(click thumbnail)It's common knowledge that modern automobiles utilize a great deal of technology that originated on the race track. So when you go to see a concert and there's a couple hundred thousand bucks worth of brilliant-sounding transducers hanging from the rafters, is it possible that the same technological prowess could reach the local music/pro audio store? If JBL has anything to say about it, the answer is yes. Some of the attraction to this newest generation of concert-level loudspeakers is that they are compact, lightweight, they handle lots of power and they sound great. While JBL's new SRX700 series cabinets are, in some regards, a far cry from the company's flagship VERTEC line arrays, they do have features that have been derived from their high-flying brethren.
Fast FactsApplications: Live sound, sound reinforcement, installation
Key Features: 12, 15, 18-inch woofers; Differential Drive technology
Price: SRX715 $1,569.00, SRX718 $1049.00, SRX712M $1,199.00
Contact: JBL Professional at 818-894-8850, www.jblpro.com
The SRX series is part of JBL's portable sound reinforcement division and the series is comprised of two subs, four full-range boxes and a monitor cabinet. The units I received for review are the SRX715 (a full-range box available in standard or flyware version), the SRX718 sub and the SRX712 multipurpose cabinet (which makes a great monitor enclosure — read on). The woofers in this series utilize JBL's Differential Drive technology. This utilizes two voice coils in each driver, with their magnetic gaps set 180 degrees out of phase with each other. The whole assembly is designed to dramatically reduce weight while putting a premium on sound quality.
The SRX715 features a 15-inch woofer (model 2265H) and a horn with a 3-inch diaphragm, neodymium compression driver on a 75-degree x 50-degree body (model 2431H). Considering the cabinet's claimed power handling capacity of 800 watts (continuous), it weighs a remarkably scant 48 pounds and its trapezoidal shell spans 28 inches high, 17.3 inches wide and 16 inches deep. The 8 ohm box has a frequency response of 53Hz-20kHz (±3dB), a max SPL rating of 131 dB (@1m), and it has dual Neutrik NL4 input connectors. The enclosure has an internal passive crossover point of 1.2 kHz but it can also be actively operated when the external switch is engaged. The SRX715 is coated with JBL's DuraFlex finish (as are all the cabs in the series) and it has two stand cups - one for horizontal use and one that angles the cabinet down slightly.
The SRX718 subwoofer is a compact, bass-reflex enclosure that features a single 18-inch driver (model 2268H, also Differential Drive with dual voice coils) in a 13-ply birch cabinet. The enclosure weighs 79 pounds and measures 20 inches high, 23.5 inches wide and 29.5 inches deep. The 718 has a claimed frequency response of 34 Hz – 220 Hz (±3 dB), a claimed max SPL of 130 dB peak, with power handling rated at 800 watts (continuous). The box has a threaded pole receptacle in the top (for use only with JBL's SS4-BK adjustable height pole), dual NL4 connectors, and a switch to convert from 1+/1- to 2+/2- in the NL4 connection.
The SRX712M is a multipurpose cabinet that, in my opinion, is equally as capable as a monitor speaker as it is a main. The box features a 12-inch woofer (model 2262H) and a 50-degree x 90-degree horn (model 2431H). It has a claimed power handling of 800 watts continuous and a frequency response of 83 Hz – 18 kHz (±3 dB). At 13.75 inches high by 21.5 inches wide by 10.25 inches deep, the enclosure would definitely qualify for low-profile status.Like the SRX715, the SRX712M has dual NL4 connectors (one on each end), an external biamp switch, and dual angle stand cups.
My first use of the SRX cabinets was at a press conference for the US Postal Service and it featured the Postmaster General speaking to a group of reporters. This event occurred in the lobby of USPS headquarters in Washington, DC and the room is, like so many others in DC, marble, marble and more marble. Since this event featured only spoken word at a podium, I opted to use the SRX712Ms and I placed them in the angled-down stand cup and had wonderful results. The cabinets sounded clear and articulate — even in that hostile acoustic environment. Tilting the boxes down toward the seated audience was a marvelous move as it minimized over-spray of the mids and highs, subsequently reducing unwanted reflections.
My next opportunity arose when I needed to supplement a house sound system at a local church. My friends John Conway and Ben Congdon are the audio crew at a large church with a nice installed PA (Yamaha DM2000, flown EAW FOH cabs, etc.) but the system lacks sub augmentation and front fill coverage that would be needed for popular music. They were hosting popular Christian artist Chris Rice and they brought us in for FOH help and some backline gear. I used the SRX718s subs (placed right on the stage deck) and a pair of the SRX712s to fill the first few rows (they were just out of range of the hanging cabinets 35 feet above and angled toward the core of the 900 seat sanctuary). After time-adjusting and some moderate EQ, the JBLs made a nice addition to the house system. The SRX718s enabled the kick drum and bass to have a nice impact and the SRX712Ms made for very intelligible sound in the audience near the stage.
Over the next few months, I proceeded to use the SRX715/718s FOH combo and 712M in a variety of situations including a weeklong college theatrical production, a 40-piece Russian orchestra and a jazz funk band featuring renowned bassist Gary Grainger and sensational vocalist Meritxell. I must say that initially I felt that the sound from the SRX715s sounded somewhat "scooped" – lacking mids and high-mids. It wasn't until I set the house EQ flat that I realized how nice the cabinets really sound. They are very clean (not harsh) and they have a real even, high-fidelity presentation. The SRX718s subs are surprisingly punchy for a cabinet I can carry with one hand! The SRX715s have excellent off-axis isolation displaying minimal bleed behind them.
Overall, I think these are superb cabinets and they should satisfy discerning users from churches to concert sound providers. I found them to have a wonderful sonic character and they are amazingly lightweight and clean looking. I really fell in love with the SRX712Ms. I've used them as distributed speakers at corporate events, FOH cabs at a small folk performance, FOH sidefills for a John Kerry Town Hall meeting, and monitors for a number of very energetic bands — all with wonderful results. My one beef is that they seem to be less efficient than other mid-priced cabinets I've used. Therefore, make sure you have plenty of power to drive them with. If you do, you'll be rewarded with an excellent sounding event.
Midas Venice 320, Venice 160, Yamaha DM2000 consoles; Audio-Technica AE6400, Shure Beta 58 and Beta 87 vocal mics; Audio-Technica, Shure, Audix instrument mics; Rane, Community, TC Electronic and PreSonus processing.