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Road Test: Electro-Voice PXM-12MP Monitor

George Petersen • May 2020Road Tests • May 8, 2020

Electro-Voice PXM-12MP Monitor

Before we get started, I should come clean and admit that I’ve always been a fan of Electro-Voice speakers. This goes back to the 1970’s, when finding (any) information about speaker design was nearly impossible. Then I discovered that E-V had published a huge library of white papers and DIY enclosure plans. The latter were based on the classic Thiele/Small research by Neville Thiele and Richard Small that offered bass response predictability of various-sized enclosures by applying a few known driver parameters — free-air resonance, impedance, cone area, etc.

(As a side note, I — much later — had the honor of inducting Neville Thiele and Richard Small into the TECnology Hall of Fame, which ranks among the highlights in my audio career.)

In my early days, I spent countless hours creating and testing different bass-reflex cabinet designs — all based on the Thiele/Small parameters of E-V components. I was definitely a convert to the company’s SP12C/SP15A woofers and the 12TRXC — a 12” coaxial that essentially placed a T35 horn tweeter in the center of the SP12C woofer. At the time, it was marketed as a “3-way” speaker (the “third” part was the whizzer cone), although in reality it was a 2-way design.

More details about E-V's classic 12TRXC driver can be found at https://www.electrovoice.com/binary/12TRXC%20EDS.pdf

More details about E-V’s classic 12TRXC driver can be found at https://www.electrovoice.com/binary/12TRXC%20EDS.pdf

E-V’s 12TRXC driver got me hooked on coaxials, although at the time I was also doing live gigs for a local sound company that did most of its bread-and-butter gigs using Altec 604 coaxials in utility cabinets.

‡‡         Enter the PXM-12MP

So as a lifelong coaxial devotee, I had a more-than-passing interest in the Electro-Voice PXM-12MP, which is not only a 12-inch coaxial design, but also marks the company’s first entry in the genre of powered floor monitors.

One of the advantages of a coaxial design is that, with no need for a separate HF horn, the enclosure can be quite compact. With the PXM-12MP’s footprint — just 16.1 by 19 inches (WxD) — and a height that’s slightly more than 13 inches, it’s low-profile and discreet — ideal for applications where floor space is limited (meaning just about any club I’ve ever worked in) and situations such as houses of worship, where the visual aspect is important. The unit weighs just 29.8 pounds, which my back can appreciate.

The PXM-12MP is housed in a durable (and quite solid) 15mm plywood ported enclosure with rugged, black textured EV-coat finish and has a robust powder-coated steel grille. The front baffle is set at a 55-degree angle, putting the performer right on-axis with the coaxial driver. Dispersion is a short-throw, 90-by-90 degree conical pattern with a wide sweet spot.

Handles routed into both sides of the cabinet are set precisely at the unit’s center of gravity for comfortable and easy carrying. Another plus are the integrated slots for cable management near the connection panel, which help maintain a clean look and reduces cable clutter.

Underneath the monitor’s tough front grille is the coaxial CXCA2128-1NA combination 12-inch woofer/1-inch exit (1.75-inch diameter diaphragm) HF compression driver; 700 watts (500W + 200W) of onboard Dynacord Class-D bi-amplification and QuickSmart DSP.

The recessed panel on the PXM-12MP’s right side is set back far enough to protect the controls while in transit. The monitor features a three-channel mixer with two XLR/TRS combo mic/line inputs, and phantom power can be individually selected via the menu options. The third channel has two stereo RCA aux inputs (summed to mono) for playback music sources.

Two male XLR outputs are provided. The THRU output functions as a splitter, paralleled from the channel 1 input with no DSP, for routing the “dry” signal to another source. The MIX OUT output consists of a sum of the three inputs and can feed a console, another powered speaker or a subwoofer. The IEC power socket takes a standard removable AC cable, and the unit’s switching power supply accepts feeds from 110 to 240 volts.

The PXM-12MP also incorporates a standard 35mm pole mount socket, so the monitor can also double as a fill or point-source main P.A. system in short-throw applications. Not often seen on most monitors, up to 100 ms of onboard delay is available (in 1ms increments), which definitely comes in handy when using the unit as a delay speaker. And if extra LF is required, the PXM-12MP comes with several crossover settings, including presets for Electro-Voice’s ELX200 and EKX subwoofers.

The side panel has the I/O and access to mix and DSP functions.

‡‡         Inside the DSP

The PXM-12MP offers wealth of options in terms of the onboard DSP. The latter is accessible via a backlit LCD panel and a data wheel/pushbutton encoder, offering fast access to IIR/FIR settings for optimized performance. The three-band EQ provides different factory presets for various application modes, as well as five individual user presets. A special high-Q notch filter can eliminate troublesome feedback frequencies. There’s also a “GUITARCAB” (amp simulator) setting for connecting a guitar directly to the PXM-12MP via a DI box.

One thing that takes some getting used to is the rotary encoder/push switch that is used not only for entering DSP parameters, selecting presets, activating phantom power on inputs 1 and 2, etc., but is also used for changing the master volume. On the plus side, the unit can store/recall settings and, if powered down, it returns to the previous settings on power-up. On the down side, if you take the monitor to a gig, you first have to enter the DSP menu to make sure that the last user’s settings are compatible with what you are currently doing. For example, if the last gig had the phantom power engaged, you definitely want to turn that (or other functions like input delay) off before connecting a line-level feed from your console’s monitor send. Fortunately, the menu also has an easy-to-access RESET function that returns the unit to the basic factory defaults, so you can start your gig with a fresh slate, without having to check every menu.

‡‡         The Verdict

In performance, the PXM-12MP is a gem, offering a huge punch (max SPL is 129 dB @ 1m) from a well-built, robust enclosure that’s compact and lightweight. The dispersion from the coaxial flare is even and wide and stays consistent even if the performer tends to move around a bit. The crossover point is virtually undetectable; and the ported cabinet outputs a surprising amount of LF, particularly from a single-12” enclosure. The response remains linear throughout its frequency range and is never edgy, yet exhibits plenty of high-end “air” and detail.

The PXM-12MP’s versatility and the ability to switch from wedge monitoring to short-throw P.A. chores are both attractive elements, especially to bands and smaller sound companies. And at a street price of just $799, the PXM-12MP is priced right, sounds great, and definitely does the job. Nice!

The sturdy (yeah, you can stand on it) steel front grill has a small power-on LED indicator (right below the EV logo); also note that LED can be switched to display or remain off in one of the menu preferences.

At a Glance

A First, and a Hit

Electro-Voice scores a hit with its first powered monitor, providing flexibility and plenty of SPL punch in a compact, affordable package.

E-V PXM-12MP

PROS

  • Compact, lightweight
  • Wedge or pole-mounting
  • Smooth, loud response
  • Onboard delay ideal for rear-fill use

CONS

  • Menu can be confusing to first-time users

STATS

Transducer: 12” coaxial

Power: 700W total (500+200), Class-D

Frequency Response: 64 Hz – 20k Hz (-3 dB)

Crossover Frequency: 1.6k Hz

Max SPL: 129 dB peak @ 1m

Dispersion: 90° x 90° (HxV)

Enclosure: 15mm plywood

Weight: 29.8 lbs.

Size: 16.1 x 19 x 13.1” (WxDxH)

Street Pricing: $799

More Info: electrovoice.com

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