Alto TS115A

Studio or stage, affordable powered loudspeakers are increasingly the rule rather than the exception. Judging from the solid performance of the two-way TrueSonic TS115A, Alto Professional is very serious about serving musicians and street-level audio engineers who consider more power with less weight and fewer components the top three desires when shopping for portable PA.

The 39lb. TS115A boasts an 800W peak/400W continuous total power spec, with 670W for its 15in woofer/2in voice coil low frequency driver and 130W for its 1in neodymium compression driver. I/O can serve a wide variety of small/portable PA applications: two XLR/0.25in combo inputs and a male XLR “mix out” with ground lift reside on its back panel, with a rotary gain control per input channel. Power and clip/ limit LEDs also reside on the back panel, and a handy “Contour” on/ off switch allows users to add a pleasant, mid-dipped EQ “smiley face” to the mix.

As for specs, the TS115A offers a 53Hz to 19kHz (+/-3dB) response; the built-in active crossover is set at 2.5kHz. Maximum SPL (@ 1m) is 126dB peak, 123dB continuous.

Cabinet dimensions are 26.7 by 16.9 by 14.3in. Mounting options include an integrated pole socket (@ 36mm in diameter) and six M10 threaded sockets (two on top, two on the bottom, and two on the back panel). Two well designed side handles and one top handle make moving the TS115A around easy.

It is worth noting that the TS115A’s trapezoidal polypropylene enclosure with perforated steel grille is particularly rugged—far more than its low street price suggests. Having lugged many plastic powered speakers around, this is one I wouldn’t (and didn’t) fret about manhandling, banging around and/or dropping. Personally speaking, in the realm of affordable portable PA, this type of promised resiliency means everything.

Over a span of three months, I largely depended on a TS115A pair in a variety of typical portable PA applications, including band rehearsals and indoor/outdoor live performances, with use as both stage monitor/wedges and pole mounted mains, with and without an accompanying subwoofer. For live outdoor events, the sub assisted TS115A pair was most impressive; the performance was punchy and full, surprising the band at its ability to deliver what was normally covered by a powered speaker nearly three times the cost of the Alto.

The ‘mix out’ XLR is handy for daisy-chaining monitor mix signal through a string of powered stage monitors, which the Alto pair served as in numerous gigs where lead vocal was successfully pushed hard due to loud stage volume. Even at times when the signal limit LED steadily flickered with each beat and vocal enunciation, distortion was never audible, and three to four two-hour shows with these kinds of performance demands went off without a hitch. In other words, it’s ‘mission accomplished’ for this $700 street portable PA.

The TS115A is such a solid performer that the Alto Professional brand now means something to me. If the rest of the TrueSonic line is built to the TS115A’s standards in both fidelity and strength, I won’t be surprised when Alto gains portable PA market share in 2012. The TS115A is a true bargain and, I believe, a measurable cut above its similarly priced competition.

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