems allow precise alignment among the system components without any audio signal degradation. This is especially important as distance from the loudspeaker increases. The closer you get to the speaker, the greater effect time correction has on the quality of sound.
Mackie knows power amplifier technology inside and out. In fact, we're one of the few manufacturers of active speaker systems who actually market a very successful line of separate power amps as well.
The high-current amplifiers inside the SAz Super Actives are clean sounding, and ultra-reliable. They're designed specifically for the transducers they're coupled to. This last point is especially important because the amplification requirements of a bass transducer are enormously different from those of a midrange or high frequency driver. To properly control an LF transducer, you need an amp that can deliver specific loads of current to handle the mass of the woofer cone, and can keep it moving in a controlled manner. Moreover, you need to control the interaction between the amplifier and the transducer motor, an impossible task when the amp is at the opposite end of a long speaker cable. (see Fig. C)
Compression drivers and midranges are highly efficient and need less power to achieve extreme SPL levels. You can substantially improve their accuracy however, by providing high voltage amplification with extremely low intermodulation distortion by-products. With the correct amplification, you can properly equalize a system and still have plenty of headroom.
Since Mackie Active speaker systems integrate application-specific amplifiers, they can achieve the highest possible output from the system's components. Passive systems with standard crossovers and unknown amplifiers are less likely to achieve an ideal, seamless, high-performance system solution.
The 15-inch and 12-inch low frequency transducers in our SAz Super Actives are virtually burn-out-proof. The "motor" of our specially designed 15-inch LF transducer uses an extremely high-flux magnet structure and a unique 3-inch high-temperature voice coil. Here is why that is a good thing.
A speaker voice coil is an electromagnet consisting of copper wire wound onto a round "former." When you put lots of power through wire, it gets hot. If it gets too hot, the voice coil croaks. The wire can burn out, toast the voice coil, or melt the adhesive attaching it onto the coil. (see Fig. D)
This happens all too often to conventional subwoofer transducers because of the way their voice coils are designed. As heat builds up unevenly, the wire and former expand at different rates. This can lead to catastrophic failure as the wire separates from the former.
Our proprietary design allows for maximum cooling to take place. The wire and voice coil former expand at the same rate, relieving stress and preventing separation. Mackie LF transducers can withstand running 10 hours, flat-out at a rave, in a sweaty 100° F warehouse—or even worse.
Bottom line: the SAz and SRz 15" LF transducers can handle the full power load of their amplifiers continuously without burnout. In fact, they can theoretically handle power up to the point of glowing red-hot (700° F/380° C). In our SA1530z, SA1232z, SA1532z, and SR1530z 3-way systems, generating accurate high and midrange frequencies is only part of the story. They must be delivered to your audience... in the right amounts, in the same place, at the same time.
The entire top and bottom sections of the SAz cabinets are one-piece molded resin slabs. (see Fig. E) In terms of corner protection, this beats the tar out of the little dime store metal caps that our competition uses. It also lets us build in more carry handles, including on the bottom, so even packing them in and out is an improvement over competing products.