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JBL Pro Connect APP all but UNUSABLE with PRX One.

I've been gigging for over 60 years and I've done stage sound as well as been a recording engineer and producer for over 52 years. I've also been a software programmer, systems designer and consultant since 1965.

I've been very happy with my JBL Eon One (and a pair of Bose S1 Pros) and also own a QSC Touchmix 16 that I thought I could leave at home once I got the JBL PRX One. Now I'm not so sure - which is very sad considering the built in mixer and APP was 60% of my decision to try out a PRX One.

First I'm quite happy with the out of the box sound when my Taylor 714CE was plugged in. As you'll see, that's a good thing. Even my music partner's cheap-ish Taylor nylon string sounded great. So guitar sound, Check. REALLY good. Even better than the Bose L1M2 I used to own.

Now the bad news.

The user guide for the unit is way too opaque but I'm going to struggle through it some more. It would have been nice to have a professionally produced manual with more pictures detailing the processes to control the mixer in the PRX One. The controls are FAR from intuitive for anyone who's owned different gear -- maybe they resemble some other stuff that Harmon makes?

For instance, it's QUITE disturbing to find that holding down one channels button to mute ends up kicking the unit into channel strip mode instead of remaining in mix mode allowing me to mute other channels without using the mode switch. That was a fun thing to finally figure out AFTER my 5 hour gig yesterday!

Compounding the problem was that you can't see the LEDS very well in sunlight so I couldn't tell what mode I was in on stage. Need another mode indicator?

The EQ apparently does NOTHING. I HATED my vocal sound (with Neumann KMS105 and VERY good voice) and even though I spent a considerable amount of time today trying to EQ something better out of it, I'm probably going to have to use some outboard gear on the input to accomplish what I need done. More gear defeats the purpose of buying a PA with a “mixer” built in.

A 3 band graphic with such tiny range of cut and boost? Really?

And then there's the completely UNDOCUMENTED and nearly unusable APP. Here's the list of what I've come up with just in the last couple of days:

A) NO MANUAL!!!
1) It doesn't remember Phantom power setting - Why is that?
2) Touch controls often DO NOT WORK. Touch, move, nothing happens. Programmed to be way too insensitive? (EVERY other App in my pad works fine including the excellent QSC Touchmix App).
3) NO WAY to determine how much signal each channel is getting. No level meters, bars or whatever.
4) The level controls in the APP have a terrible contour (or maybe they follow the contour in the unit?). As they stutter up in the app it's no gain, no gain, no gain, no gain, WHAM! TOO MUCH GAIN. Then attempting to dial it down is a hit and miss affair that usually overshoots in both directions. The Touchmix App is a thousand times better as well as providing a pair of "nudge" tools for incremental changes that are more precise than trying to move a control with a finger.
5) Finally (so far) the EQ is doubly unusable in the APP. First touching any of the preset "buttons" (they ARE buttons, right?) does NOTHING. No change. (the presets are all terrible). Then trying to change any parameter in the bands pops up a nag screen that says "Would you like to load data to CUSTOM?" Yes or no. First, WTH does that even mean? (See A above). Touching No does nothing and touching Yes does nothing audible. Of course, changing the cut and boost in the unit itself does nothing I can hear. Of course, maybe the EQ in my PRX One doesn't work?
6) Oh, wait, not 'finally' -- when I downloaded the APP into my Android phone it connected to the PRX One and then LOCKED UP MY PHONE - I had to powerdown and restart it to use it as a phone again.

Today, just to make sure I updated the firmware in the PRX One -- that took 20 minutes and at the end was pretty scary for the last 5 minutes when the unit sat there with all of the LEDs yellow as it "rebooted" and no other indication (like in the display) that SOMETHING was going on.

PRX One is now at firmware 5.0.7
iPad Air is running ios 12.4.2
ProConnect App is v.0.0.4 (no wonder?)

Alas, the extra iPad mini I've had for years that's running ios 9.3.5 won't download and install the JBL Pro Connect APP - even though it runs the Touchmix App FINE.

Maybe wander over to the Soundcraft UI mixer programmers and get some of them to "do it right"?

Comments

  • Update: After digging into the almost unreadable manual, it appears that one has to DOUBLE-CLICK the master knob in single channel EQ mode in order to access EQ changes. I'll try that later today when I get to my studio.

    Then if I can get a decent sound, there's apparently a well hidden method to save the presets? Will that also save whether phantom is enabled or disables on channels 1 and 2?

  • (Does anyone from JBL read any of this?)

  • Totally agree with above post. I have experienced the same.
    And yes New product qualms, it only can get better with updates, which I look forward too.

    So glad you mention the Phantom power off thing , as I encountered this last night.

    When I got item out of box, required Firmware update. Went through the process via APP and after 5 -10 mins saying completed all the orange lights remained lit on the system. I waited few minutes appeared system was frozen, so I thought naturally PWR off and Re boot with the new Firmware update. Well the system went dead, nothing. Then after a few more minutes it powered up, Lucky I nearly sent it back. In hindsight the system was likely still updating even though the App said completed.

  • chetdudechetdude Posts: 11
    edited September 18

    I'm about ready to climb down the cliff to my studio and try out the double-click to get to EQ settings trick.

    I'll also try to figure out how to save the "scene" to see if the phantom on channel 1 is retained.

    It's too bad they didn't check out the excellent QSC Touchmix pad-based software or even their sister company's Soundcraft Ui mixer software before going in the (wrong) direction they went.

  • chetdudechetdude Posts: 11
    edited September 18

    Update - double-clicking the master knob at the correct time worked. Got a somewhat acceptable EQ on the vocal -- too bad it's only a 3 band EQ - I'm used to 5 band parametric in the QSC mixer.

    Then found the save scene function in the APP and hopefully saved everything including phantom setting. We'll see next time I boot it up. Apparently you cannot create and save scenes using the front panel so if you don't have the APP you have to start at the beginning each time you power up?

  • I just bought my prx one last week.. and i used it 3x tryin to figure out these settings. I cant stand the lay out of the app....i cant figure out the EQ on the speaker itself.. this speaker is very frustrating... in ready to return it.

    I said on saturday ill give it one more chance..played woith it for 2 hrs before the gig...still couldnt figure it out.

    Nothing on youtube for a "how to Video" or no support anywhere. Im ready to take to 10% restocking free and find a more useable speaker.

  • what really annoyed me is that I spend almost $4500 cnd on these speakers and i still have to buy the bags for the subs separately...$600 CND for bags id RIDICULOUS!!!!!

  • chetdudechetdude Posts: 11

    I tried using the PRX ONE for another gig on Wed the 29th. Spent another frustrating 5 hours listening to a terrible vocal sound - it was muddy even after desperately cutting the bass and boosting the highs and mids!

    Then yesterday I ran an A, B, C comparison of guitar and vocal run FLAT through my QSC Touchmix 16 directly to a Bose S1/Behringer Sub -- my JBL EON ONE -- and the PRX ONE - all set FLAT in my studio.

    The PRX sound was so muddy and lifeless compared to the other systems that I'm packing up and returning the PRX today for a refund.

    I thought that the PRX ONE would be a more powerful EON ONE with more speakers to throw that same great sound along with having more channels in the unit and with the ability to use the APP for fine/tuning the mix (as I can with the Touchmix) to cut down the setup/tear down time by leaving the Touchmix - extra XLR cabling at home and plug directly into the PRX.

    Alas it has been a disappointing failure. The APP is unusable for the purposes I needed it and the system CANNOT get a decent vocal sound no matter what I do.

    Maybe their major problem with the APP is that they chose to use bluetooth to transmit commands and responses instead of having a direct WiFi connection like the Touchmix APP does. I'm not sure if there IS a workaround for that poor choice.

    Maybe they could program a firmware update and improved APP that could utilize a WiFi UBS device in one of the USB connections (like QSC Touchmix) to drive the PRX ONE from a pad or phone. Of course, that would work only IF they enabled an electronic two way connection through the USB ports.

    For SURE they'd have to reprogram the APP for selecting EQ profiles and changing EQ settings. It's unusable for that now.

    I'd have to give the combination of the PRX ONE and the APP a 'D-' -- not nearly ready for "prime time".

    (IN Addition, I've received NO responses from JBL about these issues. Maybe they'll respond to a review on-line, eh?)

  • Agreed with everything said. I had the same issue last night at my gig first time using it. My duo partner has been running sound for years and he struggled to get it halfway decent. He is not a big drinker, but he took a shot at break time to calm his nerves. My Eon One was a true plug and play with a separate mixer. I bought the PRX One to have more power and move more air so the sound doesn’t diminish so quickly in larger outdoor situations. I’m hoping that JBL will a. create an instructional manual for the app and b. update the app to be more user intuitive. I’m not ready to give up hope. I agree on the channel EQ. Selecting an option does nothing in the app. Had to adjust on the unit itself. I also thought there would be a way to save multiple setups, but I can’t figure it out. Lastly with the firmware setup I did this morning (same holy crap moment) it won’t save when I rename a channel.

  • chetdudechetdude Posts: 11

    @cannonball said:
    Agreed with everything said. I had the same issue last night at my gig first time using it. My duo partner has been running sound for years and he struggled to get it halfway decent. He is not a big drinker, but he took a shot at break time to calm his nerves. My Eon One was a true plug and play with a separate mixer. I bought the PRX One to have more power and move more air so the sound doesn’t diminish so quickly in larger outdoor situations. I’m hoping that JBL will a. create an instructional manual for the app and b. update the app to be more user intuitive. I’m not ready to give up hope. I agree on the channel EQ. Selecting an option does nothing in the app. Had to adjust on the unit itself. I also thought there would be a way to save multiple setups, but I can’t figure it out. Lastly with the firmware setup I did this morning (same holy crap moment) it won’t save when I rename a channel.

    Aloha, cannonball. I bought the PRX ONE for the same reasons -- a bigger, more powerful EON ONE with more channels so I didn't have to also carry and hookup my QSC Touchmix 16 for gigs. I was also excited about being able to fine tune the mix from an APP on my iPad on stage the way I can with the Touchmix.

    As I've said, the APP is all but unusable for fine tuning on the fly. I still ended up having to go over to the PA to make any small level changes, etc.

    I could NEVER get any audible improvement using the EQ - even after figuring out the double-click trick. Only 3 bands (bass, middle treble) available for changing on the unit, apparently the center frequencies are poorly chosen and/or the amount of boost and cut is entirely inadequate -- barely audible. I've been a recording engineer for over 50 years so I kind of know something about EQ :/

    AFAIK, You cannot save multiple setups on the PRX front panel - ONLY In the APP. The non-intuitive way to deal with setups is to touch the "Save" link on the main screen in the APP, then give the current "factory setup" a new name, save it and then do your tweaks and SAVE AGAIN. Then the next time you power up the PRX you can touch the "SAVE" link then recall a setting. I'm not sure if the PRX remembers the last setting used or whether it starts off at the factory default when powered up. Another thing to remember is that when a setup is restored, the MAIN level is completely off. Time for the level setting tap dance in the APP or figure out how to get to the right screen to use the main level knob on the PRX ONE panel.

    I've packed up my PRX ONE for return to Sweetwater. I've asked them to let me know if the one I got is defective or if Harmon/JBL really did screw up with their design and programming of the PRX -- notably the digital EQ.

  • Worst app I’ve EVER used. Been a full-time engineer, part-time musician for 40 years. Obviously, JBL either put an intern on the app design, or did zero focus groups on features needed.
    I LOVE JBL, but will be returning this unit unless they MASSIVELY update the software AND firmware this week.
    My Behringer mixer w/Yamaha speakers sounds great. I guess I won’t be replacing that older rig anytime soon. Come on, JBL. Get your sh*t together. The sound is awesome, but totally unusable. I really had my hopes up considering JBL’s history of making good gear. But they sure dropped the ball on this rig. What a shame.
    Jim Kenzie
    Zeta Recording
  • Just loaded everything up and as stated above the app is worthless. I am running it on an iPhone 12 iOS 15.1.1
    Latest firmware load 5.0.9 and latest app version 0.0.0.6
    None of the sliders work, the EQ won't let me change presets, etc.
    Interesting, I changed the EQ preset on the unit itself but that is not reflected in the app.
    I like the unit, it sounds great, but this app is a huge POS!

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