When you need the ultimate in sound quality for live venues, live performance and monitoring, with the power to mix your own sound you need the best active PA speakers to do the job. We show you the top 7 best powered speakers from QSC, Alto, Bose and more
Trying to find the best active PA speakers or best powered speakers for your venue or live set up can be an extremely difficult task if you don’t know what you’re looking for or you’re short on time. Let’s face it; you need high quality powered speakers that will sound good at all levels, provide reliability in all applications and a versatile sonic palette for a vast array of musical genres. Fortunately, we know which ones you’re going to love!
In no particular order here’s our top 7 best active PA speakers or best powered speakers for all budgets, live applications and uses – all of which provide superb quality sound, are easy to install and even easier to use. N.B Active PA speakers can also be called powered speakers too, just in case you're confused!
1. Alto Truesonic TS312 Powered Loudspeaker
The Alto Truesonic TS312 Powered Loudspeaker, or TS312 for short, is one of the best active PA speakers available today, offering incredible clarity and easy to use features that venue owners, live DJs and bands will appreciate.
Alto completely overhauled the design of their speakers when crafting this particular series of active PA speakers, resulting in a fresh, new design and superior sound quality to anything the brand had released before.
Straight out of the box you have a 2000-watt 2-way powered loudspeaker pumping out 1000 Watts of continuous Class D power , meaning you can push some serious sound around whether you’re providing sound for a wedding or busting out some tunes at an event – people are going to hear you no matter where they are!
You also have a 12” LF Driver, 3” High-Temperature Voice Coil and 1.4” Neodymium Magnet HF Driver with Precision Wave Guide technology within this nifty piece of kit. This basically means the quality and clarity of your sound will be unrivalled to anything you've heard from Alto before. When coupled with the custom engineered high-efficiency amplifiers with Passive Cooling Design which ensures your speakers run quieter and cleaner, you will enjoy a more transparent and cleaner sound – ideal for monitoring on stage or wedding band duos.
An angled rear panel makes it ideal for use as a wedge monitor and the built-in 2 channel mixer with dual XLR ¼ inch combo mic/line inputs, both with independent level controls ensure you have superb control over your sound when you’re not hooking these up to separate mixer. The Alto Truesonic TS312 Powered Loudspeaker is one of the best active PA speakers around and a great addition to any set up large or small. Also available as a pair.
2. QSC K10.2 Active PA Loudspeaker
Well, we can’t talk about the best active PA speakers without including the QSC K.2 series! When the brand launched a follow up to the coveted and highly respected K Series speakers, we must admit that some eyebrows were raised. We asked ourselves how do you improve on an industry standard? Well, the team at QSC certainly didn’t disappoint when we delved into the world of the K.2.
When QSC released the K.2 series which features a whopping 2000 watts of power – double that of the original K series (and most PA speakers in general) and built-in presets that sound engineers and live performers would ACTUALLY use, we were suitably impressed!
The QSC K10.2 Active PA Loudspeakers , especially, are easily some of the best active PA speakers you could hope to use thanks to the user friendly presets and high-quality sound on offer.
Again, you have a 2000 Watt Class-D amplifier module at your disposal, able to provide crystal clear sound through a 10” speaker and thanks to DMT (Directivity-Matched Transition) technology you have a smooth coverage across the entire listening area so there’s no drop outs or dead spots.
The user presets within are extremely useful, expertly tuned for applications such as Stage Monitor, Dance Music, Musical Instrument Amplification, Hand-held Microphone and more. Simply plug in, turn on, set your preset and you’re good to go. You can also use the PA as a floor monitor, wall or truss mount it or place it on a speaker pole, making the QSC K10.2 Active PA Loudspeaker a great all-rounder.
After celebrating 50 years in the PA business and with a mission of always innovating and moving forward it’s hardly surprising that the brand is often relied upon by venues, DJs and travelling performers alike – their speakers just work and work well! The 6-year warranty is also a great addition.
3. Bose S1 Pro Multi-Position PA System
The Bose S1 Pro Multi-Position PA System is more than just one of the best active PA speakers, but one of the best all-in-one PA, floor monitor practice amplifiers and primary music systems you can get your hands on.
The Bose S1 pro is designed for those who need a versatile speaker for a variety of different applications. The lightweight, ultra-portable enclosure makes it easy to carry around – ideal if you need an active PA speaker for parties, public speaking applications, gyms, dance halls or sporting events. In addition, the Bose S1 Pro Multi-Position PA System is also one of the best active PA speakers for musicians, wedding duos and DJs. To be honest, there's not a lot this thing can't do.
The onboard 3-channel mixer offers independent ToneMatch, reverb, and EQ controls on two channels and you also have a dedicated channel for either wired (3.5 mm) or wireless music sources via Bluetooth streaming.
The auto EQ function is perfect for those in a hurry as the Bose S1 Pro optimises its settings based on the position of the speaker. The Elevated Surface, Tilt-Back, Monitor Mod and Speaker Stand modes have been perfectly tuned for each application. So whether you’re using it as a monitor speaker on an angle or mounting it with standard 35 mm pole mounts you’ll automatically get the best sound thanks to the 4 unique modes as the speaker detects its orientation and makes the appropriate adjustments. Brilliant!
4. Wharfedale Titan 12D Active PA Speaker
When you need an affordable active PA speaker for an array of different applications and wireless Bluetooth connectivity for making changes on the fly, the Wharfedale Titan 12D Active PA Speaker is a great option. This budget friendly speaker makes our best active PA speakers list due to the vast amount of control you have over your sound and the 500 Watts of peak Class D power at your disposal – this is loud enough for large venues but can easily be tamed for weddings, public speaking applications and more.
The 12" LF driver ensures crystal clear sound at all times and the Proprietary 90 x 60 Elliptical Wave Guide Horn design ensures everyone hears the audio the way it was meant to be heard. Those who ned to be able to travel will appreciate the handles, rugged design and tough grille, whilst those who want to fly the PA outdoors will also appreciate the moisture resistant woofer - it ain't waterproof though, so don't be playing music underwater!
Again, the portability of the Wharfedale Titan 12D Active PA Speaker is a huge benefit for travelling musicians and those who don’t want a static PA speaker as the rugged yet lightweight internal laminar flow rib pattern polypropylene cabinet has been designed for life on the road!
The Wharfedale Titan 12D Active PA Speaker is a fantastic powered, full speaker active PA system with plenty of connectivity designed to be put through its paces – what more could you want?
5. Yamaha DBR15 Active PA Speaker
Need a huge amount of power? Well the Yamaha DBR15 Active PA Speaker can actually provide a staggering 132dB from a 1000w Class-D Power Amp – loud enough for the biggest venues! The Yamaha DBR15 makes our best active PA speakers list due to the sheer amount of power on offer and its ability to handle high output with near zero distortion thanks to superb quality transducers.
The DBR15s are some of the best active PA speakers due to their ability to accommodate both mic and line signals perfectly. In addition, you have both a high-pass filter and dynamic EQ functions for either front-of-house or monitor use. Whether you’re a solo performer and need to plug directly into the PA or you’re a front of house engineer in need of a stereo output from a PA mixer or desk, you’re all set.
One of the really cool things about the DBR15s is its ability to instantly optimise its setting based on how you position the speaker. The D-Contour technology built-in instantly optimises the sound for positioning between floor monitor and ear-level front of house – this means you get all the detail and clarity you need regardless of how the speaker is angled or used.
Ideal for venues and bands in need of something they switch around between monitoring and ear-level.
6. QSC KW153 3-Way Active Speaker
The QSC KW153 3-Way Active Speaker is ideal for professionals and larger venue owners, especially those in need of something they can take down easily and provide sound for festivals etc. You have a QSC designed, 1000 watt (2 x 500 W continuous) Class D power module at your disposal and the Directivity Matched Transition (DMT) technology on-board which provides matched LF and HF coverage across the entire listening area to ensure there’s no dead spots or hot frequency zones in the listening area – ideal for venues.
The slimline design makes it a great option for those with limited space or awkward room shapes and the lightweight construction means you can install the PA speakers and take them down with minimal fuss.
A selection of preset EQ settings on-board allow you to choose the ideal sonic set up. You can set the speaker to VOCAL BOOST for additional presence in the mid-frequency area, choose FLAT for an accurate representation of the incoming signal, add extra bass via the DEEP setting and so much more.
The Tilt-Direct feature is also a great addition as the unique Tilt-Direct pole cup mounting system engages a 7.5-degree downward tilt of the speaker at the turn of a dial. This means you keep the acoustic energy on the crowd and away from potentially sound damaging reflective surfaces. It’s full coverage made easy!
7. RCF ART 745-A Mk4 Digital Active PA Speaker
Last but by no means least we have the RCF ART 745-A Mk4 Digital Active PA Speaker. This flagship speaker from the RCF ART series has been meticulously designed for (but not limited to) Auditorium, Clubs, Ballroom, Corporate AV, Theatre and live music venue applications providing a mountable option that is still portable and easy to carry, should you want to use it for outdoor use.
You have 1400 Watts of peak output power from the powerful Class-D 2-way amplifier to make use of, all housed in a hard-wearing chassis designed to withstand years of (ab)use.
The FiRPHASE Filtering technology helps to deliver a transparent sound and crystal-clear signal at all times, providing perfect stereo images to your audience whether it be a select few or an auditorium’s worth of people. The 650 Hz crossover point is perfect for vocal reproduction, whether you’re using it in a choir situation or for a solo artist and the huge frequency response of 45 Hz - 20 kHz ensures your sound is heard correctly whether you’re using it in a drum and bass application or a theatre scenario.
If you need a new set of powered speakers for your venue that you can easily install and take down for a variety of uses, the RCF ART 745-A Mk4 Digital Active PA Speaker is easily one of the best PA speakers available.
Want more? Check out our best powered speakers video
Dagan walks us through his favourite active PA speakers including offerings from Tourtech, QSC and more.
Shop a full range of active PA speakers over at PMT Online today or call in to your local PMT Store to speak to one of our PA experts about the ideal set up for your needs. Our highly skilled team can provide everything you need, from no-obligation quotes and site visits, to installation and included aftercare. Speak to us today about your bespoke PA needs on 0151 448 2089.