Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

JBL VP7212/95 DPC Powered Speakers Review

Review of the JBL VP7212/95 DPC Powered Speakers

We have been looking around for a new set of speakers that would become our main FOH for most of our events. Typically most our the events we do are corporate, community events or fundraising dinners or concerts. We do a few full band concerts but for the most part it is a keynote speaker with some kind of musical entertainment.

Up until now our list of speakers is made up of following models ,Mackie SRM450 ( Italian, US and China made) Mackie 1232, Mackie SWA1801 Sub and JBL EON10.

What we needed was a high quality, high power, compact speaker. I am not here to knock Mackie but our opinion is that the transition form the original SRM450 made in Italy to the now made in China models has not been an improvement and so we had to look else where. I could list several issues we have had with them but that is another issue.
After looking at several models from the likes of Meyer, RCF, QSC etc we decided on the JBL VP series.

The model we went with was the VP7212/95 DPC. These are 12" Low Frequency Driver and a 4" High, rated at 875 Watts continuous 1750 Peak and weigh 47lbs. When we went to pick them up, our supplier had one of them up and running beside a QSC HPR122. First impression was the size. We had read the dimensions but until you seem them you don't appreciate how compact they are. We ran some pink noise through them and noted how flat they were on the RTA which is really nice to have a speaker that is not coloured out of the box, This is what the spec sheet indicates, a drop in the lows below 70Hz and a slight boost around the 13K Hz . The QSC's did have a bit more in the bottom end with all EQ's off and running flat. Once we stated playing some music the VP's started to show themselves and why they cost around three times the price of the QSC's. Was it fair to put the HPR's up against the VP's probably not but that is all we had. I would say that the QSC's are going to claim some of the SRM450 market though.

After bringing them home we could not wait the power them up and see what they could do. At this point JBL lost some serious points as there was no power cord in the box. We only opened one at the store, so this one was unopened. JBL have assured us that a power cord is being shipped right away. Note that the power connector is the Neutrik Powercon, so keep this in mind and make sure to have a spare. They do come with a North American and Euro cord so it is easy to make up a second cord with the one you don't need.
Trying them out at home with my Acoustic guitar going through them they sounded great. The Lows were full and warm and the highs were crystal clear and the mids were even all the way through.

This weekend was our first real test, each year a local funeral home hosts a memorial service in a conservation area that they have developed a memorial forest. This event is attended buy around 1200 people. A 80ft X 40ft tent is set up with around 400 chairs and the other 800 people fill in the field around the tent. In the past we have used 4 SRM450's in the tent and the 1232's for the field. Today we tried using only the VP's in the tent and they worked really well. The sound was full, warm, clear and very even from front to back. The challenge is getting enough volume at the back without blowing the people away at the front. I did not use a dB meter but with plenty of volume at the rear there was not a significant increase at the front. This has now freed up a set of speakers for us to use else were as in the past we needed the run 4 speakers in the tent alone. When it came to run our EQ on the room they did not require very much and for the frequencies that we did need to cut it only required a very small cut to eliminate any problems.

Not sure what the rules are on mentioning pricing but be prepared to spend somewhere in the $4k Canadian range per speaker. These are not cheap boxes but you do get what you pay for.
Will they make us any more money from our events, probably not. Will they cut down on set-up time and equipment required, yes. Will they move us into a whole other level of sound quality, definitely.
In summary I would say these are great sounding speakers, the throw and pattern control is excellent and the size and weight is perfect which fills each of the requirements we were looking for.
For speech and a small band set up these are perfect. If you are looking at a full band and the need for lots of bottom end then a separate sub would be required.
I think we all know about the JBL's of the 80's and early 90's and the acronym that JBL got. I can say that they have learned from those days and have developed some seriously great sounding speakers now. The "L" can still stand for Loud but we need to find something else for the "JB"