No matter if you’re a beginner that one day dreams of having the success of renowned DJs like Avicii, a rising star in the music charts around the world, a small local celebrity that has the occasional gig at a pub, or a wedding DJ that is in charge of creating unforgettable memories for young couples, you must make sure that your speakers are of a great quality for your performance to be good.
But choosing the best DJ speakers isn’t an easy task, being a series of problems that you will be confronted with along the way. For example, you might not find a model that you can afford, or you might even get confused when reading the specs, not understanding how to differentiate what models are actually a good investment to go with. To make your choice easier and to help you understand this DJ gear better, we have not only researched and found the best 5 models on the market, but we have taken our time to explain in detail everything there is to know about these items as well.
|1. JBL PRX425||2. Mackie HD1521||3. Bose F1 Model 812||4. QSC K12||5. JBL JRX225|
|Manufacturer||JBL Professional||Mackie||Bose||QSC||JBL Professional|
|Dimensions (H x W x D)||41.1″ x 16.9″ x 20.5″||30″ x 18.3″ x 18.8″||26.1″ x 13.1″ x 14.6″||23.7″ x 14″ x 14″||43″ x 18.3″ x 16.8″|
|Enclosure||Trapezoidal, 0.7″ Birch/Poplar Plywood||Trapezoidal, 20″ Birch Plywood Included Angle||High Impact Composite Materials||Rugged ABS||0.75″ MDF with Glued and Mechanically Fastened Joint Detail|
|Grille||Powder Coated, 16-Gauge Perforated Steel with Acoustically Transparent Black Screen Backing||Powder Coated Galvanized Steel||Powder Coated Perforated Steel||16-Gauge Powder Coated Steel||18-Gauge Powder Coated Steel|
|Finish||Black DuraFlex||High Durability Black Paint||Black||Black Paint||Black|
|Frequency Range||48 Hz – 19 kHz||40 Hz – 20 kHz||43 Hz – 20 kHz||48 Hz – 20 kHz||56 Hz – 18 kHz|
|Frequency Response||61 Hz – 16 kHz||50 Hz – 18 kHz||52 Hz – 16 kHz||52 Hz – 18 kHz||83 Hz – 13 kHz|
|Nominal Coverage||90° x 50°||80° x 50°||100° x 40°||75° Conical||90° x 50°|
|Maximum SPL||134 dB||135 dB||132 dB||131 dB||133 dB|
|Peak Power Rating||2400W||1600W||1000W||2000W||2000W|
|Nominal Impedance (ohms)||4||11||8||10||4|
|Crossover Frequency||2.2 kHz||1.2 kHz||N/A||2 kHz||2.2 kHz|
|Input Connectors||Neutrik Speakon 2 x NL-2.25″ Combination||Female XLR, Balanced Differential||XLR/TRS Combo; 1/4″; Stereo RCA||2 x XLR-1/4″ Combo Jack; Stereo RCA; Locking IEC Power Connector; Remote Gain Control||Neutrik Speakon NL-4; 0.25″ in TS Phone Jack; Parallel|
|Output Connectors||Male XLR Balanced||Male XLR, Balanced Differential||XLR Balanced||Dual XLR Full Range; Male XLR “Mix” Out||N/A|
|Transportability||Two Glass-Filled Nylon Handles with Rubber Grip||Two Ergonomic Handles||Ergonomic Handles||Ergonomic Aluminum Handles||Non-Resonant, All-Steel Handles|
|Suspension / Mounting||Twelve M10 Suspension Points||Twelve Integrated Fly Points for Horizontal and Vertical Rigging Using M10 Threaded Eyebolts||Integrated Mounting Stand; Four M8 Threaded Inserts That Accept Mounting Brackets||M10 Rigging Points||Twelve M10 Suspension Points|
|LF Driver||2 x JBL M115-8A 15″ Woofers||15″ Neodymium Woofer with 3″ Voice Coil||8 x 2.25″ Neodymium Drivers; 12″ Woofer||12″ Cone||2 x JBL M115-8A 15″ Woofers|
|HF Driver||1 x JBL 2414H-C 1″ Polymer Diaphragm||1.75″ Compression Driver with Heat-Treated Titanium Diaphragm||N/A||1.75″ Diaphragm Compression Driver||JBL 2414H-C, 1″ Exit Compression Driver Mounted on Progressive Transition Waveguide|
|Display LEDs||Limit, Signal, Power/Standy||Power ON, EQ ON, Sig/Limit, Thermal Protection, Front Power Light ON||Front Light Power, Signal/Clip, Power/Fault, Limit||Front Light Power, Power, Signal, Standby, Limit, Mic||N/A|
|Other Features||SonicGuard||RMS Limiting||Flexible Array||Directivity Matched Transition||SonicGuard|
|Power Supply and Amplifier Thermal Protection|
|Warranty||5 Years||3 Years for Electronics + 2 Years for Drivers||5 Years||3 Years||5 Years|
The JBL PRX425 is a passive speaker that comes with dual 15-inch speakers and a high-frequency driver. It’s designed to provide an impressive frequency response, and it offers perfect sensitivity for a professional audio environment. One of the aspects that impress the most about this model is its peak power rating of 2400W. The recessed handles that it comes with offer convenient transport that is very important for any performer out there. It features professional connectivity through Neutrik Speakon combination connectors. The construction of these DJ speakers consists of a 0.7-inch birch/poplar plywood that is covered in resilient DuraFlex and that features rugged 16-gauge steel grills, ensuring that this is a durable and dependable choice to go with. Overall, the quality construction that it boasts and the amazing features of this model ensure that the sound of your music will reach everyone in the crowd in a natural and intelligible manner so that they all enjoy the experience of listening to your performance.
The Mackie HD1521 high-definition powered loudspeaker is a 2-way model that delivers class-leading power and clarity when compared to its competitors. The class D amplifier of this model is able to produce an impressive peak power rating of 1600W, being easy to understand why we had to give it the second spot on our top 5 list of the best models on the market. The acoustic correction processing that it features ensures an intense and unforgettable experience when you’re using it. Due to the fact that it features a great quality system tuning and transducer, you can rest assured that the sounds delivered by the speaker will always be of a superior quality. In addition, it features a rugged and durable construction, the enclosure of this model being made of birch plywood, a material that ensures a superior protection and a great look that will blend perfectly into any environment.
What impresses the most about the Bose F1 Model 812 when you first look at it is the ingenious design and the construction of this innovative set of DJ speakers. The flexible array model allows you to shape the vertical output of the speaker as you like, meaning that you can match the performance of your system to the needs of the venue where you’re at with ease. This increased versatility makes it a fan favorite, being no wonder to the fact that it ranked number 3 in our top. Best of all, the unit will automatically change the EQ when the coverage pattern is modified to ensure the best sound quality possible. Other aspects that impress when looking at this product are the generous 1000W peak power rating that it offers and the durable enclosure that is made of high impact composite materials, ensuring that this will be an investment you won’t regret making.
What makes the QSC K12 model stand out from its competitors the most is the fact that it features extensive DSP that enhances the performance of the unit. The directivity matched transition of this model offers a remarkable low and high-frequency coverage across the venue where the performance is taking place in order to eliminate any cold or hot frequency zones. This feature alone is enough to show how great the quality of your shows is going to be if you use this model, having guaranteed success on stage if it accompanies you. Other aspects that impress when it comes to this unit are the fact that it is able to manage low-frequency transients without sacrificing the quality of the adjacent frequencies, and the fact that it delivers an astounding peak power rating of 2000W. Therefore, with this piece of gear by your side, you will surely be a raging success.
The number 5 entry on our list is none other than the impressive JBL JRX225 model. Just like the top-ranked unit, the JBL PRX425, this model comes with the innovative SonicGuard feature that helps protect the high-frequency driver from excess power, all without sacrificing the quality of the performance or interrupting it. The non-resonant, all-steel handles that it features make it easy to move this unit from your vehicle to the stage or wherever it needs to be placed. It delivers no less than 2000W of peak power rating, which means that the quality of the sound that it produces is undoubtedly great. It has a great durability due to the fact that it has a 0.75-inch MDF construction of the enclosure and 18-gauge powder coated steel grilles. In addition, it delivers an impressive nominal coverage of 90 by 50 degrees, ensuring that the sound will be perfectly heard by the audience no matter what venue you will be performing in.
A good DJ must rely on great equipment and this set of speakers will surely help them make a name in the music industry. The VM Audio VAS4210P are 4-way units that emit a crisp and clear sound even at very high sound levels. The housing is made of a high-density fiberwood that minimizes vibration to avoid the distortion of the sound and is covered in an aviation-grade carpet that contributes to both the quality of the sound and the aspect of the speakers. For added protection of the sound system, the edges and corners are protected with steel grills that limit damage during transportation and use. The 4-way sound is delivered with 3-way high-efficiency horn tweeters and a powerful speaker that emits clear and loud sounds. The 3-way terminals allow you to connect banana plugs, bare speaker wires, speaker connectors, or TS jacks to the speakers. You can use them for indoor and outdoor events as well such as nightclubs, venues, concerts, home entertainment, and more.
As most people out there who aren’t well informed about items of this kind, you have probably thought that all DJ speakers are basically the same and they are good in most situations. But in this situation, one question arises – why are certain models called DJ speakers? The answer is simple, these types of speakers being specifically meant for DJ gigs because they are suitable to pump out music at a loud volume so that it can be heard in the entire venue.
This is the reason why they are called powered speakers as well, doing a better job at distributing the sound because of their superior power. What makes them so powerful and great for DJ gigs is the fact that they feature high-quality amplifiers built into their enclosures, the combination resulting in an improved fidelity and versatility.
As a DJ, you have to make the quality of the sound that the speakers produce a priority because everyone needs to hear your music perfectly, no matter how big or small the venue where you perform is. This superior sound quality can only be delivered by speakers that have a high peak power such as the generous 2400W offered by the JBL PRX425. With such gear on stage with you, everyone in the crowd will enjoy the music that you produce and they will respect you for putting in the necessary effort to make their experience as pleasant as possible.
The high fidelity that great models deliver isn’t an advantage to be overlooked, these products ensuring a great power output, a higher dynamic range, and less IMD. Due to the high fidelity that they deliver, you can rest assured that the music you play will be perfectly heard by everyone and that the crowd will be more than pleased at the end of your performance. Therefore, these units will help you make a name for yourself by delivering a superior overall quality that you won’t find with other types of speakers.
Another great advantage that comes with investing in top of the line DJ speakers is the fact that you will look professional. The money that you are going to spend on them are truly worth it, the sound that they produce and their high fidelity making you look like an artist that ranks on the first spots in music charts around the world. Therefore, if you want to take a big step toward a flourishing career, you have to invest as much as it’s needed on professional equipment that you take with you when you have gigs.
First and foremost, you have to look at the power rating of the unit, this being the best indicator of the sound quality produced by it. The power rating is measured in watts, the general rule of thumb when picking such a product being that the higher the watts are, the louder the speaker will be, and the better your music will be heard in the venue where you’re performing. But if money is an issue for you and you can’t afford a model that has a high power rating, you can go with one that delivers exactly the amount of power that you need. For example, if you’re a DJ at a local pub and this is the only place where you intend to perform, at least for a while, you should consider how large the area is and how many people usually attend your gigs when you buy such a product. If the place where you perform is small or medium sized, and there are about 50 people that come here regularly, you can go with a 200W model. On the other hand, if you perform at larger venues and there are over one hundred people who come to listen to you, you need a model that offers at least 1000W.
The woofer cone size is of a great importance due to the fact that it shows how much bass the unit can handle. For your performances to be of a great quality, the woofer cone size has to be at least 8 inches. Of course, the bigger the size of the woofer cone is, the better because it shows that the bass will be reproduced perfectly even when you’re performing in large, crowded venues. Therefore, it’s better that you stretch your budget and invest in a model like the JBL PRX425 that has a generous woofer cone size of 15 inches.
Portability might be an obvious aspect that you have to look into when investing in such equipment, but it’s an extremely important one nonetheless. As a DJ, you might find yourself performing in different locations, which means that you have to carry all of your gear with you in the vehicle that you’re traveling with. Therefore, it’s essential that you look for a portable model that won’t be difficult to transport and move around. For the unit to be of a superior portability, you should look for a model like the QSC K12, that weighs only 41 pounds and that features ergonomic aluminum handles, making moving it around an easy task.
Obviously, just like all other devices, gadgets, appliances, and items that you own, the speakers require being cleaned once in a while. No matter if you do this procedure after every gig or only once every couple of weeks, know that the correct way to clean these units is by using a cloth. Avoid the use of any kind of liquid cleaners at all costs as they might actually damage the amplifiers, thus rendering the speakers useless.
Just like cleaning the speakers is an important and mandatory procedure, it’s equally important to pay attention where you store them when they’re not in use. When you finish your gig and you arrive home, make sure that the room or area where you place these units is free of dust. Otherwise, the dust will get in the interior of the units and inside their nets, causing performance loss. Therefore, make sure that the environment where you store them is regularly vacuumed and cleaned of dust, and use a compressed air blower on the DJ speakers to ensure that the dust that might have gotten on the inside gets out as well.
An element that you always have to pay attention to is heat. No matter how great the quality of the speakers is, they will still suffer great damage if left in direct sun rays. Of course, pricier models do have a better thermal design, but they can still fall victims to heat if they’re not taken care of and placed away from heat sources. Also, in case the units have vent holes on their bottoms, make sure that they’re never kept blocked or overheating might occur.
Another important maintenance aspect that you have to keep in mind is to provide adequate ventilation to the unit. This will not only increase the performance of the DJ speakers, but it will enhance the lifespan as well. The best thing to do is to keep fans near the speakers when you have lengthy performances, thus ensuring that they won’t overheat or suffer any damage caused by poor ventilation.
Priding itself on over 70 years of excellence, the JBL Professional brand is, without a doubt, the most trustworthy and respected company our there that produces such gear. Their core philosophy is that audio innovation is based on an increased attention to every detail when designing the units, so it’s easy to understand why they are market leaders to this day. The quality of their work can be easily seen even when looking at the ranking of the best models on the market, two of their products being among the top of the line units available, more precisely the JBL PRX425 and the JBL JRX225.
Mackie is another leading brand that manages to stay among the most reputable producers of such gear due to the fact that they pay close attention to even the smallest of details when designing and manufacturing the products that they sell. The model that they pride themselves with the most is the Mackie HD1521, a top tier unit that delivers impressive, clear sound and that is a popular choice among DJs from all around the world. To better understand how trusted they are among the professionals in this field of work, you should know that none other than DJ Klypso uses their products, being delighted by their impressive quality.
What makes Bose one of the best brands out there, might you ask? Well, the answer is quite simple, the effort that this company puts into innovating the market that it activates on being impressive, to say the least. The team that stands behind this brand is composed of passionate researchers, engineers, marketers, and developers, this team having a single goal in mind, more precisely to deliver an unmatchable experience to their clients. With innovative and excellent performing products such as the Bose F1 Model 812, it’s easy to understand why they are fan favorites and why their work is appreciated by so many people.
Another top manufacturer of such products is QSC, a company that has been around since more than five decades ago. This globally recognized brand has delivered many innovative audio/video system solutions, gathering a loyal base of customers through their ingenuity and passion. It’s their strong performance that makes them such a beloved choice for most, with products such as the K12 being easy to understand why they have reached such an amazing height of success.
The frequency range is characterized by the actual span of frequencies that the unit can reproduce. This performance aspect directly affects the frequency response that represents the frequency range versus amplitude. To put it in simpler words, the response represents the frequency that is delivered when a certain input signal level produces a certain amount of output decibels.
The maximum SPL performance specification of these units describes the maximum sound output that comes from the speakers. This is a spec worth taking into consideration when rating and ranking such products because it’s a clear indicator of their performance and quality. Also, it’s one of the reasons why the Mackie HD1521 ranked second in our top, this amazing model having a maximum SPL of 135 dB.
We had to take the nominal coverage specification into consideration when rating the best models on the market because it shows the angle of high-frequency dispersion in the vertical and horizontal planes. Therefore, this spec directly affects the way that the music is heard throughout the venue where you’re performing, being of a great importance for the nominal coverage to be as generous as possible.
The peak power rating of these units is measured in watts, and it’s the main indicator of the sound quality that they produce. In order to figure out what are the best models on the market and to rank them, we took this rating into consideration, this being one of the main reasons why the JBL PRX425 took the number one spot, having an impressive peak power rating of 2400W.
The transportability of these units is another aspect that we couldn’t skip on because we are aware of how important it is for them to be easily moved from one spot to another, seeing how they will be transported from the vehicle to the venue and then back to the vehicle on a regular basis. When rating the models in our top according to this aspect, we couldn’t overlook the convenient transportability of the top of the line JBL PRX425, this model featuring two glass-filled nylon handles with rubber grips that make it very comfortable to move it around.
The innovative SonicGuard feature that the JBL PRX425 and the JBL JRX225 models come with was an element that pleasantly surprised us. What this feature brings new to the table is the fact that it helps protect the high-frequency driver from excess power without interrupting or affecting the performance. Therefore, it’s a feature that boosts the overall performance of these two units, making us rate them better because they come with it.
A real innovation can be seen in the fact that the Bose F1 Model 812 comes with the flexible array feature. What this feature stands for is the fact that it allows users to shape the coverage pattern as they like through the simple repositioning of the top and bottom arrays. When the position of the arrays is changed, magnets will keep them in place, triggering internal sensors that adjust the EQ according to the chosen shape.
Another feature that impressed us and that we couldn’t skip on when rating the impressive QSC K12 model is the directivity matched transition that provides low and high-frequency coverage across the venue. This way, it basically eliminates the “dead” or “hot” frequency zones to ensure that the quality of the sound will be perfect.