Vonyx (Skytec) SPJ-1000A
A budget build, but tonally balanced small PA speaker.
Vonyx / Skytec SPJ-1000A
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Overall Average Review Score ... 7 / 10
A fine low budget active PA / Foldback speaker for small venues.
The Vonyx SPJ-1000A (was Skytec SPJ-1000AD) Active Speaker is a symmetrical, compact and low budget unit intended for PA and/or Foldback use.
The two side handles are configured to provide the necessary angle for floor foldback implementation (which as it turns out, is a somewhat questionable design idea).
This bi-amped system comprises of a 10" mid-bass driver and 1" compression horn, squeezed into and ABS plastic shell only just large enough to hold the various components.
The SPJ-1000A provides a surprisingly even tonality and the output sounds quite clean right up to clipping.
As you would expect with only a 10" mid-bass driver, it is somewhat lacking in bottom end. When used in a stereo or PA system, these speakers will benefit greatly from the use of an additional sub woofer that can can do justice to everything below 200Hz.
In short, probably not enough bass for standalone use as a party speaker. The twelve inch version might be a better party speaker option ;-)
If you are after an inexpensive, lightweight, 75 Watt(ish) active PA speaker or foldback unit for use in relatively tame environments, then the Vonyx SPJ-1000A might be right for you. Particularly in a 'set and forget' permanent installation scenario. Since each unit comes with a line in/out, system expansion is relatively easy.
Claims made for the Vonyx (Skytec) SPJ-1000AD under the heading
of PRODUCT FEATURES include:
- Built-in 400W amplifier with crossover (in an alternate universe, perhaps? ;-)
- Line and Mic Inputs with Bass & Treble Controls
- High compression dynamic horn driver
- Stand mounting with 35mm pole socket
- 10" Extremely powerful mid-low woofer
- Wide dispersion horn
- Supplied Top Hat
- Daisy chaining of additional speakers
- ABS impact resistant light weight system (Impact resistant, really ?? ;-)
Points to note about these claimed 'features':
Starting with "Built-in 400W amplifier with crossover" ...
Like most similar active speakers, the Vonyx SPJ-1000AD is not actually a 400W amplifier with a crossover. It is in fact Bi-amped, meaning there are separate amplifiers for both the 1" horn and 10" bass speaker. These amplifiers just happen to exist on the same power amp chip.
In the SPJ-1000AD the crossing over is done prior to amplification with just a simple 6dB per octave passive filter (a capacitor :-)
Info: Conventional crossover networks come after the amplifier and tend to have substantially steeper filter slopes (up to 18dB per octave) using capacitive and inductive damping.
Secondly the 400W claim (in both the literature and on the carton) is misleading to say the least. It is at best a 100W RMS amp (with both horn and woofer driven).
And lastly the claim "ABS impact resistant light weight system", is contradicted by my direct experience. But, more on that later.
So with all the good news out of the way, let's get down to the basics.
With the Tone Controls centered (one assumes that is EQ flat), clipping sets in at a surprisingly low SPL (Sound Pressure Level) for a speaker that boasts 400W on the carton along with an equally nonsensical quoted SPL max of "up to 119dB".
I can only guess that their SPL max of "up to 119dB", was measured just prior to the voicecoil in the Horn melting.
In the real world, boosting the Bass even slightly will have the pretty (and rather bright) blue LED Clipping Indicator (secluded behind the front grille) lit almost continually. That's with even moderate input signal levels. And of course, with the available Class D power amplification, the clipped audio sounds very harsh and nasty indeed.
So once again, the problem here is really in the exaggerated specifications. In this case, being of the sort that belong in a comic book, oh sorry, I meant "illustrated novel". You know - the kind where the super-hero can lift a bus with one hand (while posing for a selfie, of course ;-)
While it's all very neat, tidy and well laid out, all the components appear to be built to that all to common minimalist specification. Sadly that includes the ABS plastic (egg?) shell.
After several units arrived with catastrophic damage, I suggested to the seller that the handles should be removed prior to shipping - success!
Two things to note here. Firstly DJ City were absolutely great in promptly replacing the damaged units, with absolutely no grief to the customer. They did however point out that this had never occurred before while shipping these speakers. Secondly: For subsequent purchases, items were packed more thoroughly in anticipation of the potential travel hazards to Tasmania. As a result there have been no more DOA's.
Better product packaging design would have prevented all this nonsense in the first place.
In the photo (at right) I have marked the impact point on the handle with a red oval. The cracked ABS plastic has been held open with a couple of screws to clearly show the extent of the damage.
|IMPORTANT NOTE / WARNING:
If the SPJ-1000AD speakers are mounted on a stand (which is what they are intended for) and they get knocked over, the damage to the ABS plastic case will probably be catastrophic - In fairness to the manufacturer, most ABS plastic speaker enclosures would share a similar damage risk.
The smaller size and lower weight (portability) of the Vonyx (Skytec) SPJ-1000A's were among the primary criteria in my choosing to buy these pretty little ABS plastic speakers. Ease of transportation, car space and back stress were all considered, along with performance and price.
I now think I may have been better served with the more traditional and robust rectangular carpet covered MDF wooden boxes (which, in fairness, Vonyx do have as a slightly more expensive option) :-( Oh well!...
Having not actually encountered the MDF version, I am at this point only assuming they would be more robust.
Behind the Grille
A look inside the Vonyx (Skytec) SPJ-1000AD Active Speaker is quite revealing. While it is very pleasing to see that they have used a torroidal power transformer (generally an indication of a better/higher quality amplifier), the speakers and power amp are singularly underwhelming. Also there is virtually no acoustic padding inside the box, probably at least in part due to a lack of space.
The combination of a 25mm (1") Horn and a 250mm (10") Mid-Bass Speaker produce a reasonably balanced and clean output. When the system is driven to clipping, the distortion is coming from the amplifiers, not the speakers.
As it happens, you can buy a replacement for the 10" mid-bass speaker (B10-SP1000A), for around AUD $29 (includes shipping). That really tells a story right there. They probably come out of China for under $10 per unit.
An eBay seller has provided the following basic speaker specifications:
Voice coil: 38 mm (1.5")
Magnet weight: 850 gms (30 oz)
SPL @ 1W/1m: 93dB
The small magnet and voicecoil immediately suggest low efficiency, as witnessed by the less than impressive SPL (Sound Pressure Level) of 93dB. It's not terrible though and at least the overall tonal balance is good. As a low budget speaker it does a fine job.
The small voicecoil also means there will be very little tolerance for overload, because any generated heat has nowhere to go. Once you go past this speaker's 'undisclosed' true limit, it will surely shit itself quite promptly.
At the time of writing, I simply couldn't find a cheaper new 10" mid-bass speaker on eBay.
Should you see the photos of the B10-SP1000A 10" replacement speaker, you might notice that it has an impressively large 75mm (3") dust cap. This is just to hide the actual and rather ordinary 38mm (1.5") voicecoil. Looks can be very deceiving.
Some of the other claims for this 10" speaker: Peak power: 300W and Power max: 150W are really just numbers that resolve down to a reality that it is probably about 75W RMS.
Note that Peak Power is actually measured at the point of destruction and Power max is quite often referenced to double the rated RMS value - you know, sometimes.
Following this logic through would suggest that each 10" speaker can handle around 75W RMS. With the horn contributing another 25W RMS(ish), thus a system total of around 100W RMS sounds about right.
The remaining specs are nominal and/or as expected for a 10" speaker in this application:
Speaker size: 10", Impedance: 4 Ohm, Frequency response: 55Hz - 4kHz.
The claimed 55Hz bottom end is probably another slight exaggeration, but of course there are no figures or any frequency response graphs to show how many dB lower the output is at 55Hz.
Though the speaker enclosure is ported, the internal volume of this speaker really is minimal and therefore also not conducive to a good bass output level. In short, a pair of Vonyx SPJ-1000AD Active Speakers will work best in conjunction with one or more sub woofers to do the heavy low-end lifting.
Fortunately spare/replacement 10" drivers for these Skytec boxes can readily be purchased.
Specs for the replacement:
- Model: FS-MD-1090
- Nominal Diameter: 10"
- Nominal Impedance: 8Ω
- Power: 200 Watt RMS
- Sensitivity(1W/1M): 97 dB
- Frequency Range: 70-5000 Hz
- Voice Coil Diameter: 2"
- Ferrite magnet
- Magnet Weight: 54.7 Oz
- Depth: 107 mm
- Net Weight: 4.3 kg
At some point I will probably upgrade the existing horn and I'm sorely tempted to replace the bi-amplifiers with something a little more beefy as well.
Yeah, I know ... is it really worth it? ... Probably not, but I do love to tinker ... and eventually upgrading the output to a real 150 to 200W RMS would put a smile on my face ;-)
Rear Panel & Controls (7/10):
The Vonyx SPJ-1000AD Active Speaker rear panel controls are simple, serviceable and effective. Again, you get what you pay for, being nothing fancy, just the minimum required to do the job.
The Mic Input at the top is provided as a 6mm (1/4") TRS only, with just a Level control. A somewhat non-professional approach where a balanced input option would have been better.
The Line Input is provided as two summed RCA (Left and Right to mono) Inputs and a Balanced line Input, again with a Level Control.
There is also a balanced pass through Line Output for chaining additional speakers.
The minimalist Treble and Bass Tone Controls offer 12dB of boost/cut but are probably best left centered or used sparingly for minor adjustments. Any serious EQ'ing should be done before these speakers.
Lastly there are the Clipping Indicator and Power ON LED. The bright Blue Clipping Indicator is hidden behind the front grille. As mentioned earlier, it is advisable to avoid clipping if possible, as the sound of the over-driven Class D amplification is rather harsh.
A small Power Switch and DIN Power Socket sit below the rear panel controls.
While the Vonyx SPJ-1000AD Active Speaker is nothing spectacular, it does do what a small sound reinforcement system should without a need for tweaking or special consideration. The most serious shortcoming is the ABS plastic case, which will be prone to damage if dropped or mishandled.
The SPJ-1000AD is a compact, relatively light weight and affordable small venue PA / Foldback option. A system using the SPJ-1000AD can easily be expanded and will benefit from the inclusion of a subwoofer or two (personal preference is to have a sub on each side).
Would also perform fine as a small MC solo/mono PA unit for a use with a single mic. Mic level can be adjusted separately from other inputs.
Note that this ABS shell range includes 8", 10", 12" and 15" options - all are subject to availability, of course.
- Features - 7 / 10 (simple but effective)
- Sound Quality - 9 / 10 (very good balanced tone for a small system)
- Ease of Use - 10 / 10 (Set and Forget)
- Build Quality - 6 / 10 (ABS Enclosure could have been better designed. Assembly is OK)
- Amplification & Speakers - 6 / 10 (Overrated and only just up to the task)
- Durability & Reliability - 8 / 10 (With normal daily use, have exceeded their warranty period)
- Value for Money - 8 /10 (Good if one accepts the limitations. OK for PA or Foldback use)
- Overall Average Score ... 7 / 10
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Incept Date: Wizard - 170320 (190411)
Last Update: Wizard - 191013