Electro-Voice (EV) has been around for about as long as I can remember. My first experience with the company was more than 30 years ago and it is still coming up with new product. One of its newest is the Sx series, which includes the Sx80.
The EV Sx-80 ($318) is a compact, two-way speaker system that features an 8″ woofer and a 1″ compression driver. The crossover is a passive type, which filters the drive from the woofer at 2.2 kHz. It has a 12-dB/octave slope and contains a self-resetting driver-overload-protection circuit.
The cabinet is made of an indestructible polymer material that is a popular trend these days with the more affordable speakers. The material is an extremely rugged, dent-proof plastic, but it is prone to slight scratching. The cabinet features a stand-mounting option, a wall-mounting option and hanging capability through use of cabinet inserts for either chain or U-brackets.
The model EV sent me has a black cabinet with a black powder-coated grille. The Sx-80 is also available in white. The connector on the rear is a spring-loaded, push-in type, which permits connecting bare wire to the speaker cabinet instead of a jack. The Sx-80 is also available with a 1/4″ jack and Neutrik Speakon connector option.
Electro-Voice offers the following specs: power handling, 175 W continuous at 8 ohms; HWD, 15.75″ x 11.5″ x 8.75″; weight, 20 lbs.
I was providing audio for the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra at Phoenix Symphony Hall, which is part of the Civic Plaza complex in the downtown area. The Pops concert series featured Michael Martin Murphy and his four-piece band in concert with the orchestra.
The problem with doing concerts in a theatrical setting is that the stage is generally very wide; when speakers are placed wide apart there is no augmented audio at the very center of the front three rows. I decided to employ the Sx-80s as center fills, and put that great EV reputation to the test in a fairly critical listening environment.
I placed two of the compact speakers downstage-center, just in front of the conductor’s podium, about five to six feet from the intended listening area in a V-shaped array, approximately 90 degrees to each other. The cabinets are quite compact and were completely unobtrusive – blocking no sightlines whatsoever. I powered the Sx-80s with a Carver PM1.5, which significantly overpowers them by about 300 W.
The first test was to send some vocals to the speakers, via a post-fader auxiliary send with the third octave EQ inserted but completely flat. As is the case with most speakers, I decided after first listening that some EQ was in order. I boosted and cut each frequency on the graphic EQ, looking to find the more problematic frequencies.
I found only a few frequencies that were glaring. Otherwise, the response was fairly smooth. The Sx-80s had a very good response in the 60 Hz to 500 Hz range and a couple of minor dips of 3 or 4 dB in the 500 Hz to 3.15 kHz range. Some 6 to 9 dB boost was required in the higher range of 5 kHz, 6 kHz and 8 kHz.
After the equalization was completed, I decided to put them to the torture test. I revved them up to a fairly hot volume (for a speaker of this size), putting vocals, fiddle, lead acoustic guitar and the associated reverb returns through the compact speakers. I was amazed at the clarity and high frequency definition in the vocal range, and they responded with equal clarity at lower frequencies with no breakup or distortion.
The vocals were clean, the acoustic lead guitar and fiddle were crisp and succinct, and the reverb clean and intelligible. I ran them at a pretty hot volume for two hours, and never once did the driver protection device trip/reset.
I tortured these speakers quite a bit and they survived the test without any problems. With some equalizing they sounded very good, and at louder volumes they held up extremely well. If you are on a budget, and are in need of some nice sounding speakers, the EV Sx-80s are a good bet!
Contact Electro-Voice at 616-695-6831.