Mackie recently debuted a new family of passive loudspeakers that call on design techniques originally developed for large-format touring systems. The new S400 Series benefits from Mackie Tetrad Technology, which was co-developed with Eastern Acoustic Works (EAW).
“It’s not that a narrow dispersion isn’t a good thing; sometimes, it’s exactly what you need,” comments John Boudreau, live sound product manager for Mackie. “However, many applications call for a much wider dispersion pattern than traditional two-way boxes can provide. This is why the technique of arraying multiple two-way boxes in larger venues is so common. It’s the most efficient method of getting both effective coverage and great sound.
“With the S400, our goal was use design techniques originally developed for high-end touring systems to get both from one loudspeaker. And since EAW and Mackie are both part of Loud Technologies, we had access to some of the best touring loudspeaker designers in the world. Tetrad Technology is the result of this collaboration, and the S408 and S410s subwoofer are the first Mackie products to incorporate it.”
Tetrad Technology starts by replacing the single woofer found in traditional two-way loudspeakers with four smaller 8-inch woofers, then adds an unusually large horn in the center of the S408. The result is greater overall low-frequency driver surface area that can deliver more punch than a single 15-inch woofer and a horn that delivers better pattern control in the upper mid-frequencies.
The quad-driver design was applied to both the S408, which features four 8-inch woofers, and the S410s subwoofer, which features four 10-inch woofers. Pattern control for the S408 was further enhanced when spacing of the four 8-inch woofers was calculated so that the polar pattern of the drivers matched the polar pattern of the horn at the crossover—both horizontally and vertically.
Additionally, the S408 incorporates a large, central 75×40-degree horn; the large horn helps to ease the crossover transition from the 1.75-inch titanium compression driver to the 8-inch drivers. This allows the S408 to keep the crossover frequency low enough that the critical vocal and midrange frequencies are all reproduced by the horn.
The S400 Series comprises the S408 Precision Passive Loudspeaker and the S410s Subwoofer. Both models feature solid 18mm Baltic Birch plywood enclosures and incorporate weight-balanced carrying handles and integrated pole-mounts. The S408 includes 12 integrated rigging points for flying and permanent installations. The S408’s trapezoidal shape makes it applicable in both traditional and stage monitor applications.