As a musician, a challenge that you most often have to overcome during public performances is to ensure your music sounds get to your audience in the best form possible. Powered PA speakers come in handy here. These speakers, also known as active speakers, differ from passive speakers.
The former come with inbuilt amplifiers and are popularly used in diverse settings such as sound reinforcement systems for the speakers facing the audience as well as the monitor speakers facing the performers. In addition, they are used by DJs during dance events and raves and in private homes as part of the home cinema audio system or part of the hi-fi.
What compelling reasons should make you go for powered PA speakers?
Let us stick to the facts. Powered PA speakers do not require separate amplifiers for them to perform meticulously. How is this beneficial to you? With these speakers, you avoid additional costs of buying separate amps for your speakers. In case in the middle of your performance one of your powered speakers blows out, your show will not be ruined since the remaining speakers will continue to function independently with their respective inbuilt amps.
On a different note, if you are using a powered mixer and powered speakers you can greatly minimize the chances of the mixer blowing in the middle of your performance. Most importantly, powered speakers, save space; you don’t have to lug around any external amps. So, if you are a touring musician you will find these speakers very convenient since they are a compact and smart solution. Lastly, the power of the speaker and the amp matches perfectly; thanks to the manufacturer’s inputs in ensuring the two are completely in sync.
Having seen the need and importance of power speakers, now you need some brief insights on what to consider when scouting around for the best powered PA speakers. These include, but are not limited to, the following:
Size of the audience or venue
Depending on the size of the audience and venues that you intend to use the speakers often, you will have to select speakers of the right size and portability in case you intend to travel frequently. Certainly the bigger the audience or the venue the more powerful your amplification mechanism will need to be. Things become trickier if you hold most of your events outdoors where there are more ambient noise and no surfaces to reflect back the sound. Number of instruments and microphones you will need to amplify.
Use as Front of House speakers
You will find that most modern speakers in this category can double as excellent stage monitors. This makes them superb bang for buck choices. This implies they can serve pretty well as backup Front of House speakers just in case the main speakers develop problems. These are not the only considerations, there are others, including wattage, price, and user-friendliness among others.
However, what we have highlighted here serve as vital indicators of what to look for as you select the best powered PA speakers for your performances. Let us now go through the highlight of what we have found to be among the best speakers in this category, starting with the most expensive down to the least expensive.
QSC K12 2-Way Powered Speaker
Pro: Don’t need to upgrade
Con: Single handle with only one if its sides
For a 1000 watt continuous class D power amplifier the QSC K12 2-way is the speaker to consider. The 1000 watt power of this speaker gives the most headroom to EQ all you need without compromising sound clarity even at high output levels. With this speaker, you will get an output higher than 4 or 5 average public address speakers. What will delight you most about these pricey speakers is that they come with practically everything you need. With this speaker, you eliminate unnatural “hot” or dead frequency thanks to its Directivity Matched Transition.
Yamaha DX R10 Powered Cabinet
Pro: Maximizes bass output (but sacrifices the frequency bandwidth)
Con: Limited low end
With a reasonably high budget, you can enjoy the high-level performance of the Yamaha DX R10. This high-powered speaker is portable which makes it ideal for mobile musicians. Rather than buying several accessories to boost your music performance, you can make reasonable savings by purchasing this pricey 1100 watt speaker that comes with multi-use flexibility.
Among the many capabilities that many musicians find inviting is the speaker’s midrange; it is astonishingly clear especially with the boost engaged. This speaker’s band pass design makes it hit louder like 3 regular speakers while sacrificing the really low bass of 30Hz and below.
Electro-Voice ZLX 12 P 12’’ Loudspeaker
Pro: Quite a versatile speaker
Con: Lacks Bluetooth capabilities
This is a powered 12″ loudspeaker that gives you a true digital feel, at least with its LCD display and a host of other digital functions. The 1-knob DSP control that comes with presets makes it easy and convenient for the user to set up. As you purchase this speaker be assured the durable composite construction makes pole mounting quite easy. What stands out about this product is that if you want a good and versatile speaker that you can throw on a stand in small venues, DJ some events or lay on the floor as an effective monitor, the EV fits the bill.
Mackie THUMP 15 Series
Pro: Effective in splitting highs and lows
Con: Low-quality construction
Getting a 1000 watt active speaker at the price of Mackie THUMP is a welcome possibility to many musicians. Again the sound production of this high-output 15” low frequency powered loudspeaker is superb. It has a number of digital capabilities that make it quite user-friendly. The lightweight of this package makes it a popular option for many traveling musicians. One of the facts that you might find very welcoming is that the speaker is packed with a ton of effective sound-enhancing tools and processing, thus you don’t have to spend an extra dime to buy expensive and complicated external processors. Its precision 2-way crossover is very effective in working with the appropriate speaker delivering optimum clarity and imaging.
Pro: Quite light to carry
Con: Poor sound fidelity
If you are worried about the extra weight that comes with most of the powered speakers available in the market today, you have a good measure of relief. Behringer B212D scores highly when it comes to its user-friendly weight; it is much lighter than you would expect, thanks to its intelligent design which blends the best features of powered PA speakers with a markedly lower weight. This makes them a perfect choice for your mobile Karaoke. The quality of sound emanating from the high power 550 watts and the revolutionary Class-D amplifier is very good; it won’t really disappoint you as you play in public events. If what you need is easy to carry active speaker that can deliver midrange audio quality, this product might be just right for you.
Alphasonik 15″ Powered 2800W PRO DJ Amplified Loudspeaker
Pro: Small size and light weight
Con: Poor quality speaker stand
Think of powered PA speakers/kits in this price range and Alphasonik powered speakers will be the best you can buy with many vital digital features that make your operation easy, convenient and fun. These include a built –in Bluetooth, FM radio, MP3 player with full controls among many others which give you the convenience of a true digital experience. The sound quality is average; simply refreshingly loud and clear. What’s even better is that you don’t have to worry too much about moving it around at the venue thanks to the speaker’s wheel equipped base.
LyxPro SPA-8 Compact 8” Portable PA system
Pro: Comprehensive digital applications
Con: Lacks outstanding bass
A low budget does not prevent you from getting reasonable 100-watt speakers that can deliver quality sound. LyxPro SPA-8 portable PA system take-me-anywhere size makes it ideal for small parties, churches, classrooms, and other similar small venues. For its price, you will like its digital installations which include Bluetooth, for wireless operations, SD card slot and USB input. The speaker’s ability to read memory devices to at least 64GB makes it a favorite among users who depend on digital memory in the speakers. For a speaker of this price range, the performance is acceptable.