Hands-On Review:Versatile systems that deliver the goods
By E.A. Tennaway
It was way back in 1974 that EV debuted their 100s—the first rugged yet lightweight high-output system to meet the needs of musicians and audio professionals. It took the competition years to recognize the trend and offer their imitations of EV's pioneering technology. Similarly, when EV introduced the Sx series in 1994, a host of copycat designs spawned by the company's major competitors hit the marketplace.
Imitated but unequalled
In the eight years since its debut, the Sx series has gone on to become the most popular, widely-used system platform in the professional audio industry. Not only are they the systems of choice for musicians and DJs, they're also used in huge venues including Soldier's Field in Chicago and Notre Dame Stadium as well as for demanding applications such as the Sundance Film Festival.
What discriminating audio pros like about the Sx systems is their unique combination of impressive sound quality, huge output relative to size and weight, and incredible flexibility. Thanks to innovative horn designs and precision EV components, they simply sound better and project further than the competition. Inexpensive hardware options and flexible mounting possibilities have made them popular with both audio contractors and the DIY crowd.
Sx80: light weight; big sound
At 16 pounds and measuring a miniscule 11-1/2" wide by 15-3/4" high by 8-3/4" deep, I was dubious about the Sx80's ability to reproduce the sound modern music demands. With its ability to handle a full 175 watts RMS of long-term input, I needn't have worried. The Sx80 dishes out surprising levels. More importantly, the sound it delivers is uncolored and intelligible. The latter quality is the result of EV's Ring-Mode Decoupling (RMD) technology. Briefly, RMD lets the speaker control both acoustic and mechanical ring modes resulting in far less coloration from resonating sources.
The eight-inch woofer is mounted in an optimally vented enclosure that results in extended bottom end and high efficiency. High-frequency protection lets short-term transients pass, but protects the 1.25" pure titanium diaphragm compression driver from sustained power extremes. It is coupled to a 90° x 65° constant-directivity horn with Varipath geometry that provides even coverage with a smooth, extended response.
Don't get me wrong. This little system isn't going to get it in a large or very noisy venue. But for small DJ shows, restaurants, and karaoke setups, the Sx80 will do nicely. And as part of your mobile rig it travels easily in your trunk. The cabinet has inserts that accept optional brackets and mounts, including a 1-3/8" pole mount.
Sx100+: a step up in power
EV engineers developed this 200-watt, 12" system with computer-aided design and modeling. The molded-in 65° x 65° constant-directivity horn along with Varipath throat geometry result in excellent intelligibility and uniform dispersion. Sound quality is well-maintained even at 45° off axis. It was difficult to spot any obvious hot spots or dead zones.
Vocal clarity and instrumental definition are superb thanks to RMD technology. I found that, generally, re-EQing wasn't needed, even with significant volume level changes, pointing to a very smooth response curve. Like its series mates, the Sx100+ offers versatile mounting options with four molded-in attachment points. It is standmountable and easily arrayable. Connections are made with two paralleled 1/4" phone jacks which makes setting up multiple-system arrays a simple matter.
The enclosure is made of injection-molded polypropylene structural foam that offers excellent acoustic damping, provides weather resistance, and is internally ribbed for strength and vibration resistance. It also features an integral carrying handle and a 1-3/8" polemount socket.
Sx300P: an industry standard
This 300-watt, 12" system has become a staple among sound contractors thanks to its lightweight structural foam enclosure, flexible mounting options, and sterling sound that meets the needs of everything from dance clubs to mobile DJ rigs.
If you're looking for a system with the output of a 15" woofer without the bulk and heft, the Sx300P deserves yourserious consideration. Like its smaller brethren, this system was created with the extensive use of computer-aided design and modeling and incorporates EV's RMD technology which delivers transparent, uncolored sound. And like the Sx100+, it employs a 65° x 65° molded-in horn that produces superior definition and intelligibility. Vocals are natural yet they cut through noisy venues loaded with reverberant, reflective surfaces. Off-axis sound quality is extremely well maintained meaning that there isn't a bad seat in the house. The horn's Varipath geometry gets the sound to those parts of the room that receive weak coverage with ordinary systems.
The Sx300P's high-frequency horn is driven by the DH2010A 1" throat, titanium diaphragm driver. It uses a unique convex-drive Time Path phasing plug structure for incredibly smooth, extended high-frequency response that reaches all the way out to 25kHz.
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