MK4.5 STUFFED THING
Portable Battery powered PA system ideally suited to Street Performers, Musicians, Theatre Companies & festivals.
Please contact me for a full list of options, an order form and current prices. All PA’s are built to order to your individual requirements.
So – you’re looking for the best small battery PA system and you are wondering why should you buy a Mk4.5 ? Well… maybe you should… maybe you shouldn’t. If you were asked which is the best car then you might have an answer, but really it would depend on what you want to use the car for – racing, comfort, family holidays, nipping about town – and so it is with a PA system – it all depends on your intended use. Some of the other popular PA’s that you can buy are the Bose S1, AER’s, Roland Street Cubes and a plethora of other smaller cheaper ones. The Bose S1 is very good – it has great sound, but it is quite large, quite heavy and not very powerful. AER’s likewise sound very good, but the battery powered ones are even bigger and heavier than the Bose, not particularly powerful and unless you want to carry your own heavy duty seat around with you they are not very practical for minimalist busking / street performing. The Roland Street Cubes are cheap and for their money they work OK, but they use a lot of audio processing / compression to achieve their perceived volume from a set of AA batteries, which gives a very ‘unclean’ sound and a lot of not very environmentally friendly batteries in the bin. The Mk4.5 is lighter, smaller and more powerful than all of the above with the ability to have stereo or mono from one or two speakers. The compromise that you will make is in spending a little bit more on a handmade bespoke PA, that has been made with your best interests and the planet’s in mind, with no inbuilt obsolescence, can be taken on an aircraft (it meets CAA requirements) and is almost infinitely repairable should you break it. However if don’t need a small lightweight powerful PA with excellent sound then one of the others might well be a better choice – these are only the best PA’s in the world if they suit your requirements and if they do, you will not be disappointed.
The Mk4.5 differs from the Mk2.5 version in that it is slightly larger, louder, heavier and has a ‘fuller’ sound. It also has an anti-clipping circuit to help prevent overload distortion and has greater bass response. At the heart of the PA’s is a ‘Class T’ amplifier chip (sometimes called digital although it isn’t really) made by a company called Tripath. Tripath are no longer in existence, but before they disappeared they designed and patented a range of amplifier chips that many small audiophile manufactures have used for various applications – Google them. Panasonic used the same amplifier chip in a range of car stereos which broke the world record for the highest power output from a standard production car stereo. Wattage figures are almost meaningless as it depends on what you do with the power, what it costs to create it in the first place, how distorted the sound is, and are the figures even accurate ! Wattage figures are notoriously lied about, as well as being measured at RMS and peak levels… however this system has been measured at 150 Watts RMS at ‹ 1% distortion; and maximum power of 300 watts (with saturated square wave). It should be enough to say it is very loud with very clean uncoloured sound quality and much more so than you would think possible from such small boxes.
I generaly advise musicians to team the MK4.5 up with a high quality mixer such as the TC Helicon Play Acoustic (see video) or the Yamaha AG03 or AG06, or possibly the simpler Stageline MMX-11USB as these can all be powered from the Mk4.5 itself via an optional power output transformer, making an excellent quality, neat and portable busking package.
And you can click here for the ‘Q thing‘ – an extremely sophisticated remote controlled audio player
I’ve been after one of these sound systems for over 12 years. The Rolls Royce of lightweight battery powered PA’s. Sounds just incredible. Hearing things in music I’ve been listening to regularly I didn’t know were there ! And sounds better than the 600 Watt system we toured with for years. Garth Williams 2021 (street & festival performer)
Hi Nick, Hope all is well in your universe! Firstly, your mk4 has really, really been impressive. I don’t recall what I spent nor do I care. Recently ran keyboards, acoustic guitar, bass, and vocals through an ag06 in an acoustic room and all were in awe. The sound was pure!
Steve Debowski (Musician)
We had a rehearsal today and had the chance to listen to our stuffed thing is full swing, we are very very impressed its exactly what we need, so thanks again!
Matt Pang, Pangotic (Street & festival performer)
Hannu is very pleased with them, he said they are much better and with the extra speaker it makes a huge difference! Thanks again for all of your help and expertise- Hannu is very grateful for your help!
Hannu Siren (Musician)
Hi Nick! I received the amp on Wednesday and all is good. Did a test this morning and I am extremely happy with the amp. I will give it test on the streets next weekend here in Freiburg, Germany. Nick, your service was top notch from the emails to delivery. Very professional:+) Wish you all the best!
Steve Stergiadis (Street performer)
I have been playing it with eq and it sounded good. Played it yesterday with eq and reverb and sounded great. So I seem to be getting better and putting a decent sound into it. I believe it sounds great and also one can point the speaker in different directions is a bonus. My friend who recommended it invited me over to do some work on guitar supports. He insisted I bring it with me. He had invited others, unbeknown to me to check it out. Buskers are a sceptical bunch!
Paul Esslemont (Musician)
This is a beast… it’s built like a tank. Sound is incredible and we are very much looking forward to using it next weekend. Thanks again for the advice and the brilliant service that you always provide.
Chris – Funny Bones (Street & festival performers)
Overall I am extremely happy with this investment and just want to thank you for creating such an amazing PA. I’ve owned a good amount of speakers and this is pound for pound the BEST. Before ordering I had the opportunity to see Gazzo and Eric Evans who was using the mk2. They had nothing but great things to say about you and this PA and now I can say the same. I will definitely be purchasing the Thing in the near future.
Mark Bautista (Magician)
Hi Nick, Stuffed and Thing received – plugged it in – boy has that got some clarity and power. very impressed. They are beautifully made – well from what I can tell on the outside anyway – god knows what magic is going on inside those wee power boxes! 🙂 I can hear the years of R&D and dedication for perfection. Many many thanks – I look forward to conjuring creations with them.
Danielle Corbishley (Theatre practitioner)
Current Mk4.5 standard models have:
- Two speaker units (Stuffed and Thing)
- 5 meters of speaker cable as standard (more or less can be supplied)
- Preamp for high power output from low level input devices such as iPods
- Volume / gain control
- Switchable, automatic anti-clipping circuit to detect and reduce sound distortion
- 80 Hz high pass filter to reduce sound distortion from high bass input signals. The filter does not remove all frequencies below 80Hz – it reduces them by a factor of 12dB per octave below 80Hz.
- Overload flashing LED (identifies clipping /distortion)
- Fold flat carry handles
- Aluminium Speaker Grills
- 2 x Screw lockable 3.5mm jack inputs (screw locking eliminates crackle/noise due to poor connections)
- 1 x stereo screw locking 3.5mm input cable – suitable for mp3 player etc.
- External power input socket and cable to power from an external battery or other power supplies.(12~24v DC)
- Removable ‘flying lead’ for Thing
- Power on ultra-bright blue LED
- Battery LED meter
- Internal aluminium bracing
- Aperiodic enclosure venting system
- 4 hour (approx.) Mascot smart charger 100~240 V mains with UK plug (other plugs can be ordered)
- 2 position rubber feet
Additional options are:
- 3rd screw locking 3.5mm jack input socket
- Power output socket and cable to power external equipment from the PA’s internal battery
- Canvas shoulder bags with acoustically transparent fabric panel
- Stereo screw locking 3.5mm input cable
- Screw locking 3.5mm stereo to double mono input converter cable (particularly useful when using ‘Stuffed’ on its own or for converting stereo signals to mono when using both speakers)
- Screw locking 3.5mm Radio mic input cable
- Speaker cable extensions for ‘Thing’
- Custom cables
- USB power output for powering USB equipment e.g. a USB powered mixer
- 12v and 9v power out transformers for powering other equipment e.g. effects peddles
- Amplifier : T-Class (audiophile sound quality)
- Speakers : JBL 3way 6” x 9” 2.3 ohm; Sensitivity: 94dB (2.83V, 1m)
- Battery: 22.5v, 3.5Ah, Li-ion certified to UN38.3 specifications. Click here for downloadable PDF battery test summary
- Size (approx ): 27 x 19 x 13cm
- Weight Stuffed: 3.2Kg / 7 lbs
- Weight Thing: 2.6Kg / 5.7 lbs
- RMS power output 150 watts (at approximately 1% distortion); maximum power 300 watts (with saturated square wave)
- Battery life in Normal* use: 3~6 hours; maximum battery life approx. 10 hours
- Recharge Cycles: 500~800* after which battery capacity will be at approx. 75%)
- Recharge time (approx): 4 hours
- Fuse: 10A slow blow
* Normal use is deemed as being used to amplify constant Rock / Pop music played at high volume without any sound clipping / distortion from excessive volume, and with a fully charged battery. This time will vary considerably depending upon the volume and type of use.
* Battery energy capacity slowly reduces over time according to many factors. After 500~800 charge / discharge cycles, the expected battery capacity will be 75% of original capacity. New batteries can be installed if and when necessary.
There are two inputs as standard, designed to be connected to an iPod / mini-disc / MP3 etc.; or line-out socket; or guitar/instrument with internal preamp; or radio mic set. A third input can be added when ordered, or if you need a small mixer for multiple inputs (or for an instrument without an internal preamp) there are many manufacturers of small battery powered units, but a USB powered mixer can be powered from the PA itself – I can give a few recommendations.
Since the amplifier chip is a high frequency switch mode one, it emits some radio interference which can interfere with AM, FM, LW, SW & DAB radio signals in close proximity – Radio signals 30 MHz to 300 MHz may not be capable of being amplified with this unit as the amplifier can cause interference with these frequencies. Most radio mics use the UHF frequency band between 300 MHz and 3 GHz and should not be affected by interference and will work well with the PA.
The main active speaker unit ‘Stuffed’ can be bought on its own and can be used either with or without the additional passive speaker ‘Thing’ attached.
And remember … you are paying for what isn’t there, as well as for what is!