The Top 10 Best Powered PA Speakers

Powered PA Speakers

Originally published on Jan. 13, 2016 and updated on .

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Powered Speakers, also known as active speakers, are speaker systems with amplifiers built into their enclosures. This configuration allows manufacturers to better match the amplifier with the speaker, resulting in improved fidelity and versatility. This improved quality makes powered speakers more appealing to many musicians and sound engineers, even when considering the extra weight.

While there are many viable speakers in the market, we want to highlight what the market considers as the best of them. So we did the leg work and present you with this list of the best Powered PA Speakers, updated for 2017 and divided into two price segments: sub $500 and sub $1000.

Contents

The Best Powered PA Speakers

LF Driver Gearank Sources Street Price
Under $500:
Peavey Dark Matter 112 12" 93 20+ $300
Electro-Voice ZLX-12P 12" 92 650+ $349
Yamaha DBR10 10" 95 80+ $400
Electro-Voice ZLX-15P 15" 92 375+ $449
Turbosound Milan M12 12" 93 10+ $450
Runner Up:
RCF ART 310-A MK III 10" 91 100+ $499
Under $1000:
QSC K8 8" 95 200+ $550
QSC K10 10" 96 350+ $600
Yamaha DXR12 12" 95 125+ $700
QSC K12 12" 94 550+ $700
Yamaha DXR15 15" 96 100+ $800
Runner Up:
Yamaha DXR10 10" 94 175+ $600
Editor's Pick:
Behringer-Eurolive-B112D 12" 90 200+ $250
Pyle Pro Speaker Stand NA" 88 700+ $25

The Best Powered PA Speakers Under $500

Here are great value workhorse loudspeakers that have satisfied the needs of many, ideal when budget is limited. A $1000 budget could afford you two of these active speakers, with enough change to get important accessories. If you're looking for the cheapest speaker we can recommend then check out the Editor's Pick below.

Peavey Dark Matter 112

93
GEARANK

93 out of 100. Incorporating 20+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$300
Peavey Dark Matter 112 12" Powered PA Speaker

Peavey joins this list with the Dark Matter 112, a 12" powered speaker with versatile tuning capabilities via built-in DSP technology. The unit's digital brain lets you fine tune the resulting sound to match different rooms, by selecting preset EQ curves or by changing the bass and treble parameters yourself. The 205W (Continuous) amplifier section drives a 12" woofer and 1.4" tweeter with a max SPL of 124dB, a combination that's meant for filling up small rooms and venues. Another interesting feature of this speaker is its proprietary Quadratic Throat Waveguide, which improves clarity of the higher frequencies. Other features include fan cooling and injection-molded plastic exterior.

Specifications:

  • LF Driver: 12" Cone, 1.5" Voice Coil
  • HF Driver: 1.4" Titanium Diaphragm Compression
  • Amplifier: Bi-amplified Class D
  • Output Power Peak: 660W (410W LF, 250W HF)
  • Output Power Continuous: : 205W (125W LF, 80W HF)
  • Frequency Response: 68Hz-19kHz (+/- 6dB)
  • Maximum Peak SPL: 124dB
  • Crossover Frequency: 3.1kHz
  • Enclosure: Plastic
  • Mounting: Pole
  • Inputs: 1 x XLR/TRS Combo
  • Outputs: 1 x XLR
  • Controls: Power Switch, Gain Knob, Mic/Line Button, ADSP Switch with LCD Screen, Grnd Lift Button
  • Dimensions: 25.3" x 14.38" x 14"
  • Weight: 35 lbs.

Most reviewers are impressed with the Peavey Dark Matter 112's sound quality and versatility, and many of them use for their rehearsal rooms and even as monitors for their recording studios. Good reports of its sound pour in from vocalists, guitarists, bassists, drummers and even DJs. There were also a good number of users who were happy with its durability and value for money.

Lack of projection came up a few times in the reviews, from people that used the speaker for bigger/open venues. Other than its obvious lack of output, the Peavey Dark Matter 112 is a good budget active speaker to consider for small venue performances and events.

Electro-Voice ZLX-12P 12" 1000W Powered PA Speaker

92
GEARANK

92 out of 100. Incorporating 650+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$399
Electro-Voice ZLX-12P 12" Powered PA Speaker - 1000W

Electro-Voice has been making a name for themselves by producing quality audio gear at affordable price points, and the ZLX-12P is proof of this. It's most noteworthy feature is its versatile built-in DSP, which lets you tune your speaker for different applications via manual EQ or by using Mode and Location presets. It also has a built in DSP limiter and crossover presets for better pairing with subwoofers. This digital brain controls the ZLX-12P's components which include a 500W (RMS) amplifier, a 12" woofer and a 1.5" titanium compression driver, all of which work together to provide a versatile solution for various venues and events. Max SPL is 126dB, so these speakers are not meant to handle bigger venues by themselves.

Specifications:

  • LF Driver: 12" Cone
  • HF Driver: 1.5" Titanium Compression
  • Amplifier: Bi-amplified Class D
  • Output Power Peak: 1000W
  • Output Power Continuous: : 500W RMS
  • Frequency Response: 65Hz - 18kHz (-6dB)
  • Frequency Range: 50Hz - 20kHz
  • Maximum Peak SPL: 126dB
  • Crossover Frequency: 1.7kHz
  • Enclosure: Polypropylene
  • Mounting: Pole
  • Inputs: 2 x XLR-1/4" combo, 1 x 1/8" (aux in)
  • Outputs: 1 x XLR
  • Controls: 3-band EQ, limiter, Mode and Location presets, Crossover presets
  • Dimensions: 24" × 14" × 14"
  • Weight: 34.3 lbs.

From FOH mains for small venues to floor monitors for bigger ones, many consider the ZLX-12P to be flexible and reliable. Even those who were skeptical found themselves liking the performance of this speaker after giving it a try. Its clear sound and solid build were well received, a true workhorse loudspeaker that's budget friendly.

There were a few who recommend careful handling because that the exterior is easy to scratch. While this speaker is a bit heavy at 34.3 lbs, it still is not the heaviest among other 12" active speakers.

If you're looking for a great bang per buck powered speaker that can handle different venues then do check out the Elevtro-Voice ZLX-12P.

Yamaha DBR10 10" 700W Powered PA Speaker

95
GEARANK

95 out of 100. Incorporating 80+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$400
Yamaha DBR10

The DBR series from Yamaha is designed to give us more options in the portable powered speaker market. And it looks like they hit the jackpot with the DBR10, because it continues to rake in positive reviews from DJs, musicians, sound engineers and many more. For a speaker with 10" woofer, the DBR10 is loud and light, ideal for performers who have to carry their own PA equipment. Interestingly, many of the features found in the more expensive DXR series are available in the DBR series, albeit with less output power. In particular, the DBR10 features Yamaha's DSP based FIR-X crossover tuning, D-Contour controls, and onboard mixer (2-channel).

Specifications:

  • 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: 2 x XLR/TRS Combo, 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.

Many were impressed by how loud the DBR10 is, especially when considering its weight and size. Reviews report that it works great as Front of House loudspeaker for small to medium size venues. But it's not limited to just FOH duties, because musicians found it to be ideal for personal monitor use be it for amp modelers, electric drums, keyboards and more.

There were some who complained that the ABS plastic exterior is a not as scratch/ding resistant as they expected, but no consistent complaints other than that.

If you want nothing less than the best powered PA speaker in the sub $500 price range, then get the Yamaha DBR10.

Electro-Voice ZLX-15P 15" 1000W Powered PA Speaker

92
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

$499
Electro-Voice ZLX-15P Powered PA Speaker - 1000W

The Electro-Voice ZLX-15P gives you quality sound reinforcement with more oomph at a reasonable price point. Priced at around $70 more than the 12" model, the extra cost is justified by its extended low end, thanks to its 15" woofer. This bigger woofer is paired with the same 1.5" high frequency titanium compression driver and 500 Watt (RMS) Bi-amplifier as used on Electro-Voice' ZLX Series. Combining all the features together makes for a bulky and heavy speaker at 42 lbs, but it is an expected inconvenience that many DJs and electronic musicians are willing to accept. The same DSP features are available, including mode and location presets, limiter and built-in EQ.

Specifications:

  • LF Driver: 15" Cone
  • HF Driver: 1.5" Titanium Compression
  • Amplifier: Bi-amplified Class D
  • Output Power Peak: 1000W
  • Output Power Continuous: : 500W RMS
  • Frequency Response: 50Hz - 18kHz (-6dB)
  • Frequency Range: 42Hz - 20kHz
  • Maximum Peak SPL: 127dB
  • Crossover Frequency: 1.7kHz
  • Enclosure: Polypropylene
  • Mounting: Pole
  • Inputs: 2 x XLR-1/4" combo, 1 x 1/8" (aux in)
  • Outputs: 1 x XLR
  • Controls: 3-band EQ, Limiter, Mode and Location Presets, Crossover Presets
  • Dimensions: 27" × 17" × 15"
  • Weight: 38 lbs.

More than 9 out of 10 users agree that this is a great value loud speaker, especially for those who need more bottom end, without having to resort to a subwoofer. And it's not just DJs and EDM musicians, the EV ZLX-15P got a lot of thumbs up from bands and singing groups.

One of the few concerns about this speaker is its lack of output volume, especially for it size, at just 127dB Max SPL, and since the DSP is so good at protecting the speaker, some complain that it limits the actual output more than needed.

If you're looking for an affordable speaker that reproduces good low end for small venues, then you'll want to consider this one.

Turbosound Milan M12

93
GEARANK

93 out of 100. Incorporating 10+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$450
Turbosound Milan M15  15" Powered PA Speaker

Acquired by Music Group (Behringer's mother company) back in 2012, UK-based Loudspeaker manufacturer Turbosound continues to produce quality loudspeakers. The Milan 12 is their top rated speaker in the sub $500 price range, featuring a 12" woofer, 1" tweeter and a 1100W (Peak) amplifier. While it is primarily meant for FOH use, the Milan M12's input options allow it to work as a portable PA system for solo performers, and it can also serve as a stage floor monitor. It also comes equipped with DSP that serves as a smart limiter and dynamic equalizer. Other features include bass and treble EQ controls, recessed carry handle, and dual-angle pole mounting.

Specifications:

  • LF Driver: 12" Cone
  • HF Driver: 1" Aluminum Diaphragm Compression
  • Amplifier: Bi-amplified Class D Klark Teknik
  • Output Power Peak: 1100W (1000W LF, 100W HF)
  • Frequency Response: 50Hz - 18kHz (±3dB), 45Hz - 20kHz (-10dB)
  • Maximum Peak SPL: 128dB
  • Enclosure: Polypropylene
  • Mounting: Pole, Floor Wedge, Fly
  • Inputs: 2 x XLR-1/4" Combo
  • Outputs: 1 x XLR
  • Controls: Power Switch, Level, Line/Mic, Low Cut, Speech/Music, Bass and Treble, Front LED, Mains on/of
  • Dimensions: 24.4" × 15.5" × 13"
  • Weight: 45.1 lbs.

Amazing and awesome are two words that came up a number of times in reviews, from users who were surprised by the overall sound and build quality of the Turbosound Milan M12. Interestingly, most of the positive reviews it got came from DJs who recommend it for techno, hip hop, house and dance music. But it's not just for DJs, because some users reported using it in folk and rock clubs with no hiccups.

For a 12" speaker, the Milan 12 is relatively heavy, so it may not be ideal if you're looking for something that's easier to haul around. Interestingly, there is one user who rated this speaker a bit lower because of its bottom end emphasis, goes to show that you can't really please everyone.

If you're looking for a versatile 12" that is approved by DJs, then do check out the Turbosound Milan M12.

Runner Up

Here is a speaker that did not make the top ten (by a small margin), but still worth considering.

RCF ART 310-A MK III

91
GEARANK

91 out of 100. Incorporating 100+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$499
RCF ART 310-A MK III 10" Powered PA Speaker

The RCF ART 310-A MKIII is meant to be an active PA loudspeaker that can double as a reference monitor. To accomplish this, the speaker is equipped with two distinct voicings: flat and boost. The default setting is "flat", which is meant to be as transparent as possible so you here important details in the highs and mids without coloration and without the lows muddying up the signal. Pressing the boost button changes the voicing to offer more low end, making the speaker ideal for FOH use. It features a 400W (RMS) amplifier that drives a 10" woofer and a 1" titanium dome tweeter, a combination that works well for small venues, and provide good monitoring for medium size stages and studios.

Specifications:

  • LF Driver: 10" Cone, 2.5" Voice Coil
  • HF Driver: 1" Titanium Dome, 1.5" Voice Coil
  • Amplifier: Bi-amplified Class D
  • Output Power Peak: 800W (600W LF, 200W HF)
  • Output Power RMS: : 400W (300W LF, 100W HF)
  • Frequency Response: 50Hz - 20kHz(-3dB)
  • Frequency Range: 42Hz - 20kHz
  • Maximum Peak SPL: 127dB
  • Crossover Frequency: 1.8kHz
  • Enclosure: Composite Polypropylene
  • Mounting: Pole, Floor Wedge, Fly
  • Inputs: 1 x XLR-1/4" Combo
  • Outputs: 1 x XLR, 1 x TRS
  • Controls: Power Switch, Volume Knob, Flat/Boost Button, Line/Mic Button
  • Dimensions: 21.4" × 13.26" × 12.4"
  • Weight: 27.77 lbs.

Many users report that the RCF ART 310-A MK III lets them hear sonic nuances that other speakers fail to convey. Reviews show that it works well for speech and music playback applications, and it also works well with acoustic instruments, rock bands and even DJs (when boost is activated).

Ironically, the flat sound which many people liked also raised a few eyebrows, as evidenced by a few users who gave lower ratings because they were looking for more low end on the flat setting.

The RCF ART 310-A MKIII is ideal for those who want a transparent powered PA speaker that can double as a studio/stage monitor.

The Best Powered PA Speakers Under $1000

These are active PA speakers that continue to get rave reviews, used by many artists and venue owners. At this price point, quality and reliability is of utmost importance, so we selected the top five that can really deliver the goods, and are worth investing in.

QSC K8 8" Powered PA Speaker 1000W

95
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

$550
QSC K8 Powered PA Speaker - 1000W

The QSC K8 retains some of the features of its larger K10 & K12 siblings including the 1000W (Continuous) amplifier and 1.75" diaphragm compression driver. Considering that its just $50 cheaper, and only 2 lbs. lighter than the K10, many still opt for the smaller K8 for its midrange emphasis, which translates to better clarity and compatibility with subwoofers. For its compact size, the QSC K8 can go up to 127 dB Max SPL, just two decibels short of the bigger 10" model. This makes it more than adequate for handling small to medium size venues. It also comes equipped with built-in DSP and controls for fine tuning the resulting sound, making it easy to integrate into existing setups.

Specifications:

  • LF Driver: 8" Cone, 4" Voice-coil
  • HF Driver: 1.75" Diaphragm Compression
  • Amplifier: Bi-amplified Class D
  • Output Power Peak: 2000W (1000W LF, 1000W HF)
  • Output Power Continuous: : 1000W (500W LF, 500W HF)
  • Frequency Response: 66Hz - 18kHz (-6dB) | 61Hz - 20kHz (-10dB)
  • Maximum Peak SPL: 127dB
  • Crossover Frequency: 2kHz
  • Enclosure: ABS Thermoplastic
  • Mounting: Pole, Optional Yoke Mount Kit
  • Inputs: 2 x XLR/TRS Combo, 2 x RCA
  • Outputs: 2 x XLR (Direct), 1 x XLR (Line)
  • Controls: LF Switch (Ext Sub, Norm, Deep), HF (Vocal Boost, Flat), Front LED (Power, Limit, Off), Mic/Line Switch, Gain A & B Knobs, Power Switch
  • Dimensions: 17.7" × 11" × 10.6"
  • Weight: 27 lbs.

Many solo performers and singer songwriters are happy with the QSC K8's sound quality, they are especially fond of how it reproduces vocal nuances. But it's not limited to just these solo performers, because it's been proven to work great in weddings, conferences, dance clubs and many more situations. The K8's sound dispersion also got multiple commendations, along with its extensive reach.

A common complaint with the K8 is that it does not have the same "wedge" profile as the bigger models, which means that it can't be positioned properly for floor monitoring use.

Overall, this is a reliable workhorse powered loudspeaker for those who prioritize clarity and nuance reproduction.

QSC K10 10" Powered PA Speaker 1000W

96
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

$700
QSC K10 10 inch 1000 watt Powered PA Speaker

The QSC K10 continues to get rave reviews, thanks to its excellent balance of sound quality, portability and reliability. With its 2000W Peak output power rating, the QSC K10 has plenty of headroom for most small to medium size venues, while maintaining studio monitor like clarity and sound detail. This premium sound quality is made possible by its quality components, directivity design and built-in DSP tuning, all of which work together seamlessly. Other features include two independent gain knobs, LF and HF filter controls, built-in overload protection and multiple mounting options.

Specifications:

  • LF Driver: 10" Cone Transducer, 4" Voice-coil
  • HF Driver: 1.75" Diaphragm Compression
  • Amplifier: Bi-amplified Class D
  • Output Power Peak: 2000W (1000W LF, 1000W HF)
  • Output Power Continuous: : 1000W (500W LF, 500W HF)
  • Frequency Response: 60Hz - 18kHz (-6dB) | 56Hz - 20kHz (-10dB)
  • Maximum Peak SPL: 129dB
  • Crossover Frequency: 2kHz
  • Enclosure: ABS Thermoplastic
  • Mounting: Pole (2 Angles, Floor Wedge, Fly
  • Inputs: 2 x XLR/TRS Combo, 2 x RCA
  • Outputs: 2 x XLR (Direct), 1 x XLR (Line)
  • Controls: LF Switch (Ext Sub, Norm, Deep), HF (Vocal Boost, Flat), Front LED (Power, Limit, Off), Mic/Line Switch, Gain A & B Knobs, Power Switch
  • Dimensions: 20.4" × 12.6" × 11.8"
  • Weight: 32 lbs.

The QSC K10 is well loved by almost everyone that tested and reviewed it, be they keyboardists, guitarists, DJs, electronic musicians, singer songwriters, venue owners and many more. And they mostly rave about its impressive clear sound, great projection (max SPL of 129 dB), tank tough ABS exterior, and portability. Speaking of portability, many commented that the speaker is surprisingly light for its power, and added that the handle positioning is well thought out, compared to what other speakers offer.

As evidenced by its Gearank score, there's not much to complain about. Still there are a few users who found the low end to be lacking, but this is to be expected from a medium sized 10" speaker. Some experienced DJs recommend adding a subwoofer to make the most out of the QSC K10's clarity.

Other than that, it's hard to go wrong with the QSC K10. Get it now, if you want nothing but the best powered PA speaker in the market.

Yamaha DXR12 Powered PA Speaker 700W

95
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

$700
Yamaha DXR12 Powered PA Speaker

The Yamaha DXR12 is the smaller sibling of the DXR15, featuring the same amplifier section, controls and input/output selection, with the main difference being its slightly smaller 12" woofer. Consequently, the enclosure is smaller and the overall weight is a bit lighter, which results in a slightly different bottom end when compared with its bigger sibling. The same Class D amplifier is used, along with Yamaha's DSP FIR-X tuning technology which dynamically optimizes the time alignment between the tweeter and the woofer. Other features include a built-in 3-channel mixer, that allows the DXR12 to be a standalone all-in-one PA system for solo musicians and small venue events.

Specifications:

  • LF Driver: 12" Cone, 2.5" Voice-Coil
  • HF Driver: 1.4" Throat Compression
  • Amplifier: Bi-amplified Class D
  • Output Power Peak: 1100W (950W LF, 150W HF)
  • Output Power Continuous: : 700W (600W LF, 100W HF)
  • Frequency Response: 52Hz - 20kHz (-10dB)
  • Maximum Peak SPL: 132dB
  • Enclosure: ABS Thermoplastic
  • Mounting: Pole, Floor Wedge, Fly
  • Inputs: 2 x XLR, 2 x 1/4", 2 x RCA
  • Outputs: 1 x XLR (Link)
  • Controls: Power Button, 3 x Level Knobs, Mic/Line Switch, D-Contour (FOH, Off, Monitor), HPF Switch (120Hz, 100Hz, Off), Mono/Stereo Switch
  • Dimensions: 23.5" × 14.25" × 13.75"
  • Weight: 42.5 lbs.

Market sentiment is overwhelmingly positive, with users and experts alike giving the DXR12 top marks for its great balance of quality and value for money. A good number of musicians pointed to its clarity, even at high volumes, as its best trait. Durability and the flexibility of having 3 channels also made this an easy pick for musicians who are looking for an all-in-one powered speaker solution.

There were a few that wished for better handle positioning, while others cautioned that the DXR12 is quite heavy. On the plus side, there are no notable complaints about Yamaha DXR12's sound and build quality.

Check out the Yamaha DXR12 if you are in the market for a reliable and good value 12" powered speaker.

QSC K12 12" Powered PA Speaker 1000W

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 550+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$700
QSC K12

The K12 is the biggest and the loudest of the three sub $1000 K Series speakers from QSC, with a max SPL of 131 dB. It features a 12" LF driver that is housed in a bigger cabinet, which makes it heavy yet reasonably portable. The amplifier section, built-in DSP and dispersion are similar, so you are getting the same sound quality and projection, but with more power and low end. Another nifty feature of the QSC K12 is its dual angle pole socket, which lets you angle the speaker downwards by 7.5 degrees. The same HF and LF EQ switches are available, for fine tuning the sound to your preference, its most prominent feature being Voice Boost, which is ideal for speeches and for emphasizing vocals.

Specifications:

  • LF Driver: 12" Cone, 4" Voice-coil
  • HF Driver: 1.75" Diaphragm Compression
  • Amplifier: Bi-amplified Class D
  • Output Power Peak: 2000W (1000W LF, 1000W HF)
  • Output Power Continuous: : 1000W (500W LF, 500W HF)
  • Frequency Response: 52Hz - 18kHz (-6dB) | 48Hz - 20kHz (-10dB)
  • Maximum Peak SPL: 131dB
  • Crossover Frequency: 2kHz
  • Enclosure: ABS Thermoplastic
  • Mounting: Pole, Floor Wedge, Fly
  • Inputs: 2 x XLR/TRS Combo, 2 x RCA
  • Outputs: 2 x XLR (Direct), 1 x XLR (Line)
  • Controls: LF Switch (Ext Sub, Norm, Deep), HF (Vocal Boost, Flat), Front LED (Power, Limit, Off), Mic/Line Switch, Gain A & B Knobs, Power Switch
  • Dimensions: 23.7" × 14" × 14"
  • Weight: 41 lbs.

The QSC K12 gets positive reviews for its loud yet clear sound, from users with varying musical tastes and backgrounds. Connectivity options and reliability are also praised by musicians who have been regularly gigging with this speaker, citing the speaker's tough ABS exterior and solid build as noteworthy features.

There are but a few minor complaints on the K12, one of which being the XLR cable sometimes falling out when in floor monitor position.

If you want QSC's sound quality with more bass - without having to add a bulky and heavy subwoofer into your setup - then the QSC K12 is highly recommended.

Yamaha DXR15 Powered PA Speaker - 700W

96
GEARANK

96 out of 100. Incorporating 100+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$800
Yamaha DXR15 Powered PA Speaker 15" - 700W

There's no denying Yamaha's reputation for quality and value for money, as exemplified by the highly rated DXR15 powered PA speaker. Its power, sound quality and extra features continue to impress musicians worldwide, as evidenced by its very high Gearank Score. As the name implies, this one houses a bigger 15" woofer, which allows for more bottom end emphasis. The woofer is paired with a 1.4" high frequency driver, and both are powered by 700W (Continuous) Bi-Amp configuration amplifier. The DXR15 can go up to 133dB SPL, which is louder than others in the same price range. And since it can be positioned on the floor or on stands, this loud PA speaker is easy to add into existing setups. It also comes with a 3-channel mixer, which makes it a viable portable PA system by itself, handling up to three instruments/mics. Note that the DXR15 is quite heavy at 49.6 lbs, so you'll want to look for something smaller if you want something that's easier to move around.

Specifications:

  • LF Driver: 15" Cone, 2.5" Voice-Coil
  • HF Driver: 1.4" Throat Compression
  • Amplifier: Bi-amplified Class D
  • Output Power Peak: 1100W (950W LF, 150W HF)
  • Output Power Continuous: : 700W (600W LF, 100W HF)
  • Frequency Response: 49Hz - 20kHz (-10dB)
  • Maximum Peak SPL: 133dB
  • Enclosure: ABS Thermoplastic
  • Mounting: Pole, Floor Wedge, Fly
  • Inputs: 2 x XLR, 2 x 1/4", 2 x RCA
  • Outputs: 1 x XLR (Link)
  • Controls: Power Button, 3 x Level Knobs, Mic/Line Switch, D-Contour (FOH, Off, Monitor), HPF Switch (120Hz, 100Hz, Off), Mono/Stereo Switch
  • Dimensions: 27.5" × 17.5" × 15"
  • Weight: 49.56 lbs.

The DXR15's expanded low frequency response makes it ideal for DJs and Electronic musicians. Many were happy with the speaker's bass clarity, even when it is driven hard to fill bigger spaces. And almost all reviewers agree that this speaker is really loud, allowing some bands and DJs to perform without the need for a dedicated subwoofer.

There's not much to complain about other than it's expected bulk and weight, and this is reflected in the reviews. If you're looking for a versatile powered speaker with more volume and bottom end, the Yamaha DXR15 is your best pick.

Runner Up

Since the Gearank score is tied for 5th position, we decided to include both speakers in the list, with this one being a runner up that is worth recommending.

Yamaha DXR10 Powered PA SPeaker 10" 700W

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 175+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$600
Yamaha DXR10 Powered PA Speaker

The DXR10 sits in the sweetspot where portability, sound quality and power meets, carrying over the same features as the bigger DXR Series speakers from Yamaha, albeit with a smaller 10" woofer, compact cabinet frame, and lighter weight. Weighing in at just 32.2 lbs, it showcases their impressive ability to provide market leading quality and features without jacking up the price tag. It comes equipped with the same 700W (Continuous) amplifier and DSP FIR-X tuning technology for phase optimization. In addition, it also sports the built-in 3-channel mixer that allows it to double as a standalone PA system when needed, which complements its lighter and more portable profile.

Specifications:

  • LF Driver: 10" Cone, 2" Voice-Coil
  • HF Driver: 1.4" Throat Compression
  • Amplifier: Bi-amplified Class D
  • Output Power Peak: 1100W (950W LF, 150W HF)
  • Output Power Continuous: : 700W (600W LF, 100W HF)
  • Frequency Response: 56Hz - 20kHz (-10dB)
  • Maximum Peak SPL: 131dB
  • Enclosure: ABS Thermoplastic
  • Mounting: Pole, Floor Wedge, Fly
  • Inputs: 2 x XLR, 2 x 1/4", 2 x RCA
  • Outputs: 1 x XLR (Link)
  • Controls: Power Button, 3 x Level Knobs, Mic/Line Switch, D-Contour (FOH, Off, Monitor), HPF Switch (120Hz, 100Hz, Off), Mono/Stereo Switch
  • Dimensions: 19.75" × 12" × 12.25"
  • Weight: 32.2 lbs.

Warm and portable are two descriptive words that summarizes what the market feels about the Yamaha DXR10. Users from various musical backgrounds were impressed by its warm and clear sound, including guitar players that use this speaker in conjunction with their amp modeling pedal/rack. In addition to sounding nice, many consider the weight to power ratio to be just right for mobile use.

There were a few users found the DXR10's bass to be lacking, but other than that, most users have nothing but good words for it.

If you are looking for a portable, reliable and great sounding 10" powered speaker, then check out the Yamaha DXR10.

Editor's Pick

Here are a couple of extras worth taking a look at according to Gearank Editor Jason Horton.

Behringer Eurolive B112D 12" 1000W Powered PA Speaker

90
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

$250
Behringer Eurolive B112D 1000 watt Powered PA Speaker

Behringer continues to improve their reputation with the ever improving quality of their products. The Eurolive B112D is a testament to this, convincing even critics that affordable doesn't always mean compromised quality. This speaker features a 12" woofer and a 1.35" tweeter, bi-amped by the 1000W (Peak) built-in amplifier, and everything is crammed into a light but sturdy plastic enclosure. Other features include 2-band EQ control, integrated DSP for speaker protection, and integrated mixer. Compatibility with Behringer's Ultralink ULM wireless systems add to the already good value for money that this speaker brings to the table.

Specifications:

  • LF Driver: 12" Cone
  • HF Driver: 1.35" Aluminum Compression
  • Amplifier: Bi-amplified Class D
  • Output Power Peak: 1000W (700W LF, 300W HF)
  • Frequency Response: 50Hz - 20kHz
  • Maximum Peak SPL: 127dB
  • Crossover Frequency: 2.8kHz
  • Enclosure: Plastic
  • Mounting: Pole
  • Inputs: 2 x XLR/TRS Combo
  • Outputs: 1 x XLR
  • Controls: Power Switch, Input 1 & 2 Knobs, High and Low EQ Knobs, Wireless Compatibility.
  • Dimensions: 22.4" × 13.4" × 10.6"
  • Weight: 27.1 lbs.

Reviews have been consistent in saying that this speaker sounds really excellent, especially for the price, and some even comment that they've been using it for many regular gigs and it worked great without fail.

While there are still a few who say that quality still needs improvement, they are now vastly outnumbered by positive reviews from musicians, DJs and other users. Weighing in at just 27.1 lbs, this powered speaker is easy to carry around, but there are some concerns over its durability. Still this is something that proper handling should be able to address, and its not like these speakers will easily break, because some reviewers have even used them for years without fail.

If you're looking for a budget friendly 12" powered speaker for your instrument or for your PA, the B112D is highly recommended.

Pyle Pro PSTND2 6' Tripod Speaker Stand

88
GEARANK

88 out of 100. Incorporating 700+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$25
Pyle Pro PSTND2 6' Tripod Speaker Stand

This affordable speaker stand works well with all speakers that have 35mm compatible pole stand insert. It has good enough height adjustments for most setups, and has a maximum load capacity of 132 lbs, which more than thrice the weight of most powered PA speakers. Finally, it folds nicely for storage, making ideal for mobile PA setups. We've listed all the relevant specifications below:

Features

  • 6' Ft. Speaker Stand Holder Mount
  • Works with All Speakers with 35mm Compatible Insert
  • Loudspeakers, PA Speakers, Stage/Studio Monitors, etc.
  • Quick and Easy Telescoping Height Adjustment
  • Minimum Height: 40''
  • Maximum Height: 71''
  • Locking Safety Pin for Secure Placement
  • Rugged and Durable Metal Construction
  • Reinforced 35mm (1.375'') Engineered Tubing
  • Conveniently Folds for Storage & Transport
  • Knob-Style Tension Locking Mechanism
  • Maximum Speaker Weight Load Capacity: Up to 132 lbs.
  • Perfect for On-Stage or In-Studio Use
  • Glossy Black Finish
  • Weight: 9.25 lbs.

For convenient out of the box experience, we recommend buying the Pyle Pro PSTND2 6' Tripod Speaker Stand along with your preferred PA Active Loudspeaker.

What to Look for in a Powered Speaker

  • Output Power Rating and Max SPL

    Since powered 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 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 speakers in strategic positions for covering larger venues.

  • Speaker Cone Size

    The speaker cone size refers to the size of the LF (Low Frequency) Driver. Ideally, 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 bass drums, you'll need bigger speaker sizes. 10" to 12" should be enough for most small group/band settings. 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 or two.

  • Portability

    The built-in amplifier found inside powered speakers add 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.

  • DSP, Limiter and EQ

    Many powered speakers come with built-in DSP (Digital Signal Processor), and it provides various advantages that include smart limiter 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.

  • Built-in Mixer

    Some powered speakers can handle two or more inputs that have dedicated gain/volume controls, much like a mixer. These speakers can double as a standalone mobile PA system for solo performers and singer songwriters who play in smaller venues.

  • Reliability

    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. Still, regardless of how solid the exterior is, there's no substitute for careful handling and transport.

Methodology

We looked at top rated powered PA Speakers that are available from major US retailers, and we limited our scope within the sub $1000 price range. Even with this limitation we ended up adding more than 40 of them to our database, along with over 6500 up-to-date sources that include user/expert reviews, customer ratings, video reviews, discussion forums and more. All these data are fed to the Gearank algorithm, which gave us the scores that we used to trim the list to just the best of the bunch. Finally, we divided the list into two price categories, Under $500 and Under $1000, and we arranged the list by price for your convenience. As always, we've also included detailed descriptions and specifications for each powered speaker, along with their strengths and weaknesses as reported by actual users. For more information about this process see How Gearank Works.

Powered PA Speaker Summary

If you feel there is a speaker which should be included above, first check to see if it's in our Gearank Database, then let us know in the comments below if you would like us to consider including it.

Comments

My band has been using both

My band has been using both EVs and JBLs for years now and they're both really good powered speakers. Why didn't you include JBL on your list?

I'm disappointed with this

I'm disappointed with this list. I'm surprised that Mackie's were cited as being "reliable." I had a pair of Thumps that were anything but reliable. I had to replace them after six months of use. JBLs are known for reliability, not Mackies.

The Gearank scores are based

The Gearank scores are based upon customer feedback and expert reviews of the latest models.

Here are the JBLs we processed and none of them had enough positive feedback to score high enough to be included.

If you think there is a current JBL model we should process for a Gearank score to see if it should be included, then please let us know.

I have had JBL PRX625 now for

I have had JBL PRX625 now for almost four years and they are really good, never had problems with them. Just bought Bose F1 system two months ago and had two sub woofer rattling. JBL deserve to be on this list.

The JBL PRX625 speakers are

The JBL PRX625 speakers are no longer available to buy from most of the major North American retailers which is why this specific model was not included.

BTW - although JBL didn't score high enough to be included in this guide, they topped the ratings in our guide to the Best PA Subwoofers.

Hi Walt - there are 2

Hi Walt - there are 2 important points to make in response to your question:

  1. If you look at the Methodology section you'll see that we only considered speakers with a street price of up to $1,000 and the JBL SRX range sells for more than that
  2. We don't directly test any of the gear on this website - the entire point of Gearank is that we base our ratings on reviews and comments made by musicians from around the world - that's what the "Sources" and "Incorporating (x)+ ratings and reviews." numbers reflect.
    To get a better handle on this please read How Gearank Works.

JBLs Are not what they use to

JBLs Are not what they use to be. I had the PRX 735s and after several shows the inside housing on both cabs were rattling and buzzing. Very annoying. When I saw them open up the cabs. the parts were as cheap as could be. Even the tech was shocked. He suggested QSC 153s. I took the loss on the trade in and never looked back. The QSCs blow them away in sound quality and build quality. So I am not at all surprised the smaller QSC were on the top. The 153s are probably too $$$ for this list but would be at the top if that price range was being considered. Also the EVs have way too many complaints of breaking down as do Mackie. You RARELY see that on QSC reviews. Being in a working band Quality and reliability are everything. QSC tops the list IMO

Thanks John - you were quite

Thanks John - you were quite right that we were trying to stick to a price range, we didn't want go much over $1,000. If we had gone up to $1,500 the the QSC KW153 would have been in the list too.

would you help me compare the

Would you help me compare the two EV and JBL? What is the best choice in durability, audibility among others?

We have 4 JBLs and 4 EVs

We have 4 JBLs and 4 EVs currently in our public database.

If you click on those links you'll see that the EVs generally have higher Gearank scores than the JBLs - this means people who have bought the EVs are more satisfied with their gear than the people who got the JBLs instead.

That's why we recommended the ZLX-12P & ZLX-15P EVs above but have not done so for the JBLs at this stage.

Being a sound engineer, Jbl's

Being a sound engineer, Jbl's used to use quality components back 20 years ago but what they are putting out now is not professional grade products. I have qsc153 they are a bit on the heavier side but in terms of professional sound reinforcement they cannot be beat! It comes down to what is your main concern when performing live, quality professional products or products that fit your budget. I prefer to wait when making a purchase but get a product that is top notch!
QSC rocks!

I build adamson speakers and

I build Adamson speakers and they are great build with kevlar drivers great outside in all wether but you will pay.

JBL has never been a good

JBL has never been a good speaker EV beats them hands down are you deaf?

I listened to JBL and EV side

I listened to JBL and EV side by side and chose the EV Live X series. EV beat JBL hands down.

The RCF Art series are

The RCF Art series are definitely within the price range, however they have limited availability in the US - you usually have to buy them on special order.

However they are widely available throughout Europe so if anyone would like more information about RCF powered speakers go to http://www.rcf.it/product-finder/active-speaker

No offense. RCF Art series is

No offense. RCF Art series is garbage just like the JBL PRX. Sounds like radio amplified. Good that its not listed here. If you want noise then it is, not for music.

You've clearly not heard RCF

You've clearly not heard RCF's ART 745-A. It's easily one of the best loudspeakers in its price range. Actually, considering its price, it probably is the best bar none. With its huge 4" driver, there's little competition for it if small-mid range venues is your thing.

A sub woofer guide is a good

A subwoofer guide is a good idea - I'll add that to our list of topics to investigate.

If you've never tried QSC,

If you've never tried QSC, treat yourself. I rented a K12 as a keyboard monitor and my goodness, the bass that thing was capable of is amazing. I had to engage the hi-pass switch as the bass player was giving me dirty looks. And yes please, it would be great to know which sub would be a good match for K8/10s

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

For now, there aren't enough

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

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.

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!

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.

Curious how the TurboSound I

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

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.

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.

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