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This article was originally published in issue #40
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Studiomaster is a UK-based company that has a long history in powered and unpowered PA mixing consoles and loudspeakers. Now under Chinese ownership, along with sister company, the amp maker Carlsbro, following some ups and downs, its current (and expanding) range of products are rebuilding the company’s reputation. The latest Studiomaster loudspeaker to come to market is the Drive Series, which replaces their established and successful VPX/VSX ranges.
The Drive 12A is the smaller of the two active speakers in the Drive Series, the other model being its bigger brother, the Drive 15A. Like its sibling, the 12A features a restyled moulded enclosure with a more contemporary feel than the previous VPX/VSX series. The 12A’s cabinet has three integral handles - on top and on either side that make handling it an easy task. Weight isn’t an issue either as the new Class D amplifiers - delivering 250 Watts RMS to the 12” bass driver and, crossed over at 2.0kHz, 50 Watts RMS to the treble unit - and other lightweight components mean that the Drive 12A weighs in at only 19kg.
The Drive Series cabinet redesign doesn’t only deliver an updated aesthetic, but also gives the high-frequency horn a 80°H x 40°V dispersion and couples it to the bass driver to give the best system efficiency. A 34mm voice coil on the 1” HF compression driver and a 20mm voice coil on the 12” woofer mean that both can handle their respective power amplifier’s output without breakup. Studiomaster accurately specify their RMS wattages - 310 Watts RMS total in the case of the Drive 12A - which produces a maximum SPL of 126dB.
As the Drive 12A is designed purely as an active loudspeaker - there is no onboard mixer, simply a single input on a combination XLR/¼” TRS jack input with Mic/Line switching and Gain control, a 3-band EQ at 60Hz, 1.5kHz and 12kHz, a master Level control and a XLR Link output with a switchable earth lift. A trio of indicator LEDs shows power on, signal present and peak overload statuses.
As you’d expect from its quoted frequency range of 50Hz to 20kHz, the Drive 12A performs well across a wide range of music however, although its bass delivery is good and solid, you’d need to add a subwoofer if you wanted a lot of low frequency bass. Unsurprisingly, Studiomaster tell me that there is a Drive Series subwoofer under development that should be along in the near future. The Drive 12A’s midrange is well-defined and the high-frequency performance sits well alongside it.