Premier Guitar features affiliate links to help support our content. We may earn a commission on any affiliated purchases.

Quick Hit: Mackie FreePlay Live Review

Quick Hit: Mackie FreePlay Live Review

Room-filling sound from a PA that doesn’t quite fill a backpack.

  Recorded with Dell’Arte Dark Eyes with Bigtone pickup into Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 interface into GarageBand.
Clip 1: Slight bass cut, slight mid bump, slight treble bump.
 

Ratings

Pros:
Excellent sound for size, mic-stand mountable, can wirelessly link with a second unit for stereo operation, onboard reverb.

Cons:
I’m personally not a fan of relying on a phone for tone control.

Street:
$399

Mackie FreePlay Live
mackie.com


Tones:


Ease of Use:


Build/Design:


Value:
 

Portable sound options for musicians are aplenty these days, and the fact that some acoustic performers prefer a powered speaker/portable PA over an acoustic amp is nothing new. Mackie’s new personal PA in their FreePlay line, however, has upped the portability/power ante that’ll make smart-design nerds take notice.

The FreePlay Live is a 150-watt system that weighs under nine pounds and houses a 6" driver and a pair of high-frequency tweeters. It’s stealth in that it’s void of control knobs (adjustments are primarily made through Mackie’s FreePlay Connect app), and one doesn’t have to fiddle with finding a wall outlet since it has up 15 hours of battery life. When I first gave it a go with a Selmer-style guitar, I couldn’t help but be impressed with the clear, crisp, and full tone it projected. The bass response is decent for its size and the operation overall was super quiet with no hiss. Nope, it won’t shake the windows in your living room, but the volume belies its footprint. And projection is helped with the cool feature of being able to mount the FreePlay Live on a standard mic stand.

With a pair of TRS/XLR combo inputs, wireless streaming for backing tracks, and room-painting clean sound on battery power, it’s ideal for buskers, house-concert regulars, and coffee-house performers. It’s nothing short of a breeze to carry around—even with a couple of fingers—so your music goes wherever you’d like to perform it.

Test gear: ’97 Dell’Arte Dark Eyes with Bigtone pickup, ’77 Washburn W600 with L.R. Baggs iBeam active system.


From Your Site Articles

Alex LIfeson, Victor

Anthem Records in Canada and Rhino Records will reissue the first-ever solo albums of Rush's Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee. Lifeson’s 1996 album Victor and Lee’s 2000 offering My Favourite Headache will be re-released on August 9, 2024.

Read MoreShow less

The new Jimi Hendrix documentary chronicles the conceptualization and construction of the legendary musician’s recording studio in Manhattan that opened less than a month before his untimely death in 1970. Watch the trailer now.

Read MoreShow less
Rivolta Guitars' Sferata | PG Plays
Rivolta Guitars' Sferata | PG Plays

PG contributor Tom Butwin dives into the Rivolta Sferata, part of the exciting new Forma series. Designed by Dennis Fano and crafted in Korea, the Sferata stands out with its lightweight Simaruba wood construction and set-neck design for incredible playability.

Read MoreShow less

The "Sandblasted" SE Series features a swamp ash top with a unique sandblasted finish in five color options.

Read MoreShow less