- Band Management
- Home Recording
- Live Sound
- Best Instruments
- New Music & Video
After a few ground-shaking bass tests, we can confirm that the new CVE line from Cerwin-Vega is the real deal. But would you expect anything less? At $399, the 12-inch powered speakers we tested were a real treat to put through their paces. For starters, we threw the old “Moog Test” at them, quickly dialing in (and down) some ultra-low bass synth lines, with sub-octave square waves laid underneath. Always our first go-to torture test, the CVE-12’s passed with flying colors.
Other enclosures have a tendency to rattle and rumble when taxed at the bottom end of the spectrum, but these were no slouches. They handled the low-end with ease and roundness, where other speakers can only deliver a flubby approximation of the signal being fed.
So far, so good. The rest of our tests were a bit more musical in nature, a combination of electronic DJ tracks and live instruments to see how the speakers could handle the entire range of frequencies in a band scenario. And again, we were impressed. Highs were clear and came through with plenty of clean headroom. These models come equipped with “Proprietary CV Loud Limiter to prevent distortion,” and we can attest to the fact that whatever circuitry CV has implemented here, it works. And works well. Our biggest gripe is when the “number wars” take over and speakers trade impressive sounding wattage for clarity. We want volume, but we don’t want clipping. And you don’t get that even when cranked past most people’s definition of reasonable limits. Well done.
For ridiculous low-end, we paired our stereo PA setup with the 18-inch sub in the range, which extends things down to an even deeper (and something more felt than heard) 26Hz. Even at that range, though, with the tops and sub working in tandem, nothing got muddy or loose in the bottom-end. For DJs, especially, this will be well-received. And for bands, note that the CVE-12’s can easily be mounted or flipped to be used as floor wedges.
As for I/O, you’ve got two Combo XLR/TRS inputs and one XLR out, but the CVE-12’s also come loaded with about a half-dozen usable DSP sound-shaping modes. With a little tweak on the back panel, you can adjust things on-the-fly pretty easily. You can even sync Bluetooth devices to play backing tracks or prerecorded music during set breaks.
At this price point, the biggest selling point is not just sound quality, which is excellent, but rugged durability. For installations, that might not be make-or-break, but for traveling bands in charge of their own sound, the enclosures on the CVE series seem built to last. No issues there whatsoever.
All in all, whether you’re packing up the tour van or looking for a new in-house solution for your venue, these are well worth a look.
Great sound, super rugged, no distortion on either end of the spectrum.
$399/each (CVE-12) // $699 (CVE-18s sub)