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FDP Forum / Performer's Corner / Do you recommend any powered PA speakers that cost less than $800 each?

Rick Knight
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St Peters, MO USA

Busy doing something close to nothing
Jun 30th, 2018 09:34 AM   Edit   Profile  

There are several good options in the $800 range. In my limited experience listening to less expensive options, the JBL Eon 615 sounded adequate for my purposes, but a lot of internet reviews aren’t complimentary about its reliability.

(This message was last edited by Rick Knight at 09:12 PM, Jun 30th, 2018)

Juice Nichols
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Panama City, FL

I'm just a dude, playing a dude...
Jul 1st, 2018 02:15 PM   Edit   Profile  

I have a set of EON 615’s and have never had an issue with them. For the price, they do the job nicely.

Tony Wright
Contributing Member
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Stillwater, OK

I never met a calorie I didn't like.
Jul 1st, 2018 05:56 PM   Edit   Profile  

Speakers that are in the same class or slightly superior to the EON615 would include:

JBL PRX812 $750ish
JBL PRX815 $850, you could probably get someone to negotiate that price.
QSC K12.2 $800
Yamaha DXR15 $800
Mackie SMR650 $700

At work, we have several of the JBL PRX7xx series and they work just fine for us. I previously owned a fair amount of the PRX6xx series and still have two of the PRX612 for small/mid size venue mains.

I have a friend who owns some of the original QSC K12 and loves them.

A local soundco owner that is friend of mine has the recently discontinued Mackie HD1531 and matching subs. He really likes them. (2 subs under 1 main on each stack)

PERSONALLY...I am doing smaller shows and I fell in love with the Yamaha competitor to the JBL EON series. Yamaha DBR series is lightweight and from MY experience with the DBR10, they are very loud for the power rating. (Lots of dB for the Watts) The DBR15 sells for $600.

The EON615 gets 4 stars from Sweetwater reviews at $500.

Looking at the reviews on Musician's Friend, I would note that a majority of those who scored the EON615 "less" than a 4 Star complained about Bluetooth. My only observation is that nothing beats a cable from source to speaker.

The concept of Bluetooth wireless operation is a great idea, but it fails in the practical world when applied to pro audio in venues where many of the patrons are crowding the bandwidth for free wifi...

Back to your question....lots of other manufacturers offer nice cabinets for under $800 each.

"IF" you want under $800 for a PAIR...well, the Alto "TS" and Mackie "Thump" offerings in the powered cabinet 15 inch woofer and horn are decent for the price. I previously owned a pair of Alto TS215 (series "2" speaker "15") and sold them when I decided to downsize...the guy who bought them loves the sound the speakers are still working about 3 years later we are still friends.

The Mackie Thump 15A for $350 is a nice product. As is the Alto TS315 is very similar in price and quality to the Mackie Thump 15A. There are still first generation Mackie Thump 15 available for $250 closeout. The Alto TS215 is being closed out for $300 since the release of the TS315 ($350).

I am out of ideas....

Rick Knight
Contributing Member
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St Peters, MO USA

Busy doing something close to nothing
Jul 1st, 2018 08:56 PM   Edit   Profile  

I’m glad that you both speak well of the Eon 615. I liked the sound but the claims of reliability issues concerned me. I heard the Alto TS215 and it seemed like a decent value for the money, but the Eon seemed more articulate. I didn’t hear any Mackie speakers that day and am also curious about some of the EVs.

One of my friends has been raving about QSC K12.2s. They, along with the JBL PRX and Yamaha DXR series are on my radar in that price range but if something less expensive suits my needs, all the better. I will try to compare the Eons and DBRs. I’m not opposed to buying used gear either.

As mentioned in another recent post, I think the current band may have run its course. I'm not in a rush to make a decision at the moment but want to be ready to move quickly if needed.

Juice Nichols
Contributing Member
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Panama City, FL

I'm just a dude, playing a dude...
Jul 2nd, 2018 07:34 AM   Edit   Profile  

Tony, the Bluetooth on the EON’s is only to control the onboard DSP for the speakers.

gdw3

LA-la-land, CA

Insert clever comment here
Jul 2nd, 2018 12:14 PM   Edit   Profile  

I'm surprised to hear of claims of reliability issues with the Eons. I used to work free-lance a/v, mostly hotels and convention centers. Gear had to be tough and reliable for those gigs. I always saw Eons used for either mains in smaller rooms, or side fills in bigger rooms. You could bang them around, stack them, etc., and seemed to handle it fine.

Tony Wright
Contributing Member
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Stillwater, OK

I never met a calorie I didn't like.
Jul 2nd, 2018 07:33 PM   Edit   Profile  

Juice: I was only pointing out that the most common complaint from reviewers at Musician's Friend seemed to be about the Bluetooth. Few complaints were about the sound quality, system failure, lack of power, misrepresentation in specifications, and similar things that are important to pro level users.

I consider complaints about Bluetooth about as relevant as the new lines of DJ powered speakers that have some LED fixture in the speaker cabinet...probably NOT a selling factor for me in this lifetime.

I like my Boy Scout knife to have multiple features...BUT, not so much for my PA powered speaker.

Juice Nichols
Contributing Member
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Panama City, FL

I'm just a dude, playing a dude...
Jul 3rd, 2018 06:27 AM   Edit   Profile  

Tony, I've never used the Bluetooth function in a live setting, so you're correct. It's not a factor at all. The only thing I've used the Bluetooth for was to upgrade the firmware in the speakers.

Fast Lane Pablo

USA

Jul 3rd, 2018 11:29 AM   Edit   Profile  

Electro Voice has powered speakers that are great and less then $800. All the online retailers have them.

tahitijack
Contributing Member
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San Clemente, CA

Happy Sunsets, tahitijack
Jul 15th, 2018 08:45 AM   Edit   Profile  

Tony are you still favoring powered speakers over passive?

Tony Wright
Contributing Member
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Stillwater, OK

I never met a calorie I didn't like.
Jul 18th, 2018 07:04 AM   Edit   Profile  

Sorry for not seeing the question...

This past week end, I ordered a pair of used JBL PRX615m.

My thought process for powered speakers is the same as it was when I previously did sound for hire (2001-2007). Lighter weight and simpler for a non-tech user.

Often, the client does not have to know the math to determine the Ohm load the passive speakers are putting on the power amp. ("Hey Bubba, there is another output jack here, can I just plug in there?" "You betcha" without regard for the power amp's capacity or the speaker's specifications.)

On a couple of occasions, I got my system back with a guitar cord that someone had used as a speaker cable. On a couple of occasions, I had a rental client tell me that the speaker would not make sound. I drove to the gig only to find that the guy simply pushed the Speakon connector into the amp or speaker and did not twist lock it. Thus NO metal to metal connection and no sound. "Dude your speakers are broke."

All I have to do it package enough mic cable in the gear box to handle mains, monitors, DIs, and microphones.

I am keeping this new system fairly "dumb" down. A pair of mains on stands, eventually 3 monitors.

I currently have two JBL PRX612m that I plan to put with the system for monitor duty. (But eventually I want to pull those monitors back for MY personal system.)

I have a Mackie ProFX16 (12 channels with faders), internal GEQ, internal EFX and 2 monitor mixes. I will package two DI, 3 SM58 for vocals.

I am targeting this as a BASIC system for the small clubs in town. Band plays "stage volume to cover the house" and the PA simply for vocals or acoustic instruments. The typical college venue in town is fire code rated for under 200 patrons.

I have a business plan to expand if this catches on.

Simple:
Use the four JBL (two PRX612 and two PRX615) as mains, for monitors, pick up a total of four Mackie Thump 12 and two Mackie Thump 15. And, for mixer, pick up another Mackie ProFX16 or a ProFX22.



(This message was last edited by Tony Wright at 01:21 AM, Jul 19th, 2018)

Rick Knight
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St Peters, MO USA

Busy doing something close to nothing
Jul 20th, 2018 07:08 AM   Edit   Profile  

I thought the EV ZLX15's vocal reproduction was warmer than the Eon 615's in an A/B comparison.

One of my friends, who uses QSC KLA12s in his band, is encouraging me to check out the K12.2s before making a decision. He says I would probably need subs with either the Eon or ZLX, but might be able to get by without them using the K12.2s. If so, the total system cost and weight would be significantly less. While it seems counter-intuitive that 12s are less likely to need subs than 15s, it's an interesting idea.

Tony Wright
Contributing Member
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Stillwater, OK

I never met a calorie I didn't like.
Jul 24th, 2018 09:28 AM   Edit   Profile  

The need for subs will possibly depend on the different instruments and venue sizes that you play as much as the brand and model of the speaker you buy.

I mentioned in my previous post that I bought a pair of used JBL PRX615 and that was my goal...a system where I do not "require" subwoofers. BUT that depends on WHERE and WHO you are playing for.

Outdoor gig for "sound for hire" for a popular Red Dirt Country band in the parking lot of the local watering hole...500-1000 college age party goers? Not so much.

Small club stage in the typical small college age saloon in the bar district adjacent to the campus? No problem...as long as the bass player has a typical 300 Watt amp and 410 cabinet...and the mandatory LOUD drummer.

What I would like to have is the big brother of the PRX615. I really want either the PRX625 or the PRX725 for my rental system, but that takes another "discussion" with my wife...and right now, I am a coward.

For a practical matter....For one of my bands in the early 2000's I used to mic the kick and the snare, DI from the bass. In addition to micing the two guitar amps and the 4 vocals, I rant a DI from the acoustic electric and DI from the keyboard (all played by the band leader along with his Strat and guitar amp). My system was a Peavey powered mixer (XR2012) and I used two Yamaha S115V and 4 CGM ARM112H monitors. No subs. BUT...but we were playing venues that had fire code around 100-150. Redneck small bars. Pretty much the same patrons in each one, they just circulated between all the clubs.

So, any generalization about what a PA can support really has a lot of "specific band/genre - specific venue - specific demand/sources on the PA"...in order to be relevant to YOUR specific needs.

Vocals with maybe the keyboard and an acoustic electric guitar...using a pair of either K12 or the new K12.2 I think you "could" get by depending on venue size and volume your audience and club owner expect and demand.

But you should identify a source for "borrow" or "rental" subwoofers for those times when necessary.

I still advocate powered mains and monitors and subwoofers over passive with stage amps. NO ONE has to learn Ohms and it is a simple set up. If you find a powered sub that has an internal crossover, it simplifies the whole set up even more so.

In my many travels around the world...(Well, OK, after a short drive to the next town and back...) I have found that the answer to "What speaker should I buy?" depends on YOUR preference and your budget.

If the best speakers you can afford are the entry level Behringer, then plan to go back when you have spare cash and start to expand by purchasing the two mains you MUST have to satisfy that preference. Then repeat on the mixer. Then repeat on your monitors. Add subwoofers when you feel the need for your sound (genre/audience/musicians-who-do-not-own-a-stage-amp) and YOUR typical venues.

If you do a lot of outdoor events during the summer months, plan to buy subs over the next winter so you have them...this summer is about over for outdoor concert weather...at least in my part of the world. We stop live performances in September. We did try going thru November once...that was stupid.

All the above was learned thru a little trial and a lot of error.

For those reading who cannot afford JBL PRX-active or the QSC K series or similar products, step down in those brands to find their more basic priced gear. JBL Eon600 and even the Eon500 (out of production) were good speakers. I owned some of the Eon 300 and Eon 500 series and they served me well...

Yamaha and Electro Voice and Mackie and probably another dozen brand names I am forgetting do great jobs with the design of their products. You like Ford, he likes Chevy and I drive a Hyundai...well, it is my wife's but we don't take my Chevy out of town any more. My point is that there are great pieces of equipment in each price market.

To those of you looking for a bargain...Behringer actually has some pretty decent gear in their active speakers...

EDIT WARNING DANGER WARNING FACTS HAVE CHANGED!

Musician's Friend has raised the price on the Thump 12 and Thump 15 mentioned below...IGNORE...check and VERIFY PRICES. Do NOT take prices for granted as retailers and discount big box or online only dealers can change prices after you look it up. If you want "the low price" order it now...not next month...or even the next day in some cases. TW. (end edit)

Alto makes some darn nice stuff for the price. They are in the process of upgrading their "TS-200 series" to the "TS-300 series" I used to have some of the early TS-100 series (12s, 15s, and 18 subs) and liked them well enough...and the guy I sold them to still loves them.

Want a bargain? I used to own a pair of the Mackie Thump 12 and the Mackie Thump 15 (two of each). Mackie is discontinuing those cabinets. As a result, most of the "mega store" FDP sponsors (listed in the above banner) that carry them are selling them around $225 for the 1x12 and $250 for the 1x15. IF I had the spare cash, I would buy at least two of each. (Honestly, I would love to have four of the Thump 12 for monitors and two of the Thump 15 for mains). Throw in a Mackie ProFX16 (12 faders) which has internal graphic EQ, internal EFX and two monitor mixes...and you have a decent small venue sound system.

Is this a system that I would recommend for Rick...probably not unless he wanted to save cash for monitors. And in that case, Rick, buy four Thump 15. Far better low end production.

Personally, I prefer ONLY to have vocals and Unamplified instruments in the monitors. (keyboard player with NO amp, acoustic-electric guitar). THEN I go stand on stage where I can see and hear those instruments that "I" feed off of...typically I want to stand on the drummer's left hand side (SNARE-HATS-KICK). As a bass player I want to watch his hands and his feet. Every musician needs to find their own sweet spot on stage and that is where they need to set up in the future. Can't get exactly there for your instrument amp? Go wireless.

Tricks like those help you keep the PA smaller and more simple.

Beyond that...consider buying no less than four of the Bose L-1 "stick" and have at least four if not six of the bass modules. Run everything to a mixer, (stage amp miced if you want, but everything in every stick) and then blend your sound and then send that to the various sticks. If Bubba cannot be satisfied because he can't hear himself, then either he needs to stand closer to his instrument stage amp OR he needs his own monitor off the mixer.

(This message was last edited by Tony Wright at 07:17 AM, Aug 5th, 2018)

Juice Nichols
Contributing Member
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Panama City, FL

I'm just a dude, playing a dude...
Jul 25th, 2018 08:32 AM   Edit   Profile  

"To those of you looking for a bargain...Behringer actually has some pretty decent gear in their active speakers..."

Yes they do! I currently own 3 Eurolive B110D's that I use for monitors and they work extremely well. I was a little nervous about a 10" speaker for a monitor but I've found they've been more than adequate for shows I've been doing. I even use them for mains at small events. The best part is they only cost $199 each. :)

acplayer

MA

Earn while you learn
Jul 28th, 2018 05:48 AM   Edit   Profile  

If you are into looking for used gear, I feel that there are some "diamonds in the rough" out there.

What I have found in my area (SE MA) this past winter was an abundance of used QSC K8/10/12's (original series) on the craigslist market.

Most postings made mention of the owner upgrading to the newer version 2 of the same unit....I own two (original series) K8's....luv'em!

I have found that once a unit has been in service for a few years (without abuse) it usually works for many years.....

If you are not in any particular rush to purchase, maybe you should wait until October/November (the best time around here to purchase used gear IMO) as people are unloading gear to get $ for the Holidays, etc. plus some excellent deals (gotta check daily) usually pop up at Pro Audio Star (NY) around Thanksgiving.

My classical ensemble

Roly
Contributing Member
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Whitehorse Canada

I don't get out much
Jul 29th, 2018 04:01 AM   Edit   Profile  

A bit late to the game here.

A local sound provider has some powered EV boxes.
They sound fine but they can't be stacked.
That makes them useless if you want/need to go two over two. (four boxes per side)
The guy I work for has a lot of QSC powered boxes....all can be stacked, and all have 75 degree horns so they couple well.
AND....they're not plastic.
Unless you are certain that you will never need to use more than one mid/hi box per side....avoid the EV boxes.


cheers

Tony Wright
Contributing Member
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Stillwater, OK

I never met a calorie I didn't like.
Aug 5th, 2018 05:23 AM   Edit   Profile  

Good points Roly. Thanks for pointing that out.

I was lucky and tried to stack a pair of the EV plastic cabinets in GC one day several years ago...did not work, and I walked away. That may have been the only EV cabinet series that had that issue, but it is critical enough in several applications that everyone should take that to heart.

FDP Forum / Performer's Corner / Do you recommend any powered PA speakers that cost less than $800 each?




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