Road Test: Alto TRUESONIC TS115A
Evaluating new self-powered compact loudspeakers

January 24, 2012, by Craig Leerman


Alto Professional recently sent me a pair of TS115A loudspeakers to check out, and they turned out to be a gig saver - but more on that in a bit. Let’s look at the specs first.

Part of the company’s TRUESONIC Series, the TS115A is a 2-way self-powered model that utilizes a 15-in woofer for the lows and a 1-in neodymium compression driver for the highs.

The injection molded cabinet measures 26.8 (h) x 16.9 (w) x 15.2 (d) inches and weighs 39.6 pounds.

Stated frequency response is 53 Hz to19 kHz at +/- 3 dB. The power rating is listed at 800 watts peak (670 watts LF, 130 watts HF) or 400 watts continuous (335 watts LF, 65 watts HF).

These boxes are attractive, with a nice steel grill that covers the entire front of the box. I prefer full grills because they better protect the box, and also they look a bit more polished and “corporate” to me.

The cabinet has a built-in handle pocket on the top, as well as large handles on each side and a pole socket on the bottom that uses a clamp for added security/stability. Six M10 flypoints are also provided – two each on the top, bottom and rear.

Front and rear views of the Alto Professional TS115A. (click to enlarge)

The rear also includes two input channels with Neutrik XLR-1/4-inch combo connectors. Directly above them are individual gain pots for each input. A male XLR is provided for Line output, and there are “ground” and “contour” switches on the right side of the panel, as well as signal and power LEDs. An IEC power cord socket and power switch are located at the bottom.

Trial By Fire
Normally I set up Road Test gear in my shop first to do some testing and become familiar with its operation before taking it out on a gig – but this was an exception. One might even call it trial by fire.

The TS115As had just been delivered to my home when my neighbor Matt, a part-time DJ, asked me to help him with a problem with his system.

He had a gig that night so had set up his system in his garage to test it, and quickly discovered that his powered subwoofer and satellite loudspeakers had issues. After a bit of troubleshooting accompanied by a lot of head-scratching, it became clear that the amplifier to power his full-range boxes, built into the subwoofer, was dead.

Two input channels with Neutrik XLR combo connectors, each with its own gain pot. (click to enlarge)

I offered him the use of the TS115As. Straight out of the box, one loudspeaker made the “long trip” next door, where we hooked it up to give it a listen. Right away we were both impressed with how nice it sounded and how loud it got.

Next, I engaged the contour switch to see what it did, and realized immediately that it added a “loudness” curve (a.k.a., smiley-face EQ), boosting both the bottom end and the highs. But it had ample bass with and without the contour switch engaged, so Matt decided to leave his sub at home and do the gig with just the pair of TS115As.

To The Rescue
Because some cabinets have different-sized stand-mount sockets, I set up one of Matt’s aluminum tripod stands to make sure that they fit. The side handles on the box made it easy to grab the cabinet and position it on the stand, and I really like the adjustable clamp that allows you to get a secure fit to different sized poles. 

The top handle to me was less than handy as it just does not seems to fit my hands well, and I’ve since found that it’s uncomfortable to carry the box for a long distance by just the top handle pocket alone. That said, the top handle is very convenient when you have to just grab the box and move it a short distance. 

Matt actually used the TS115As on two consecutive gigs, reporting back to me that they had more than enough volume and that they were also easier to move and set up than his three piece system with the large, bulky subwoofer.

Because he does jobs ranging in size from small parties to larger dances, he doesn’t need subs for every event, but because his sub houses the full-range amps, he always has to bring it, regardless.

In fact, Matt was so impressed that he asked me where he could buy his own pair, and asked to use my Road Test models until he could get his own.

A look at the TS115A without the grill. (click to enlarge)

A few gigs later, I got my set back, and the next day received a call from my daughter’s choir teacher, who asked if I would be available to operate the school’s portable PA system for the upcoming fall choir concert at the gym.

I discussed the school system with the teacher, and decided that it wouldn’t cover audience members seated at the far sides on bleachers. So it was the TS115As to the rescue again!

For the concert, I placed them on their sides like floor wedges and covered the bleacher seats. Because they’re powered cabinets, it was easy to integrate them into the system, and they covered the area with ease.

Back In the Shop
After the concert, I finally had an opportunity to take the cabinets to my shop and do some listening.

For source material, I used a few of the (now very familiar) tracks we played at the Compact System Demo at WFX in Dallas.

With the boxes set flat, they sounded good with a variety of material. With the contour switch engaged, they sounded better on some tracks, but not as good as the flat setting on a few others. If I were doing DJ work, and didn’t have subs, I think I’d just leave the contour switch engaged.

Next, I added a small 15-inch front loaded sub. The TS115As played well with the sub – it would make a great small band (or again, DJ) rig. The TRUESONIC Series also includes some active subwoofers that would be great paired up with these full-range cabinets.

Last, I tested the dual inputs, which to me is one of the best features of the box. Instead of just one line input, there are the two separate inputs with gain pots, with the knobs labeled “line” on the left side of the range, and “mic” on the right side of the range. 

A low-profile solution at the gym to cover the bleachers at the choral concert. (click to enlarge)

I plugged a Shure SM58 microphone into one of the inputs and turned up the knob. While no substitute for a mixer with tone controls, it would certainly do in a pinch if you needed to make announcements or had a small speech only gig.  Then I plugged an iPod into both inputs and it also worked well. 

Natural Sound
I also wanted to check out the rigging but didn’t have any M10 eyebolts handy. I did notice that the top and bottom fly points are very accessible, but the two on the rear would require longer bolts due to the way the cabinet is molded.

While not a deal breaker, I found it a bit odd that apparently, two different bolt lengths are needed for one box.

My last test came when I took the TS115As to a small corporate meeting. Normally I would have used a smaller 10-inch and horn box, so these were a bit overkill, but they looked good and worked great.

With a little EQ work, I had a nice, natural sound with the podium mic as well as a lavalier.

Go to the Road Test Forum on ProSoundWeb to read Craig’s full review and other comments from the community, as well as to ask questions about the TS115As.

Craig Leerman is senior consulting editor for Live Sound International and ProSoundWeb. He is also the owner of Tech Works, a production company based in Las Vegas.

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Road Test: Alto TRUESONIC TS115A