Sound Reinforcement - Forums for Live Sound Professionals - Your Displayed Name Must Be Your Real Full Name To Post In The Live Sound Forums > Product Reviews

EAW RSX208L Array Element

(1/1)

Taylor Hall:
After purchasing these elements late 2017, we've had several outings with them now and feel comfortable enough to finally put a review into the wild.

The process started at InfoComm where we were able to listen to a wide variety of rigs across various tiers of scale and brands. I cannot stress how important it is to "test drive" equipment like this in person before coming to a final decision. Reading reviews and scouring forums can only get you so far, because there will always be some subjectiveness present and sometimes it’s the subtle nuances you can only experience in-person that make or break a rig. We ended up listening to everything twice over the course of the event just to let the "shock and awe" wear off so we could really nitpick what we were hearing. We also spent a lot of time actually touching the equipment and familiarizing ourselves with workflows, features and build quality. We were impressed with how crisp the highs were without going into icepick territory, and how clear the mids were, beating out several other much more expensive options in larger form factors. The funny thing is that going into this we were not even considering the EAWs and they took us completely by surprise. That also goes to show how important it is to hear EVERYTHING available, not just what you're interested in.

For full transparency, our selection methodology was weighted heavily in three areas: Value, Ease of Use, and Sound Quality.

I say value instead of cost because let's be honest, if you're getting into this realm of equipment, it's going to be expensive no matter what you ultimately choose. However, we still had to balance that cost with what features and sound quality we were getting in return in order to make our final decision.

Ease of use was another large consideration for us since we wanted a package that would let us deploy quickly and confidently with minimal time spent fine tuning after everything was in the air. We also wanted something that was self-powered to reduce the amount of outboard equipment we would need (racks, amps, processors, cabling, etc).

With the sampling and re-sampling complete, we made our decision shortly after the event and ordered 8 of the RSX208L elements and a pair of flybars. Our sales rep was great to deal with and had everything sorted and on its way to us in a couple days. Each set of four elements came in a rugged ATA case on 4” locking casters that had built in space for the included PowerCON and EtherCON cables, flybars and the elements themselves. The flybars also double as groundstack bases when inverted. There is also a pole mount adapter available that is capable of supporting two elements, but we did not opt for that piece of equipment as we already have the “speaker on a pole” part of our rental catalog well filled out.

The elements are part of EAW's RADIUS lineup which consists of multiple point-source, line array and subwoofer options. All products in this line are included in EAW's Resolution modeling software and can be remotely managed via the Mosaic app and digitally routed via Dante.

The full specs for the elements can be found on their website: http://eaw.com/portfolio_page/rsx208l-3-way-self-powered-loudspeaker/

But the high points are as follows:

Tri-amped 3-way operation
500W per channel (LF/MF/HF)
Dedicated 8" woofers for low and mid channels and dual 1.4" horns for highs
Freq Range: 70 Hz to 18 kHz
Onboard DSP
2x PowerCON connectors for power in/out with auto switching power supplies between 100V and 240V
2x XLR for audio in/out when not using Dante
2x EtherCON for Dante A/B networks (with additional RJ45 jack for remote monitoring in Mosaic)
Color LCD screen for status monitoring and manual setup with rotary encoder wheel
OptiLogic sensors that allow the elements to self-locate and orient within the hang (more on that below)
40lb weight
Birch ply construction with rugged texture coating
Integrated rigging hardware and carry handles

Rigging these elements is a breeze thanks to the extremely accurate Resolution software. Their first outing was for a gaming tournament in a large exhibition hall where the client had requested that the audience area contain the bulk of the sound which made up the front half of the space while keeping things relatively unobtrusive in the back half where there were dozens of tournament stations were set up. We made those accommodations in the software and the prediction it came up with was spot-on in the real world. Moving just a few feet past the cutoff distance we had input into Resolution showed a very noticeable decrease in output that matched the pre-rendered coverage maps. After plugging in the room size and coverage variables, Resolution gave us individual splay angles for each element, and hang points for the flybar itself. With this data in hand, it took about 5 minutes to rig each hang and then send them up. The integrated rigging hardware consists of a captive pin system and folding arms that provide multiple angles between 0° and 16°. Shortly after this event, we used them in a ground stack configuration where they also worked quite well with better than expected throw distance and clarity even being only a few feet off the ground.

Providing audio is simple as well. Even though we weren't using a Dante interface (yet), we simply sent audio through the XLR connections. The elements allow you to use both analog and digital inputs side by side, and will automatically fail over should one go down. The onboard DSP was managed through the Mosaic app once all the elements were networked together via the EtherCON ports, but you can also set them up manually via the LCD screen and rotary wheel on the back. The DSP also has a self-healing function, so that if any number of elements go down, it will re-tune the rig on the fly to match the original specs as best it can. Within Mosaic, you can adjust voicing presets, custom EQ, crossover points (subs only), delay, gain, noise generators and do basic modeling predictions. These settings can be applied to entire groups of cabinets (great for quickly identifying and adjusting L/C/R setups, fills or delay towers), or individual elements if you so desire. It's worth noting that they have a built-in HP filter that prevents them from overdriven down low, so they can be sent a full-range audio signal without danger of being damaged. You can set the filter higher if you so choose in the EQ section of Mosaic. Dante routing is very straightforward, and each element shows up as separate device in the controller software.

The elements have a single front-facing status LED that can serve multiple functions ranging from power status, signal clipping, lost network connection and others. They also let you quickly identify groups of elements or individual elements in a given group when making modifications or doing noise tests. This also ensures that the layout of hardware in the software matches where it is in real life (you definitely don't want to have your L/R or delays mixed up!). Apart from that, there is very little in the way of "flash" on the front face of the elements providing a very sleek look that will easily blend in anywhere. The EAW logo is blacked out and placed in the corner of the grille, making it nearly disappear once in the air.

The OptiLogic function of the elements and companion flown sub is really what makes setup so effortless. Each cabinet has integrated IR ports on the top and bottom and an angle sensor that allows any given enclosure to automatically determine its neighbor and at what angle it is set to. This makes cabling effortless as there is no way to mis-order the elements and lets the onboard DSP know which elements to dedicate to LF coupling and HF coverage between near and long range listening positions. It can also optimize the array to changing coverage needs by modifying the listening area variables in Mosaic. We tested this function with OK results, as it's really only a band aid solution to the problem. With that in mind, it serves its purpose well enough. Obviously, adjusting the hang is the preferred solution, but things can change unexpectedly minutes before the first act, so at the very least it's a nice feature to find some kind of middle ground on the fly.


SUBJECTIVE DATA BELOW:

EAW claims a 122° horizontal pattern and that seems to be quite accurate based on our usage. We were able to very evenly cover a 12000 sqft audience area with 2 hangs of 4 elements without issue. This was for a talking heads event where crazy SPL wasn’t needed, but we were able to spin them up after-hours to see how they performed. With the onboard amp meters in Mosaic reading around -6db (which was just barely into the yellow) we measured 105db across the listening area (this measurement was taken with the subs muted). So while clearly not an ideal amount of rig for a concert level of sound, it was more than we were expecting in that space without becoming harsh or otherwise blown out. We surmised another 4-6 elements would have been enough to cover a live audio event based on that performance and given a very comfortable cushion of headroom along with even better coverage.

The low-end on these elements is really quite impressive thanks to the 3-way design. When we did a quick driveway test after taking delivery, we were quite surprised by how much punch they had even at 50ft away. We have been using these elements with some homemade dual 18" ported subs and had no problems getting them to play together well. A few minor EQ tweaks and a slightly higher crossover point on the subs and we were all set. We do plan on integrating the RSX218 dual 18" sub into our catalog based on their performance at the demo and will do a follow-up review.

Overall, we are extremely happy with the quality of these elements both in sound reproduction and build. We definitely look forward to expanding our catalog with additional EAW Radius products in the near future.

Navigation

[0] Message Index

Go to full version