By Drew Robertson
Compact and highly portable PA systems aren’t new, but they’ve certainly come a long way in recent years. Yorkville’s new EXM series of mobile PA equipment boast a high quality feature set, flexible scalability and the ability to power the entire setup off their own internal batteries. We’ll be examining the both EXM Mobile 8 and EXM Mobile Sub to see what they have to offer in combination with each other.
For the DJ or Musician on the go that wants to never be without at least backup power or the busker looking to up their sound in an off the grid fashion the EXM Mobile 8 has some enticing features. Both the Mobile 8 and Mobile Sub contain built-in rechargeable lithium batteries that get about five and a half hours minimum performance and most realistic applications would allow up to six to eight hours. The Mobile 8 comes equipped with 3 Combo inputs able to accommodate any combination of mics and instruments depending on your needs. You’ve also got a bluetooth connection on each unit which is exceptionally handy to have now and can be used for playback. Two EXMMOBILE8s can be connected via Bluetooth for Wireless Stereo playback, and the link output on the back of the speaker allows two cabinets to sum—doubling your power, inputs and coverage. All three Channels on the Mobile 8’s mixer have a handy shape control that helps contour the sound for either music or speech, and it does a pretty good job of it. The first 2 channels of the onboard mixer also come with a basic reverb blend, nothing too exciting but functional and a nice thing to have on such a compact unit. The whole setup is exceptionally functional even without the extra punch of the separate sub. The EXM Mobile Sub packs a powerful punch and clocks in at just about 30 lbs making it manageable for mobile use while still getting a battery life of about five and a half hours like the Mobile 8. The Mobile Sub has a pair of comb inputs and a set of high pass enabled outputs to run a pair of full range speakers in stereo with the appropriate crossover settings. The Sub unit has a built in screw point for a speak stand that can be used to mount the Mobile 8 and can be linked to another sub unit for stereo operation. I’m impressed with the compact nature of the EXM series, and I think it offers a robust feature set for its size and portability.
The promise of having the ability to bring big sound to the field without being tied to ground power is a big draw and Yorkville’s EXM system delivers. Sound wise the Mobile 8 is clear and powerful in its own right as a standalone unit. In a small environment or as a street side busker you would have no trouble getting great sound with the Mobile 8 on its own. Mounted on a speaker stand and set to max usable power I was able to hear the Mobile 8 at a considerable distance outside and adding the sub unit to the mix gave the bass the extra power to carry that same distance without any real power loss. Playing with all three channels with the onboard reverb going on both channel 1 and 2 I was able to get the minimum five and a half hours of battery life—this was heavy into limiting with loud music. It’s very nice work by Yorkville.
The EXM Mobile 8 and its companion sub are a game changer for the audio professional on the go. I found myself happy with the battery life as realistically if you’re planning to run a show for more than five continuous hours you’ll likely plan to have a power drop as well, but for the times that is not possible the onboard batteries won’t let you down so I’m overall quite impressed with what Yorkville has built. The sound is clean and powerful and the scalable nature of the system means you can get a second set to run in stereo for an even bigger upgrade. At just shy of $2000 CAD for the combo set it’s one of the most cost effective portable PA solutions on the market, the fact that it will run on an internal battery is a fantastic value add the competitors are currently lacking. Yorkville has delivered on the new EXM series and I’m excited to see what further iterations they produce with the line.
Drew Robertson is an audio engineer, live sound tech and educator based out of London, ON.
He can be reached at RobertsonAudioPost@protonmail.com.