West Sussex, U.K.-based Turbosound is not a company I can easily associate with portable PA products.
The first thing I think of when I see Turbosound’s distinctive logo is Iron Maiden’s World Slavery Tour of 1984/1985 — one of the longest tours in rock ’n’ roll history — and its massive, incredible Turbosound rig. And that’s only the iceberg tip of Turbosound’s impression left on the realm of large-scale touring.
What did such trivia mean to me as I unpacked a pair of Milan M15 self-powered portable PA speakers, Turbosound’s most affordable speaker in the company’s long history? Exceedingly high expectations for performance, power, and build quality. What I found in the M15 was consistently a cut above most common portable PA options, thus worth its cost ($1,082 list, under $1k street).
The Milan M15 is based on a lightweight, digitally controlled Class-D amplifier, offering 450W to its 15-inch, neodymium, low-frequency driver and one-inch, neodymium, high-frequency compression driver on a 90-degree horizontal by 60-degree vertical horn. Measuring 28 x 18.5 x 15.7 inches and weighing in at under 50 lbs., the M15 is a tightly constructed, sturdy-feeling polypropylene enclosure with three recessed carrying handles, dual-angle pole-mount socket, steel-mesh grille, and six threaded rigging points.
Frequency response is 36 Hz to 17 kHz (+/- 3 dB). Internal DSP operates at 48 kHz and provides parametric EQ and frequency-dependent limiting features, the latter of which allows for higher SPL before distortion and dramatically reduces the possibility of driver damage; continuous and maximum SPL levels are 125 dB and 131 dB, respectively.
On its back panel, the M15 offers two mic/line-level inputs via two Neutrik XLR/TRS combo jacks, each with a rotary level pot and a simple mic/line switch. On rotary pots are Bass and Treble shelving EQ at useful frequencies: +/-12 dB at 200 Hz and +/-12 dB at 4 kHz, respectively. Also available is a three-LED display (blue for “power on,” green for “signal detected,” and red for “limiter on”); XLR line-level mix-out connector; on/off rocker switch; IEC power connector; and most interestingly, a twoposition Bass Mode switch. The latter offers a fourth-order HPF at 36 Hz (setting “A,” for use without external subwoofers) and 100 Hz (setting “B,” designed for use with an external subwoofer to reducing overlap in bass frequencies, or to reduce boom when using the M15 as a floor wedge).
Whether for loud rock gigs as mains (in which I also used a powered subwoofer with the M15 on Bass Mode B), as wedges in various positions, or full-range main monitors in slightly less SPL-demanding applications, the Milan M15 pair performed beautifully, striking me as slightly less feedback prone compared to similar self-powered speakers I’ve previously used in the same environments. In my use, the M15 got loud, stayed clean, and sounded consistently full, punchy, and smooth up top. Best of all, it doesn’t take two people to carry this rather powerful small/medium club main monitor; I did it easily thanks to the M15’s reasonable weight and well conceived handles.
I found the M15’s built-in two-channel mixers to be quite helpful. For example, for a trio gig in a small wine bar — featuring a small drum kit, acoustic/electric bass guitar, keyboard, and solo vocal — I provided truly full-range sound reinforcement via the M15’s rich sound, simple EQ, and level control with, other than instruments, only the necessary cables, one direct box, one mic, and the two enclosures in tow. Using the first M15 as a wedge, the keyboardist/vocalist used inputs 1 and 2 via TRS line-level signal and XLR dynamic mic input, respectively; then, using enclosure one’s XLR Mix Out, we used input 1 of enclosure two (pole-mounted and positioned as a main) for the vocal/keyboard mix, and the second input for the electric bass guitar.
The Milan M15 is an impressive performer that would be a good investment for the discriminating live musician, smallscale sound reinforcement provider, or small/medium live music venue (clubs, theaters, and even houses-of-worship) with a need for a flexible, portable, and full-range powered speaker.
Contact: American Music & Sound (U.S. distributor) | 800-994-4984 | americanmusicandsound.com
Strother Bullins is the reviews and features editor for Pro Audio Review.