Pro Audio Newsletter - ElectroVoice ZLX

A few months ago, I found myself needing to replace my pair of powered 15-inch speakers.  I needed something that sounded great, was easy to transport, and looked sleek and professional.  I also needed these speakers to fill a few roles: stand-alone mains for my acoustic shows, as mains paired with subs for my full band shows, and as powered floor monitors for some of the larger events I do.  The Electro-Voice ZLX15P is what I decided to go with, and I am thrilled with my decision.  I want to walk you through each of my requirements, and let you know how the EV ZLX15P delivers on each one.

The most important function of a speaker is to sound great, and the ZLX15P exceeded my expectations. I am blown away by the separation of the different instruments and vocals I am able to achieve, and the warmth and presence of the vocals is just astounding.  These speakers get loud but never harsh, and at the other end of the spectrum they maintain their clarity and presence at very low volumes.  I get no hums or hiss at any volume. 

I do quite a few events in country clubs, ballrooms, and private residences, so all my gear needs to have a sleek and professional look.  With clean lines and the wraparound grille, the ZLX provides a modern and polished look.  The front white LED can be used as a power indicator or clipping indicator or be turned off.  I also highly recommend purchasing the speaker covers to prevent any scuffs or dings during transport.  The covers have holes for the handles and a generous-sized pocked for the power cord.

As I get older, I am learning the importance of portability.  Weighing in at 38 pounds, these speakers can be carried easily by one person.  The three different handle locations make pole mounting and loading them into the car a breeze—no weird twisting of your arms or hands to get them where you need them. 

Stand-alone mains for acoustic shows.  These speakers really shine here.  The warmth and clarity are on full display, with every nuance of the music passing through the audience.  Another reason I love speakers for acoustic shows is that I don’t have to worry about bringing a mixer (see my point above about the importance of portability).  With two combination jacks for inputs, I can connect my microphone via XLR into input 1 put my keyboard or guitar through a DI into input 2 (or just run ¼ in if I wanted to), mix the volumes on each channel separately, and I’m off to the races.  Use the output via XLR to link the two speakers together.  For break music, a mini headphone input jack is available, so I can connect my iPad or phone directly to the speaker.  (Note: EV now has a version of ZLX15P with Bluetooth—even better!)

Mains paired with subs.  When I’m playing with my full band, especially in small- to medium-sized venues, I pair the ZLX15P with the ELX18 Powered Sub.  There is a preset crossover in the menu of the ZLX, so I don’t even have to worry about those; I just select the sub, and EV has taken care of the rest.  Again, the speakers provide great clarity, even with the full band, and the music is plenty loud for most mid-sized gigs.  I pair mine with the Midas MR18 mixer to minimize cabling and have a very clean setup with no cables running to the front of the house.  I just toss my sound engineer the iPad to adjust from anywhere in the room.

Powered floor monitors.  When we are playing a big outdoor show, and we have a very large FOH PA, we use the ZLX15Ps as floor monitors.  Again, EV has thought of this, and I just select the Floor setting so the speaker is tuned more like a traditional wedge monitor with more emphasis on the clarity of the highs and dropping out some of the lower frequencies that are not needed in a monitor.  Here is where that second input comes in handy.  In input 1, I put the mix from the sound engineer; in input 2, I put a feed from my line mixer, where I run my four keyboard sends before sending out to the main mixer.  Here, I can boost my instrument on the speaker if I am not happy with what I’m getting from the engineer.  It’s much better for me to just reach over and adjust that second input than to shout over the mic that I need more keyboards in my monitor. 

In all categories, I have been beyond pleased with my EV ZLX15Ps, and I even have some other local musicians asking to borrow them for their gigs because they like the sound better than they like their own new speakers from some of the other popular brands. 

Brendan Crise - Starin eCommerce Director