The EKX line from Electro-Voice sits comfortably between their entry-level ZLX series and the premium ETX lineup. The line features a comprehensive set of speakers and subwoofers with excellent features. In this review, we take a deep dive into the EKX-15SP, a 15-inch subwoofer with a lot to offer.
The Electro-Voice EKX-15SP features great sound with enough power to fill small to medium spaces. Supporting this is a detailed set of DSP controls and fantastic build quality.
Selecting a dependable and punchy subwoofer can elevate your performances where you need a little extra low-end definition. The EKX-15SP serves this role perfectly. Let’s dive into the nitty-gritty.
The Electro-Voice EKX-15SP packs quite the wallop considering it’s just a 15-inch subwoofer. But looking beyond the available headroom, the most impressive element of this 15-inch subwoofer is the superb definition in the sound delivery.
The EKX-15SP features crisp and detailed low-frequency response that hits respectively low enough to offer fullness and dynamic delivery to bass-heavy material.
With an extension down to 40Hz at -10dB, it handles sub-bass well though not as low as its bigger sibling, the 18-inch EKX-18SP, which extends a further 5Hz. But for the vast majority of small and medium-sized gigs, this subwoofer gets the job done marvelously.
The delivery isn’t muddy, and intelligent scaling ensures clean performance without distortion or clipping. Based on firsthand experience, the EKX-15SP shines with pre-recorded music. But it still works well in a live sound environment, albeit not as refined and loud as some might want.
If you have an existing set of 8, 10, or 12-inch tops, the EKX-15SP is a superb supplement. For medium-sized spaces, I’d opt for a pair of these, but for anything smaller, a solo sub should be ample.
Electro-Voice continues to impress me. I’ve had the chance to dip my toes into their entire lineup, and every time I’ve walked away satisfied, the EKX-15SP continues this trend. Loud and punchy while offering excellent presence and character.
Another hallmark of Electro-Voice products is the exceptional attention to detail throughout its gear lineup. The EKX-15SP lives up to that established reputation with tough and durable construction ideal for gigging.
The cabinet features a 15mm plywood construction with internal bracing. Coating the cabinet is a durable EVCoat that gives the unit a clean and attractive finish. It’s relatively scuff-resistant, but the corners don’t feature additional protection, so you’ll still need to handle these carefully.
The front grille is excellent with 18 AWG steel with a powder-coated finish. It does a great job of protecting the internal woofer. It can handle the odd bump but will ding if there is forceful contact. This is the case with every grille I’ve encountered, so once again, ensure you take some care when transporting and setting up the unit. Also, aim to place it away from potentially clumsy patrons.
Tough cabinet and premium quality components.
Speaking of the grille, there is a noticeable rattle when the unit approaches its maximum capacity. Thankfully it’s only noticeable close to the unit, so it will not be audible to the crowd, but something still worth mentioning. Adding a centrally located screw on the top and bottom of the grille would be ideal for future iterations of this product.
I’ll admit I’m nitpicking here as I have a hard time finding much to fault with this subwoofer, so by no means should you consider it a big negative, more the ramblings of an overly-picky reviewer!
The rest of the unit is equally fantastic, with tough and durable steel handles and excellent connection points and knobs. The LCD screen is also bright and clear. A dedicated cover is also available and a wise investment if you transport your gear regularly.
The Electro-Voice EKX-15SP features a 1,300 Watt Class D amplifier driving the 15-inch EVS-15C woofer. This equates to a maximum SPL of 133dB, enough to easily handle small gigs.
This is also an excellent time to point out that Electro-Voice develops components in-house. These are not off-the-shelf components crammed into a box. While there is nothing inherently wrong with off-the-shelf components, I appreciate the level of detail and specificity that comes from a company that develops its own stuff.
The EKX-15SP features a frequency range of 10Hz-180Hz at -10db with a response of 45Hz-150Hz at -3dB. These are solid extension specs, but other subwoofers can dig a little deeper into the bottom end of the frequency spectrum.
High output levels and multiple Low Pass options.
Some subwoofers might reach a little lower, but after we trialed this product, there was never a point where I felt it was lacking. Perhaps some more rumble would be nice, but for a 15-inch woofer, it delivers exceptional sound quality and enough punch and power to bring a smile to the face of this bass lover.
The crossover options are also extensive. You’ll have access to generic low-pass settings with 80Hz, 100Hz, 120Hz, and 150Hz, with the 100Hz set as default. Enough flexibility to integrate with a broad range of loudspeakers.
Beyond these generic settings, there is also a comprehensive selection of dedicated low-pass options for 12 and 15-inch loudspeakers from EV’s EKX, ELX, and ZLX lineups. These are expertly matched and make setup with EV loudspeakers a breeze.
The EKX-15SP features an excellent selection of tuning options within the DSP control menu. The selection dial makes the menu easy to navigate, and the screen is bright and clear.
Within the menu, you can access a MODE option with Music, Live, and Club presets. A quick and easy way to impact the subwoofer’s performance.
Feature-rich DSP controls.
After this, you’ll have a LOCATION menu option with a Normal setting and a Cardioid option. Cardioid works wonders to help reduce on-stage output by up to 35dB when used with a secondary subwoofer.
Next is a comprehensive LOW PASS menu which I covered in the specifications section above. The remaining options focus on the LED, LCD screen brightness, and contrast. You’ll also have access to store and recall presets and RESET and LOCK options.
This full range of features ensures you can adapt this subwoofer to various gig types and setup combinations. Easy to use and effective controls.
As with all Electro-Voice products, the EKX-15SP features a professional appearance that comfortably blends into any environment. The angular front grille offers an eye-catching pattern, and the EV logo is refined and discreet.
Professional styling and versatile features.
Beyond appearance, the EKX-15SP also features metal handles for easy transportation. It also features an integrated pole mount point for speaker installation. It’s also worth highlighting that the EKX-15SP includes intelligent thermal management with a variable-speed fan that keeps the unit cool.
The EKX-15SP is a large subwoofer with a broader presence than some other 15-inch subwoofers on the market. But all things considered, it isn’t that far removed from most other choices.
The EKX-15SP is a lightweight 15-inch subwoofer.
If you’ve worked with other 15-inch subwoofers, you’ll already know what to expect when it comes to physical size, but where the EKX-15SP differs is in its weight. This unit comes in at 57.7 lbs. (26.17 kg) which is noticeably lighter than many other 15-inch subwoofers. If you are a solo artist, you’ll appreciate how much easier it is to move this subwoofer. I know my aging back certainly did!
The connection options on the Electro-Voice EKX-15SP are straightforward and match what you would expect from a professional PA subwoofer.
Simple and effective connection options.
At the rear, you’ll have access to two Output options, with both featuring XLR connection points. Supporting these two output options is a set of Input options that feature XLR/TRS combo jacks.
As mentioned at the start of this review, the EKX series sits above the entry-level ZLX range and is a slightly more expensive upgrade over the ELX series. But it is noticeably cheaper than Electro-Voice’s top-of-the-line ETX series.
There is an excellent balance between performance, features, and price in the EKX series. Based on my experience, few options can go toe to toe with the EKX series at this price point.
Feature-rich and offering lush and vibrant sound, the EKX series is an excellent investment. The EKX-15SP powered subwoofer is a perfect companion to smaller tops: good value and excellent quality from one of the best manufacturers in the industry.
The EKX series has been out for a little while now, and in that time, the whole lineup has received positive reviews. The EKX-15SP, in particular, has consistent 4 and 5-star ratings due to the impressive combination of power, features, and performance.
Handling Null Points
Subwoofers offer omnidirectional sound, so placement is not as big of an issue as with loudspeakers. Despite this, there are still variances that will occur based on where you put your subwoofers.
In some scenarios, you’ll have limited options for where to place your subwoofer. If you are running a solo sub and speaker, you’ll likely have further limitations on where to place the subwoofer.
But suppose you are playing at larger events and have multiple subwoofers. In that case, you might be able to move the subwoofers into different positions. This can create a more vibrant and broader bass experience for the audience but also create some null points.
Avoiding null points on the dancefloor will ensure the best experience for the crowd.
Null points are where the bass is noticeably softer and less pronounced due to overlapping waves. If you are setting up multiple subwoofers, it is worthwhile to run an 80Hz sine wave through your setup and walk around the venue to find the null points.
Ideally, you’ll want these null points in low-traffic areas or parts of the venue where softer bass is appropriate. But if you find that the null points are in places where you want epic bass, you’ll have to reposition your subwoofer accordingly.
Software packages are available, and detailed sound theories you can research on how sound works to become an expert. But I’ve always found that with so many variables involved with different gig types and venues, the best judgment you can make is with your ears.
Arrive early and do some testing and you can tackle problematic null points and deliver the best sonic experience for your audience.
While I have to admit that the EKX-15SP is among the best options in its price range, there are other subwoofers that are also worth considering. Below we take a quick peek at some alternatives.
Mackie DRM18S Review
If you want to move up to an 18-inch subwoofer, the Mackie DRM18S is worth adding to your shortlist. Punchy output and comprehensive features make it an appealing choice.
- Lively and energetic bass response.
- Clean and modern styling with high durability.
- At 90 lbs. (40.8 kg), the DRM18S is much heavier than the EKX-15SP.
EV ELX200-18SP Review
If you want to stay within the Electro-Voice family of products but want to move up to 18 inches, the ELX200-18SP is a fantastic choice. Great value for money while maintaining optimum performance.
- A chunky bass output that is loud and clear.
- It maintains a relatively modest size considering it features an 18-inch woofer.
- It does require some tuning to get the ideal output for live sound applications.
PreSonus AIR15s Review
The final option I’d like to highlight is the impressive 15-inch AIR15s from PreSonus. This aggressively-priced powered PA subwoofer is perfect for smaller gigs.
- Tight and precise bass with impressive clarity.
- Affordable price point while maintaining high build quality.
- Not as loud as the EKX-15SP with a Max SPL of 126dB.
Should You Buy?
After putting it to the test, I can comfortably recommend the EKX-15SP powered PA subwoofer. Electro-Voice never disappoints, and they have rapidly become one of my go-to recommendations for people that want reliable performance with reasonable pricing.
The EKX-15SP is an ideal choice to help round out the bottom end of your performances with punchy and clear bass. Enough grunt to handle small venues and a pair of these would be able to tackle a medium-sized event. Slick, professional styling, modern DSP features, and lightweight design complete a near-perfect subwoofer.