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EV At 90: Powering The Passion Of Performance For Nine Decades (And Counting)

A look at the history of one of the most storied brands in professional audio, as well as where the company is going today and what's planned for the future.


By Keith Clark September 5, 2017

Up top: Electro-Voice X-Line Advance arrays recently deployed by Murt Whelan Sound of Ireland for a show by Irish alternative rock band Walking on Cars at 3Arena in Dublin. Directly above: From the same concert, an inset image of the founders of Radio Engineers (later EV) outside the Century Tire and Rubber Company in South Bend, IN.

Broad & Deep

EV was acquired by Gulton Industries in the mid-1960s, and experienced a few more mergers and acquisitions over the decades. The brand is now headquartered with parent company Bosch in Burnsville, MN, just outside of Minneapolis, in modern facilities that include state-of-the-art engineering and design facilities, including numerous test labs and – of course – a large-scale anechoic chamber.

The company is staffed by a team comprised of veterans that collectively have more than a century of audio expertise now leading a younger wave of well-trained professionals who are being schooled in the “EV way.” It’s a philosophy rooted not just in the product and tech side, but also in providing solutions to customers, going all the way back to young Al Kahn and Lou Burroughs traveling the country to educate and inform.

The synergy with Bosch – now into its second decade – has resulted in the enhancement of core strengths and competencies with the brands and the considerable strengths of a truly global organization and its deep resources.

An example of this synergy is the EV-Innovation family of installation-dedicated loudspeakers that launched in 2009, the largest ongoing loudspeaker development program in company history that continues to expand. The deep line of sonically matched systems spans multiple categories from very compact to large-scale, available in a wide range of coverage patterns and designs that include array, front-loaded and horn-loaded formats.

The new EXL200 line of portable powered loudspeakers.

 

Several years ago considerable focus went into bolstering a leadership position in the portable powered loudspeaker market, producing a successful result in relatively short order. The ZLX Series of powered/DSP models housed in compact, lightweight poly enclosures, are among the best selling portable boxes in the world. The line is deep and continues to get deeper, as evidenced by the just-announced EXL200 that combines EV components with things like versatile gain, mixing and processing.

Where It’s At

Microphones development continues apace, as evidenced by last year’s launch of the ND Series of wired vocal and instrument mics that incorporate the company’s latest developments in neodymium technology, and with features unique to both specific applications and budgets. At the heart of the new dynamic models is a new large-diaphragm capsule design that takes the technology of the original N/DYM capsules to a new level of sonic performance.

Noted vocalist Glenda Rolle performing with a new ND Series mic.

 

On the electronics front, the aforementioned P Series of amplifiers continued to grow and evolve over more than a decade, with thousands of units still performing faithfully around the world. A significant step forward is the recent launch of two new dual-channel power amplifier series from EV’s Germany-based sibling brand Dynacord: the L Series (for live/portable) and the C Series (for installations).

Optimized for use with EV loudspeakers, they have a linear design with feature sets that bring professional performance to a more accessible price point, with an easy-to-use software tool facilitating full configuration, control, and supervision of sound systems with multiple amplifiers. Both series consist of four dual-channel models, each with different output power specifications.

Yet another loudspeaker series devised for the commercial and installation market is EVID. The most recent development is EVID-S, outfitted with an innovative wall-mount system that allows installers to attach the loudspeaker’s mounting bracket (with electronics) ahead of time and then return when other contracting work is completed and simply “snap-click” the loudspeaker securely into place.

Significant work also continues on the line array front with X-Line Advance, a growing family of 2-way vertical elements providing 90- or 120-degree horizontal coverage, accompanied by the dual 18-inch X12-128 ground-stacking subwoofer and/or the new X12-125F flying subwoofer. The X12-125F incorporates the family’s integrated rigging system for quick and secure deployment, and it’s sonically matched to the other models in the series. It can also be used in ground-stacked configurations.

The company’s latest line array technology, embodied in the X-Line Advance Series.

 

Further new developments are forthcoming immediately, including the launch of the EVC Series of installation loudspeakers and the EVOLVE 50 compact column system. This steady stream of innovation says that although times have definitely changed over the course of the company’s nine decades – accelerating even more rapidly the past two decades or so when pro audio has gone from a handful of brands to hundreds – the company is well-positioned to enjoy a bright future.

Sure, things have indeed changed a lot in 90 years, but in some ways they’ve remained much the same as they were in the “Roaring 20s” when the company got its start. “I don’t think the basic way we do business has changed,” stated Jim Long. “You need to identify problems that need to be solved and provide solutions, and in the process, build very close relationships with the people who make decisions.”

Go here for more on the history of EV, including an in-depth timeline spanning the company’s 90 years.


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About Keith

Keith Clark
Keith Clark

Editor In Chief, ProSoundWeb & Live Sound International
     
Keith has covered professional audio and systems contracting for more than 25 years, authoring hundreds of articles in addition to hands-on work in every facet of publishing. He fostered the content of ProSoundWeb (PSW) from its inception, helping build pro audio’s largest portal website, and has also served for several years as editor in chief of Live Sound International (LSI).
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