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Im looking to build a mobile DJ Sound System. I want to use powered speakers and do away with speakers and amp setup. I'm looking to accommodate at least 300 people.

This is the equipment I was thinking of getting:

  • 1 X American Audio PXW18P 800W Powered Subwoofer
  • 4 X Behringer EUROLIVE B115D 15in Active Speaker

I assume I will connect them in a daisy chain style?

PS. This is my first ever sound setup. I currently own a Pioneer DJM Mixer.

Thanks

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  • Something to keep in mind with an active setup, is that every speaker requires a power source. That means you will be running two (not one) cable to every speaker. With only 2 speakers, that's not such a big deal, but the more speakers you add the more your cabling starts to look like a fishermen's net. – Corey Jun 21 '13 at 18:29
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The main disadvantage is generally cost and modularity, the advantage is simplicity. With an amp and passive speaker system, you can invest separately in a good amp and good speakers. You can upgrade one without the other and you have more flexibility in how you can upgrade. Also, generally, higher quality combined speakers will be more expensive than similar quality from a separate amp and speaker combo.

Generally, most active speakers are kind of so, so, but there are some good sets made. The big thing is that they are jack of all trade type solutions. They have the simplicity of combining the speaker and amp in an easy to use package, but they also don't generally have a great amp or a great cabinet. To get one that is good, you have to pay and they are still linked so that if the amp fails you need to repair the speaker instead of simply buying a new amp. Similarly, if the speaker breaks, you need to repair it rather than simply replacing the speaker.

I generally haven't seen a set of powered speakers that I would recommend for someone who understands how to properly setup an amp and speakers. I generally mostly see powered speakers being used for foolproof setups that need to be done by average users that don't have experience. Ultimately though, if you need the ultra portability and quick setup, they may be worth the premium and upkeep costs for your situation.

  • Thanks for the quick response. Some of the reasons I'm think of going with a powered setup are; For speech kinda gigs I can just use the speakers without amp nor a mixer. I can add more speakers as time goes by without needing to upgrade the Amp. or is there a limit in the number of speakers one can connect? Less risk of getting speakers blown Less risk of needing a backup amp, in a passive setup if a amp dies, the gig dies. Able to swap around speakers depending on the gig requirement. – Stoan Jun 18 '13 at 14:41
  • @Stoan - that's what backup amps are for. If you have an active setup, then if a speaker dies, you need another whole speaker, not just a backup amp that you can swap out. You also can chain amps just like you chain the active speakers, so if you need more power, you just reduce the number of speakers to an amp and increase the number of amps. There is generally less risk of blowing a speaker though, that's true and they are great for simple things like speaker (person talking) only setups (that's really their bread and butter.) If you chain a signal enough, you may need a distribution amp – AJ Henderson Jun 18 '13 at 15:27
  • Passive + amp compared to active in terms of cost is just about the same. I don't really mind the heavier weight. Needing to have a backup amp makes the passive setup much more expensive. Modularity? correct me if I'm wrong but on an active setup you can add more active speakers easily, even easier than passive. Im looking a maximum of 6 speakers 1 or 2 subs max and 4 to 5 tops. – Stoan Jun 19 '13 at 7:19
  • @Stoan - in either system, you are spreading around an unpowered signal from a board or some other source. The more you split it, the more it will degrade. With amps in a passive setup, you can run more than one speaker per amp, with an active setup you have to run to every speaker. Distribution amps will get around this problem, but is another thing to buy. I'm not sure how adding speakers in an active setup would be any easier than a passive. Other than the signal degradation issues there isn't much of a difference. You just chain one in and if necessary add an amp. – AJ Henderson Jun 19 '13 at 13:47
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    also, what are you comparing as "similar cost?" Are you sure it is apples to oranges in terms of quality? – AJ Henderson Jun 19 '13 at 13:47
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A powered speaker will generally cost more and be heavier, since they integrate the amp.

If you are going with 4 speakers, and want flexibility in adding more in the future, it may be worth it to go passive. Behringer makes some nice 4 channel amps that are lightweight, look for the iNuke series.

I have 2 of the 10" Behringer active speakers and they are handy for quick setups and monitors, but I would not want to deal with 4 heavy active 15" sized ones.

Also, not sure about your setup, but adding a crossover after your mixer and before the amps to split the lows/highs does wonders for the sound and helps protect your amps/speakers (whether active or passive) from being overdriven with too wide of a range.

  • thanks for the response, I don't really mind the weight. Yes powered speakers cost more than active but that's not comparing apples to apples. Powered speakers compared to passive + ext amp, the cost is about the same. with a passive setup, you have a single point of failure, if the amp dies, the gig is dead unless you have a backup amp which adds more cost. I'm talking in context of mobile DJing. – Stoan Jun 19 '13 at 7:08
  • But with an active speaker, if its amp fails the "gig is dead" as well. Plus, it will be more expensive to replace an active speaker instead of just buying a new amp. – d.free Jun 19 '13 at 17:36
  • @the_stackX How so? If one active speaker dies,if can be detached and the other speakers will continue to work. Am I missing something about active speakers maybe? Is one good active speaker more expensive than one good amp? – Stoan Jun 19 '13 at 18:43
  • Well probably since an active speakers contains both an amp and the speaker itself. The amp is just the amp. – d.free Jun 20 '13 at 16:59
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I like the idea of the active set up and I'm also not worried about the weight of them.If the speaker blows( which shouldn't if you handle the set properly) you can just unplug,sound may suffer but the party goes on(may be expensive but you could have a spare/2nd hand speaker to hand,just as you would a back up amp. My concern is that can active 18" subwoofers give out the same deep bass as a passive 18" bass bin?if I can be convinced they can I'm gonna go with an active set! Anyone know if they sound the same or better and is it down to the more expensive the speaker the better sound!

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Powered systems will not provide the bass response that you want if you are providing sound for a band. If you are simply doing the DJ thing go with the simplest and most convenient (powered). If you want to amp up the bass presence then add a powered sub woofer to do that. In virtually all live applications best sound comes from a passive system with good amps, 31 band eq, a crossover for the bass and separate bass cabs. It is very difficult to reproduce the sound quality of high end components and frequency response matched to the venue in a all in one powered system. If price is the major concern then go with powered speakers but if you want quality then go with the separate components and passive speakers and monitors.

  • Frequencies responce is not an aspect of the way the speakers are powered. Of course if you use higher-wattage amps to power a 2 or 3-way speaker system, then you will get more bass, but the same-wattage per driver powered vs non-powered systems will not have inherently different frequency responce. – user9881 Dec 13 '16 at 22:10

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