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When the Evolve 50 from Electro-Voice hit the market a few years back it was a game-changer. Suddenly, every DJ and their mother had to get their hands on a column array system. Now, they’re commonplace with more and more models coming on the market each year. EV has seen a need for a more compact version of their flagship column and filling it with the Evolve 30M. We got our hands on one in a beautiful white finish and today we’re going to take a look at what it has to offer in our Electro-Voice Evolve 30M Review.
The nitty, gritty.
The specs are always a good place to start with a new speaker. The Evolve 50 has an internal amplifier with a 1000 watt peak/500 watts RMS rating. What’s really important, however, is the 123dB max SPL rating (great for its size). The amp drives a 10″ woofer in a wooden cabinet and six 2.8″ full-range drivers in the column. The sub comes in at around 34 pounds – plenty easy to carry. The six-pound column attaches to the subwoofer with a magnetic locking system. No cables to worry about here!
One important thing to take notice of is the letter M in the 30M model name. It stands for mixer, as in an onboard 6 channel Dynacord mixer. While the 30M gave up some size and output compared to its big brother, it gained some great flexibility with this built-in mixer. We’re going to go more in-depth on this part of the speaker a little later, so don’t go anywhere.
Portability and convenience.
We took the system outside for our usual sound and stress tests. On the way, we noticed how lightweight and portable the system was compared to the Evolve 50. Thanks to the quick-locking magnetic mechanism, we had the speaker set up in a matter of seconds. Again, no tripods or cables needed shaving time, and hassle from our setup.
We have to make a quick mention of the genius design of the top handle. Besides being convenient for transportation, the angled design was incorporated on the subwoofer so that party guests could not place their drinks where they shouldn’t. How smart is that! This is a great example of EV listening to their customers’ needs.
Taking a look around the back of the speaker (did we mention how good the white finish looks?) we see the mixer. It’s situated at the top and rear of the subwoofer for easy access. You have 4 combo mic/line inputs, a stereo line input, RCA inputs, an aux input, and a Hi-Z input for a guitar or other instrument. The speaker also has EV’s amazing one-button DSP. This digital display gives you quick access to a variety of settings like EQ, placement, Bluetooth, and a whole lot more.
Soundcheck. Stress test.
Alright, enough with the setup talk – let’s listen. Before we fired things up, we wanted to make a list of what we would be looking for. Specifically, we wanted to see how the 10″ woofer would hold up compared to the 12″ in the Evolve 50. We also wanted to assess the upper drivers as well as the 120 by 40-degree coverage pattern.
Our first track was a reggae song with a lot of bright drums and horns to test the coverage pattern. We walked from one end of the space to the other listening for the sound to change or drop off. As expected, the Evolve 30M held up great, providing a smooth and even coverage from end to end. The bass wasn’t overpowering but it was definitely noticeable.
Song #2 was a pop-rock track that came on strong out of the gate with some heavy guitar. Up close the volume was loud but not harsh or straining on the ears. We backed up a bit and did notice a drop in volume, but the sound carried well for a column system. The words “tight” and “snappy” kept coming to mind with this song – it just felt responsive.
Lastly, we decided to push the test with a little stress testing. We only had to bump the knob up a touch to see a limit light, but we realized we had already set our gain and master volume pretty high. Make no mistake, this system is not as loud as the Evolve 50, but it held its own. We would have no problem taking it along to a wedding or smaller party.
What we like.
There are a lot of great things to talk about with the 30M. Being the smaller model, we of course have to mention portability. It’s lighter, easier to move around, and quick to set up. We see it as a “system of the future” for micro-sized events. A lot of events need a small, unobtrusive sound system and this fits that need perfectly.
The mixer is also a huge plus. It’s not a “throwaway” mixer; it’s the real deal. We are normally big advocates of DJs having a separate live sound mixer, but this really fills that need well. It has so many applications beyond just being your main system (although it works great for that). You can use it as a cocktail speaker with mic inputs for announcements. You can offer it as a rental to venues or musicians that need sound for a gig. The possibilities really are endless!
The last thing we want to mention is how aesthetically pleasing the speaker is. EV does a great job of designing speakers that are visually attractive but don’t draw too much attention to themselves. Many times, that is a really important factor for potential clients. We may be biased because we received a stunning white version, but it has to be one of the prettiest systems we have seen.
What we’d change.
Off the bat, there’s nothing glaringly wrong with the speaker. We know that it’s smaller and that it comes in at a lower price point than its big brother. This will obviously affect the speaker’s limits and abilities. We did notice in our stress test that we hit the limit light fairly quickly and that a little distortion crept in when we pushed it. Perhaps we expected Evolve 50 levels of volume when we shouldn’t have, but just keep in mind the speaker’s limits.
The other thing we weren’t crazy about were the bags. We are big fans of the Evolve 50 column bags, but the back-pack style bag that comes with the 30M isn’t our favorite. For those of us who like to use a cart for load-in, it just didn’t seem as easy to use. Honestly though, at this point, we are splitting hairs and just looking for things to nitpick. In all reality, this is a phenomenal system that delivers many more benefits than cons.
Wrapping things up.
At the end of the day, this speaker did exactly what EV set out to do. It gives DJs the option of a more portable column array with the added flexibility of a built-in mixer. It has a lot of similar sound qualities to the larger Evolve 50 while giving customers a break on price.
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