GEAR TEST: Electro-Voice ZLX-BT PA Speakers

[Editor’s note – we recently held a giveaway promotion with the good folks at Electro-Voice to put these new ZLX-BT speakers in the hands of a working musician. We ended up selecting Michael Flynn, who shot a series of demo videos using the speakers on our YouTube channel – so we definitely suggest you check those out, as well. He’s also provided his final thoughts in the review below. Enjoy!]

Good PA speakers are most notable for the stuff they prevent from happening.  No scouring a quick-start guide to figure out why sound isn’t coming out.  Low instances of feedback.  Durability.  Functionality that doesn’t depend on buying other parts or accessories.  A general lack of headaches.  By this measure, the Electro-Voice ZLX-12BT speakers are wildly successful.  They’re self-contained PA systems, with two on-board inputs plus Bluetooth connectivity out of the box.  Turn one on, adjust a knob, and let the beautiful audio wash over you.  Find a chair or a table or a tree stump to put it on and you’ve got yourself a legitimately great-sounding music venue.  They are dummy-proof.  

But the truly revelatory thing is that stopping there is only optional.  There is a myriad of other possibilities and use cases.  Using the handful of onboard knobs, you can drill down into the DSP menus and customize the sound to your liking.  Besides the usual basic EQ options, you can specify the setting (are the speakers on the floor or on stands, are you using the speakers for music or just public speaking, etc.) and account for any issues that might be out of your control.

You can daisy chain them or plug them into an existing sound system to handle any role— in fact just a few weeks ago I was sound checking at a nice venue, looked down and noticed the monitors looked awfully familiar.  Yep, same speakers.  And they sounded great on stage.  Pair them with an existing PA and amp to really crank up the volume and fill a healthy-sized listening room, all while maintaining the same clean, even soundstage they exhibit at a lower volume.  You can even dig in and change the brightness of the tiny LCD screen if you’re one of those control freaks cursed with the compulsive need to tweak anything tweakable.  

I’m grateful that beneath the simple design there is a complex, yet musical system that can be customized for nearly any kind of use case.  But more than that, I’m glad I can simply plug some stuff in, turn it on, close my eyes and play.  The world isn’t headache-proof, but these speakers are.

For more info, head to https://www.electrovoice.com and http://slowrunnermusic.tumblr.com/

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