Leslie is a name that is synonymous with organ speakers. Ever since Don Leslie designed his first cabinet with a rotating speaker, it has been a stalwart in blues, jazz and rock organ sounds and continues today as a brand name that delivers nothing but quality and innovation in loudspeaker design. So, it was with great pleasure that I got to test out and hear the new SPA-150R-L Ensemble Speaker from Leslie in recent weeks. As I was trying a Hammond stage piano, it only made sense to hear how it sounds through one of these speakers; the two being a true match made in heaven.
A WORLD OF POSSIBILITIES
The team at Leslie have really thought this speaker system through, making it very usable for a range of instrument applications, not just keyboards or organs. Whether used as a single speaker cabinet, or linked as a pair, there are several ways in which you can make use of the inputs for harmonica, melodion, vocals, backing tracks and keyboards. The four inputs have a somewhat unusual setup in that they do act as mono inputs, however each of the two pairs share an EQ circuit. So, using the inputs in the correct configuration will give you better control of the sound. A switchable reverb circuit can also be engaged across the master output, which starts off very subtle, but gets very wet when you increase the effects pot all the way. Finding the balance to best suit all your inputs with this reverb is the key to a great sound.
STOP, LOOK AND LISTEN
Let’s face it; we are not going to judge a book by its cover when it comes to speaker design. After all, it really is all about how it sounds in the end. With that in mind, the Leslie SPA-150R-L is a very impressive unit. The front ported three-way speaker design is ideal for full range amplification, but it has been specially designed to work best with keyboards and organs. For those of you looking for a keyboard amplifier, you will no doubt know of the trouble finding a PA speaker that doesn't break up, or deliver physical speaker distortion when playing notes in the lower octave range of your instrument. This isn’t usually noticeable at low volume, but when you crank it up, the low frequencies tend to go south very quickly. This is not the case with the SPA-150R-L. The cross over range and speaker design allows the low and low-mid frequencies to hold their own with this unit. Big organ sounds with effects on them sound like big organ sounds with effects. You get to hear everything and don’t feel like you need to turn the speaker down for fear of damaging it. This is the keyboard amplifier that many of you have been looking for.
Hits and Misses
Plenty of headroom for all instruments
Does not distort with keyboard and organ bass frequencies at high volumes
Delivers clarity and punch across the entire frequency response
Being a rectangular housing, cannot be rocked back for a fold back setup