'Stick on a box' line array systems have become just about ubiquitous in the small PA market. So can Peavey use its huge experience with PA to bring something new to the concept? Bob Thomas finds out.
The Peavey Corporation has a well-deserved reputation for building high-quality gear for the gigging musician at attractive, good value prices. Peavey’s latest PA product – the catchily-named P2 Vertical Array Powered Speaker System – applies the company’s approach to the “stick on a box” compact line-array setup that has taken the portable PA market by storm over the last few years.
As with many of its competitors, the P2’s vertical column comes in two modules, each containing four 4” mid/high frequency drivers, which lock together and the whole assembly then locks securely into the sub cabinet which carries the 12” bass driver, the P2’s integral 3-channel mixer and the system’s power amplifiers.
Unusually, Peavey has configured the P2 as a three-way system with the sub crossing over into the bottom column module at 150Hz and the top module coming in at 2kHz. This set-up turns out to be very efficient, with the two amplifiers (65W sub and 60W mid/high) able to deliver a maximum SPL of 122dB across 56Hz-20kHz at their respective peak outputs of 130W and 120W. Dispersion on the horizontal axis is slightly wider than that of a conventional PA loudspeaker, giving you good audience coverage and making positioning easier, while the vertical dispersion is tight, which helps avoid exciting unwanted reverberations in high-ceilinged venues.
Each input of the P2’s on-board three-channel mixer has its own independent level control, allowing you to easily balance up, say, a microphone connected to the switchable mic/line combination connector on Channel 1 with a stereo keyboard coming in on Channel 2’s twin ¼” jacks and stereo mp3 playback on the RCA connectors on Channel 3. A mono XLR lets you connect a second P2 (or perhaps a powered floor monitor) to expand the system if required.
Onboard DSP functionality is becoming almost de rigeur in compact PA systems these days and the P2 responds with a three low frequency modes (Lo-Cut, Flat and Boost) and two high frequency modes (Voice and Flat). These switchable modes allow you to tailor the response of the P2 to the application – Lo-Cut and Voice (a midrange boost) to give ultimate vocal clarity for speeches and the like, Flat and Flat for general PA duties and bass Boost and Flat high frequency for DJ applications.
As you’d expect from its specifications, the Peavey P2 is an impressive performer, combining clarity, punch and power to produce an excellent overall performance. As a voice system for presentations, speech days, wedding receptions and the like, the P2 delivers the necessary clarity while for a small band, duo or solo artist the P2 has all the facilities they’d need, although a mixer (especially one with onboard effects) would be a useful addition in order to get the best out of the system.
All in all, the Peavey P2 Powered Line Array is a compact, easily portable PA system that sounds good, is easy to operate and that is visually unobtrusive in the small to mid-sized venues that it is likely to be used in.
If you’re looking at updating your PA or buying one for the first time, the Peavey P2 Powered Line Array is a system that you should take a serious look at, albeit that it's up against some stiff competition in this area of the small PA market. It is easy to set up and to operate, is compact and easy to carry and, most importantly, it sounds really great whether you’re a small band, a duo, a solo act or a DJ but it isn't designed to be a full band PA. For that you are going to have to look to something more ambitious and there is plenty of choice in the Peavey family.