Hands-On Review:Electro-Voice Tour X PA Cabinets


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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


Electro-Voice Tour X PA Cabinet Family

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