PA advice: powered speakers vs passive?

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by pjackson92, Mar 15, 2011.

    Mar 15, 2011
  1. pjackson92 n00b

    My band is getting to the point of getting a PA together. I have been doing a lot of research on the whole powered speakers vs power amp into passive speakers. All I have been able to come up with is that going powered is more expensive to begin with but its easier to hook up and easier to expand. So what is yalls opinions on powered vs passive? Is there a sound difference between the two?
  2. Mar 15, 2011
  3. Lino n00b

    Go powered if you can afford it, just don't go with the really cheap stuff. I've been using a Mackie powered PA for close to 10 years and it all still works and sounds great. I had to put some $ into it, but it is still going and paid for itself a long long time ago !!!
  4. Mar 15, 2011
  5. Mark Wein :mad:

    The powered speakers that we have in my gigging band are great...it might just be better and newer technology but we have great clarity in the house. Having a powered sub or two is also a great thing. When it's time for me to get new speakers I'll end up buying powered. We use the Mackies and I think Prages' band uses the same model. Worth every penny.
  6. Mar 15, 2011
  7. pjackson92 n00b

    What specific model of mackie do yall use?
  8. Mar 15, 2011
  9. Lino n00b

    Yep, I have supplied the PA and Prages has supplied the back-line gear for some time. Prages bought 2 of the Mackie 450's like I have and on occasion we use them all. I also have the 15" powered sub, just one. that's all you need unless you're playing Huge places. If it's small clubs, you could get away without the sub. You could get it later to beef it up !!!
  10. Mar 15, 2011
  11. Lino n00b

    The powered 450's and the 15" Sub with whatever size mixer fits you're band. I have the 1402 mixer
  12. Mar 15, 2011
  13. pjackson92 n00b

    so far everything I have read has pointed to go powered because of ease of use and setup and future expansions will be easier. Now I just have to convince the singer of this
  14. Mar 15, 2011
  15. Mark Wein :mad:

    I'll find out which model we use...they belong to the drummer...I think for bands like us the giant PA with a mixer, poweramps and passive speakers are a thing o the past though.
  16. Mar 15, 2011
  17. GergS n00b

    I asked this same question a few months ago and wound up getting a pair of QSC K-10's and a Peavey powered sub. Monitors not powered and just run by a QSC power amp. Best purchase I ever made. Me and my friend are going to play an acoustic gig so it's easy to just bring along what we need without having to lug around a ton of gear....or purchasing a smaller system. Won't need the sub for an acoustic gig...just a monitor and the pair of QSC's.
  18. Mar 15, 2011
  19. pjackson92 n00b

    thanks guys! so far im leaning to the powered side.
  20. Mar 15, 2011
  21. eloydrummerboy & the Flaming Monkeys

    Matching speakers to poweramps and all that is sometimes complicated business to new PA owners. Powered speakers take care of that for you.
    Loading, unloading and packing up gear is a PITA. Powered speakers cut that down for you.
    Is there a difference in sound quality? Not due to the powered vs. unpowered aspect. Only difference is due to the speakers and units themselves. So don't scrimp if you can afford it.

    The only advantage of piecing together your own system that I can see is 1) flexibility (that you'll likely never need) and 2) price.

    I say go with powered, or at the very least if you are getting subs, get powered subs.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2011
  22. Mar 16, 2011
  23. Prages User Error

    Yeah, Lino and I both have Mackie SRM450s (the older first version) and they are great.

    Not only do powered speakers make the PA a little more self contained, but with good ones, the speakers, cabinets, amps and crossovers are all designed to work well together, so there's no crap shoots with having to match all that stuff up in a passive system. Our FOH sound is usually crystal clear.

    We have the small mixer, then we have an EQ between the mixer and the speakers so we can tweak the overall frequencies to the room a little more, but we've done a ton of gigs with this setup and the only times it's ever let us down were

    1: Outdoor show where it was about 80 degrees and the sun was shining directly on one of the speakers. Since it was outdoors, we were pushing it pretty hard, and combined with the heat from the sun, one of the amps went into thermal shutdown. No damage done to the speaker, but we did have to stop and reset it a couple of times.

    2: Our EQ had one side that died, causing one side of the system to sound like it had a blown speaker. Lino bought a new EQ a few months ago and that problem is long gone.
  24. Mar 16, 2011
  25. Denverdave Resident Ragamuffin

    Our band made the switch from passive to powered speakers, with a bit of nudging from me. We have a QSC system that sounds great. No way I would go any other way now.

    Here is a link to the speakers we use. We have two 12" mains and two subs.

    http://www.qscaudio.com/products/speakers/k_series/
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2011
  26. Mar 16, 2011
  27. Prages User Error

    BTW, for those that have attended Pragestock, those are the SRM450s that we're using. I know the vocals can get buried sometimes during Pragestock, but the speakers are really only running about 1/2 power up there. They've got plenty more volume to push, but in the confined space of the attic, feedback becomes a big issue, as it would with any speaker and a bunch of live microphones.
  28. Mar 16, 2011
  29. Lino n00b

    You should rent a big circus tent for this years event electricguitar054
  30. Mar 16, 2011
  31. Denverdave Resident Ragamuffin

    That would probably be cooler than the attic. I'm not sure the neighbors would be real happy though. But I'll chip in $10.00 towards the rental....
  32. Mar 16, 2011
  33. eloydrummerboy & the Flaming Monkeys

    Hell, just use the back of the beer truck once we empty it out.
  34. Mar 16, 2011
  35. Prages User Error

    Remember, most of the neighbors are Jehovah's Witnesses, and they are all gone that weekend for a big conference or something. Still, the two neighbors that are in pretty close proximity might not like the music blaring until 2 am. :weebz:
  36. Mar 16, 2011
  37. Lino n00b

    Hell yes !!!
  38. Mar 16, 2011
  39. Denverdave Resident Ragamuffin

    We could stop at 1:45......

    Aren't we getting a fresh truck each day this year so we won't run out?

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