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Ramsa WS-A70-K Monitor Speakers

These multi-purpose speakers can be used as studio monitors, PA speakers or instrument speakers.


When is a studio monitor speaker not a monitor speaker? When it's also a public address speaker.


Ramsa may be an unfamiliar name in the world of studio equipment at the moment but I'm willing to bet that we shall be hearing a lot more from them before very long. Already their microphones look set to cause a stir in what might be termed the serious end of the budget market and there are more products just around the corner.

To anyone at all familiar with the compact PA speaker market, these speakers will be heavily reminiscent of the larger Bose 802 speaker in terms of appearance and both power handling (160W continuous programme) and efficiency figures (87dB for 1W at 1m). However, the similarity ends there. The Ramsa design is a fairly conventional 2-way passive system utilising a 20cm bass driver in a reflex enclosure and a twin Bessel hom high frequency unit crossed over at 2kHz. This gives a wide dispersion quoted as being 120 degrees in both the vertical and horizontal planes.

Constructionally these Ramsa speakers are quite interesting because despite their hi-tech appearance, they are in fact made of particle board covered with a black vinyl coating. This looks most stylish but sadly marks very easily, making these speakers more suitable for fixed installations than for road unless you don't mind them getting tatty quickly. However their very small size (422 x 262 x 233mm) combined with a weight of only 6.5kg each makes them very attractive to the solo artist who wants a small vocal PA. Also conventional is the woven grille which can be detached if necessary.

Unlike the Bose speakers, no equaliser is required in the amplifier chain. Connection is made either by spring cable clips or by parallelled jacks located on a recessed plate on the rear panel.

Loudness



One odd feature we should look at before we delve into the appraisal proper is that this design incorporates a loudness compensation circuit which emphasises the high and low frequency ends of the spectrum when programme material is being replayed at a low level. For domestic listening, PA and fixed music installations this may be a very good idea but I'm not quite sure as to whether I would have this feature by choice when using the speakers as studio monitors. However, that being said, these speakers are recommended for use as secondary monitors rather than as main monitors because the limited bass response means that you will not reproduce accurately anything below 50Hz.

In any application these monitors are likely to be robust as they incorporate a tweeter protection device to guard against abuse. This works on the principle of putting a low voltage light bulb in series with the high frequency driver so that excessive power causes the filament to heat up, whereupon its impedance rises, consequently reducing the current through the voice coil. This may seem crude but some of the worlds most respected monitors use the same system.

Studio Monitoring



Despite their general purpose nature, these speakers were looked at, (or rather listened to) in the context of the studio where they were set up as near field monitors. The first thing that comes to light is that these are not very efficient speakers so you will probably need at least 50W per channel in the way of amplification and preferably more.

The sound quality can best be described as bright and tight with bass drums and other low frequency transient sounds remaining snappy with no noticeable resonance or overhang. However the restricted low frequency response is immediately obvious so you do ideally need a set of full range monitors as well. Certainly these are pleasant to listen to and have a lot of presence, for want of a better word, and that should impress your clients, or your friends if you haven't yet started to accept money. The other side of the coin though is that if your speakers are less flattering to the music, then you will work that much harder on the mix and end up with something that sounds good on any system. I think that is why so many people like to work with Tannoys as our currently resident pair of Tannoy DTM8s sounded somewhat recessed by comparison but always give us good mixes.

Imaging is obviously not as good as you get with dual concentric speakers but if you point the drivers in the general direction of your ears, the result is a reasonably stable stereo image that doesn't vary too much if you shuffle in your seat.

Conclusions



Many home studios (probably the majority) are run by musicians and it is this section of the market that will see the benefit in using a single pair of speakers that can be used for monitoring, instrument amplification and possibly for the basis of a pub PA system or foldback set up into the bargain. These speakers certainly let you hear the detail within a mix and when it comes to accuracy, I wouldn't say that they were any more or less accurate than Tannoys or JBLs (for instance) given the limited bass. Every brand and model of speaker has its own characteristics and so you'll only get the best out of your monitors if you get used to hearing them play back commercial records and tapes as well as your own mixes. The choice of the right monitor is really a matter of finding something that you are comfortable with and whether you go for these depends on whether you favour their bright upfront sound or whether you prefer something a little softer sounding. At the price then a good all rounder and I suggest that you try to get to hear a pair if you need a decent near field monitor that can double up as an instrument or PA speaker.

The Ramsa WS-A, 70-Ks cost around £320 per pair and further details can be obtained from Panasonic UK, (Contact Details).


Also featuring gear in this article



Previous Article in this issue

Get It Out Of Your System

Next article in this issue

Graham Gouldman


Home & Studio Recording - Copyright: Music Maker Publications (UK), Future Publishing.

 

Home & Studio Recording - Apr 1986

Donated & scanned by: Mike Gorman

Gear in this article:

Monitors/Speakers > Ramsa > WS-A70


Gear Tags:

PA Speaker

Review by Paul White

Previous article in this issue:

> Get It Out Of Your System

Next article in this issue:

> Graham Gouldman


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