By Strother Bullins, Technology Editor, NewBay Media AV/Pro Audio Group
Electro-Voice never disappoints me in the Portable PA category. Why? Its designs and materials are straightforward, user-friendly and rugged; built-in amplifiers are generally powerful and dependable; I/O is logical and useful; and the DSP-sculpted sounds are open, clear and hype-free. In my experience, E-V offers the largest collection of truly “workhorse” PPA products in the marketplace.
“Electro-Voice never disappoints me in the Portable PA category … In my experience, E-V offers the largest collection of truly ‘workhorse’ PPA products in the marketplace.”
Reviewed here, E-V’s new ELX200 series full-range powered loudspeakers and accompanying powered subwoofers are descendants of the ELX series, yet with many significant updates and changes; these include more power (all ELX200 cabinets gain 200 W, jumping to from 1000 W to 1200 W), redesigned LF and HF drivers, polypropylene cabinetry for its full-range models (formerly plywood) and much more. Yet the most significant features of the ELX200 series resides it its DSP offerings, allowing ELX products to be more flexible than ever.
My review package from E-V came complete with two ELX200-10P loudspeakers ($549 street, each), the series’ 10-inch, two-way powered enclosures, and two ELX200-12SP powered subwoofers ($649 street, each) featuring a 12-inch LF transducer—the most compact “stereo with dual subs” rig available within the ELX200 series. I/O includes two input channels accepting mic or line-level input via Neutrik XLR/TRS combo jack, or stereo RCA (unbalanced and summed) signal; and mic or line-level input via Neutrik XLR/TRS combo jack, respectively. An XLR output is also provided, carrying the balance of inputs 1 and 2.
Cutting to the chase, the system provided an aural quality in line with the best E-V systems I’ve experienced over my years reviewing so many PPA systems—open, full, powerful and smooth, yet accurately strong and punchy—in a surprisingly compact system. E-V’s latest version of its PPA DSP—QuickSmart DSP—provides four presets and adjustment of five user-programmable presets alongside sub/top system match, three-band EQ, input level and master volume control via LCD display and an intuitive turn/push physical knob user interface. It operates much like E-V’s previous generation DSP parameters, yet is further refined in its display, metering and overall preset, and, at least to my ears, EQ quality. The ELX200-10P is useful in both main and stage monitor applications, featuring both three M10 threaded points for suspension as well as pole mount placement.
Considering placement, what if these ELX200 series components are purchased to be installed and otherwise out of easy reach? E-V’s QuickSmart Mobile app is a godsend in these and many other applications. Case in point, I auditioned the ELX200-10P pair at a local house-of-worship (HOW) as installed speakers overhead and was able to dial in precise EQ curves, levels and various other settings—such as muting—from both my iOS and Android devices via Bluetooth connectivity. As I was already mixing via tablet GUI, having this freestanding app to fine-tune the E-Vs was incredibly valuable. The app is notably well designed and user-friendly, thus, I believe, it adds much to this significant ELX series relaunch.
Together, these features and the ELX200 series’ proven performance make it a top “affordable PPA” contender. It is ideal for portable as well as out-of/hard-to reach applications, all potentially well served by its clever QuickSmart Mobile flexibility.