Tapco S8

Review: Tapco S8 Active Monitors

Tapco S8

Imaging is impressive on the S8. I’ve mixed on NS10’s, JBL 4208 and 4312, and various Genelec and Tannoy models. The S8 is not as pretty-sounding as a Genelec, but I prefer it that way. Some Tannoy monitors, especially the older concentric units, are cleaner than the S8 but not by much.

Build quality is excellent, too. These are heavy, solid beasts. I’m sure there are seams on the cabinets, but we couldn’t find them. They are also good looking, much more dark and aggressive than photos can relate. Overall, we have no complaints at all, especially at this price.

This is what’s so great about the S8: They are an astounding value. They will definitely show you what is right or wrong with your mix, and do so better than anything else in its class at high or low volume (yes, that is an option no one ever talks about). I had read some reports about bass power problems, but I believe they perform much better in an actual studio/room rather than in a store showroom where sales-staff have likely cranked the back-panel bass option beyond reason.

If you have a chance to listen before you buy, you should. If not, search online for reviews and comparison shootouts. The S8’s are a solid investment for anyone shopping in this range.

http://www.tapcoworld.com/products/s8/index.html

Updated 2008: It looks like the Tapco S8 and S5 might be on their way out, to be replaced by the Mackie MR Series Studio Monitors. They have similar specs, price, and an even nicer, more minimalist Mackie aesthetic.

http://www.mackie.com/products/mrseries/splash.html

Updated 2012: Tapco has been absorbed back into Mackie. The link to tapcoworld.com above no longer works at all (very bad form, Mackie!). Information on Tapco products can still be found in Mackie’s archives. And my S8’s are still kicking ass.

http://www.mackie.com/support/downloads/discontinued.html#tapco

  • Anonymous

    Hi! I found your blog through google, i’m currently looking forward to get the Tapco S8 and i’m wondering if it needs alot of space between the listener and speakers. I could give it about 1,5m space between the speakers and the same as listeners distance. Do they work in such a nearfield configuration? I experienced that my old event tr-8 wasnt very good used that close, bass had trouble to built up in such short distances. I hope the
    Tapco is better here.
    Thanks alot for your review!

  • Glenn Gutierrez

    Thanks for your comment!

    Yes, the S8’s are near-field monitors and sound best at that distance. I’ve heard good things about the Event TR8, though deep bass for dance music was one reason why I opted for the Mackie/Tapco formula.

    Another thing to consider is how much space there is behind or around your monitors. Bass doesn’t ‘build up’ over this kind of range (20Hz sound waves are 56 feet long–do you have a room that big?), but can be adversely affected, reflected or cancelled out by being placed too close to a wall. If you still have those TR8’s, you might try moving them around.

    Good luck!