Back in the day, people weren’t nearly as demanding to the quality of sound as they are today. Thanks to the treats of the technological age that we’re all living in, you can get decent quality for a very affordable price. That is exactly why folks want to hear the same level of “finesse” when they’re out partying somewhere. In this article, we’ll discuss the best DJ speakers that are currently available on the market. Capitalism is a great thing, as it allows numerous companies to “fight” with each other over every single customer, thus delivering the best possible deals. On the other hand, with so many brands to choose from it’s very easy to make the wrong pick.
Lucky you, because we’ve got a list of the finest DJ speakers out there that will make your life so much easier and more enjoyable. JBL, Yamaha, QSC, and Electro-Voice are the leaders of the industry, and we’ll check out what they’ve got to offer in a minute. For now, let’s just try to understand the basics, the 101 of choosing just the right DJ speakers.
There are things that you need to know, things you need to consider. It doesn’t really matter what kind of a DJ you are: a guy that plays trendy music on the weekend at the local nightclub or a girl that prefers to entertain folks at weddings, birthday parties, homecomings, and other celebrations. What matters is the sound quality.
Getting Technical And Learning The Basics
When looking at the specs, you might get both confused and frustrated. Most of the DJ speakers for sale come with huge lists of techy information that the regular musicians don’t really know the first thing about. Obviously, we all want to buy a solid piece of gear for the lowest price possible, and our budgets define the “space for maneuvers”, so to speak. As always, it is very well possible to pick just the right pair of speakers that cost less than the rivals but still deliver. Let’s take a look at the most important specs and see if we can use that information to make the best choice when standing in front of a huge pile of speakers with the most ridiculous names.
First of all, DJ speakers aren’t really that different from the regular ones. We usually use the term “DJ speaker systems” when referring to those big loudspeakers in the dance clubs and/or at weddings. That term applies to any big, shiny pair of speakers that can generate a loud enough sound for every single person in the room to hear. I bet you’ve also heard the term “PA”, which is short for “Public Address”. Only the OGs say that, though. Some people call them powered speakers, portable speakers, and even Bluetooth speakers. We’ll explain all those fancy words later, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves, ok?
The Difference Between High-End Studio Monitors And DJ Equipment
I have to stress out that studio monitors can NEVER be a part of your DJ equipment. Yes, they are pretty strong (50 Watts are more than enough to fill a tiny room with bombastic sounds), but they’re not suited for your DJ sessions. AKA the reference monitors, they are meant for studio work and usually stand only a couple of feet away from the sound engineer. These speakers deliver the highest possible precision, letting the engineer hear all the tiny details and fine-tune his mix accordingly. So, as you can see now, a studio monitor is not suited to perform the duties of a DJ speaker, simply because it won’t be able to “stuff” the room with music.
Furthermore, if you put too much pressure on it, meaning turn the volume knob to the limit and keep it there all-night-long, that can damage the fragile monitor. DJ speakers, in turn, are specifically designed to generate incredibly loud audio signals for long hours. You can kick the volume up and let the crowd enjoy it and never worry about hurting the precious electronics. With that said, don’t ever bring your studio monitors to a noisy party, as DJ monitor speakers simply don’t exist. Purchase a DJ speaker system and blast away at the gigs. Besides, pro equipment will make you look more “legit” in front of an audience, which will get you even more gigs in the future.
The Difference Between Powered And Unpowered Speakers
One of the most important things to consider when it comes to DJ equipment speakers is whether you’re looking for powered or unpowered speakers. They are also known as active and passive. So, a passive speaker can’t generate any sound on its own. It needs an amplifier to power it up, which automatically means you’ll have to buy one for your gigs. Without a doubt, this is a more sophisticated setup, as you’ll need to check the Watts of the amp and match that with what the speakers are good for. The good news is – passive speakers are significantly cheaper. The bad news is – you’ll need to carry more cables around and find just the right amplifier.
As for the powered DJ speakers, they always feature built-in amps. Plus, they come with a volume knob and equalizer controls, which makes things even less complicated. Just plug your active speakers to the right audio cable and you’re all set! Without a doubt, powered speakers are much more convenient and easier to work with. However, they are considerably heavier because of the amps (not all brands, but most). Plus, they cost more. Don’t rush into anything yet, dear readers. Consider all the pros and cons before doing something that you’ll regret later. After all, the right speakers will serve you for many years and become your best friends.
Which Setup Is Best For You?
Fact: with powered speakers, you always know exactly how they will sound at a party/club/whatever. On the other hand, with passive speakers, the sound will depend on the amp you plug them to, which complicates things further. No DJ out there feels “safe” until he/she knows how the setup is going to sound. Plus, for the amp to power the passive loudspeakers the right way, it needs to have twice the amount of required wattage. That way, the sound will be clean, stable, and loud. Say, if the speakers come at 300 watts, the amplifier should be rated at 600 watts. This is a rule of thumb; still, always check your equipment and make sure you’ve got the numbers right.
For most of the folks out there, DJ powered speakers are a better choice. First, they make traveling easier, as you’ll need less gear to deliver a performance. Second, you won’t have to worry your head about matching the amp to your loudspeakers. This is one of the biggest concerns, actually. At the same time, if you like to experiment with the amps, a passive speaker setup gives you that ability. And, as mentioned above, they (passive speakers) cost significantly less and weigh less. So, is it easier and more enjoyable to carry heavy speakers with built-in amps or light ones that require a standalone amp to work? Only you can decide!
Checking The Power Ratings (Watts)
This is simple: the higher the Watts, the mightier (louder) the speaker is. Again, for a DJ, it’s important to know that the gear can deliver a strong and loud enough output so that every single person at the spot can hear the music. So, how many Watts do you need? How much is enough? To answer that question, you need to take into consideration two things. First, how many folks will be at your gig; second, where will the “concert” take place. If it’s a relatively small room, a little bit of power can go a long way. At the same time, for an outdoor event, that won’t do.
For a big show involving several hundreds of people, you’ll definitely need speakers with more kick in them. A 200-Watt-strong speaker is perfect for a private house party with +/- 50 people. For a big dance event in a large venue and hundreds of excited fans of parties, 1000 Watts will suffice. As a general rule, you should always go for speakers with the most Watts. Who knows what your next gig will be like, right? It’s always better to be 100% ready for whatever comes your way than to rely on pure luck and/or the organizers that may or may not provide you with some decent speakers at the event. Make sure to come prepared – that’s the #1 DJ rule.
How Much Power Is Enough?
Say, with two 500-watt speakers, you’ll be able to satisfy a pretty big crowd (like 400-500 crazy high-school kids at the prom). One of the greatest features of active speakers is that they each come with a separate volume knob and you don’t have to control everything through the amp. Here’s the best way to do this: during soundcheck, set the individual levels right, and during the gig, just control the overall volume with your mixer. And since most low-budget mixers have no more than 2 outputs, your powered bad-boys will stick right in. For a quick setup, all you’ll need is a pair of speakers (or even one, depending on the crowd), a pair of XLR cables, and a trusted mixer.
At the same time, if small, private parties are your thing, consider going with passive speakers. Again, 1000/1200 Watts should be more than enough to fill up even the biggest room with sound. I personally know some guys that only work for smaller crowds and never agree to do bigger gigs because then they would need to buy/rent extra gear and deal with the hassle. Get a clear understanding of your potential audience. Go for durability, reliability, clarity of sound, and a good volume range.
The Woofer Cone Size And The Beauty Of A Subwoofer
If you want to be a professional DJ and surprise the audience with banging low-end, then you gotta find a pair of speakers with a solid woofer cone size. It’s measured in inches, and the bigger it is, the more high-quality bass frequencies your speakers can handle. The average size for a DJ loudspeaker is 8 inches. For tiny venues and music that doesn’t rely heavily on bass, that’s more than enough. Ten-inch and twelve-inch woofer cones will sound significantly better. A 15-inch speaker will make those bass frequencies sound awesome; it will also cost you more, but if bass-heavy music is in the center of your playlist, this will be a good bang for your bucks.
As a great alternative, you can “enforce” your relatively cheap DJ speakers with a subwoofer. Hands down, it delivers bass better than anything, because it was made for that single purpose. This way, you’ll take the pressure away from the speakers, leaving the midrange and the higher frequencies for them to handle. With a sub, you can easily go with 12-inch or even 10-inch speakers. This kind of a setup will sound even better than a 15-inch speaker pair. Then again, the subwoofer isn’t free and the additional cost is probably not something you’ll get excited about. Think it all through and make sure that it is vital for your performances. If it’s not, 12-inch speakers will do just fine.
What’s It Going To Cost You?
There’s no such thing as a free lunch – that’s an old saying that applies to our situation. If you see a super low-budget DJ speaker for sale, that means it’s a piece of crap. Sorry for sounding a bit too harsh, but that’s the truth. This isn’t a cheap piece of equipment, and you won’t ever be able to buy a professional-level powered loudspeaker for 50 bucks, that’s for sure. On eBay DJ speakers might cost even less, but we all know that there are more fraudsters there than decent folks. On the bright side, I’m happy to say that as more young fellas and gals are becoming DJs, the industry leaders are starting to make entry-level equipment that packs mighty Watts and decent sound quality.
For 200-250 dollars you’ll be able to get something fairly decent. I’m not saying that will be the best set of speakers on planet Earth, but it will be a great start. For most occasions, this setup will be more than Ok and will allow you to work your magic. Use it to save some money from your gigs and upgrade from there. That’s what most of us do! Then, you’ll be able to afford something in the $400-700 price range. If you’re interested in a more detailed review of the best offers on the market, scroll a bit down (we’ve got quite the list for you). Right now, I’m just trying to help you draw a realistic image in your head.
A Tiny Bit Of Info Before We Get To The Meat And Potatoes
We already talked about the importance of Watts for generating a loud enough signal. However, please be aware that most companies always talk about the peak power, and that’s not what your speakers will work on during your DJ gigs. No equipment out there operates without any “glitches” on the highest possible power. If you push your speakers too hard, they might get damaged because of the immense pressure. The number you should be looking for is RMS (Root Mean Square). Now, this mainly concerns the unpowered speakers, but do remember about this factor, because if a fuse gets blown, your speaker might fry – completely.
Another fact: most people think that passive speakers are outdated and can’t be used for big-time events. Well, that’s not really true. It all depends on the choice you make. Important note: never connect more than two speakers to an amplifier, because you’ll end up blowing that fuse or even “killing” your precious equipment. As mentioned earlier, try to match the amp to your speakers. An amplifier with too much “heat” will make the speakers distort before you turn that volume up to a proper level. The bottom line is – two passive speakers with a solid amp will cost approximately the same as two powered speakers. So, choose depending on your personal preferences and needs.
Getting Right To It – The List Of The Best DJ Speakers
Do you know who a “mobile DJ” is? It’s a person that never relies on gear provided by the organizers of the event and always brings his/her own portable DJ speakers. And you can never call a gig successful unless the PA speakers are solid. We spent a lot of time reading through the most popular forum threads, talking to real DJs and checking out the most popular offers on the market in order to deliver the most comprehensive list for you. Please remember that when we mention the prices, they are only for ONE speaker, meaning you should double that if you’re looking to get a pair. Still, it’s more than possible to get by with a single speaker, especially if you’re playing in small venues.
We’ll start with the best powered speakers and then move on to the leaders among the passive ones. And finally, we’ll discuss the battery powered DJ speakers that are becoming more and more popular. Personally, I’ll always take a good pair of active speakers over everything else, but I’ve also got a lot of friends that swear by the passive ones. I’ll let you decide what is best for you. It’s going to be a long night, ladies, and gentlemen, so, get yourselves a cup of hot coffee/tea/cocoa and let’s see what we’ve got to choose from. I really hope that you know your basics now and won’t be confused by the terminology. Ok, it’s time to roll!
The Finest Active PA Speakers On The Market
The Best 8” Speakers
#1 – Yamaha DXR8
As we already learned earlier, 8-inch speakers aren’t really that great when it comes to delivering the bass frequencies. Also known as woofers, they do handle the higher frequencies pretty great, though, offering clarity and a good balance there. With an RMS of 700 Watts (the peak is 1100W), the amplifier in this speaker is capable of great things. The Yamaha DXR8 is not that big but it sure can get loud. Plus, the extra amount of headroom allows it to work better with the tiniest details and nuances, making even the most average track sound like music to your ears. It’s a known fact that Class D amps aren’t very heavy, and the weight of one DXR8 is 29.8 lbs. (13, 5 kilograms).
Along with that 8-inch woofer, it comes with a 1.4-inch tweeter, and together, they make an amazing team. Furthermore, this speaker features a mixer with separate knobs for every single input, which makes it perfect for DJs. This is a true workhorse and the professionals love it for being reliable, sturdy, and for offering one of the best balances between portability and sound precision. Again, the fact that it can get LOUD while keeping the crispness and clarity is quite impressive. You can use this speaker to listen to music at home as well, by the way. Right now, you can get it for 549.99 bucks – that’s the street price. For 1100 dollars, you’ll get one of the finest pairs on the market.
#2 – QSC K8.2
Recently, this company updated its fine line-up of the K.2 speakers. The new series is just as great, and while all the industry-leading qualities are there, you’ll also find some significant improvements. With this speaker, the owners get a better low-end extension, max SPL, and more power to the LF driver (yes, they took some from the HF driver, but it didn’t really need that much). With all those changes, the K8.2 is one of the finest speakers for DJs, that’s for sure. Probably the most important improvement is the extended amount of bass. I’m not really sure how they made that tiny 8-inch LF driver pump more low-end, but I’m definitely grateful for that.
We get more bass without losing any of the mid-range clarity. Isn’t that worth the highest praise? The built-in DSP allows you to quickly switch between default presents or create a bunch of your own. This is great for configuring your speaker to the venue you’re about to perform in. Just like the DXR8, the K8.2 has a mixer with 3 inputs. And finally, it’s even lighter than the previous speaker – 27 lbs. (12.2 kilograms). In huge open venues, you may feel the lack of volume, but in smaller venues, this loudspeaker has got you covered. Unfortunately, for all those treats, you’ll have to pay 649.99 bucks, which is quite steep (but the speaker is worth every last penny, though).
The Best 10” Speakers
#1 – Yamaha DXR10
The bigger the woofers, the more low-end you get – that’s the general rule. So, compared to the DXR8 we review earlier, this speaker has more bass. For small indoor events, this is a fine choice; yet, for bigger venues that need more volume and bass, this bad-boy will lag behind the 12” and 15” models. If you’re looking for the best balance between power, portability, and sound precision, the DXR10 will become your new best friend. It comes with the same amazing features as its “little brother” but weighs a bit more (32.2 lbs. – 14.6 kilograms). It’s safe to say that the amount of bass this relatively small speaker pumps is quite impressive.
Yamaha is known for beating all the rivals on the market without making their equipment too expensive. The 700-Watt amplifier is still a fine choice, as is the 3-channel mixer. Summing up, I can say that the DXR10 is quite the crowd pleaser. Portable and with a great sound – that’s what it’s all about. The bass is good, the mids and the highs are good, and the price is acceptable. On Amazon, this speaker costs 599.99 bucks. And while it’s not what most of us the beginners can afford, it is definitely something to look forward to owning one day.
#2 – Yamaha DBR10
Yes, this Japanese company has taken over our list! Let me tell you right from the start that this is a much more affordable speaker and will be yours for just 399.99 dollars. So, what will you get with it? It weighs less than anything we’ve reviewed so far: 23.2 lbs. (10, 5 kilograms), which makes it a fine choice for the mobile DJs. According to the sales charts, happy reviews on the forums, and professional opinions, Yamaha hit the bull’s eye with this one. The 10-inch woofer is loud, and, again, if you’re constantly carrying your equipment around, this super-light speaker will bring a smile to your face every time a new gig appears on the horizon.
When it comes to the speakers DJs want them to be loud and portable. The DBR10 is both, even though the amp is only good for 325 Watts, which means it’s more suited for really small venues. Still, you get two channels on the mixer and pretty much every significant feature of the “big brother” – the DXR series. In small/medium-sized venues, you won’t feel like the DBR10 lacks power and volume. Thus, this highly portable speaker is probably the best choice for mobile DJs that always perform at smaller venues. Personally, I don’t know why you would pay 200 more dollars for the DXR10 unless you know bigger venues will be a big part of your “tour”.
#3 – QSC K10
Here’s the truth: if you can afford this speaker, you’ll probably never want to switch to something else (unless you desperately need a 15-inch woofer and a sub for some banging bass). Without a doubt, this is one of the best DJ speakers on planet Earth. Portability and power – that’s what the touring musicians need, and this model offers the best balance between the two. While K8 is a bit “weak” for bigger venues, and K12 is a bit too heavy, K10 is just what the doctor ordered. The crisp, precise, and steady sound is what has turned this company into a world leader in the first place, and it’s all here, in K10. The 1000-Watts-strong amp packs enough heat.
Volume levels aren’t a problem: the entire neighborhood will hear your music when you crank it up (don’t be afraid to push it – the protection will keep the speaker from frying). With a total weight of 32 lbs. (14, 5 kilograms), it’s also great for moving around. I know I just said that the 10-inch woofer isn’t that strong when it comes to the low-end, but when you switch to the “Deep” setting, you’ll be surprised by the increased amount of bass. Still, for some Hip-Hop and/or bass-heavy EDM, a subwoofer is a must. The street price for the QSC K10 is 989.89 dollars.
The Best 12” Speakers
#1 – Yamaha DXR12
For additional 100 dollars, you’ll get a bigger woofer and more low-end (the street price is $700). The amplifier is the same, meaning DXR12 won’t be louder than the 8” and 10” siblings. The controls, the mixer, and everything else is also the same. The increased weight will be a big turn-off for the mobile DJS (42.5 lbs. – 19.2 kilograms). Don’t get me wrong – the balance of quality and value is amazing, and folks from all over the world praise, love and respect this speaker. Furthermore, it’s durable, flexible, and delivers in every single aspect. If 12-inch speakers are necessary for your gigs (meaning you’re working with bigger crowds), make sure to check this fine offer from Yamaha out.
#2 – QSC K12.2
This is the biggest and the loudest member of the K.2 family so far. With this speaker, you’ll get a more efficient distribution of power, an improved floor wedge angle and more friendly DSP controls thanks to the LCD. Don’t worry: all those features that made the predecessor great are still here. Sound quality, reliability, and the rest of the classic treats are here to stay. The 12-inch woofer is, of course, stronger than the smaller ones and provides more bass with an overall fuller sound. At the same time, if you decide to use a subwoofer on your gigs, the user-adjustable crossover frequency will allow you to do that without any hassle.
The biggest downside of this beast is the price-tag (800 dollars). It weighs 41 lbs. (18, 5 kilograms), which is almost the same as the DXR12 speaker. Sill, that doesn’t mean it’s not a mobile speaker. Besides, all those happy reviews mean only one thing: QSC did a fantastic job and the technicians managed to outdo themselves. The bottom line is – if the trademark QSC clarity is what you’re looking for, but need more base, go with the K12.2.
#3 – Electro-Voice ZLX-12P – The Affordable Option
I bet you’ve heard about this company and are dying to see what it’s all about. The multifunctional DSP is probably its greatest part. First of all, the EQ allows you to fine-tune your speaker to perfection. Second, the presets are pretty great and will get you started. Furthermore, the “limiter” and “crossover” presets make it much easier to work with subwoofers. The 500-Watts-strong amp, the 12-inch woofer, and the 1, 5-inch tweeter turn the ZLX-12P into a very flexible speaker. Keep in mind that 125dB is the maximum SPL, which means for bigger venues, this isn’t really the best choice. On the other hand, for just 399.99 bucks, it’s a keeper for smaller places.
I mentioned earlier that it all depends on your personal needs. Don’t go for something expensive thinking that you’ll be happy with it. Think about the size, the weight, and the venues you usually perform in. While at 34.3 lbs. (15, 5 kilograms) this speaker is kinda heavy, the rest of the 12-inchers on our list are significantly heavier. As a powered speaker with a nice price-tag, the ZLX-12P is worth your while. Many pros claim this is the best bang for your buck.
#4 – Behringer Eurolive B112D – The Low-Budget Option
This is the cheapest offer on our list of active 12” speakers. You can get it for 250 dollars (and have a solid pair of DJ loudspeakers for just $500). Behringer always manages to prove that cheap doesn’t mean bad. DJs from all over the world love these guys for delivering solid quality while making their equipment affordable. The 12-inch woofer, 1, 35-inch tweeter, and the mighty amplifier (1000W Peak) turn it into a must-have. You’ve got a 2-band equalizer, a mixer, and a sweet price-tag. The speaker weighs 27.1 lbs. (12.3 kilograms) and sounds great, especially for noisy dance parties. For regular gigs, it’s just the right pick.
The only downside is that it’s not the most durable speaker in the world, but if you treat it carefully, the B112D will serve you for many years. Remember I told you in the beginning that for 250 bucks you can get a solid entry-level speaker? Well, as it turns out, you can get more than that with Behringer’s brand-new DJ portable speaker!
The Best 15” Speakers
#1 – Yamaha DXR15
As mentioned earlier, 15-inch speakers deliver the most low-end possible; sadly, they’re quite heavy. But for that low-end bang in big, respectable venues, they are perfect. For smaller, private celebrations – not so much. Rock bands really like them for being loud and pumping bass. This 800-dollar monster is yet another example of Yamaha’s excellence when it comes to powered PA speakers. For this kind of money, you won’t get a better sound quality or more features. The Bi-amp charges the 15-inch woofer and the 1.4-inch tweeter with 700 Watts and the DXR15 is good for 133dB (SPL), which is pretty loud, ideal for big venues.
Put a pair of these on DJ speaker stands and impress the audience with your setup. The 3-channel mixer allows you to connect three instruments to it (including microphones, of course). So, is this a dream speaker? Not quite: the DXR15 is heavy, just as you would expect it to be – 49.5 lbs. (that’s 22.4 kilograms).The enhanced low-end and the affordable price-tag (for a 15-inch speaker, of course), will satisfy even the most demanding musicians. Plus, it’s incredibly loud and the bass frequencies remain clear and pronounced when you drive everything to the limit.
#2 – Yamaha DSR115
This is another heavyweight champ on our list. With a 15” woofer, a 2” tweeter, and up to 1500 Watts of dynamic power, DSR115 means business. The DSP limiter allows you to really crank everything up without having to worry about the consequences. Fifteen inches means the bass frequencies will sound quite convincing and you’ll be able to handle bigger venues with lots of people. Among the best features of this speaker is Yamaha’s own D-Contour technology. Basically, it’s constantly on the lookout, fine-tuning the frequencies for the best possible quality of sound. That means it will sound great no matter how loud you blast the music.
As with other big speakers, the only downside is the weight. This mighty loudspeaker weighs 61 lbs. (27, 6 kilograms), partially because of the coated wood enclosure that protects it. The street price is 1000 dollars, and for the features that the DSR115 provides, this is a great bang for your buck. Without a doubt, Yamaha created a masterpiece with enough low-end for the biggest venues, superb precision on higher volume levels, and reliability.
#3 – JBL PRX715
The JBL DJ speakers need no introduction. This company is known for delivering top-notch quality for all tasks, including party gigs. For only $900, you get a 15-inch woofer and quite a special differential drive that makes the speaker equally light and powerful. With a max SPL of 136dB, you can rest assured that even the biggest rooms/areas will hear your set. The EQ is great and it will help you out in all kinds of different situations and setups. Probably the sweetest part is the fact that PRX715 comes with several inputs. How do you feel about a combination of 2 XLRs, 2 TRSs, and one RCA? Pretty great, huh?
The total weight is 47.5 lbs. (21, 5 kilograms), and the super-strong 1500-Watt amplifier turns this speaker into a beast. Sound precision at high levels of volume is what JBL is known for – the PRX series certainly doesn’t disappoint. Again, for $900, you’re getting one of the best possible deals, and with the company’s legendary reliability and durability, this speaker will serve you for many years.
#4 – JBL EON615
If you’re still looking for something more affordable, take a look at the JBL EON615. For 449.00 dollars, you’ll get most of the features of the big brother and be able to buy two of them for the price of one PRX715. The amp is good for 1000 Watts (peak), comes with a great EQ, and even features Bluetooth. I have to say that DJ speakers with Bluetooth support are getting more and more popular these days because they allow you to play music directly from your phone. The 12-inch version, EON612, will cost you even less (399.00 dollars).
#5 – Bose F1 Model 812 – The King Of The Jungle
Do you have $1199 in your pocket and don’t really know where to spend that kind of money? Well, why don’t you take a look at this piece of art? As a Line Array speaker, it can switch between four shapes, giving more room for your creative flow than ever. People are calling it the best speaker for DJs, and that’s the truth. It weighs 44.5 lbs. (20 kilograms) and comes with a max SPL of 132dB. The Class D amp is good for 1000 Watts (peak). Clarity and flexibility are simply the best on the market. The speaker features 8 2.25-inch cones and one 12-inch woofer. Together, they make magic happen. The plentitude of moving parts is the only concern, but nothing to be worried about.
#6 – Electro-Voice ZLX-15P – The Affordable Option
Most companies out there don’t really like to waste their time on finding exotic names for their speakers and prefer to stick with boring stuff like ZLX and add numbers to indicate the size of the woofers. That “15P” at the end means it comes with a 15-inch woofer. Compared to the 12-inch model, this speaker has more bass, and the 100-dollar difference in price is more than justified. You can get it for $499, which is half the price of the DSR we just reviewed. The 500-Watt Bi-Amplifier and the 1, 5” tweeter make sure you get a loud enough signal for the entire crowd. Forty-Two lbs. (20 kilograms) is quite heavy, but the mobile DJs are already used to that.
The price-tag is the biggest selling point of this speaker, no doubt about that. But the fact that the max SPL is 12d7B means you might have some problem with bigger venues. Still, even though it doesn’t have the mightiest amp either, the ZLX-15P has enough kick.
#7 – Mackie THUMP15 – The Low-Budget Option
This one is even more affordable than the ZLX-15P and can be yours for just 350 bucks. Phase correction is on point, making the speaker sound clean and crisp (along with driver time alignment). Besides, if low-end frequencies are your favorites, Mackie’s baby will surprise you in a good way. Don’t be afraid to really crank this speaker up, because the protection system will keep it from harm’s way. Furthermore, unlike many affordable options on the market, the sound quality won’t drop at high volumes with this speaker. Finally, THUMP15 weighs 33 lbs. (15 kilograms) which makes it highly portable. Honestly, this is the best choice if you’re on a budget but still want a 15-inch speaker.
The Finest Passive PA Speakers On The Market
The Best 12” Speakers
#1 – Electro-Voice ZX3-90
These guys have been around for many decades and know exactly how to appeal to the audience. ZX3-90 sounds great and the flexibility that the speaker comes with only adds to its overall rating. Along with the regular 12-inch woofer and 1-inch tweeter, it also comes with a 2-inch voice coil that makes everything sound marvelous. With a continuous power of 600 Watts, a max SPL that reaches 131 dB, and a balanced tone, this one’s a keeper. With that said, it also weighs quite a lot (43.7 lbs. – 20 kilograms), but the fact that you can mount it in several ways makes it all worth it. Put it on a stand, position as a floor monitor, or hang on a wall – the choice is yours!
If you’ve got the budget for a professional-level passive PA speaker, ZX3-90 should definitely be on your list of “suspects.” It can be yours for 949 dollars.
#2 – Mackie C300Z
When it comes to entry-level gear for musicians, Mackie is one of the kings. They offer an awesome mix of quality, reliability, and affordability. C300Z is one of the most popular passive PA speakers on a budget. For small venues, this is probably the best pick. A single speaker will cost you 350 dollars, and you’ll get a 12-inch woofer, a 1, 75-inch tweeter, and RMS that’s good for 300 Watts. At peak volumes, this baby might introduce some tiny artifacts, but on anything lower, the sound clarity will leave you speechless. If you constantly perform at medium-sized restaurants, coffee shops, and cute tiny art galleries, C300Z will make sure everything runs smoothly.
It does weigh 46 lbs. (almost 21 kilograms), though, which might be a problem for a mobile DJ. On the bright side, it’s unusually loud.
#3 – Behringer Eurolive B212XL – The Affordable Option
If you’re on an even tighter budget but still want high-quality speakers, check out B212XL from Behringer. This is the cheapest speaker on our list and will cost you $159.99. So, what can you expect from it? The Germans are known for their ingenuity, and this is a great example of that. It’s extremely light (24 lbs. – 11 kilograms) and is good for 200 Watts (continuous; peak power is 800 Watts). If affordability, portability, and reliability are your top concerns, and you’re not planning on filling up an entire stadium any time soon, then this speaker might just be what you’ve been looking for. Despite the low price, you won’t get distortion even on higher levels.
The sound is nice and clear: the 12-inch woofer handles bass like a boss, while the 1.75-inch tweeter takes care of the higher frequencies.
#4 – Rockville RSG12 – The Low-Budget Option
Wait, scratch that: The RSG12 is the low-budget speaker on our list, not the B12XL! For a ridiculous price of 79.95 dollars, you get sound quality and precision of the rivals that cost twice as much, if not more. It weighs 28 lbs. (12.7 kilograms), which makes it a portable speaker. It’s rated at 500 Watts (RMS; the peak power reaches 1000 Watts) and can fill up small to medium-sized venues without even breaking a sweat. The setup is quite unusual: along with the 12-inch woofer, RSG12 features 3 piezo-bullet tweeters and 1 piezo-compression horn tweeter, creating a very balanced, clear sound. So, if you were thinking about buying some used DJ speakers, better go with this one!
The Best 15” Speakers
#1 – Behringer B1520 Pro
At a more than reasonable price, Behringer provides a good line-up of features and specs that will suit most DJs. The 15” woofer and the 1.75” tweeter are quite impressive for this price range. For small/medium-sized venues, this is a great choice. The speaker comes with 300 Watts (RMS) and a max SPL of 96dB. The biggest downside is the weight (66 lbs. – 30 kilograms). This is by far the heaviest speaker on our list. So, it might be a problem to move two of these around for a mobile DJ, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t a great deal. For 330 dollars, it’s a God-sent. The bass frequencies are tight, the highs are solid, and the speaker can take a lot of “abuse”.
#2 – JBL PRX425
I already mentioned that JBL is one of the most trusted and recognized brands in the business. Now, the configuration of this speaker is a bit unusual: it comes with 2 12-inch woofers that boast the clarity and precision of 12” speakers but provide significantly more volume and bass frequencies. As a result, the PRX425 can easily fill out medium/large venues without the need for an additional subwoofer. Yes, the price-tag of $750 might be a bit steep, but not after you get to really know about its capabilities. Even if you push the speaker too hard, the trademark SC technology will make sure nothing’s damaged. With a max SPL of 134dB and RMS of 600 Watts, this one’s a keeper.
#3 – Electro-Voice TX1152
If you love Hip-Hop, EDM, and other bass-heavy genres of music, TX1152 will make sure you have enough of that. The 15” LF Driver is impeccable, while the tweeter takes care of the highs like a king. Max SPL is 133dB; Continuous Power is 500 Watts. The weight is 60.85 lbs. (27 kilograms). The street price is $849. The bottom line is – this speaker is loud, reliable, and sounds great. However, for a DJ that’s constantly moving around, it might be a bit too heavy. Still, we simply had to include TX1152 in our list, as it does handle both bass and treble frequencies nicely and is one of the best passive PA speakers on the market right now.
#4 – JBL JRX215 – The Affordable Option
Looking for something more affordable? Then check out yet another winner from JBL. The 15-inch woofer delivers tons of bass; the 1-inch tweeter will fill the room with high frequencies. And while the RMS is 250 Watts, the Peak Power is 1000 Watts, and this speaker isn’t afraid to be driven to the limit. With 129dB of max SPL, you can rest assured that the crowd at your gig will be satisfied. JBL always puts durability first, which means this fine speaker will serve you for many years, if not decades. I know I said in the beginning that passive speakers are significantly lighter than the active ones, but that’s not always true: JRX215 weighs 60.5 lbs. (27, 5 kilograms).
#5 – Peavey PVX 15 – The Low-Budget Option
The Peavey DJ speakers have been around for quite a long time. This company is known for the huge line-up of good-quality and low-budget musical equipment (including instruments). PVX 15 is always at the top of many “Top-10” lists simply because it delivers. The 15” woofer is capable of making those bass frequencies sound really big, while the tweeter ensures good quality above the midrange. The Continuous Power equals 200 Watts (the peak is 800 Watts), while the max SPL is 126dB. I’m happy to say that this speaker weighs less than all the previous ones: 47 lbs. (21 kilograms). Despite the cheap price ($270), build and sound quality are impressive.
The Best Battery Powered DJ Speakers
Ok, so, we’ve already talked about the finest active and passive speakers on the market, but what about beach parties, for example? Where are you going to plug those speakers? Yes, I know that there are vans specifically made for this exact problem (they’ve got generators built-in), but they cost a fortune and no beginner DJ will be able to afford them. With that said, the best option is the so-called battery-powered speakers. You might be skeptical and claim that these speakers aren’t really suited for big events and will only be good for a tiny room with very little people.
Maybe that was true a couple of decades ago when technology wasn’t so advanced, but today, there are more than enough offers on the market. And while it was pretty hard to find the best battery-powered speakers for DJs, we do have a list of suitable picks for you. As a friend of mine says, this is the next level for DJs. Alright, let’s check out the available offers on the market.
#1 – Soundboks SB2-2
This company claims that SB2-2 is the only battery-powered speaker that can satisfy a huge crowd on a beach or in a backyard. Even on a single charge, you’ll be able to blast your DJ set for up to 30 hours on max volume! When you buy this speaker, you’ll also get 2 batteries (LiFePO4) that will keep the party going for as long as you want. It comes with a mighty low-end and a crispy high-end, which is perfect for noisy parties. The speaker weighs only 33 lbs. (15 kilograms). Furthermore, it supports Bluetooth. You can get one for $899, and it’s worth every last penny.
#2 – Mr. Dj PBX5000BT
I bet you’ve already heard about the Mr. DJ speakers. Are you ready to learn what this one is all about? Even at higher volumes, it keeps the sound balanced and crisp. The huge 18-inch woofer will be able to fill up an entire beach with your sounds. Plus, the bass frequencies will get people dancing. The incredibly strong Class-D amp is good for 5000 Watts, which automatically means you’ll have more than enough power for even the biggest venues. Add a 5-band EQ and you’ll get one hell of a portable speaker. The street price is 400-500 bucks, and it’s one of the best wireless DJ speakers in the world.
#3 – Pyle PPHP1537UB – The Affordable Option
This is another fine speaker. It’s specifically designed to back you up during big-time outdoors events. Rest assured that 1200 Watts are more than enough to cover wide spaces. And, you’ll get enough kick in the low-end and precision in the high-end for your music to sound magnificent. Both the 15-inch woofer and the 1.75-inch tweeter are well-protected. And, the Pyle baby comes with a 3-channel mixer. If you’ve got a Bluetooth device, don’t hesitate to synch it with this speaker and stream your playlist. The street price is 200-300 dollars, depending on the retailer you get it from.
#4 – QFX SBX-412300BTBL – The Low-Budget Option
This monster comes with not one, but three 12” woofers and one 1” tweeter. With a max output of 4000 Watts, it’s almost as loud as a jet plane. If you’re a fan of DJ speakers with lights, SBX is right up your alley. The lights “dance” with the sounds of the beat, creating just the right atmosphere for a party. The mids and highs are solid, while the bass frequencies will rock any crowd. The built-in EQ allows to fine-tune the sound and boost the party vibes. If you’re a pro DJ and constantly perform under the sky, put this speaker on your list of must-haves. The street price is 200 dollars.
Ok, dear friends, that’s it for our huge review! I really hope that I helped you get your priorities straight and pick just the right DJ speaker to take your gigs to the next level. There’s plenty to choose from, and now that you know how to navigate through the various offers, it will be much easier to find something that fits both your budget and your needs. Make sure to check back with us more often for the latest reviews!