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Anderton

Mackie Reach Portable PA System

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It was made prior to the L R Baggs system, I'm not sure what it has. The guitar was made in 2009 IIRC. I used it to analyze and model the acoustic sounds on the Gibson FBX.

Edited by Anderton

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It was made prior to the L R Baggs system' date=' I'm not sure what it has. The guitar was made in 2009 IIRC. I used it to analyze and model the acoustic sounds on the Gibson FBX. [/quote']

 

 

My J45 is a sweet guitar to play. I thought I had a photo of it on this pc, but it doesn't look like it.

 

I bought the J185 the year before and it has the same Fishman/ Martin Gold pick up in it.

 

I do have a pic of the Gibson

a different animal than the J45 I have , but no less of an instrument

 

fetch?filedataid=117281

 

Pretty maple back and sides

fetch?filedataid=117282

 

 

After almost a year in hand, my Gibson F5-G mandolin is sounding amazing. Best purchase I made in a while. Not inexpensive, but I have zero regrets.

 

I did the LR Baggs M radius pick up for that one, and there Venue Pre amp.

 

 

 

I usually buy one special instrument of choice every years. I like it to be something special. This year I'm going with a Epiphone Casino Elitist.. I have never owned and Epiphone anything. that I kept. If it was good enough for John and Paul, it will probably be good enough for me. Especially the Elitist edition.

 

I'm actually waiting for the weather to warm up a bit and for my daily work load to slow down, which both happens in May.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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You learn a lot on Youtube, sometimes.

 

Here's a guy that does a complete review of the Mackie Reach system.

 

It's quite detailed and close to 30 minutes long. If you are considering this system it, might be worth your time.

 

[video=youtube;nk-EVU1S3i8]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nk-EVU1S3i8

 

The guy in the video also says he uses a Fishman Solo Amp for his coffee house work. I have also used the Fishman Solo Amp for the past 6 years at smaller coffee houses and clubs, as well as a few outside shows. All acoustic stuff and that's what the Fishman was made for.

Here he is with the Fishman solo amp, I am not sure how it was recorded, but anyway here it is.

[video=youtube;xMrQodqMemM]

 

There are better systems than the Fishman Solo Amp aka the SA 220, but you’ll be hauling a lot more gear. My friend has an SA 220 and we have chained them together, and it sound very nice. I choose the Fishman years ago over the Bose L1 system for the same price. Bose makes more expensive systems too. You need to compare systems in an equal dollar price range. The Reach, the SA 220 and the Bose L1 are all in that price range.

 

The Fishman is only a 2 channel amp and has regular volume knob pre amps. With the Fishman you can quickly dial in a great tone in seconds.

I have played a bunch of show at some fancy mansions in Lenox and Stockbridge, one show was outside on the lawn and the Fishman was all I needed.

 

 

I also use the Fishman Spectra DI which has and amazing anti feedback button on it for the acoustic guitar. Mic feed I will work with, the anti feed back knob on the Solo Amp. If you need more than that you are playing too loud, and probably should not be playing coffee houses or small clubs.

 

 

The Mackie is new, and I like the concept of the area it covers, and the 2 side speakers. I wish manufactures would stop making these professional videos for youtube. It might be in there best interest to dump a few on the streets and have real potential users make videos. Roland and Vox make worse and less informative videos imo. So Mackie is not alone here.

 

Mackie TV

 

[video=youtube;eAeEzxM7swg]

 

I totally loved this band

 

[video=youtube;Zo6RdsprbsU]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zo6RdsprbsU

 

 

For a grand , there should not be a second thought that it should come with a free well padded gig bag (package deal). That’s another 70 bucks for the bag. You will need a stand to mount it on. If you want two to cover a bigger area or get louder, you’re real PA territory, almost.

 

 

Read the reviews well before hand, do your research and make sure you can return it with no questions asked.

 

http://www.zzounds.com/productreview--MACREACH

 

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/Reach

 

 

A good internal pre amp is critical to any small PA, Mackie should know this. All watts are not equal. If they were, my little Roland AC 33 would keep up with a Vox AC 30.

 

On that note I do not have one in hand and may hit the Guitar Center soon, to check it out. I could compare it the Fishman SA220, and the Bose L1. I sure wouldn’t mind see a real video shoot out between at these three grab and go mini PA amps. That’s probably what Car and Driver or Road and Track would done.

 

You know how touch a smart phone can be to dial in a exact level too.

 

Just my opinion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thanks for the references. So far my goal is to investigate the Reach as a portable FRFR (flat-response, full-range) system that's really small and light. It definitely does the job, but then again, as I've mentioned previously you need to give it a line-level, not guitar-level, input signal. Using it for coffeehouse gigs will be investigated next by Chris Loeffler.

 

It was interesting reading the user reviews, which ranged from very favorable to very unfavorable. They're probably both right, because I think Phil O'Keefe probably nailed it in his initial conclusions - "I really like the Mackie Reach, but I think it's important to manage your expectations and use it in the right types of situations." Someone who just plugs in an acoustic guitar is going to find the lack of preamp input gain problematic, and although I haven't tried gigging with it so I can only speculate, it's very compact and I think there are limits as to how big a room you can fill...but we'll find out later.

 

Anyway, back to the testing...

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Miking Reach as Guitar Amp

 

I use amp sims a lot. But, a big reason why I like them is I'm willing to build some ambience around them. No one listens to an amp by putting their ear an inch away from a speaker; a real amp interacts with a room and so do you - as you move around while playing guitar, you're picking up reflections and cancellations that add motion and animation to the sound. As a result, I like recording amp sims going through speakers and moving air, but because I'm getting the sound before the amp, I want them to go through a flat system. Monitor speakers can be okay, but I thought I'd see what the Reach could do.

 

So, I plugged my Les Paul Standard into the Line 6 Helix, and got to work. You'll hear the audio examples in the following video.

 

[video=youtube;dTqU7FkdUv8]

 

The first sound you'll hear is a basic AC 30-type sim recorded direct into a TASCAM US-20x20 interface. But listen to what happens when it goes through the Reach set up in a hallway, miked about 18 inches away from a little above center with a Neat King Bee mic. It's picking up the room resonances and reflections, and also, you can hear me hitting the guitar strings faintly in the background because the door wasn't closed all the way. The next example has the same sound, but this time, Reach is set up in a bathroom so the surfaces are harder...the sound is again very different.

 

Next up, I dialed in as distorted a sound as possible on the Helix to test my theory that having an amp "move air" gives a kind of focus to the sound, no matter how distorted and unfocused it is initially. The second example with the distorted sound was recorded in the same hallway setup, and the third - which I think really does show how moving air can focus a sound - was done in the same bathroom setting as with the AC 30 sim.

 

So, why not just use a guitar amp? Aside from the fact that the amp itself will color the sound - not that it's always a bad thing - if you look at the original picture of how the speakers are laid out, you can do a LOT more with mic positioning than just deciding whether to move in closer to the cone, closer to the edge, or changing the distance or angle. You can do all of these things, but by changing the mic's position with respect to the high and low frequency drivers, there are significant tonal options and angling the mic can also make a really big difference. At one point I even hooked up a mic to pick up the sound from one of the side speakers to see if it could produce some stereo imaging if panned, and it did...although I had the mic too close, and I needed to trim some of the bass.

 

Now, these were all set up very quickly, and it took a few hours to do the setup and testing so I didn't try to tweak the sounds. What you hear is pretty much what happened by saying "Hmm, I'll set up the amp here, and point a mic in its general direction. :) But the point of all this isn't to say you should throw your Fender Twin in the trash; it's about address some of the novel aspects of using a full-range, flat-response system. Although it requires that you get "your sound" before hitting the amp, what you can do with the amp itself is pretty interesting. Because of the Reach's small size, for the bathroom miking experiment I placed Reach on top of the...toilet tank (really); in the hallway, I leaned it back on a chair so it pointed up. Even the slightest changes made a big difference in the sound. This is also where the Bluetooth app came in handy, because I could sit at the computer and play guitar while adjusting levels.

 

So...Reach is still doing its job as a full-range, flat response amp. Of course similar systems will work for this application too, but the small size and light weight made it possible to fit the speaker pretty much anywhere...as long as the cables could reach, my entire house became an amp room.

Edited by Anderton

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I think if any of the negative reviewers used a small mixer before the Reach speakers their reviews would probably change. If I were to buy one that is mostly likely the way I would use it. I would treat it as a powered flat response speaker system and plug everything into a small mixer and use the effects on the mixer. What I really would like to know is does it sound good for a keyboard, especially piano? I would be using it for keyboard, vocal, acoustic guitar through a Fishman Aura DI and sparse backing tracks.

Edited by kbeaumont

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What I really would like to know is does it sound good for a keyboard' date=' especially piano? I would be using it for keyboard, vocal, acoustic guitar through a Fishman Aura DI and sparse backing tracks.[/quote']

 

I hadn't planned on checking with keyboards, but that's a good idea. I'll check it out.

 

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I was able to purchase one of these locally, and will be putting it through it's paces this weekend at a gig. I'll post my opinions on it after the weekend.

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I was able to purchase one of these locally' date=' and will be putting it through it's paces this weekend at a gig. I'll post my opinions on it after the weekend. [/quote']

 

 

 

nice.

 

I look will look forward to your review.

If you have a amp simulator pedal and maybe a bass guitar, maybe you could test it out with one of those, and maybe possibly get buddy to play with you at the same time. That way we can see how it handles all inputs running at the same time.

 

 

 

 

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I was able to purchase one of these locally' date=' and will be putting it through it's paces this weekend at a gig. I'll post my opinions on it after the weekend. [/quote']

 

Sounds good! I look forward to hearing what you think. :snax:

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I was able to purchase one of these locally' date=' and will be putting it through it's paces this weekend at a gig. I'll post my opinions on it after the weekend. [/quote']

 

What kind of gig?

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And by the way...this is EXACTLY what we mean by an "interactive review." We're here to get to the essence of what a product is all about, including weird stuff like using it as a guitar amp even though it's not supposed to be a guitar amp :) We need to know where it works, where it doesn't work, its strengths, and its limitations.

 

The net is too prone to having people pronounce that a piece of gear is "crap" or that it's the music industry's gift to mankind. The reality almost always falls somewhere in between. When writing reviews, my goal is not to say "I like it" or "I don't like it," but to describe what something is with such accuracy that the reader can decide if it's something that interests them.

 

The more people who participate in a Pro Review, the more we can triangulate on reality.

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I think if any of the negative reviewers used a small mixer before the Reach speakers their reviews would probably change. If I were to buy one that is mostly likely the way I would use it. I would treat it as a powered flat response speaker system and plug everything into a small mixer and use the effects on the mixer. What I really would like to know is does it sound good for a keyboard' date=' especially piano?[/b'] I would be using it for keyboard, vocal, acoustic guitar through a Fishman Aura DI and sparse backing tracks.

 

Although I don't think I specifically mentioned it in my review, I DID try plugging my Kurzweil SP2X into it and using that and singing while playing to do some testing, and I thought it worked fine in that application. It's not as fully-featured as a dedicated keyboard amp, but if you're a singer / pianist doing small restaurant and bar / lounge gigs that don't have overly excessive volume/coverage requirements, it should work fine for you. :wave:

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Although I don't think I specifically mentioned it in my review, I DID try plugging my Kurzweil SP2X into it and using that and singing while playing to do some testing, and I thought it worked fine in that application. It's not as fully-featured as a dedicated keyboard amp, but if you're a singer / pianist doing small restaurant and bar / lounge gigs that don't have overly excessive volume/coverage requirements, it should work fine for you. :wave:

 

 

Thank you Uncle Phil! Good to know. I assume the SP2X had more than enough level to drive it?

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Thank you Uncle Phil! Good to know. I assume the SP2X had more than enough level to drive it?

 

Yes, it has a fairly typical stage piano output level, and the Reach handled it just fine. :)

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Weekend Fun: Bluetooth Audio Streaming

 

Well it’s a Saturday, so I thought now would be a good time to see how Reach works as a general-purpose music system for parties, diffusing music throughout a house, breaking leases, how far Bluetooth can reach, etc.

 

First, note that Bluetooth is a combination lock. Using an iPad for control and with DI.fm dialed in for some DJ-friendly dance music, I got ready to blast out some EDM. Not so fast, though…there’s some setup work required.

 

I initially found connecting Bluetooth to be less friendly than using IK Multimedia’s iLoud; it seemed for best results you need to press the Bluetooth button on Reach first, then connect with the iPad. However, in the DI.fm app, I also found a preference for connecting to the iPad’s internal speaker or Bluetooth, and DI.fm seemed to prefer the internal speaker. While it’s possible to get connected without changing the preference—something in either the app, the iPad, or Reach can figure it out and do it automatically—I think there’s probably a preferred order for enabling and connecting, which Mackie might consider adding to the manual. (I think some comments on the net about the Mackie Connect app not being “reliable” for streaming may have much more to do with not enabling things in the right order as opposed to some inherent issue.)

 

In any event, subsequently I was able to disconnect Bluetooth, re-connect, re-enable the app, and so on. A couple times when the system got confused by turning power on and off at the Reach, the iPad, and/or both, simply disconnecting and re-connecting Bluetooth at the iPad took care of things.

 

One negative I’ve noticed in net comments was that Reach wasn’t loud enough for this application. However, it’s crucial to note there are three different volume levels you need to adjust: the Connect app Bluetooth/Aux slider, the Connect Main volume, and the volume control at the iPad itself. The screen shot shows the Bluetooth/Aux and Master sliders up all the way. It would be nice if the app could also show your device's volume slider to remind those who haven't turned it up.

 

 

[ATTACH=CONFIG]n31722241[/ATTACH]

 

With all of these turned up to max and the “DJ” EQ mode selected, although it’s difficult to give a sense of “loud” via text in a forum, if I was at a party where the music was that loud I would probably leave, or try to find someplace in the house far away from Reach.

 

Speaking of distance, I’m currently living in a 2,100 square foot house with two stories so it’s neither tiny nor huge. With Reach located along a far wall of the living room, there was nowhere in the house I couldn’t control Reach. I was a little surprised at the Bluetooth…uh…”reach” because I have other Bluetooth devices that break up or disconnect at equivalent distances.

 

Because the house is fairly close to the airport, the city of Nashville added soundproofing to all the houses in the neighborhood when the airport expanded, and this area ended up under a new flight path. Out of curiosity, I stepped outside to see how much I could hear. It was enough to interest the dogs in the next house over (a few hundred feet away), and the outside window panes were vibrating…not a lot, but the kick was definitely pushing air. In fact in DJ mode, the kick could be heard above a lawn service’s battery of lawnmowers, blowers, and weed cutters doing their thing next door, although no other frequencies were audible above their noise.

 

Finally, I tried adding some of the effects. The ones labeled “warm” (Warm Lounge, Warm Theater, and Warm Hall) were the best; the “metallic” nature of the other reverbs was accentuated with program material. But overall, the effects added nothing desirable in this type of application.

 

In terms of being a dance music-friendly party machine, the Flat mode was actually fine for this application; Voice and Solo didn’t deliver enough bass. However DJ mode really does push the bass, so I left that on for my tests. It’s worth noting that even with everything up all the way, the sound was not distorting audibly, and the kick didn’t cause the low-end drivers to crap out.

 

The bottom line is once you get everything connected and working, you could handle a pretty substantial house party, or at least annoy a lot of neighbors, with this sucker. And for gigging musicians, you can bring your smart phone or tablet, and send the audio into Reach to provide your own break music.

Edited by Anderton

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Bluetooth Streaming Audio Addendum

 

I should also add that there is latency with Bluetooth streaming - not enough to matter for the application of playing back music at parties, but I fired up the GeoShred app on my iPad (the coolest iPad music app ever IMHO) and while it was fun playing along with the music, it was not fun having what I estimate as Bluetooth's inherent 35-40 ms delay.

 

However, the Bluetooth channel is shared with an aux input physical jack (although you can't stream audio and use the physical input at the same time), so I just plugged the iPad into the aux in and jammed along. Fun stuff.

 

Also just in case anyone wondered, you can still use the regular inputs when streaming audio with Bluetooth, so yes, you can stick a mic in there while the music's playing and tell people "no running by the pool." :)

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Thanks to Craig and everyone else for doing this thread! I was actually looking to get one of these for touring as a solo acoustic act who plays medium to large clubs. My problem was that no one in Nashville seems to carry this thing (or the DLM series for that matter, which I am also interested in) and I've never seen anybody using one in the wild. I'm very glad I found this thread! Here are my thoughts so far. Please comment, confirm, or deny :) :

 

This thing has no preamp gain controls at all, which seems idiotic to me. Why bother making a device for solo performers, with an onboard mixer no less, if you have to push the channel faders to the point of hiss before an acoustic guitar is loud enough to perform with in a small to medium sized venue? *At least* give us a high/low level input function, so that those folks with passive acoustics do have to lug extra preamps to the gig. Judging from the great YouTube review from earlier in the thread, the reviewer had to use an external preamp to even get a freakin' SM58 to an acceptable level for a coffeehouse gig! Say it ain't so, Craig! Is this thing that frightfully underpowered when plugging direct into it with mics and passive acoustic pickups? Isn't that what this unit is designed for?? So right now, based on what I've been able to gather, I wouldn't touch this unit with a 10-foot pole. Again, comments and opinions requested, please.

 

Also, if anyone can comment on the DLM12 or 8 for this purpose, I would very much appreciate it. Does it suffer from the same poor preamp-related control? Is it loud enough for my purpose?

Edited by realtwang

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Thanks to Craig and everyone else for doing this thread! I was actually looking to get one of these for touring as a solo acoustic act who plays medium to large clubs. My problem was that no one in Nashville seems to carry this thing (or the DLM series for that matter' date=' which I am also interested in) and I've never seen anybody using one in the wild. I'm very glad I found this thread! Here are my thoughts so far. Please comment, confirm, or deny :) :[/quote']

 

Well, I'm in Nashville...so if you can suggest a place to test it out, I could bring it over and you can decide for yourself. The price: writing up your conclusions for this thread :)

 

This thing has no preamp gain controls at all, which seems idiotic to me.

 

That's not really the case. It does have controls for individual channels in addition to the master, which adjust gain for the mic and line level inputs. The problem with passive guitars is they're in the "not mic/not line" gray area.

 

Judging from the great YouTube review from earlier in the thread, the reviewer had to use an external preamp to even get a freakin' SM58 to an acceptable level for a coffeehouse gig! Say it ain't so, Craig!

 

Actually I found his comment puzzling, because even though I got into this out of curiosity to try Reach as a full-range, flat-response guitar amp, the thread's popularity has inspired me to go a bit beyond that self-imposed limit. So, I've tried it with an SM58 and the level was certainly commensurate with what I would expect for the size and weight, if not a bit more. Even without singing too loudly, the mic was able to light the "just below clipping" input channel LED. I think it would be plenty for a restaurant gig...and I'm not sure I'd want to sit at a table close to it.

 

But when you say "medium to large," it really depends on what you mean by those words. This is really more of a small-to-medium-size venue type of system, I can't see it filling something "large." If nothing else, "large" means more people to absorb sound, and more noise that Reach would need to drown out.

 

If you're interested in checking it out, reply in this thread and I'll send you a PM regarding logistics. How's THAT for an interactive review? :)

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I played a medium sized Restaurant / Bar on Sunday afternoon. Full capacity would be about 180, and it was about 50% I would say. No one was sitting directly in front of the performer area, so there was probably a 20-30' buffer between myself and the nearest patrons. I had plenty of volume for the room, and no concerns if it were to be at 100% capacity either. I was running an SM58, and a Seagull w/ Active preamp into channel 1 and 2.

 

I forgot to bring my 1/8" cable to use my iPod Mini for bumper / break music, so I can't comment on that in a gig situation. Overall I'm happy with the product so far. I will be using it again on Thursday evening in a different venue, with the same setup. In other reviews people mentioned problems with the sound quality, and the eq of the unit. I experienced no such issues. Granted, I'm a realist when it comes to gigs also, and I realize that the average bar patron listening to acoustic music on a Sunday afternoon, isn't going to care if the EQ is off, as long as it still sounds decent.

 

In my estimation, I don't think this is the rig to use if you need 2 of these. Then you may as well bring a small PA or your DL1608 and a couple sticks. Once you bring a 2nd one into the equation to get more coverage, the easy convienient factor goes away, in my opinion.

 

So far, for what I'm using it for, it is perfect. I was able to buy mine at a great deal second hand, I don't know that I would pay full price for one new at this point. A carrying case should come with the product. At 999, it's ridiculous that it doesn't include a quality padded case.

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I played a medium sized Restaurant / Bar on Sunday afternoon. Full capacity would be about 180' date=' and it was about 50% I would say. No one was sitting directly in front of the performer area, so there was probably a 20-30' buffer between myself and the nearest patrons. I had plenty of volume for the room, and no concerns if it were to be at 100% capacity either. I was running an SM58, and a Seagull w/ Active preamp into channel 1 and 2.[/quote']

 

Thanks very much for the report, and especially for quantifying it with numbers! Based on the levels I've been able to achieve with an SM58 and guitar, what you've experienced is what I would expect.

 

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You can locate a local Mackie dealer at the link below to see if they have any available to try. You can also find links to online dealers as well that should have plenty in stock.

 

http://mackie.com/find-dealer/all/Reach

 

Hi Mackie Gear - Thanks for that, but out of every listed dealer in Nashville, I could not find a single one that actually had the Reach in stock to listen to. I'd actually like an opportunity to hear it before I go to the trouble of ordering it online sight unseen.

Edited by realtwang

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Well, I'm in Nashville...so if you can suggest a place to test it out, I could bring it over and you can decide for yourself. The price: writing up your conclusions for this thread :)

 

That's not really the case. It does have controls for individual channels in addition to the master, which adjust gain for the mic and line level inputs. The problem with passive guitars is they're in the "not mic/not line" gray area.

 

Actually I found his comment puzzling, because even though I got into this out of curiosity to try Reach as a full-range, flat-response guitar amp, the thread's popularity has inspired me to go a bit beyond that self-imposed limit. So, I've tried it with an SM58 and the level was certainly commensurate with what I would expect for the size and weight, if not a bit more. Even without singing too loudly, the mic was able to light the "just below clipping" input channel LED. I think it would be plenty for a restaurant gig...and I'm not sure I'd want to sit at a table close to it.

 

But when you say "medium to large," it really depends on what you mean by those words. This is really more of a small-to-medium-size venue type of system, I can't see it filling something "large." If nothing else, "large" means more people to absorb sound, and more noise that Reach would need to drown out.

 

If you're interested in checking it out, reply in this thread and I'll send you a PM regarding logistics. How's THAT for an interactive review? :)

 

VERY interactive, sir, thank you! Yes, I'd definitely be interested in trying this thing in person. Send me a PM, and we can work out the details. And I promise I'll post a full impression back here.

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