JBL: Comprehensive Buying Guide for Portable PA Systems

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For over 70 years, JBL has been on the forefront of audio technology. Their design goal is “create the best tools for better, more accurate sound”, a motto that has proven the test of time, resulting in numerous audio achievements, groundbreaking technologies, and revolutionary advances in the art and science of professional audio. It’s no wonder that JBL are still popular today and with this JBL portable PA buying guide, we’ll be taking a closer look at their latest offerings, including the EON, IRX, PRX, SRX, and VRX-series speaker systems.

EON Series

The smallest of the EON series, the EON ONE Compact is an all-in-one rechargeable personal PA system, well suited for singer-songwriters, fitness instructors, corporate speaking engagements, and educational presentations. The self-powered speaker sports an 8" woofer and 1" tweeter that combine for an impressive frequency response of 37.5 Hz to 20 kHz at a remarkable 112 dB maximum SPL. Using the free JBL Compact Connect app, you can quickly set up the speaker by selecting and controlling effects and presets from a phone or tablet. Broadcast Bluetooth provides the ability to sync and control up to four EON ONE Compact units from a single source for music playback.

JBL EON ONE Compact All-In-One Rechargeable Personal PA
JBL EON ONE Compact All-In-One Rechargeable Personal PA

The EON ONE is a compact, all-in-one linear-array PA system well suited for singer/songwriters, small live events, bars, clubs, meetings, conference rooms, and more. The ONE consists of a powered subwoofer module with an integrated six-channel mixer with wireless Bluetooth streaming. Two Class-D amplifiers in the sub module offer 250W to the 10" subwoofer and 130W to the line array module (six 2" drivers), which combine for a frequency response of 45 Hz to 18 kHz with a total of 118 dB peak SPL output. The EON One includes two spacers, allowing for three positions of deployment. The line-array element and the two spaces conveniently pack away into the base unit, which can be carried by one hand. Additionally, an optional EON ONE Transporter is available, which offers wheels for ease in transport and provides protection from on-the-road wear and tear. For an even more portable option, check out the EON ONE PRO, which features the same form factor and includes a rechargeable lithium-ion battery for true wireless performance. The base unit offers a seven-channel mixer, an 8" woofer, and provides a maximum SPL of 118 dB.

JBL EON ONE PRO All-In-One Rechargeable Linear Array PA System

The EON208P is a self-contained, stereo PA system that connects into a suitcase-style format. The rugged, lightweight enclosure ensures ease in transport and is well suited for musicians, singers, DJs, teachers, or anyone in need of a truly compact stereo PA system. The eight-channel mixer features treble, bass, and reverb controls. The mic inputs include phantom power for operating condenser microphones, as well as a Hi-Z input on channel 3 for accommodating high-impedance guitar signals. Additionally, the mixer offers Bluetooth for wireless audio streaming. The two 8" two-way speakers receive 150W each and offer a frequency response of 70 Hz to 18 kHz with a maximum SPL output of 121 dB.

JBL EON208P Personal PA System with 8-Channel Mixer and Bluetooth

The EON 600 Series features three full-range powered speakers and a subwoofer. The rear panel of each full-range speaker offers two XLR-1/4" combo inputs (switchable between mic/line), four application presets, and an XLR loop-thru for adding additional speakers. The integrated Class-D amplifier delivers 700W to the woofer and 300W to the high-frequency driver. The EON610 utilizes a 10" woofer and offers a frequency response of 60 Hz to 20 kHz with a maximum SPL of 124 dB, while the EON612 uses a 12" driver and provides a frequency response of 57 Hz to 20 kHz with a maximum SPL of 126 dB. The EON615 utilizes a 15" driver and offers a frequency response of 50 Hz to 20 kHz with a maximum SPL of 127 dB. The EON618S is a self-powered subwoofer with an integrated Class-D amplifier that delivers 1000W to the 18" driver and offers a frequency response of 42.5 to 150 Hz with a maximum SPL of 134 dB. All the EON 600 Series speakers work with the free EON Connect app, which provides Bluetooth control over DSP parameters, including 3-band parametric EQ, Hi and Lo shelf EQ, delay, output mixing, and preset creation.

JBL EON618S 18" Powered Subwoofer

IRX Series

The IRX Series delivers high output and clarity, offering total ease of use at an affordable price. Available in 8" and 12" models, the IRX offers application-specific EQ presets for optimal tone at the press of a button, while the dbx AFS Automatic Feedback Suppression circuit provides plenty of gain without dreaded feedback from microphones. Play music, soundtracks, and backing tracks with Bluetooth audio streaming, while one-touch ducking ensures your voice will be heard over the music. The IRX108BT utilizes a 1300W amplifier to power the 8" woofer and high-frequency driver to provide a frequency response of 54 Hz to 20 kHz with a peak SPL of 124 dB. The IRX112BT uses a 1300W amplifier to power the 12" woofer and high-frequency driver, delivering a frequency response of 53 Hz to 20 kHz with a maximum SPL of 127 dB.

JBL IRX112BT Compact Powered 12" Portable Speaker with Bluetooth
JBL IRX112BT Compact Powered 12" Portable Speaker with Bluetooth

PRX Series

Designed to deliver powerful, professional sound to a variety of live-sound applications, including bands, DJs, and houses of worship, the JBL PRX800 series is JBL’s loudest PA of the portable PA category. With an efficient 1500W Class-D amplifier and patented JBL Differential Drive technology, the PRX800 series offers best-in-class power handling while staying lightweight for easy load-in and load-out. The built-in Wi-Fi technology provides sophisticated DSP via the PRX Connect mobile app for total control, wirelessly, from anywhere in the venue. The two-way PRX812W utilizes a 12" low-frequency driver to provide a frequency response of 56 Hz to 20 kHz with a maximum SPL of 135 dB, while the PRX815W uses a 15" driver to provide a frequency response of 56 Hz to 20 kHz with a maximum SPL of 137 dB.

JBL PRX815W 15" Two-Way Full-Range Main System and Floor Monitor with Wi-Fi

The dual 15" PRX825W is a two-way powered speaker with a frequency response of 46 Hz to 17 kHz with a maximum SPL of 138 dB, while the flagship 3-way PRX835W utilizes a 15" woofer, 6.5" midrange, and 1.5" compression driver to deliver a frequency response of 39 Hz to 20 kHz with a maximum SPL of 138 dB. For extended low-frequency output, the PRX Series offers two powered subwoofers, including the 15" PRX815XLFW, which boasts a frequency response of 40 to 91 Hz with a maximum SPL of 131 dB, while the 18" PRX818XLFW offers a frequency response of 35 Hz to 87 Hz with a maximum SPL of 134 dB.

JBL PRX818XLFW 18" Self-Powered Extended Low-Frequency Subwoofer System

SRX Series

The SRX800 series sets the standard for what fully professional powered PA systems should be. By harnessing the latest technologies, including JBL’s premium transducers and enclosures, Crown’s proprietary Front-End DriveCore technology (2000W), user-configurable DSP, and full HiQnet network control (via Ethercon port), the JBL SRX800 series speakers offer professionally tuned results for any application in the most demanding environments. The SRX812P is a two-way powered speaker with a 12" woofer that provides a frequency response of 48 Hz to 20 kHz and a peak SPL of 136 dB, while the SRX815P utilizes a 15" driver and provides a frequency response of 44 Hz to 20 kHz with a maximum SPL of 137 dB.

JBL SRX815P 15" Two-Way Bass Reflex Self Powered System

The full-range SRX835P is a 3-way, 2000W powered speaker with a frequency response of 41 Hz to 20 kHz and a peak SPL output of 137 dB. For low-frequency extension, the SRX800 series offers two subwoofer models, including the SRX818SP, which utilizes a 1000W Crown DriveCore amplifier to power the single 18" driver with a frequency response of 35 to 120 Hz and a peak SPL output of 135 dB, while the SRX828SP utilizes a 2000W amplifier to drive two 18" drivers for a frequency response of 35 to 120 Hz with a peak SPL output of 141 dB. It is also worth mentioning that the SRX800 Passive Series provides the same basic designs without the integrated amplifier and DSP.

JBL SRX812 - 12" Two-Way Bass Reflex Passive System

VRX900 Series

Last, but certainly not least, the JBL VRX900 Series Constant Curvature Line Array borrows from JBL’s VerTec line-array technology to ensure the same professional sound, control, and concert-proven drivers for smaller venues. The VRX932LAP utilizes 1750W of Crown amplification to drive the single 12" woofer and three high-frequency drivers, which combine to deliver a frequency response of 75 Hz to 20 kHz with a maximum SPL of 136 dB. Two units can be used with a pole mount, while up to five units can be arrayed for larger coverage. For low-frequency extension, the VRX918SP is a powered, suspendable subwoofer system, which utilizes a 1500W Crown amplifier to drive the 18" woofer, which offers a frequency response of 34 to 220 Hz with a maximum SPL of 126 dB.

JBL VRX918SP 18" Powered Flying Subwoofer

For passive deployment, the VRX900 series features two full-range speakers and two passive subwoofers. The 8" VRX928LA uses the same constant curvature array technology as the active models, offering a frequency range of 85 Hz to 19 kHz and a power rating up to 1600W, while the VRX932LA utilizes a 12" driver for a frequency response of 75 Hz to 20 kHz and a power rating of 3200W and a maximum SPL of 130 dB. The rear panel offers a bi-amp/passive selection switch, and up to six units can be arrayed together. The VRX915S and VRX918S are passive subwoofers, which offer pole-mount threaded sockets for speaker-pole deployment or integrated fly hardware, allowing them to be flown with full-range speaker arrays. The VRX915S handles 3200W and uses a 15" woofer for a frequency response of 40 to 250 Hz with a maximum SPL of 126 dB, while the VRX918S handles 3200W and employs an 18" woofer for a frequency response of 34 to 220 Hz with a maximum SPL of 130 dB. Additionally, the VRX line includes the VRX915M, a compact, low-profile floor monitor that provides minimal obstruction of audience sightlines. The speaker handles up to 3200W of power to drive the 15" woofer and 1.5" exit compression driver for a frequency response of 70 Hz to 20 kHz with a maximum SPL of 133 dB.

JBL VRX915M 15" 2-Way Stage Monitor

In Conclusion

That about wraps up this buying guide for JBL’s portable PA systems. I hope you’ve found the information useful and it can help you navigate the world of smaller PA systems. If you have any questions or thoughts, please share them in the Comments section, below.

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