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Tech Showcase: Portable PA Systems

The latest PAs on the market.

This month, we take a look at a variety of portable PA systems. This is certainly a niche market and very different from the equipment typically specified for “fixed installations.” Lightweight, portable, and quick and easy to setup/break down are all key criteria. As we all know, clear, intelligible audio is one of the most important aspects of a presentation. So let’s take a look.

The Alto Professional Stealth Wireless Pro system adds wireless audio connectivity to any active loudspeaker, eliminating the need for long, complex cable runs, simplifying setup and teardown, saving time—without compromising audio quality. The system works perfectly through walls, floors, and ceilings, providing setup flexibility that far exceeds conventional hard-wired systems. Stealth Wireless Pro contains a single dual-channel transmitter with a two-antenna system for true diversity operation. A front-panel LCD screen with dual-frequency display shows the RF frequency and channel as well as the AF signal level for each channel. Two receivers are included with the system, which feature slim-line metal housings, dual removable and swiveling hinged antennas, delay line functionality, and a feature lock switch to prevent unintended operation once the system is configured.

Anchor Audio Bigfoot

Anchor Audio’s Bigfoot line array is the newest, biggest, and most powerful portable sound system on the market. This all-inclusive sound system is completely portable with built-in rechargeable batteries that can operate for six to eight hours, or more on a single charge. Designed to cover a football field, the Bigfoot has a combination of a rated power output of 400W and 130dB of crystal-clear sound. With a durable UV resistant enclosure and two rugged, heavy-duty 8in. rolling wheels, the Bigfoot transports easily and can withstand the toughest environments. The Bigfoot is the first Anchor Audio portable sound system that offers four optional, built-in UHF 16-channel wireless receivers. With standard built-in Bluetooth and an optional built-in CD/MP3 combo player, the Bigfoot is your portable, all-inclusive sound coverage solution.

Bose L1 Model II System

The L1 Model II system is Bose’s most advanced portable amplification system for musicians, DJs, and public speakers. The loudspeaker delivers 180 degrees of horizontal sound coverage and smooth tonal balance—across the stage and throughout the room. It includes one B2 bass module for more flexibility and even greater power at the low end. This portable system is recommended for audiences up to 500 and includes a 24-speaker articulated line array. The system’s interconnecting pieces allow for efficient transport, easy setup and breakdown.


Cerwin-Vega’s P1000X is a premium-quality, powered monitor speaker that delivers outstanding performance in a compact, highly portable enclosure. With a power rating of 1000W, the P1000X is one of the most powerful PA products in its class. This versatile product can be used as a single speaker for small entertainment venues, set in pairs, or installed with threaded hang points and combined with the P1800SX to accommodate larger spaces, such as a theater that requires more coverage and SPL. The P1000X’s compact size makes it ideal to operate as a floor monitor, as well. This two-way, bi-amped, full-range, bass-reflex speaker employs a 10in. woofer and a high-frequency compression driver, powered by a custom Class-D amplifier. A proprietary hemi-conical horn provides premium sound clarity over an even and wide coverage area. It features a built-in mixer with convenient I/O connections allowing for simple and fast setup. Enhanced EQ, VEGA BASS boost and high-pass filters enable exact tuning and exceptional performance.

Community Professonal WX-12

Community expands the WET Series with 13 new WET X models, including two-way 12in. and 15in. systems, and a powerful dual 18in. down-firing subwoofer system. WET X features marine-grade, plywood-lined, multilayer fiberglass enclosures and innovative drivers, providing premium sound quality for both outdoor and indoor venues. WET X full-range models offer unmatched flexibility, each with six rotatable horn pattern choices, and production grade high-output performance. Featuring a large diaphragm 1.4in. exit high-frequency compression driver, WET X loudspeakers can produce the same output levels as the largest WET II models but in enclosures nearly half the size. The low-frequency cone and internal circuitry have Community’s proprietary Envirotech coating for improved weather-resistance. All WET X loudspeakers are available in black or white finishes, and dual-layer powder-coated stainless steel mounting brackets are included with all models. WET loudspeakers are protected by a limited five-year product warranty plus a 15-year enclosure warranty.

Denon Envoi

The Denon Envoiis a compact, easily-transportable AC/battery-powered speaker system that delivers true high-fidelity sound to an outdoor event or large interior space when there is no access to AC power. Envoi can operate for up to 12 hours off its built-in rechargeable battery, which provides a cord-free power supply for its powerful internal Class D amplifier. The amplifier drives a high-output 10in., two-way speaker system in a compact, lightweight enclosure. Envoi can also be plugged into an AC outlet. It easily covers the full frequency range, from 55–20kHz. Envoi has great connection flexibility, including mic 1 and 2 combo inputs with mic/line-level selector switch, ¼in. aux input connector, USB/SD MP3/ WMA player for unattended playback, and a two-wheel system with retractable handle for easy transportability.

Electro-Voice EKX

The EKX series is the newest member of the Electro-Voice portable loudspeaker family, and combines legendary EV sound quality and reliability with the latest technology—all in a lightweight, compact package suitable for a wide range of sound reinforcement scenarios, including musicians, DJs, and live/club/installed sound applications. The EKX series features eight models (four powered and four passive), including 12in. and 15in. two-way models, and 15in. and 18in. subwoofers. The EKX series is positioned above the ZLX and ELX series and below the ETX series. Lightweight, compact 15-millmeter wood enclosures with internal bracing, durable EVCoat finish, eight M10 threaded mounting points (full-range models), aluminum pole mounts, and all-metal handles. Subs feature large-slot ports for low distortion and excellent bass extension, and are equipped with a metal grille reinforcement bar.


JBL provides its SRX800 series portable powered loudspeakers, which incorporate premium JBL transducers and built-in Crown DriveCore amplifiers, to deliver sound quality with user-configurable DSP speaker-tuning capability. JBL SRX800 Series models include the 12in. two-way SRX812P, 15in. two-way SRX812P, dual 15in. three-way SRX835P, 18in. SRX818SP subwoofer, and the SRX828SP, the only dual-18in. powered subwoofer at this price point. The SRX800 Series utilizes JBL transducers that combine high power handling with extremely low distortion. High frequencies are handled by waveguides that provide accurate horizontal and vertical pattern control with smooth frequency response over a wide area. The high-excursion woofers deliver the clear, articulate, powerful bass that is a JBL hallmark, with minimal dynamic compression even during continuous use at high volume. SRX800 loudspeakers and subwoofers are rated at between 135dB and 141dB, depending on the model.

Martin Audio DD12

The multi-purpose Martin Audio DD12compact powered speaker provides performance and versatility for powered, two-way loudspeaker systems. It combines onboard networking, DSP, and Class D amplification with state-of-the-art transducers and Differential Dispersion horn technology to achieve best-in-class performance in terms of fidelity, output capability, and coverage consistency across the audience. Versatility is a key attribute of the DD12. It is designed to meet a multitude of premium standalone and distributed sound reinforcement requirements—including touring, theater, and portable live sound applications; concert hall and HoW installations; and AV events and stage monitor use. Ideal as the main PA in small-to-medium size rooms, it can also be used as an infill loudspeaker in large-scale systems. Every design effort has been focused on maximizing the output of the drive units. The DD12 features a high-specification 12in. (300mm) LF drive unit and a class-leading 1in. (25mm) exit compression driver on a user-rotatable, Differential Dispersion horn. Differential Dispersion technology delivers more consistent audience coverage than systems with conventional X° x Y° horns, providing more throw to the rear to distribute sound evenly front-to-back, while having wider close-up horizontal coverage for the front rows. The compact, multi-angle enclosure can be used in either vertical or horizontal orientation, with rotation of the HF horn easily accomplished by removing the steel grille, which is a spring-fit into the enclosure sides and pre-curved to resist damage on the road.

Mipro MA-505

The Mipro MA-505is a compact, lightweight MA-505 portable wireless PA system that delivers unparalleled audio performance and craftsmanship. The rugged one-piece speaker cabinet houses a high-efficiency class-D amplifier that drives high-sensitivity, two-way loudspeakers, and limiter circuitry reduces distortion and increases intelligibility for guaranteed powerful and clear sound. It offers a viable public address solution for medium crowds. Innovative built-in Bluetooth music receiver plays iPod touch or iPhone music or other Bluetooth-device through the MA-505 speakers—wirelessly. Other notable features include VOP (voice over music priority), which automatically mutes the music when the wireless microphone is used. It also offers a built-in rechargeable lithium battery that provides up to eight hours of standby time per charge.


Portable performance from RCF’s EVOX 5 and EVOX8 provides small satellite-subwoofer or column-style portable speakers. The EVOX system is a compact package designed for easy portability and setup, providing the high-powered sound reinforcement performance. The EVOX package is self-contained with the satellite cabinet fitting into the subwoofer for portability, plus a pole mount is included. The EVOX array design features a constant horizontal directivity coverage of 120 degrees with the vertical array a tight 30 degrees, with a progressive shape to guarantee a correct listening environment and avoid a high-frequency beaming typical of a straight array. The system is designed for ease of transport and storage. When storing, the satellite module slides into the rear of the subwoofer, which also protects the electronics and system connections. The EVOX 8 system is powered by a 700W RMS amplifier. The system is made up of a 12in. subwoofer with a satellite module of eight 2in. full-range compression drivers capable of achieving 128dB max SPL. Frequency response is 40 Hz–20kHz. Compact in size, its dimensions are 11.6”x13.6”x19.3”—and it weighs 51 pounds. The EVOX 5 system is powered by a 400W RMS amplifier. The system is made up of a 10in. subwoofer with a satellite module of five 2in. full-range compression drivers capable of achieving 125dB max SPL. Frequency response is 40Hz–20kHz. Its dimensions are 11.5”x16.8”x18”—and it weighs 42 pounds.

Sennheiser LSP 500

The Sennheiser LSP 500 PROwireless loudspeaker ensures that the PA system for any event can be installed very quickly and efficiently. Not only does the wireless LSP 500 PRO eliminate the need for time-consuming laying of cables, Sennheiser also provides an app that enables up to 20 loudspeakers to be remotely controlled at the same time. The PA system is controlled by the LSP 500 PRO app, which essentially takes over the functions of a mixing console. Configurations can be set either for individual speakers or for groups of speakers as well as for the audio sources connected to them. Each unit can accommodate up to three receivers for wireless microphones, and each also has a combined socket for a 6.3 millimeter jack plug and an XLR-3 connector for using a wired microphone. The unit is also equipped with a USB connector and a Bluetooth interface as well as an AUX input and output.

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