While these do sound alright, especially for the money, the TX10s’ strongest points would be their portability and loudness. For mobile jocks and DJs who love playing house parties and other non-traditional dance venues, the Alto TX10s are an inexpensive way to augment or even start building your own portable DJ rig.
First Impressions / Setting up
I’ve had a handful of bad experiences with PA speakers during my teen years as a “mobile” DJ (ie an excuse to pool cash with a few friends to buy gear and play parties to meet girls), but that was during the 90s when affordable active speakers were harder to find, so we had to resort to DIY-built, extremely heavy speaker cabinets and bass bins that required two people to carry them, leading to pulled muscles and almost-slipped discs. (I still have one such speaker as a keepsake from those “good ol’ days”…)
As such, weight and size are a big concern for me when it comes to “portable” PA speakers. The Alto TX10s really are light, just like it says on the tin: I easily unpacked them from their boxes without issue. Further, I found myself carrying the entire pair from my car to my office to set up, all without breaking a sweat. That’s a feat in itself!
The enclosure is made of hard plastic, and can be mounted on a standard speaker pole, or set on its side like a wedge for booth and stage monitoring. The facade looks like your average loudspeaker; a cavity above where the tweeter / horn is, and a metal grille covering the woofer for protection.
Round the back is a balanced XLR input jack for connecting your DJ gear’s output, and also an XLR Link output, which lets you series another TX10 speaker to run audio to a pair of them. Of course, this won’t be needed if you’re hooking up your mixer or DJ controller’s stereo outputs directly, but they can be useful for some situations where you may find yourself needing to connect a mono source.
Other controls in the back are a volume knob and a power switch, as well as a three-prong mains connector. That’s about it; no EQ dials, no fancy compressor settings. This is as basic as it gets.
I hooked up the TX10s to my DJ gear in my production office to try them out. I’m not going to tell you that I was blown away by the clarity, depth, and extremely high sound quality of these speakers, because I wasn’t, and mainly because these aren’t supposed to be reference-grade monitors. These are low-cost gig / performance monitors, so their main strength is that they are loud. So loud, in fact, that I was quite surprised they were producing that much volume for such a small package!
That’s not to say that these don’t sound good; they’re decent, but don’t expect to get any nods from your audiophile friends. With that said, though, if you can only afford to buy a single pair of speakers for practice and gigging, these are a better move than spending the same money on DJ monitors: You can have these in your DJ practice studio, and then when it’s time to head to your gig, you can take them along either as party speakers or if you’re playing somewhere bigger, for a consistent monitoring experience. Sure beats blowing up your home speakers.
I know this sounds ridiculous, but I’ve played dozens of venues where the monitoring was either so poor or non-existent that I had to resort to mix with split cue on headphones, which can really ruin an otherwise enjoyable gig. So I took them to test at a show I played over the weekend, using them as my booth monitors for a medium-sized venue. They did the job as expected, nothing more, nothing less.
While these do sound alright, especially for the money, the TX10’s strongest suits would be its portability and loudness. As I’ve mentioned, you can easily take this from your bedroom DJ / practice set-up straight to your gig, whether you choose to have it as a booth monitor or as a speaker to fill some of the quieter spaces of your venue. I can imagine some mobile guys using this as a speaker to pipe music to another room that would otherwise not be covered by their main speakers, for instance. One of the trade-offs of their light weight and therefore portability is going to be sound quality (solid, heavy speakers tend to sound better).
If you’re a club DJ and you’ve always got a reliable monitoring solution at the venue you play at, you may want to pass on this since you’ve already got something good, but for mobile jocks and DJs who love playing house parties and other non-traditional dance venues, the Alto TX10s are an inexpensive way to augment or even start building your own portable DJ rig.
I really do wish something like this was widely available when I was a lot younger and poorer – and a lot more gung-ho about hauling a mobile system around… my back would be in much better shape because of it.