Road Test: RCF HDM 45-A Loudspeaker

Getting Acquainted

The first thing I noticed when unboxing the HDM 45-A is that it includes Powercon jacks, including a Powercon output, so you could jump a sub and loudspeaker’s power together easily. Like many in our business, I like Powercon connections because cabinet vibrations or some wayward hand yanking a cable will not unplug the unit.

The handles are large and can easily be used with winter or heavy work gloves and feature rubber handgrips so the user hand’s wont slip when pole mounting. Plugging it into AC power, I easily navigated the menu selections thanks to a sticker on the rear that tells what the presets do.

I grabbed a computer, played some test tracks through the HDM 45-A and quickly worked through the various presets. Next I listened to my voice through a variety of microphone models. Sonic quality was overall pleasing. I was especially keen to hear the Close and Far presets so I moved the loudspeaker outside my shop and fired up the music again, comparing them at various distances.

During this process, a colleague showed up to return some gear, and I encouraged him to check out the presets. He was impressed with how easy it was to change them with the rotary encoder, and he also really liked the built-in delay.

Satisfied that everything was working as expected, it was time to take the loudspeaker to work some gigs. First up was an event for military veterans where I served as the front of house engineer, and it included a performance by 3 Beards, a band from Texas.

FOH was positioned to the side of the stage so I placed the HDM 45-A on a stand facing my console and used it as a monitor to hear my mix. The loudspeaker was wired to the mono feed of the console and contained everything that was going to the mains. I set the preset to C2 (close high pass) because I was only a few feet behind the subs and could hear them quite well.

While I did walk around quite a bit with my iPad to mix, when I was at the console I could still hear everything very clearly. Simply, the box sounded great and did the job really well.

Diverse Roles

Next was an outdoor rally where the HDM 45-A was deployed as the primary stage monitor for the presenters onstage. While we normally wouldn’t use a large monitor for a speech gig, I set the preset to L4 (linear indoor) and positioned the cabinet at a corner of the front of the stage, facing inward. I checked with every presenter, and all said they could hear themselves as well as the audio (music) for the video playback very clearly.

This was followed by a praise band concert at a local church. With only a single HDM 45-A available, we used it as a monitor for some vocalists during the sound check/rehearsal and then switched it to the drummer’s monitor halfway through the rehearsal.

The pole mount on the bottom, and we can also see the monitoring angle of the cabinet.

The singers liked the loudspeaker as a wedge and thought it sounded fantastic, but thought it was a little big simply because they’re used to 10-inch-loaded, low-profile monitors. Meanwhile, the drummer loved the thump of the kick and the lows of the toms. At his insistence we provided the loudspeaker for him at the concert later that day, and afterward, he asked if he could use it at every gig.

The final stop was a corporate gig at a casino ballroom lobby (pre-function space in corporate speak) The meeting planner wanted me to provide some music before the show, and then to reinforce a feed of the show (speeches and awards) to this area as well. Normally we handle these types of applications with a stand-mounted column loudspeaker, but this time the HDM filled that role.

We placed it on a stand in the corner, partially concealed by a large fake plant that was in the lobby in front of the stand. This attempt at camouflage made it look like there was a loudspeaker growing out of the plant, yet it did not compromise the sonic quality. I used the L1 preset (linear low reverb) and what really stood out is the bass performance – it was much more present and deep than we usually achieve, and it resulted in a pleasingly full signature.

Everything I put through the HDM 45-A sounded stellar, with vocals being really clear in the mix. In fact, it’s easily one of the nicest-sounding loudspeakers in this class that I’ve heard. It’s also aesthetically pleasing, easy to move around and position, and is definitely rugged enough for a production company’s show and/or rental inventory. Find out more about the HDM 45-A here.

HDM 45-A MAP: $1,799