Nick Jennison reviews the Powerwerks System One portable linear column array system. Offering the perfect balance of power, performance, portability and price, the innovative connection system allows the column speaker sections to clip into place quickly and easily, making set up and break down quick and simple. With a powerful Class D amplifier supplying over 1,050 watts of power through a 10" subwoofer and eight 3" high-frequency drivers, there's plenty of power for almost any gig.
If you're a guitar player with even a passing interest in playing live, you'll undoubtedly have had mixed experiences with PA systems. From venues with all-singing-all-dancing hanging array systems and banks of subs delivering the "kick drum of God", through to the no-name carpet-and-rust-covered boxes found in your favourite rehearsal dive that make your singer sound like they're singing through an old telephone that has a head cold, and emit a strange foisty smell when you turn them up loud enough to be heard over your drummer - PA systems are, as they say, like a box of chocolates…
This becomes more important when you start to consider the kind of live rig used by many modern guitarists. Gone are the days of carting 4x12s and expensive valve amps to your bar gig - modellers are the order of the day: even for an amp snob like me! Whether you're a Kemper, Quad Cortex, Fractal or Helix fan, it makes sense to pay some attention to the rig you're playing through. This goes double if you're a gigging acoustic guitarist!
This is where the Powerwerks System One comes in. It's a 1050w (in the same way that I'm 6'2.5 - that 50 is important!) full-range PA system in a highly portable format. The 10" powered subwoofer connects to eight 3" high-frequency drivers via a clip-on column that places the highs at ear level for maximum clarity while keeping the sub on the floor, aiding in both physical stability and low-end punch thanks to bass coupling. It also means you don't need to run additional cables or stands for your tops, which makes setup and teardown super fast and easy.
Connectivity comes via a simple but flexible mixer built into the powered sub, offering two channels with both XLR and jack inputs for connecting microphones, acoustic guitars, modellers etc, each with independent volume, treble and bass controls, along with a very flattering reverb. There are two additional channels for plugging in a stereo source, and it also supports Bluetooth for playing backing music from your phone or laptop. There's a master volume, along with a separate master for just the sub, and DSP offering presets for "Main", "Monitor", "DJ" and "Speech". You can also connect a second System One thanks to the "stereo link" function.
In terms of sound, we compared the Powerwerks System One to a typical powered floor wedge, and the difference was laughable. The System One was not only significantly louder, but it sounded much truer to the source material (in this case, a Neural DSP Quad Cortex), with more low end extension, smoother highs and upper mids and a more even response across the entire frequency spectrum. As a personal monitor, it offers a really pleasant playing experience - and a TON of volume.
If you're a gigging guitar player who needs a portable, powerful way to hear yourself, the Powerwerks System One is a great choice. It works equally well as a personal monitor as it does as a main PA system, and is surprisingly affordable too!
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