Road Test: Cerwin-Vega! P-Series Powered Loudspeaker-Subwoofer Combo

Checking out a portable system with onboard mixer and more

Setting up the system up in the shop was a breeze thanks to all of the inputs and outputs, especially the combo connectors. I played a variety of tunes through the rig and used a few common microphones to evaluate.

While the mixer on the rear of the P1500X could be used for a small solo or duo performance, the lack of tone controls or effects like reverb would cause me to always bring a small mixer with the system.

Everyone in my shop really likes the P-Series combo, and we were all surprised at the amount of thump the P1800SX can generate. It’s easily one of the loudest powered subwoofers in a compact package that I’ve ever run across.

This shouldn’t really come as a surprise audio folks of my generation. We became acquainted with Cerwin-Vega’s ability to dish out LF with the 1974 movie “Earthquake” that featured tremendous, building-rumbling low-end via a technology called Sensurround.

Optimize The Situation
Satisfied that the P-Series could do the job, I utilized them in the field. The first gig was a typical corporate meeting in a smaller ballroom, where I deployed a left-right P1500X/P1800SX combos, using the poles. Due to video screen sightlines, they had to be positioned very close to the side walls, not the best placement option.

A comfortable, well-balanced handle with rubber grip on the P1500X. (click to enlarge)

To optimize the situation, I set the poles up as high as they could go, and then angled the top cabinets down by 7.5 degrees. Changing the angle on the pole cup is as easy as twisting a locking ring until it clicks into the desired setting. The system sounded great with both speech and video playback and provided even coverage.

The next gig was a large corporate party with a band, where I used the top boxes sitting on top of the subs. If fact, I ended up turning off the subs and just ran the tops full range because they were delivering plenty of bass for the application. The band wanted to hear (and feel) the subs, so after sound check we thumped them for a bit. (I think Cerwin-Vega! just sold another pair.)

The last show was a neighborhood block party where a DJ asked us to provide a bigger system than usual. He normally uses a single 18-inch sub and two small satellite loudspeakers and didn’t think it would cover the large outdoor area. He was right. The P-Series contingent, again using the poles, had no trouble delivering dynamic coverage to the entire area.

The P1500X and P1800SX make up a very capable portable system that should be able to handle most small- to medium-sized gigs with ease. The capability of the sub in particular really stands out. U.S. MSRP: P1500X is $1,199, and the P1800SX is $1,499.

Craig Leerman is senior contributing editor for ProSoundWeb and Live Sound International, and is the owner of Tech Works, a production company based in Las Vegas.

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