The Best PA Subwoofers - Powered / Active

The Highest Rated Powered PA Subwoofers

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A venue isn't complete without a great sounding subwoofer to fill the low end and provide the punch needed to get people moving. Having subs also lets your mains focus more on reproducing the midrange and highs, leading to a clearer overall sound.

Subwoofers aren't all built the same. It takes great R&D to engineer enclosures and chambers for the best low frequency reproduction.

Here we look at current market favorites, based on actual owner and user reviews and ratings, including the most recent ones up to late October 2021.

The Best PA Subwoofers

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.

The Best Powered Subwoofers

Here are the market favorite powered PA subwoofers that you can buy today.

Mackie Thump18S

97
GEARANK

97 out of 100. Incorporating 375+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$800
Mackie Thump18 18" Powered PA Subwoofer - 1200W

The Mackie Thump18S is a reasonably priced but powerful subwoofer.

A frequency range 30Hz to 132Hz makes it versatile enough to integrate with main speakers of various sizes.

Power is provided by a 600-watt RMS Class D amplifier while stereo full range and high pass outputs round out the ins and outs of the sub.

A pole enables mounting your main monitors directly on top of the unit.

Features

  • Frequency Response: 30Hz-132Hz (-10dB)
  • Crossover: 140Hz
  • Max SPL: 130dB
  • Power Rating: 600W RMS
  • Drivers: 1 x 18"
  • Input Connectors: 2 x XLR
  • Output Connectors: 4 x XLR
  • Polarity: Not Specified
  • Enclosure Material: 15mm Plywood
  • Dimensions: 26.5" x 22.6" x 22.8"
  • Weight: 82 lbs.

Pros
Many users liked the clean low end with no distortion or excessive overtones. The cabinet is tuned very well for the price. Another thing people love about it is the size; despite being smaller than most subwoofers, it still outputs enough low end for most systems.

Cons
Some complaints about the thermal protect system were brought up in the first run of the product. It may have been addressed in newer runs as the problem has not come up on newer reviews.

Overall
The Mackie Thump 18S goes beyond its price point with clear and punchy bass, compact size and versatile pairing with different types of speakers.

Electro-Voice ELX200-18SP

97
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

$1199
Electro-Voice ELX200-18SP 18" Powered PA Subwoofer

Subwoofers usually need enough mass to handle low frequencies without rattling. Proper tuning can make subs clearer and more efficient.

The ELX200-18SP from Electro-Voice has enough punch in it to rival even larger enclosures thanks to its tuned enclosure and high peak wattage.

To reign in all this power the ELX200-18SP employs a DSP (Digital Signal Processing) system to ensure that the sub pairs nicely with most powered speaker setups.

It also has useful presets for whatever occasion you might need.

Features

  • Frequency Response: 40Hz-145Hz (-10dB)
  • Crossover: Low Pass 80Hz, 100Hz, 120Hz, 150Hz
  • Max SPL: 132 dB SPL
  • Power Rating: 1200W Peak
  • Drivers: 18" EVS-18L woofer
  • Input Connectors: 2 x XLR-1/4" combo
  • Output Connectors: 2 x XLR (thru)
  • Polarity: Not Specified
  • Enclosure Material: 15mm Plywood with EVCoat
  • Dimensions: 23.62" x 19.96" x 22.6"
  • Weight: 63.93 lbs.

Pros
Tight and clear have been repeated in multiple reviews from everyday users and mobile sound system owners. For small venues, the bass blends well with the mains without turning into a bass-heavy mess. It was also noted to be lighter than similarly priced products.

Cons
Some felt that the bass punch was a bit lacking for EDM and Hip Hop.

Overall
If you need a sub to fill in the bass at intimate gatherings without making it too overwhelming, or if you want a sub that's easier to bring around, the ELX200 - 18SP is the perfect pick.

Electro-Voice EKX-18SP

98
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

$1399
Electro-Voice EKX-18SP 1300W Powered PA Subwoofer
At publication time this was the Equal Highest Rated Powered PA Subwoofer along with the QSC KS118.

The Electro-Voice EKX-18SP has been well received thanks to its big 18" woofer and 1300W amplifier and its most interesting feature is its Cardioid Control Technology which focuses sound projection on to the audience while reducing stage noise.

It also comes with built-in DSP (Digital Signal Processing) that allows for quick setup and matching, be it with your other speakers or the venue it is employed in.

And it is relatively light considering that it comes with an 18" LF Driver.

Features

  • Frequency Response: 35Hz to 180Hz (-10dB)
  • Crossover: Adjustable (80Hz, 100Hz, 120Hz, 150Hz)
  • Max SPL: 134 dB
  • Power Rating: 1300 Watts Peak
  • Drivers: 1 x 18" EVS-18C subwoofer
  • Input Connectors: 2 x XLR-1/4" Combo
  • Output Connectors: 2 x XLR
  • Polarity: Not Specified
  • Enclosure Material: 15mm Wood
  • Dimensions: 20.4" x 23.8" x 24"
  • Weight: 72.3 lbs

Pros
Awesome, amazing and great are just some of the many superlatives that are used to describe the Electro-Voice EKX-18SP's real world performance. It has been proven to work well in various situations, including rock and metal band concerts, DJ and other dance music styles, as well as school and office parties/activities. With its big 18" woofer, many users are impressed with its hard hitting yet clear sound projection.

Cons
While not as heavy as other subs, there are a few users who cautioned that this sub is heavy for the size, and they wish that it came with wheels by default.

Overall
Having said all that, the EKX-18SP is a serious sub-woofer that will fit most musical and event applications, well deserving of its recommendation.

Electro-Voice ETX-18SP

97
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

$1799
Electro-Voice ETX-18SP 18" Powered Subwoofer 1800W

When it comes to low frequency response, bigger speakers generally perform better, and this is exactly what the Electro-Voice ETX-18SP offers, an 18" woofer paired with a 1,800W Class D amplifier with a maximum SPL of 135dB.

To better manage this powerful sub, Electro-Voice equipped the ETX-18SP with "QuickSmart" DSP, which optimizes sound quality and allows for different presets for different applications.

Finally, it comes with blower-controlled thermal management, that protects internal components from heat damage.

Features

  • Frequency Response: 28Hz-180Hz
  • Crossover: Low Pass adjustable - 80Hz, 100Hz, 120Hz, 150Hz
  • Max SPL: 135 dB SPL @ 1m
  • Power Rating: Watts Peak
  • Drivers: 18"
  • Input Connectors: 2 x XLR-1/4" combo
  • Output Connectors:
  • Polarity: 2 x XLR
  • Enclosure Material: 13-ply 18mm Birch plywood with EV coat and 16 gauge steel grille
  • Dimensions: 21.6" x 26.5" x 35.8"
  • Weight: 114.2 lbs.

Pros
Having deep yet controlled low-end is the main reason why many rate the ETX-18SP highly. There are reports of it working great in various settings including church services, band performances, DJ sets and more. Owners also appreciate its solid build and its versatility to adapt to different situations.

Cons
With its big 18" woofer and equally big thump, the ETX-18SP maybe a bit of overkill for small venue or intimate events. Being on the heavy side, it is better suited to semi-permanent installations instead of touring.

Overall
Get the most low-end per dollar with the Electro-Voice ETX-18SP, especially for venues that hold different types of events and musical performances.

QSC KS118

98
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

$2000
QSC KS118 3600W 18" Powered Subwoofer
At publication time this was the Equal Highest Rated Powered PA Subwoofer along with the Electro-Voice EKX-18SP.

This subwoofer is meant for loud use in medium to big venues, housing an 18" driver that is powered by a 3,600W amplifier.

Built-in DSP expands the functionality of the KS118, allowing for adjustable crossover and savable scenes that can be used to conveniently tweak the subwoofer to match the venue and event requirements.

Another nifty feature is the selectable Deep mode, that further enhances low-end, ideal for electronic musicians, DJs and more. This means that you can switch to a more natural sounding subwoofer, or a deep sounding one, all in one package.

All these are housed inside a cabinet made of 15mm birch wood, with built-in rolling casters.

Features

  • Frequency Response: 41Hz-98Hz (-6 dB)
  • Crossover: Variable
  • Max SPL: 136 dB SPL @ 1m
  • Power Rating: 3600W Peak Class D
  • Drivers: 18"
  • Input Connectors: 2 x XLR-1/4" combo
  • Output Connectors: 2 x XLR
  • Polarity: Not Specified
  • Enclosure Material: 15 mm Birch Plywood
  • Dimensions: 25.2" x 20.5" x 30.9"
  • Weight: 104 lbs.

Pros
Premium sound quality is the main reason why many love the QSC KS118. It's clarity and reach is well appreciated by those using it for events like weddings, while musicians and DJs are impressed with the depth of its deep mode. As expected, most of the owners already own QSC speakers so they know what to expect, but even those who own speakers from other brands are just as impressed. Being reasonably portable is also another reason why the QSC KS118 currently has an almost perfect rating across multiple retail stores.

Cons
Speaking of portability, even with casters, this over-100lb subwoofer can be too heavy for some, especially when you have to carry it up stairs for a regular gig.

Overall
If you've had good experience with QSC loudspeakers, and you have the budget, then this is your best pick. If not, then the KS118 will easily turn you into a fan of the brand.

JBL SRX828SP

97
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

$2239
JBL SRX828SP

The JBL SRX828SP takes conventional 18" subwoofer design up a notch by incorporating two 18" drivers into a single subwoofer.

This allows the sub to have very high Max SPL, in fact it has the highest Max SPL rating in this guide.

The two 18" woofers are driven by a 2000W Drivecore amplifier from Crown, housed in a thick 18mm plywood cabinet.

Contrasting its traditional wooden cabinet is its built-in DSP with HiQnet, which allows you to control the subwoofer via iOS and Android apps.

Features

  • Frequency Response: 29 Hz to 150 Hz (-10 dB)
  • Crossover: 80 Hz
  • Max SPL: 141 dB
  • Power Rating: 2000 Watts Peak - 1500 Watts Continuous
  • Drivers: 2 x 18"
  • Input Connectors: 2 x XLR/TRS
  • Output Connectors: 2 x XLR
  • Polarity: Not specified
  • Enclosure Material: 18 mm Plywood
  • Dimensions: 22.57" x 47.42" x 26.79"
  • Weight: 145 lbs (65.9 kg)

Pros

Earth shaking, as many users describe it, is a nice way of pointing out the main strength of the JBL SRX828SP, which is its loud projection and low-frequency depth. Stability and reliability are also key factors as to why many rate this sub highly, so much so that it enjoys an almost perfect 5 star rating from users who actually own it.

Cons

The natural downside of having dual 18" speakers is bulk and weight, so if you're looking for a portable carry-on subwoofer, this is not for you.

Overall

If you want nothing less than the loudest and the most low-end capable subwoofer, then get the JBL SRX828SP.

Check out this video for more information about the SRX Connect app:

Budget Option

This is where we sometimes present additional options which didn't quite fit into our list above but which you may also find interesting and useful - in this case it's a low-cost but respectable option for those on a tight budget.

Behringer Eurolive VQ1800D

95
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

$419
Behringer Eurolive VQ1800D 500W 18" Powered Subwoofer

Budget options can often feel like a compromise. The Behringer Eurolive VQ1800D is a full featured, powerful sub that punches above its weight.

A variable crossover helps in tuning the sub to your room and speakers (more so than fixed crossover points).

Phase controls help with getting proper pairing with speakers to prevent comb filtering and "disappearing bass" in the room.

Features

  • Frequency Response: 40Hz-200Hz (-10dB)
  • Crossover: Variable
  • Max SPL: 124dB SPL
  • Power Rating: 500W
  • Drivers: 1 x 18"
  • Input Connectors: 2 x XLR
  • Output Connectors: 2 x XLR (output), 2 x XLR (thru)
  • Polarity: Not Specified
  • Enclosure Material: 15mm Wood
  • Dimensions: 20.4" x 20.8" x 22.3"
  • Weight: 84.1 lbs.

Pros
Users say that the unit is a great bang for the buck sub. Some users had enough money left over to buy yet another sub along with their main speakers.

Cons
May be underpowered for some venues. On the heavy side. The enclosure is made of particle board and that was seen as a con by some.

Overall
The Behringer Eurolive VQ1800D is a great affordable subwoofer with many good reviews. If you don't mind a heavier sub, this is the one to get when you're on a budget..

Things to Consider When Buying a PA Subwoofer

How Will You Integrate Subs Into Your PA System?

There are several ways of adding subs into your system. One of the simplest is to create a sub-mix on your mixing console where you send the kick drum and bass to the Aux output and then connect that to your powered subwoofer. Other options include running your subwoofers in parallel to your main PA speakers if your subs have high pass filters. In more complex setups you will use a crossover unit to split the frequencies before sending the signal to your subs. It's beyond the scope of this guide to provide comprehensive information on integrating subwoofers so here is an article you might find useful: Using a Powered Subwoofer to Augment Your Existing PA

Your Type of Music & Driver Size

Acoustic performers and folk style bands will find the smaller 12" drivers provide all the bottom end they need, but if you perform bass heavy styles then you'll need larger drivers that are capable of moving a lot more air - this is particularly true for EDM style DJs.

Use as Stage Monitors

Many drummers and sometimes bass players use a subwoofer in addition to a standard stage monitor in order to get a full punchy bottom end on stage.

Portability

Generally speaking, subwoofers aren't entirely portable friendly, being an extra speaker that you have to lug around. But for many, the added effort, space requirements and weight of subs are justified by the sound they produce. Still, it will be wise to weigh your low-frequency needs versus your convenience and mobility. If you're a solo performer with no one to help you carry your gear, then go for lighter subs, or maybe no subs at all. Even with bulky subwoofers, you may want to look for mobility features like built-in rolling casters.

Best PA Subwoofer Selection Methodology

The first edition was published in 2016 and the current edition was published on November 3, 2021.

For this edition, we looked at the powered PA subs you can readily buy in the USA, resulting in a short list of 42 of the most popular and highly rated powered PA subs - you can see them in the Music Gear Database. We then gathered and analyzed the most recent data from customer and expert reviews, forum discussions and feedback, all of which totaled to over 6,700 sources. All of these data were then fed into the Gearank Algorithm to produce rating scores out of 100 which we used to rank the subwoofers according to actual market sentiment and we selected the highest rated options to recommend above. Finally, we included a budget option, for those who are looking for a good quality yet budget-friendly alternative. For more information about our methods see How Gearank Works.

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.

Aside from endlessly window shopping and watching hours of gear reviews for leisure, he enjoys playing competitive FPS games, MMORPGs and caring for his 5 cats. He is primarily influenced by guitarists like Kurt Ballou and Paul Gilbert. His favorite pieces of gear are his Ibanez RG550RFR, Orange Brent Hinds Terror amplifier and EQD Acapulco Gold fuzz.

Contributors

Alden Acosta: Product research.
Alexander Briones: Supplemental writing.
Jason Horton: Supplemental writing, Editing and Illustrating.

Media

Main/Top Image: By Gearank.com using photographs of the QSC KS118 and Electro-Voice EKX-18SP.

All videos have been embedded in accordance with YouTube's Terms of Service.

The individual product images were sourced from websites, promotional materials or supporting documentation provided by their respective manufacturers.

Comments

As a newbie to live sound

As a newbie to live sound mixing, a basic question: For a 4 piece rock band (guitar, bass, keys, drums, vocal), what is the best way to add a powered sub to an existing 1600 Watt board that does not have a separate 'sub out' jack? I'm considering, as an example, EV's 'EXK-18SP', but want to make sure I can use it to filter out low freqs only, and have my main board handle only mids and highs. Thanks, in advance!

Hi Bob,

Hi Bob,

If your powered mixer has a free monitor out, you can rout it to an eq (to remove frequencies higher than 100hz) to a powered subwoofer and use the monitor level on specific channels to feed it to the sub. It's a hack but it will do until you get a better powered mixer.

Check out the best Powered Mixers and Subwoofers here:
Powered Mixing Consoles
PA Subwoofer

I'm wondering how the Bose B1

I'm wondering how the Bose B1 made it in at an exclusion of others when it barely exceeds the output of home theatre in a box subwoofers.

It's because more than 50

It's because more than 50 people who have used it rated it higher than most of the other options available. You can read more about how we produce our ratings at How Gearank Works.

The thing is, you need a sub

The thing is, you need a sub to thump. In my humble opinion, there is no substitute for a pair of JBL STX 828's paired with two Lab Gruppen fp6400's in bridge mode -- you can get the fp6400's online for about 1K each. This will get you the punch and thump. Combine that with a dbx driverack 260 (available *cheap* online) or a dbx driverack Venu360 and you will not be disappointed.

Agreed. I've ventured into

Agreed. I've ventured into the active sub box idea every time with disappointment. No headroom. Nothing compares to a pair of dual 18 boxes powered by 2 separate amps running bridged mono. Such a drag to load in and out, but worth it.

I wish to respectfully

I wish to respectfully disagree with removal of the QSC KW181 review. It is certainly better than some of the other powered sub woofers that are listed in this review. True, that it is more expensive than some of the other competitors on this list but price and production age shouldn’t appear to be the main dominating factor for inclusion/exclusion from your list of high quality devices.

I personally have a high

I personally have a high opinion of the QSC brand, but the decision to remove the QSC KW181 from the recommended list was based purely on ratings and nothing else. It remains eligible for inclusion in this guide and could come back if its ratings are high enough when we do the next major update of the subwoofer category.

whats your thoughts on sound

whats your thoughts on sound quality difference between turbo sounds tcs-b218 vs the tfs900b subwoofer, one is bandpass other is horn loaded, want to use for playback music and home theater.

We haven't rated either of

We haven't rated either of those Turbosound subs, not because there's anything wrong with them, but because they're high-end systems that aren't in wide use and consequently there aren't sufficient rating sources available for us to examine.

Note that in order to avoid personal bias in the ratings we provide, we don't directly test the gear ourselves, instead we base our ratings on detailed analysis of the tests conducted by others - you can read more about our methods in How Gearank Works.

I'm curious if you have had a

I'm curious if you have had a chance to review ev's new line of the elx 200 series. I recently purchased the EV ELX200-18sp subwoofer. And I must say I like it better than my EKX. Anyways just curious on your thoughts opinions.

When we published our latest

When we published our latest update to this guide back in January, there were insufficient sources available for us to provide ratings on the ELX200 series.

I've checked again today, and although that's still the case for the passive options in the range, we now have ratings for the powered options which you can see in the Music Gear Database.

The early reports are promising and I wouldn't be surprised to see the ELX200-12SP or ELX200-18SP make it into our recommended list when we next revise this category in detail.

Next review, please include a

Next review, please include a few models from Seismic Audio. I have several 18" PA subs, including JBL, Yamaha, & CV and for the dollars spent, the SA subs are really good. They are punchy, accurate, and hold up very well to the constant pounding and abuse of three hour EDM-House set lists.

RCF didn't make the short

RCF didn't make the short list when we originally published this guide - you can see most of the subs that were on that list here.

Based on RCF's current ratings it's quite likely they will be on the short-list when we next update this guide, and if they rate highly enough they'll be included in our recommendations.

Hello whats about Samson Auro

Hello whats about Samson Auro 1200? Im looking for a small sub, i own db technologies 15 and 18 ones but no stock for 12

We haven't rated the Samson

We haven't rated the Samson Auro D1200 yet but we might if it has high enough ratings when we next update this guide.

An alternative would be the Yamaha DXS12, although it does cost more than the Samson Auro D1200.

I came across this from

I came across this from google search, and have to say that I am pretty unimpressed by this comparison. Please include 1 watt/1 meter halfspace readings in your ratings, as max spl means nothing if you do not know how much power you are going to need to get there, and fix your max spl ratings. The industry has standardized on half space, 1 watt/1 meter, calculated at the speakers advertised ohms (4 or 8), to make comparisons possible.

The Peavey PV118 you have listed as Max SPL: 118 dB, is 95db 1w/1m, rated 200 watts continuous (200 watts 2.83vrms/8ohms)/400 program/800 peak.

The Electro-Voice ELX118 you have listed as Max SPL: 134 dB, is rated 96db 1w/1m, rated 400 watts continuous (2.83vrms/8ohms)/800 program/1600 peak.

In practical circumstances, there is only a 4db difference between the two (1dB due to sensitivity, 3dB due to double power). You have a difference of 16dB listed though! Care to explain how you came up with those numbers?

Sources:
https://peavey.com/products/index.cfm/item/665/116087
http://www.electrovoice.com/product.php?id=1075

Hi Jeremy,

Hi Jeremy,

Thank you very much for pointing that out.

The Max SPL ratings came from the manufacturers' spec/data sheets and they are correct (I re-checked them today), however I agree with you that the sensitivity ratings should also have been included - leaving them out was entirely my mistake.

I've now added the sensitivity ratings to the passive subwoofers above.

Thank you for the comment, I

Thank you for the comment, I'm pleasantly surprised by the response. I guess I never pay attention to Max SPL ratings because how a speaker performs is calculated off sensitivity and power. IMHO this is an example of the manufacturers being misleading. I typed into an SPL calculator, and I can see how they are coming up with these numbers.

96dB 1w/1m sensitivity, with 1600 watts, corner loaded, gives 134db. (what the Electro-Voice ELX118 is rated for)

95db 1w/1m sensitivity, 200 watts, half-spaced, gives 118dB. (What the Peavey PV118 is rated for, this is the standard way of rating)

What these guys are doing would have been considered cheating a few years ago, by publishing corner loaded (1/8th space) at peak power rating. I looked up the active QSC KW181, and the Yamaha DSR118W, and there was no sensitivity listed for their cabs, but their numbers seem only possible if they are doing this as well. This will cause problems comparing passive vs active speakers. See Yamaha's passive SW118V, published in half space: here.

If you calculate the Peavey PV118's "Max SPL" as EV did for their ELX118, by corner loading them instead of half space loading (+6db), and base it off peak power instead of continuous (another +6db), you get a "Max SPL" of 130dB. That said, Peavey is rating correctly, the others are not.

Thanks for adding the sensitivity. Now at least I know what's going on. Unfortunately 1w/1m half-space, is much more important to know than Max SPL, which is not a standard to my knowledge.

A note on Behringer: I bought a 200w 1u quad amp from them, because it was 1u and I was curious to try one of their products. I ran a sine wave through it and wasn't able to get more than 30 watts through it, measured via multimeter. They flat out lie on their specifications. I will never buy another product from them. I would suggest only include products from them you've tested.

As I'm sure you're aware, but

As I'm sure you're aware, but others may not be, there are several different ways to measure power and several ways to calculate ratings based on those measurements.

Looking at the numbers you stated for the 1u amp my guess is that they used some kind of very generous peak rating instead of a root mean square as you appear to have done.

Some manufacturers seem to be deliberately vague about power ratings in order to advertise the highest headline number they can come up with - we've begun asking manufacturers about their rating methods so we can offer consistent information across all our guides as we update old ones and publish new ones - some manufactures are proving to be more responsive than others but hopefully we'll get there.

To the one making a fool of

To the one making a fool of himself- I feel as tho you are trying to find an error that can't be backed up, therefore causing the Gearank team to do a retraction. As far as I'm concerned, the testing they did was awesome. I'm a 20+ year sound engineer and I will, and would have, never been so blatantly crass over 16bB. Seriously? 16 dB? You then told them "Care to explain how you came up with that?" Really? You're a blog bum, aren't you? Just cruising thru sound blogs looking to prove someone wrong or just a little more off the shoulder than you're happy with. Gearank guys do great work. I have never added any of my 2 cents to a blog...ever! Until now! It's actually true, the saying 'you learn more with your mouth shut and your ears open'. In this case, well, you figure it out. You seem to be mr smarty pants. You're also the guy that makes all us other sound guys look as tho we don't know what we're talking about. You should try leaving your calculator in your pocket protector, put your suspenders back on, take off your slippers - shower, of coarse - and put the cheese puffs back in the cupboard...you've had plenty! Not in that order, of course. Good thing I said something, wouldn't want you to belittle me on well known and very informative blog. I earn business by keeping up with these guys. 16dB has never been an issue when looking at speakers. If I found a small oops, I'd email the blogger and discuss it that way. Ugh. I'm sick of you ready. Go hide under you moms bed, where you just came out from to hassle this blog. Go, now. Your milk and cookies and new coloring book is ready. Nothing is wrong with the last 3, I love them. But hiding under you mothers bed as a grown adult is. Goodnight.

Wow, I didn't see this till

Wow, I didn't see this till now. First off, Congratulations on your long career as a sound engineer, I've only been doing it about eight and a half years.

I never run powered speakers, because as you know, you have to run twice the amount of cables for them. They've become somewhat of a fad with DJ's and garage bands lately, so I'll blame the market as well as the many budget brands for why they are not using the prior industry standard (1w/1m RMS rating). As to whither a 16dB difference matters or not, it is a power factor of about 40x. In fact, it is the difference between typical home theatre set (80db), and typical Prosound equipment (96db). So I really don't understand how someone could not consider 16db a big deal.

I am pleased at the response from GearRank. There is no end to the number review sites which are less than reputable, and this comparison was my first time here. I don't believe after my interaction with them that they are one of those review spam sites. They acknowledged the differences and explained where they got the ratings.

I do believe that when comparing things, you have to compare them accurately. If it were my article, I might put a note about the differences between the powered and unpowered speaker ratings. However anyone who is curious enough to understand why the disparity exists will be able to read this exchange and learn what I did.

Best wishes sincerely,
--Jem

They do sound good, but for

They do sound good, but for the money their are way better subs! A single 18" sub is over $3500! Could get two RCF 8003 for that price...and I have demoed both!! Not much difference in sound, but twice the price. Just my opinion!

Hello, I liked your review of

Hello, I liked your review of the JBL PRX718XLF subs and was looking to purchase a pair. You said the street value was $799 each but I can not find any near that price. Any suggestions? Most of the ones I am seeing are $1200 to $1400 each. Thank you

Hi Erik,

Hi Erik - I checked and found that all the major retailers have sold out and it's no longer available for $799. The lowest price I found was $1150 at Amazon - that price may not last long. Thanks for letting us know about the problem - I've removed the outdated JBL PRX718XLF information from the guide above. Anyone who's interested in our meta-review can still find it at JBL PRX718XLF 1500W 18" Powered Subwoofer.

Any way you could do a

Any way you could do a powered sub comparison based on wattage? I am specifically trying to compare the Turbosound IQ18b, the ETX-18SP and the QSC KW181.

Bespoke sub comparisons aren

Bespoke comparisons aren't a viable option due to the amount of time they require to do at our usual high standards, however we do take all comments into consideration each time we update one of our guides.

We also make nearly each piece of gear we've analyzed available in our music gear database and you can see the Gearank scores of each item you mentioned by clicking here.

The JBL PRX718xlf are NOT

The JBL PRX718xlf are NOT designed to be mounted on a pole. They have a pole mount for a top speaker to be mounted above them. Don't want some knucklehead trying to put one of these up on his On-stage speaker stand.

Has anyone tested the Peavey

Has anyone tested the Peavey Dark Matter 115 or 118 Subs?
What about the Peavey PVXP 15 inch Sub?

I see no Yorkville speakers

I see no Yorkville speakers mentioned here. Were they not considered for comparison, or found to be under ranked?

We didn't keep any specific

We didn't keep any specific notes on Yorkville Subwoofers when we did the research for this guide - all I can tell you is they didn't make it past the first level of screening which means that at the time it was considered unlikely that they would rate high enough to be included.

Hi - I know I'm late to the

Hi - I know I'm late to the topic.

Hope I get a response - I'm looking to upgrade my sound, have been considering the below listed bass bins.

Alto Truesonic TS218S
Electro-Voice ELX118P

They almost have similar specs but the max spl ratings and low end on the EV is slightly better but almost twice the price of the Alto.

I’m not able to listen to them as no one store has both in stock. So I can’t really rate them on sound quality.

If possible – can you help me out?

Thanks.

The Alto Professional

Hi Burton - you're not late, in fact you're kind of early because the Alto Professional Truesonic TS218S only became available in stores in the last few months and there are only a limited number of rating sources available for it so far - but I've generated some data for you:

I've added the TS218S to our public database so you can compare it's Gearank score with the ELX118P.

Gearank scores change as new data becomes available and based on some of the reviews I read I wouldn't be surprised if the TS218S earns a higher score over time, but it has a long way to go before its ratings would be high enough for us to include in one of our music gear guides.

BTW - The ELX118P has a street price that's only slightly higher than the TS218S and as I type this (and this may change at any time) there is currently a lower price for the ELX118P on Amazon than for the TS218S on Amazon.

I hope this helps.

Thanks a Ton for your

Thanks a Ton for your response - I'm based in South Africa. Over here the Alto's are selling around 550 dollars & the EV sells around 1000 dollars. :(

So I'm leaning more towards the Alto + I have a pair of Alto 15's - But I'm certainly considering moving to EV in the very near future.

Thanks for an awesome site - Happy new year all the way from S.A :)

I was looking at the I/O for

I was looking at the I/O for the DXS12, but it says input and "thru". Is thru truly an output or like a modified input? Because on your stats it says Input Connectors: 2 x XLR
Output Connectors: 2 x XLR

There are 2 Ins and 2 Thrus

There are 2 Ins and 2 Thrus on the Yamaha DXS12.

The outs are called Thru because the signal is running in parallel to the input rather than in series.

Hello what should be the

Hello what should be the ratio of speakers to the one amplifier given that the amp can drive out 5000 watts. So how many speakers can it drive to its maximum without damaging it or vice versa? Let me say if i had only EV bass speakers.

Unless you have a very

Unless you have a very expensive professional amplifier, it's not going to be able to output 5kW. If you have an amp that can really output 5kW then you're not going to be asking that question. You'd need a 32 amp mains supply for that!

You're also asking the wrong question. Let us assume you have an amp rated at 500W continuous. This 500W is the maximum it can output under ideal conditions. These ideal conditions are met when the impedance (measured in ohms) of the amplifier is equal to the impedance of the speakers being driven. For example, if you have an amplifier with an impedance of 4 ohms per channel, then it would be at its most efficient when driving one 4 ohm speaker per channel, or two 8 ohm speakers per channel etc. Connecting speakers with lower impedance than the amp will risk damaging your amp - it effectively creates a short-circuit.

With your amplifier you should have a spec sheet, and this will tell you what the continuous power output is. If you have speakers which are impedance-matched to your amplifier, make sure that the continuous power rating of the speakers is greater than or equal to the continuous power output of the amplifier, otherwise you risk burning your speakers out.

So if your amp is 2-channels, 4 ohms per channel, 500W continuous, you need a pair of subs with an impedance of 4 ohms and continuous power output of 250W or greater.

Make sense?

I have to correct you on your

I have to correct you on your comment. A 5kW amplifier does not draw 32A. Amplifiers first store energy in capacitor banks, then release that energy (through a DC power supply) through transistors to the speaker. Look up "average power draw" on your amplifier's specs. Then look up "inrush current.". The inrush is the most likely reason a breaker would trip, especially if turning on multiple amps at the same time.

Curious how the TurboSound

Curious how the TurboSound IQ15B and IQ18B stack up compared to the others. Can they be included?

When we were doing the

When we were doing the research for this guide it was clear that none of the Turbosound iQ range were rated highly enough to be included in this guide so they didn't make it past the initial screening process.

There have been more ratings published over the last couple months so I re-checked and the situation hasn't changed much except that the Turbosound iQ18B now has a higher Gearank score then it did back then, but still not high enough to be included in this guide, although I did add it to our public music gear database today.

You can see all the Turbosound products in the database here.

I should point out that the purpose of Gearank.com is not to list every piece of music gear out there, instead we focus on highly rated gear that have a realistic potential to be included in our Music Gear Guides.