DJ Speakers: How to Choose the Right Ones

by admin on March 24, 2012

in DJ Tutorials


Research and Take Notes!

Seriously. You wouldn’t buy a car before you took it for a test drive, right? This is essentially an investment through which you’re expecting to see some sort of return, so do your research! This is a matter of preference and you should take notes of which DJ equipment setup you like and which you don’t like. Take note of the manufacturers. Take note of the specific models and research their specifications.

Especially take note of speaker placement, where in the room sounds good and bad, the size of the room, what the floors and walls are made of, and whether or not the music is distorting in some range or in the entire audible frequency spectrum. If the DJ’s doing it digitally, ask him/her what types of audio files they use. You might not hear it all the time, but there are big differences between CD and MP3 quality audio. If you don’t know the difference, look it up!

DJ SpeakersWhat is it for?

Are you aiming to be a small club DJ, a wedding DJ for hire, a big rave DJ, an internet DJ, or some other type? Keep your audience in mind as you’re taking note of SPL (loudness) ratings, RMS speaker wattage, amplifiers, not to mention controllers, CD players, vinyl decks, even the types of plugs on the speakers. Obviously, bigger budgets often yield better gear, not to mention wider selections. It’s certainly admirable to try and do a lot with a little, but if the money’s there, use it wisely.

Wattage

Look for RMS wattage; ignore any Peak ratings you encounter. RMS is an average rating and it’s the most pertinent to the actual usage of the speakers. Compare SPL ratings with RMS and determine which speakers are most efficient and capable of reaching the decibel level you need to fill the room. Small clubs will usually sound good with a 600W (2 x 300W RMS) system. Weddings and such sound fine with a 1000W (2 x 500W RMS) system, and larger halls will
probably require something around 1600W (2 x 800W RMS). Those are simply rules of thumb, though; you should still do your research.

Amplification

Match your amplifiers with your speakers such that your amplifiers have a slightly higher RMS wattage rating than your speakers to allow for headroom and to reduce levels of distortion. Remember that amplifiers work better when not pushed to their limits. Also, take note of the impedances (ohms) of both the amplifier and the speakers, as that will affect how much power the amplifier will deliver depending on how you hook them up.

Powered DJ Speakers

If you don’t want to mess around with matching amps to speakers, you can always look for active (or powered) speakers: ones that have amplifiers built-in. They can be considerably heavier, however, and if the built-in amp blows, you’re out of luck. There’s not much need to worry about what material the cabinets are made of, unless weight is a major consideration. Finally, keep an eye out for speakers with “Speakon” connections, as they’re often more reliable than other speaker connectors.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Papasaves March 25, 2012 at 5:25 am

Thanks! Really helpful article. I actually play keyboard. But it will help me also to buy a right speaker (amplifier). I have very small knowledge of technical specifications.

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Christine Rage April 16, 2012 at 6:36 pm

Great article, may I add in addition to checking your speaker placement, I often see DJs forget to check the sound AFTER the crowd starts showing up. A DJ should check around the room and see how the bodies are absorbing the bass. Sometimes too many people will deaden it, so you want to check periodically throughout your show how the sound it. Sometimes it’s best to have an assistant for such a task.

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DJ Twist April 17, 2012 at 5:40 pm

Nice post. Don’t see too many people educating on the DJ biz like your site does. It’s refreshing to see. My personal choice for speakers is Mackie all the way. They’re powerful and sound clear.

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rollanime April 30, 2012 at 7:55 pm

Great article! i didn’t know about that. Thank you

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Maxx_Plank June 8, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Like this article. I should refer your site to DJ Drama. In fact all Hip Hop DJs need to check you out.

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jtowel August 7, 2012 at 3:48 am

Thanks for the article.

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Hanamiti October 11, 2012 at 7:58 pm

In Soviet Union they had great Radiotechnika speakers. They don’t make those now 🙁

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Yinka October 24, 2012 at 5:09 pm

A lot of inexperienced and new DJ’s do not know the importance of having the right speakers, good article

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Alex January 14, 2013 at 10:48 pm

The right speakers really ARE CRUCIAL

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Puiu February 13, 2013 at 8:36 pm

It’s so hard to find the right speakers. You can look for weeks and still not find some quality ones unless you have tons cash to pay. Luckily i had a friend who sold me a pair for a really good price.

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Alice Cook February 19, 2013 at 6:44 am

Have the ones from pic at my studio and I’m happy

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Elementality February 21, 2013 at 12:32 pm

The KRK monitors are the standard bearer for mixing and beatmaking, but are they really good for DJing as well? They are affordable and have crystal clear bass, which is enough for me. I got myself some Monoprice (China) speakers and they are really good quality but there are a lot of shipping costs, works better for bulk orders and other accessory equipment.

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Zay V March 1, 2013 at 5:28 pm

I agree with Christine, you definitely want to check the sound again when you have more people. I would even say you want to be checking the sound with every song. Usually programs like serato have a meter bar on the side of the song you are playing to monitor, plus your mixer.

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