The Mackie Thump Go is a marvel of a speaker. Not much bigger than a standard studio monitor, it is in fact a small PA speaker, with pro inputs and outputs, a long-lasting replaceable rechargeable battery, Bluetooth, and a mini live mixer built in. For the size, it sounds great. For DJs, a pair of these may be the only speakers you ever need for DJ practice, small parties, and just throwing in the trunk to play down the beach with Bluetooth.
First Impressions / Setting up
The Mackie Thump Go is a smart-looking, lightweight speaker in a rugged plastic moulded casing, with an equally rugged and neat metal grille. The speaker is in the classic “wedge” shape, and indeed it can double up as a floor monitor at a 45 degree angle, as well as stand vertically, or be mounted on a tripod. It has a 1″ tweeter, an 8″ woofer, and is front ported.
There is a trademark Mackie accent on the handle in green, and a small green LED strip at the bottom of the speaker that shows when it is turned on, and pulses when the battery (which is under a cover on the bottom of the speaker, easily accessed with a screwdriver) is charging. Weirdly, there’s even a button for turning that off – then again, for use indoors at home, this may prove a smart move from Mackie.
On the back of the speaker is the standard IEC power socket (lead, of course, supplied), a physical on/off rocker switch, and then to the back-right are the controls, comprising three volume knobs, two XLR/TRS input combo sockets, an 1/8″ minijack input, an XLR mono output, and buttons to control speaker features, which we’ll come on to later in this review.
There are chunky rubber feet on the underside and on one edge of the speaker, to facilitate it standing on a surface or lying flat, stage monitor style.
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To get it going (assuming you’re DJing and not just hooking up Bluetooth, in which case it works like any other Bluetooth pairing, ie very simply), you just turn it on and plug something in. The volume controls are self explanatory, and DJs will probably want to use the 1/8″ minijack from a mixer or controller with the correct adaptor cable. The battery will charge automatically when the speaker is plugged in, so you need never worry about removing or managing that.
So what’s it actually like? Let’s move on to that now…
The speaker has several selectable audio modes, and the one that will be most useful for DJs is called “Music”. This gives a pretty full, rounded sound, pleasing to the ear at any volume. You could use a pair of these in your DJ practice studio as your main home speakers on this setting, and equally, this setting would work for a party.
Indeed, for me the beauty about owning a pair of these is that they could be pushed into work in both situations, unlike home DJ monitors which you’d be foolish to take to a party and play through, as they are far more delicate and not designed for that type of use.
The other audio modes include a clever “Outdoor” mode (to compensate for the frequencies usually lost when DJing out of doors), and a “Sub” mode for when you plug a sub into the Thru output from a Thump, among a couple of other modes most suited to performers who plug mics directly into such speakers – which isn’t really us DJs.
That said, a nice feature of the little two-channel mixer built in to the unit is that you can have Bluetooth hooked up to, say, your phone, and be DJing too, at the same time. This means that for breaks in DJing, or if you have a switchover to do, or suffer a technical hitch, you can immediately start music playing over your phone without faffing about pairing it up.
Speaking of Bluetooth, you can also pair two Mackie Thump Gos for a wireless pair, which can be in stereo or summed mono, switchable via the Thump Connect 2 app for iOS/Android. This would be no good for DJing due to latency, but useful for home and leisure use.
We found the claimed 12 hour battery life to be more like six hours at a decent volume, which is still very good (I am sure you could reach 12 at a lower volume, but where’s the fun in that?). Putting our musician’s hat on, we also noted that there is feedback suppression for any mics you have plugged in, which is a nice addition, alongside some voice-specific settings for EQ and a bit of microphone compression. Again, you can tweak the EQ a bit more using the app.
Various ways you could use these include:
- Just using one, plugged into your DJ controller with a 2 x RCA-to-1/8″ stereo minijack cable
- Just using one as a Bluetooth speaker, as you’d use any Bluetooth portable battery speaker
- Using two in stereo, with two RCA-to-TRS cables, for the left/right outputs of your DJ controller/mixer
- Using two in mono, with your gear plugged into one, then the other plugged into the Thru of the first one
- Using one as a DJ monitor, then feeding the Thru output from that to a bigger PA system (most bar/lounge/club PAs are mono anyway, so the fact that this would be mono wouldn’t matter)
- Using them with a subwoofer, by plugging your DJ gear into the subwoofer, then the subwoofer to the speakers in either of the two ways immediately about
- Using with a subwoofer, with the subwoofer plugged into one or a pair of these further down the audio chain, via the Thru output
So you see that depending on the need, these are very flexible little speakers.
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The Mackie Thump Go is a truly intriguing all-rounder. Use a pair of them as DJ practice speakers, even as your only home stereo speakers. Put them on tripods and use them for small parties, perhaps with the addition of a small sub. Take one down the beach to use as a Bluetooth speaker. Take one to use as a personal DJ monitor when playing venues that don’t provide one.
With hot-swappable decent batteries, easy portability, and good sound, a pair of these may be all the speakers a hobby DJ ever needs.
You can get better wireless in this type of speaker (the Soundboks Go incorporates a system called SKAA, which is pretty much latency-free, so can be used for DJing), and you’re never going to play huge parties with small speakers like this, but for what they are, they sound great, and they are surprisingly loud – we couldn’t turn them up anywhere near as loud as they go in our studio. (For what it’s worth, the specs say 200W peak, which means little in all honesty, and there’s no RMS, the spec we would look for.) tTe DSP kicks in as the volume rises so you can’t really harm them, but push them too far and the bass will suffer.
As far as competition goes, we’ve already mentioned the Soundboks Go, although that doesn’t have the pro inputs, and you could also look at the HK Audio Move 8, another speaker we’ve reviewed with similar spec. But the Thump Go definitely hits a sweet spot, doing what it does well, and coming in cheaper than those two.
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If you want a small, loud battery/mains and Bluetooth enabled all-rounder for DJing, parties and leisure use, this one can handle it all – especially if you buy a pair, and at some point, add a sub.