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Author Topic: EV ZX1 / ZX1A + Sub(s) for portable live sound  (Read 958 times)

Eric du Toit

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EV ZX1 / ZX1A + Sub(s) for portable live sound
« on: May 08, 2017, 11:00:27 pm »

Hi guys and gals.  I'm new here so if this is the wrong forum, wrong sub-forum, or I'm just an idiot - please feel free to let me know or direct me to the appropriate place.  I spent a fair (small) amount of time reading the forum descriptions in hopes of landing on the right place.

I want to put together a small portable setup for my family to travel with occasionally.  The needs are fairly simple, but portability and small size is important as our travel trailer is limited in space and some is taken up by instruments.

We play and sing bluegrass and gospel music so there is no drum kit.  The bass will either be an upright or acoustic/electric plugged into a lightweight TC Electronics BG250-115 and may DI for recording or additional support.

Instruments are : Guitar(s), violin(s), Bass, banjo, mandolin, and resonator.  All 6 of us sing with 3 of us as stronger vocals.

Mics will be wired on stands.  I already have several beta 58s for vocals and a couple of AKG c1000s - may pick up a few more and possibly a 57 for the reso.

I'll replace my analog board with a X18Rack - just can't beat it for portable and price as far as I can tell.

75% of the churches will seat 100 - 200, the larger churches we'd sing at seat 300-400 with ~25' ceilings.  Anything larger, and I'd expect they would have enough installed reinforcement to cover even if we just sent them a main and monitor feed from the X18R.  I'll never use someone else's mic (another topic, but usually gross.. )

We don't need or want to be loud.  84 to 86dB 1/4 of the way back from the speakers.

The question I have is speakers, and I hope that my previous info helps direct this.

I've installed EV ZX1s as monitors in a larger church and thought they were very decent for size, price, and loudness.  What I'm considering is a ZX1a-Sub with two ZX1 as mains and two ZX1 as monitors - all 4 of the 8" speakers powered by a QSC GX5  since the sub is self-powered.  8 Ω on the ZX1s mean the GX5 should push 700w / channel. 

The EV ZX1 speakers are lightweight and compact which is of high importance.  The sub is small, and just a 12", but most of the EUB or Acoustic Bass reinforcement is provided by the TC E combo so the most low end in the mains will come from the Martin guitars and the reso - not much.

Questions :
  • Would the ZX1 mains / monitors with QSC GX series and ZX1a-Sub be adequate for what we are doing considering portability and the extra reinforcement for bass from the combo amp?
  • Is a single QSC amp adequate? The ZX1a powered 8" speakers come with a 700w peak amp on each speaker (I don't really want powered mains - weight, built in amp, etc..) .   The GX5 is 700w/ch.  Should I consider the GX7 at 1000w/ch - theoretically 500w per speaker, or multiple amps?
  • I'm also considering the Crown XTi series since there is a very configurable built in HPF and the ZX1 HPF is on the amplified 8" not on the subs.
      With the QSC, I don't believe I can have a HPF on both channels, it's designed for sub + top box so I'd need a separate XOver
  • We could easily stack a second ZX1a-Sub if one proved to be inadequate - bad idea?
  • Are there better options I should consider in relatively the same price range and portability?

Thanks for take the time to read my ramblings.

« Last Edit: May 08, 2017, 11:54:12 pm by Eric du Toit »
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Thomas Le

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Re: EV ZX1 / ZX1A + Sub(s) for portable live sound
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2017, 09:07:24 am »

I'd get the ZXA-1. I'd take lightweight powered speakers over lugging amp racks any day plus they sip power compared to the QSC GX series using class H tech which sucks up power. According to EV, both speakers weigh the same. The powered speaker market has improved over stuff from "yesteryear".

You can stack another sub on top of one as long as it's the same model so that there won't be any weird tonal changes.

Another option is the Yamaha DBR/DXR series offering similar performance.
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Chrysander 'C.R.' Young

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Re: EV ZX1 / ZX1A + Sub(s) for portable live sound
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2017, 09:38:45 am »

A big +1 to getting the ZXA1.  I have a pair of the passive ZX1 and plan to add the ZXA1s in the coming year.  Very useful tool where you need small size and decent volume.

The ZXA1 subs are surprising for their size and weight.  My only concern with your system idea is that you might push the system beyond its limits trying to cover 200-400 people, even with your modest volume needs.

If i were in your situation, I might be looking at Yamaha DXR10 over DXS12.
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Eric du Toit

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Re: EV ZX1 / ZX1A + Sub(s) for portable live sound
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2017, 12:26:18 am »

Slight change of plans due to some great gear coming available on Craigslist and Musicians Friend.

1 Macke SRM1550 sub
3 QSC K10 speakers
1 EV ZX1

I couldn't pass up the deal on either K10 or ZX1 on craigslist.  The K10 were a set of 3 plus totes so I couldn't separate - still less than buying two new at retail.  The Mackie was a MF lightning deal - I may regret it, but for $400 shipped, it was hard to not do it.

Now I have to decide:
Sell  1  K10 and pick up another ZX1 and QSC amp or sell the ZX1 and get a 4th K10.  We do need two floor monitors.  The GXD4 amp adds 11# to the rack with the XR18, but the ZX1 is 15# lighter than the K10 and slightly smaller.  I'd probably have better luck selling and get a closer to retail price for the K10 since it is like new and has a QSC tote.

Two cables (120v + mic) to each monitor for the K10 or just a single speaker cable to the ZX1.
The ZX1 says it is capable of 200w/800w and 123dB SPL vs 1000w and 129dB SPL.  I've used the ZX1 on stage and it is no joke, I doubt we'd ever want to be louder on stage than what either setup will do.
I'll roll off everything below ~90hz so neither setup will be reproducing LF

I think I'll be just as happy with either and the 18# EV monitors may be easier for my girls to help with.  I can tell you which way I'm leaning, but what would you do?






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Tim Weaver

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Re: EV ZX1 / ZX1A + Sub(s) for portable live sound
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2017, 12:42:03 am »

FWIW, many people here are very satisfied with the QSC K series speakers. They work well and the only real shortcoming is if you need "rock and roll" levels out of them. They tend to get nasty when pushed.

I would get 4 k10's and try the mackie sub. Or I would get 4 ZXA1's and whatever sub. Both speakers are excellent buys in the compact speaker market.

Don't get caught up in reading specs. The numbers really don't mean a thing. Just get pro opinions right here on this forum and you'll be alright.


I'd guess that any church big enough that your K10/Mackie sub won't cover will have some kind of main PA. I mean, what does the preacher use? Bluegrass can use a vocal PA in a pinch. Heck a hundred years ago you guys would have just stood on the stage and played, ya know?
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George Friedman-Jimenez

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Re: EV ZX1 / ZX1A + Sub(s) for portable live sound
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2017, 01:17:44 am »

I have both the DXR10 (similar to K10) and the ZXA1. As an FOH speaker for vocals, I don't think the ZXA1 is in the same league as the K10/DXR10, either for sound quality or for sustainable SPL without distortion. For monitor use, I do like the lightness, size and rotatable horn of the ZXA1 and it will probably be fine for blugrass.
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Eric du Toit

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Re: EV ZX1 / ZX1A + Sub(s) for portable live sound
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2017, 11:04:11 am »

Don't get caught up in reading specs. The numbers really don't mean a thing. Just get pro opinions right here on this forum and you'll be alright.


I'd guess that any church big enough that your K10/Mackie sub won't cover will have some kind of main PA.

Very helpful guys - thanks!  I think the decision is to sell one K10 & Tote, and pick up a second ZX1 and Amp. 

The setup will be the SRM1550 + 2 x K10 on poles  FOH and 2 x ZX1 for monitors powered by a QSC GXD4. 

I'm certain this will cover any smaller venue and most venues capable of seating up to 400.  Anything larger, and they'll have enough of a house system that we can send a main feed and monitor feed from our floor box mixer.

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Eric du Toit

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Re: EV ZX1 / ZX1A + Sub(s) for portable live sound
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2017, 10:38:41 am »

Here is the "final" setup:

2 - QSC K10 tops
1 - Macke SRM 1550 bottom variable xover at around 105Hz (it's a dial)
1 - QSC GXD4 (monitors)
4 - EV ZX1 passive monitors

The ZX1 horns can be rotated for 90* coverage in monitor position which is what I've done.  I picked up some "Connie Covers" for all of our speakers and the TC Electronics BG250-115 which are custom sewn moving blanket covers from a lady in PA.

The rest of the setup is XR18, Furman Power, Gator Rack, Sennheiser e865 and e935 vocals, Rode RM3 for instruments, Kopul 3000 Neutrik Mic cables, and K&M 210/9 stands (I replaced the On-Stage stuff I already had - big difference).  The vocals have a light compression and everything is salted with a bit of short verb, long verb, and a light delay.  Inserted into the main out is the stereo combinator.

We sang this past weekend at a church capable of seating about 160 with wood everywhere including the ceiling.  We were able to run around 80dB - 83dB at the mid-point with a very full pleasant sound and a little hotter than that in the monitors, but great intelligibility.  I feel like the system was barely working to make that happen and had so much headroom that I could have filled a space 3x that size easily.

For the type of music we sing and the churches we go to, this is probably more than we need, but perfect for portability, size (small - doesn't look like much on stage), and sounds amazing.

I've purchased some MonoPrice 14Ga and 16Ga extension cords in 25' and 15' sections so we can adapt to wherever we are as well as a significant amount of mic cables and adapters.

I'm using a DaytonAudio iMM-6 and the Studio Six Digital.  It's probably a conversation for a different thread, but is the iTestMic2 worth getting ? http://www.studiosixdigital.com/audio-hardware/itestmic2/


« Last Edit: July 13, 2017, 10:42:02 am by Eric du Toit »
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Chrysander 'C.R.' Young

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Re: EV ZX1 / ZX1A + Sub(s) for portable live sound
« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2017, 09:41:47 pm »

Overall, seems like you have assembled a competent and portable system.  It should serve you well.  I wish more of our posters would put this much effort in to designing a "system" versus just buying a bunch of gear and hoping it will work.

Inserted into the main out is the stereo combinator.

Not a criticism, but I am curious what do you hope to achieve by this?

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Tim Weaver

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Re: EV ZX1 / ZX1A + Sub(s) for portable live sound
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2017, 11:33:33 pm »

Overall, seems like you have assembled a competent and portable system.  It should serve you well.  I wish more of our posters would put this much effort in to designing a "system" versus just buying a bunch of gear and hoping it will work.

Not a criticism, but I am curious what do you hope to achieve by this?

The multi-band comp is awesome on the X32 family of consoles. 10/10 would combinate again.
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Chrysander 'C.R.' Young

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Re: EV ZX1 / ZX1A + Sub(s) for portable live sound
« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2017, 09:15:26 am »

I am very familiar with the Combinator and have used it on my own X32.  I am just curious how and why the OP is using it.
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