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Reasons NOT to use powerd speakers?


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  • Reasons NOT to use powerd speakers?

    Im planning on upgrading / re-working my current system to be more modern , lighter and scale-able. So before i start buying speakers i want to be 100% sure im going in the right direction. The plan so far has been to accumulate 6 srx 718's and a pair of 722's (perhaps additional 712's)

    With the prx718 getting good reviews the powered speaker thing is on my mind a lil. So what would be the reasons not to get powered speakers ?

  • #2
    Well, maybe start by asking yourself, or at least telling us, why you're set on buying passive speakers?

    Are you only looking to upgrade speakers? As in, do you have amps, racks, speaker processing, crossovers, etc that you weren't going to replace? If so, you'll be spending quite a bit more on powered speakers as you'll essentially be replacing all that with what's inside them.

    As far as model lines you're looking at, the SRX are a step above PRX so it's not really a fair comparison.
    PA: JBL PRX712, PRX718XLF, RCF 745-A, 522-A, 310A, A&H Qu-16
    Lights: AMDJ Dotz TPAR, Haze Generator, Chauvet GigBAR
    www.nextexitrocks.com | wedding band | Columbus, OH | VIDEO


    • #3
      Ok, here are some of the arguments against powered cabs:

      1. You have to run power and signal to each speaker.
      2. If an amp in a speaker fails, it is not possible to move the speaker to another amp or a spare amp.

      For my personal use, powered speakers made the best sense and have worked out well for me, but I would certainly not turn my nose up at a properly set up rig with traditional amps + stacks.

      Your proposed rig has the potential to be very nice with the right amps and processing. I am little surprised at the 3 to 1 top to sub ratio; you must need some serious bass.
      Chief fader ape, wire monkey, mic macaque, and speaker chimp.


      • #4
        Yeah i have a lil stock in the passive world but not anything beyond replacement or what not. I have one 16 space amp rack with 3 crown xls and pv500 with a dbx crossover,patch panel and power strip. I have planned on upgrading amps and getting a driverack fairly soon also.

        Well passive is all ive known to date. None of the systems that i get to play on or work with have been active so far, but ive read such positive things regarding powered stuff. Just curious as to the negatives.

        What would be some powered models/brands on par with the SRX ?


        • #5
          Well, if you're looking to replace your amps and add processing and get "modern" then I'd seriously look at powered speakers, at least for FOH. Maybe you can keep the bulk of your current setup for monitors. Some folks don't like running power to all the monitors and prefer a passive setup there. It doesn't bother me. My entire rig has been powered for years.

          SRX line has large exit compression drivers (2" versus the common 1" exit). That's not to say there aren't some good 1" exit speakers out there that are a step above the PRX, which I don't mean to pan as inadequate, just pointing out that the SRX is better.

          RCF 722A,522A, 525A, 725A are all larger exit drivers. I use 522A's for my FOH. The RCF NX series is above that - pricey!

          FBT PSR series is larger exit drivers, but pricey as well. More practical is the HiMaxx 40a or 60a.

          KV2 has some nice stuff

          EV ZX5a is a nice offering from Electro-Voice

          Yorkville powered NX series are probably on par with the PRX as are the QSC HPR, which I think are being replaced by the KW series, which are due out this summer.

          Probably a step down from the JBL PRX, but step up from the JBL EON seris - QSC K Series
          PA: JBL PRX712, PRX718XLF, RCF 745-A, 522-A, 310A, A&H Qu-16
          Lights: AMDJ Dotz TPAR, Haze Generator, Chauvet GigBAR
          www.nextexitrocks.com | wedding band | Columbus, OH | VIDEO


          • #6

            What would be some powered models/brands on par with the SRX ?

            Well, there's the VRX powered sub.


            You might not need as many subs if you use a few of these?


            • #7
              I thought the PRX718S is a powered SRX718S?


              • #8
                One reason for passives: the SRX 712m doesn't come in a powered version! It's super light, and sounds great over the 718 sub. Passives tend to save a few pounds, not a bit deal if you have help, but I sure smile when I put the 712's on a pole by myself. For other brands, not so much of an advantage.
                - BandDad


                • #9
                  I run all active, KV2 and EV. The only place for passive speakers IMHO is installations.

                  Actives are infinately scalable without the need to calculate Ohms, Watts, etc., just plug more into power and daisy chain the signal.

                  Flame on.
                  Bill Cronheim
                  Entertainment Systems Corporation
                  Back stage since 1965
                  Equipment specialist since 1973


                  • #10
                    If you're planning on bi-amping, the cabling is the same for passives and actives.

                    I have noticed that on some monitors IEC's can shake loose but nothing gaff or proper parts can't cure.

                    I'm moderately lazy and don't bi-amp so I've gone back to passive cabs for monitors and mains (mostly), but there are some nice powered cabs out there.


                    • #11
                      While the PRX718 should be pretty close to the perfromance of the SRX718, the VRX918SP is the "powered" SRX box. Same size and demensions. The only difference is the VRX has flyware and the SRX does not.
                      Dont know how the new 600 series PRX line sounds, should be pretty close to the 500 series in performance.

                      I use both types of speakers and mix them up all the time. I currently have some SRX718 subs and a few different powered tops as well as some passive tops.
                      Different flavors I guess.
                      Powered boxes are nice in that you dont need to haul around heavy amp racks. So far, for me, the biggest draw back for passive has only been AC power, extra cords laying around. But it is sure nice not to have to load up amps!


                      • #12
                        Flame on.

                        You're right, I'd say. So long as you're buying the proper speakers.

                        I prefer passive systems. My amp racks give me a place to centralize power (or as satellite distros for bigger rigs), offer some redundancy, and are scalable to a different degree. Also, most of my favourite passive speakers don't come in a powered version!

                        The PRX600 speakers look great though, and those might be my next big purchase.


                        • #13
                          Reasons not to go powered:

                          1) Heavier cabs

                          2) Running AC. Not such a big problem if the system is for your own band but when providing for others you've got to be on your guard. Some pitfalls I've experienced:
                          - Guitarists unplugging IEC for more pedal inlets, not realizing it was the FOH he has just taken out.
                          - Band/Crowd seeing the Bass/Treble/Volume controls on the powered speakers and cranking them to full before the show begins.

                          3) Powered monitors are a no-no if providing for others. Only a matter of time before a pint spills into the wrong area.

                          4) Scalability. Most powered seem to be 90 degree horizontal which is one a side MAX. Those 722's are 75 degree which is two a side - useful for wide rooms and outdoors

                          5) You can get a better passive system than active for the money (second hand)

                          Of course powered has many advantages too, really depends on your application
                          Digico SD10
                          D&B V-series line array


                          • #14
                            FWIW - I'm in the powered mains/passive monitor world camp.
                            Where the Mississippi River runs west...


                            • #15
                              I'm personally in the quality amp + quality speaker + quality processing camp. In my case, I found powered cabs that did all this in one box and fit my available budget, space, and power needs.

                              That said, I certainly would not turn my nose up at a quality system using separate components. I am still saving for my dream rig (Dynacord Cobra 2). The real question is what is best for your needs and your situation. In my case, the need for a smaller and lighter system won out. Racks of amps was just not an option.
                              Chief fader ape, wire monkey, mic macaque, and speaker chimp.