One of the unavoidable downsides of being a live sound engineer is the constant schlepping of heavy gear. What if someone could produce PA speakers that sounded good and weighed about half as much as competing models?

Tackling this issue head on are Wright Brothers Sound models EQX 2015 ($649) and subwoofer EQX 2018 ($849), along with an aluminum pole ($24) for mounting the 2015 on top of the 2018.

Features

The cabinets of these speakers are constructed of Camberlite, a very rugged rotomolded polyethylene. In this application the average thickness of the cabinet walls is about 0.75 of an inch. The speakers are gray with a slightly rough finish that will hide the inevitable scrapes that gear of this sort is subject to. The 2015 weighs just 34 pounds and the 2018 only weighs 52 pounds. The 2018 sits on laser-cut steel feet that screw securely into threaded holes on the bottom of the downward-firing subwoofer.

The 2015 features circuit breaker protection for the drivers. The driver complement includes custom-designed 15 inch and 18 inch units manufactured by Eminence and Italian-made compression drivers sourced from B&C. The crossover units are of a third order design, and the subwoofer cuts in at 115 Hz.

Both the EQX 15 and 18 are very conservatively rated at 400 Watts at 8 ohms. Neutrik Speakon connectors are fitted to both units, along with 1/4-inch inputs.

A metal socket on top of the subwoofer allows for the satellites to be pole-mounted on top of the speakers. Since they are not threaded, but rely instead upon friction fit, the user can aim the satellites as desired.

In use

I tested these speakers in a variety of settings using a Crest V1500 power amp. For a rehearsal situation, I substituted the Wright Brothers speakers for the older JBL systems that are residence in our rehearsal space. The EQXs played louder and they weighed around half of the sub/sat JBLs I normally use. The overall sound quality was similar in the two systems.

I also used the EQXs to provide amplified loops for a drummer to play along with during a recent project that I tracked. Unlike the last time that I tried this method (with a pair of EV Sentry 500 studio monitors), I had no problem generating sufficient volume to allow the drummer to hear the loops over his drums.

Over the course of this review, I had the opportunity to evaluate these speakers at a variety of sound levels with a variety of sources. The one quibble Ihad was that Ifound a fair amount of play, or looseness, while the speakers were mounted on the provided pole stand.

Overall, I found them to sound quite clean, with only a slight "horn-like" character; very solid lows.

Summary

Gigging musicians and DJs should definitely consider the Wright Brothers' speakers. They provide a lightweight, good-sounding alternative to traditional plywood or particleboard cabinets. They sound good in a variety of applications, and are priced competitively.

Contact: Wright Bros. Sound Inc. at 888-927-6863; 802-362-5808; www.wbsound.com