Hands-On Review:Electro-Voice Tour X PA Cabinets
Deep, detailed sound at any volume
By Mike Fitch
Musician’s Friend Staff Writer
When Electro-Voice created the world’s first public address system for legendary Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne, he unknowingly named the firm when he dubbed the system his “electronic voice.”
Tour X PA cabinets and monitors are the most recent Electro-Voice innovations to emerge from their decades of tour experience. They have a simple elegance, eschewing the built-in amps, elaborate biamping, and effects found in other cabs. Electro-Voice opted instead for a classic passive design that puts the focus on high-quality sound with low distortion and touring functionality.
Tour X brings together features from EV’s long experience creating large-array touring systems, adds a host of advanced technological features, and delivers them at a very reasonable price. I put a couple of members of the Tour X system to work in my own band’s PA rig, and my impressions follow.
Showing some backbone
First up for testing was the TX1152 15" cab. Easing the trapezoidal form out of its box, I was taken with its modern sculptural look, due in large part to the new “Backbone” grille design that’s used on all of the Tour X Series boxes. The grille has an indentation running vertically down the middle, offering a sleek yet strong appearance—a perception that turns out to be accurate. The grille design draws upon the same principle as bridges that rely on the curvature of an arc for their strength, and it resists dents and dings much better than standard designs.
Weighing in at just over 60 pounds, the TX1152 is fairly hefty yet manageable. The construction is wood, and is finished with a smooth synthetic-coated surface Electro-Voice calls “EV Coat.” The handles are a big help when hauling these cabs. They are comfortable and have an ergonomic four-way design, making it easy to get a good grip on the boxes from any angle. The cabs are also ultrasonically welded and impervious to air and water leaks that can quickly degrade your loudspeaker’s performance.
The oversized, angled input panels provide plenty of room for connecting and disconnecting the Neutrik NL4 connectors. Even though I had to use 1/4" Neutrik adapters (my amplifier only has 1/4" outputs), the connectors still didn’t extend beyond the back of the cab. This allows versatile placement of the cab, even flush against a wall, while keeping the connectors away from potential harm.
The strong, sensitive type
Some pro audio specialists contend that loudspeaker design has peaked and can advance no further. Apparently, nobody told Electro-Voice, because their Tour X line refutes that contention with many new, enlightened design features. Of course, the sound is the bottom line, and on that score I’m pleased to report the Tour X models were up to the task
The two Tour X models I tried (the TX1152 15" cabinet and the smaller floor monitor of the series, the 12" TX1122FM provided a good kick in the pants to my PA system. The sound was crisp, lively, and present. The all-new SMX woofers turned out to be extremely effective in anchoring the low end with punchy, distortion-free bass response and sensitivity that reveals all the details in the music with startling lucidity, even at block-rocking volume levels.
A passive crossover network uses elliptical filters with up to 36dB per octave slopes at the crossover frequency, which means it is extremely efficient in parsing the highs and lows. The DH3 high-frequency transducer and large, 60° by 40° horn reproduced the highs with exceptional clarity. Even at higher volumes, the sound stayed utterly coherent and well defined.
That seems to be the Tour X signature sound: strikingly detailed and sensitive sound even at high volume levels. That Electro-Voice achieved this sonic balance with Tour X is remarkable—that it does it at such a low price is good news for budget-minded musicians.
A monitor that will floor you
The Tour X TX1122FM 12" monitor produced a dynamic, robust sound that belied its compact size. It has a split baffle construction—meaning there is an offset in the cabinet design that moves the acoustic origins of the compression driver and woofer closer together, creating a synchronized signal that arrives at your ears all at once. EV refers to this technology as SST (Signal Synchronized Transducers), and it helps to create a sound that’s very tight and dynamically balanced.
The Tour X Series features a range of cabs and floor monitors suitable for everything from performances at the corner club to concert hall-sized gigs. The Tour X family includes the TX1122 (12" two-way), TX1152 (15" two-way), TX1181 (18" sub), TX2152 (dual 15" two-way), TX2181 (dual 18" sub), TX1122FM (12" dedicated monitor), and TX1152FM (15" dedicated monitor). The PA cabs are excellent for either main or side-fill monitor use. Each model in the Tour X line features a distinctive aesthetic form backed up by Electro-Voice’s proven functionality and road-tough durability.
The sound speaks for itself
Electro-Voice has proven itself time and time again to be up to the increasingly complex demands of concert touring acts. With Tour X, EV has demonstrated that sometimes the best answer to complex problems lies in a simple response. The Tour X cabinets and monitors leave off the bells and whistles you don’t really need and focus squarely on reproducing sound in great detail and depth. You could spend a whole lot more on PA gear and fall miles short of the Tour X’s impressive sound.
Features & Specs
- All-new ultralow-distortion 500W continuous rated SMX woofers
- Road-tested DH3 and ND2 compression drivers
- Unique Backbone grille design for superior strength and distinct aesthetics
- Passive crossover designs with up to 36dB per octave slopes
- Super-comfortable, ultrasonically welded handles that are air and watertight
- Dedicated vertical wedge monitors with patent pending SST Technology
- 3/8" threaded suspension points (on top boxes) for simple installations