Ibiza Light PORT12UHF-BT
If I were to mention the company Lotronic to you, you may not have heard the name before, however it is a European giant of DJ and Sound & Lighting products. It has been around for years and at various times has had its products distributed in the UK. One of the brands that you may have experienced at some point in your DJ career is BST. This has been going for years and I remember vividly thumbing through the Terralec and Greenweld catalogues as a lad and seeing the brand.
I suppose what I am saying here is that as I review this next product I am not throwing you an unknown, but a piece of gear coming from a reputable stable that has been producing quality products for years. It’s just the UK has not been the company’s main priority before. However, that has recently changed and you will soon start seeing a lot more of its products out and about. Lotronic has recently recruited two familiar industry faces – Andy Williams (formally of Vestax and Lamba) and Dave Swin (formally of Prolight Concepts and CPC) – to make sure the Lotronic brands are in stores nationwide.
Over the past few years, as reliability has improved, battery power has been increasingly utilised by many different industries, from power tools to vacuum cleaners and – in our own industry – from uplighters to PA. The PORT range, from Lotronic’s Ibiza Sound brand, sits firmly in this new generation of ultra-portable PA.
I think it is fair to say that this series of battery-powered speakers would rarely be used as a DJ’s primary system – that is unless they were just doing smaller pub-style gigs that only needed a pair of tops. It does, however, have numerous uses in the wedding market, as well as for children’s entertainment and pop-up gigs.
The product I have sat in front of me is the PORT12UHF-BT (catchy eh!). Where the name comes from should be fairly self-explanatory: PORT (the range), 12 (the driver size), UHF (it has UHF mics), and BT (it is equipped with Bluetooth). In the range there are also options with 8”, 10”, and 15” drivers.
The PORT12 (as it shall now be known) weighs 15kg, according to the box. However, I’m assuming this is the total boxed weight, as it seems much lighter. I would say it is more than 10kgs, but certainly not 15. It is therefore extremely portable and light enough to easily mount on a tripod stand using the internal moulded top-hat. Oddly, this uses a metal screw to tighten against the pole, so a screwdriver will be required; I’m not sure why the designers didn’t opt for a standard plastic thumbscrew.
The aesthetics of the cabinet are nice. It looks like some thought has gone in to the front design as it sports a distinctive moulded design instead of the usual full-grill layout. The rear panel is also suitably recessed, which bodes well for portability. It is so easy to damage the mixer panel of powered speakers in transit if the controls protrude from the cabinet. The speaker also has a suitcase-style trolley handle which is not only good for wheeling it about, but also offers further protection for the back panel.
On the subject of the back panel, in my opinion this is one of the most important aspects of any powered speaker, particularly ones like this where their portability is the main selling point. The back panel needs to be feature-rich, as having to use a separate mixer that then needs plugging in kind of defeats the object of a battery-powered portable PA. The rear panel of the PORT12 doesn’t disappoint, with plenty of connections and controls on offer. It also features a USB/SD card player, which means that you don’t even need a separate playback device. However, if you do want to use your phone or tablet, the player can also be paired wirelessly with any Bluetooth device. I didn’t use the manual to find out how to do it (as manuals are for wimps!) and it took me less than a minute to figure out how to pair my phone.
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The full review can be found in Pro Mobile Issue 82, Pages 84 - 85.