This is a review of the Noesis 3TX PA speaker designed by Jeff Permanian of JTR speakers. Jeff shipped me a demo pair of 3TX Noesis which allowed me to use them for a couple of gigs, compare them with my other speakers and capture some SMAART transfer function plots.
Details about the boxes can be found here on the JTR Speakers website: http://jtrspeakers.com/portable/noesis-3tx/ Build
The Noesis 3TX are front loaded loaded with 2 10" low frequency drivers and a BMS 4593 coax MF/HF driver mounted on a 60x40 horn. The 3TX has been tested to 178V (4000W at 8 ohms) which correlates to the recommended 2000W R.M.S. power specification.
The build of the Noesis cabinet is like the other JTR speakers that I am familiar with (Growler, Triple-8 and Triple-12), very solid build, line-x coated, quality hardware. Iíve own the Growlers and Triple-8s for several years and have gigged with them most weekends. Material has included rock, bluegrass, praise and DJ. I have been very pleased with the JTR speakers. There is no degradation of the build, materials or performance of those products. Id expect the Noesis to perform to the same standard.
Each 3TX weighs 49 pounds, and I understand that a new cabinet design will include enclosing the rear of the horn, so I speculate that it may add some weight, but at around 50 pounds I will not complain considering it is a solid birch wood box.
The Noesis speakers include metal pole cups for mounting on speaker poles. They slip on my K&M ratcheting poles easily, and become secure after tightening the ratchet snugly. I found because of the 3TX height (35 inches) that I did not need to extend the speaker pole from itís first position.
Some may consider the Noesis 3TX speaker to be industrial looking since the grill does not completely cover the entire face of the cabinet. The front of the rotatable 60x40 thick resonate-free Constant Directivity aluminum horn is exposed. The port for the lows is large and is located at the front bottom of the cabinet. The front grill covering the 10s is black perforated steel. There are two metal NL4 connectors mid way up the back, and a single handle integrated into the top of the cabinet.Auditioning
My auditioning and test setup was a laptop using an Indigo PCMCIA sound card for audio I/O, a QSC PL6 powering subs, a PLX3602 in stereo on tops and a Sabine NAV360 processor. Software was SMAART 6, hardware included an ART dual preamp, a custom signal splitter/feedback box, and a Behringer omni test mic.
For listening comparison I had my 90 degree JTR Triple-8 (loaded with 2 8" LF, 1 8" MF w/1" coax HF), my 75 degree EV QRX212/75, and the 60 degree JTR Noesis 3TX. I flattened out the processor leaving only a HPF at 100Hz. I aligned the crossover for each of the 3 speakers. Tests were performed with the speakers in passive mode.
Material was Steely Dan, rock and some other progressive jazz tracks. I set the speakers up in my driveway on an unusual warm Maine December afternoon.Triple-8s
The Triple-8s which I use on many gigs sounded very good but can have a bit of high end sizzle that I usually EQ down, most times it is not obvious in a live mix but sometimes excessive sibilance does show up. My T-8s are an early version that do not have an improved crossover. I still like these boxes a lot, they are 90 degrees and for wide rooms are great, but have their limits. Ive only damaged the HF coils once, and that was during a packed house for a progressive jam band, not enough RFTG.QRx212
Next listen was the QRx212s, I was a little surprised they sounded like they did - the high end seemed a little rolled off, this is subjective of course but I'm used to these boxes. Normally these are bi-amp but I had them in passive mode with no processing for this test. Even on axis they weren't what I was used to. It is possible bi-amping really does help these boxes. Ive used these boxes for several years mainly for DJ and outside rock gigs.Noesis 3TX
Next I connected the 3TXs. The lows had a similar character as the Triple-8s, a natural sound, but with lower extension of the 10s. I found the mids and highs were more clear and natural compared to the EVs. Immediately I tried to analyze why: obviously it must be the BMS coax compression driver. The mid and high drivers are in the same assembly - physically very close - and the horn loads the mids down to 450Hz. I pushed the levels up and and walked out to my backyard, very nice clarity, no harshness, balanced response, just loud and clear and detailed. The big sound coming from this box really surprised me due to it small size.
So at this point I'm thinking the Noesis 3TX may replace my QRx212 at 30 pounds lighter, smaller, I can downsize my amp rack and use them for all my gigs. I will not have to swap out a QRx ground stack for a Triple-8 SOS rig. Use the same rig for all gigs, and for the larger gigs, stack multiple Growlers a side with multiple 3TX on each for wider coverage. But first lets use them at some gigs.Gig Reviews
New Years Eve was an event with my regular 5-piece cover rock band. It took place in a function room with sloping high ceilings and linoleum flooring, 200 people in attendance. Ive done this room many times before with the T-8s and sometimes the QRxs. The Noesis performed wonderfully, no problem covering this room with 2 subs and 1 3TX a side What I found interesting was that small mix changes could be heard much more definitively with the 3TX, again I suppose because of the focused detail from the quality MF/HF coax driver.
I did not measure it but 3TX HF pattern does seem to drop off in the horizontal off axis steeper than the 212s, which made sense because the QRxs are stated to be 75 degrees and the Noesis are 60. I asked Jeff about the CD EQ being designed into the crossover and he confirmed it was. So, the bottom line is the 60 degree horn in the 3TX will be a benefit for problem rooms where one needs good pattern control. These speakers sounded very good in this room and the pattern helped keep the sound off the walls. Home
Listening to the 3TX in a home theater environment was interesting. This is the first time Iíve brought PA speakers into the living room, but these speakers have such a small foot print and are unobtrusive. They sound Hi-Fi like HT speakers! We watched the Zeppelin Celebration Day DVD which really came across well on these boxes. It was impressive listening to Zep at an appropriate level and hearing the details of the mix. I have to contribute the transparency of the Noesis to the apparent high quality components and Jeff's excellent crossover design.Further
The final acid test for the 3TXs was a DJ gig where I normally provide the QRxs. These events take place in a 70x70 multifunction room with hard linoleum floors and a high ceiling. Ive provided in this room many times in the past for both pro DJs and bands. Gear setup was NAV360, PL6 driving 4 Growlers 35Hz-95Hz, PLX3602 driving two 3TXs on poles, 100Hz-20Hz, with only small processing dips at 750Hz and 100Hz, everything else flat. Attendance was 200 to 250 young adults.
The 3TX performed better than my usual bi-amped QRx setup. I found the usual QRx low mid buildup gone, with the 3TX producing a very clear and defined top end that stayed even when the room filled up. In the past Ive found the QRxs seems to diminished some in the last octave with more bodies in the room. With the 3TX I could clearly pick out the hi-hat work in the DJ mixes, which many times Ive found buried in slush. I applied no additional EQ to the 3Tx throughout the evening, they sounded good straight out the gate. The mids and lows stayed defined and never were lost throughout the night. Summary
The performance and sound quality of these speakers convinced me of the value and quality of the JTR Noesis 3TX. They exceed the performance of the 212s, have a smaller foot print and are 38% lighter, therefore I decided to purchase a set as new FOH mains. These are a high output, solid performing and great sounding box in a small package. Jeff has certainly hit his design target. Nice job Jeff.
I hope this review is helpful, Iíve tried to present the facts as well my impressions from a few tests and gigs as best I could. The demo boxes I review have been sold to another labster, I hope fully he finds them as excellent sounding as I have.
Measurement specifics during the DJ show had the amps intermittently tickling
-10db, I used a handheld SPL meter set C/Slow, measured approx 114db SPL @ 9 feet (passages w/o sub content) approx 96db SPL @ 50 feet (passages w/o sub content). With subs playing add +6db SPL. These are only estimates as I averaged the measurements by eye and committed them to memory.