February 1, 2023

Innovation & Tech Today

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REVIEW: JBL Portable PA an Excellent Solution for Presenters on the Move

If you’re a business owner who hosts events and presentations for your employees and clients, or a person with a local coffee shop acoustic gig, the JBL EON ONE MK2 portable PA might be the perfect fit for you.

The EON ONE MK2 is a battery-powered column PA, and it’s loud – there’s easily enough volume for small to medium-sized rooms and venues.

In testing, I found that it’s powerful enough to do the job in many situations, including indoors and outdoors. And it performs exceptionally well in intimate settings where bombarding eardrums isn’t necessary.

This portable PA is relatively lightweight for what it is, and was easy for me to carry it around. It’s not bulky or overly heavy.

The EON ONE MK2 has a design that I consider modern yet understated. There is easy access to a myriad of features and onboard controls, inputs/outputs. The MK2 sports a professional, streamlined look.

Its design clearly focuses on a person on the move who needs a traveling rig.

For all of these reasons, it’s arguably one of the best I’ve worked with.

Mobility is Off the Charts

One of the coolest features of this portable PA is the fact that it can be battery-operated.

You can quite literally charge the rig, toss it in your trunk and just bust it out on the side of the road (if you had a reason to do so, or just like to hear yourself talk in odd places.) The advertised battery life is about six hours, which seems pretty accurate.

I got a bit more battery power out of it in testing, but six hours is a substantial amount of time for a person busking, an educator, or fitness instructor.  If six hours is not enough time for you, or you want to charge less often, JBL also offers additional battery packs, and a standalone charger for the MK2.

Power

When I first learned that the JBL EON ONE MK2 was battery-powered, I was not expecting a 1,500-watt power amplifier. With a 400W RMS power rating, it has all of the boom and loudness you want from a portable PA.

There is a minor power throttle that is enabled when the battery is in use. As a result, battery life is conserved. This conservation feature does not affect the quality of your sound. Alternatively, when you need a little extra push, you can still plug it in, and have access to the full range of power. 

Speakers

The EON ONE MK2 packs a 10” woofer paired with a tower array of eight 2” tweeters. The woofer has a surprising amount of clarity and handles sound down to 37 Hz quite well. Maximum output for the speaker sits at a whopping 123 dB — the equivalent of a jet plane at take-off.

There is an octuplet of built-in tweeters that comprise the tower array, and they are clear and powerful. Despite being a single-output design, the tower array is also optimized for 140-degrees of sound coverage and handles it well.

We tested this portable PA in a 50’x 30’ room (not the biggest, but more than adequate for testing), and found sound coverage throughout the room to be well above average. Even in zones a bit outside of the advertised sound coverage, voices remained tight and had impressive clarity. 

JBL photo

Controls

The array of controls on this system features anything you would need for a variety of situations including onboard reverb, a 3-band EQ and gain control. 

In addition to a pair of powered USB chargers and an 1/8” inch stereo auxiliary input, the EON ONE MK2 portable PA includes an LCD screen with onboard controls that allow the user to access a wide variety of functions directly on the unit. From additional effects (chorus, delay) to a more in-depth EQ, the onboard controls can handle almost every bit of dialing sound as the mobile app can.

Speaking of the mobile app …

Connectivity and Remote Control of a Deep Feature Set

The EON ONE MK2 portable PA is Bluetooth-equipped, and it also integrates with the JBL Pro Connect app. 

With the app, full control of digital signal processing and effects is also possible.

This includes the ability to enable JBL’s “Ducking” feature. Basically, if background music is playing through the MK2, and someone starts talking using a microphone, then the music volume is lowered automatically, so the voice is prominent.

There is an “Automatic Feedback Suppression” feature, which will prevent uncomfortable feedback events, such as when a microphone is moved too close to the MK2 speakers.  

We found that the seamless integration between the MK2 portable PA and the app is a key benefit to convenient operation in almost any situation.

Specs

System TypePowered Column PA Speaker
Woofer Size10”
Tweeter Size2”
Tweeter Count8
Max SPL123 db/119 dB AC/Battery
Freq Range -1037-20 kHz
Freq Range -345-20 kHz
Hor Dispersion140°
Vert Dispersion30°
Power Rating1500W Peak
400W RMS
AC power input300W 100-120V or 220-240V
Input Impedance4kΩ balanced Combo
2MΩ balanced Hi-Z Jack
10kΩ 3.5mm single-ended 2 channel
Crossover Frequency230 Hz
I/O3 – XLR Combo Jacks
1 – 1/4” Hi-Z
1 – 1/8”/BT Summed
1 – X1/4” balanced
CabinetPP
Weight19.3kg (42.5 lbs.)
Gross Weight22.38kg (49.3 lbs.)
Dims452 x 627 x 730mm(WxDxH)
(17.8 x 24.7 x 28.7 in.(WxDxH))
Battery97.2 WH, 36V, Lithium Ion

Portable PAs Have a Home Within Corporate and Higher Ed AV Systems

Sometimes companies and educational institutions have audio speaker systems that are mounted to the walls and ceilings of conference rooms, common areas, and lecture halls. JBL offers these types of speakers as well.

Yet a portable PA can be a complimentary piece of audio equipment in any higher ed, corporate or AV system. Just by virtue of the fact that you can take it to different locations and areas where company executives and staff collaborate, or where students congregate. You could set up and go quickly within 5-10 minutes to give a sales presentation or conduct a class with a group of students outside on the campus lawn.

Our Thoughts

JBL photo

I spent several hours with the JBL EON ONE MK2 portable PA, putting it through its paces. From public speaking to multiple mic inputs to playing through it with a direct line-in acoustic guitar, microphone and harmonica. 

With each test, it went above and beyond what we expected from the price range. The sound never became muddy or dull, and adjusted well between warmer and brighter inputs. 

The onboard reverb was also a welcomed addition. I used it to add a sense of depth to a voice, which resulted in a pleasing quality in tone when used sparingly across a sizeable space. 

While this is a handy tool for anyone in need, I feel like it shines the most for an individual who regularly speaks or performs in front of a group. The manageable size, battery power, and wide audio spread make it an easy choice that will take your smaller-scale events to the next level.

At 42.5 pounds, it’s not light, but when you consider the old way with a small mixer, a power amp, extension cords and a handful of lengthy cables, it’s not even a contest. 

By Corey Noles

By Corey Noles

Corey Noles is the Managing Editor for Innovation & Tech Today. In more than two decades as a journalist, he has covered crime, MLB, business, healthcare, politics and anything else that could snag a headline.

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