We decided to take a closer look at this new addition to see what all the fuss is about…
JBL loudspeakers are always good looking and the new edition to the EON product line – the EON 515XT is no exception. Significantly this year will see them produce their one millionth EON loudspeaker, a clear indication of the popularity of this range worldwide.
The 515XT is the next generation EON and the product range has stepped up a few notches both in performance and features. Straight out the box the first thing that impresses is the reminder of how light the 515 has always been. Weighing in at a very manageable 14.8 kg’s with multiple handles all sporting rubber grips, it certainly scores high in the portability stakes. One of the adjectives used to describe the 515XT’s looks is ‘discreet,’ and whilst it does not differ too much from its predecessor, the all black facia and discreet (there’s that word) JBL logo (now black, not orange) does make for a handsome package bound to blend in more so than ever.
As has been proven many times over looks aren’t everything but they count for quite a bit when purchase decisions are being made, so having a good looking set of cabs goes a long way towards desirability of the product. This setup is a self powered 15 inch, two-way, bass-reflex system driven by Crown® Hybrid Class-D amplifier technology. The power rating is 625 watts – that’s 525 on the sub and 100 watts on the tweeter giving it a solid 175 watt advantage over the 515. Turning the loudspeaker around reveals a handy selection of features that are an improvement too. It comes with a basic 3 channel mixer and all three of these channels cater for 14 inch jack input with one also offering dual XLR input. So for example you can plug any line instrument, mic and dj mixer straight in the back. Each input has its own volume control.
Whilst the 515 has fixed EQ, the XT sports both a bass and treble control which means being able to tailor the sound somewhat, depending on your environment and the music being played. The loudspeaker also has a useful XLR out loop-thru for daisy chaining speakers. But probably the most significant enhancement that should impress is the increase in input sensitivity by a massive 10 dB. This means better support for line inputs such as keyboards, drum machines or DJ mixers. SPL is also up a bit at 132 dB which by any standard is massively efficient. Bottom line – it’s loud! Now, one would think the 175 watt increase in output power may signify a change in amplification but in fact the XT is driven by the same Crown Class-D as the 515. What has changed is the overall optimisation of all the internal workings. Bottom line: Better design, higher efficiency.
From a practical perspective as mentioned earlier, its light, has multiple rubberised handles and can be pole mounted, stood up on the floor or used as a monitor thanks to its angled cabinet.
JBL often causes more debate than most speaker systems partly due to their immense popularity and partly because as a good friend and sound connoisseur often reminds me, “you either like the sound of them or you don’t.” I think the EON series on a whole has gone a long way to silence detractors and the 515XT is indeed the complete package. Loud, efficient and very versatile the only complaints will be from those who own the 515’s as they eye out the XT longingly. Sound wise the tops seem brighter and the bottom end tighter than its predecessor and that’s with no EQ fiddling. It’s a great speaker at a great price. Simple as that! Expect to see tons of these around and about in the next few months.
SA Distributor: Wild and Marr (Pty) Ltd
Tel : 011-974 0633 | 021-787 9378 | 031-564 3877
Web : www.wildandmarr.co.za
Expect to pay: R 10,950-00 each excl. VAT
Written By : Damien Albetto