This past January at NAMM 2020, before everything went haywire with COVID 19, we got the chance to check out JBL's EON One Compact, one of the newest in the Eon lineup. What sets this speaker apart is that it comes with an onboard battery that will last for up to ten hours in a compact footprint that delivers a big sound.
We eventually got a pair right before the pandemic took hold and had the chance to test them in a variety of configurations, including wireless, wired as DJ speakers, and running an electric Uke and Mic into them.
Let's start with who this speaker is for and why it might have an advantage over other models.
Home Audio Consumer - If you are looking to beef up the sound in your back yard and haven't yet invested in something like a Sonos system, these could be great options in either a solo or paired scenario. We used them in our backyard paired up in a stereo configuration, and the music was enough to fill up space with rich sound, even one would do you just fine. These are not weatherproof but are pretty easy to move around and configure with the app. More on the app down below.
Instructors - If you are teaching a yoga class (or similar) and want to pipe in music and amplify your voice, these are a fantastic option. Ideally, you would get a pair and mount them on stands, you can also use the ducking feature built in to let your voice override the music when giving instruction. They are loud enough for a 600-1000 sq foot room, and you can dial in the bass and treble to get it just right.
DJs - You could either use these as your mains in a small setting and monitor off them or use one as a monitor and plug into something more significant like the IRX 112 BT from JBL. If you are camping at a festival and doing a little tailgate or campsite partying, these would be perfect with a mobile controller like the Denon DJ Prime Go, which is also battery powered allowing you to be entirely off the grid.
Singer / Busker Types - If you are looking to plug in your guitar and mic to gig at the local coffee shop, you might have just found your dream speaker. The size makes it incredibly easy to move around, and the sound is robust enough to fill out a small space and still sound great. The EON compact will work outdoors, but you will need to be realistic about the range and power of the sound, so it might be a good idea to invest in a pair of them with stands for that type of performance.
Build and sound quality - you are paying a premium here (MSRP $550) for the small size vs. sound ratio/battery power and so considering that, the speaker has achieved its goal and is incredibly sturdy, well designed and well built. Even though it's compact, it's built like a tank and meant to travel and withstand a little abuse. The inputs and controls are easy to access, and it works in two configurations (vertical/horizontal).
The sound is quite impressive for a small speaker, and it delivers respectable bass that mixes well with the highs and mids. The bass and treble can be controlled to dial in the sound for the space and style of music being played, which makes it ideal for so many different types of users.
The app - We are kind of mixed on this, while in theory it is a great idea and worked well initially with one speaker, it has struggled consistently to identify the speaker and create a stereo pairing. You can control the speaker's different inputs in Mixer mode and the basics like volume remotely (or as far as your BT connection will go), which is great for performers. The function that was the most glitchy was the grouping function, which lets you connect a pair or four total speakers into a little speaker network, it just does not work consistently, but this is really a nonissue for most people using it anyway. It will work, but it takes some patience, and you might have to reboot your speakers a couple of times.
Note - You need to make sure that your speaker's firmware is updated and the app on your mobile device.
Summary - If you are looking for a compact speaker that also delivers big on sound and functionality, this is hard to beat. It works for a large variety of applications, it's easy to dial in your sound, and you don't need a power outlet to run it.
We particularly love the fact that we can go totally off the grid with a pair of these and a Denon Prime Go to rock at our campsite and have micro festivals.
Pros - Easy to move, sounds more prominent than it looks, and you can dial in the sound just right. It's also fantastic for various applications, making it great for a lot of different people.
Cons - The app is still glitchy, and pairing them up was not easy.
Features (From company site)
- 112 dB output the highest volume in its class
- 8-inch woofer with deep low-frequency performance down to 37.5 Hz
- Ultralight unit weighs just 17.6 pounds (8 kg)
- Set up quickly and easily using JBL EON ONE Compact Control app presets
- Sound your best with professional effects including EQ, reverb, chorus and delay
- Balance your volume levels with built-in 4-channel mixer
- Optimize your sound with 8-band output EQ, customizable via presets
- Stream music from your phone or tablet via Bluetooth to up to four EON One Compact units
- Operate two EON ONE Compact units in stereo mode
- Two pro-grade preamps deliver fuller, richer sound from any microphone
- Connect mics, instruments and playback devices with two XLR/TRS combo jacks, one 1/4-inch hi-Z guitar input and one 3.5mm (1/8-inch) aux input
- Phantom power supports condenser mics
- One-touch ducking feature automatically lowers music volume when speech input is detected, ensuring every word is heard clearly
- JBL Compact Connect app offers complete control of your PA from your iOS or Android smartphone or tablet
- Two USB 3.0 ports allow high-speed charging of external devices• Tool-free, swappable battery p provides up to 12 hours of playtime
- Fast battery charging—just 2.5 hours
- Two performance orientations: monitor and vertical; tuning and mixer displays automatically adjust
- Headphone jack allows private monitoring for practice sessions and managing presets
- 1/4-inch passthrough output allows system expansion with additional EON ONE Compact units
- Convenient, built-in tilting tablet stand orients to front or back of system
- Built-in pole mount expands configuration options
- External battery charger option available separately
- Ergonomic handle and even weight distribution make carrying the system a breeze