The ZLX range of loudspeakers from Electro-Voice has rapidly become a favorite. It is affordable yet still packs plenty of power. I’ve already had the chance to review the 12-inch version which performed very well. In this review, I take a deeper look at its bigger brother the ZLX 15BT.
Electro-Voice ZLX 15BT
The EV ZLX 15BT is a powerful and feature-rich loudspeaker. It is great for a variety of applications and is reasonably priced.
The EV ZLX 15BT is a great loudspeaker. Perfectly suited for small and medium-sized venues. But it isn’t perfect either. Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of what this 15-inch loudspeaker has to offer.
The most striking element of the ZLX 15BT from Electro-Voice is the exceptional sound quality. Often with affordable loudspeakers, they suffer when it comes to clarity. They often devolve into a muddy mess, especially at higher volumes. That is not the case with the ZLX 15BT.
The mids and highs are ultra-clear with plenty of life and warmth. Highs are precise and well-defined while the mids deliver exceptional performance. Vocals and instrumental parts marry together perfectly to deliver a satisfying listening experience.
One of the issues I found with the 12-inch version was the lack of a meaty low-end. That is also the case with the bigger 15-inch model. Don’t get me wrong it can deliver a decent amount of punch. But if you are looking for that satisfying rumble to rock a party these don’t quite make it there. For small to medium-sized parties they are quite capable but I would still suggest you pair it with a sub for maximum thump.
But not everyone is playing bass-heavy music all the time. This loudspeaker is an excellent choice for performers that desire clarity and precision over epic bass.
Another excellent feature of the EV ZLX 15BT is the impressive build quality on display. Loudspeakers can take quite a beating going from gig to gig. Having a dependable loudspeaker is a must. And the ZLX 15BT delivers.
The ZLX 15BT is a dependable 15-inch loudspeaker.
The polypropylene cabinet is durable and solid. It doesn’t sound or feel hollow and I’d be confident that it could take a slight bump or two. This is coupled with 18 Gauge steel for the front grille. Plenty of protection for the internals.
Carry handles are also present. Solid integration and securely attached. Electro-Voice has struck a great balance between affordability and quality.
Moving onto the specs the Electro-Voice ZLX 15BT is no slouch. It is fitted with a large 15-inch woofer and a 1-inch tweeter.
Frequency response sits at 56 Hz – 18 kHz (-3dB) and 44 Hz – 20 kHz (-10dB). Plenty of range here but there is a sharp drop-off at 50 Hz.
The ZLX 15BT is loud enough to handle small to medium-sized venues.
On the power front, it is rated at 1000W Peak and 250W continuous. Class D amps control the action and the unit tops out at a Max SPL of 127dB. Plenty of volume for smaller gigs but more importantly a high level of clarity even at higher volumes. I’ve come across many loudspeakers that tout a high dB level. Only to then be heavily disappointed at the performance at those levels. Not the case here.
Dispersion is also solid with 90 degrees horizontally and 60 degrees vertically. Coverage is even and dependable. It’s also rather nimble at 38 lbs. (17.3kg).
The EV ZLX 15BT gives you plenty of flexibility to adjust output. Something that is critical for achieving the best possible performance at your gig.
The ZLX 15BT gives you access to several tuning options.
You’ll have access to four straightforward presets that work as intended. Music, Live, Speech, and Club. These are fairly self-explanatory. Music is a general catch-all setting for playing music. Live is ideally suited for musicians.
Speech is perfect for spoken performances. And Club adds a bit more oomph in the lower end. Beyond this, you can also select settings based on location. Pole, Monitor, and Bracket.
Access to treble and bass control is also present. Plus you can save up to five presets. An excellent addition that is ideal for venues that you perform at frequently.
Subwoofer matching is also simple with a range of presets for EV’s line of subwoofers. But there are also generic options available for non-EV subwoofers.
Combined the ZLX 15BT gives you all the tools you need to adjust the output to your preference.
Appearance-wise the EV ZLX 15BT is a smart and attractive-looking loudspeaker. I’m a big fan of simple and effective design that keeps things minimal and clean. And that is exactly what the ZLX 15BT offers. The all-black cabinet and grille blend perfectly into any environment. Keeping the attention on you and not your speakers.
The ZLX 15Bt features an attractive grille pattern.
The angled front grille also features a different pattern than what you’ll find on other speakers. It gives it a gritty yet futuristic look. Some may want a bit more pizazz from their loudspeakers but most people will agree keeping things simple is best.
The rubberized feet also keep the loudspeaker secure when in the monitor position. And just like it looks good upright the EV ZLX 15BT looks great in the monitor position.
The ZLX 15BT is a large loudspeaker. 15-inch speakers command a presence and you’ll need to ensure you have enough space to set them up. A standard pole mount point is available for easy setup with tripods. Additionally, you can pick up a separate mounting bracket if you want to permanently install these.
The ZLX 15BT is a large speaker but relatively lightweight.
Loudspeakers can be excessively heavy. There is nothing more annoying than the back-breaking task of carting your gear and setting it up. At 38 lbs. (17.3kg) the EV ZLX 15BT is relatively lightweight compared to other 15-inch loudspeakers. With convenient handles, it is fairly easy to move around as well.
The ZLX 15BT also gives you access to a good range of connection options. Input 1 and Input 2 offer combo jacks that support XLR and TRS.
You’ll also have access to an AUX-In. This allows for easy connection to a range of external devices. An AUX-In is also not that common amongst loudspeakers so it earns a few extra points from me.
An AUX-In connection point can come in handy.
Beyond these connections, the ZLX 15BT also offers Bluetooth connectivity. Connection and pairing are quick and easy but there are a few issues. Firstly it is Bluetooth 4.0. This means you can only connect one device. If you have multiple speakers you’ll still need to run cables from one to the other.
Secondly, the range is quite low. Drop-outs and stuttering is a problem as soon as you move further than 10ft away. Bluetooth is super convenient but with such a limited range, you’ll have to leave your device near the speaker to avoid issues.
Despite the slightly below-average Bluetooth functionality, the ZLX 15BT does offer you a lot of flexibility.
Loudspeakers range in price. From the hundreds to the thousands. But for most performers, there is no need to overspend. The law of diminishing returns is prevalent in the speaker space. The ZLX 15BT straddles the line between quality and price perfectly. Affordable yet still powerful and well constructed. If you are looking for a wallet-friendly 15-inch loudspeaker the ZLX 15BT is a great option.
The ZLX range from Electro-Voice is a popular line of loudspeakers. The high level of sound quality coupled with an attractive price is very appealing. Plenty of 5-star reviews but people do highlight the issues with Bluetooth functionality.
Don’t Let The Party Stop
As a DJ your primary goal is to keep everyone entertained and to keep the party rocking. As a mobile or wedding DJ, it can be challenging to perform for long stretches. The last thing you want is for the music to stop but you are also a human that needs to eat or take a toilet break.
Access to Bluetooth and AUX can give you a chance to take a break.
This is where connection options like Bluetooth and AUX come into the picture. You can prerecord sets or have a playlist ready for when you need to take a break. The easiest way to do this is to plug your phone in or stream music directly to your speaker. Plus you’ll also have a quick and seamless way to handle requests.
When selecting a loudspeaker take some time to see if it gives you this flexibility. That way you can keep the party going without having to be constantly in control.
Selecting the right 15-inch loudspeaker for your needs can be challenging. Plus there are lots of options out there. Below are three other 15-inch options currently available.
Mackie SRT215 Review
The Mackie SRT215 is an excellent 15-inch loudspeaker. It features an attractive and ultra-modern look while delivering on the sound front.
- Smooth and powerful audio that packs a serious punch.
- Fantastic Bluetooth connectivity and App support for tuning, streaming, and more.
- A lot more expensive than the EV ZLX 15BT
PreSonus AIR15 Review
PreSonus is another popular brand in the loudspeaker space. The AIR series in particular is a favorite thanks to its excellent sound quality.
- High clarity and precision delivery across the full frequency range.
- Attractive design with a unique inward curved speaker grille.
- Not quite as loud as the EV ZLX 15BT.
EV ETX 15P Review
If you want to step up in quality the ETX line is a premium prosumer option that delivers superb performance. A rock-solid cabinet and flexible features set it apart from the competition.
- Detailed sound profile that is both natural and satisfying.
- Detailed DSP tuning allows you to comfortably adapt to different gig types and venues.
- At 61.1 lbs. (27.7 kg) this loudspeaker is heavy and not the most ergonomic option out there.
EV ETX 15P
Should You Buy?
The 15-inch ZLX with Bluetooth is an impressive loudspeaker from a brand I’ve come to trust. The excellent sound quality is the star of the show. Crystal clear, no hum, and plenty of power. I also like the expansive range of tuning options to customize the output. Plus at this price point, it’s a value buy that still retains a high level of build quality. If you are looking for a solid 15-inch loudspeaker the EV ZLX 15BT is a great choice.