Last Updated on May 12, 2023 by Josh Mahan
Choosing between different speakers isn’t always easy. Plenty of factors go into making a good speaker, and just as many factors will prevent a speaker from being worthwhile.
This is even more true when it comes to many powered PA speakers. With these, size, portability, and durability become more of a factor. With more factors to consider, picking the right one is even more difficult.
That is why we’ve created a guide to picking the best powered speakers. This looks at the current speaker market and picks out some of the top choices. We’ll also include explanations for why certain speakers stand out above the others. So, keep reading to discover these speakers!
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If you’re looking for a portable speaker that emphasizes power, this may be the choice for you. All of the speakers in the Mackie Thump series of speakers are able to bring all of the sound you need in a modest package. They also have a history of quality and are trusted by many on a regular basis.
The Mackie Thump 212 12-inch 1400-watt Powered Speaker is our choice for the best pick of 2023. This is a truly powerful speaker that can obtain SPLs of 128dB and a frequency response of 47Hz to 23kHz. It also comes with a built-in feedback eliminator that allows it to work well with live instruments and vocals. Speaking of vocals, the optional music ducking mode can be used to emphasize vocals without constantly monitoring levels. All of this together makes it a solid option for small to medium-sized venues.
Despite all this, the best part about this speaker is its portability. It only weighs 30 pounds and is only 12 inches tall. It also is “built like a tank” so that it can survive all sorts of damage and injury. Even with these portability factors, it is capable of everything listed above. This combination of portability and power makes the Mackie speakers amazing.
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Behringer Eurolive B210D
While the previous entry is one of the best speakers you can find, this is one of the best speakers you can find on a budget. This unit is still incredibly portable and incredibly powerful. However, its lower price point makes it attractive for other reasons.
The speaker itself has 200W of peak power and integrated DSP. With watts being an indication of true power, this isn’t as much power as other speakers. However, it is still powerful enough for many situations.
Besides the price, the other major factor that makes this a good PA speaker is portability. This speaker is only 10 inches and only weighs 20 pounds. This means you can easily fit this into a backpack or small bag and carry it around with you anywhere.
When comparing features, the Electro-Voice ZLX-12BT holds up against many competitors. It is a high-efficiency full kilowatt speaker that offers 126 dB SPL. It also has QuickSmartDSP with several helpful presets.
However, where this model sets itself apart is through its Bluetooth integration. This isn’t a feature included on most speakers out there, so the fact that this one has it is notable. This gives it some unique utility that many will have no trouble making use of. The Bluetooth integration allows it to be used in settings where a wireless interface is preferred or even necessary. Bluetooth can also be used to provide background music or a musical accompaniment to anything else that is going on.
Even though Bluetooth is part of what helps define this speaker. It is still a fine choice, even if the Bluetooth integration isn’t for you. In these cases, Bluetooth simply serves as a nice bonus on top of an already good speaker.
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The Yamaha DBR12 falls right in the middle of the Yamaha DBR lineup. It is larger and more powerful than the Yamaha DBR10 but smaller, more compact, and more affordable than the Yamaha DBR15. This puts it in the portability sweet spot.
This is a 1000-watt 12-inch powered speaker. It can provide 131dB SPL, which will be more than enough for many different situations. It also comes with Yamaha’s FIR-X DSP to provide unparalleled sound. This means that this speaker really takes advantage of advances in audio.
What makes this model really stand out is the versatility it provides. The speaker is only 12 inches and is both rugged and durable, so it can be taken out on the road with little worry. It is also designed with a 50° wedge angle, making it ideal for floor monitoring. Even the shape gives it more utility, as the design allows it to be paired with the DBR10 to create a mirror-mode floor monitoring system that works in either symmetrical or stereo sound field setups.
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JBL’s EON family of PAs has been providing for their customers since 1995. Since then, they’ve built up a reputation for providing speakers that, in turn, provide high-quality sound. The JBL EON712 12-inch 1300-watt powered PA speaker keeps with this trend. It provides superior performance through its DSP and control technology. With this speaker, JBL leverages modern acoustic science, cabinet materials, and transducer designs to provide an easy to use and flexible system.
They’ve got the features and technology to back up this claim. This speaker features a 2414H compression driver and an impressive 12-inch ferrite woofer to deliver some serious bass. The speaker also has advanced dbx DSP which provides automatic feedback suppression, 100ms speaker delay, ducking, and parametric EQ.
On top of all of this, the speaker has Bluetooth connectivity. Through this, you can stream audio or adjust the settings on the speaker through the JBL companion app. This gives an additional level of control over the speaker that most speakers simply don’t offer. All in all, this makes it an excellent speaker for anyone, but particularly for those tuned in to the technical side of the audio game.
The Best Powered PA Speakers
Ultimately, any of the speakers on this list are worth considering. Each has an array of features that make them valuable in different situations. Depending on your specific situation, one of these will end up suiting you best.
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