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Strother Bullins on JBL Professional Eon One Personal PA

Long recognized as a pioneering name in portable PA (PPA), JBL Professional’s EON Series products are literally everywhere—in clubs, rehearsal spaces, houses-of-worship, theaters, etc. Over time, the EON range has been refined to offer more power and performance at an always-affordable price point to an increasingly demanding PPA marketplace.

JBL’s latest EON product, the EON ONE, is the best example that I can recall to illustrate this line’s massive appeal. At 40.8 lbs. in total, its designers have managed to pack a notably powerful-sounding, configurable-height portable line array and Bluetooth-enabled six-channel mixer with stereo monitor outputs and one knob channel reverb in a truly scratch-resistant, easy-to-carry polypropylene cabinet, all for under $1k street.

Many key features comprise the impressive EON ONE. Once configured (which takes seconds), the first thing I noticed from reference material playback was its balanced sound with notably full, deep-reaching bass response (with a frequency range from 37.5 Hz) thanks to its rigid main cabinet enclosing an unobstructed 10-inch bass-reflex subwoofer powered by a Class D 250 W amplifier. Up top, JBL’s proprietary Directivity Control Geometry technology employs six carefully splayed two-inch mid/high-frequency drivers, effectively distributing its 100-degree by 50-degree coverage pattern; in application, the sound is incredibly evenly distributed, whether listening from a distance or very off axis. Coverage of this quality simply isn’t possible via a traditional “speaker on pole” rig.

EON ONE’s I/O, while limited, is sufficient to support one- to two-performer applications. 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 quarter-inch balanced TRS jack or RCA jack each. Channels 5 and 6 input is via a 3.5mm stereo jack.

Most private events (e.g., weddings, parties, etc.) would be well served by the EON ONE for playback, vocals and announcements, etc. Not only is it just slightly over 40 lbs., it’s weight-balanced and designed in a way to be extremely easy to carry. And it is—I had no problem loading in this PPA with one hand, up two flights of steps without breaking a sweat.

The EON ONE’s integral mixer offers solid-feeling knobs as well as two shelf EQs (labeled “Bass” and “Treble”) and a medium/large hall-type reverb for channels 1 and 2. Most users would probably not need the reverb, but in small quantity, it sounds nice on acoustic guitar and vocal.

In all, the EON ONE is a winner in that it provides the coverage and clarity features inherent in a modern portable line array, more than sufficient power for most club or small venue applications, built-in I/O and mixer, and a most attractive price point. If you’ve never previously considered an EON setup for portable PA applications, I urge you to check out the EON ONE, as it’s a completely different beast for its moniker.

Strother Bullins is Technology Editor for NewBay Media’s AV/Pro Audio Group. sbullins@nbmedia.com

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