Alluring Powered Loudspeaker By: Jim Weisz

July 9, 2013 by Jim Weisz
The first word that came to mind after I opened the boxes containing the ZLX-12P speakers I was supposed to review was “sexy.” Yeah, I said it—I thought a speaker was sexy.
Prior to receiving my demo speakers, I hadn’t seen any pictures
I of the newest speakers from EV, so I didn’t know what to expect. But I immediately fell in love with the look. Despite using 12″ speakers for the last 10 years, there’s just something about the design of these speakers that I love. They also feel more compact than other 12″ powered speakers I have used and seen.
Weighing in at just over 34 lbs. each, the ZLX-12P speakers are made of a composite material, and are fitted with a custom built 1000W amplifier. Like just about all speakers of this size, they have a handle on the side. In addition, they also have a handle in the back at the top and bottom. Those additional handles made it much easier to get the speaker up on a stand.mb150_097

As far as connections go, beside two Speak on1/4/XLRinputs, there’s a single 1/8″ mini jack as an AUX-in. I was a little disappointed there wasn’t an RCA input. I have quite a few 1/8” toRCA cords, which is howI would plug my iPad or other portable device into my other powered speakers. But EV chose to go with an 1/8” input instead of RCA. I can somewhat understand why they did that, but I think it would be more useful to have the RCA input. The ZLX-12P includes a Digital Sound Processor (DSP), which you can control through a knob and LCD screen on the back of the speaker. There are several presets for different applications (music, live, speech, and club), as well as an option to tell the speaker if it is pole mounted, attached to a bracket, or being used as a monitor. In addition to those settings, you can adjust the bass and treble plus or minus 10db. If you’re using the ZLX-12P with a sub, you can activate a high-pass filter that ranges from 80hz-120hz. Another feature in the DSP menu toggles the front LED on or off. I prefer to have it off, but I do like that there’s an option for the LED to turn on when the speaker’s built in limiter has been activated. While the LED screen is nice to give access to all aspects of the DSP, it also helpfully shows the levels for both inputs. It will also show if you’re clipping on either channel or if the limiter has been activated. IN THE FIELD I played around with the speakers a bit at home to become familiar with them, so I was really looking forward to using them at a couple of weddings. The first wedding I used them at was a little smaller—about 100 guests. However, it was a pretty large room. I wanted to run the speakers in the default settings to see how they sounded at the first wedding. I was very happy throughout the sound check and the entire evening. Both music and the spoken word sounded great. I ran them at about 60% all night and they performed flawlessly. The bride and groom were really into country music, so I

didn’t play a lot of songs with significant bass. Fortunately, I knew my next wedding would have a different vibe, so I would be able to hear how they sounded with some bass-heavy songs. The following weekend was a wedding with about 200 guests. However, the room was smaller than the previous week’s wedding. So I felt very confident they would be able to handle that size room and crowd. For this wedding, I wanted to adjust some of the DSP settings to see how noticeable the changes would be. During my sound check, I tested a few of the presets and adjusted the treble and bass. I decided I liked everything set to default, but I bumped the bass up 7db. Everything was working great and sounded great throughout dinner and into the beginning of dancing. I started with some oldies, and things were still going well. However, once I got into current hip hop, I noticed the speakers were blinking with “limit.” I tried backing off the gain on my board a little bit, but then I thought they needed to be louder. So I went to each speaker and dropped the bass to +4db. After making the adjustment, I raised the levels on my board again. I was still happy with the volume at that point and I didn’t notice a major differ- ence in the bass—although I did bump up the bass on my board a bit. BRINGING SEXYBACK After 2 weddings, I had used the speakers enough to write a good review on them. But when I was packing up my car for my wedding last weekend, I took a look at my current speakers, and then looked over at

the ZLXs. It took all of five seconds to decide I wanted to bring the ZLXs out again. It couldn’t hurt to use them at another wedding so I could really formulate my opinion for the review, right? At least that’s what I told myself as I left my usual speakers at home. The third, and final wedding, went just as well as the other two. This wedding was about 100 guests, but it was a pretty large room. Music and announcements again sounded crystal clear. It was at this wedding I realized how much I appreciated the extra handles at the top on bottom for putting on a stand. I will definitely miss those handles when I ship the demo speakers back! Would I personally buy these speakers? Yes, and I’m even consid- ering getting a pair soon. I would pull the trigger in a second if they were just a bit louder. I would have no problem doing a wedding with just these speakers for up to about 150 guests. If I were using a sub, I’d bump that up to about 225-250. That would cover most weddings, and is comparable to what other 12″ powered speakers are capable of. Whether you’re in the market for new powered speakers, or are looking to move from passive to active, I think the ZLX-12P would meet the needs of many mobile DJs. Their combination of great sound and an attractive price point, makes them a very solid choice when compared to other 12″ powered speakers.


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Jim Weisz Jim Weisz (23 Posts)


Jim Weisz has been DJing since 1999, primarily serving the wedding and school dance markets. Jim is originally from Chicago and lived there until relocating to Dallas in 2003 to take a position with TM Studios (formerly TM Century). Jim has spoken at numerous DJ conventions about websites and marketing online and has also written dozens of articles for Mobile Beat magazine about websites and a variety of other topics. Jim can be reached at jim@discoverydjs.com.


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