Electro-Voice Evolve 50: The portable column Evolves
By Jason Allen.
There’s a lot to choose from in the powered portable column system market these days. Corporate love them for their subtlety, musical duo love them for their portability, and dry-hire get to offer a simple package that fits a lot of bills. Sadly, most of them don’t sound very good, and a lot of them feel quite flimsy.
Enter the EV Evolve 50. By far, it’s the nicest portable column system to handle that I’ve yet experienced. The engineering and construction are solid and attractive while remaining easily carried and assembled. And this is where the Evolve 50 really excels – its magnetic sub pole.
The pole handles all connections between the sub and the mid-high array. It’s symmetrical,so there’s no ‘wrong’ way to connect it, and like the rest of the rig, it feels solid and reliable. With no cabling, this gives the system a clean look.
The sub itself is a 12” driver powered by a 500W amp. The mid-high column houses eight 3.5-inch neodymium drivers powered by another 500W amp. Coverage from the top box is 120 degrees wide with 40 degree asymmetric vertical, to ensure you’re throwing to the back of the room while getting everyone down the front.
Connectivity-wise, there’s two combo jack inputs that can also run phantom, stereo RCA in and 3.5mm jack in. You can also connect via Bluetooth. Input gains are controlled by dedicated pots, including the streaming level. There’s an XLR Thru for sending pre-fade signal of Input 1out, and a Mix Out XLR for carrying the post-fade mix of all inputs to another unit.
Presets and DSP are controlled from a simple one-knob interface with a LCD screen. Of course, there’s also an app; the EV QuickSmart Mobile app lets you configure, control, and monitor up to six Evolve 50s at the same time. What really struck me is how the processing limits what you can do to the signal – in a good way. All of the presets (Music, Live, Speech, Club) are relatively subtle, and do exactly what you’d expect. You can store five of your own.
The three band parametric EQ, with mid sweepable from 200Hz to 12kHz, is surprisingly musical, and with attenuation limited from -12dB to +6dB, you can’t make it do anything too alarming. Considering this type of product will often be operated by a non-technical user, that’s good design. On voice, it does a commendable job of adding intelligibility without sounding harsh.
Sonically, the Evolve 50 is a solid performer, with the most coherent phase response I’ve heard in this class. There’s none of the unpleasant mid performance or brittle highs of its more ‘plastic’ competitors. When pushed, it handles itself well, with no harsh clipping or limiting artefacts. I did find that to fill the room with voice only, I tended to run the master volume at +6dB, but this wasn’t an issue with playback. The Evolve 50 does exactly what it says it will do, and looks good doing it.
Model: Evolve 50
Pricing: RRP $2499 inc GST
Product Info: www.electrovoice.com
Hi res Photo-Gallery (Opens to EV site)
This article first appeared in the print edition of CX Magazine November 2017, p.54.
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