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EONA ADRaudio merged

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Bennett Prescott:
Back in April of this year (in fact, half a year ago now to the day!) I got a quite unexpected PM from a guy I'd never heard of living in a country I'd never heard of. He said he was a high-end powered enclosure manufacturer and that, after much research on the LAB, had decided that he'd like to send me a small PA to evaluate. I was initially so taken aback that I posted on another board asking for advice ? this sort of thing had never happened to me before.

I started a dialogue with the man, who turned out to be Alex Dravinec, head of R&D at EONA ADRaudio in Slovenia and not the least bit crazy. He ended up sending me 6 loudspeakers which I have since used on a large number of shows in varying capacities to great effect, from which base of experience I now write you.

That's him on the right, with Bink in the middle and Franci Pavlin, general manager of the company, to the left.

I need to preface the rest of this Road Test by stating that this is unlike any Road Test that I have conducted so far. First of all, these products aren't widely available in the US yet. If you order them, you can get them, but there will be lag while they get shipped from Slovenia... there will be stock in the US by the end of the year, though. Secondly, I get to keep these boxes, which is not at all SOP for this forum. Thirdly, I have built such a strong working relationship with this manufacturer at this point that this will be the last product review I do for them. If you are interested in hearing their products (either those I have or those that are coming) and perhaps even writing them up here, please contact me. I'm not employed by them, but I believe I have a reputation for fairness and I'd like to keep it.

So take what I say with a grain of salt. I like to think I can remain objective, but I will make every effort to get these speakers into the hands of other LABsters that do not have my business connection with this manufacturer. Good or bad, I want to hear other opinions and I'd hope you would too!

The Actual Review

I received two each of the U103 HH, M1225 HH, and ATA118 HH. The HH stands for "High Headroom" and if you look at the amplifier power listed in the spec sheets you'll understand why. I'll leave out the HH from now on, though, since I think you get the point. Each box is powered, with Neutrik Powercon and XLR in and through, indicators for power, signal and limit on each bandpass, and a re-settable circuit breaker on the back.

The model numbers are pretty easy to turn into an idea of the specs... the U103 is a small trap box with a 10" LF driver and a 3" VC HF driver on a 1.4" exit 75x55 degree rotatable horn. It's got four M10 rigging points, two on top and two on bottom, as well as a pole mounting hole. The box has over 1,200 watts of Bang & Olufsen ICEpower amplification built in (at the load presented by the B&C speakers inside) with a linear power supply and all analog processing, including phase alignment, EQ, crossover, and limiting. Frequency response is 65hz (the box has a 12db/8ve Butterworth HPF at about 70hz) to 17Khz. The acoustic crossover point between the HF and LF drivers is 890hz, also 12db/8ve. This shallow slope allows driver interaction for octaves on either side of the cross point that Alex says a pain to manage with EQ and all-pass filter phase adjustment, but the end result is a box that's extremely linear on and off axis.

Here's a shot with the cover off and on:

As you can see, it's got a very large horn that lets it maintain directivity much better than most boxes even larger than it. This speaker is extremely solidly constructed... I've abused it a bunch over the last 6 months and it's taken it without complaining. It weighs just under 60lbs, partly due to the large toroidal transformer in the power supply, but the unit is easy to carry thanks to its small size and generous handles. The grille is stamped steel 1.5mm thick, powder coated, and can take a pretty good amount of abuse, although I had soft covers made for these boxes soon after I received them because they see more shows than anything else I own and I'd like to keep them pretty. Alex takes durability and reliability extremely seriously, his largest customer right now is a soundco in his area that really abuses the gear day in and day out, so the design specs for all EONA ADRaudio's offerings have been honed down in the real world, and then even further once I'd had them for a little while. This is one designer who spends plenty of time out running shows with national acts on his gear, pushing it to see where he needs to refine it.

Of course, what you really care about is the sound quality and capabilities of this compact little box. I don't attach my name to many products, so I hope it is telling that I say this so clearly now: This may be the best sounding speaker I have ever heard. I haven't yet directly compared it to the EAW NT series, but I think that's the only trap I've heard that's in the same league. The clarity and extension of the high frequencies even while pounding the limiters is extraordinary... this is one of those speakers that reveals details in everything you put through it you'd never known were there. I do a lot of lighter music; jazz and classic rock and acoustic and choirs, and I am now capable of a whole new level of results that I have been unable to attain with any number of other systems I've owned or used.

If you like speakers that sound "big" and add a lot of something to the sound, walk away from these products. They are so linear, so up close and personal, it's breathtaking.

Don't think that because they're small and crystal clear you won't be able to get a lot of SPL out of them, however, the box is rated to 129dB at one meter. Reference these two SPL readings I made at FOH (50' back) and the end of the seating area (100' back) in an 800 capacity tent outdoors. The show was a track act with a lot of percussion, and the boxes were blinking their limit lights... but they had a bunch left, as I discovered during the gospel show I had the next weekend (105 at FOH! Crap!).

Bennett Prescott:
(I had to split this into two messages because of a limit on the number of images allowed)

The ATA118 is a single 18" driver in a ported enclosure, backed by over 1400 watts, weighing in at 99lbs. The driver is also from B&C, as are all the drivers in the current and expected future product line. It operates from a little below 30hz to over 100hz, although I tend to cross it out around 70hz. The built in LPF is at 90hz. It'll do 131dB at 1 meter, with peaks considerably higher than that courtesy of the significant amplifier power in the box. That's that "high headroom" concept you see in their literature... there's enough amp in the box to blow up the driver if used continuously, so the limiters clamp down on long-term waves but pass transients. That means that, for instance, kick and snare hits come through crystal clear because they've got another 6dB or so headroom past the limiters before they run into the amp rails, but then the limiters kick in and haul the signal back below "explode". The R&D department goes through more than their fair share of drivers getting that set correctly.

Here are some photos of that box, too:

Before these subwoofers, I hadn't been spoiled by a system able to do much of anything below 40hz. My very first show with them was a jazz quintet outdoors, playing for my old high school's graduation picnic (I pitch in to help them out from time to time, this happened to be especially convenient). During the first piece, the bassist started walking down the scale... and kept going... and going. I'm now convinced I'd never heard that low string before, and being able to reproduce it for several hundred people strewn around a large area outdoors was a wonderful experience. Of course, when I bring the dogs indoors for rock having that extra half octave on the low end for kick makes it enormous, and they're so dynamic in general that it's easy to get knock-you-over low end. Since they're practically impossible to blow up (trust me, I've tried) I occasionally find myself boosting very low frequencies just to add some depth, since I know they'll handle it. Worst case I'll run into the limiters, and they're very transparent.

To give you an idea of size, here's a shot of those subs in use and, um, modeled by Stacy, who's about 5'8" and unavailable:

A word about current draw... I've had all 6 boxes on a single 20a breaker, pounding along for an indoor rock show, and it didn't trip.

Compact and high output is the name of the game so far, so let's continue that vein with the M1225 stage monitor. This low-profile wedge has 1,100 watts running into a coaxial 12" LF and 1.4" exit HF driver that has a 60 degree conical pattern. The design goal with this box was to build the clearest, most stable wedge possible with more than adequate SPL... but weighing less than 50lbs, amplification included!

At just under 42 lbs and capable of 129dB (with peaks up to 138dB as we discovered at WedgeFest!) I'd say that goal was more than satisfied. It's limited by the power handling of the neodimium woofer, which only takes 200 watts but also only weighs 9lbs including the HF driver. The wedges at WedgeFest had an additional 3dB HF boost to make them "cut" more, which we have since removed because, while I love it for a acoustic music, rock guys hate it, and it does harm the stability of the wedge. Otherwise, the wedge is high passed at 80hz and operates all the way up to 16Khz. Since it's always going to be on a stage (it is not flyable and has no pole mount cup) it manages to have a very present and full low end response courtesy of half-space loading... I've used it stand-alone as a drum monitor and it was quite effective.

It was kind enough to pose for me for a few shots:

This is the piece of the PA that I've got the least time listening to, since I'm usually not on stage when the band's going. It gets plenty of compliments from artists, though, and it makes my stages look really clean and neat. I certainly like it because it gives me between 3 and 6db better feedback rejection than my other wedges, gets louder, and meshes extremely well with my mains. My other wedges have a 250hz tubbiness that really muddies up FOH, so I have to cut it out but it's still obvious when the wedges get too hot relative to FOH. With the M1225 they can be quite loud but they don't toss a lot of energy behind them, and even when I'm getting hit at FOH with reflections off a wall it's hard to tell that it's not just more mains.

In fact, I've even used them as front fills to great effect.

The M1225 was also designed to be used in multiples... if you like the fact that it's lightweight (it's easy for one person to pick two up and walk around) and extremely hi-fi, but need more SPL, add a few more wedges. You'll get some "free" LF coupling and, of course, added level overall. I've only got two, but they work together really really well. Alex tells me that at some shows in Slovenia he's used 3 in an arc in front of the performer, which had the added advantage of giving her more horizontal coverage, and had more than enough power.

Like all the EONA ADRaudio gear I've used, these are very even off axis, with no noticeable change in frequency response all the way out to the limits of the coverage pattern, at which point it drops off rapidly. Ring out a mic in one place, or establish an artist's tone in one place, and it'll stay like that everywhere the monitor covers. I love this in the mains, too, since even if you're mixing off-axis you're hearing essentially the same thing everyone else does. Alex says this is partly due to using the highest quality drivers he can get his hands on, but also due to the time he spends manipulating the phase relationship of the two drivers. I've measured all the boxes and they're about as good as it gets in terms of both frequency and phase flatness... I trust them to go up and not need any adjustment unless the room I'm in has some serious issues.

Phew... this is getting really long, I'm going to finish up right after this so you guys can get to dinner. Thanks for sticking with me this far.

Last but not least is a line driver and sub crossover that Alex built for my rig and will soon be available for purchase. It's basically a master volume control plus +/- 6dB adjustments on the outputs for L, R, and sub (which can be summed mono from the L&R feed or aux fed from an external input). Each output has a relay mute, signal/clip indication, and a separate light that indicates box limiter activity. The subwoofer additionally has a polarity reverse and a 70hz LPF.

Here's a photo of that, front and back:

Anyway, it's a nice 1RU solution so you don't have to carry around a bunch of DSP for crossing over your mains. That DSP below is my monitor EQ for feedback cuts. What it's most valuable for is as a line driver... if you're pushing 300' of copper, this box makes a big difference, especially in the high end, which is one of my most favorite aspects of the U103s... it would be a shame to lose it because of some silly snake.

So that's about it! I've put a lot of miles on these speakers, for everything from choirs to jazz to rock for anywhere from 150 to 800 people, indoors and out. It's rained, it's been dusty, the power has been questionable, they've run for hours hard up against their limiters. There's not much more I can subject them to! Most importantly, they took it all without flinching and they sound the same as they did the day I opened the box. I hope everyone else likes them as much as I do, if you'd like to play with my rig please let me know and we'll work something out.

For your information, MSRP on these speakers is as follows:
U103: 3,080 euros ($3,850)
ATA118: 2,650 euros ($3,325)
M1225: 2,875 euros ($3,600)
Those prices are MSRP, so street is lower depending on how many you're buying and how much your dealer wants to keep

Until there's a dealer network in the US, I'm probably the best contact for information. Call, email, or PM me any time. Of course, someone always answers the phone in Slovenia too, but that may be an expensive phone call if you're not in that part of the world anyway.

If you'd like to see some more photos, go to and if you'd like spec sheets or info on upcoming products hit the EONA ADRaudio website.

Adam Mottley:

Very nice system you have there. It looks to be a very clean, efficient, quick deploying rig. Very nice... hats off to Alex.


Michael 'Bink' Knowles:
That U103 looks like another good reason not to get hung up on what diameter the LF driver is. Excellent LF extension on box. Monster horn for good lower freq contribution... I'm sure it's a fine box. With its 60 pound weight I know I could lift it onto a tripod alone which is something I can't do with a Yorkville U15P.


P.S. Regarding "unavailable", you should know better than that... we all have our price in this biz!      

Adam Whetham:
Is that screen on the driverack saying "Audio Trash"???

Very nice speakers though. Will hope I eventualy hear a pair.


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