I’ve been called, ” A JBL Freak” on my YouTube Channel. I can’t help it! I LOVE my JBLs!
Get Shell Shocked! What is the difference between a Self Powered (Active) vs Regular Speakers (Passive)? My name is DeeJay Shelly and I’ve been a female DJ for over 15 years. In this short video tutorial I explain the difference between an active vs. a passive speaker. Plus, I cover what may be the best option for you.
Active Vs. Passive Speakers. No, this isn’t a mashup!
Are you a BEGINNER DJ? Or, do you want to become a DJ? If you are thinking about purchasing DJ equipment for the first time you may have some questions. In this short video tutorial, I’ll talk about the basics when buying speakers. If you are wondering…
1) What does it mean if a speaker is “Self-Powered” versus a speaker that’s not?
2) Do I need to purchase an amplifier?
3) What options do I have if I’m working on a limited budget?
This tutorial may be helpful to you! (We apologize for the shakiness in the beginning of the video-it’s just the first few seconds!).
In this video I discuss:
1) Self Powered (Active) vs Regular Speaker (Passive)- What’s the diff?
2) Pricing & Quality
3) What’s your best Option?
What is the difference between a Self- Powered Speaker and a Regular Speaker?
Regular speakers (also known as Passive Speakers) do not have an amplifier built into them. Meaning you have to purchase an amp separately to provide the speaker with power. In addition, you’ll need a controller or mixer to run your system.
Self Powered Speakers (also known as Active Speakers) come with an amplifier built into them. The biggest benefit of a self powered speaker is convenience; one less piece of equipment to lug around. In some cases it’s two less pieces of equipment considering that you can plug your computer right into the back of the speaker; taking away the need for a controller or mixer.
Don’t you always need a controller/mixer to play your music?
No. You can play on what’s called “One Channel”. Most DJs don’t play on just one channel because you can’t hook up your microphones to hear the next song in your cue; making it difficult to mix. A few scenarios where you may only need one channel: you’ve pre-recorded a mix for an event, you are required to be more of an interactive DJ (kids event), or you’re playing music for a wedding ceremony.
So how much do Self Powered Speakers cost?
The prices are all across the board. One self powered speaker, such as the JBL 515XT, is going to cost anywhere from $500-$900 depending on where you purchase it and if it’s new or used. That price tag seems a little high for one speaker. Yet, you’re paying for the excellent sound quality of a JBL. You can find a self powered speaker for around $200. But, it’s not going to sound like a JBL.
Now, a regular (passive) speaker, for example a JBL 1500 EON, you can find used on the Internet starting at $150-$200. The JBL quality is still there. Yet, you’ll need to purchase an amp to power these speakers and a controller/mixer to run your system.
What’s the best option for you?
Consider where you are in your DJ career? What’s your budget? Are you just starting out and getting your feet wet? Or, are you ready to start DJing big events?
If you plan on DJing large, professional events, I would NOT purchase a set of self powered speakers that cost $200 each. The quality is just not up to par. On the other hand, if you’re just getting your feet wet and your goal is to DJ parties for family and friends first, then buying a less expensive self powered speaker would be the way to go. More so for the reason that you don’t have to break your bank. The speaker will still do the job and you can get used to using a self powered speaker. This way when you upgrade it will be a smooth transition.
I put together an example for your below. Please keep in mind that prices vary depending on where you go and new vs. used. Also, I did not include the price of a mixer/controller.
Example A: 2 JBL 515 XT High Quality Self Powered Speaker (No AMP) = $1000-$1600
Example B: 2 JBL 1500 (or another high quality passive speaker) + AMP =$450-$750
Example C: 2 Self Powered Speakers (less quality)(No AMP) = $400-$600