Carvin, the company that has always brought you high-quality musical instruments, has introduced a new series of club/PA speakers. An early sample is the three-way TRX 153 cabinet ($599).
Product PointsApplications: Sound reinforcement, installation
Key Features: Three-way; 15-inch woofer; 8-inch mid range driver; triampable; DuraTex finish; stackable or flyable for installation
Contact: Carvin at 800-854-2235, Web Site.
+ Low Price
+ Good coverage
– Mid driver
The Score: Overall, a good club speaker system for the money, but you need to tweak.
Carvin sent two TRX 153s and two TRX 218s. The TRX 218 is the double 18-inch sub box that accompanies the three-way TRX 153. The TRX 153 can be run full range or can be triamped. The cabinet is loaded with a 15-inch driver for the lows, an 8-inch driver for the mids and a high-frequency compression driver with a 60 x 40 degree horn. The cabinet weighs 95 pounds and has a rated frequency response of 62 Hz to 20 kHz (±3 dB). Useable low frequency is stated at 50 Hz (-10 dB). Impedance is rated at 8 ohms. The cabinet is constructed out of 13-ply cross grain laminated Baltic birch and finished in a coat of black DuraTex.
Running the cabinet in full range mode is as easy as using a single channel of amplification and a NL4 Speakon connector. For three-way operation you will need a crossover set to the recommended settings of 400 Hz to 700 Hz for the low/mid and 2.5 kHz to 4 kHz for the mid/high. The triamped input to the cabinet is on a NL8 Speakon connector. There are no filter parameters or other processor settings provided by the manufacturer. In triamped mode, sensitivity is rated in SPL by 1 watt at 1 meter. Low frequency is rated at 100dB, mid frequency at 102 dB and high frequency at 105 dB. Full range passive was rated at 99 dB.
The TRX 153 can be flown using standard rigging hardware. The points on the cabinet require 3/8-16 forged steel eyebolts for their pick-up points. There is no “fly track” or adjustable fly ware. There are just rigging points consisting of captive nuts inside the cabinet for permanent installation. The TRX 153s are stackable in configurations utilizing the TRX 218s.
Full-range operation was the first order of the day with the TRX’s. With Steely Dan CD in hand (engineer’s prerequisite), I wound up the QSC 3402 for an initial impressions session.
To get the midrange that I am used to hearing from this test recording, I used a dbx DriveRack for a crossover, but the cabinet still didn’t sound like what I had been anticipating. The eight-inch horn-loaded mid driver needed some tweaking. I rolled the crossover for the mid down to around 250/300 Hz with the high cut off at 2 kHz. This provided more “meat” in the mid and, with a little filtering around with cuts at 500 Hz and a narrow bump at 1.7 kHz, things started to sound more “rounded” and coherent.
In my estimation, EQ tweaking could be minimized if Carvin used a larger midrange, maybe a 10 or a 12-inch driver. The low frequency and high frequency performed well with a just an EQ bump at 6 kHz (+3 dB) and a cut at 200 Hz (-4 dB).
As a system, including the TRX 218 sub, which is a front-loaded dual 18-inch cabinet, the Carvin system sounded very good and full range — especially for the price. I would have like to have seen the sub loaded in a folded horn configuration rather than front-loaded. This would have provided for better low-end response at a high box volume; yet the configuration, as it stands, responded well.
After my initial evaluation, I decided to take this rig out into the real world on a gig using the TRXs as side fills/drum fill in a monitor set-up. The cabinets performed well in this use when combined with the tweaking mentioned above. I really liked the drum fill scenario as it provided a short-to-medium throw, high SPL to the drummer. The drummer was happy, and, as we know, that can be a feat all to itself. Moving the cabinets around is a chore seeing that the 95-pound weight is on the high side of cabinets in this category.
The Carvin TRX 153s system is a nice foray into the sound reinforcement audio speaker niche. Cabinet construction is great, and the system can be configured for good sound at a low, low price.
In my opinion, the mid driver needs to be a little bigger to avoid extra EQ and crossover tweaks. But the price is so astonishingly low at $549 a cabinet, even with its slightly lacking mid range, the system is worth looking into. For the money, can you find comparable speakers?