Active or Passive Speakers? What are the best option for you?
In this short video, Pat from Pat’s Music Center in Philadelphia, PA (one of the oldest and most respected music stores I know in the area) and I discuss why we both agree if you are a mobile DJ, Active Speakers are your best bet. Of course, price is normally a concern, especially if you are a beginner DJ.
What is the difference?
Active means Self-Powered (an amp is inside the speaker so you do not need to purchase an amplifier separately).
Passive means it needs to be powered by a separate outside amplifier.
History: Then versus Today
1) Dependability – In the past Active Speakers have not been reliable. The quality was lacking. Newer technology has made these speakers almost 100% dependable.
2) Weight – Years ago the Active Speakers were VERY heavy. About 8-9yrs ago, I purchased a set from Pat and had to return them because they were too heavy. (The amp inside the speaker made the weight of both pieces of equipment together feel like you were carrying a ton!)
NOW? Active Speakers are a no brainer for the Mobile DJ. Why?
2) No Amp = less to carry in equip and wires.
3) You have individual volume controls and basic EQ controls (eg. Treble and Bass).
4) More affordable now than in years past.
5) Lighter weight and easier to carry then before.
Why are the independent volume and basic EQ controls handy to have?
In certain situations you may need to set the volume and EQ differently in one area, or room, than another. Possibly you need one speaker in an outside cocktail area, while another speaker is in the main reception room. Another scenario is an event where you may need one speaker inside and one speaker outside. If you only have passive speakers, could you set these all at the same volume and EQ? Yes. Yet, you may sound extremely loud in one area, but low in another. Or, your bass or treble may sound off in one area versus the other depending on the type of room and number of people in it. This is a big reason why we’re recommending the Active Speakers for the mobile DJ.
Pricing is much more affordable now days for the Active speaker. Yet what may be affordable to one person, isn’t to another. Plus, you also have to weigh out quality.
Your best bet is to go to the music store and test some out. See what feels right for you. The JBL 515XT I have cost me $800 for the one speaker at the time I purchased it. Yet, I needed the JBL quality for the events I DJ. What’s more, I can carry on my back like a back pack – HUGE.
Why do I only have one Active Speaker JBL 515XT?
I purchased JBL passive speakers years ago and they are still amazing speakers. So I only needed the one Active Speaker for now. I don’t upgrade unless I absolutely need to for my business. There is always something better coming out in DJ equipment. If you want to run your own mobile disc jockey business, you have to make smart purchases. The equipment will be good to you, and last you for years, if you are good to it.
Hope this helps. Coming soon… How to adjust the EQ on Active Speakers. Stay tuned every Tuesday where I’ll bring you a new video. Please let me know if there are any topics you’d like me to discuss. Thanks everyone! DeeJay Shelly
Video taken at the Sheraton in Downtown Philadelphia prior to Jingle Jam 2014. Stay tuned where Bertos and I will show you the full video from this amazing event!