Photos too small? Click on photos, screenshots and diagrams in articles to open a Larger View gallery.
January 2010
On sale now at main newsagents and bookstores (or buy direct from the PM Shop)
Latest Print magazine: click here for Performing Musician contents list

 Issue Selector

Passive PA systems

Dynacord D8 & Sub 112

Passive PA speakers

Two units from Dynacord's D-Lite Series — the D8 full-range speaker and the Sub 112 subwoofer — combine lightweight and durable construction with quality audio components for a practical solution to a range of live sound challenges.

Electro-Voice Force i Monitor

Passive wedge

Looking for a portable, robust and good-sounding passive stage monitor? Well, these wedges from respected US manufacturer Electro-Voice might be just the ticket!

Electrovoice ZX3

12-inch two-way loudspeaker

These high-quality passive speakers can generate high SPLs with good clarity, making them suitable for bands playing small to medium-sized venues, or used in multiples with subs for installation and larger-scale PA work.

JBL VRX932LA-1

Line-array speaker system

This passive line-array system from JBL uses top-end components from their renowned VerTec series to deliver high-quality sound in a convenient and affordable package.

Kam Extreme Series

PA speakers

The recently-introduced Extreme Series of passive PA/DJ speakers from Kam offers high power handling and easy setup, but how will they perform on the road?

Peavey PR 15

PA speakers

A compact, passive PA speaker benefiting from US manufacture and the reliable Peavey name.

Wharfedale LX-15M

Passive monitor wedge

The Wharfedale LX range is marketed as being a notch up from their popular EVP series in terms of power handling and performance, so the LX-15M, with its 15-inch cone driver and two-inch titanium HF driver, looks like it should make an ideal drum monitor wedge.

Wharfedale Titan 8

Passive PA speakers

Wharfedale's Titan series packs a lot of performance into a range of highly affordable, compact enclosures. This passive unit, based on an eight-inch cone driver and 1.2-inch compression driver and offering 150W RMS power handling, proves to be something of a star performer.

Active PA systems

Behringer Eurolive B412DSP and B415DSP

Powered PA speakers

There are numerous powered full-range speakers available these days, mostly aimed at the portable PA market, offering optimised performance and operator convenience, and often representing very good value for money. Do Behringer's latest models, now with higher power output and onboard 24-bit digital signal processing, have what it takes to stand out in this competitive sector?

Behringer Eurolive E1220A

Active PA speakers

To look at these speakers, it's hard to believe they can be sold at such a low price. While there is a limit to what you can get on such a tight budget, Behringer seem to have pulled out all the stops to make sure you get as much as possible.

Bose L1 Compact

Portable integrated PA

Thumbnail for article: Bose L1 CompactSince its introduction, Bose’s innovative L1 line-array PA range has made an indelible impression on the live sound world, and the L1 Compact is the most lightweight and portable model yet.

Bose L1 Model II

Mini Line Array PA system

Bose products often challenge the accepted conventions — none more so than their L1 mini line array personal amplification system, launched in 2003. PM road tests the latest Model II version of the system, alongside the new T1 ToneMatch digital processing engine.

dB Technologies Flexsys F315

Active PA speakers

Many people consider a three-way, active design to be the optimum configuration for a portable speaker rig, so when a pair of the latest models from dB Technologies arrived, we were keen to get them out on a gig.

Fohhn Linea LX-100

PA system

We may not have the invisible PA system yet, but this compact line array from Fohhn gets pretty close.

Fohhn Xperience XT-4 & XS-4

PA system

Fohhn systems lean towards the upper end of the PA price range, as the designers are somewhat obsessive about both build and sound quality. As this top and sub combination from their Xperience series shows, you won't find them compromising anything to keep the cost down.

HK Audio PR:O 15XA

Powered PA speaker

This is a serious, but affordable 'wooden-box' powered PA speaker, ideally suited to small and medium-sized venues. It can be used as part of a larger system with an optional sub if required, and also has the ability to drive an additional passive speaker.

HK Audio ConTour

PA system

HK build PA systems to suit all budgets, but if you need the best possible performance without losing portability, their ConTour range merits closer inspection.

HK Audio Elias PX

PA system

This highly capable, compact PA rig is designed so that you can use any combination of the components together, allowing the system to be suited to the requirements of the day. It's powerful enough to handle most small to medium-sized venues, yet is priced to be within reach of the typical gigging band.

HK Audio Premium PR:O

Active and passive PA speakers

These compact PA speakers are ideally suited to solo performers and duos or (in conjunction with a sub) bands playing smaller venues. Both passive and active versions are available, and each active speaker can power one further passive speaker.

JBL EON 515 & 518S

Active PA speakers

JBL’s EON range has proved to be one of the most successful and enduring ranges of lightweight portable loudspeakers on the market. With the launch of the next generation EON 300 and 500 series, we take a look at the flagship new speaker and sub.

JBL PRX515

Powered PA speakers

Powered speakers offer a number of advantages over passive models, but there is always a weight premium to be paid, especially in full-range models. If you want the bang without the backache, though, JBL just might have the answer.

JBL VRX in action with the Duffys

VRX portable line-array system

A large outdoor gig at a familiar venue offered a perfect opportunity to test JBL's new VRX portable line-array system, which utilises technology from their flagship VerTec series.

KX Audio KX12 & KX1.5

Active PA speakers

KX Audio make some impressive claims about the lack of power compression in their KX range of speakers, so a PA job doing the sound for a rock band seemed the perfect opportunity to put those claims to the test...

Laney CD630M & CX12

Powered mixer & speaker system

This Laney PA system offers good performance and excellent value, and would make a great option for smaller venues and acoustic acts.

Laney CX Series

PA speakers

Laney's new competitively priced CX series PA cabinets come in either active or passive versions, allowing you to scale your rig to to suit a variety of different venues.

LD Systems Dave 12+

PA system

Thumbnail for article: LD Systems Dave 12+Ideal for smaller gig applications, the LD Systems Dave 12+ represents a balance of sound quality and affordability — perfect if you are a band on a budget.

Mackie HD1521

Active loudspeakers

Mackie’s patented new HD series offers a further increase in audio performance combined with lighter weight.

Mackie SA1530z

Active three-way PA system

Mackie's SR1530 three-way active PA cabinet is one of the top performers in its class, but clearly there was still some room for improvement, because the new SA1530z is even better!

Mackie SRM150

Compact active PA system

Size matters? Mackie claim their new active, compact offering is capable of working as a personal monitor and a mini PA, so we just had to put it to the test

Mackie SRM450 v2

Active PA speakers

Can you really teach an old dog new tricks? Those clever people at Mackie certainly seem to believe so...

Nexo PS series

PA system

Thumbnail for article: Nexo PS seriesFounded in Paris in the late ‘70s, Nexo’s mission has always been to provide cutting-edge sound reinforcement solutions, and their PS series of compact PA speakers and speaker-management systems certainly lives up to Nexo’s reputation.

Outline Kangaroo

Powered PA system

This high-quality PA system comes with a unique space-saving feature during transportation and storage. It is ideally suited to the gigging band needing a portable system able to provide good coverage over medium-sized venues where audio quality is a top priority.

Proel Flash 12HA

Compact active speakers

Thumbnail for article: Proel Flash 12HAThis Italian-designed compact active speaker, intended for use as main PA or monitors, includes the latest generation of Celestion drivers with neodymium magnets combined with powerful, class D amplifier modules.

QSC HPR122i

PA loudspeaker

QSC are one of the most highly respected manufacturers of power amps, but they also make speakers, such as this versatile self-powered model from the HPR series.

QSC K Series

Active loudspeakers

Thumbnail for article: QSC K SeriesQSC have combined lightweight portability and a huge amount of power in their K Series range of active speakers, creating a system that is ideal for any smaller-scale gig requiring high-quality sound.

RCF ART 712-A & 722-A

Active PA speakers

RCF’s well-established ART line has become a popular and respected range of portable speakers, and the new ART 7 series introduces bang up-to-date technology and offers some significant performance improvements over older designs.

RCF HD12A

Active PA Speaker

Thumbnail for article: RCF HD12A

The market for compact, active PA speakers is a crowded one, but RCF think there’s room for one more...

Samson Live L612

Active PA speakers

The Samson L612s are the smallest in the Live Series range, which includes a single 15-inch plus horn version, dual-LF driver models in both 12- and 15-inch format, and a dedicated floor monitor. They are all active, bi-amplified speakers, and use heavy-duty drivers throughout the range, with electronic protection circuitry in all models.

SR Technology Jam 150 Plus Sapphire

Compact audio system

Specialising in active amplification for acoustic instruments, SR Technology have brought the engineering expertise of their partner company, Schertler, to their own products, including this amp from their Jam series.

SR Technology Pocket 1500

PA system

The latest version of the Pocket sound system from Italian manufacturers SR Technology is described in their brochure as “not only brilliant audio, but also brilliantly practical”, which is always a good place to be with compact portable PA.

SR Technology STL1000

PA system

The STL1000 comprises a pair of SR Stage Line STL250A active speakers and two STW250A active subs, though the tops may be used on their own. PM checks out the system with and without the subs.

Studiomaster PAX12+

Stage monitor speaker

This affordable powered wedge monitor from Studiomaster can also double as a small PA speaker and even includes an input for a dynamic microphone.

Turbosound TXP

Portable loudspeakers

The new TXP range of portable self-powered speakers from Turbosound is aimed at 'live sound, corporate rental and mobile DJ' applications, and represents an opportunity to acquire and use equipment from a manufacturer more usually associated with high-end, pro-spec, touring rigs.

Wharfedale Titan 12 Active

PA speakers

Wharfedale, the company most famous for their hi-fi speakers, have reinvented themselves since becoming part of the International Audio Group, adding inexpensive PA components to their range. The Titan Active series offers great sound quality in a portable and affordable package. We put it to the test.

Wharfedale WPM1

Portable Active PA Speaker

Thumbnail for article: Wharfedale WPM1

Whether you’re looking for a compact stage monitor or a boost for a small PA, this active speaker could help.

Yamaha Stagepas 250M

Portable PA system

This compact, self-contained, mono PA system combines good sound quality with portability and versatility, but what are the applications for a single-speaker system and can it be expanded when more coverage is needed?

Yamaha Stagepas 300

Portable Powered PA System

We test this affordable complete vocal PA you can carry from the car to the stage in one trip!

Yamaha Stagepas 500

Portable PA system

Yamaha's Stagepas 500 offers a lightweight, compact self-op PA solution capable of handling small band gigs as well as meeting the needs of solo and duo performers.