7 Best PA Speakers - September 2023

The Best Powered PA Speakers


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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 now have tech advancements that enable them to be built smaller and more efficiently than ever.

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

Powered PA speakers are also more versatile than a passive setup. They can be used as a 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 modeling also use 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. I also 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 Best Powered 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 an active speaker used in Front of House or as a floor monitor. 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 an 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 powered speaker is known for is its good power-to-weight ratio. This might mean little for static setups, but traveling weight is essential for equipment rentals, touring musicians, and street performers.

Having a lighter speaker without compromising power is always welcome in these situations. It doesn't boast of having the best sound quality, but it sounds quite good.

A gripe I have with this powered pa speaker 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 poorly 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. This could be avoided with better internal component shielding, which would raise the price.

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

The B210D isn't perfect, but it's still the best powered speaker in its price range, 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 this powered pa speaker will 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 speaker
  • 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 it would be a bit lacking in the bass department, but it performs reasonably well there, too, with a frequency range down to 55Hz. The combination of portability, power, and price makes this a compelling option, and is why it's been so popular and well-regarded since its release in 2014.

And it's very versatile. I have used the DBR10 as an 'FRFR' (Full Range Full Response) amp with guitar modeling, a PA / FOH powered speaker, and a stage monitor. It is one of 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.

This powered PA speaker 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 use these simultaneously as the line input. There are better ways 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, they work well in smaller venues and medium-sized venues for styles that aren't loud or bass-heavy. Their sound 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, you'll want to pair them with subwoofers. I have yet to do this, but they have an excellent reputation for combining well with subwoofers, and the HPF switch works well for this purpose.

Although others say that this powered speaker is easy to scratch, 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 fantastic, affordable, lightweight powered speaker sounds great and offers excellent versatility. It looks good and has been a reliable workhorse for many (including me), 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 main powered speakers for smaller venues, or coupled with subwoofers in larger venues. I find it to be one of the best pa speakers when it comes to versatility and portability.

The power at such a light weight is the standout feature, making it suitable for a broader 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.

This is one of the best PA speakers for those who need something portable.


  • 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 225+ 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 a brand known for premium sound and build quality. Their speakers are widely considered among the best powered speakers for PA systems.

The CP8 lets you experience its 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 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 capable of being used for Mic-level signals.

Sound output is surprisingly loud for an 8" speaker and it 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. When properly implemented the CP8 gives you great sound quality and incredible clarity.

If you want to avoid dealing with subs, consider getting the CP12 instead, which, although having identical amplifiers, is noticeably louder at the bottom end.

The polypropylene enclosure is solid; in fact, I expect them to be still 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 QSC's premium pro audio sound reinforcement brand. 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 275+ 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-sized 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. Only one channel can run 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 experience with these 12 inch PA powered speakers is from a local venue I set up sound for. The speakers can handle a packed small venue with just two units. The versatility allowed the venue to use the same unit for their monitors. Calibration was a breeze, and the volume and clarity were 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 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


96 out of 100. Incorporating 300+ 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 speakers, reflected by the almost perfect ratings many of their products are getting. The K8.2 is among their highest rated speakers, sporting an 8" speaker and a 2000W power 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 more power to the LF driver, which means a bit more low-end emphasis, which helps its tiny 8" speaker to sound fuller. These all add up to a tight and clear sound and even help improve long-term reliability.

I am impressed by its detailed sound, especially in the midrange. It is easily one of the best active speakers for small ensemble setups like acoustic guitar with vocals - soloists and duos. Although the low end is limited due to the 8" woofer, it pairs well with subs. I don't do DJ work, but I've seen reports from DJs who like the sound when paired with a good sub.

If you're looking for an excellent 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

Electro-Voice EKX-15P 2-way 15" - 1500W


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

Street Price: 

Electro-Voice EKX-15P 2-way 15" Powered PA Speaker - 1500W
At publication time this was the Highest Rated Powered PA Speaker Under $2000.


  • Fan can get noisy
  • Power cable a bit flimsy


  • Smooth, high-quality sound
  • Great sound and build quality
  • Can fill big venues with ease

The EKX-15p was designed to project low frequencies. Pairing a 15" woofer with a 1500W Class D Power amp, The EKX-15p can go loud and distortion-free.

This low frequency reproduction makes it great for DJs and musicians. It's clear enough for speech. It also does a great job of filling larger venues.

Electro Voice opted for a cleverly designed wood cabinet similar to classic speaker designs but with lighter materials to keep weight down.

You can choose between 3 presets: music, live, and club. You also have the option to save five user-programmable presets.

The variable speed fan keeps the speaker from overheating and potential burnouts. It can sense internal temperatures and automatically adjust the fan speed.

It's a simple speaker to set up and works well with different speaker stands and other mounting options.

The power cable may be fragile. This is reflected in other reports by owners but it can be easily replaced with a sturdier one. Another con is the fan. It gets loud at higher speeds.

It's a big speaker with big wattage and a great wooden baffle cabinet. At this price, it's among the best active speakers in terms of value. You can't go wrong with the brand and its reputation for sound AND build quality.


  • LF Driver: 15"
  • HF Driver: 1.5"
  • Amplifier: Bi-amplified Class D
  • Output Power Peak: 1500W
  • Output Power Continuous: Not Specified
  • Frequency Response: 55Hz - 18KHz (-3 DB) | 44Hz - 20kHz (-10 DB)
  • Maximum Peak SPL: 134 dB
  • Crossover Frequency: 1.7 kHz
  • Enclosure: 15 mm plywood with EVCoat
  • Mounting: Pole
  • Inputs: 2 x XLR-1/4" combo, RCA Input
  • Outputs: 1 x XLR
  • Controls: Master Volume, Input 1, Input 2
  • Dimensions: 27" × 17" × 17"
  • Weight: 53.9 lbs.

Rating Source Highlights

Website Source *Rating Value
Sound On Sound Mike Crofts 85/100
Pro Sound Strother Bullins 94/100
*Displayed values are prior to adjustments made by the Gearank Algorithm when evaluating the source.

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 of QSC's top rated PA powered speakers, enjoying perfect ratings at almost all major retailers.

This high-output PA powered speaker has a three-way speaker design that can generate 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 there isn't 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-inch 3 way 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 shows just how versatile they are. This is one of the reasons the QSC KW53 is considered the best PA system for outdoor events.

This powered speaker is highly recommended if you want premium quality 3-way 15" house speakers for permanent installation or large venues.


  • 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.

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 response. Compact 8" loudspeakers work particularly well with sound sources that are not bass-heavy, like vocals and guitars.

You'll need bigger speaker sizes for deep bass, especially if you're plugging in bass-heavy instruments into the signal chain, like keyboards, bass guitars, and drums. 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 want more low-end, 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, the focus is on output power, a numerical representation of the headroom and projection capabilities of the built-in amplifier and speaker combination.

Manufacturers and retailers commonly list two types of power output ratings: Continuous (RMS) and Peak (Dynamic).

Continuous (sometimes interchanged with RMS) is a better representation of how powerful a speaker 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 venues.

Max SPL ((Sound Pressure Level) is also essential when matching speakers with venue size. The general rule is that the higher the max SPL rating, the more space the speaker covers. With these information, you can implement multiple speakers strategically to cover larger venues.

What about portability?

The integrated amplifier 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 considered; you want to avoid 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 standalone amplifiers. Considering the cables and Speaker Connector Types that you need is also important when using portable powered PA speakers.

What is DSP and do I need it?

Many powered speakers have built-in DSP (Digital Signal Processors), providing various advantages, including 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. Other features that are good to have include wireless audio streaming (convenient bluetooth audio streaming compatibility), deep bass and more.

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. While many of these mixers include two XLR/Line combo-sized inputs, one 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 risk of problems increases; 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 regarding powered speakers. Even Line Array Speakers are now excellent and reliable. Still, regardless of how solid the exterior is, there's no substitute for careful handling and transport. No matter how reliable your speakers are, don't use them above their specifications, this way you can prevent speaker damage and Crackling from Speakers.

Best PA Speaker Selection Methodology

The first edition was published in 2016, and the current edition was updated on Sept 25, 2023.

For this edition, we conducted an initial survey of major retailers in the USA and placed 85 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.

Next, we gathered relevant store ratings, written reviews, video reviews, and forum discussions about each one - including the latest market feedback. We processed over 15,900 of these data sources using the Gearank Algorithm, which gave us the rating scores out of 100 that we used to rank the powered 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 and their strengths and weaknesses as reported by 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. I also 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.
Alexander Briones: Editing.
Jerry Borillo: Research.
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.


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

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.

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.

Clearly you haven't done any

Clearly you haven't done any testing or comparisons the new series IIII 700 series sound very good and most italian companies make great speakers like FBT & DB youre talking through your hat.

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.

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?

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

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!

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.

Agreed. Anyone have any

Agreed. Anyone have any comments on the Turbosound ix15’s?

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.

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.

Thanks Jason

Thanks Jason
the Ev speakers seems to be much heavier in their performance would you pliz high lighten on the ratio of Amp to speakers in terms of there watts.

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.

Curious as to what was

Curious as to what was lacking in JBL. The PRX 800 series and I assume SRX series should be included. The PRX 835 head to head with QSC 153 are louder and not as harsh on the high end.

We make our recommendations

We make our recommendations based on overall product ratings rather than by considering specific aspects or features (except for special picks like the Budget Option above) - you can see how we analyze reviews and opinions from around the web to produce our ratings in How Gearank Works.

We only go into the detail of which aspects are good or lacking for items we select to recommend, so unfortunately I can't give you specifics in this case other than to say that overall sentiment is less favorable for the ones we didn't recommend.

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.

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.

I had a pair of PRX615's the

I had a pair of PRX615's the bass was good the horn was crap so that's probably why they didn't get a mention a lot JBL speakers have a funny midrange and top end most DJ's don't notice this but put one up against something like the RCF 700 series and the FBT VENTIS/PROMAXX and you'll notice the difference.

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.