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Powered Speakers

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by boombloom, Oct 4, 2005.

  1. Planning to buy some powered speakers. Looking for recommendations. I have a small, unpowered mixer that was originally intended to provide phantom power for the mics. That should do the trick. For now, the gig is a miked upright and national steel and vocals. We play coffee houses and smaller to medium venues. We want to travel fairly light. I've heard the mackies are great, but certainly more expensive. I've heard differeing opinions regarding JBL's and others. Please weigh in if you have experience with these.


  2. Funkengrooven

    Funkengrooven Turn it down? You gotta be nuts!!

    I have heard the Mackies and the JBL's both and I can honestly say (without my usual bias) that between to two of the the JBL's win hands down.
    The Mackies sounded OK but lacked the depth and presence of the JBL's
    That having been said, I couldn't tell you which model I heard of either one and both companies have more than one model speaker.

    The common denominator was a single 15 and a horn.
  3. Boombloom;

    I have done a couple of non drummer gigs with the JBL EON G2 10. Volume similar to your situation. and I agree with FUNKENGROOVE that the 15's sound better but thie 10 worked fine for the "barely need an amp" type stuff where it functioned more as a monitor. However using my small mixer with phantom power didn't work very well and I got better results with a solstice.

    MIC & UPTON Solo > SOLSTICE > JBL EON G2 10 > Optional House PA

    Try before you buy.
    I took my bass to a place (made arrangement to go after hours) and tried the FBT, Mackie, and JBL. I bought this one because the price was better and they all sounded fairly similar.

    Hope that helps.
  4. OK! This is good stuff. What's a solstice?
  5. Kelly Coyle

    Kelly Coyle

    Nov 16, 2004
    Mankato, MN
    I've got a Barbetta Sona that is very nice.
  6. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    I have the JBL G2 15" and like them of course.
    JBL also has another powered speaker out, forgot the name, but it's lower power than the G2. The G2 has a big G2 on the grill.

    One issue I have is they hiss more than I would like. Some day I might get brave an stick in a little rc to the hf amp to roll this off.

    I was looking for something a little smaller and ligher for smaller gigs. Mackie has a Mackie SRM350 10" wich I thought sounded better than the JBL G2 10" - but on reading up on the Mackie - turns out they've added a dynamic bass boost built into the speaker. So to be fair I should try the JBL 10" again with boosted bass to better the two.

    Just about any of these powered speakers sound good with a little equalization.
  7. junglebike


    Feb 14, 2003
    San Diego, CA
    I love the Yorkville NX520. 1x12 with a horn, 520W, built in mixer. Sounds better than the Eon and Mackie to my ears, and lightweight as well. I use them for everything.
  8. By everything, does that mean you use them instead of a bass amp? If so how is the sound?
  9. junglebike


    Feb 14, 2003
    San Diego, CA
    I do use them occasionally as a bass amp, and frequently go "ampless" if I'm using the 520s as a PA, just a DI box into the PA.

    They sound very good, provided you don't need earth shattering low end. My Fishman full circle pumps out huge amounts of low frequency, so I usually cut everything below 80Hz pretty dramatically so as not to fart out the speaker (I do this with any rig I use). It does great for quiet trio stuff or folk-y coffeeshop gigs. For louder gigs, I use my Focus and Schroeter 1210, which is much louder.

    Overall, it's extremely transparent, though you have to remember it's not designed for huge low end like a dedicated bass rig. I've always wanted to pair it with its matching powered sub, but at that point you're into heavy rig territory anyway.
  10. I've used quite a few powered plastic boxes. My least favourite is the Mackie - very edgy mids.

    Yamaha make one that sounds about the same but is much cheaper - it's the best 'bang for the buck'.

    The JBL G2 sounds better, the shape is very ungainly for transport and if you want to use it as a wedge, and I've heard there are some reliability issues. I found the JBL 10" was pretty gutless.

    The Electovoice SxA series are good. My church has a few SxA100's that have separate mic & line volume controls as well as hi & lo eq. Quite good sound, but still a bit edgy. I've done some outdoors shows with them where they performed surprisingly well.

    I bought a pair of dB Opera's, but one blew up at its first gig so they went back.

    I ended up with RCF ART 300's - very robust, loud, and the smoothest sounding powered boxes I've tried. They were marketed for a while as 'Mackie Industrial', the current model is the ART 325a. Highly recommended.
  11. jsbarber


    Jun 7, 2005
    San Diego
    Anthony Jackson uses Meyer's.
    They are considered to be excellent, but are out of the price range of most players. [But then again they include the amplifiers, so they're not quite as bad (expensive) as they first appear.]
  12. Wow. That's a lot of information in a big hurry! The Eons are on sale at Musician's Friend for $399 and they throw in a free stand, so I'm going for those. Thanks for the advice.
  13. junglebike


    Feb 14, 2003
    San Diego, CA
    Well, you're not gonna get anything better for $400 w/ stands, that's for sure! Good snag.
  14. Monte


    Jan 9, 2001
    DFW Area, Tejas
    YMMV, but I found the Eons sounded unnatural with a neutral rig (Mackie mixer and AKG C3000 or Shertler Dyn B). I didn't care for the Mackies either for the exaggerated mid-range.

    I'm using 2 Pub 2/280's, and while they sound terrific, I'm thinking of getting a power amp and some bigger speakers. The Pubs get lost in a big room, which I seem to play an abundance of. In a small intimate room, I would go acoustic, so I'm finding less places I can use the Pubs. If I get them loud enough to be heard in the big rooms, the sound isn't as clean as I like.
  15. junglebike


    Feb 14, 2003
    San Diego, CA
    Okay, I'm curious about Anthony Jackson's rig -- what Meyer stuff does he use?
  16. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    Careful what you buy, I took a look at MF:
    JBL Eon 15 = $399 - that's no big bargain. And just about any store will throw in stands.
    JBL Eon 15 G2 = $699 - also high - try rmcaudio.com

    World of difference between the two models.

  17. Yeah. There is a world of difference between the G2 and the Eon 15, in sound and in cost. A lot of power and a lot of money. I understand that. Thanks for the tip on rmcaudio.com. Maybe they have a better price. I'll have to write or call to find out, but it's not a sure thing. I'm happy with the 399 quote that includes stand and shipping. No tax. Good deal.

    The next time we have to bring our own sound is on the 29th. I guess that will be the real test. The whole idea here is that this system will provide us with lots of options. Bring one Eon, bring both. Use them for house sound or monitors. If the duet ever breaks up, each of us takes an Eon. No hassle about custody of the PA. Each of us owns a couple good mics. A small, non powered board is very inexpensive. This appeared to be a good plan for now.

    I wonder if tboth Eons fit in the Subaru Legacy with my upright and the guitar....
  18. Jason Hollar

    Jason Hollar Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2005
    Pittsburgh area
    I wonder if anyone has tried the newer Mackies...the smaller ones designed by EAW. Apparently, they have a "bass boost" feature. I wonder if this is kind of like a "loudness" button. I know that probably flies against what many people are looking for in a true, "flat" system...but the size, weight, and power of these boxes looks hard to beat.


    I am in no way affiliated with Sweetwater BTW.

    I was thinking about buying a pair...using one for DB on smaller gigs and having the other ready w/mic for announcements, etc. Of course, you could always put the mic on the bass and have smokin' a dual rig!

    I owned a pair of the older JBL Eon 15's for my PA system. They worked great as vocal monitors -- but sounded a little harsh with DB -- even when using various preamps. Plus they were kind of heavy and awkward to lug around, and didn't sit well on carts and dollies IMO.