Tapco Poweramps and Speakers

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by zperaldrummerz, Aug 20, 2007.

  1. Has anyone used them, heard of them, played at a show where they we're used. I'm looking for some input on them because my new local music store carries them. They look like they are built pretty solid and I'm thinking about purchasing them within the upcoming month. Any feedback would be great. You can find the specs on their stuff at Google it!. I already own a Yamaha MG 16 channel mixer that I will be using along with the Tapco equipment.

    EDIT: Just did a little research, and TAPCO is actually Mackie's entry level line of equipment. Which is being reintroduced.
     
  2. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    Yes, TAPCO was Greg Mackie's first company, introduced back in the 70's.
    Now the company that owns Mackie these days is marketing a line of Chinese-built gear under the same name, as a "budget" line.
    I have owned and used Mackie power amps. No more. They would crap out at the worse time, and the amps were designed to be "factory-reconditioned" for any repairs. I was getting back amps that were obviously not what I sent in for repairs, and with more scratches, etc on them. Not good. Now I stick with Crown and QSC, and simply don't have those issues. Issues that I would suspect would be more prone with the "budget" line...
    Look at the TAPCO speakers and their features, and what they DON'T say.
    They say that they're "real wood", but no mention of the thickness. The "standard" claimed by other companies is 3/4", I suspect the TAPCOs don't meet that. They talk too much about the covering and plastic parts, not enough about the componentry. I have not yet seen a Chinese cast-frame speaker (the enclosures clearly state that they are made in China).
    And, at the price point they are built to meet, I'd doubt that that's what they use. Cast frames are important in live sound for a number of reasons. The main one is that they can handle the rigors of being moved. Bouncing inside a truck/van, banging into a door jamb, slamming the floor while attempting to mount them on poles, etc., will all kill a stamped-frame speaker by warping it, shifting the magnet, etc. Plus, companies that make both types usually put better quality behind their cast models.
    I believe that the Yamaha Club Series uses cast-frame Eminence speakers. Eminence has made great strides in producing quality live sound speakers, and their cast-frame models are exceptional. You might look at that line.
    I don't know how cheap you need to go, but there are products with a better track record in live sound, and still keep you on budget :
    Speakers: Yamaha and Peavey, SOME JBLs.
    Amps:Crown, QSC, Peavey, and some Yamahas.
     
  3. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Tapco......How many shows were done back-in-the-day where the main board went down and a couple of Tapco 6 channels finished the show!! The old mixers tended to have all the grease on the pots dry up to the point where you couldnt turn em up or down...Knew a LOT of keyboarders that used em as sub-mixers...Those little 6000R's could put out almost 10VOLTS...you could plug a speaker into the outputs on that board and hear it a bit...EV bought em and upgraded the design and then killed em off like the DoDo bird.....

    The new stuff is no better or worse than any other budget line of gear. Moon's talk about the rigidity of the speaker frames and the quality of the construction is a point that very few think about when they buy gear for live work. But it IS something that ,if youre planning a lot of moving and setting up and tearing down, you gotta make durability job one.

    We have Mackie 1400's in our live rack. They get turned on every weekend and played through at a decent volume. The rack stays in the trailer and five years and no problemo. I'm not saying that were there to be a problem that we would not encounter the same crappy-ass service Moon spoke of.......But we live close to the factory so bitching is a bit easier.

    Speakers. Dont know what volume you want to achieve......JBL's here. We have two sets of columns...2-15's and a horn in each...the mid-level line. Plus subs....JBL 2226's in a tuned box..Easy set up and tear down and in comparison to MOST other rigs we've heard with similar specs, these kill em all. No contest. The clarity and the depth is right where it should be. Others we have heard are the Warfdales, EV's, the Mackies, B52's...basic stuff. JBL is crisper, clearer, more headroom. Since I cant afford Martin-Logan this is what we use. Yamaha MG series board(GREAT!!!), Beringer processer, Alesis graphics....Bobs yer uncle.

    Of course, I do know what all the little dials and numbers mean......
     
  4. Thanks for the replies guys. I'm gonna talk to the guys at the store and see what they have to say about them. Of course keeping in mind that they are sales men and will probably do anything to get me to buy from them.

    As for the suggestions you made, pretty dead on with what I've been looking at getting before today. I've heard a lot of good things about the Yamaha Club series. And no doubt QSC abd Crown are the leaders in the power amp world.

    The setup I've been looking at before today though was 2 of the yamaha s112 speakers for the mains, and a crown XS500 to power them.

    What I might do is put out the money and pay for the yamaha's and just buy one of the tapco power amps, just to get going budget wise. then save up the money and buy the crown later. That way if something does happen to the crown, i'll still have the tapco to fall back on.
     
  5. Crankitup

    Crankitup Guest

    mackie is wacky
     
  6. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    Z:
    That sounds like a plan. Dave has a good point regarding the power amps.
    I had issues with them, but at that time, I was using them 5 nights a week, cranking subs for (I hate to say this) a hip-hop promoter. That crap will kill anything!
    BTW, I STILL have a Tapco 6201 stereo mixer somewhere around here. It's the later, olive green version. Dried-up pots, input trannies, and impossible to crack it open to repair it. And, yeah, 10 volts rms at the output, almost as much as my PM700. I doubt that the new Tapcos will do the same!
    As for the speakers, I'm using a JBL MPro rig (pr. of M415 tops and a powered sub) for a quick-setup-and-strike system I provide for a mobile church while their site is under construction. They give me all of 45 minutes to set up EVERYTHING, including backline and the drum kit /w. Clearsonics! The JBLs are strong and reasonably light, and plenty clean-sounding. Lately, JBL has disappointed me with some of the crap they've put out, but these are pretty good. The Yamahas are a good less-expensive alternative to them. You won't be disappointed.
     
  7. If I could afford the MPros I would get them.
     
  8. sheet

    sheet Well-Known Member

    It is what it is at that price.

    Anyone that uses entry level cheap stuff is rolling the dice, if it is used out of it's intended context.

    Don't come onto the forum and post about reliability if operator error or the wrong tool for the job is the core issue.
     
  9. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    These were (4x) 1400i power amps, running in stereo @ 4ohms/ch, no bridging, powering ( 8 ) Genz Benz double-18 subs. And everything was protected by Symetrix 501 limiters-NO clipping, even though I had to fight the DJs to achieve this. ALL 4 of the Mackies (at different times) exhibited the same problem: the "Hot" light would illuminate upon power-up- that's COLD- and the amp would be "dead". I took them to the regional Mackie dealer/service provider that I bought them from. They also happened to be an EAW sound contractor at that time. They simply passed them on to the factory, and commented that this was not an unusual problem. As it turned out, this was some sort of a design issue, involving the temperature sensing resistor and "broken legs" on a transistor. I asked how this could happen to the transistor? I handle my gear very carefully, I don't slam the racks into the loading ramp or drop them off curbs, etc. I was told that there were some problems with the transistors, and there was a substitute that was being recommended by others in the field. Second attempts at the repairs, this time by the dealer themselves, including the transistor upgrade, resolved this problem. But, it did leave a bad taste in my mouth for Mackie amps. And, overall, I am a Greg Mackie fan.
    I am sure that many out there have gotten great service out of their Mackie amps. And Dave's scenario is probably the one that the amps were designed to address. But Mackie likes to be viewed as a "pro audio"
    product. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't. Remember that monstrosity, the SR56? You gonna tell me that that things failures were due to "operator error"? They ended up telling their dealers not to recommend it for anything but installed sound. Ever see those disclaimers in the Full Compass catalogs?
    People come to this forum to get feedback, good or bad, on products that they are looking to buy. Sorry if my experiences with a manufacturers' mistakes rubbed you the wrong way to the point where you blamed me with "operator error".....
     
  10. sheet

    sheet Well-Known Member

    Mackie bit off more than it could chew on the big SR consoles and the original amps. When they brought those amps to the shop, we put them up against the Crown MAs. I mean, test it with the standard tech-rider friendly thing, right? If you're gonna sell an amp, it ought to work as an amp. The rep turned the Mackies off and said thanks for your time. They were noisy, did not put out rated power (without a crap load of distortion) and were flimsy feeling. Now, a blue collar band workin a few times a month is gonna find them to be a great amp. But, when we are talking REAL shows...Mackie is not allowed.

    Those consoles were a nightmare. That was a shot in the foot.

    It all comes down to this. Things cost what they cost in consoles and amps. If you want to know what great sounding, reliable products cost, look at the top three rider friendly products and that's it. Everything else is a compromise in quality, or is trickle down technology three product evolutions later for a lesser demanding market. Anything entry level sold in the MI stores is built for price first. The products are less than good engineering from the start. But more people buy that crap than anything else, hence the need.

    I say BUY USED PRO GEAR.
     
  11. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    I too remember the Tapco line from the old days, and they were a lifesaver, great for the project at hand - when GREG MACKIE built them. (I had a couple for PA and monitors, and a 6000R for my keyboards, too!)

    After the EV kill-off and now the reissued series, I wouldn't look at them as anything more than they're intended: Market hype. yes, you may get good usage out of them, but remember what they're intended for: Starter gear, for the semi-pro market.

    If you can hold out for the better stuff (even the Mackie ONYX or VLZ Pro gear is more than OK for mixers), and QSC, Yamaha, Crown or equiv. power amps., you'll be better off. I have three Yamaha 2100 stereo power amps from the late 70's that still work. Quality is quality, and worth every penny in the long run.
     

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