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the best dj speakers of 2019

our ultimate buying guide

Are you looking for DJ speakers for live venue performances?

Or are you trying to find the best DJ speakers for home practice?

Either way, we've got you totally covered!

In this article we're going to show you the DJ speakers that we believe to be the best for live venue performances...

...and, we're going to give you a couple of top picks for home/studio practice.

Not an easy task!

There's a lot to consider when it comes to deciding on the best speakers for DJing, and we wanted to make sure that those making it onto our list were genuine big hitters.

It is well worth investing in great speakers.

It's the final part of your sound signal's journey before it gets heard by the crowd. If your speakers are poor, then it doesn't matter how clean the rest of your sound system is, your crowd will be hearing low quality sound.

This is why you should choose your DJ speakers with care.

It's definitely worth taking your time and loading up on information before parting with your cash.

A well bought set of speakers will reward you many times over.

Best Speakers for DJing

Let's get this one out there early, here at meemix we tend to prefer passive speakers.

But we've put our personal preferences to one side for the sake of this article and have given equal consideration to both powered and passive speakers.

They each have their own pros and cons of course.

Passive speakers need a separate amplifier feeding into them, and because of this, passive speakers tend to give you more control over the sound you push out.

Passive speakers tend to be lighter than powered speakers, so a bit easier to move around. That's assuming the venue you are playing at has an amplifier and you're not having to lump that around as well.

Powered speakers on the other hand, don't need a separate amplifier as they have one built-in, and they also have their own direct power source.

You'll find a lot going on around the back of an powered speaker. You will find sockets that enable you to link a number of speakers together, as well as volume and gain controls.

Active or passive...it really does depend on your own circumstances and exactly how and where you'll be using them.

For a mobile DJ, who's providing the full sound system wherever they play, powered speakers are often the preferred option.

For those looking for the best DJ speakers that will be part of a static sound system setup, passive speakers are often the preferred choice. 

What Makes One DJ Speaker Better Than Another?

The number one thing that really makes for an exceptional speaker is sound quality.

Not really that much of a Surprise!

But...

...what are the factors that contribute to a speaker producing outstanding sound quality?

  • Quality of materials
  • Design
  • Technical knowledge of the manufacturer
  • Skill of manufacture

The quality of materials used really matters.

Just look at the variation of materials used in the speaker cone:

Paper, polypropelene, aluminium, fibre-glass...plus a few others, some of them really odd.

The materials used in every part of a speaker will have an impact on the final sound quality. This is why the top speaker manufacturers select every component with meticulous care.

Design is another important contributor to sound quality. There's little point in using all the best materials to build a speaker if they are then assembled badly within the enclosure. 

Poor internal speaker design will result in reverberation and distortion. 

Once you have the best materials and you have a great speaker design all figured out. You've got the essential building blocks for a great speaker.

But you're only half-way there. 

The technical knowledge of the manufacturer combined with the skill of manufacture are what brings it all together.

What Defines Great Sound Anyway?

We all want high-quality sound from our speaker setup.

But what exactly does that mean?

Usually it's the following elements that people think of when considering sound quality:

  • Crystal clear treble
  • Rich, well-defined middle range
  • Deep, booming bass
  • Soundstage / sound-imaging
  • Distortion and reverb free

When compiling our shortlist of what we consider to be some of the best DJ speakers available right now, it's these key elements of outstanding sound quality that we have focused on.

We've then combined this with what we know about the quality of build and manufacture. After all, there's no point in having a set of speakers that sound amazing, but then pop after six months of use. 

One more thing...

All of our choices for live venue DJ performances have 12" woofers, rather than 15".

This is because we're using them with a sub-woofer taking the bass.

If you're not planning on using a sub-woofer, you may want to go for the 15" models as you'll be getting 40% greater woofer surface area, which you'll probably need.  

Quick List: Our Best DJ Speakers of 2019

Best DJ Speakers Buying Guide: Manufacturers

For pretty much every product out there, you'll tend to find a few big names dominating the marketplace. The DJ speaker market is the same.

Every time you do an online search for the best DJ speakers, regardless of how much you vary the wording of your search terms, a handful of names just keep appearing.

While the core technologies underlying each set of speakers is pretty similar, each brand has their own unique technical skills, design knowledge, manufacture processes and preferred materials.

It's these key drivers that mean one set of speakers can sound very different to another.

Here's a few of our favourite DJ speaker brands: 

JBL: Meticulous attention to every details of system design, that's why these guys have been at the forefront of their industry for 70 years. Their history is full of groundbreaking technologies and revolutionary advances in professional audio.  

Mackie: Starting out in 1989, these guys have been brilliant at producing outstanding sound equipment at affordable prices. They've pioneered a number of new technologies along the way, and now, as a well established name in the industry, they've stuck to keeping their price points as low as possible. 

QSC: Precision design and manufacture of professional audio systems is what these guys do. For nearly 50 years QSC have been delivering audio products and systems that compete with the very best thanks to their advanced manufacturing and quality control processes.  

Behringer: For more than 50 years Behringer have been manufacturing high quality electronic musical equipment. Their founder had constructed a synthesizer by the age of 16, if that doesn't evidence a deep passion for the industry, I don't know what does. 

dj in front of decks and dj speaker

DJ Speakers Buying Guide: Key Specifications

There's a lot of industry jargon to get used to on the average speaker specification sheet. 

If you're a seasoned DJ you're probably well versed with all of them.

If you're a bit newer to the seen, here's a brief rundown of some of the key specifications that you will want to pay a bit of attention to when deciding on your next set of speakers: 

Power Rating/Handling (RMS): Stated in Watts and refers to the amount of power a speaker can handle without damage. There will be two numbers stated, the lower number will be how much power the speaker can take 'continuously', the second is how much power the speaker can take at a moments 'peak' without damage.  

Sensitivity and Sound Pressure Level (SPL): These two terms are interchangeable and you may find either on the speaker specification sheet. Very basically, they tell you in decibels (dB) how much volume the speaker can push out. The higher the sensitivity rating, the louder the speaker. Decent speakers tend to have a sensitivity of around 87 dB to 88 dB. Anything over 90 dB is very good. 

Frequency Response/Range: This is measured and expressed in Hertz, and as a range, on the specification sheet. It's the range of frequencies that the speaker can detect and produce from bottom to top...or bass to treble. For example the JBL JRX212 has a Frequency Response of 80 - 18,000 (±3 dB) and Frequency Range of 60 - 20,000 Hz. Note: Only ever trust the Frequency Response figure when the manufacturer defines the number with a '+ and -' like in the JBL example above.

Impedance: How to explain this clearly? Measured and stated in ohms. High electrical resistance = high impedance = more power will be needed to drive your speaker. Lower electrical resistance = lower impedance = less power will be needed to drive your speaker. The best speakers have neither high nor low impedance, they are within a range of optimal impedance, which is 6 - 8 ohms.

As you'll be starting to gather, speaker specifications can get quite involved.

A bit of knowledge around they key specifications noted above should help you make a better informed decision when buying your new speakers. 

Anyway, enough of the chat.

Here's our favourite DJ speakers available right now:  


DJ Speakers Buying Guide: Top Models

  • Incredible bang for your buck. The Mackie tops our list because at this price point there's no-way you should be getting this kind of sound quality and power. 
  • Definitely called 'Thump' for a reason. Power to burn. This 12" could play to a room of say 150+ people (as a pair), without a sub-woofer, no problem...but as a dance music DJ, I'd always add a sub.  
  • Crisp, clear and natural sound all the way through the frequencies. Plus the sub-woofer setting makes it super easy to add a sub if you really want to pump up the bass. 
  • Good looking, super lightweight and portable with easy access handles.  
  • This is a powered speaker with 12" high-output woofer and 1.4" titanium dome compression driver, capable of 350W RMS/1300 peak.
speaker for djing mackie thump12a

  • This speaker is an absolute beast! Outstanding sound quality. Beautifully clear sound that is clean, crisp, thick in all the right places. 
  • A lot more power than your average 12" speaker. A pair of these could fill a busy 36' by 36' dance-floor with sound, without a sub-woofer. That's space you'd normally be needing 15" speakers to fill.  
  • This speaker is at the upper end of the price band, but when you hear the sound quality and experience the power, you will easily understand why. 
  • Very easy to move around as they are compact and lightweight.
  • This is a powered speaker with 12" woofer and 1.4" titanium diaphragm compression driver.
speaker for djing qsc k12.2

  • We love JBL, and this is an awesome speaker. Excellent sound quality with wonderful loudness. Great value for money.
  • As a passive speaker, you'll need an amplifier, and something to drive that amp, like a preamp or mixer. Whichever setup you use, once you get it dialled in, the sound these push out will blow you away.
  • Produces top-quality sound across all the frequencies. Crystal clear highs, warm mid range and thumping bass. Add a sub-woofer to a pair of these and you'll have an animal of a sound-system.
  • Build quality is good and the hexagonal perforated steel grille not only protects but looks great too.  
  • This is a passive speaker with a 12" low frequency driver and 1" polymer diaphragm compression driver, capable of 250W RMS/1000 peak.
speaker for djing jbl

  • Great sound at an unbelievably low price.
  • This is a passive speaker so a good quality amplifier and mixer is needed.
  • Deep, punchy bass with no distortion, clean through the mid-range with perfectly clear, crisp highs. 
  • As for build quality, couldn't be better, it's made in Germany.
  • A passive speaker with a powerful 12'' long-excursion driver for the bass and dual electro-dynamic drivers for the high frequencies, capable of 150W RMS/600 peak.
speaker for djing behringer

  • High quality, extremely natural sounding near-field speakers at an absolute bargain price. 
  • Excellent soundstage...not always the most important thing for a DJ but adds to the clarity of sound. 
  • Nice solid bass, clear and crisp through the mids and highs. 
  • Practically indestructible. I've had a pair for 10 years, they've been absolutely thrashed with heavy daily use, and one of them has only just popped. 
  • 9" tall passive speakers with a 4" woofer and 1/2" titanium-laminate tweeter.
home practice dj speakers jbl control one

  • Solid bass and exceptionally clear and accurate sound through the high and mids.
  • Designed for honest and precise sound, making this an ideal near-field speaker for home or studio mixing practice.
  • A pair of these will come in pretty pricey, but because they are powered you don't have to add an amplifier to your home setup, which kind of levels it up...a bit. 
  • 12" tall powered speaker with a 5" cone woofer and 1" dome tweeter.
monitor speaker yamaha hs5

Conclusion

If you haven't guessed already, we've come at this round-up of best DJ speakers from a dance music perspective.

So while we've made quite a few comments throughout this post about adding a sub-woofer, that's just because we just love a thumping bass.

But you don't have to go down the sub-woofer road if you don't want to. 

All of the speakers we've listed as our favourites above deliver very solid and powerful bass on their own.

All we would say, is that if you don't want to add a sub-woofer, be mindful of the size of venue that you will be DJing at, as you might want to go for the 15" models rather than the 12".   

We've not really paid that much attention to price when choosing our top DJ speakers. 

We've simply gone with speakers that produce excellent sound and meet all of the criteria that we mentioned further up the page. 

Got Something To Add?

You love Djing, we love DJing...and we'd love to hear from you.

Help us make this article the most useful resource for DJ's looking for new speakers.

If you've used any of the DJ speakers listed above, please drop a comment in the box below and let us know what you think.

Or, if you have some speakers that you believe knock all of the above into a cocked-hat, and reckon to be the best DJ speakers on the market, share your thoughts.