The 10 Best Passive PA Speakers (Review & Comparison) Of 2020 – Reviewed For You
Music just cannot be enjoyed if the sound is poor. Speakers are vital in order for a DJ to be successful when performing. To help you make the right choice, we have created a list of all The Best Passive PA Speakers in 2020 and reviewed every single one in detail for you.
Our DJ equipment specialists have been on the hunt for the best passive PA speakers that you can buy online so that we can review each one. After reading this post you will have a better idea about choosing one of the most important pieces of equipment that you will need in your DJ setup. Within these reviews, we will break down the details of each passive speaker including the features of each one as well as the pros and cons to help you make the correct choice for your needs.
If you don’t have time to read the full post, take a look at the 3 most popular speakers below.
The Products We Reviewed – Click to go
3 Passive PA Speakers You Must See – Our Winning Picks
The Best Passive PA Speakers and Sound Systems Reviewed
1. JBL JRX215 (#1 Top Passive PA Speaker)
Speaker Size: 15″ – Watts RMS: 250 – Watts Peak: 1000 – Dimensions: 19.5″ x 18.5″ x 29″ – Weight: 60.5 lbs
JBL is a premium brand that is most often found sold in stores such as Best Buy, Target, and online by reputable retailers. JBL is not like any other brand as they pride themselves on being a professional brand that strives to push the envelope when it comes to technology development, sound quality, and superior coverage. Often sold at an affordable price point, JBL is a go-to brand that many professionals in the entertainment industry prefer to use.
The JBL JRX215 portable loudspeaker system offers some great key features that consumers appreciate for the price of the unit. Some of these features include professionalism in appearance, durable construction, a generous range of coverage, and the fact that they are built with high-quality components.
2. Rockville RSG12 (#1 Best Value Passive PA Speaker)
Speaker Size: 12″ – Watts RMS: 500 – Watts Peak: 1000 – Dimensions: 16.5″ x 14″ x 27″ – Weight: 30.7 lbs
Rockville speakers are built to last and include components that are durable and made of high-quality materials. One of the benefits of buying a Rockville speaker is that you can count on the equipment being backed by the latest in technological advancements. Rockville spends their manufacturing budget on researching the latest technology as opposed to marketing like other big boxed brands do. As a result, you can be confident in your purchase, knowing that the money you spent goes towards the actual components and not overhead costs.
The Rockville RSG12 PA Speaker model encompasses some unique features that are unlike others in the same segment. This speaker features a tapered shape for easy setup, multiple inputs for convenience, and a diverse frequency response range.
3. Yamaha S115V (#1 Premium Pick Passive PA Speaker)
Speaker Size: 15″ – Watts RMS: 500 – Watts Peak: 1000 – Dimensions: 14.8″ x 19.2″ x 28.3″ – Weight: 64.8 lbs
If you have ever played an instrument or you have used some type of sound equipment, it is highly likely that you have heard of the global brand of Yamaha. Yamaha is well known in the entertainment industry as being a brand that is reliable, reputable, and offers consistency in the production of high-quality products. Further, Yamaha has been in business for decades so you can be confident that your purchase is backed by years of proven success in the sound and entertainment industry.
More specifically, the Yamaha S115V speaker offers a unique and powerful design, circuitry with added protection, and a generous 3-year warranty. Finally, this speaker is ideal for the traveling musician or DJ, offers a great coverage pattern, and are built with solid components that ensure a great sound experience with every performance.
4. Peavey PR 15
Speaker Size: 15″ – Watts RMS: 400 – Watts Peak: 800 – Dimensions: 30″ x 19″ x 19″ – Weight: 44 lbs
Let’s face it. When shopping for the ideal set of speakers, there are many brands to choose from. While it is great to have options, it can be a bit overwhelming and it can make shopping for the right equipment to be a daunting task.
Created in 1965, Peavey is a sound audio equipment company that is well known for creating highly technical products at budget-friendly prices. The Peavey PR 15 is Peavey’s best selling passive speaker enclosure which is great for when you need a permanent or portable PA system.
Made in the USA, this speaker consists of high-quality components and is housed in a durable enclosure with a heavy-duty metal grille for protection. Packed with many attractive features, some that are noteworthy include the lightweight and compact build, generous 400 watts of power handling, and the inclusion of inputs and outputs that make connecting to additional equipment a hassle-free experience.
5. Behringer Eurolive B212XL
Speaker Size: 12″ – Watts RMS: 200 – Watts Peak: 800 – Dimensions: 10.6″ x 13.6″ x 21.6″ – Weight: 24 lbs
Behringer is a well-known brand in the music and entertainment industry. Best known for creating high-quality equipment that can compete against big-name labels while maintaining an affordable price point, you can be confident in your purchase when you invest in a Behringer product. The Behringer brand has a good reputation as they have been in the business for several decades. Made and produced in Germany, Behringer products are backed by a great customer service team and a loyal fanbase.
The Behringer Eurolive B212XL speaker is lightweight, versatile, and is great for use on the road. Whether you are going to be playing acoustic drums for your audience or hosting a wedding reception, this speaker will provide you with great sound quality.
6. BEHRINGER EUROLIVE B215XL
Speaker Size: 15″ – Watts RMS: 250 – Watts Peak: 1000 – Dimensions: 13.2″ x 17.3″ x 27.2″ – Weight: 38.8 lbs
The Behringer EUROLIVE B215XL speaker is unique in that you receive 2 great speakers for the price of one. Designed in Germany, Behringer products are popular and well-known for including top-notch components and superior construction, which ensures that they will be usable for a long period of time. This particular Behringer model is unique in that it offers 2-way PA sound reinforcement that is ideal for both live and playback applications.
Most notably, the Behringer Eurolive B215XL speaker is compact, lightweight, and produces an abundance of sound regardless of the pressure you place on them. Made possible by the 15” long-excursion drivers and a state-of-the-art 1.75” titanium diaphragm compression driver, you can enjoy the reproduction of clear, high-frequency sounds.
7. Alto Professional TX15
Speaker Size: 15″ – Watts RMS: 300 – Watts Peak: 600 – Dimensions: 14.4″ x 15.1″ x 24.6″ – Weight: 32.8 lbs
Alto Professional is a brand that may not be heard in conversation around the water cooler in the workplace, but this brand is up and coming and has been an industry favorite as of recently. Developed by a talented team of sound engineers in the early 2000s, Alto Professional spends a great deal of time and energy focusing on creating high-quality equipment that is not overpriced and provides access to those who are unable to afford thousands of dollars worth of equipment.
Perfect for the live musician, DJ, or professional producer in the entertainment industry, this 2-way loudspeaker emits a great deal of clear sound and provides just enough bass for the low end. For a price that will not drain your wallet, you can receive a great piece of equipment that offers a 15”low-frequency driver and 1” high-frequency compression driver. Created with high-end components, The Alto Professional TX15 is durable and will withstand the test of time.
8. Peavey PVX 15p
Speaker Size: 15″ – Watts Peak: 800 – Dimensions: 31.7″ x 22.7″ x 20″ – Weight: 64 lbs
Peavey has been in business since the mid-1960s and is known as one of the biggest and best entertainment equipment manufacturers in the industry. With over 180 patents to their brand name, Peavey is also available in over 130 countries worldwide. In addition to being a preferred brand by DJs, musicians, and entertainers all over the world, you will likely run into Peavey equipment in airports, stadiums, theme parks, and theater stages.
The Peavey PVX 15p 15” 800w Powered Speaker Enclosure is one of the best speakers on the market. Highly coveted by DJs, musicians, and entertainers, these speakers are ideal for the professional looking to upgrade their current equipment or invest in a speaker that will hold up for an extended period of time. This guide will highlight key features and everything you need to know to determine whether or not this speaker model is for you.
9. JBL JRX225
Speaker Size: 15″ – Watts RMS: 500 – Watts Peak: 2000 – Dimensions: 18.5″ x 18.5″ x 45″ – Weight: 94 lbs
The best reason to invest in JBL products is that you know that you will receive an outstanding, reliable, and durable product that will be able to withstand the test of time. Regardless of how many advertisements you have seen or heard of the JBL JRX225 portable loudspeaker system, you can expect high-level performances from these speakers each and every time because of the brand’s reputation. This guide will provide some pertinent highlights offered by the JBL JRX225 speaker that will help you determine if this is the right item to add to your equipment repertoire.
10. Seismic Audio SA-155.2
Speaker Size: 15″ – Watts RMS: 500 – Watts Peak: 1000 – Dimensions: 17″ x 21″ x 40″ – Weight: 51 lbs
One of the considerations you have to make when purchasing a new piece of equipment is the brand that you are going to choose to invest in. This can be a challenge as there are so many brands on the market that choosing the best one can often feel like you are searching for a needle in a haystack.
Seismic Ausdio SA-155.2 is a favorite in the audio equipment industry as they build versatile products that can be used in a variety of ways. This pair of dual 15” PA DJ speakers can be used in a house of worship, wedding ceremony or reception, or even a live band. There are many ways to use this speaker set, all of which will produce high-quality sound and great performance.
Passive PA Buying Guide
When thinking about purchasing a PA system for sound reinforcement applications, one of the first questions you have to ask is whether you should buy passive speakers or powered speakers. This is not an easy decision, as it affects your entire setup in several ways. Many sound professionals prefer powered speakers, because, among other things, it eliminates the need to carry amplifier racks and it can daisy chain together to support large venues.
This doesn’t mean that a powered speaker is a definitively better option. In this article, we’ll be discussing why you should choose unpowered speakers over powered speakers. We’ll also take a look at what is a passive speaker, the advantages and disadvantages of selecting a passive speaker, as well as things to consider when buying the best passive speakers.
What Are Passive Speakers?
A passive PA speaker uses an external power amplifier or powered mixing console. A powered speaker, on the other hand, has a power amplifier built into the back of the speaker cabinet. In the case of a powered speaker, the speaker and amp are built into the same enclosure.
So, if you’re standing in the music shop, how can you distinguish a passive PA speaker from a powered PA speaker? If you’re new to the world of PA systems, they may appear very similar. Both active and passive PA speaker types typically have box shapes, transducers, and are black.
To determine whether a speaker is powered or unpowered, look at the audio connectors at the back of the cabinet. A passive speaker will either have Speakon or ¼” jack connectors. Passive speakers that are a little older may have binding post inputs or screw terminal inputs.
In many cases, a passive PA speaker may have two connectors: an input connector and an output or THRU connector to link to subsequent passive PA speakers in parallel.
Unlike the best passive speakers that only have one or two audio connectors, powered speakers usually have XLR or ¼” connectors. A powered PA speaker cabinet will also have a male XLR that serves as a line level output connector that carries the audio signal to a subsequent powered PA speaker. If an active speaker has a Speakon output connector, it means that it can provide an audio signal and power a subsequent passive PA speaker.
An essential feature of the best passive speakers is that they can only accept speaker level connections. Unless you’re using a mixing console with a built-in amplifier, you can only place a passive speaker after a powered amp.
If you connect an unpowered mixing console directly to your passive speaker, they will not produce any sound, even if the connections between the mixer’s main outputs and the passive PA speaker’s inputs fit.
Unlike passive speakers that can only accept speaker level inputs from a powered amplifier, active speakers can receive microphone or line level signals from:
- A mixing console
- A musical instrument
- A cross-over
- A graphic equalizer
Passive speakers can be fitted with passive internal crossovers, which means they receive a full range signal from a power amplifier that the crossover allocates to low and high frequencies. A passive PA speaker system can also be bi-amplified, which means that an active external crossover sends the signal to two separate amplifiers: one for the woofer and one for the high-frequency compression driver.
Another tell-tale sign that you have a passive speaker in front of you is that there are no A/C power connectors present on the back panel. This is simply because a passive PA speaker has no amplifier that needs to be connected to a power outlet. For this same reason, passive speakers won’t have any fans or external heatsinks.
Now that we have looked at the characteristics of passive PA speakers and how they compare to powered PA speakers, let’s talk about why you should choose passive speakers over powered PA speakers.
Why Choose Passive Speakers over Powered Speakers?
One of the first advantages that passive speakers have over powered speakers is that you only have to run one cable to each passive PA speaker system. The cable you connect to the passive PA speaker is the speaker cable that contains the electronic audio signal from the power amplifier.
With a powered speaker, you have to connect power as well. In certain setup conditions, running power to a solitary powered PA speaker or stage monitor can be challenging. Since you don’t have to lay a power cable to your passive speakers, your rig has a cleaner look, and your setup time is significantly shorter.
Since passive speakers don’t contain power amplifiers, they usually have a lighter weight than equivalent powered speakers, which makes transportation, setup, and installation quick, affordable, and easy.
PA system setup conditions are not always favorable. As a sound professional, you may, at times, be required to provide sound support to beach parties or events where there are swimming pools.
Powered speakers with 110/230 volts mains current are not safe near water. Passive PA systems, therefore, are the better option if you have to deploy your system outdoors and want to ensure optimal safety in the case of bad weather or contact with water.
Powered PA speakers consist of transducers, amplification components, crossovers, protection circuitry, heat sinks, fans, replacement diaphragms, and more. Unlike powered PA speakers, passive speakers don’t have a lot of components and connections that can become defective and, therefore, they typically have a longer lifespan.
Because passive speakers have fewer components that can fail, they also require less maintenance than active PA speakers. If running costs over the long run are a concern, you may be better off with passive speakers.
Better Option for Installation
Since passive speakers require little maintenance, they tend to be the better choice for flying installations. If you install a PA system in a venue with a high roof, such as a church, the speakers may be difficult to reach.
Speakers that are difficult to access are not only challenging to maintain and repair, but a powered PA speaker has to be switched on and off at its rear panel, making it the less desirable option for high overhead installations.
When you fly passive speakers, you can control them from the ground. You don’t have to access them to switch them on or to adjust their gain levels or low-pass filters. Since they have minimal moving parts, you also don’t have to worry about taking them down for several years.
Disadvantages of Passive PA Speakers
Passive PA speakers, however, have their drawbacks. To power a set of passive PA speakers you need to purchase a separate amplifier with a power output that is compatible with your speakers’ power requirement.
To match your speaker correctly to the amplifier, you need a degree of knowledge in speaker impedance, peak power, and the mathematics that are involved in calculating power requirements. Even the best passive PA speakers cannot function without their power amplifier.
Things to Consider When Buying Passive PA Speakers
There are, in essence, three different PA speaker power ratings, namely:
- Continuous Power, which is often referred to as root mean square (RMS)
- Program Power, which is often referred to as Music Power
- Peak Power
A speaker’s Continuous Power indicates the wattage that a speaker can comfortably handle, while Peak Power handling refers to the maximum power level the speaker can handle in short bursts.
If, for example, you have an amplifier that is rated at 50W RMS and that can produce 150W peaks, you should select a speaker that can accommodate these power levels.
Program Power is usually double the Continuous Power rating and indicates the range of power the speaker can handle throughout standard music delivery. It differs from Peak Power in that the speaker can accommodate Program Power comfortably for an extended amount of time.
Matching with Amplifier Power Output
There is some dispute as to whether the power amp and speakers should match in terms of Continuous Power, as some feel that this is the safest option. Most sound professionals, however, argue that the Continuous Power output of the amplifier should match the Program Power requirement to achieve the best passive PA speaker configuration.
For example, if your passive speaker has a Continuous Power requirement of 250W, your amp’s Continuous Power output should be 500W. There are primarily two reasons for the amp’s higher power output:
- It optimizes your passive PA speaker for typical loads
- It prevents you from turning your amp too high which can result in damaging distortion
To prevent damage to your speakers and to minimize the effect of peak power, make sure that your amp never goes in the red, especially if your amp’s Continuous Power output is higher than your speaker’s Continuous Power requirement.
Ensuring that your amp’s impedance matches that of your speaker is critical to prevent audio clipping, heat build-up, and damage to your equipment. Most speakers have a load rating of either 4, 6, or 8 ohms. If you, for example, have a 4-ohm amplifier, you should purchase 4-ohm speakers.
Sound Pressure Level
Sound pressure level (SPL) is the acoustic volume that a speaker can produce and is expressed in decibels. Since decibels are logarithmic, getting from, say 50dB to 100dB, doesn’t mean doubling the volume. It also doesn’t mean that doubling the wattage will result in a sound pressure level that is twice as high.
If, for example, 100 watts of amplification produces 100 dB SPL, you will need a high-power 1,600W amplifier to produce 112 dB SPL.
Speaker Cone Size
If you want to purchase the best passive PA speakers for public address applications, consider speaker cone sizes of either 12” or 15”. Non-powered speakers with 15” cones typically produce a fuller sound than 12” speakers, and they usually also deliver fuller-sounding low frequencies.
15” speakers are typically more expensive, however, and if you have budgetary constraints, a 12” may be perfectly suitable for your needs. If you need speakers for small events, you may even consider 10” cone sizes.
The decision to go with passive speakers over powered ones is largely dependent on your situation and your usage. Understanding the differences between the two types of speakers is your first step toward choosing the right speaker for your needs.