Electro-Voice is a well-known manufacturer that has been building pro-level live audio systems since 1930, when founders Albert R. Kahn and Lou Burroughs designed a P.A. system for Knute Rockne, who was coach of the Notre Dame football team at the time. Rockne called his new system his “Electric Voice,” which inspired the name of the company. The EKX series is one of the newest members of the EV loudspeaker family and combines the company’s famed sound quality and reliability with the latest class D power amp and DSP technologies in a package that is well suited for a wide range of live sound applications.
EV products aren’t the least expensive by any stretch, but you get what you pay for here. The enclosures are made from 15mm plywood with internal bracing, and the outside surfaces wear a durable EVCoat finish. Each cabinet has eight M10 mounting points for suspended installation, and other details include steel grilles, aluminum pole mounts, and metal handles (one per cabinet). At a little over 41 lbs each, these speakers don’t require too much effort to carry and lift onto pole stands.
We tested the EKX-12P system with a six-piece alt country band using four of the cabinets—two for mains and two for monitors—along with a Soundcraft Ui12 (reviewed in the August 2016 issue) handling mixing duties for the vocals and instruments. Compared to an older set of P.A. speakers we’d been using, the EKX-12Ps’ sound quality really showed through on a variety of gigs. With a massive 1,500 watts from each enclosure carrying a 12” EVS-12M and 1” DH-1M titanium compression driver, the power of the system is clearly demonstrated by the pristine sound, abundant headroom, and sonic depth of field that these speakers deliver. Setup is also made easier thanks to EV’s QuickSmart DSP technology, which provides four general-use presets: Music, Live, Speech, and Club. You can also adjust the location profiles of the speakers (Tripod, Monitor, Wall, or Suspend), as well as make further sonic tweaks using the 3-band EQ. Once you get your sound dialed in, the settings can be saved to four user presets—very handy for recalling (and not having to remember or jot down) the best settings for regular gig locations. We occasionally found it a bit difficult to navigate the single button/knob DSP interface, but that’s the only issue we had.
Overall we were very impressed with what these compact enclosures could do. The vocals were clear and had plenty of depth and presence, and the acoustic instruments sounded warm and natural. The balanced response of these speakers means there’s nothing fatiguing about their delivery either. In short, the EKX-12Ps have everything needed to fill a room with great sound, and as long as you don’t need massive low-end to get your music across (consider adding EV’s ELX 118P subs if you do), they are an excellent choice.
PRICE $799 street (each)
SPEAKERS 12" EVS-12M, 1" DH-1M titanium compression driver
POWER 1,500 watt Class D power amp with variable speed fan
EXTRAS EV QuickSmart DSP provides presets for application (Music, Live, Speech, Club), speaker position (Tripod, Monitor, Wall, Suspension), and 3-band EQ.
WEIGHT 41.4 lbs each
KUDOS Lightweight. Powerful. Excellent clarity and headroom.
CONCERNS Single button/knob DSP interface difficult to navigate.