JBL continue to expand their offering into the lucrative stick PA market with the intriguing JBL EON ONE MK2. In a game changing move, this is a stick PA that runs on a rechargeable battery that is ingeniously built into the speaker column, offering a six hour run time. Highly portable at just 19kg for the whole package, the battery operation alone offers huge advantages to anyone running anything outdoors including buskers and wedding celebrants. Not having to find power will also aid every kind of corporate AV application when getting in and out fast is a must.
I had the pleasure of seeing and hearing a prototype at Australian distributor CMI Music & Audio’s HQ back in May, and was impressed by the feature set, even though the final operating system and processing settings were still to be loaded into the generously spec’ed on board digital mixer. The five channel mixer has inputs via three Neutrik XLR Combo jacks (two with +48v), one TRS jack, a 3.5mm jack, and Bluetooth. Processing includes Lexicon effects, dbx DSP, and ducking from Soundcraft. There is of course an app, JBL Pro Connect, to control the whole shebang.
Operating the mixer via the onboard controls is easy and intuitive. I like the inclusion of dedicated EQ controls, which you don’t often find on this kind of unit. You get three levels of access to the DSP, including beginner, intermediate or advanced, which means the MK2 can safely go out with just about anyone in dry hire, or be tweaked and tuned by pros as necessary.
The original JBL EON ONE wasn’t too bad as far as its output went, but I found its preamps were lacking, and didn’t do either line or mic level signal any favours. With that experience in mind, and with my haughtiest Grumpy Sound Guy fedora on, I demanded and SM58 and a mic cable. I spoke, and was very happy to hear a round, full, crisp and totally dynamic voice emerge from the system. I gave it some stick. It didn’t mind. JBL have atoned and the issue is definitely behind them.
Moving on to the compulsory listening test featuring those four tracks we’ve all heard 500 times at every speaker demo and tradeshow ever, and the EON ONE MK2 is a solid performer. We had just listened to the more expensive JBL PRX ONE stick PA, but the price difference did not equate to an equivalent reduction in quality.
The battery that runs the system is a very clever piece of engineering. I would swear, being an avid cyclist, that JBL have sourced it from an electric bike manufacturer; it’s almost identical to units I’ve seen whizz by me on the bike paths. When you’re running on mains power, you get a 4dB boost, kicking you up to 123dB peak SPL. We were listening on mains, and the power was more than adequate for most small gigs.
Horizontal dispersion is slightly wider than most, at 140 degrees. The column array is running eight 2” tweeters, while the bottom is handled by a 10” woofer that runs down 37Hz. Amp power is rated at 1500W peak.
I think JBL are on to a serious winner here. I’m expecting to see the MK2 become as ubiquitous as the original 15” EON.
For pricing and availability, please contact Australian distributor CMI Music & Audio – https://cmi.com.au/
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