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Author Topic: JBL SRX800 series information  (Read 23445 times)

Luke Geis

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JBL SRX800 series information
« on: September 02, 2015, 09:04:33 pm »

There has been a fair amount of information and posts about the new JBL SRX line. I was a lucky to be one the first few owners to implement the SRX835P system in a venue I regularly work at. There are questions ranging from it sound VS. that of a competitor, it's actual performance and networking / ipad operation. Let me start off by saying that if your in the market for one, you will be hard pressed to find a better purchase, but as with anything audio, it's not that simple. I wanted to create a place where the information could be compiled.

The general consensus is simple. The new SRX series is an awesome performer, will not disappoint and is probably the best your money can buy in its market class. It is not all rainbows and butterflies however. The networking requires several lengths of Cat5 / network cable, a router and either an ipad, or computer running Audio Architect to utilize the full power of the speakers. Sound wise, like anything, is a matter of taste. I think it sounds amazing, while others prefer the mellower scooped sound of the EV ETX equivalent.

One big concern I had as well as a few others, was it's seemingly low volume output to input ratio and its early limiting point. I found that you had to run the mixer at a fairly high level to get usable output from the speakers and by the time you started getting the level you wanted, they would start to go into limiting. This contrasted against the specs claiming a rather high SPL level for its class. Some simply run the input sensitivity setting in consumer mode to eek out the desired level a little sooner on their mixers fader throw. Here are a few things I feel are important to point out that I have found about the operational characteristics of the SRX line.

1. The input and output metering of the speaker are in DBFS. There is no direct correlation between analog db levels and dbfs. The metering on the speaker simply shows you how much level is left in the digital realm before clipping. The input is capable of +24dbu levels before clipping to give a reference idea. The metering on the speaker also shows both peak and rms levels. The input and amp clip indicators are triggered by the peak level introduced at those points. The rms level shows simply that and is what triggers the input compressor and the output limiter.

2. The limiter setting from the factory is set pretty conservatively. It has the threshold set for -10db rms and can be quickly reached in an outdoor live rock band situation. You can set it for 0db if you like. Another forum member had a conversation with JBL about the early limiting and while not getting a very direct response, was told that the limiting is very transparent and will do what is needed to protect the speakers. I set my threshold at -10 and rarely if ever see any limiting occur at my particular venue. My system has a dedicated vocal only speaker as well and it's limiting threshold is set for -3db. The vocal only channel will beat the band mix, but since there is less inherent crest factor in vocals it spends more time closer to the -10db rms. To avoid overly compressing the vocals I set the threshold higher.

3. There are two different ways to monitor and control the speakers. The Ipad SRX Connect app is probably the first one most will try and use. It is a rather cumbersome app and even with the newest update still does not improve things much. The app overwrites any previous settings and starts you from scratch unless you have the setting saved in a scene in the app to recall. This does not help if you previously set the speakers up with the Audio Architect software. There is no way to pull current setting from the speaker into the SRX Connect app that I know of. The app also has very limited setup options, but has the most common and practical options. The EQ and other functions of the app are spread about making EQ changes a little difficult. While all 20 EQ channels are there, they are separated in such a way that you must know where the change was made. You can do some on each speaker, some link the pair of speakers and others eq the entire group of speakers placed in that setup block. The Audio Architect software is less cumbersome and offers greater control.

4. Moving to the Audio Architect software there are also some shortfalls. It shows the metering, but the scale of it is hard to read in the last 5db of headroom. It is scaled in dbfs and you spend much of the time with the level sitting in the last 10db of headroom which leaves less than 1/5th of the viewing block left. The networking and speaker placement is easy to do in the software. You can easily build a venue and place the speakers where you like. I prefer the software over the SRX Connect app. It saves easily, can recall from the speaker and it's easy to copy and paste settings from one speaker to another.

5. The V5 settings are a standard feature of the speaker and is designed to integrate into the flagship line of JBL Vertec offerings. The V5 settings are basically the FIR tunings used for the speakers X-Overs.

That about sums up the basic operation of how the speaker works. Here are some more technical things to note.

1. The metering shown in the AA software is accurate. When switching between the line / consumer / mic sensitivity settings, the input level meter will change to show the positive gain made from those different sensitivities. The input level fader only affects what is sent onward and the input metering will not change if you adjust the input fader. The difference in level can be seen in the output meter if you adjust the input fader. You can alter the gain structure significantly between the sensitivity, input and output faders.   

2. The output metering of the amp is pretty finite. The only thing I can say is that if you run the speaker in full range you will never ever see the stated specs output SPL. The output metering of the amp is pretty true to what it is capable of performing. The only way I found to get the most free SPL out of the speaker is to use it with subs and the utilize the speakers internal X-Over settings. This free's up significant SPL and allows the true performance of the speaker to show. Using the speaker in full range mode and running a X-Over before the speaker did not perform the same as using the internal one.

3. The input compressor and the output compressor are a little different. The output limiter is very transparent and although I have not flogged the speaker to the point of no return I have cheated and set the limiter threshold down to -40db. This will bring on output limiting very early and is not very noticeable until it is obvious that it is cutting things back and the high end starts to diminish. The input compressor is a little more evident when used as a dynamics controller. It will do modest levels without harm, but if you start compressing more than about 6db you start to loose some high end. Although neither form of anti dynamics seem to crunch, which is nice. I no longer use input compression as it seemed to more harm than good. I set the output limiter to start limiting right at the desired SPL level in my venue which was -10db ( the stock setting incidentally ).

I decided the other day to run the the new SRX Connect app version which claimed to fix a few things. What I noticed in the app, which I had pretty much ignored until this time, was that the metering is different. It seems to perhaps only show the rms level that occurs at the input and output? Needless to say It gives a much safer representation of the speakers running performance. It also does not show the scale so it's pretty evident if your running out of headroom. The only real plus side to the app is teh easy linking features allowing you to change settings to a pair of speakers at once. I wish they could make the app recall and or pull settings from the current speaker setting. This would make it so that a different operator can come in with his ipad and run the show without overwriting the current settings.

Aside from this there is no real concern for the speakers and it's networking performance. It will do exactly as you ask it and perhaps a little more if your creative. If you have more info please advise.

« Last Edit: September 06, 2015, 04:53:03 pm by Luke Geis »
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Lyle Williams

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Re: JBL SRX800 series information
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2015, 02:18:52 am »

Thanks for the comprehensive post.
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Bob Leonard

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Re: JBL SRX800 series information
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2015, 09:13:31 am »

Luke,
Have you run these without compression? And, you mention compression, but not makeup gain as part of the configuration. Is that not an available setting for the compressor section?
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Luke Geis

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Re: JBL SRX800 series information
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2015, 03:08:29 pm »

Make up gain is an option in the speakers input compression section. I have tried it with both little and lots of input compression only to find that once you start gaining real control over dynamics, it starts killing the highs. I have since gone to dynamics control prior to the speaker. I Have basically gotten the system setup in such a way that the speaker is only utilizing it's internal X-over options and the limiter threshold is set to just start engaging at the RMS level that I deem is the max SPL.

The big motivator for these speakers is RMS level. The peak level is what triggers the input and output clip notifications and sends the error report that limiting is occurring. RMS level is what determines the usable spl out of these and the higher you can get it without clipping the louder it will be ( obviously ). This means that you will need at least some sort of dynamics control for live music to acquire high SPL and or live with the fact that the speakers limiters will be doing the job for you. The way the speakers work is more suited for commercially produced track music, but I have been amazed that I can get 116db C at my FOH ( 26' ) with a little room to spare. Indoors this will mean that level to back of house is not an issue. I have to do a lot of tricky compression to get those levels though.

One thing I failed to mention is that the speakers. have input and output level controls. The AA software and the speaker and APP show different forms of metering and level position. On the speaker and in the APP ( which most closely resembles the speakers layout ) the input level ranges from 0 ( infinite ) and +12db as well as the output level which ditto's the input level settings range. I can guarantee that you will not get the level you desire with both input and output set to unity or 0db. This is in high contrast to the AA software's metering which shows -80db ranging up to 0 for the input. This is more indicative to the digital realm. While the output level in the AA software differs in that it ranges from -100 to +12. Totally different in every way. If you make a change on the speaker directly or hover over the level knobs in the AA software you will see a relative mixer option which conglomerates the levels into a single window. Very confusing the first time you see it.

That being said, you can run the input level and the output level full bore ( all the way up ) and get plenty of SPL, but you will likely be clipping the output who's limiter function will take care of the rest.
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John G VanDyke

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Re: JBL SRX800 series information
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2015, 11:28:59 pm »

Luke, thanks for the excellent post.  How do these compare to the SRX 700 series? 
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Luke Geis

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Re: JBL SRX800 series information
« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2015, 12:31:12 pm »

No comparison....... The 800 series is a step up. It is really an in between model to what the 700 series was and what the VP series is. The gap is bridging I guess you could say.
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Spenser Hamilton

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Re: JBL SRX800 series information
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2015, 01:58:47 pm »

No comparison....... The 800 series is a step up. It is really an in between model to what the 700 series was and what the VP series is. The gap is bridging I guess you could say.

Where I am sitting, I have a rack of first-gen iTech amps and the option of picking up some SRX700 cabinets, or selling the iTechs and buying SRX800 cabinets. In that situation, you would opt for the latter option?
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TJ (Tom) Cornish

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Re: JBL SRX800 series information
« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2015, 02:40:09 pm »

Where I am sitting, I have a rack of first-gen iTech amps and the option of picking up some SRX700 cabinets, or selling the iTechs and buying SRX800 cabinets. In that situation, you would opt for the latter option?
I would sell the ITechs and get the SRX-800P series.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: JBL SRX800 series information
« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2015, 02:41:43 pm »

Where I am sitting, I have a rack of first-gen iTech amps and the option of picking up some SRX700 cabinets, or selling the iTechs and buying SRX800 cabinets. In that situation, you would opt for the latter option?

3 years ago my answer would have been different, but today I'd sell the original ITechs and buy the 800SP.
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Brian Jojade

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Re: JBL SRX800 series information
« Reply #9 on: September 05, 2015, 04:59:10 pm »

Luke, thanks for the excellent post.  How do these compare to the SRX 700 series?

The one unit I would compare is the SRX712M to the SRX812M.  Dimensions of the new speaker are 3-6 inches bigger in every direction. The weight is nearly double.  I can easily grab 2 712M's and drop them on the stage. The larger SRX812M would be 2 trips.

You are dealing with significantly different boxes, especially for the monitor cabinet.  For me to consider the upgrade, the sound quality would have to be WAY better.
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Brian Jojade

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Re: JBL SRX800 series information
« Reply #9 on: September 05, 2015, 04:59:10 pm »


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