Opinions on Passive PA Speaker Size

Leo Paul

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Hi y'all. To replace my band’s non-powered mixer and ridiculously heavy and overkill 15-inch powered speakers, I have acquired a powered mixer. I’m currently using it with the 10-inch speakers from my practice room’s PA, but I want to get other speakers so I can leave them in place. I’d like to get opinions from others who gig concerning speaker size. We only use our PA for vocals, and we are not a particularly loud band. All this said, would you get 10-inch speakers or 12-inch? I’m trying to keep weight as low as possible, so I’m leaning toward 10-inch, especially as the 10-inch ones I now have seem to be working fine. But I’m just wondering if there might be anything I’m not considering, or maybe some future need.
 

ddewerd

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There's a lot to digest in what appears to be a simple question.

What is your powered head? model, power output, etc.

What are the current speakers you're using?

What's your budget?

Style of music?

Potential future considerations? e.g. maybe low key now, but what if you shift from acoustic to heavy metal? ;)

All kidding aside, these are all factors to consider. A decent pair of 10's might be all you need. You can't go wrong with something like these

But you can spend twice as much (or more) for some much higher quality speakers, but what's the balance?

IMO, if 10's are doing what you need, I'd look at something similar. A high quality 10 will outperform a lackluster, cheap 12 or 15.

But I think most 12s will give you a bit more oomph than 10s. But that may not be a requirement though.

And a monitor form factor could be useful down the road if you ever want to expand. I have the 15" big brother of the Yamahas in that link, but they are the "M" version, which means I can use them as monitors on bigger gigs (with my big, full PA), or stick them on speaker stands as mains for smaller gigs.

Not sure if this helps much though.

Cheers,
Doug
 

loudboy

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Look for a pair of Yamaha Club Series 1x12" cabs. Sound good, are bulletproof, and can be had for cheap.

Another real winner, if you can find them, are EV S200 cabs. Small, lightweight and have ProLine drivers. I used a pair for a club system for 15 years - hundreds of gigs, and they never let me down. They can be found for $100-150 a pair. The S300 is good also, but a little bigger. Stay away from the S100 - cheaper drivers.

electro-voice-s-200-574.jpg
 

kuch

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If you're playing indoors, small to medium venues the 10's should work well enough. If you plan to play any outdoor gigs, I would lean towards 12's.
I picked up 2 used Eon 610's for my grandson's band earlier this year and it works great for them. 6 piece band with 3 vocals.
 

studio

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Maybe the OP was looking for an opinion on a specific brand name?

From my perspective each brand puts out a good, better, best set of their product.

All the ones mentioned above have their qualities intact. Meaning, the brand has their flagship features.
Behringer makes good speakers for cheap also, and their brand feature is their cheap price! Partly kidding....

My opinion would be to listen to the quality of the compression driver and how it handles your group's sound.

I love the sound of JBLs but they can be a little high maintenance if you drive the high end and have to replace the drivers continually.

Peavey used to make a very good compression driver in the XT22 version.

You need to plan a listening party. It'll be fun!
 

chris m.

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Maybe the OP was looking for an opinion on a specific brand name?

From my perspective each brand puts out a good, better, best set of their product.

All the ones mentioned above have their qualities intact. Meaning, the brand has their flagship features.
Behringer makes good speakers for cheap also, and their brand feature is their cheap price! Partly kidding....

My opinion would be to listen to the quality of the compression driver and how it handles your group's sound.

I love the sound of JBLs but they can be a little high maintenance if you drive the high end and have to replace the drivers continually.

Peavey used to make a very good compression driver in the XT22 version.

You need to plan a listening party. It'll be fun!
I would generally recommend Yamaha when it comes to value at any price point. Whether it be motorcycles, clarinets, guitars, keyboards, PA systems....whatever they make they typically offer at several quality levels with super competitive price points.

Case in point, I have a Yamaha StagePas 600. It is somewhat of a budget system, uses 10" woofers, and it works for our six-piece band. We run kick drum, lead vocals, backup vocals, and saxophone through the XLR ins. The keyboard uses one of the 1/4" instrument channels. We mike both guitar amps to provide fuller sound dispersion, and I have a small, two-channel mixer with 2 XLR ins and one 1/4" out that I use to plug the guitars into one of the other channels. The automatic feedback suppression is a great feature that works incredibly well. We sometimes supplement it by running the monitor out line into a powered speaker, but in most of the venues we play this system is sufficient. It's being pushed to the limit of its capabilities, but it handles it with aplomb.

No way I would run a bass through it, though, with everything else we got going into it. That would be too much for it and would likely lead to clipping or even a damaged speaker. Luckily our bass player has a good bass amp and bass frequencies disperse very well without needing P.A. support, at least in the small places we play....micro-breweries, mostly.
 

schmee

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Hi y'all. To replace my band’s non-powered mixer and ridiculously heavy and overkill 15-inch powered speakers, I have acquired a powered mixer. I’m currently using it with the 10-inch speakers from my practice room’s PA, but I want to get other speakers so I can leave them in place. I’d like to get opinions from others who gig concerning speaker size. We only use our PA for vocals, and we are not a particularly loud band. All this said, would you get 10-inch speakers or 12-inch? I’m trying to keep weight as low as possible, so I’m leaning toward 10-inch, especially as the 10-inch ones I now have seem to be working fine. But I’m just wondering if there might be anything I’m not considering, or maybe some future need.
I've been using some 12" passive for a few years now. They are the less expensive EV's. ELX 112 I think. The nice thing is they are not heavy speakers. They do fine for a 5 piece rock/blues band. Gone up in price now though.
Outdoors though, we use big expensive stuff.
Beware that many speakers use MDF or Particle board for the cabs and it makes them super heavy.

These EV's are not heavy really, but are not plastic like the Eons and some others. They use the damn Speakon connectors though, so I just bought half a dozen adaptors.
 
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RCinMempho

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I played a duo with amped electric bass where two vocals and acoustic guitar went to the PA.

We had a good quality Yamaha mixer. Our speakers were two 8" ALTO powered speakers. They were fine for crowds up to 200.

The ALTO TX8 speakers were excellent and reliable. With drums underneath I'd probably go a with 10 or 12", but my experience with the ALTO brand is excellent.
 

studio

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I've been using some 12" passive for a few years now. They are the less expensive EV's. ELX 112 I think. The nice thing is they are not heavy speakers. They do fine for a 5 piece rock/blues band. Gone up in price now though.
Outdoors though, we use big expensive stuff.
Beware that many speakers use MDF or Particle board for the cabs and it makes them super heavy.

These EV's are not heavy really, but are not plastic like the Eons and some others. They use the damn Speakon connectors though, so I just bought half a dozen adaptors.
EV only makes professional / industrial equipment. You probably will never see a set of computer speakers or boomboxes with the EV logo on it.

But anything is possible!
I used to say the same thing about Midas, Klark Technic, and TC Electronics!
 

chris m.

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When did the industry standard become using passive mixers and powered speakers, anyway? Now you still have to connect all the speakers to the P.A., (yes, sometimes you can daisy chain them, but still), but now you also need to provide AC power to all the speakers. And they're HEAVY.

I kind of don't get it, tbh. Imagine that it had started the other way, and then someone came up with the newfangled solution-- "now you need just one slightly heavy power amp, but you get much lighter speakers that don't require AC power. Yay!"
 

studio

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When did the industry standard become using passive mixers and powered speakers, anyway? Now you still have to connect all the speakers to the P.A., (yes, sometimes you can daisy chain them, but still), but now you also need to provide AC power to all the speakers. And they're HEAVY.

I kind of don't get it, tbh. Imagine that it had started the other way, and then someone came up with the newfangled solution-- "now you need just one slightly heavy power amp, but you get much lighter speakers that don't require AC power. Yay!"
Okay, but these days those powered mixers have the total advantage of the D class amplifiers. Light weight, reliable, and no overbearing heat issues.
 

Monoprice99

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I don't think I'd go less than 12's for a live performance. Think of them like an area of a pizza or volume of the cone/truncated cone, in terms of output. You'd be surprised how much advantage for more square & cubic inches a 12 inch has compared to 10's & 8's. And it's even more when you multiply that by the number of speakers in each cabinet. It's more a matter of venue size (cubic feet), audience size for balancing the sound in that space & crowd.

Weight savings as a consideration, perhaps Neodymium magnet PA speaker ? But the enclosure unloaded itself is going to be the same weight regardless of the speaker(s). If that enclosure is heavy, it's still heavy as loaded. The reason 2x10's sound louder, there are 2 of them & the 12 or 15 is a single. For around the home, I have 6.5, 8 & 12 inch singles. The 1x 8's are fine as practice amps, but they just don't compare with the 1x12, obviously 1x10 is going to be somewhere in the middle of those.

 
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Leo Paul

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Hi everyone, thanks for all of your input. While they cost a bit more, are a bit heavier, and of course, slightly larger, I'm leaning toward getting 12s. I don't think I can go wrong doing that.
 

Leo Paul

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When did the industry standard become using passive mixers and powered speakers, anyway? Now you still have to connect all the speakers to the P.A., (yes, sometimes you can daisy chain them, but still), but now you also need to provide AC power to all the speakers. And they're HEAVY.

I kind of don't get it, tbh. Imagine that it had started the other way, and then someone came up with the newfangled solution-- "now you need just one slightly heavy power amp, but you get much lighter speakers that don't require AC power. Yay!"
EXTREMELY well put! I 100% agree with all you say.
 

chris m.

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EXTREMELY well put! I 100% agree with all you say.
I can play devil's advocate for a moment:

1) Powered speakers are getting a lot lighter, and probably could get still get a bit lighter.
2) They make these cool, daisy chain A/C extension cords that help with getting power to all the speakers.
3) But the number one factor is you never have to worry about enough power in your power amp to run what you plan to run. Add powered speakers to your heart's content as you scale up to bigger venues. The power for the speaker comes with the speaker and it is designed to exactly match the amount of power that speaker needs to operate optimally. So in that regard it's fairly idiot proof. No issues with matching ohms, power requirements, etc.

The other significant breakthroughs are IEMs and the new line array PAs. These are changing things a lot as well.
With a line array setup and automatic feedback suppression you don't even need monitors at all anymore, whether in-ears
or stage wedges.

Our band is probably going to move to two or three line array units (Yamaha) and a passive mixer.
 




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