Review: Electro-Voice Evolve 50M
15.10.2021

Review: Electro-Voice Evolve 50M

Electro-Voice Evolve 50m product shot
Words by Sam McNiece

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As one of the most revered names in all of audio (and especially in PA), it’s an understatement to say that Electro-Voice knows a thing or two about speakers. The American brand has been there since the very beginning, with a reputation for sound and build quality that is basically unsurpassed in the space.

Boasting an eight-channel integrated digital mixer, onboard effects and remote capabilities via Electro-Voice’s QuickSmart Mobile application, the new Evolve 50M may just be one of the most flexible portable column setups out there at the moment, with an impressive 1000W of power courtesy of the advanced Class-D amplifier.

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Portable speakers, along with providing quality sound, have to do one thing well: be portable. These Evolve 50M speakers come in at 26.25kg, which is very manageable considering the speaker array and sub are easily detachable and can be carried separately.

Each Evolve 50M unit has eight channels of input available with four XLR/TRS combo mic/line jacks, stereo RCA, 3.5mm or XLR/TRS line inputs along with a Hi-Z instrument line input and stereo Bluetooth streaming. Three combo microphone inputs and Bluetooth are always available, with the remaining input selections sharing the remaining three channels. This Bluetooth connection is an essential feature for professional performers who want to perform to backing tracks or for use as interim music between sets.

For sending audio out of the unit (to an in-house PA, for instance), there’s an XLR out, along with an aux out for foldback uses, making this a versatile speaker with plenty of use cases.

This versatility is further bolstered by its ability to provide phantom power from the balanced inputs, bringing with it a broad array of micing options, in turn making the Evolve 50M a standout for natural sounding acoustic performances, small bands and open air applications.

The upper array holds eight high quality 3.5-inch neodymium drivers, with a 12-inch Electro Voice subwoofer underneath, connected by a lightweight aluminium ‘stick’ style mount. This connection is easy to use and pretty much plug and play, with no extra cables needed to connect sub to top box or vice versa.

The back of the unit features an LCD screen and single knob for controlling all available mixing parameters, including the four speaker presets which are Music, Live, Speech and Club, specially designed for those uses. Now, most people wouldn’t want to mix a full gig on the back of a speaker (which you could hypothetically do here if you please), but it’s nice to have a bit more nuanced control over the sound.

Through Electro-Voice’s QuickSmart app, you can change channel levels, EQ, send levels and choose from thirty studio-quality effects to add into one of their two FX channels. You can use a three band EQ on each channel and a 7-band graphic on the master, a nice touch. Not only can you have wireless control, but also wireless monitoring over the system, perfect for sound checking in quiet before the gig.

Connecting two Evolve 50Ms through their RJ45 (ethernet) ports allows for complete sharing of inputs and mixing parameters through QuickSmart Link. With just two (which is what you’d use for a stereo pair at a gig anyway), you now have enough inputs to hook up a small band which can be controlled via Electro-Voice’s QuickSmart Mobile App on both iOS and Android devices. This feature means you can run a full gig without thinking about an external mixer, controlling everything through the 50M’s DSP.

Touring and professional musicians will know that more equipment means more setup time and increased chances of equipment malfunctioning. For guitarists, you can utilise the onboard effects such as chorus and reverb to hone in your tone and maybe not even bring your pedalboard?

But what about the sound? Electro-Voice have utilised the electronics engineering team at Dynacord which are their sister company, providing high quality DSP and pro-grade preamps, resulting in a full range, quality sound. The array has a horizontal coverage of 120 degrees and vertical coverage of 40 degrees, very suitable for most live performance applications. The Evolve 50M can push out a sizable 127dB SPL which is sure to rock wherever you take it.

With its eight channel mixer, quality built in effects and ability to provide phantom power, the Evolve 50M is an absolute no-brainer for acoustic buskers and/or vocal groups who want more oomf than the 30M offers. The single-trip portability of the unit will no doubt also lend itself to the demands of itinerant DJs, travelling speakers and a whole host of other mobile performance and speaking/entertainment applications (as well as one hell of a clouty, premium bluetooth speaker to win friends and influence others).

The name Electro-Voice bares with it an assumption of premium quality drivers, rock solid finishing and incredible sound quality. The Evolve 50M more than lives up to this premise, albeit reimagined in the very modern, very ‘now’ context of lightweight portable speakers with onboard Bluetooth connectivity.

As one of the most trusted names in pro audio, the Evolve 50M bears with it all the hallmarks of a truly premium product. From the detail of its white or black finishes right through to the remarkable projection and sound quality of its output (especially given its small stature), it’s a top shelf offering from one of the most reputable names in public address. As classy and as functional as portable PAs get.

Check out the Electro-Voice Evolve 50M via Jands.