HH Electronics TNX-1201
HH Electronics has a rich heritage that goes way back to the 1960s. A British-based manufacturer of professional sound equipment, originally based in Cambridge, the company built up an enviable reputation for quality speakers and amplifiers. Many readers who have been around the industry for a while may well be familiar with the iconic red H|H logo and I myself owned a pair of the company’s speakers ‘back in the day’. Following a period of quiet over the past decade or more, the brand has recently been reinvigorated by Birmingham-based Headstock Distribution, which launched a new range of HH Electronics active and passive speakers last year.
A couple of issues ago [87 – Jan/Feb] Ian Forest reviewed the TNE-1201 active cabinet and now I have been given the chance to test-drive that unit’s bigger brother, the TNX-1201. At first look, it could be very easy to confuse these two models. There’s only one letter different in their names and they share a very similar external cabinet design. However, on the inside, the TNX-1201 – which is part of HH’s premium TESSEN-X range – is a completely different beast! It has an improved Celestian TF1225 low frequency driver, a larger (1.4”) high frequency compression driver and a more powerful amplifier. This allows it to deliver a higher maximum SPL (132dB) and a slightly wider frequency response (45Hz - 20KHz).
My first impression of the TNX-1201 on removing it from its box was of a high-quality workhorse. Its design is fairly understated, and it isn’t loaded with bells and whistles, but it does have design details that make it stand out from the crowd and show it to be a professional-calibre speaker. Built from lightweight multi-layered plywood, it is finished with a thick textured black coating. Its black heavy-gauge steel protective grill has a distinctive central inset and is backed with black acoustic foam, while the LED-lit H|H logo sits proudly at the bottom (there is a switch on the back panel to disable the LED if you’d prefer).
The cabinet is fitted with a standard 35mm pole mount and also has four chunky rubber feet on its base. It also has a wedge shape and four further rubber feet on its back panel, which means that it can also be used as a stage monitor. This adds an element of flexibility but also has a downside. As Ian pointed out in his TNE-1201 review, the shape means that the connection panel is located on the side (not the back) and therefore the input/output cables protrude slightly when it is stand-mounted and you look at it from the front.
In his TNE-1201 review Ian also raved about the low weight of that cabinet, however, predictably – due to the beefed-up amp, the TNX-1201 is heavier – 5kg to be exact. In total it weighs in at 20.7kg, which I wouldn’t describe as ‘light’ but is certainly manageable. This is helped by the two large recessed handles located on each side, which are comfortable to hold and make it easy to carry and also lift the cabinet up onto a stand.
As I’ve already said, HH have kept the ‘bells and whistles’ to a minimum on the TNX-1201. Its recessed control/connections panel features two input channels each offering combination XLR/jack sockets and dedicated gain controls. A slight oversight (again, previously mentioned by Ian in his TNE-1201 review) is the lack of line/mic level switching. This means that you can’t connect a corded mic directly to the speaker without using an external mixer (however, you may be able to connect a wireless mic if yours has a line-level output, as some do). A Linkout XLR socket is also provided, for the connection of a sub or additional active speaker, which is switchable between just Channel 1 or a mix of both channels.
A simple, but effective, Equalisation section offers LF and HF trim controls as well as three EQ pre-sets: Bass, Monitor and Vocal. There are also a variety of LED indicators, including one to show that power is being received, one to show that an audio signal is being received and one to warn if the signal is clipping.
The only other control on the panel is an ‘Anti-Feedback’ switch which is meant to suppress microphone feedback when engaged. However, following a lot of experimentation, I didn’t find this to be of any practical use. For a start, I didn’t find these speakers to be particularly prone to feedback in the first place, but when I deliberately put my mic right in front of the speaker it fed back regardless of whether the switch was activated or not.
So, now that we’ve covered the TNX-1201’s looks and connectivity, let’s get down to business, how does it sound? Well, as has been written in Pro Mobile many times before, sound is a very subjective thing. All of our ears are slightly different and we all have different ideas of what sounds 'good'. That said, I can't imagine anyone could say that the TNX-1201 sounds ‘bad’ and – personally – I LOVE it!
I took the pair of speakers that I was loaned for this review out to two gigs. The first was an intimate event in a fairly small lounge/bar. I found that the TNX-1201s produced a rich, warm sound that had great definition and an almost hi-fi quality. The vocals were clear and instruments were detailed, which made for a great listening experience for the guests as they mingled early evening. When it was time for dancing, the speakers delivered a powerful sound to the dancefloor (even with the Gain control dialled right down).
My second event with the TNX-1201s was a large party in a cavernous church hall. This was a big space, with pretty poor acoustics, so a real challenge for the speakers. However, I’m pleased to be able to report that they rose to it admirably, filling the room well across the whole frequency spectrum. The lows were deep and rich, the mids clear and the highs cut through without being shrill. Despite the size of the venue, I decided not to take separate bins and, with hind-sight, think that was the right call. In fact, I’d say that the TNX-1201s generate enough low-end rumble to get away without separate subs for 99% of the events I work.
So, to sum up, the TNX-1201 has an inconspicuous design and minimal feature set but delivers where it counts, in raw power and audio clarity. This is a professional quality speaker that is portable enough for mobile DJ use but has the clout to fill large function rooms and has a price tag within the realms of affordability for most established DJs. Put simply: highly recommended!
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The full review can be found in Pro Mobile Issue 89, Pages 68-70.