Hands-On Review:Hot Spot VC, Powered Hot Spot, and Micro Spot Monitors
Thinking small delivers big sonic benefits
By Phil Warner
Not being able to hear your voice over the onstage volume is often a vexing problem for vocalists. Galaxy Audio has been providing solutions to this problem since 1977, when they developed the first Hot Spot compact monitors, designed to provide performers with excellent onstage monitoring while eliminating the need for large, heavy monitor cabinets.
Today Galaxy continues to refine, improve, and extend their Hot Spot line with a range of super-compact new micro models. An unusual 5" driver with a revolutionary design delivers better sound quality than ever before, and several models offer EQ and a compressor/limiter. I field-tested Hot Spots in a live concert situation with a 10-piece show band featuring several vocalists, and tried out the Powered Micro Spot in a trio setting.
Hot Spot VC (HSVC)
Hot Spots became an instant success because they allow bands and musicians to hear their music, and are very easy to haul and set up. Hot Spots’ nearfield design means they can be mounted on a mic stand and placed closer to the performer than standard floor monitors, keeping the overall stage mix cleaner and the onstage volume from getting too loud. The volume control lets you easily set the optimum balance with the other vocals and instruments.
Hot Spots are designed and tuned especially to project the mid and high frequency ranges that most vocals occupy. This focus on projecting a controlled bandwidth means that, while the sound won’t blow you away with its dynamic range, it’s very effective at reproducing the vocal frequencies that you need to hear onstage.
The speakers in the new generation of Hot Spots have a proprietary ferrofluid cooling system that allows their two compact 5" drivers to perform with great efficiency and improved sound quality. Rated at 100 watts continuous apiece, these diminutive drivers give each monitor a rating of 200 watts at 16 ohms.
Powered Hot Spot (PA5XD)
The Powered Hot Spot is more than a powered stage monitor—it’s, in fact, a mini two-channel PA system. It has additional high-voltage transistors that kick in when needed, providing a power boost while the amp continues to run cool and efficient. Its amp pumps out 146 watts of Class H power at 4 ohms, capable of producing volume equal to that of much larger systems.
This high-powered monitor can also drive a couple of passive Hot Spots, eliminating the need for another power amp. The PA5XD has both 1/4" and XLR inputs, and a nifty SmartALIC feature that automatically distinguishes mic and line levels without having to flip a switch. Built-in compressor/limiter circuitry regulates the amp’s gain, protecting against distortion and preventing damage to your speakers.
Micro Spot VC Speech Monitor (MSVC)
The Micro Spot VC (Volume Control) is a smaller version of the Hot Spot, perfect for speech and other vocal applications. Fitted with a mic stand mount and a single Neolite neodymium, ferrofluid-cooled driver, the Micro Spot VC is the ideal lightweight companion for any PA system. The 150Hz-15kHz frequency range reproduces vocal frequencies flawlessly. You won’t find a more powerful speaker in its size and weight range.
Powered Micro Spot (MSPA\MSPADC)
The Powered Micro Spot fills the needs of smaller acoustic acts to a T. Smaller than regular Hot Spots, the Powered Micro Spot features a built-in 30 watt power amp, a compressor/limiter for an apparent 6dB boost in SPL (Sound Pressure Level), plus 2-band equalization. This compact model conveniently mounts on a mic stand or would be great for fixed installations in churches, theaters, or clubs.
Hot Spot road test
I used the Powered Hot Spot while performing in concert with a 10-piece band. Hearing the vocals over the bands’ horns and percussion has always presented a monitoring challenge. The PA5XD allowed me to hear the vocals with more clarity than ever before. The 100W of power provided plenty of volume, and I Iiked being able to tweak the volume level and 3-band EQ myself instead of having to ask the sound guy to do it.
I tried the Powered Micro Spot in a small club setting with a jazz trio, where it allowed me to hear the piano and vocals with much better detail than usual. I mounted the pint-sized Micro Spot on a stand where it was completely unobtrusive. It’s the perfect monitor for such postage-stamp stages as well as coffee house gigs.
Hot Spots have the power handling to deliver the volume when you need it, and their small size lets you place them exactly where you need them onstage. And you can haul them to and from the gig in a suitcase. Hot Spots & Micro Spots are constructed of a rugged ABS plastic designed to hold up in the most abusive situations. You owe it to yourself to check out Hot Spots.
- Power handling: 200W continuous
- Frequency response: 150Hz-18kHz
- Sensitivity: (1W @ 1M) 98dB (1kHz octave band)
- Maximum SPL: (200W @ .5M): 126dB
- 2 Neolite neodymium, ferrofluid cooled 5" drivers
- 16 ohms impedance
- Inputs: One Speakon®-style input & 2-1/4" jacks wired in parallel
- High-impact ABS plastic enclosure with cloth—covered ABS grille
- Volume control
- 6.75" x 10.94" x 6"
- 4.5 lbs.
Core PA5X140 Powered Hot Spot
- Amp power rating: 100W @ 8 ohms
- Frequency response: 200Hz-20kHz
- EQ: 3-band, center-detent controls
- One Neolite 5" driver ferrofluid cooled
- Class H amplifier
- Inputs (with individual volume controls): One balanced 1/4" & one balanced XLR (with +24 VDC phantom power)
- Outputs: One 1/4" speaker level & one (post-EQ, post-level) RCA line out
- SmartALIC gain power management
- THD: < 0.06 @ 8 ohms, < 0.1 @ 4 ohms
- Indicator LEDs: Power, Compressor-Limiter
- Sensitivity: 98dB @ 1W/1M
- Fire—retardant styrene case with cast aluminum grille
- Built-In mic stand mount
- UL listed
- 7" x 11" x 5-1/4
- 10.7 lbs.
Powered Micro Spot
- Amp power rating: 30W
- Frequency response: 65Hz-15kHz
- Equalization: 2-band center detent
- Lo: ± 12dB shelving at 200Hz
- Hi: ± 12dB shelving at 10kHz
- Speaker: One 4.5"
- THD: <0.5% @ 4 ohms
- Inputs: XLR & 1/4" parallel
- Phantom power
- On/Off transient suppression
- Sensitivity (1W @ 1M): 84dB (1 kHz octave band)
- Maximum SPL @ clip (1W @ 1M): 99dB
- 7" x 6" x 5"
- 4.82 lbs.
Micro Spot VC
- Power handling: 100W
- Frequency response: 150Hz-18kHz
- Sensitivity: (1W @ 1M) 92dB (1kHz octave band)
- Maximum SPL: (100W @ .5 meter): 117 dB
- One Neolite neodymium, ferrofluid—cooled 5" driver
- Nominal impedance: 16 ohms
- Inputs: Two 1/4" parallel
- Enclosure: High—impact ABS and Styrene plastic
- Volume control: 18dB range; 7 positions at 3dB each
- Dimensions: 7" x 6" x 5-1/8"
- Weight: 2.7 lbs.