7 Best PA Speakers (May 2023)

The Best Powered PA Speakers


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PA System Guides

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Gone are the days when powered PA speakers, with their built-in amplification, were heavy and hard to transport. The best PA speakers in the market right now have advances in amplification tech that enables them to be built smaller and more efficient than ever before.

No more need for loud fans or large heat sinks. What this means is that today's powered PA speakers are easier to transport and mount and are more reliable than their earlier incarnations.

Powered PA speakers are also more versatile than a passive setup. They can be used as Main FOH speaker, floor wedge, delayed speaker, or even as an instrument speaker for keyboards, synths and e-drums.

Guitarists using effects with amp and pedal modelling also find use with PA powered speakers as a substitute for guitar amps. Note that they use a multi-fx pedal with amp modelling for this task.

Author & Contributors

Raphael PulgarRaphael Pulgar

I've been an audio engineer for 20 years specializing in rock and metal recordings, and also I play guitar and produce original music for my band and other content creators.

Best Budget PA Speaker

Behringer Eurolive B210D - 10" - 200W


90 out of 100. Incorporating 1100+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

Behringer Eurolive B210D Powered PA Speaker - 200W
At publication time this was the Highest Rated Powered PA Speaker Under $250.


  • Grille is easily dented - doesn't affect performance but can be unsightly over time


  • Great volume for the price
  • Easily portable
  • Surprisingly reliable

The Behringer Eurolive B210D is a powered speaker that can be used Front of House or as floor monitors. It packs 200W of peak power split into 180W for the LF and 42W for the HF drivers. All while being under 20lbs per speaker.

It also has integrated DSP that filters out lows progressively as you go louder to keep the signal clean. An internal limiter keeps the signal from overloading your drivers, extending their long-term reliability.

One thing the B201D is known for is its good power-to-weight ratio. This might not mean much for static setups but for equipment rentals, touring musicians and street performers, travelling weight is very important.

Having a lighter speaker without compromising power is always welcome in these situations.

A gripe that I have with the unit after encountering it in some venues is that the front grille gets dented easily. This is commonly seen when it's used as a floor wedge.

It doesn't technically affect performance, but it looks unsightly and reflects badly on the venue's upkeep. I've also encountered units that hiss but when I checked, it has more to do with the venue's electrical system. It could be avoided with better internal component shielding but I assume that would raise the price.

Fortunately, this issue is mostly cosmetic and the venues I've performed and teched for reported that it took years before the speakers needed servicing.

Overall, the B210D isn't perfect, but it's still the best powered speaker in its class with good power output and decent features. Just hope that the overenthusiastic guitar players that perform at your venue don't step on it during their solos and it'll last you a surprising amount of time.


  • LF Driver: 1 x 10"
  • HF Driver: 1.35" Aluminum diaphragm compression driver
  • Amplifier: Bi-amped
  • Output Power Peak: 220W (180W LF, 42W HF)
  • Frequency Response: 65Hz-20kHz
  • Maximum Peak SPL: 113dB
  • Crossover Frequency: 2.4kHz
  • Enclosure: Molded Plastic
  • Mounting: Pole Mount with 1.37" socket, Floor Wedge
  • Inputs:1 x 1/4", 1 x XLR
  • Outputs: 1 x XLR
  • Controls: Power Switch, 1 x Level Knob, High EQ, Low EQ
  • Dimensions: 18.3" x 11.5" x 9.6"
  • Weight: 18.8 lbs.

Rating Source Highlight

Website Source *Rating Value
Gearspace kodebode 90/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

The Best Active PA Speakers under $500

Yamaha DBR10 - 10" - 700W


97 out of 100. Incorporating 350+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

Yamaha DBR10 10" 700 Watt Powered PA Speaker


  • Only one Mic level input available
  • Could use a proper side handle
  • Enclosure can be prone to scratching


  • Super lightweight for the power it offers
  • Great all-rounder - handles FOH, Stage Monitoring and Subwoofers well
  • Reliable and comes with a 7 Year Warranty
  • It's also a good 'FRFR' instrument amp - works well with guitar and amp modeling
  • Professional appearance suitable for weddings and corporate gigs

For a powered speaker that weighs under 25 pounds, the Yamaha DBR10 is one loud PA speaker: putting out a massive 129 SPL with good clarity and at an agreeable price.

With a 10" main speaker you might expect that it would be a bit lacking in the bass department, but it performs reasonably well there too, with a frequency range down to 55Hz. It's the combination of portability, power and price that makes this such a compelling option and why so it's been so popular and well regarded since it was released in 2014.

And it's very versatile. I personally have used the DBR10 as an 'FRFR' (Full Range Full Response) amp with guitar modeling as well as a PA / FOH speaker and stage monitor. I consider it to be the best powered speaker to pair with guitar processors.

Yamaha DBR10 with a PRS SE Custom Semihollow to give you an idea of the size
Yamaha DBR10 with a PRS SE Custom Semihollow to give you an idea of the size.
If you're interested in the FRFR aspect of the DBR10, we go into much more detail in this extended review.

It has a mixer and two channels each with an XLR/TRS combo input and volume controls but keep in mind that only one of the channels can accept a mic level input (switchable between Mic/Line).

The second channel also has stereo RCA phono connectors for adding program music. I can confirm that you can actually use these at the same time as the line input. It's probably not the best way to do it but if you can balance the volumes of these inputs you could call it a 3 channel mixer.

Yamaha DBR10 Rear Mixer Panel
Yamaha DBR10 Rear Mixer Panel

As standalone FOH speakers, two well in smaller venues and medium sized venues for styles that aren't loud or bass heavy. The sound they offer is best described as clean, loud and surprisingly full. They are viable concert speakers

They provide reasonable bass for many styles but if you want some real 'thump' or are in a larger venue then you'll want to pair them with subwoofers. I haven't done this, but they have great reputation for combining well with subwoofers and the HPF switch works well for this purpose.

Although others say it can get scratched too easily, I've only experienced a few minor ones. It's a good idea to at least get a 'Speaker Tote Bag' for a 10" speaker enclosure like this one made by Gator to keep those classy looks. That particular bag has worked well for me.

The Yamaha DBR series has been around since 2014 when they brought some of the DSP magic from their higher priced DXR series to this more affordable range and they've been quite popular and well regarded ever since.

This is a fantastic, affordable, lightweight speaker that sounds great and offers a ton of versatility. It looks good and has been a reliable workhorse for many (including me) that is backed by Yamaha's 7 year warranty. It's suitable for use everywhere from practice at home, on stage as a monitor or an instrument amp, as the main speakers for smaller venues or coupled with subwoofers in larger venues.

The power at such a light weight is really the standout feature making it suitable for a wider range of situations. There may be bigger, better, more expensive powered speakers out there but at this weight the DBR10 is in a class of its own.


  • LF Driver: 10" Cone, 2" Voice Coil Ferrite Magnet
  • HF Driver: 1" Throat Compression
  • Amplifier: Bi-amplified Class D
  • Output Power Peak: 700W (500W LF, 200W HF)
  • Output Power Continuous: 325W (260W LF, 65W HF)
  • Frequency Response: 55Hz-20kHz (-10dB)
  • Maximum Peak SPL: 129dB
  • Crossover Frequency: 2.1kHz
  • Enclosure: Plastic
  • Mounting: Pole, Floor, Wedge
  • Inputs: 1 x XLR/TRS Combo (Mic/Line) , 1 x XLR/TRS Combo (line only), 1 x Stereo
  • Outputs: 1 x XLR
  • Controls: Power Switch, 3 x Level Knobs, Mic/Line Switch, D-Contour (FOH, Off, Monitor), HPF Switch (120Hz, 100Hz, Off)
  • Dimensions: 19.4" x 12.1" x 11.4"
  • Weight: 23.2 lbs.

Rating Source Highlights

Website Source *Rating Value
Gearank Daniel Barnett 98/100
Sound On Sound Paul White 98/100
YouTube Gear It First 96/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

QSC CP8 - 8" - 1000W


98 out of 100. Incorporating 200+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

QSC CP8 Powered PA Speaker
At publication time this was the Highest Rated Powered PA Speaker Under $500.


  • A bit lacking on the bottom end - see the CP12 for more bass


QSC is brand known for premium sound and build quality, and the CP8 lets you experience their brand of quality in a compact and affordably priced package.

QSC's renowned DSP lets you pick between presets for various applications and venues for ease of use.

Despite its smaller 8" LF driver compared to most in this price range, the bass is actually present enough to have a full range sound. The selectable contour with bass roll-off makes it ideal for use with subwoofers.

Note that there have been instances of it being erroneously listed at some retailers as having a 3-channel mixer. It has two inputs plus an AUX with only one of the XLR inputs being capable of being used for Mic level signals.

It is surprisingly loud for an 8" speaker, and has a nice crispy sparkle, but it does lack a little on the bottom end. But that's not a problem because it pairs nicely with sub woofers, so for those occasions where you need to go deeper, you can. If you don't want to deal with subs, consider getting the CP12 instead which although having the same amplifiers, is noticeably louder at the bottom end.

The polypropylene enclosure is solid, in fact I expect them to still be working just fine years from now and it seems QSC does too which is probably why they provide such a long lasting warranty but don't forget to register with QSC straight away so you get the extra 5 years added on.

The CP8 is a great entry point into the QSC's brand of premium pro audio quality sound reinforcement. If versatility and projection are your priorities at this price point, the QSC CP8 is tough to beat.


  • LF Driver: 8"
  • HF Driver: 1.4" Compression Driver
  • Amplifier: Class-D
  • Output Power Peak: 1000W (800W LF + 200W HF)
  • Frequency Response: 56Hz-20kHz (-6dB)
  • Maximum Peak SPL: 124 dB SPL @ 1m
  • Enclosure: Polypropylene
  • Mounting: 35mm Pole Socket, M8 Threaded Insert, Floor Wedge
  • Inputs: 1 x XLR-1/4" combo (mic/line), 1 x XLR-1/4" combo (line only), 1 x 1/8" (aux)
  • Outputs: 1 x XLR (mix out)
  • Controls: Power, 2 x Gain, MIC BOOST Push Switch, 6-way Contour Selection Switch
  • Dimensions: 16.2" x 10.7" x 10.1"
  • Weight: 25.5 lbs.

Rating Source Highlights

Website Source *Rating Value
Sound On Sound Mike Crofts 94/100
Production Partner Anselm Goertz 97/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

The Best Active PA Speakers under $1000

QSC CP12 - 12" - 1000W


97 out of 100. Incorporating 225+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

QSC CP12 Powered PA Speaker - Front & Back


  • I have no complaints


  • Excellent clarity
  • Versatile - good for either FOH or stage monitors

The QSC CP12 is a compact powered loudspeaker designed with portability in mind. It has a peak wattage of 1000 W and a Max SPL of 126 dB; making it loud enough for small venues or medium size conference halls.

It also features a built-in 2-channel mixer for single box operation. This makes it an equally capable floor monitor or keyboard amplifier. Do note that only one of the channels is capable of running at mic level gain and the aux channel gain is shared with line level at input 1.

Note that there have been instances of it being erroneously listed by some retailers as having a 3-channel mixer. It has two XLR/Line inputs with only one being capable of being used as an input for Mic level signals.

My personal experience with these 12 inch PA powered speakers is from a local venue I set up sound for. The speakers are able to handle a packed small venue with just two units. The versatility also allowed the venue to use the same unit for their monitors. Calibration was a breeze and the volume and clarity was good even during rock gigs.

If you're looking for a compact but capable speaker with multiple uses like mains, monitors or instrument amplification, the QSC CP12 is a good, versatile choice. I personally recommend these for small to medium venues that need a clear sounding speaker with good headroom and can handle more aggressive styles of vocals.


  • LF Driver: 12"
  • HF Driver: 1.4"
  • Amplifier: Class D Amplifier
  • Output Power Peak: 1000 W peak, 800 W (LF), 200 W (HF)
  • Frequency Response: 47 - 20 kHz(-10dB)
  • Maximum Peak SPL: 126 dB
  • Enclosure: Polypropylene
  • Mounting: Wedge, Pole, Floor, Yoke Suspension
  • Inputs: 1 x XLR-1/4" combo (mic/line), 1 x XLR-1/4" combo (line only), 1 x 1/8" (aux)
  • Outputs: 1 x XLR (mix out)
  • Controls: Power, 2 x Gain, MIC BOOST Push Switch, 6-way Contour Selection Switch
  • Dimensions: 20.3" x 13.8" x 12.7"
  • Weight: 30.3 lb.

Rating Source Highlights

Website Source *Rating Value
Sound On Sound Mike Crofts 94/100
Music Connection Barry Rudolph 92/100
Church Production Loren Alldrin 95/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

QSC K8.2 - 8" - 2000W


98 out of 100. Incorporating 275+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

QSC K8.2 2000 Watt Powered PA Speaker


  • Limited projection due to the small woofer
  • Also limited low end as well


  • Highly detailed sound particularly in the midrange
  • Versatile - performs great for both FOH and stage monitoring duties

QSC is the brand to beat when it comes to quality, reflected by the almost perfect ratings that a number of their products are getting. The K8.2 is one of their highest rated speakers, sporting an 8" speaker and a 2000W amplifier with a built-in 3-channel mixer.

Compared to the CP series, The K series adds premium speakers, DSP and cooling. QSC also adds a bit more power to the LF driver, which means a bit more low-end emphasis, which helps its small 8" speaker to sound fuller. These all add up to a tight and clear sound, and even helps improve long term reliability.

I am impressed by its detailed sound, especially in the midrange, which works very well for acoustic guitar with vocals - soloists and duos. Although the low end is a little limited due to the 8" woofer, it does pair well with subs. I don't do DJ work myself, but I've seen reports from DJs who really like the sound when paired with a good sub.

If you're looking for a nice speaker that sounds amazing - and viable for both FOH and as a stage monitor, then get the QSC K8.2. It shines brightest at acoustic performance venues where detail is favored over loudness.


  • LF Driver: 8" Cone
  • HF Driver: 1.75" Titanium Compression
  • Amplifier: Bi-amplified Class D
  • Output Power Peak: 2000W (1800W LF, 225W HF)
  • Output Power Continuous: 1000W (900W LF, 100W HF)
  • Frequency Response: 59 Hz - 20 kHz (-6dB) | 55 Hz - 20 kHz (-10dB)
  • Maximum Peak SPL: 128dB
  • Crossover Frequency: User Adjustable
  • Enclosure: ABS Thermoplastic with 18 AWG Steel Grille
  • Mounting: Pole, Floor Wedge, Flown
  • Inputs: 1 x XLR-1/4" combo (mic/line), 1 x XLR-1/4" combo (line/Hi-Z), 1 x 1/8" (Aux Stereo-in)
  • Outputs: 2 x XLR (Thru), 1 x XLR (Mix out)
  • Controls: 3 x Gain Knobs, DSP Controls, Power Switch
  • Dimensions: 17.7" × 11" × 10.6"
  • Weight: 27 lbs.

Rating Source Highlights

Website Source *Rating Value
ProSoundWeb Craig Leerman 97/100
Bonedo (German) Axel Erbstösser 90/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

The Best Active PA Speakers under $2000

QSC KW153 3-way 15" - 2000W


99 out of 100. Incorporating 150+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

QSC KW153 3-way 1000W 15" Powered PA Speaker
At publication time this was the Highest Rated Powered PA Speaker Under $2000.


  • Too big and heavy for typical band setups


  • Brilliantly suited to medium to large venue installation
  • Very good at all styles of music

The KW153 is another one of QSC's top rated PA powered speakers, enjoying perfect ratings at almost all major retailers.

This particular high output model comes with a three-way speaker design that can really put out some serious volume, sporting a 15" LF driver, a 6.6" MF driver and a 1.75" tweeter.

Unlike the JBL SRX835P this is only bi-amped, however the crossovers do their job and I don't think there's any lack of mid or high-end response; even at high volume you still get a great deal of detail and nuance.

I'm happy using these 15 ince powered speakers for any style of music and I've seen reports of other audio engineers using them for orchestra and classical style music which goes to show just how versatile they are. This is just one of the many reasons why the QSC KW53 is considered as the best best pa system for outdoor events.

If you're looking for premium quality 3-way 15" house speakers for permanent installation or large venues, then this is your highly recommended.


  • LF Driver: 15" Cone
  • MF Driver: 6.5" Mid Range Cone
  • HF Driver: 1.75" Titanium Diaphragm Compression
  • Amplifier: Bi-amplified Class D
  • Output Power Peak: 2000W (1000W LF, 1000W HF)
  • Output Power Continuous: 1000W (500W LF, 500W MF/HF)
  • Frequency Response: 35 Hz – 18 kHz (-6dB) | 33 Hz – 20 kHz (-10dB)
  • Maximum Peak SPL: 134dB
  • Crossover Frequency: DSP Controlled
  • Enclosure: 15mm Painted Birch Plywood
  • Mounting: Pole, Fly
  • Inputs: 1 x XLR/TRS Combo (Mic/Line), 1 x XLR/TRS Combo (Line), 2 x RCA
  • Outputs: 1 x XLR (Line), 2 x XLR (Direct)
  • Controls: Power, Gain A & B, Input Gain (0 dB / 12 dB / 24 dB / 36 dB), LF Mode (Ext Sub /Norm/DEEP), HF Mode (Flat/ Vocal Boost), Front LED (On /Off/Limit)
  • Dimensions: 43.1" × 18.5" × 16.8"
  • Weight: 87 lbs.

Rating Source Highlight

Website Source *Rating Value
Audiofanzine stompboxjon 100/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

JBL SRX835P 3-Way 15" - 2000W


97 out of 100. Incorporating 125+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

JBL SRX835P Powered PA Speaker 15" - 2000W


  • Heavy - not great for portable setups


  • Great for fixed installations
  • Good balance of projection and frequency response across the range

The JBL SRX series secures a spot in this guide with the top rated SRX835P, a 3-way powered speaker with 15" woofer, 6.5" midrange driver and 3" tweeter.

The three speakers built-into this unit are each powered by dedicated Crown amps, all of which have a power rating that adds up to 2000 watts. 3 way powered speakers are better at spreading frequencies, and the SRX835P is a great example, very good at handling of lows, mids and highs even at high volume levels. I'm happy putting any type of music through these from acoustic acts to heavy metal bands.

It also features Ethercon connectivity that lets you get the benefit of HiQnet networking software, and is compatible with multiple mounting types - you can stand, hang or fly them (if your supporting rig is strong enough).

All these features are packed inside a traditional and robust plywood enclosure, which is great if you're a traditionalist when it comes to enclosures, but it does add weight to the speaker.

There's a reason why so many users are giving the JBL SRX835P 5-star ratings - should be at the top of your list if you're looking for a solid fixed speaker for a medium to big size venue.


  • LF Driver: 15"
  • MF Driver: 6.5"
  • HF Driver: 3"
  • Amplifier: Tri-Amplified
  • Output Power Peak: 2000W
  • Output Power Continuous: 1500W
  • Frequency Response: 33Hz-21kHz (-10 dB)
  • Maximum Peak SPL: 137 dB (1m)
  • Crossover Frequency: 330Hz, 2.4kHz
  • Enclosure: 18mm Plywood
  • Mounting: Pole, Floor Wedge, Fly
  • Inputs: 2 x XLR/TRS Combo (mic/line)
  • Outputs: 3 x XLR
  • Controls: Ch1, Ch2, Master
  • Dimensions: 38.74" x 21.4" x 18.74"
  • Weight: 85 lbs.

Rating Source Highlights

Website Source *Rating Value
ProSoundWeb Nathan Riddle 98/100
AskSound Annette Boyd 96/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

Things To Consider Before Buying Powered PA Speakers

What is the ideal LF Driver / Speaker Cone Size?

The speaker cone size refers to the size of the LF (Low Frequency) Driver - AKA Woofer. Generally, smaller woofers tend to emphasize the mids, while bigger ones offer more bass. Compact 8" loudspeakers work particularly well with sound sources that are not bass heavy, like vocals and guitars.

As you add more bass heavy instruments into the signal chain, like keyboards, bass guitars and drums, you'll need bigger speaker sizes. 10" to 12" PA speakers should be enough for most small group/band settings. The 12 inch powered speaker is the go-to size for most live performance venues.

On the other hand DJs and Electronic Music enthusiasts prefer bigger 15" speakers for the extra low end they provide. If you are looking for more low end, you can consider getting a PA subwoofer.

What Output Power Rating and Max SPL do I need?

Since powered PA speakers have built-in amplifiers, you don't have to worry about properly matching the speaker to the amp like you would if you opted for passive speakers. So what we have to focus on is output power, which is a numerical representation of the speaker's headroom and projection.

There are two types of power output ratings that are commonly listed by manufacturers and retailers: Continuous (RMS) and Peak (Dynamic).

Continuous (sometimes interchanged with RMS) is the better representation of how powerful a speaker really is, because it specifies the wattage in which it can operate safely for long periods.

Peak (sometimes interchanged with Dynamic) refers to short volume/power bursts that speakers can handle. It points to the upper limit of what speakers can do and as such is not a good standard to use. 200 to 500 Watts of Continuous power should be enough for most small venues, while upwards of 500W are meant for medium to large size venues.

Max SPL (Sound Pressure Level) is also an important factor to consider when it comes matching speakers with venue size. The general rule is that higher the max SPL rating, the more space is covered by the speaker. Note that you can implement multiple outdoor PA speakers in strategic positions for covering larger venues.

What about portability?

The integrated amplifier found inside powered speakers adds weight and some bulk, as such they are generally heavier than passive speakers.. So it's important to consider weight and portability features, especially when you change venues regularly. Important features like handle location and size should be taken into consideration, you don't want to end up buying a great sounding speaker that you can't carry around, or you can't fit inside your vehicle.

While self powered speakers are heavy, your overall rig will be lighter because you don't have to standalone amplifiers.

What is DSP and do I need it?

Many powered speakers come with built-in DSP (Digital Signal Processors) providing various advantages that include smart limiters to protect the speaker from overload/clipping. Some even use DSP to tweak the sound to match the acoustics of rooms, allowing for more versatile placements. While it's better to do EQ adjustments on the mixing console, making adjustments at the speakers can be handy in certain situations and venues. Note that cheap powered speakers won't have this type of feature.

Do I need a built-in mixer?

Some powered speakers can handle two or more inputs and have dedicated gain/volume controls, much like a Mixing Board. These speakers can double as a basic PA System for solo performers and singer songwriters who play in smaller venues. Be warned though that while many of these mixers include two XLR/Line combo sized inputs, one of these is usually only a line level input so check this carefully if you're looking to connect two microphones.

How do I know if a Powered PA Speaker is reliable?

The more components a device has, the risks of having problems increases, and in that sense, Passive Speakers are more durable. Still, modern build quality continues to improve, so much so that reliability is not much of a concern when it comes to powered speakers. Even Line Array Speakers are now very solid and reliable. Still, regardless of how solid the exterior is, there's no substitute for careful handling and transport.

Best Powered PA Speaker Selection Methodology

The first edition was published in 2016, and the current edition was updated on May 1, 2023.

For this edition, we conducted an initial survey of major retailers in the USA and placed 84 active speakers on our short-list for closer examination - you can see them in the Music Gear Database. We only included models priced below $2,000 and excluded those that are designed only for fixed installations.

Next, we gathered relevant store ratings, written reviews, video reviews and forum discussions about each one - including the latest market feedback. We processed over 15,100 of these data sources using the Gearank Algorithm which gave us the rating scores out of 100 that we used to rank the speakers appropriately. The highest rated of them are featured in this guide divided into three main categories: Sub $500, Sub $1000 and Sub $2000, along with a budget friendly option. As always, we've included detailed descriptions and specifications for each powered speaker, along with their strengths and weaknesses as reported by actual users. For more information about our methods see How Gearank Works.

For further discussions, or to recommend your favorite powered PA speaker to other readers, scroll down to the comments section.

About the Author and Contributors

Here are the key people and sources involved in this guide's production - click on linked names for information about their music industry backgrounds.

Lead Author & Researcher

Raphael PulgarRaphael Pulgar

I've been an audio engineer for 20 years specializing in rock and metal recordings, and also I play guitar and produce original music for my band and other content creators.

Although I'm more of a studio engineer, I have years of technical and creative experience with live sound. I have setup and used some of the best PA speakers and systems, and I've also taught seminars on how to set them up for live performances.


Daniel Barnett: Yamaha DBR10 Review.
Jason Horton: Editing and Illustrating.


Main/Top Image: Created by Gearank.com using photographs of the Mackie Thump15A, QSC K12.2 Powered PA Speaker and Electro-Voice ZLX-15BT Powered PA Speaker.

The individual product images were sourced from websites, promotional materials or supporting documentation provided by their respective manufacturers except for the additional Yamaha DBR10 photos which were taken by Daniel Barnett.


We don't have one yet, but we

We don't have one yet, but we are currently revising our publishing schedule and I'll add that to the list of topics to consider.

Here at Gearank.com we don't

Here at Gearank.com we don't do head-to-head comparisons, we primarily do guides to an overall category.

However, if anyone wants to provide their thoughts on Bose F1 vs EVOX 12 here in the comments, they are certainly welcome to.

What about the Yamaha DBR12

What about the Yamaha DBR12 under $500? Alto TX15? The alto is $200 to $250

The Alto Professional

The Alto Professional Speakers are the best. This list is wrong!

Hello Dynes,

Hello Dynes,

We've processed three powered speakers from Alto Professional's lineup and they're not yet rated high enough to be included, compared to the ones listed.

You can see the scores of the Alto Professional speakers on the link below:

Hi Alexander,

Hi Alexander,
Can you recommend to me the best powered speakers below $1000 for my MX61 Yamaha Keyboard. In terms of clarity of sounds specially the "bass" part of the keyboard. I came across this demo on youtube and I like the sound of the grand piano, I want to know what kind of speakers they are using. Thanks for your help.

Hi Jess,

Hi Jess,

All the powered speakers listed here should be able to give you the clarity that you're looking for, as long as you keep the volume to a reasonable level. Go for 12" or even 15" speakers if you want deeper bass sounds.

If you can post a link to the youtube video demo that you liked, maybe we can help in figuring out the gear used.

If you cant hear the

If you cant hear the difference between a QSC K10 and ANY new JBL go back to guitar center and buy whatever the guitar player working in the "pa" department tells you to buy.

Not sure what you mean but I

Not sure what you mean but I A/Bd my QCS153 and JBL PRX835 and traded in the QSC for the 835. The QSC was too harsh in the highs and loud volumes. The PRX is much warmer and more pleasing to the ear. Even my soundman, a huge QSC guy had to admit that at the end of the night he had less ear fatigue{ We have a Rock Band } and we get nothing but compliments on our sound. QSC was at the top for a long time. Not anymore.

Have you guys reviewed the

Have you guys reviewed the FBT range of active speakers? They seem to be getting some attention.

FBT weren't included when we

FBT weren't included when we produced this guide because they weren't widely available from major online music gear retailers in the USA. We'll check to see if that has changed when we next update this guide.

Great review here but, I

Great review here but, I question the thoughts on SPL levels for the EV ZLX series. While claiming the speakers are not loud, the experience with using these as mains, have totally left us speechless on how well the ZLX have performed. Plenty of sound, plenty of volume. Realizing they are not ELX or ETX, they still hold their own in this price range as the best affordable speaker.

I'm sure you've heard about

I'm sure you've heard about Carvin, in the San Diego area. What do you guys think of their loudspeakers, in terms of quality, performance, and value?

Thanks for your thoughts!

Thanks for bringing up Carvin

Thanks for bringing up Carvin. I have personal experience with some of their gear, including PA Speakers, and in my opinion, both the sound and build quality are really good.

However, Carvin speakers aren't widely available online (they're mostly only available through their own store) and don't have a lot of independent review sources, so even though I personally like their products there isn't sufficient data for us to provide a rating at this time.

Seriously, Bose?

Seriously, Bose?

While the guide was looking good, and having used many of the speakers here especially the QSC's with awesome results. The inclusion of Bose here destroyed your credibility. Most of us in pro audio know that Bose is a marketing company that makes lousy speakers, and decent headphones and clock radios.

This is another prime example of their bogus "Better sound through research" marketing. The point of line arrays is that they cut the inverse square law of signal decay as you move away from the speaker in half truly "Throwing farther". However the requirement for that to work is the length of the array. In an array that in this case is 26" long is going to have the 1/2 inverse square law decay rate from about 512Hz to 20KHz, but a full inverse square law decay rate from 512Hz down to the low cutoff of the woofer.

So what does that mean? If you EQ the speaker in one spot to sound good, but as you move closer everything from 512Hz and lower will increase at a rate of 1/2 inverse square. And inversely as you move farther away everything below 512Hz will decrease at 1/2 of the inverse square law. Now you have an arc where at one distance away from the speaker it sounds right. If you have two speakers, now there is only one place where it sounds good, and the only person that gets to enjoy it is the soundboard operator.

Why do you think "real" line arrays are so long? Even with that length, we still have that problem with our largest touring arrays.

Don't believe the hype.

Educate yourself about line arrays:



Thank you for your detailed

Thank you for your detailed comments on line arrays Ryan.

We don't see our role here at Gearank.com as being a participant in the debates over which technological approaches are superior to others, but we are happy for people like yourself to carry on that debate.

We do however try to make our guides as useful as possible by covering all the prominent technologies and brands that are currently in use.

The ratings we provide are a measure of user satisfaction, or to put it another way, they are a statistical analysis of market sentiment. The Bose F1 system continues to get very positive reviews from customers - in fact I just reprocessed their Gearank score and it went up from 92 to 94 as a result of the latest customer feedback.

For a better understanding of this process please read How Gearank Works.

Disclosure: Although Bose is not currently a sponsor Gearank.com they have been an advertiser and sponsor over the last decade of GuitarSite.com which is owned by Gearank.com's parent company Hitsquad Pty Ltd.

Hi EP - thanks for asking

Hi EP - thanks for asking about them because we did examine the DXR range and included the 15" version in the guide above, but it appears we forgot to add the rest of them to our public database.

I've just added them and updated their Gearank scores. The 8" version still isn't as popular or as highly rated as the others, but both the 10" and 12" versions have increased their Gearank scores to 95.

You can now see the full Yamaha DXR range here in our Music Gear Database.

Curious how the TurboSound I

Curious how the TurboSound I series stack up with the others. Any chance of including them in the ranking?

Sorry did a typo, it's the

Sorry did a typo, it's the TurboSound IQ8/IQ10/IQ12/IQ15 powered speakers that I'm interested in.

No problem - I wanted to

No problem - I wanted to process the Gearank scores for both the iQ and iX series so you got them both anyway!

Back when we published this

Back when we published this guide in January, and again in April when I re-checked, the Turbosound iX range didn't have enough rating/review sources for us to rate them - but the early reports were positive so I made them my Editor's Pick at that time.

I checked again today and there are now enough sources of information to produce a Gearank score for both the 12" and 15" iX versions, so as of this moment we have the following results...

Personally I'm surprised the iX series hasn't gained more attention because when you consider that most people who have used and rated them have been very positive, they look like fairly good value to me at their current $349 & $449 price points.

I've also processed the higher priced iQ range and here are those results...

There seems to be a limited amount of talk about the Turbosound iX/iQ series at the moment, but here's a few discussions that do provide some useful information:

Found your article/review

Found your article/review while searching for a compact PA system. The Turbosounds intrigued me greatly. I am now really considering the iP2000 Array system. Have any thoughts on that particular series? Thanks.

Hi Xela - we haven't rated

Hi Xela - we haven't rated the Turbosound iNSPIRE iP2000 yet but the category of compact PA systems is on the list of topics we're considering covering so thanks for letting us know about your interest.

This list is utter crap....

This list is utter crap.....no mention of EV ETX or EKX,QSC KW series....but Mackie Thump and Behringer Eurolive made it? Come on man,this is 2016....Do proper research before compiling a list such as this.....Thank god I don't have to depend on this I fo some one people on here!

I can understand why you feel

I don't agree with your assessment Gerard, but I can understand why you feel the way you do about this guide because back in January 2016 when we published it, less than 4 weeks after we opened the site to the public, we weren't yet publishing the Methodology section in our guides which points out the selection criteria we used (here's a recent guide with the Methodology section included).

At that time the EV ETX and QSC KW series didn't meet the pricing/availability criteria we were using.

The EV EKX-12P & EKX-15P did meet the criteria however they simply didn't score high enough to be included at the time - part of the reason was that those speakers were still relatively new and there were very few reliable rating sources available for them back then.

Now that more than 6 months have elapsed since this guide was published, many more customer reviews, forum discussions and expert reviews have become available, so today I processed both EKX powered speakers and made them available in our public database:
Electro-Voice EKX-12P
Electro-Voice EKX-15P

If we were to redo this guide today the EKX-12P still wouldn't have high enough ratings to be included, but it's possible the EKX-15P might make the list.

Here's a list of all the Powered PA Speakers currently in our public Music Gear Database.

For a better understanding of Gearank please see How Gearank Works.

Wow please do your research

Wow please do your research dude. Used to be a EV and JBL fan many years ago but QSC beats EV, jbl and cerwin vega. Used to use vega when I used to DJ back in the day but now I don't even consider them!

Neither QSC, nor has any

No one, including QSC, has paid us either to write a guide on a particular topic or to be included in any of our gear guides.

At the time of writing Sweetwater is sponsoring this guide - this gives them exposure including their logo and links to their website but they do not determine which products are included as you can see from the fact that not all of the products mentioned are sold by them.

Each of the products listed above, apart from the Editor's Pick section, has one of the top 5 Gearank scores in their category of all the powered PA speakers in our database.

If you believe there is a powered speaker that should be added to our database then please let us know.

For now, there aren't enough

For now, there aren't enough reviews of this speaker to make a proper recommendation.

Hi, forgot to mention in my

Hi, forgot to mention in my previous question that the setup will be used for a light jazz trio consisting of double bass keyboards and drums. Thanks

Hi, really appreciate the

Hi, really appreciate the review. Wondering which stereo set up/2 powered speakers you would recommend for the truest representation of the source, with special emphasis on best ratio between clean (mud/cloudy free) bottom end and portability(light weight, no more than 30lbs each), for smallish venues of say around 50-80 people capacity. Price is not an issue.TIA

Having good bottom end and

Having good bottom end and portability is a rare combination. I'd recommend the QSC K8 as it falls within your weight limit at 27lbs, but it may not have enough low end. The QSC K12 gives you more bottom end but is almost twice as heavy. The QSC K10 is a good in between, and should have enough low end for a jazz trio.

I would like to recommend the

I would like to recommend the Cerwin Vega P-Series.

I have 16 subs, 6 x 15'' tops & 4 x 10'' tops.

I also have for Yamaha DXR 8's which is why I am writing this comment.

The best thing about the Cerwin Vega's other than the sound is the front light limiter fo me. The sound is incredible, much better that the electro voice and Yamaha's.

Yamaha's cannot be used without the high pass filter switch set in the middle setting and when it is turned off it doesn't sound good at all.

The PX1000 wipes the floor with yamaha for sound quality.

The subs I have never yet had a problem with them for the 3 years I baught them other than fans breaking and changing them.

I have had problems with 2 15" tops and no problems with the 10" tops but they are just 1 year old. The tops woofer didn't work on 2 occasions and needed to be sent in for service. Not sure what the problem was as I just send them to the shop for repair and they came back working again.

Only bad thing about the subs is the handles are awkward on the wrist when lifting with 2 people.

I haven't heard the Bose or QSC but I've never been a fan of Bose speakers.

I know that the P-Series is much much better than some of the speakers you have chose as your top 10.

We appreciate your personal

We appreciate your personal recommendation on the P1000. I've read good things about it as well, but unfortunately there aren't enough reviews to include it in this list. This may not indicate poor quality, but it does indicate low market performance - or at the very least, users were too busy to commend the product.

Hey ur reviews are great! I'm

Hey ur reviews are great! I'm a one man band (a wedding singer) & perform at medium size venues for approx. 100-400 people. I've shortlisted a few brands. Would really appreciate if u could please provide an honest feedback on what would work best for my usage:
Order of my preference
1. QSC K12 12" Powered PA Speaker 1000W
2. JBL EON615 - 1000W 15" 2-Way Powered Speaker
3. RCF EVOX 8 or 12 (if I get a good price)

How would u compare/rate the Bose L1S with B2 bass unit, I know they r expensive but are they as powerful as the above listed brands?

I also hear of the Fender Passport Venue Speakers. Any feedback?

Would appreciate ur advise, as I'm thoroughly confused. cheers!

The QSC K12 is highly

The QSC K12 is highly recommended, with its proven acoustic and vocal friendly sound. Based on ratings, the QSC K12 trumps the JBL EON615, so that's an easy pick right there, especially in your case where the speaker needs to be of high quality and easier to carry around.

I've read good things about RCF EVOX speakers as well as the Bose L1S, but not enough to make recommendations, for now. Maybe in the future when we've researched Portable PA systems some more. [NB: We published a comprehensive guide to Portable PA systems on Dec. 23, 2016. - Ed.]

The Fender Passport Venue is definitely worth considering, given its portability and built-in mixer features, in case the father of the bride (or the entire family) wants to sing with you. The only downside is that it may not be enough for bigger open space venues.

Hey im looking for a speaker

Hey im looking for a speaker to play my music in my room. I'm looking for one speaker I will buy a second one once I save up.

I just want the best clear nice bass audio really debating on getting the DRb10 or a Behringer B112w which is the Bluetooth version of the B112d or even the turbo that your sound editor picked.

I don't know if should get the Behringer or loose the Bluetooth for the Yamaha. Do you think the sound on the Yamaha is better in clearness and deep bass or should I just get the bigger 12 in Behringer for louder sound and deeper bass.

And again this is going in my room will the 12 in be too much for my room? If it is there's no point in getting another 12 inch to make it a pair so I don't know if i should get 2 10 or one 12 or maybe even just one 10 which would be the Yamaha.

I will be playing music and movies, video games and I could just lower the volume but I don't wanna loose too much sound quality so bottom line bigger speaker or smaller speaker? Remember I won't be playing them too loud.

Please and advise or help on what too choose I been debating for a while now and your post really helped give me an idea. You guys are awesome thanks so much.

Given that you're just going

Given that you're just going to be using this in your room I'd suggest the Behringer B112w would be just fine - it also has a built in 2 channel mixer.

Don't forget that if you want stereo then you'll need 2 speakers.

I hope this helps.

how would these speakers

How would these speakers compare to some old ev s200s in low end punch?

I haven't personally used the

I haven't personally used the EV s200s, however they have 12" woofers so you'd expect any modern 15" speaker to have a stronger bottom end.