Electro-Voice is one of the dominant players in the PA speaker market. They offer a comprehensive line-up ranging from budget-friendly beginner options to top-shelf premium systems. In this review, we check out the step-up from their beginner series, the ELX200-12P.
The EV ELX200-12P is one of the best powered PA speakers for the money. It comes at a reasonable price while granting you access to various useful features. Check out the quick pros and cons below before we dive into the detailed review.
Electro-Voice crams a lot into this second-tier option in their lineup. Capable and flexible, it’s an appealing choice for various performers. Let’s check it out in more detail.
The primary goal of any loudspeaker is to deliver an even and satisfying sound that can get a party rocking. 12-inch speakers are often an attractive choice as they can be meaty enough for smaller gigs while also integrating well with subwoofers, and the ELX200-12P is a perfect example of a speaker that ticks all the right boxes.
The delivery across the 57Hz-16kHz (-3dB) frequency response is superb. The lows offer ample punch and drive to deliver a satisfying thump. Electronic and pop music hits hard without sounding boomy. You can leave the subwoofer at home for smaller gigs, but as a big bass lover, I’ll always be inclined to bring it along for that extra meatiness on the low end.
The mid-range also doesn’t disappoint. Rich and warm with a smooth handover from the lows. Vocals and instruments are clear and well-defined. Once again not a hint of mud even when driving these at higher volumes. But as with most speakers at this tier, once you approach max level, you will notice some drop in quality.
The top end is arguably the weakest section of the sound profile. It is clear but a little sharp and pointy, especially at higher volume levels. For the general punter, I can’t see it causing irritation, but after hearing so many loudspeakers in action, I noticed the graininess present here. I suggest some EQ tweaking if you want to curb some of the enthusiasm from the top end.
All things considered, the ELX200-12P is a remarkable 12-inch PA speaker. Speakers at this price don’t often sound this good. If you need a dependable speaker with high-quality sound, the ELX200 series is a serious contender.
The ELX200-12P offers good build quality for a loudspeaker at this price point. The Polypropylene Composite cabinet is relatively thick and robust while not adding excess weight to the unit. But plastic cabinets like this are more prone to scuffs and scratches.
If you transport your speakers regularly, invest in some bags to protect them from scuffing and scratches. You can aim to be careful if you don’t buy bags, but there will be situations where some scuffing may occur despite your best intentions.
The ELX200-12P offers decent build quality for its price point.
Beyond the cabinet, the 18 AWG steel with powdercoat grille provides good protection for the drivers and features an attractive design. Internal components are also high-quality, and all knobs at the rear of the unit are excellent. Connection points are also secure, and the integrated handle is equally well-constructed.
Loudspeakers in the lower price bracket will inevitably use some more cost-effective materials. But Electro-Voice has struck a decent balance here. Not industrial strength quality but equally not poorly made.
Digging into the specifications of the ELX200-12P also highlights why this aggressively priced speaker is an appealing choice.
1,200 Watts of Class D power gives the unit plenty of grunt to hit a max SPL of 130 dB. This is enough to handle small venues and accommodate 50 people without feeling like the crowd is absorbing all the sound. For medium-sized venues, a pair should be sufficient, but I suggest adding a subwoofer for these situations.
The ELX200-12P is a powerful loudspeaker with high output.
Under the hood is a 12-inch EVS-12M woofer, an in-house design that is well-tuned for PA applications. Supporting the woofer is a 1-inch DH-1C Titanium Compression Driver.
Coverage is also good, with 90 degrees horizontally and 60 degrees vertically. This coverage spread is typical for loudspeakers, so there is nothing new here. But that coverage is even and well-rounded even at the boundaries.
One of the most appealing elements of the EV ELX200-12P is the comprehensive range of tuning options available at your fingertips.
The onboard DSP is easy to access, with the Master Volume knob serving as your navigation source. The LCD screen is bright and clear, and the menu system is well thought out.
You’ll have complete control over the unit by diving into the settings. Here you’ll find the Mode menu, which allows you to select from four presets. Music is the default and, for most situations, the one you’ll likely use. Live, Speech, and Club supports this primary mode, and all three work well.
Next up is a Location menu. This will alter onput based on where the speaker is positioned. You’ll have access to Tripod, Monitor, Wall, and Suspend. Once again, these are easy to understand and work effectively to accommodate these position types.
The onboard DSP is effective and easy to use.
Further control is also available with a detailed EQ for Treble, Mid, and Bass. This gives you granular control and is particularly useful when ironing out the slightly bright top end.
A Sub menu is also present for setting crossover for subwoofers. Further options allow you to change the brightness and contrast of the screen and give you access to store up to five of your own presets. Perfect for establishing quick setup for venues that you play at frequently.
As it stands, the amount of flexibility is superb, but the ELX200-12P takes it up a notch with QuickSmart Mobile wireless control. Simply connect the unit via Bluetooth and download the app from iTunes or the Google Play store.
This unlocks portable access to the DSP, giving you the freedom to walk around the venue and make changes as you see fit. It’s a convenient and practical way to get everything tweaked quickly and easily.
Every speaker in the Electro-Voice lineup oozes professionalism and clean, modern design. The ELX200 series has all the hallmarks I’ve come to expect from EV loudspeakers.
The all-black look is slick and smart, and the grille pattern gives the speaker a refined and futuristic appeal. The front grille also features angular edges to give the speaker some character. But if you want something unique and different, the ELX200-12P is also available in white.
The ELX200-12P comes in your choice of two colors.
The small EV logo is unobtrusive, and the tiny LED power light can also be turned off from the DSP menu if you want the speaker to fade into the background.
The ELX200-12P also features a variety of installation options. Three M10 threaded points give you access to suspend the speaker as part of a full-range system. A pole mount option is also available for tripod placement or as part of a subwoofer and pole setup.
Functional and attractive, the ELX200-12P will comfortably blend into any setup, whether it is a corporate event or a party.
The EV ELX200-12P doesn’t stray far from the dimensions of most other 12-inch loudspeakers. Not the most slender but equally not the most cumbersome. You’ll know what to expect if you are familiar with 12-inch loudspeakers.
The ELX200-12P is relatively lightweight for a quality 12-inch loudspeaker.
Another consideration is the weight of the unit. At 34.4 lbs. (15.6 kg), it is relatively lightweight for a speaker this size. Much of that is due to the lighter plastic cabinet.
If you are sick and tired of cumbersome units, you’ll appreciate how much easier it is to move these about compared to some of the other EV loudspeakers available. Access to two handles also ensures you can carry it in your preferred orientation.
The connection options available on the ELX200-12P also ensure that this loudspeaker is versatile for various performers.
At the rear, you’ll find two primary inputs. Input 1 and Input 2 feature an XLR/TRS combo jack, and the TRS connection supports ¼-inch. Adding to the flexibility, Line 1 also features a stereo RCA connection. Between these connections, you should be well covered.
The ELX200-12P offers a solid selection of input options.
The final connection point is an XLR (thru) output. This allows you to daisy chain speakers. It is worth mentioning that the built-in Bluetooth technology doesn’t extend to pairing like some other options on the market. It is strictly for access to the QuickSmart DSP App. You also can’t stream music directly to the unit.
Electro-Voice offers a wide range of loudspeakers at various price points, and the ELX200 range is their second-from-bottom choice. The price jump from their entry-level option is relatively modest, and the improvements to sound quality are measurable.
It’s a good value unit that will appeal to those seeking a substantial upgrade from beginner gear. While better speakers are available, you’ll need to spend a lot more. The EV ELX200-12P is among the best when placed up against the competition at this price point.
The EV ELX200-12P loudspeaker has proven to be a popular choice. I’ve gone through several customer reviews that all highlight the excellent sound quality and the easy-to-use interface. A broad range of artists and configurations is also mentioned, reinforcing the unit’s flexible nature.
How Many Speakers Do You Need?
One of the most common questions beginner performers have is how many speakers they need for a gig. Unfortunately, the answer is often complex. You’ll need to consider multiple factors when preparing for a gig.
The venue size can impact the number of speakers you’ll need. You could get away with a solitary speaker for a coffee shop or small bar. As you move up in size, a pair of speakers might be required. Larger venues will require supporting speakers to help with coverage.
Many factors impact how many speakers you will need.
The type of gig can also play a role. If you are playing a party that requires a rave-style atmosphere, you’ll want to invest in a subwoofer or two and speakers that can tolerate high volume levels. On the other hand, a corporate gig might not need that much power.
The number of people is also critical. The more people, the more sound will be absorbed by the crowd. Loudspeakers like the ELX200-12P, with a high power rating and high max SPL, can ensure you have enough headroom.
At the end of the day, understanding your needs is more important than the number of speakers. If in doubt, a decent 2.1 system with two tops and a subwoofer can handle various gigs easily.
You can always leave parts of your setup at home if you feel you won’t need them for a specific gig. But nothing is worse than arriving to a gig and realizing you could use some more power, so be overprepared, and you shouldn’t encounter any issues.
The loudspeaker market is highly competitive, which from a customer perspective, is a great thing. Competition breeds innovation and helps to keep prices in check. Below are some other speakers worth exploring.
EV EKX 12P Review
If you have more to spend, you can upgrade to the next level in the EV lineup. The EKX 12P is another powerful 12-inch option that is worth every dollar.
- Exceptional sound quality with plenty of kick and clarity.
- The plywood cabinet with EV coat is more durable and scuff resistant.
- The tougher cabinet does result in a heavier unit.
PreSonus AIR10 Review
The AIR10 from PreSonus is a worthwhile choice if you play primarily small gigs or want more petite and nimble tops and is among the best 10-inch options available.
- Impressive sound quality with a nice balance across frequencies.
- The low price point makes it an appealing choice for budget-conscious buyers.
- The bass output is not as deep due to the smaller woofer.
EV ZLX 15BT Review
For those that need a larger speaker, the entry-level ZLX 15BT is worth exploring. It packs a decent punch and, at its price point, offers superb value for money.
- Excellent clarity, even at high volume levels.
- Cheap price while maintaining a comprehensive list of features.
- Despite the large woofer, the low-end does lack some refinement.
Should You Buy?
It’s easy to see why Electro-Voice has become one of the most recommended brands in the loudspeaker space. Each tier of speakers they offer delivers above and beyond what you would expect at their respective price points. I appreciate the EV approach of allowing everyone to select the unit right for them by offering so much choice.
The ELX200-12P isn’t just another cookie-cutter speaker, it elevates beyond the entry-level sound in all the right places. The excellent sound quality would be enough for me to recommend this unit but add in the detailed tuning and slick appearance, and it instantly gets two thumbs up from me.