If you’re a singer songwriter looking to get your music heard live, then you need an all-in-one portable PA that takes your craft and broadcasts it to the masses with the detail, power, and clarity it deserves.
With so many options on the market, it’s difficult to know which one to choose, but a safe bet will always be JBL - a brand that can trace its roots for sound reinforcement all the way to Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock 1969 and whose history is centred in making your music heard.
When you’re looking at portable PA systems, there are many factors to consider that help in making the right choice for you; but we have broken it down to 3 categories that we feel are the most important.
You’re going to be carrying this thing a long way! From city venues, busking areas, pubs, clubs and even to the middle of fields – it needs to be a PA system that you can get from A/B easily and preferably with one arm spare for your guitar! Battery power is also an option. Going with battery power allows for hours of usage even in places where power isn’t available – perfect for outdoor weddings or busking.
Are you playing packed-out pubs with audience members the entire width and breadth or are you playing outdoors where everyone is more evenly spaced? You don’t want to spend too much money on something over spec’d, but you don’t want to be left found wanting at your first gig!
The built-in connections and mixer on the speaker itself is what is really going to make the difference and allow you to mix your performance together. How many channels do you need and how much mix power are you looking for? You also need to consider things like Bluetooth streaming and wireless control – is that important to you? Or do you just want to plug in and go.
Ultimately, it’s a combination of all the above that helps you decide which speaker is right for you, however the EON range from JBL has two models that might just fit the bill!
Meet The Lineup
Part of the legendary EON range, the EON One Compact and EON One MKII are complete, all-in-one portable PA speakers from JBL and whilst they look very different to one another, they share much of the same ground-breaking technology and rich heritage resulting in unparalleled sound reproduction for your show.
JBL EON One MK2
The EON-ONE distills the technology used in huge festival speakers into a small package. With 3 vertical spacers connecting to the base unit, the speaker is designed to beam sound towards everyone in the audience plane. Vertical arrays have a wide horizontal dispersion of 140° and a narrow vertical dispersion of just 30° to ensure no energy is wasted.
JBL EON One Compact
Standing only 40cm from the ground and weighing a poultry 8kg, the EON-ONE Compact is an easy one-arm carry, packed with a high-powered 8-inch woofer that delivers the punch required to fill a modest room or outdoor space. It’s packaged like many powered PA speakers, with a single 8” driver and a 1” HF driver providing a wide frequency response and good dispersion, whether positioned upright, on a pole, or on its side.
Both speakers are battery powered which makes setting up and performing easier than ever. With up to 12 hours of battery life during nominal use and the option to use the speakers whilst recharging, both options tick the portability mark without question.
The EON ONE MKII has a dedicated 10” subwoofer, an integrated power amplifier/mixer and internal compartments for the columns. Despite this it only weighs 20kg – not bad for a 1500w line array system! That power comes at a slight compromise on battery life, however it still delivers a solid 6 hours does come at a slight price in terms of battery life with a maximum of 6 hours.
The EON ONE Compact by comparison is much smaller in terms of size/weight, but also power with 150w available on tap. With a powerful internal battery, the EON ONE Compact provides up to 12 hours battery life which is a full busking set and more! This makes it more suitable for scenarios where space is limited, or power isn't available or easy to arrange.
Check out our in-depth EON ONE Compact demo
In terms of speakers, size does often matter and so with 8 x 2” drivers and a dedicated 10” subwoofer, the EON ONE MKII does have the grunt for larger rooms and audiences, however that doesn’t mean you’ll be found wanting with the EON ONE Compact! With 150w of power alongside an 8” woofer and 1” compression driver it has all the power you will need for intimate audiences and smaller shows. If you’re a solo performer with just guitar and vocals, the EON ONE Compact is a great choice for getting your voice heard, but if you have a larger setup with more sources to broadcast where required, the EON ONE MKII might be the better choice with a wider frequency response and larger throw.
JBL EON One MKII
The EON ONE MKII is a column PA that uses the same technology you see hung on the side of big festival stages but in a package you can use anywhere! With 3 vertical spacers that connect into the base unit, the speaker is designed to sit above everyone’s heads and beam sound towards everyone in the audience plane. Vertical arrays like the EON ONE MKII have a very wide horizontal dispersion of 140° and a narrow vertical dispersion of just 30° to ensure no energy is being wasted pointing at the ceiling and it’s all directed where it matters – to the audience!
JBL EON One Compact
The EON ONE Compact is small but mighty. Standing only 40cm from the ground and weighing a poultry 8kg, it’s an easy one-arm carry but with a high-powered 8-inch woofer delivers the punch required to fill a modest room or outdoor space. It’s packaged like many powered PA speakers you might have encountered before with a single 8” driver and a 1” HF driver providing a wide frequency response and good dispersion to reach the audience at the back. It’s enclosure also allows for it to be positioned upright, on a pole, or on its side depending on what works for you.
Take advantage of JBL's very generous 7 Year Warranty with the EON ONE MK2 or Compact. This industry-leading warranty is a product of JBL’s continuous dedication to quality components and testing that includes a standard 100-hour acoustic stress test, a battery of aging and drop tests and a wide range of stringent, global electronic testing and certification procedures.
Both the EON ONE Compact and MKII feature a high-spec, fully-digital mixer built-in with enough IO for a few microphones and an instrument or two, but depending on the size of show you want to put on, the extra IO available in the EON ONE MKII might be of interest!
With 3 mic /line inputs, 1 dedicated line input, and a stereo playback channel with TRS jack and Bluetooth streaming, the EON ONE MKII has enough IO for a small ensemble and enough internal mix power to make them sound their best! By comparison, the EON ONE Compact has 2 mic /line inputs, 1 dedicated line input, and a stereo playback channel also featuring Bluetooth and TRS connectivity so it’s still enough for a couple of mics, an acoustic guitar and Bluetooth connections for some backing tracks!
Both devices have wireless mixing options built-in in the form of app control that gives access to parametric EQs on the input and output channels, as well as compressor/limiters and Lexicon effects – everything you need to polish your performance and make it sound its best!
See the JBL-EON ONE MK2 in action
Which one should you choose?
Selecting which one of these speakers to choose really comes down to the size/type of the venues you are playing and the amount of mix power you need at your disposal! For larger, busier spaces that require a long throw to the back of the audience, the EON ONE MKII will be enough to really broadcast your sound to the outer fringes of the audience. For intimate shows or remote busking, you can’t beat the power vs weight of the EON ONE Compact. With plenty of mix power to get things sounding their best and enough battery power for 12 hours of gigging, it can keep going when the party extends beyond sunset! Head to your local PMT Store to try out our JBL PAs for yourself.