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Sweetwater Forums [Archived]

After 15 years of great discussions, the Sweetwater Forums are now closed and preserved as a "read-only" resource. For discussions about current gear, check us out on Facebook, YouTube, inSync, and our Knowledge Base.

Powered Speakers


With the new wave of powered speakers on the market, both for mains and floor mons, I'm interested to hear from a few other converts like myself. I will always choose a powered speaker (esp. from Mackie) over its passive counterpart.
What do you think of the new generation of powered speakers (Mackie SRM450s, SR1530s, JBL Eon G2s)?
For those of you not convinced, what do you like about your current setup?
Please chime in with your thoughts and questions!
July 27, 2001 @11:21pm

if you can afford it, meyers are the way to go. they absolutely rock.
July 31, 2001 @06:33am

Some of the better powered speakers are wonderful. I've used the EONs and played with some of the Mackies. BUT...(you knew it was coming, didn't you) They are only as wonderful as any application-specific piece of gear. I really don't want to have AC cords connected to every wedge on the front of the stage, but for small-band or club PA's that folks load & out of their cars, they serve a great purpose. Just like powered boards.
August 1, 2001 @09:11pm

the really great thing about most powered speakers is the fact that they design all of the components for use with and to match that exact speaker that is built for. the amplifier wattage is matched for optimum performance with the cabinet and crossover specs. there can be a limiter built in too. it isnt like a mismatch of various brand names and specifications that you have to keep tabs on. it's done at the factory.
August 1, 2001 @11:40pm

I have never seen a sound system so fine til I used Mackie powered speakers and I've been a satisfied Mackie user ever since! I just finished a road show in Vermont with a jazz band. We used 2 Mackie SR1530's and 2 SR1500 sub's for the main and 3 Mackie SRM450's as floor wedges. The sound was not only absolutely phenomenal, but was louder than a passive system with 2x's as many components. One of the concerts was on this boardwalk and there was a mountain about 8 miles away. Towards the end of the show, a couple came over and said they could hear the sound from their house on that mountain!!!!!!!!
Anywho, thats my 2 cents. Anyone have any questions, email me. SlvrDreams@aol.com.
Now if I could only get my hands on a pair of Fussion 3000's :-)
Jeff Strickland
Owner, Silver Dreams Sound
Harrisburg, PA
August 2, 2001 @04:57pm

Good to see some of you up here and some interesting comments. Mark, I hope we'll here more from you over time on different topics. I think the basic thing we all have to keep in mind is that it's always a balance between cost, space, sound and several other factors when looking at these types of questions. I don't think there is much question that speakers such as the Mackie SRM450 have brought tremendous value in sound quality and portability at a greatly reduced cost. It also creates a tremendous amount of versatility and functionality that previous attempts at this type of "combined" package didn't present (i.e. powered mixers) in a fashion that actually improved audio quality as well.
August 2, 2001 @06:50pm

Hi there:
We've been considering the EAW powered tops. Our entire speaker rig is EAW & we really like their product in terms of sound quality & relibility.
Here's the question I'm facing. What happens if the internal power to one of the speakers gives up? Are you able to bypass the internal power supply & plug in a powered signal from an amp?
My understanding is that when the amp shuts down in one of the powered speakers - you are done until it's serviced by a tech.
Currently we carry a spare amp - in case a power amp calls it quits. I was told by a sound tech once that the big shows that use powered speakers always carry spare powered cabinets for this very reason.
August 27, 2001 @08:40am

You have a valid point Sparky. Many of the enclosures that are powered do not hav the ability to bypass the amp to drive the speaker alone. As they are a fully optimized enclosure with crossover etc I am sure many of the companies would fear of someone accidentally plugging both in at the same time and not realizing the damage they would cause to the whole cabinet and perhaps other equipment as well. However, I have rarely seen a competent live sound company with knowledge of there equipment and situations they are going into have problems with powered enclosures blowing amps. Most have protection circuitry and you'd have to pay little to no attention at the amount of output from your console. If you're nervous about having enough power then it's time to get more speakers. I have seen a few incidents where power strikes hit the amps in the speakers, but that would tend to end the show in about any scenario. Sometimes powered boxes will go into thermal protection, that doesn't mean they have to be serviced, just that they need to cool down. Just like with amp/speaker traditional set-ups you have to keep them cool. I wouldn't worry about the move too much. Hope that helps.
September 3, 2001 @09:26pm

I use a dozen Mackie powered speakers in my little sound company, 2 1530's, 2 1500 subs and 8 450's. They sound much better than my JBL systems (Crown powered SR series). I use the Mackies for a gazillion rentals and all of my acoustic shows. I use the JBLs when I need brute power, say the three metal band showcase at the local headbangers bar. I call Mackies "the poor man Meyers". I've also heard JBL's latest powered subs and like those a lot.
Yes you do have to run AC to each cab, but is that any more hassle than running a bi amp speaker cable? I always carry that much AC any how, but I've eliminated an entire trunk of spk-ons when I set up with the Mackies.
Since I started using Mackie powered speakers, I've lost 2 amp racks (each at about 200 pounds), and replaced a lot of eighty pound EV wedges with fifty pound SRM's. My chiropractor is wondering where I am!
I'm a big fan of powered enclosures, wish I could afford Meyer CQ!
May 10, 2002 @12:55am

I was one of the first people in the country to own a set of these puppies and boy was it worth the wait. I concidered using EAW since that is what I'm used to working with lately. When I got my 1232s I was surprised that they actually sounded like the EAW 325 LA which I used in a previous band. What that means is they rock! They infact are about the same dimentions and weight as the $2,500.oo each EAW. But here's the really cool thing about the 1232s. They dont' need a seperate rack for amps and crossovers. If you were to buy the EAW passive speakers you'd need to invest a couple of grand at least to make the speakers really sing. Don't spend the extra money
May 10, 2002 @03:26pm

No comment on powered vs. non-powered, but you should know that Mackie now owns EAW.
May 10, 2002 @05:11pm

I know that Mackie bought EAW. The reason is that EAW had exclusive rights to the RCF drivers from Italy. Mackie wanted to use them and couldn't because of that. So that is the reason for buying EAW....killing two birds with one stone. Buying one of the best speaker maker and the best drivers RCF. That is what I got in a nutshell from Mackie when I called them derict.
May 10, 2002 @07:56pm