There are currently exactly 7 zillion pro audio manufacturers on the face of the Earth. Although most of these companies make very good products; many are something of a secret to pro audio buyers. One such company is Yorkville, based in Canada. Yorkville makes speakers, power amplifiers, speaker processors and powered mixers, as well as other audio goodies. Recently, I had the good fortune to discover the company and one of its speaker systems - the EF508 - part of Yorkville's Elite Series line.
Product Points
Applications: Mid- to high-end sound reinforcement; playback systems for medium to large venues

Key Features: 15", two-way midsize speaker

Price: Speaker: $1,099; crossover/processor: $199

Contact: Yorkville Pro Audio at 905-837-8550.

Plus

+ Durable transport

+ Sounds great

+ Backward compatible

+ Built-in 9x1 mixer

+ AES in and out (as well as light pipe)

Minus

- Expensive

The Score: For a studio or individual desiring a truly professional version of the ADAT, the Studer V-Eight Digital Eight-Channel Recorder should be a major consideration.

Features

The Yorkville EF508 is a two-way, midsize speaker system that can function as either a standalone passive cabinet or as a biamped processor-controlled cabinet. It features a 4" voice coil made by B&C (B&C is an Italian company producing speakers and drivers for some of the most well-known brand name speaker manufacturers) 15" woofer and a 2" B&C mid/high driver coupled to a proprietary 90 by 40 degree Yorkville waveguide horn. In either passive or processor mode, the crossover frequency is 2,100 Hz.

The cabinet is a rugged, well-built trapezoidal enclosure that features four top rigging points in addition to a rear/center pullback point. The rig points consist of removable hex-keyed bolts. Removing the bolts accommodates a shoulder-type threaded eyelet. The rig points are solid and well-located for good balance and weight distribution.

The cabinet also has a recessed mount on the bottom surface for a tripod stand. The EF508 is finished with durable black carpet and the grillwork is a powder-coated, scratch-resistant heavy-duty perforated steel. The grille also features an interesting concave curvature that makes it more dent-resistant than standard flat-front grilles.

The rear connector panel is clean and efficient, offering a single 1/4" connector for passive use and dual Neutrik Speakon connectors for biamped/processor-controlled mode. The entire package weighs only 89 lb and is 28" tall, 19" wide and 14" deep.

Yorkville provides the following specs: efficiency is 99 dB SPL at 1 W/1 m at 1 kHz; 126 dB maximum SPL at 1 meter. Frequency response is 50 Hz to 19 kHz; nominal power handling is 500 W/full range/continuous at 8 ohms.

The optional processor, the 1 RU EP508, is fairly easy to use. The EP508 can be used as a stereo, full-range processor for biamping or with a provision to filter signals to an optional Elite Series subwoofer. There are level controls for each frequency group, as well as an equalization contour for live sound applications where accentuated vocal range may be desired. The connectors on the EP508 are 1/4" TRS type.

In use

I took the pair of Yorkville EF508s to a local casino/club where I was providing full audio production for Mickey Thomas and Starship. Thomas possesses an exceptional vocal range so I knew the speakers were in for a real test of their mid and high presence.

I placed them on tripod stands, locating the horn/driver axis approximately 8' above ground to accommodate its 40 degree vertical dispersion. The sidemount handles were placed perfectly, offering easy handling by two people (but a bit heavy for one person). I decided to power the cabinets with one of our monitor system amplifiers, a Carver PM 1.5, which has a power output rating very close to the capabilities of the EF508.

I stood on-axis at a distance of about 20' from the speakers and was pleasantly surprised by the extremely smooth vocal and keyboard/synthesizer response, the tight bass frequencies and the friendly presence of the cymbals and high hat. The EF508 responded exceedingly well to the more transient sounds of the snare and rack toms and had very pleasing qualities in the kick drum, bass guitar and lower register vocal range.

I then listened to them at a distance of about 75' and 45 degrees off horizontal axis. I found almost all the responses to be the same, except for a slight drop of ultrahighs at 12 kHz and above. This was to be expected due to the directional nature of higher frequencies that tend to collect along the axis of any transducer.

Summary

The Yorkville EF508s are highly effective, highly listenable speakers in the midpriced, high-end class. They are well-constructed and should provide years of quality service. Yorkville has enamored me to its product sufficiently that I am looking forward to hearing more of this Elite Series.