REVIEWED: TRS-1500 & TRS-1800
I have been a DJ for 40 years (I’m also the Treasurer of the South Eastern Discotheque Association (SEDA)) and during my career have been fortunate to have owned, used, or heard many of the top-brand speakers used by both mobile DJs and bands.
I started out with Fal (Futuristic Aids Ltd) Speakers, but quickly moved on to better, though I have to admit that I have never owned any HH speakers for some strange reason. Perhaps it was the weight of the older systems that put me off!
HH is a British manufacturer, founded in 1968 by Mike Harrison, Graham Lowes and Malcolm Green in Cambridge. They started out by making and designing solid-state, studio-quality amplifiers that were used in many recording studios, even the BBC. During the 70s the range of equipment was extended to the design and manufacture of speaker cabinets and combo systems. In order to match the quality of the speakers to the amplifiers, Ed Forme, an acoustic specialist, designed their speakers with cast magnesium alloy frames and cabinets. The results were legendary and some of them are still in use today. In the 1990s HH were bought out by Laney Amplification and moved to the West Midlands. Around this time it seems that they went off the radar for a bit. Though they carried on, and several of the original staff moved to the new home of HH, with the last of those only retiring a few months ago.
So, how about these newest subs? The build quality of both the TRS-1500 and TRS-1800 is excellent. With an acoustically damped all-wood construction finished with a rugged spatter-paint finish, they feel like they can withstand many years of service on the road. They are also visually appealing with full black front grill and a light-up red HH logo on the front. On all of the tests I did, I was using a Formula sound mixer that was running totally flat. I did not allow the mixer to go into clipping, so the signal in was very clean.
For a 15-inch speaker the cabinet is surprisingly compact, measuring just 465 x 500 x 556mm (18.3 x 19.7 x 21.9 inches) and weighing only 28kg (61.7lbs). It is very comfortable to carry, thanks to the large recessed carry handles, and, to be honest, did not feel that heavy – or perhaps I had an extra Weetabix that morning! The top of the speaker has a standard 35mm distance pole socket for adding your chosen tops.
Within the cabinet there is a high-grade class D amplifier combined with a long-throw 15-inch woofer, delivering low-end performance. All of this is enclosed in a solid, lightweight enclosure with optimal bass porting. Stereo input and high-pass output connections provide optimal crossover separation between full-range and sub frequencies. Need more bass? No problem. The shape preset boosts sub harmonic frequencies delivering a deeper bass response. The power is rated at 700W continuous and 1400W peak, with frequency response of 37-250HZ (variable 60-200HZ) and a max SPL of 128dB at 1m.
At the rear of the cabinet there are two balanced XLR inputs, two balanced link outputs, two balanced XLR fixed hi-pass outputs, a volume control, shape switch, ground lift switch, a phase switch, the power switch, a clip indicator light, and finally, a variable crossover frequency control (60-200hz).
For my test, I ran the subs with two HH Tensor TRE-1201s, and the sound reproduction was exceptional. I find that a good test for speakers is reggae music, which always shows speakers at their full potential, and these handled this genre with ease. Another great track to play is Dire Straits’ ‘Sultans of Swing’, and I was not disappointed here either. The bass delivery and reproduction is something to be heard. For the size of the cabinet and price, you certainly get a lot for your money. Combined with a five-year warranty and dedicated UK aftermarket support, I can see these cabinets being very popular in the years to come. Indeed, I am very tempted to own a set in the near future!
As with the TRS-1500, the TRS-1800 cabinet is surprisingly compact and I had serious doubts they could possibly perform to the standard you’d expect of an 18-inch sub. Measuring just 540 x 580 x 592mm (21.3 x 22.8 x 23.3 inches) and weighing only 31kg (68.3lbs), again, they were easy to lift and carry, which is down to the clever positioning of the recessed handles. Like the TRS-1500, the top of the speaker has a standard 35mm distance pole socket for adding your chosen tops.
Enclosed is the same high-grade class D amplifier but with an 18-inch long-throw woofer, delivering power of 700W continuous, and 1400W max, peak frequency response at 35-250HZ (variable 60-200HZ) and maximum SPL of 130dB at 1m. The rear of the speaker has the same inputs, outputs and adjustments as the TRS-1500, which will make life a lot easier if you’re using different systems.
I tested the TRS-1800 using two HH Tensor TRE-1501s and played the same tracks through the system. Again, I was very impressed with how good the reproduction is at both high and low volume with the tracks I played. The bass was very deep and you could really feel the extra SPL. My reggae tracks were handled with sublime ease, making them sound awesome!
These new speakers from HH are excellent value for the money and perform far better than expected for their price band. The TRS-1500 and TRS-1800 will happily work with the Tensor TRE series in any combination, and the stereo inputs on the rear of the subs mean that one sub could be used with two tops for smaller gigs.
In my opinion, my tests prove that HH are back to doing what they do best. You really need to give these a listen when you are in need of well-manufactured, high-performance speakers, at a great price.
The full review can be found in Pro Mobile Issue 105, Pages 74-75.