review Seismic SAX-12M-PW 12" powered coaxial monitor vs RCF VS CLR

Discussion in 'Digital & Modeling Gear' started by kmanick, Jan 4, 2014.

  1. kmanick

    kmanick Member

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    so how did this thing stack up against the "big boys"?...................Pretty freaking good.
    Points of notice during the comparison.
    the power amps that come with the RCF and the CLR seem to have about 25% more power to them than the one
    that comes with the Seismic, the CLR will rip your head off so if you need high volume to gig the CLR is a clear winner in this category.
    Sound wise the Seismic and the RCF were very close right out the gate
    now one thing to keep in mind during this comparison is that the Seismic is physically the smallest of the 3, (you really notice this against the CLR)
    With a little EQ-ing we got the Seismic and the RCF to sound almost identical, the RCF sounds a little bigger (which it is) but besides that,
    side by side they were very close.
    When we switched on the CLR to compare the first thing you notice is how much bigger the CLR sounds ....and physically is, so
    not much of a surprise there, the thing that comes with that though is more clarity and the dispersion of the CLR is unrivaled by anything I have tried yet.
    The CLR also had a little better note separation than the Seismic did when we cranked them up, but at lower to moderate volume the Seismic sounded
    did a very good job holding it's own and sounded very good.
    Early on in our testing I stated to Jay that I thought the Seismic sounded very much like a 10" version of the CLR. Tonally very close just not as big sounding.

    Winner here is clearly the CLR.................but for $299.00 the Seismic is a giant killer. It held it's own well enough that I am going
    to get another one so I can play W/D/W with my JSX ->Recto 2X12 in the middle (which we also did today).
    We also tested these in wedge position and on their sides in back line position, I prefer this for at home playing as it doesn't shoot the highs into my face.
    The Seismic did not suffer in either position, either did the CLR.
    Lastly we tested the Seismic with my 5 string Fender bass. the sound was very good, but we did hear a couple of snaps at higher volume.
    Now there is something floating around inside of mine , I have to open it up, so that may have been what I heard , but if I was going
    to get one of these for Bass, I would go with the 15" just to be on the safe side. The Sound quality with the bass was excellent though.
    For someone who is only playing at home or is on a Budget these things kick some serious butt, also for $299.00 you don't have to
    worry as much about someone tripping over them of spilling something on them like you would with a $1,000.00 monitor.
    for $600.00 you can get a pair and run them in stereo and be very very happy with your rig.
    If I had money to burn I would get 2 CLRs to run this type of rig, but since I don't play at very loud volume, 2 of these will do quite nicely
    for a hell of a lot less.

    Lastly I stumbled on something that puts a big smile on my face. When I create patches I usually use one or 2 of the OH IR's for out1
    I add a GEQ and an FX loop for output 2 and try to match my out2 to my out 1 sound as closely as possible, but today we used 2 patches (one of Jays and one of mine) that
    use the Basket Weave TV cab and it matched almost exactly with the power section of my JSX going into the Recto 2X12, I had to add zero EQ to get it to sound good.
    we ran the Seismic and the CLR left/ right from output 1 wet, and output 2 into my JSX dry and it sounded really good.
    I'm going to have to make some new patches specifically to run this way now as the Darker amps (we used the JMP1 and the Euro Red Modern) paired with the TV
    sound really good in this type of set up.
    Feel free to ask any questions I will be happy to share my thoughts
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2014
  2. Scott Peterson

    Scott Peterson Administrator ^/|\^ Co-Founder of TGP Staff Member

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    I've read about these on another forum and there the reviews were also positive. It's great there is an option at that price point. It'll be interesting to see longer term reviews to see if they hold up to gigging.
     
  3. kmanick

    kmanick Member

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    At this price point that is my real concern, how long will these things stay together before they crap out one me, but for now , pretty pleased with it.
     
  4. JPenn

    JPenn Member

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    i didn't realize these guys are in memphis...only an hour drive for me! i might hqave to give one of these a try seeing as i don't really need super loud. i know the search feature would probably reveal the answers to my question, but what's the advantage of coax design?
     
  5. lspaulsp

    lspaulsp Gold Supporting Member

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    It's funny you should say that. I bought some (4) of their XLR to 1/4" adapters for my 11R. Within the first two weeks two broke. One right in the middle of a gig. My powered speaker started popping real loud. Swapped cord, broken wire. Since, l they've been repaired and stress relieved (taped) and they've been fine. I did the other two also just in case. I have noticed the XLR's are a little sloppy. They can flat fall out of my G3 while my older switchcraft are snug. They heave served OK for the price. Now to check out this monitor.

    The tip pulled off one of their 1/4" cords and was stuck inside my Flex III. Naturally it was an enclosed plug. There was the little pin sticking up that goes to the tip. I ground down a cheap pair of small needle nose and was able to get it in the hole and grab the tab and remove the entire assembly. Wow was I relieved. Yep, I've had a couple of problems with their cords. But my Klotz is dead too and a paid a lot for it.

    Thanks.
     
  6. Jay Mitchell

    Jay Mitchell Member

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    Just out of curiosity, have you done any shootouts between your Axe-Fx and, say, a Zoom G3, in a search for a "giant-killer" in that arena? There's a lot more money to be saved there than there is in the realm of powered monitors. You could potentially replace a $2300 modeler with a sub-$160 one.
     
  7. CheeseGrater

    CheeseGrater Member

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    Nice review - thanks for posting a review about gear that i'm sure tons of us often wonder about! I've been eyeing their "Luke" 2x12's myself - they look real nice.
     
  8. kmanick

    kmanick Member

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    or a $1,000.00 monitor with a $299.00 monitor.
    No I haven't but that is a good idea , especially for us "home" players, I still have my real amp if I want to go jam or gig. I'll have to see if anyone local to me has one.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2014
  9. Jay Mitchell

    Jay Mitchell Member

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    Although it makes every bit as much sense as your search for a cheap monitor, my suggestion was largely rhetorical.

    If you're looking for the minimum-cost acceptable solution, there's always something out there that sells for less and can be perceived as "almost as good as" the premium alternatives. There's almost never a need to own expensive gear, even for lots of pros. Furthermore, if you insist on getting maximum bang for the buck, your local craigslist and a little patience will always win out over anything you can buy new.

    Considering that your instruments and gear are tools to do a job, it only makes sense for a skilled, experienced practitioner to consider the possible benefits of uppgraded tools. The differences between the modeling quality in a Zoom G3 and an Axe-Fx or kpa all lie (arguably) in the realm of subtleties, yet there are many guitarists who happily - even enthusiastically - opt for a "subtly better" $2k+ solution over a sub-$500 "almost as good" one. Is it "worth it?" To these players, apparently it is. Your observations of the differences between the CLR and the other monitors - although I would argue they are anything but subtle - fall into the same category.

    Point is, you could identify a sub-$500 total cost rig (say, a G3 and your Seismic) that somebody could claim is "almost as good as" an Axe-Fx/CLR rig. Except that the clarity isn't quite there. And the sound quality varies tremendously depending on where you're standing. And you can't get loud enough to play a gig. And you only have a handful of amp/speaker models. And the effects quality isn't quite as good. And the touch sensitivity of the amp models isn't quite as good. And you have few, if any, signal routing options. And, and....
     
  10. kmanick

    kmanick Member

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    All valid points Jay , this is where I am coming form here.
    #1 if I was to start gigging again and use a modeling system it would the the Axe II and the CLR(s) as a backline, the Seismic in front of me, for the main reason is to save a $1,000.00 wedge from getting beer etc spilled on it (too stressful for me, and others have also stated similar concerns)

    #2 as basicallya strictly home player who already has an Axe II, the difference in performance between the CLR the RCF and the Seismic at "home practice levels" was negligible enough and easy enough to EQ that it makes much more sense for someone like me to take a look at these things (or something similar). is the dispersion as good? no
    does it sound as good cranked ...meh close but the CLR does have more clarity and is fuller sounding, can it get as loud? hell no the CLR will rip your face off, the Seismic not so much,but.......for a player that has these set up one on each side of him in a small to medium size room that doesn't need gig volumes, can get very good results (as long as they don't fall apart after 60 days which is yet to be seen)
    I equate these to someone who is a delivery driver, would you like to deliver in a Range Rover? sure, but a Ford Escape will get the job done just fine.
    Are there short comings with the cheaper solutions ? of course, but for someone who is a hobbyist player, the ability to save $700.00 per speaker is one that should be examined. If you decide you need and will accept nothing but the best .....look elsewhere these ain't it, but if you want to check out something that very surprisingly sounds damn good for short money , give em a shot, you get 30 days to return them.
     
  11. LqdSndDist

    LqdSndDist Member

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    Jay, I think in a perfect world, we'd all have the best guitar, w/ best handwound pickups, with best cables, best processor, best monitor speakers etc. However, most of us don't live in a perfect world, so we instead have to pick and choose where we can splurge and were we can try to save a little.

    I'm not arguing that skipping spending $1000 for a CLR is the right way to go for any individual, but merely that most of us have to try to save some money somewhere along the line.

    Maybe a lower end monitor with a great processor gives a better overall sound than a high end monitor with a low end processor, or maybe if one can't afford BOTH an Axe/KPA and CLR, the processor with the lower end monitor still gives the most bang for the buck.

    For me at least, I choose to put my money into quality guitars, and the Axe Fx, so I try to save elsewhere
     
  12. MaxTwang

    MaxTwang Member

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    I'd argue that higher end equipment is more important to the home player than live player: The home player is using the equipment in isolation and tends to scrutinize each piece of equipment, while a live player needs a rig that fits in the mix in a sub-optimal room performing for a noisy crowd who are focused on drinking and not tone.

    I can't imagining I'm the only one who has a favorite guitar, especially acoustic, or other gear that never leaves the house for fear of damage or loss.
     
  13. jimfist

    jimfist Member

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    Different horses for different courses, really.

    Drunken booze cruise? The A-rig stays home, and I can deal with a less satisfying B-rig experience for the evening for a captive and not-so-particular audience that is spilling beer all over everything.

    A-list nightclub with good acoustics and pro-level sound system & protected stage? The A-rig CLR/Axefx get the nod.

    Years ago, I personally had little need to discriminate. My rig was my rig, and the same rig was used night-in, night-out regardless of venue. These days, gigs and rooms vary quite a bit, and I simply care a lot more, so I have different gear that is generally multi-purpose/flexible.

    The CLR/Axefx pairing is perfect for some gigs, while the ZOOM/CLR is better suited for others, and the ZOOM/Seismic better suited for others yet again, or situations like traveling light, grab 'n go rehearsals and such.

    IMO, there is a huge sonic difference between the CLR and Seismic, as expected. The Seismics are decent little boxes for low dough. I personally wouldn't consider them CLR-killers....different leagues of quality altogether head to toe.

    MaxTwang, I would say that your contention about high end gear mattering more to the home/studio user than the live performer doesn't always hold true. Sometimes, only a narrow, focused selection of high end solutions are capable, subjectively, of getting the job done for certain demanding applications. Pro touring sound companies strive for extremely high level performance in their systems. I see stage musicians as being no different, generally.
     
  14. LqdSndDist

    LqdSndDist Member

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    I think totally subject on the individual.

    Everyone has different taste and needs. Some guys are happy with a Fender Squire for jamming 30 minutes after work, others have custom shop strats.

    Its like why one person is happy with a Kia and another wants a BMW, both simply get them to work and the grocery store.

    Can't say all home users are more/less picky than guys who play out
     
  15. Jay Mitchell

    Jay Mitchell Member

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    It has been my experience that, in most of the kind of places you're talking about, there are far more serious concerns than your gear. Over the years I've played gigs, I've tried (but not always succeeded) to avoid playing in places where I might get a) shot, b) my ass whipped, c) beer spilled on my gear, and d) my **** stolen. That's just me. Everyone has his own concerns, but, in this context, that one honestly sounds lame to me. I've had beer spilled on expensive equipment, and, after cleanup, the equipment worked just fine. That experience goes back to 1968, BTW. I've never had a piece of gear suffer permanent functional damage from spilled drinks.

    I quote your own words: "more clarity and the dispersion of the CLR is unrivaled by anything I have tried yet....Winner here is clearly the CLR." Having said those things, it seems to me something of a stretch - and I've heard several of the differences myself - to refer to them as "negligible." In fact, I'd go so far as to say that you are directly contradicting yourself; and I'd counter that, quite the contrary, it's the difference between being able to fully appreciate the sonic differences between a $500 and a $2k modeler and having those difference obscured by your monitor.

    If you're trying to make a rational argument, then you're stopping short of the one potentially big payout here: sell your Axe-Fx, buy a sub-$200 modeler and your Seismic, and pocket the difference. That's a lot more than the 700 bucks you're trying to save, ain't it? If saving a little money is good, then saving several times as much would have to be several times better.

    Uhh, not according to your OP: "the CLR will rip your head off so if you need high volume to gig the CLR is a clear winner in this category." IOW, the Seismic can't be "cranked." I'd add to that the fact the clean headroom is valuable even when you don't habitually use it all.

    I can make the exact same statement - with equal validity - about a Squier Strat and one of my modded Crate VC3112s (less than $200 each). Actually, I have done paying gigs with that rig. I know better than to propose that as a viable alternative to the Axe-Fx/CLR setup, however.

    I don't. That would imply professional use, and you have specifically stated that you're talking about bedroom playing.

    Then the ability to save two thousand dollars on your modeler should be all the more attractive to you. If you take advantage of that, because you've already paid for your Axe-Fx, you'll have your savings in cash.

    Based on your own earlier statements, it is clear that you don't even like using FRFR systems with your Axe-Fx. According to you, you've never gotten them to sound good to you. Yet here you are, offering critical comparisons of FRFR monitors as if you are committed to using them. I have no idea what motivates your efforts here, but I am justifiably skeptical of your motives. Just sayin'....
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2014
  16. Jay Mitchell

    Jay Mitchell Member

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    That's a pro attitude, and I'm in full agreement.

    If you had to own a single rig, however, and money was the primary factor, the Zoom/Seismic rig would save you a ton. It wouldn't hold a candle to an Axe-Fx/CLR rig, though.

    Thank you for that. I'd say there's a significant difference between your "huge" and kmanick's "negligible."

    Thank you again for injecting some sanity here.
     
  17. jimfist

    jimfist Member

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    I dipped my big toe into modeling & FRFR with budget gear a while ago, and failures led me directly to the Axefx and eventually the CLR. I can afford it and that is my preferred rig. If I were cash strapped, it is unlikely that I'd go Axefx/CLR, in which case ZOOM/Line 6/Boss and Seismic/Alto/EV/Mackie would get considered. By virtue of my opening statement in this post, they would be inferior solutions.

    I personally only considered the Seismics since I knew I could use them as small footprint rehearsal vocal wedges, and perhaps for less critical PA and bass amplification as an ancillary benefit, knowing that they may get sort of beaten up in the process.

    Beyond that, I can really only vouch for my own flawed hearing. In fairness to kmanick, though, he and I are not listening to the same Seismics (mine are passive 15"). Still, I can't imagine the active Seismic 12" being in the same league, technically speaking, as the CLR (really don't know...). I can, however, imagine Seismic owners being happy with the price to performance ratio.
     
  18. dmbandtimmy

    dmbandtimmy Member

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    Thanks for the review!

    I just ordered a CLR and am pumped. Jay, have you had experience with the Kemper? I've always wondered what your thoughts are on the unit
     
  19. BBN

    BBN Member

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    If you have used this combination (at a paying gig, as you stated), then in fact it IS an alternative (being that you chose it for that gig).

    As Jim stated, horses for courses.....and I have needs for multiple levels of gear, as he does. Seismic could suit the need for my (inevitably) beer soaked front vocal wedge.
    Although you may not take gigs like that.....like it or not....that is what is out there in the early 20's-mid 30's bar crowd. Sucks to watch gear get trashed...but it does. When the drunk bachelorette party wants to get on stage and sing a Journey tune...we let them, because that's how we pay the bills.
     
  20. jbealsmusic

    jbealsmusic Member

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    I'm currently using an ELX112p and would like something with a bit more clarity and dispersion (but also needs to be as loud). Honestly, I'm just not sure if anything out there is enough of an improvement without getting into the $1k+ range. Are there any sub-$1K powered coaxial FRFR solutions that are worth it? I've been looking for reviews on the Mackie DLMs but haven't found much.
     

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