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Over three massive days at Melbourne’s Showgrounds hosted by CMI Music & Audio, top brass from Harman, major distributors and customers from across APAC, and the audio professionals of Australia and New Zealand were treated to the regional launch of JBL’s new powered line array, the SRX900.
CMI’s organisation and presentation were extremely slick. Small groups were allotted times to tour through, with lots of personal time with both CMI and Harman staff. A polished JBL history lesson was the first stop, followed by a demo from Harman staff of the new Performance software that controls and monitors SRX900, before stepping into the pavilion for the main listening event.
Harman’s very own George Georgallis, Director, Product Management, Line Array Systems had set-up and tuned his babies personally. He walked the room with Performance running on an iPad, and showed me the tiniest sniff of an EQ (a miniscule cut around 1kHz) running on the system.
I had heard the SRX900 in Harman’s demo room at InfoComm in June, but it was such a small space that they couldn’t do it justice. Hanging in a cavernous major pavilion at Showgrounds was the perfect environment; it is the ideal tool to cover a space that size. Left- right hangs of both SRX906LA (dual 6.5” and 1.5”compression driver) and SRX910LA (dual 10” and 1.5”compression driver) were demoed with and without subs (SRX918S single 18” and SRX928S dual 18”) and the results were exceptional.
I’ve been banging on for a couple of years now about the major changes at JBL in terms of their drivers and voicing. It started with A Series, then the new VTX, and now it’s in SRX. This is a completely new sound for JBL – flat, honest, clean, and European. This is not the old boom, tizz, and nastiness at 2kHz. It’s beautiful.
I am extremely pleased to report that both models of the SRX900 are among the finest PAs I’ve heard in recent years. The fact that JBL have delivered a powered line array that performs this well at what is an extremely competitive price point is testament to the deep resources they have at their disposal in R&D and manufacturing. I can see no reason that SRX900 shouldn’t be a huge success in both rental and install.
It’s also really versatile; you can run two elements on a pole on a sub, ground stack it, or fly it. The rigging is beautifully simple, and the voicing is neutral enough to handle corporate, theatre, rock, or EDM.
Nick Screen, Channel Sales and Audio Solutions Director, APAC, for Harman dropped in from his base in Singapore, where the UK national has been living since August last year. Being responsible for Australia as part of his portfolio, this launch event is one of the first times he’d had a chance, post-COVID restrictions, to get amongst the Australian market.
“The SRX900 being a powered line array at this price is a new category for us, and we’re really excited about it,” he enthused, “We’re excited by the potential, especially here in Australia.”
With Nick and I sharing a background in theatre, a European ear, and a snobbishness about JBL that dates back to the rock’n’roll days of the 1990s, we are both incredibly impressed by JBL’s new direction and the quality of the results.
“It’s because George is European!” quips Nick. “But it’s definitely true of the premium lines. It’s very much a more transparent, smoother sound than people have heard from JBL in the past. It’s a result of all the new technology we’re deploying. We’ve created new drivers and waveguides, and that’s aided by the new simulation tools that are available now to develop and test prototypes. It even helps us engineer the ports so there’s less noise. It all comes together to create a great solution.”
Perhaps even more impressively, considering the current global situation, SRX900 is in stock and shipping now!
For full specs, see jblpro.com/product_ families/srx900-series
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