Powered speakers have sparked a revolution that has overseen the production of thousands of different sound systems across the globe. I remember the cluster of wires we had to carry to connect my father’s home theatre system using a wall outlet just to hear some music by the swimming pool at the back of the house; a common problem that the best powered speakers have solved today.
Many people hated the connections involved to amplify the sound on your speaker because it would amount to extra costs and the cable connections are often untidy. However, the best thing about powered speakers is that they are self-powered and this is reflected in the quality of the output. I bet you remember the manual equalization you are tasked with when using an amplifier to ensure you get the best sound quality.
Powered speakers take care of all that and more such as blending into your room or workplace by taking up less space and complementing your décor. Not to mention, they are easy to install and use and can be used in almost every situation – from outdoors to indoors.
Best Powered Speakers
People performing both indoors and outdoors no longer need to spend a third of their space on wires and cluttered connections just to enhance the sound. Powered stand-alone speakers are available almost everywhere, and makes it possible to experience much clearer sound from various musical equipment playing at the same time whether indoors or outdoors.
Be it corporate picnics, barbecues or house parties, each of these events is twice as thrilling with a high-quality powered speaker. Still, buying powered speakers demands, you consider some vital factors before making a decision; here are the key considerations:
What to consider before getting the best powered speakers
Speaker Cone Size
The size of the low-frequency driver is directly proportional to the sound quality of your powered speakers. Sound sources that are low on bass such as the guitar and vocals go very well with speaker cones about 8 inches. However, if you need an articulate bass line or plan to include heavier instruments such as bass guitars and bass drums, you need a powered speaker with a 10-15-inch cone.
12-15 inches are ideal for music lovers and disc jockeys due to their extra low end.
Powered speakers are a wee bit heavier than their regular counterparts due to the extra weight of the built-in amplifier. As such, it is essential to consider the portability of the powered system you intend to purchase especially if you travel a lot. Seeing most people use these speakers for different events in different locations, the best powered speaker should be portable and have the required specifications.
It’s no use purchasing a powered speaker of the highest quality if it won’t even fit in your truck.
Some of the important features you have to look out for in a powered speaker include the built-in Digital Signal Processor (DSP). A DSP has many advantages with the primary benefit being the ability to prevent overloading or clipping thanks to its smart limiter. You can also use this feature to tweak your sound so that it matches the room’s acoustics. Equalizing the sound using the mixing console guarantees the best sound quality but having the DSP feature can come in handy when a quick setup is needed.
You also need to look out for a built-in mixer, which helps you use two or more inputs enabling songwriters or even solo performers to entertain small audiences.
Lastly, ensure that the powered speakers you purchase are of a sturdy build considering the transportation and handling involved.
The best powered speakers currently on the market for your review
QSC K10 Active Powered Speaker
The QSC K10.2 powered loudspeaker is a modern version of traditional classy speakers. Every model comes with a 2000-watt amplifier module and a wide range set of features such as presets which help users prepare for events faster. It also has advanced DSP and power settings which enables the loudspeaker’s drivers to deliver high-quality sound. This speaker is also ideal for enclosed events requiring zero background noises thanks to a low-noise cooling feature.
The QSC K10.2 also has an elegant design with an ABS enclosure lined with fabric and ergonomic steel handles. The manufacturer, QSC, is a leading amplifier producer and as such, one of their best creations. The QSC K10.2 contains a flexible, robust, and reliable power amplifier. It is also one of the smoothest powered speakers to use thanks to a multi-function digital display which makes selection and control of the speaker’s function more manageable.
The QSC K10.2 is also considered the best in class audio performance. These speakers are also ideal for sound contractors, event production companies, places of worship, and independent bands and are available in various sizes including the commonly used 8, 10 and 12 inches.
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Yamaha DXR12 Powered Speakers
It’s almost impossible to go to an electronics shop and miss a Yamaha speaker in the sound system area. The company has built a reputation for producing quality speakers for decades with the Yamaha DXR12 as one of their best works. This 1100-watt powered speaker might not be as glamorous regarding design as the K10.2, but it makes up for that with additional features. As part of the famed DXR series, the Yamaha DXR12 guarantees high-efficiency thanks to Class D amplifiers.
It also uses an intelligent multi-band compressor known as D-Contour to produce a consistent and robust sound regardless of the output level. This feature also helps calculate the optimum equalization levels as well as the maximum sound output to help maintain clarity irrespective of the input source. The Yamaha DXR12’s power supply is also monitored by a high-power DSP monitor and a microprocessor to prevent overloading. It also has a 3-channel onboard mixer and asymmetrical enclosure design for mirror-mode floor monitoring. This speaker also comes in various sizes ranging from 8 to 18 inches.
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Behringer-Eurolive-B115D Powered Speakers
Just like Yamaha, Behringer is yet another reputable company when it comes to the production of powered speakers. However, while the Eurolive B115D stands up to many powered speakers on the market, it has lower wattage (1000W) and considerably fewer features compared to the 2 mentioned above. Nonetheless, it still produces crisp sounds and contains modern-day features such as Bluetooth technology which is used to connect plenty of devices these days. What’s more, it also has greatly balanced low-end to treble equalization although we think the volume of its bass is slightly low compared to both of its counterparts above.
On the flipside, the Behringer-Eurolive-B115D Powered Speaker has a classy design and is sure to attract a few glances every once in a while. It is also very compact and light and performs exceptionally even in extreme levels of sound pressure. The Behringer-Eurolive-B115D Powered Speaker is also one of the cheapest products on this list so if you are looking for a budget system with excellent sound quality; it is a considerable option.
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Peavey Dark Matter 112 Powered Speaker
The Dark Matter 112 is cheaper than the Behringer B-115D and a little plain regarding its design, but it has better features and more robust bass. It features a 12-inch heavy-duty woofer which accommodates both the light and heavy instruments for high-quality sound. Thanks to 64-bit double precision DSP processors, you are guaranteed that the Dark Matter 112 will not overload anytime soon.
Considering Peavey has been in the musical instruments business for decades, it would be wrong if some of their experience weren’t used in crafting the Dark Matter 112. Luckily, they installed some of their best features such as their exclusive Quadratic Throat Waveguide technology for pristine sound and advanced DSP-equipped power section. As part of the DM series from Peavey, the Dark Matter 112 is an enhanced version of previous models with better features and broader possibilities.
Due to its ability to produce professional sound, this powered system is ideal for disc jockeys, bands, music applications, as well as public events.
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Electro-Voice ZLX12P Two-Way Powered Speakers
Are you looking for a powered speaker with thumping bass, proper equalization and a reasonable price? Consider the 1000-watt Voice ZLX12P two-way high-quality powered speaker from Electro. This speaker features an LCD for effortless control as well knob DSP control which facilitates a speedy but precise setup. You can also ensure optimum gain when testing the sound using the Voice ZLX12P thanks to independent amplifier controls and input level meters.
The Voice ZLX12P also has a patented split-baffle design which makes it easy to align driver time and store. This speaker is also made using high-quality composite construction which makes it one of the most durable powered speakers currently on the market. It is also easy to mount on a pole thanks to an innovative high/low grip design. The Voice ZLX12P is affordable and can be used both indoors and outdoors.
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Yamaha DBR Series 12” Powered Speakers
The DBR 12 is yet another amazing high efficiency powered speaker from Yamaha. The 1000W masterpiece features state-of-the-art Class-D amplifiers which can deliver up to 132dB of crystal clear high-quality sound. It also has remarkable clarity and dynamic characteristics which help up its output levels by up to 700W. This speaker also comes fully equipped with M8 rigging threads which allow for eye-bolts. Rigged applications with optional speakers can also benefit from this feature as well.
The DBR 12 also has a classy design which makes portability much more natural as opposed to previous models. It’s also lightweight and durable thanks to a stylish steel grille. The steel grille also helps protect the speaker’s internal components while ergonomic handles allow for simple setups and transportation. The DBR 12 also features an onboard 2-channel mixer that’s easy to use and high-power output woofers for minimal distortion and quality bass.
The DBR 12 is ideal for major events but can also be used in small indoor activities that require a powerful speaker with little room for background noises.
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Mackie THUMP15 Thump Series Powered Speakers
The Thump15A is a 15-inch powered speaker from Mackie and is part of the company’s Thump Series. It is a new model that has been completely redesigned to provide 1300 watts of high output power and features an integrated precision crossover for outstanding sound quality. Thump 15A also delivers the low-end desired by sound engineers and music lovers and has a durable and lightweight design for longevity and easy transportation respectively.
Thump 15 also provides 3-band equalization which is ideal for vocal-only or acoustic presentations. A sweepable mid control feature also adds to its sound precision while coherency is boosted by driver time alignment and phase correction. Audio enhancing and processing are also made better as is the custom of all Mackie products thanks to a precision 2-way crossover feature.
The Mackie THUMP15A Thump Series Powered Loudspeaker comes in various sizes and can be placed on the floor, atop a subwoofer, or mounted on a tripod to excellent results.
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JBL EON612 Portable 12″ 2-Way Multipurpose Self-Powered Speakers
The EON612 is a 15-inch powered speaker from JBL’s EON 600 series. As one of the leading speaker manufacturers around the globe, JBL has employed 70 years of experience in developing one of the best powered speakers currently on the market. The EON612 features proprietary waveguide technology, as well as onboard EQ, presets for fast setups and quality sound delivery.
In addition, the 15-inch woofer also has modern technological innovations such as Bluetooth v4.0 which makes it easy to control the powered speaker. The Bluetooth feature can help increase or decrease the master volume, save or recall user presets, and adjust the speaker’s 5-way. The EON612 also features an ergonomic design that has been optimized to give room for acoustic resonance. It can be used both indoors and outdoors and is easy to ferry thanks to four ergonomic handles. It also comes in various sizes.
The Bottom Line
Some of the speakers reviewed above with a few features go for an affordable price while others with a wide range of the same require an extra coin. Nonetheless, there are also those that balance price and list of features to give you value for money. With these examples and the buying guide discussed at the beginning of this review, I am confident you will make a sound decision when purchasing a powered speaker.