The EON210P is a self-contained, portable PA system featuring multiple digital effects and convenient output routing capabilities that allow the user to integrate the system into any number of applications. With its lightweight, user-friendly design, the EON210P is well suited for situations where ease and portability are just as important as quality and flexibility.
The JBL EON210P is a 300W powered speaker system with uniquely ergonomic soft-touch handles for easy transport. The 210P’s speakers have 10-inch low-frequency drivers with neodymium magnets and 1-inch neodymium compression tweeters, weighing approximately 10 lbs. each. The EON 210P is equipped with Crown Class-D amplifier technology supplying 150W per side. The cabinet offers a 100-degree H x 60-degree V asymmetrical wave guide for uniform audience coverage.
At first glance at the specs, the EON210P boasts a Harman “best of portable PA” vibe, with its built-in Soundcraft mixer with eight input channels and intuitive interface. Channels 1-4 are XLR/quarter-inch jack combo connectors with the XLR as mic-level inputs and quarter-inch line-level inputs. Each of these channels have individual channel bass and treble controls, center detented with +/-6 dB cut and boost. Channels 5-6 offer a pair of quarter-inch balanced stereo TRS jacks and a stereo pair of RCA jacks. Channels 7-8 are a 3.5mm stereo mini plug jack. Onboard digital effects are plate, room, slapback echo and large hall reverbs.
There are three types of monitor outputs on the 210P: one pair of quarter-inch balanced TRS stereo jacks, a pair of stereo RCA jacks, and a headphone output — one 3.5mm stereo jack. The pole mounts are integrated 36mm pole mount sockets with stabilizing securing screws. The enclosures are a lightweight polypropylene composite. The mixer itself simply detaches from the back of one speaker; there is a storage compartment that detaches from the other EON for power and speaker cable storage. In total, the JBL EON210P weighs in at 33 lbs.
In the mid-’90s and after, I had a few years of pro club performances under my belt, I became used to lugging around backbreaking, plywood-constructed speaker cabinets of varying efficiencies from gig to gig. Then all of a sudden, the portable PA seas parted, and I was delivered to the glorious benefits of using JBL EON Series systems.
In my recollection, JBL’s EON was one of the first within the realm of lightweight speakers that was truly manageable by one average person from van to stage. EONs were suddenly everywhere, quickly becoming a staple for many of my gigs throughout my career, even to this day. So when I received the JBL EON210P Portable PA system for review, I jumped at the chance, and expectations were understandably high. Upon receipt, I couldn’t help but notice my UPS guy smiling at the ease of carrying the package from his truck to my door; and, sure enough, the box seemed extremely light. The system’s transportability is its major asset: the entire 210P system takes two hands and one trip through the stage door. On the back of each speaker there is a latch that slides to the right; it detaches the powered mixer from one speaker and opens the storage compartment for cables on the other.
With the EON210P, a few minutes of setup time is all you need: Simply mount the speakers on stands, plug your speakers into the main outputs of the powered mixer, plug in your instruments, mics, DJ equipment and/or iPod, and you are ready to go. As proven in past EON lines, durability is a key feature. Housed in a sturdy amalgamation of sturdy synthetic materials, these EONs can take a hit.
The Soundcraft mixer portion of the 210P offers plenty of useful and flexible I/O for the format and likely application of the system. Its effects section is limited, but offers a selector knob with five very clean reverbs/echoes settings with effects return for channels 1-4. I also found that, when cranking the 210P to the limit, the onboard DSP limiting and tuning came in handy; a singer by trade, vocal clarity is a must for me while using any self-manned PA system. After plugging my acoustic guitar into the 210P, I found that my chords came through crystal-clear, too. Vocal clarity shines through on the 210P whether you have the volume on 2 or 10. As such, the 210P is a perfect starting point for the discriminating pro singer/songwriter.
One thing I did notice within the 210P’s frequency response was a low-end void, yet what it lacks in low end it makes up with clear, clean delivery. Meanwhile, I found the output section’s 3.5mm miniplug very useful, as I was able to plug my in-ear buds directly into the unit. With such a versatile easy-to-use mixer, you could use this system simply for a single speaker for a small conference, DJ/karaoke gigs, all the way up to a duo, trio or quartet band in a small venue.
The JBL 210P offers classic EON sonic clarity from 5 to 25 feet away. Sure, its effects are limited, but the quality of the few, well-chosen reverbs are not. I normally prefer more EQ section parameters for channels 1-4, and the 210P did not offer as much low end as I would have liked, but its small stature and light weight made me forget about any quibbles I had upon setting up and tearing down for gigs.
Ease of use, clarity, portability and durability are the selling points of the JBL 210P. It will serve you well in smaller venues (with less than 75 audience members) and probably some medium-sized venues, too.
Price: $799 street
Contact: JBL Professional | jblpro.com/eon210p
Joshua Garber is a Minneapolis/St. Paul-based musician, engineer and DJ/KJ with pro stints in the Cancun MX and Charlotte live music markets.