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Pros And Cons Of Powered Speakers


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evening folks, well it is time for me to get a new amp as my old one has expired (Peavey CS800s) and I am wondering whether to go for a powered speaker setup, as my old Peavey Hysis 1s are looking a bit tired.

 

I am ignorant to this type of thing so maybe you lot can help! As the title says, what are the pros and cons of a powered setup?

 

 

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Pros - of powered, its all together and no amp to carry around

cons - of powered, if a speaker goes down you lose the lot, so if your amp goes in that your up the creak, i believe

 

ive always gone passive, i dont mind carrying round a spare amp

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I use to have a passive set-up but changed to active last year.

 

The main advantage which I have noticed is to less to carry around.

 

Few wires.

 

More compact set-up

 

I have noticed a slightyl better sound, but could be down to a change of make.

 

I accept that you have an issue if one speaker packs up but will have the other speaker to get you through the gig. In any case the Mackie SRM 450 has 2 amps 100 + 300 so it's unlikely that both would pack up and the worst case scenario would be the loss of one amp in a speaker. The work around would be to carry a spare speaker ( a cheap back-up would do just to get through the night).

 

 

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Pros - of powered, its all together and no amp to carry around

cons - of powered, if a speaker goes down you lose the lot, so if your amp goes in that your up the creak, i believe

 

ive always gone passive, i dont mind carrying round a spare amp

 

with powered speakers you only lose 1 of the speakers, so a drop in volume, but you don't have 10 mins of silence while you plug in a second amp!

 

i have a pair of powered Mackies which have an amp in each speaker and a gemini powered set up as a spare, which has an amp in the sub and then 2 passive sattelite speakers.

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Cons:

 

Weight, powered speakers are almost always heavier than similar sized drivered passives.

 

Cost, powered speakers are usually more expensive than passives plus amp.

 

Each cabinet will require a power connection

 

Pros:

 

Manufacturers will have spent countless hours and testing on fitting the correct types and sizes of amps and x-overs to perform optimally with their specific drivers and cabinets. Hence why powered speakers are usually rated slightly higher than their passive counterparts. i.e Mackie 12" S300Zs passives are rated at 300 watts RMS and the same 12" drivered cabinet powered Mackie SRM450s are 400 watt RMS.

 

Most powered tops are bi-amped and also have active x-overs installed ensuring the correct frequencies and the correct amount of power are going to the correct drivers. This means that a pair of powered mid/tops will typically have four seperate amps, and why powered systems generally sound better than passive systems, unless you have a competant sound engineer available to adjust your passive setup, many DJs do not know how to set up a bi-amped passive system correctly.

 

Less trips to carry in, although see weight!

 

If you have a pair of powered mid/tops and a pair of powered subs, you would typically have 6 amplifiers, across the four speaker cabinets, on a normal passive system you will have 2 stereo amplifiers, one driving the tops/mids and one which may or may not be in bridged mono driving the bass bins.

 

 

Personally I have had both types of system and would now always plump (suits me) for a powered system for mobile DJ use.

 

Still each to their own.

 

 

Eddie

 

 

<a href="http://www.vibrant-sounds.co.uk" title="Vibrant Sounds Mobile Disco & Karaoke DJ Ed Bray Eddie Bray eddiebray plymouth devon weddings birthdays parties mobilediscoplymouth" "mobile disco plymouth">www.vibrant-sounds.co.uk</a>

 

 

<span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>PAFC Pride of DEVON</span> C'mon U Greens

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Pros:

 

Manufacturers will have spent countless hours and testing on fitting the correct types and sizes of amps and x-overs to perform optimally with their specific drivers and cabinets. Hence why powered speakers are usually rated slightly higher than their passive counterparts. i.e Mackie 12" S300Zs passives are rated at 300 watts RMS and the same 12" drivered cabinet powered Mackie SRM450s are 400 watt RMS.

 

Most powered tops are bi-amped and also have active x-overs installed ensuring the correct frequencies and the correct amount of power are going to the correct drivers. This means that a pair of powered mid/tops will typically have four seperate amps, and why powered systems generally sound better than passive systems, unless you have a competant sound engineer available to adjust your passive setup, many DJs do not know how to set up a bi-amped passive system correctly.

 

Less trips to carry in, although see weight!

 

If you have a pair of powered mid/tops and a pair of powered subs, you would typically have 6 amplifiers, across the four speaker cabinets, on a normal passive system you will have 2 stereo amplifiers, one driving the tops/mids and one which may or may not be in bridged mono driving the bass bins.

Personally I have had both types of system and would now always plump (suits me) for a powered system for mobile DJ use.

 

Still each to their own.

 

 

 

well said, I agree totally!

 

If your amp blows on a passive system....end of night unless you have a spare?

 

If an amp blows on a active system......no problem, you still have 3 amps working producing a good percentage of the requirement to finish the gig

 

Prime example was last saturday.......my powered sub had a problem and shut down.......carried on regardless with the 2 mackies no problem

 

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Or you could have a 3 box system - powered bass bin with satellite outputs and 2 passive mid/top or full range cabinets.

 

As back up, if the electrics go in the powered bin, loop through to a budget amp to feed the passive cabs and get you through the rest of the evening.

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thanks for the tips. I never realised that there were amps in each speaker.

 

What do you powered users use as a backup then, can you plug an external amp into powered speakers in the event of failure? I am thinking along the lines of having a spare amp, or buying a powered sub with satellite outputs which you could quickly run a lead from.

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What do you powered users use as a backup then, can you plug an external amp into powered speakers in the event of failure? I am thinking along the lines of having a spare amp, or buying a powered sub with satellite outputs which you could quickly run a lead from.

As previously stated, in a four cabinet powered system there are typically 6 amplifiers, if one goes down you still have 5 others.

 

There are some powered systems (but not many) that will allow you to bypass the amps and run a signal from an external amplifier.

 

You are much more likely to suffer the failure of a speaker in a passive system due to mismatched or incorrectly setup amplifiers. If this occurs, it does not matter how many spare amps you have.

 

Many mobile DJs now use a couple of powered speakers for their disco. They are typically in the region of 300-400 watts RMS. Giving a total of 800 watts RMS. If one goes down you still have the other.

 

Back in the 70s and early 80s it was typical for a disco to run from a 100 watt RMS mono system or the more upmarket users may have had 200 watt RMS stereo.

 

Eddie

 

 

<a href="http://www.vibrant-sounds.co.uk" title="Vibrant Sounds Mobile Disco & Karaoke DJ Ed Bray Eddie Bray eddiebray plymouth devon weddings birthdays parties mobilediscoplymouth" "mobile disco plymouth">www.vibrant-sounds.co.uk</a>

 

 

<span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>PAFC Pride of DEVON</span> C'mon U Greens

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What do you powered users use as a backup then, can you plug an external amp into powered speakers in the event of failure? I am thinking along the lines of having a spare amp, or buying a powered sub with satellite outputs which you could quickly run a lead from.

 

 

On one of my rigs I use a powered sub with 2 passive satellite ouputs. The sub has parallel XLR outputs to allow daisy chaining with either another powered sub or an external amp.

 

I keep a spare amp with me. In the unlikely event of a failure I can plug the ( full range ) satellite speaker cables into the amp's outputs and carry on.

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I use the HK LUCAS 1000, and you must never EVER plug an amp into the satellites without going through a crossover.

 

Introduce any bass into these cabs and they will go pop very quickly.

 

 

DJ Dale King

 

When you see light at the end of the tunnel, beware. It's probably someone with a torch, bringing you more hassle

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I use the HK LUCAS 1000, and you must never EVER plug an amp into the satellites without going through a crossover.

 

Introduce any bass into these cabs and they will go pop very quickly.

 

 

Absolutely right.

 

 

I use FBT full range cabinets as satellites, which is why my method is OK.

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I use passive because 'erm, thats what I've got.

 

Powered is getting more appealing though as I get a bit fed up carrying around 2 amps and 4 speakers all the time.

 

What I've got does the job for now but when it comes to upgrade time and I want to sack my roadie, I may seriously considered powered. :dan+ju:

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the thing that concerns me about active, is if something packed up. For example... if your running 2 active tops, and 2 active bins, what say the amp packed in on one of the tops, ok, so you would cope with one top and 2 bins to get you through the evening. But you would then have to send the speaker off to be repaired, and cope with one top until you had it back! If my amp packed in, i can either run off one amp, or use a spare, if i blew a speaker, its fairly simple to replace the driver. Im not knocking actives, and i have seriously considered them, but i would have to buy a second pair of actives, or an identical spare, in case of something packing in!

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the thing that concerns me about active, is if something packed up. For example... if your running 2 active tops, and 2 active bins, what say the amp packed in on one of the tops, ok, so you would cope with one top and 2 bins to get you through the evening. But you would then have to send the speaker off to be repaired, and cope with one top until you had it back! If my amp packed in, i can either run off one amp, or use a spare, if i blew a speaker, its fairly simple to replace the driver. Im not knocking actives, and i have seriously considered them, but i would have to buy a second pair of actives, or an identical spare, in case of something packing in!

 

If the driver goes in an active, then you replace it just as a normal passive one.

 

I agree that it would be sensible to buy a back-up active speaker 'just in case', but this only needs to be a cheap and cheerful speaker as it would only be used in an emergency.

 

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If the driver goes in an active, then you replace it just as a normal passive one.

 

I agree that it would be sensible to buy a back-up active speaker 'just in case', but this only needs to be a cheap and cheerful speaker as it would only be used in an emergency.

 

but surely you would need an identical spare, ie.. if you have Mackie SRM450's, then a spare 450... other than that, you would need a replacement pair...

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but surely you would need an identical spare, ie.. if you have Mackie SRM450's, then a spare 450... other than that, you would need a replacement pair...

 

No, I would not bother. I would use a spare powered one eg a Gemini, just something to get you through the next gig (if you needed it). The chances are that it would never or hardly ever be required anyway. Would anybody notice it in the dark? It would be black just like my 450's.

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It would be black just like my 450's.

My Mackie SRM450s are GREY as are my SRM350s.

 

Not seen a black one

Eddie

 

 

<a href="http://www.vibrant-sounds.co.uk" title="Vibrant Sounds Mobile Disco & Karaoke DJ Ed Bray Eddie Bray eddiebray plymouth devon weddings birthdays parties mobilediscoplymouth" "mobile disco plymouth">www.vibrant-sounds.co.uk</a>

 

 

<span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>PAFC Pride of DEVON</span> C'mon U Greens

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No, I would not bother. I would use a spare powered one eg a Gemini, just something to get you through the next gig (if you needed it). The chances are that it would never or hardly ever be required anyway. Would anybody notice it in the dark? It would be black just like my 450's.

 

ok, i know its about the DJ and quality of entertainment, but wouldn't 2 completely different speakers look rather odd? I could understand using a pair of gemini's, and not bothering with the second mackie, until the damaged one was repaired, but odd speakers, i would have thought it would be noticed, not just in appearance, but sound too.

Im not looking to argue, just my thoughts on the matter, as i still have the odd thought about a possible change to actives, and this thread has given me the opportunity to raise my questions and thoughts!

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ok, i know its about the DJ and quality of entertainment, but wouldn't 2 completely different speakers look rather odd? I could understand using a pair of gemini's, and not bothering with the second mackie, until the damaged one was repaired, but odd speakers, i would have thought it would be noticed, not just in appearance, but sound too.

Im not looking to argue, just my thoughts on the matter, as i still have the odd thought about a possible change to actives, and this thread has given me the opportunity to raise my questions and thoughts!

 

Your point is a valid one welshy. I only DJ part time. Therefore in the unlikely event that an SRM will fail, I would go through the gig either with the one remaining speaker or as more likely 2 speakers with 1 driver down in one of them. There would be a decent chance it would be repaired prior mto my next gig. If it wasn't I would use an emergency back-up. Something to get me through say 1 gig. I personally would not bother in purchasing another 450, and would opt for a cheap standby, but that is really just my call on it. It would not be a perfect match, but for 1 gig It would not bother me.

 

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hi,

I have always run of a powered setup for mobile work and personally swear by it.

 

The guy's are right about the fact that if one of the speakers goes down you still have the others to carry you through.

 

Having tried out several sets of powered speakers , ( wharfdale xvp-x 15", carlsbro gamma's , and more recently a set of Mackie SRM450's) , I would say the wharfdales are the best buy, due the the sound quality , robustness, reliability and the fact you can pick them up now for roughly £240 a speaker if you shop around. For peace of mind you can also bypass the internal amps and run them from an external as backup.

 

 

 

 

cheers

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hi,

I have always run of a powered setup for mobile work and personally swear by it.

 

you can also bypass the internal amps and run them from an external as backup.

cheers

 

Is that easy to do?

 

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I suppose that was the next question - which speaker? SRM 450s seem popular round here! Although quite expensive, any cheaper options which come close? I would like to run 2 x 12" tops with 1 sub - probably enough for my needs.

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