JBL’s EON ONE: Unique PA
JBL Professional’s EON ONE is a portable, powered, micro-array PA system, and a very unique one at that.
Perfect for DJ gigs with pre-recorded material and master-of-ceremonies duties, the 40-pound system also can easily handle events with a singer and some instrument accompaniment or perhaps a meeting-room presentation.
Unpacked and working in minutes, this column speaker (an angled six-speaker linear array) stacks up on its carrying case/10-inch woofer section. Built into this woofer section is the power amp (380 watts) and six-channel mixer with wireless Bluetooth.
What’s amazing for some users is that, for some applications, you would only have to take the EON ONE and your smartphone—when you are not performing, you can stream. It can be just one trip from the car to the club. If your main entertainment function is as MC and the music is a pre-made mix, you only need to set up the one speaker for the room and you are covered – all for less than $1,000.
Additionally, the EON ONE could be ideal as a secondary sound system for covering a second dancefloor, a remote bar area, or a patio. And what’s more, the rated maximum SPL output is a healthy 118 dB (peak).
But most of our readers will want to know how the EON ONE fits into typical mobile DJ work – either as the complete audio system or, more conventionally, as powered speakers to be used with a DJ mixer.
I will let you know upfront that the EON ONE’s stereo six-input mixer provides great flexibility for selecting and tweaking different input functions. But it is not a functional DJ mixer, as there is no pre-cue function for the inputs – just pre-recorded playback, vocals and announcements. Channels 1 and 2 provide XLR/quarter-inch jack combo connectors (XLR is a mic-level input, quarter-inch is a line-level input), while channels 3 and 4 offer a ¼-inch balanced TRS jack or RCA jack each. The input for Channels 5 and 6 is via a 3.5-mm stereo jack.
The EON ONE’s mixer is stereo, while the amplifier and speaker is a mono Class D amplifier: 250 watts bass, plus 130 watts for the line array. This is workable for stereo program material by sending left and right to mono and then out of the ONE’s speaker and woofer.
One might question a single speaker enclosure providing coverage, but the EON ONE’s angled array can deliver even 100-degree horizontal coverage with ideal, tight, vertical-pattern control. Still, this is not the same as the open spatiality of a stereo pair. On the other hand, the smooth, balanced sound and freedom from horn squawk on vocals of the array of cone speakers is real.
JBL Professional has not missed the boat on powered, highly portable, stereo-pair speakers – after all, JBL inspired the entire category 22 years ago, when it developed the original EON system. But, as most DJs know, two of JBL’s present-day active speakers (EON 615s) is priced similarly ($500 each) as the single-column EON ONE. The 615 system gets you a pair of 15-inch powered speakers and this makes the most sense to me if you are buying your primary, core-powered, speaker system. Yet, if the sound quality and smooth wide coverage of a line array is what you want – but with stereo spatiality – you can use the EON ONE Dual package, which is simply a pair of these speaker systems.
All this talk aside, Northern California DJ Tony Russell (aka Tony Roxxx) pushed the EON ONE system pretty hard on some jobs, and it held up well. So, let’s hear from Tony…
“When I took the EON ONE out of the shipping box, the first thing I thought was, ‘This is a pretty small speaker – they aren’t going to be able to squeeze much bass out of this thing.’ I was wrong. For its size, it is considerably robust and they even use the rear portion of the speaker to house the high-frequency unit, which means even less space for the low-frequency enclosure.
“The sound is very even across frequencies to my ear. Once the speaker’s high-frequency portion is inserted, it looks pretty killer. My one concern might be how the inserts that house the speaker connections in the high-frequency unit hold up over time.
“So, yes, it sounds good, but what sets this speaker apart is the addition of Bluetooth. It can handle up to six inputs, so this is a very versatile and nice-sounding piece of equipment for its size. Talking about size, it is a well-made unit, so it’s not as light as one might think at first glance, but it’s not too heavy to keep one from carrying it around.
“Once you get where you are going, set-up is super-easy and gets faster each time you set it up. As a DJ, I can see a lot of applications for this unit, but I think—and judging from the photos JBL uses, the company agrees—that this unit would really shine for a street performer or an application where multiple instruments need to be plugged into the mixer.
“I would definitely use this unit for DJ gigs like weddings or corporate events where I wanted dope sound and a very cool-looking set-up, but didn’t need the room-filling boom of larger subwoofers. Overall, I give JBL Professional’s EON ONE a big thumbs-up.”
As Tony observes above, EON ONE is an appealing and innovative portable DJ rig with wide coverage and cone speaker-array clarity that can be delivered by a line array, with more than sufficient power for most applications. While the built-in mixer won’t hack it as the primary mixer, it does have very flexible capabilities that will come in handy. Check it out.
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