For DJs, JBL Professional has always been a reputable company, one that’s provided quality products with often-superior sound in club and mobile applications. So, it’s no surprise that its active loudspeaker-and-subwoofer combo – IRX112BT and IRX115S – offers both quality and value, not just DJs, but also traditional musicians and on-mic presenters.
I have always been impressed by the sound quality of JBL’s pro-audio products and I am happy overall with how well these two perform together. So, let’s break this system down.
Features: Let’s start with the IRX115S. I found this unit very impressive and I’d like to highlight some of its more notable features. As a subwoofer, you would expect there to be some weight to this; so, coming in at about 65 pounds and filling out a smaller form factor, it’s on the lighter and smaller side, compared to other subs on the market.
Nonetheless, sporting a 1,300-watt amp, the IRX115S ($649 street price) does pack some serious power. With its 15-inch woofer and a 3-inch voice coil, it dips all the way down to 35 Hz and goes up to 147 Hz. So, it definitely brings the bass, and it extends quite far from where it’s placed. It includes 80 Hz, 100 Hz, and 120 Hz for the crossover points, so that gives you some room to play and put the unit where you like it.
Now, being a part of JBL’s IRX series, it is made to go with the IRX112BT and or the IRX108BT (8-inch loudspeaker), and they are calibrated together to work very well – and they do! The unit includes your regular inputs and outs for a subwoofer and, while the buttons are a bit clicky and the volume knob pretty plastic, it’s a quality sub with a big sound, great for any smaller-scale event.
Now, looking at the IRX112BT… it brings a lot of clarity in the upper and mid ranges with the unit going from 53 Hz to 20 Hz. This being a 1,300-watt speaker, it also brings some more power to the equation. On the back of the unit, it offers four EQ presets that you can use, depending on your use-case situation – it comes with Normal, Music, Vocal, and Speech. These options help if you’re using this set-up for a ceremony at a wedding, for speeches at a smaller-scale event, or just to play music in your backyard.
Weighing in at only 27 pounds, this unit is a breeze to pick up and move wherever it needs to go – a big positive and a great feature. SPL-wise, it comes in at 127 dB, and given its size, the unit certainly does more than you might expect upon first inspection.
A genuinely fantastic feature for mobile DJs that must be mentioned is One-Touch Ducking, which automatically lowers the music’s volume when a speech input is detected. Very cool. The IRX112BT has a street price of $349.
In Use: First off, I did have a couple issues. As mentioned, I wasn’t crazy about the clicky power buttons – I’d prefer a dipswitch to know for certain if the unit is in the off or on position. Also, the Bluetooth connections were a bit hit-and-miss. It connected quickly, but it didn’t always hold. Your experience may differ, of course.
On the upside… when directly connected together, the loudspeaker and the sub matched well and brought the very full sound that you would expect from any JBL product. Increasing the levels and the crossover points on the sub, you then find that the sub brings a lot of power and can easily overpower the 12-inch speaker – not inherently a bad thing. Pushing the loudspeaker beyond unity and listening, it did not distort.
The highs are very crisp, the mids can get a little muddy depending on how loud the sub is, and the bass can be varied. When put on a good setting, it’s clear, direct and powerful. Overall, out of the box, these two units performed quite well, with just a couple odds and ends that disappointed – but nothing too major.
Conclusion: Looking past my quibbles, I really enjoyed these units – they’re quite useful for small- to mid-sized events. If run in a pair (two subs/two tops), these could do very well at some larger events and bring a slick, professional look to your set-up. The sub is very powerful and brings a lot of depth to the music.
The IRX112BT and the IRX115S are well-crafted and beautifully tuned. They bring quality and value to users, especially mobile DJs, bar musicians and presenters (like fitness instructors). Bottom Line: If you’re in need of a PA system that’s quick and easy to put together, with that extra bang for your buck, I would surely put these units on your list to check out.
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