STEREO GUIDE verdict
+ Incredible dynamics, almost PA-like
+ groovy, kicking bass
+ incredibly high max SPL given the size
+ useful connectivity options
+ App inlcuding faders
– not particularly silky in sound
– limited directivity
– it is not waterproof
Sound: Tonal balance / Transparency8
Sound: Bass / Dynamics9.5
Ease-of-use / Connectivity9.5
Price / Performance9.5
Mackies Thump Go 8” does not simply look like a speaker coming from the big stage. It basically is pro gear. Speaking of active monitors, it is increasingly different to separate between professional and hi-fi equipment. But should the same be true to a portable Bluetooth speaker? Okay, some street musicians and DJs are relying on compact all-in-one systems for outdoor use. A classic of this genre is the Mackie SRM450. Its basically on what Mackie´s PA reputation is relying on. However, even in its latest iteration it is not an obvious choice for private users as its weighing almost 20 kilograms and does not allow battery operation.
So, here the Mackie Thump Go 8″ enters the stage. As not uncommon to pros, the figure 8″ indicates the inch size of the bass driver. This allows for a compact and, with its plastic enclosure, also very lightweight cabinet. Comparing this one with party speakers from Sony and JBL, you get a less flamboyant but more robust impression thanks to the steel grille. Unfortunately, there is no water- or dust-proofing at all.
But the pros offer some tricks you won’t find in HiFi equipment: The Mackie´s battery can be replaced quickly and it offers a mixer plus mic inputs. It is quite easy to put the speaker itself onto a tripod or place it on the floor angled in wedge-monitor manner. The latter ensures that sound is pointing towards the ears and not towards the ankles.
A lot of technology in just 8 kilograms
As we know it from PA gear, the Thump Go offers a horn tweeter plus compression driver. So the angle of ideal frequency response is somehow limiting to about 90 degrees horizontally and 60 degrees vertically. Which means the resulting sweet-spot is only 60 degs when placing the speaker angled on the floor. One should take into consideration thats listeners far outside this sweet-spot angle might get noticeably duller sound with less treble energy.
The manufacturer promises a whopping 200 watts of power, alone 175 watts for the woofer and 25 for the tweeter. This is a reasonable ratio as horn tweeters usually offer pretty decent efficiency. By optimizing SPL, the Mackie Thump relies on one channel and pure mono playback. Another Mackie speaker can be connected wirelessly, and a daisy-chain arrangement is also possible with an appropriate XLR cable.
Professional PA or party machine?
When it comes to playback options, the Mackie Thump Go proves to be quite multi-faceted: It has a mixer built in, which lets you mix signals from Bluetooth (version 5.0) plus two wired inputs. XLR inputs as well as small (3.5 mm) and large (1/4″) jack sockets are available.
The well-distributed control panel features some features that might sound rather unfamiliar to hi-fi people: a feedback suppressor against microphone feedback, a boosting of bass and treble called “Outdoor Mode” as well as a “ducking” function. The latter translates to an announcement option that turns down the music level whenever someone is doing and announcement via mic.
The Mackie App
Mackie Thump Connect 2 is the name to search for in Android and iOS app stores. The app doubles most of controls found on the terminal. It is lacking a sophisticated graphic EQ , but you got bass and treble controls exclusivly in the app.
Exchanging the battery and getting accessories
When partying longer, you might notice the battery´s status LED changing its colour to red. No need for panicking, no problem! A replacement battery is available as an accessory, and it is really quickly exchanged opening the battery flap in the bottom.
Further accessories wellknown to pro users might also be useful for mobile party use. There is a sturdy travel bag with shoulder strap. Because at the recessed grip even a Mackie Thump Go 8″ might feel pretty heavy on the way from the trunk to the beach.
If you plan to provide sound reinforcement for larger crowds – speaking of a garden party or some anti-climate demonstrations – you might consider buying a speaker stand. Flanged onto one, the Mackie offers an enormous range. However, any tripod with a standard mount will do the job.
How does the Mackie Thump Go 8″ perform?
After reviewing numerous Bluetooth party speakers, we came to a very fast conclusion: Mackie means serious business. The Thump Go 8″ delivers such an incredible punch and it is enormous fun to listen to it. It really behaves like a mobile PA. Meaning achieving remarkably high max SPL and showing no signs of strain even when kicked in the butt. On the contrary: Although it is very responsive and differentiated even at low levels, the bass is more fun when playing it as it is meant be: Loud. The lower end not just offers perfectly dry, precise punch, but also remarkable fundament given the size of the cabinet.
So i had a spontaneous thought: If I would be young again and starting my first stereo system to rock the block I would probably end up with two “Mackie Thump Go 8” connected via the app to form a stereo pair. However, some decibel-sensitive neighbours and the reactive law enforcement community in my hometown might put an end to these adolescent dreams. Such a speaker should be used in environments you can use its virtues- preferably far from sensitive ears who do not agree with your selection of music and SPL.
In the mood
Speaking of impulse, accuracy and transparency, the Mackie Thump Go is a blast, regardless the price. In contrast, apart from the heavier JBL Partybox 310, pretty much all mobile Bluetooth speakers under 10 kilograms known to us are basically toys.
We loved to listen to David Gilmour’s electric guitar playing “Whish You Were Here” live in Pompeii. Picking and strutting the strings is so extremely precise, powerful and detailed. It does not sound anything like what is commonly associated with mobile Bluetooth speakers. Even acoustic guitars we found to be sounding extraordinarily lively and authentic.
If you favour electronic music or hip-hop, you might even find the Mackie´s sheer explosive beats more compelling. The roll-off at the lower end was chosen carefully so you hardly face any problems of booming. All in all, this is a very strong performance for a Bluetooth speaker in this price range.
On the quest for Bluetooth party speakers
If you want to get maximum SPL and club feeling out of just 8 kilograms of a speaker, get yourself Mackie´s Thump Go 8″ without hesitating. Serious alternatives from HiFi manufacturers are not known to us. The JBL Partybox 310, recently reviewed in detail by STEREO GUIDE, sounds a bit smoother and more full-bodied than the Mackie. In return, the latter makes even more pressure and asserts itself much better at long distances. For just 400 euros, the Mackie is an incredible buy. If you do not insist on a waterproof box.
Specifications party speaker Mackie Thump Go 8″
- Retail price: 400 euros
- Dimensions (W x H x D): 28.5 x 46 x 24 cm
- Weight: 8 kg
- Battery life up to 12 hours
- Features: Mixer, 2 jack/XLR inputs, EQ presets, app control, replaceable battery.
- More at: https://mackie.com
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