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EV ZXa1 Vs. QSC CP8 powered speaker pair


simajanpa

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So I thought I share my take on these two pairs of speakers.

 

I just sold my two Yamaha DXR8s not because they sucked but the APs on my Nord Stage3 just were not doing it for me. And they were 30lbs. Everything else from the board sounded Ok.

 

Ran the Stage 3 into my Yamaha MG10xu mixer out to the speakers.

I was not looking for volume, but for the best reproduction of the acoustic pianos that I could get from these speakers.

 

Yes my budget is under a grand for the pair so no RCF tt-08s for me.

 

So after playing and A/Bing for several hours, I found the EV ZXa1 were more pleasing to my ears for everything. Not just APs.

 

The QSC CP8s were good but almost muddy in comparison to the EVs.

 

And yes I tried all the DSP setting on the back of the CP8s to no avail. And tweaked EQ settings on the mixer, although I wanted to keep them as flat as possible. (the EVs didn't need any EQ tweaking)

 

So I will be keeping the EVs and the QSC Cp8s will go back.

 

PS: Another keyboardist also looked at this setup and he preferred the QSC CP8 just for the size and carrying ability. The handles do leave little to be desired on the EVs, maybe I'll add some nice handles to the tops. But he also is not as concerned with fidelity as I am. So as always YMMV.

 

Cheers

Paul

 

 

 

 

 

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I just sold my two Yamaha DXR8s...after playing and A/Bing for several hours, I found the EV ZXa1 were more pleasing to my ears for everything. Not just APs.

I felt the same as you did when I compared the ZXa1 to the DXR10.

 

The QSC K8.2s are very nice, though. But a bit heavier. At that point, I'd also be curious to hear the EV ELX200-10P.

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My TT08s are so damn loud I cant use them when my stage monitors are less than 8 feet away. Fantastic sounding cabs.

So since Im on top of my monitors the Spacestation vrs.3 and TT08s are not being used.

Went and tried EVs, Yamaha and QSC CP and QSC 8.2s.

I kept the 8.2s just because I can run them with a B1200D set at 11 oclock and the QSCs @ 3 ticks up, app. 10 oclock.

 

For that task/proximity theyre perfect.

QSC CP series sound boxy.

 

Im enjoying these small stages. I can actually hear my keys in the mains since theyre app. 10 feet in front of me.

 

Odd Im so happy with my sound the shitty 80-100 a night is no concern.

I even took 150 for 2 nights in a row.

 

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I have a zxa1-90, that I'm happy with (even though I had to have my local dealer send it back for a new replacement, because the first one kept cutting out starting the 2nd month of ownership). I love it's sound for solo piano gigs, and an old school r & b band. However, I also play in a very loud classic rock band and the zxa1 is simply not loud and full sounding enough, for that. Am considering getting (for that band) a more powerful 12 inch powered speaker, that's not rediculously heavier. Considering the Yamaha DBR12 34 lbs and has a cooling fan or the Electro Voice ELX 200 12p also 34 lbs, but passively cooled without a fan. Any thoughts as to which one would be a better over choice? They're both around the same price.
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I only play out maybe once a month in a six piece semi-acoustic all original band. We play 100 seat venues tops. So the ZXa1 will easily serve my purpose. The CP8s were fine, just not as clear and detailed as the EVs. At the same settings they both had the same volume level to my ears. That being said you may want to try the QSC CP12, at 30 lbs they certainly are portable enough.

 

Didn't get to try the ELX200 series, it's very difficult to find EV brand any where here in RI. If your not playing heavy LHB parts maybe you can stick with a 10" cabinet. Specs are just a starting point, you need to audition these cabs and let your ears make the best selection. Like a lot of folks though, I have champagne taste with a beer budget, so that plays an important role too.

 

 

Paul

 

 

 

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Thanks for posting this. I am looking at amps for a Yamaha CP4. I was considering the CP8s which are brand new, can you perhaps elaborate a little on what "muddy" and "boxy" mean to you? do you mean in the bass range below middle C, the sound wasn't clear? Not sure what boxy means.

 

I know very little about amps, but see that the frequency range is 48HX to 20kHZ for the El ZXa1 and 56 to 20 for the CP8, does this explain why the lower range clarity isn't as good? but the K8.2 is 59 to 20 so maybe that isn't the right numbers to look at. I play AP for fun with friends so I don't need big volume but I really want clarity for the AP sounds. The CP12 is 49HX to 20kHZ at the same price as the ZXa1 but of course heavier.

 

Also, I don't see the ZXa1 on Sweetwater or Kraft, they usually have everything so wonder why that is. It is 10 years old, but that's usually not an issue.

 

thanks again for posting, super helpful

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As I mentioned in my short review, I didn't/don't pay that much attention to the specs of the different speakers. I let my ears make the final decision. I brought both sets of speakers home and A/B'd them for several hours and I just found the ZXa1s were more detailed and defined than the QSC CP8s. The QSC were actually fatiguing to my ears after a half hour of so of play time at low to medium volume. The EVs helped open up all of the patches on my Stage3, not so much with the CP8s. Perhaps the K series would sound as good as the EVs but at a higher price point. The CP8s may do it for you, you really need to try a pair for yourself. They don't suck and your CP4 may sound just fine to your ears. The price point is certainly great.

 

Unless you are doing a lot of LHB gigs, I wouldn't think you would need the CP12s. I purchased two open box EV ZXa1s for less than the CP8 would have cost me, so I was happy with that part.

 

I may be practicing this coming week so, I'll be able to put them through their paces a bit more. If my opinion changes, I'll let the forum know.

 

Cheers

 

Paul

 

 

 

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I regret selling my E/V, and only did so because the person who bought the one from my former bandleader's estate (which I agreed to take charge of, as the relatives all live elsewhere), wanted a stereo pair. So I reluctantly parted with mine, thinking I'd eventually get something larger than 8".

 

I agree with everything said above. I even used it for Fender Precision Bass at nursing home gigs where the volume had to be quite low alongside an acoustic piano anyway, and though I had to set it almost to max, it never clipped or got damaged. But it can heat up a bit, as others have noticed.

 

It seems the trend amongst ALL of the manufacturers is to get WAY more complex, with lots of DSP and room modeling, room correction, etc. To be frank, as someone who works in pro audio way more than 40 hours a week, I consider that to be detrimental until at the high-end like my own company's products. It's too much fuss and trouble for an average musician trying to set up QUICKLY on their own with little or no help.

 

So, buying used might be better. I almost bought the larger and next-level-up E/V's a few months ago, but they had JUST been discontinued and so there was only one in stock, and it was a beater that had been on the floor. The model has now been replaced with a super-complicated one.

 

My own company's cheapest products are a bit more expensive than mid-to-high-end RCF's, so are out of the price range of most people here. Reports on RCF's cheaper products have been mixed but mostly positive -- yet they remain tricky to locate (and especially to try before buy) in the USA. Don't dismiss them though -- especially if you find a good deal on-line at someplace like Pro Audio Star, RMC Audio, etc.

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Yeah, they're a shadow of their former self and may just be blowing out old stock. Someone said that the Nashville pro audio market went belly-up a couple of years ago, and that studios are folding.

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Well, I don't know -- there's many aspects to every story and every town. Certainly Nashville is still Music City USA and has fared better in these times than Manhattan with its sky-high rents. But we did move our own sales office elsewhere for better regional coverage, seeing that nashville wasn't quite the dominant force it had been during the 90's and 00's.

 

It's not like the town is shutting down, but like everywhere, some studios are closing, and some businesses that made it their home town due to so many studios buying new gear all the time, have seemed to have to pull back on how much they stock up front. It's still a pretty good source for pro audio deals though.

 

I just looked at my receipt for the last major item I bought from Pro Audio Star: it was the at-the-time brand-new and in-short-supply Radial PZ-DI, bought back in 2012!

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I quite like the sound of the Nord APs and EPs through the K8.2 using the studio monitor preset, but not most of the other presets.

 

You can greatly enhance the sound of the 8.2s while lowering the volume with an average Sub.

Bought a B1200D for my Spacestation and have no problem lugging the extra gear as those 6 and 8 inch enclosures sound great when a sub takes away the lowest freqs.

Using the Sub preset @ 125hz on the 8.2s is good. Id even like it more if it went to 160-180hz.

 

Im runing Analog synths though which kill small speakers and bury the Pianos, except for the beefy ass Rhodes, which muddies up the low end so bad I use a Filter to trim it.

Magnus C350 + FMR RNP + Realistic Unisphere Mic
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I'm not claiming this is scientific, but I was disappointed with ZXa1 in terms of reliability - I bought 2nd-hand, twice, and had two different faults that strangely enough in each case the seller was not able to replicate upon returning them. I would agree they sound a bit sweeter on piano than CP8s, having A/Bed them for a bit.

 

I used CP8 last night as monitors for a church service with loud on stage volume - kept up with drummer at 1/3 volume easily (direct in from Nord).

 

 

I didn't have a car for the way back, so I walked the mile home with full rig - NE5HP in backpack case, x-stand and a bag full of cables in one hand and CP8 in the other!

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Yes Nords can be bright, but I find the sound more clear and detailed with my ZXa1s as opposed to too bright. My ears found the QSC CP8 more "muffled" and not as detailed. As always every ones ears are different, at almost 70 yo I'm sure my hearing isn't like it was even 10 years ago.

 

Paul

 

 

 

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I didn't have a car for the way back, so I walked the mile home with full rig - NE5HP in backpack case, x-stand and a bag full of cables in one hand and CP8 in the other!

^^ This is Ninja.

 

I'm tempted to say, as people do on the Interwebs: pics or it didn't happen. But I suppose you legit didn't have a free hand for selfies.

Mike
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So I was playing the new ZXa1s in the basement up close and personal and low and behold the tweeter on one of the cabs was cutting out. On off on off on off every few seconds. As much as I love the sonic beauty of these, I am now not trusting these speakers. These were new demo models, so they may have been pushed a bit too hard before I got them. Are my fears legit or should I try again with a truly fresh pair.

 

A friend just got a pair of the QSC CP8s so I will give them a try first. Thoughts anyone?

 

 

Thanks

 

Paul

 

 

 

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OK that's three reports of bad ZXa1s .... in a single thread.

 

One would think that after 10 years of EV making this speaker they would be pretty solid.

Reliability is key, this has to be a bullet proof, plug and play item.

I certainly don't want a speaker that the tweeter is clicking on and off while playing. Really a shame, because I do love the sound of these. And you are correct, I'm not the only one having this issue. Ahh what to do?

 

Paul

 

 

 

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Have you tried turning down the mic input all the way, when not in use?

 

It's been a while, but I seem to remember that the way in which the signal split and merge are implemented, might be a bit sensitive to a boost on an unconnected jack.

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Have you tried turning down the mic input all the way, when not in use?

 

It's been a while, but I seem to remember that the way in which the signal split and merge are implemented, might be a bit sensitive to a boost on an unconnected jack.

 

I was not using a mic, so I had that knob at zero. I tried them with two different mixers and direct from Stage 3 to the line inputs on the ZXa1s....tweeter still on and off. They are being returned and I will decide if I try another pair of ZXa1s or go with the CP8s.

I have a friends set of CP8s to try for a day or so, so that will help me decide.

 

Paul

 

 

 

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OK that's three reports of bad ZXa1s .... in a single thread.

 

One would think that after 10 years of EV making this speaker they would be pretty solid.

Reliability is key, this has to be a bullet proof, plug and play item.

I certainly don't want a speaker that the tweeter is clicking on and off while playing. Really a shame, because I do love the sound of these. And you are correct, I'm not the only one having this issue. Ahh what to do?

 

Paul

I believe the low-end EVs and QSCs are made in China. Of course so are some very well-made products but at the prices these particular models are going for, I'm not too surprised to hear of reliability issues. Nothing yet on the CP8 but then again it hasn't been around that long either.

 

My K8s are nine years old. I've had two issues: one of them developed a bad op-amp (which I have yet to fix) and an inductor lead broke (which I did fix myself for $20 with the generous help of the masters here!). QSC revised the circuit board for later revs of the Ks, adding a large wire tie to stabilize the inductor.

 

What I learned about QSC and which might apply to other manufacturers: their authorized service centers do not do component-level repairs. They will simply swap out a main board or PS board. In the case of my $20 inductor, had I not fixed it myself with the help of the folks here, I was looking at around $300 for a main board maybe more. I'm not too surprised they only do board swaps it's mostly SMDs on the circuit board which I assume requires a little more time and expertise to deal with. A board swap takes minutes at most.

 

Assuming the music retailer has a 30-day return policy, I would push any of these speakers hard that first month! Any issues just return it. After that it's warranty servicing (i.e. shipping or driving it somewhere & being without for a while), and after the warranty is done it's likely to be a board swap.

 

Just looked... the new K speakers have a 6-year warranty, the CPs are three years. ZXa1? I couldn't find any definitive info on the warranty length but saw this on a music store site: "Electro-Voice offers the following warranties: 5 years on speakers; 3 years on electronics; and 2 years on microphones." Does that mean the drivers are warrantied for 5 years but the amps in their PPAs only three?

 

Good luck!!

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I recall speaking with an older EV rep guy at NAMM years ago when the ZXA1 first came out. He had been with the company a long time...and kinda looked like it too...lol

 

Anyway, I distinctly remember him telling me these were manufactured in Germany at the time. This was in conjunction with their sister company, Dynacord. And that only a few EV non-Pro Audio speakers were still made there. At this time the EV SXA-360, which I owned at the time, were one of cabinets of German origin as well. That was a super quality product for its time and ultra reliable.

 

I'm assuming like most audio stuff, they probably moved the manufacturing over-seas , to the West, and implemented cost cutting practices on this particular cabinet related to manufacturing and QC.

 

Basically standard practice today. ;):(

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I believe the low-end(s) ... are made in China.

 

QFT ! - regardless of brand.

 

Of course so are some very well-made products but at the prices these particular models are going for, I'm not too surprised to hear of reliability issues.

 

Chinese don´t work bad per sé.

Pay ´em good and they work good.

It´s all about the ordering customer,- designing the s##t and then find a way manufacturing as cheap as possible,- or not.

 

I don´t trust class-d amps, drivers and DSPs in xxx-bucks products much.

I know what quality gear cost in the past.

2000W active speakers for 400 bucks and the company makes money still.

What crap shall that be ?

Why does a Lab Gruppen amp cost a multiple alone ?

 

Anyway,- musicians need cheapo gear because club owners want ´em play for free.

So, when I need cheapo gear for cheapo gigs, I buy a pair of Altos, beat ´em up, buy new when end of life is reached and shut up.

No EVs or other "famous" brand low-end gear needed.

Do we really know to whom all these famous brands now belong ?

 

A.C.

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Anyway, I distinctly remember him telling me these were manufactured in Germany at the time. This was in conjunction with their sister company, Dynacord. And that only a few EV non-Pro Audio speakers were still made there. At this time the EV SXA-360, which I owned at the time, were one of cabinets of German origin as well. That was a super quality product for its time and ultra reliable.

 

I endorsed Dynacord amplification 2nd half of the 80s ´til about mid 90s.

Extremely rugged and reliable products.

I used four (4) CS51-S (PAA tri-amped) 4-way cabs w/ EV speakers as also four (4) FE12.2 for the smaller occasions and never a failure,- also not w/ the PAA amps, the "Reference" programmable tube amp, 4x12 (Celestion) cab and the trusty CLS222.

 

Prior to that I used EV S15-3 ... not that power handling but excellent sounding cabs for sure.

 

The Dynacord stuff in most cases is top notch and the prices are a bit higher than other´s.

 

The EV SXA-360 is still an excellent cabinet.

I´d really like to own a meanwhile hard to find pair.

But atm. I have no use for such bulky speakers.

It´s all great when there is qualified tech personnel keeping everything in good and workable condition, clean, set up and tear down.

 

... they probably moved the manufacturing over-seas ... and implemented cost cutting practices on this particular cabinet related to manufacturing and QC.

 

Basically standard practice today.

 

^^^

 

This

 

A.C.

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