Before we get to our reviews of the Best Powered Speakers currently available, let’s just consider that Loudspeakers, to give them their original name, are not a new idea. Far from it. They were invented by Scottish inventor Alexander Graham Bell for his original telephone in 1876.
An improved version followed in 1877 by the German Designer Ernst Siemens. And it has been a long road since then and not always an easy route.
The first powered speakers came in 1964 and were made by JBL. And then the first studio monitor with an active crossover in 1967. From that time, designs and technology have advanced quickly to the point we have reached today.
They can fulfill many functions these days from small systems at home to huge concert event size applications. But the answer to the question which is best, active (powered) or passive (unpowered) has never fully been answered. There are arguments for and against both systems. That discussion is rather complex and down to personal preference. More on this later.
For now, though, that argument can wait. And we are going to take a look at the Active speaker market. So, let’s go through the best of the bunch and find the best powered speakers for your needs…
Top 10 Best Powered Speakers In 2021 Reviews
1 PRORECK Club 3000 12-Inch 3000 Watt DJ/Powered PA Speaker
We must admit we gulped a bit when we saw a system producing 3000 watts. That is 3000 watts peak and 750 watts RMS. This is an array set that has been designed to deliver powerful sounds that are clear and concise.
They produce this from two subwoofers that handle the low frequencies. There are also two line array speakers. Each has four speakers that, when combined, produce 3000 watts of sound. There aren’t going to be many venues where this is going to be an underpowered system.
The cabinets are made from MDF fiberboard and given a black finish. It has four channels and an output. Each of the channels has the option of further connection options. And you can connect up to five separate instruments or sound sources at a time.
Guitars and microphones can be connected to Lines 1 and 2 with their XLR inputs. Line 3, with its 6.35mm stereo input and channel 4, which has RCA inputs allow connections to drum machines, mixers, or even a keyboard. In fact, any audio source, including MP3 players, CD players, computers, smartphones, etc.
The features onboard are extensive and impressive. It has a decent frequency response of 40 to 20,000Hz. The speaker lineup includes two 12 inch woofers and eight tweeters. There are also a further eight mid tweeters. They have carrying handles and wireless remote control. The remote control will operate at a distance of 20 feet and has all the functions to control the system.
They have telescopic speaker stands that extend up to nearly seven meters. And you can connect wirelessly to iPad, iPhone, or Android devices up to a distance of 60 feet. This is providing there are no obstacles in the way.
The active subwoofer has an amplifier that delivers the sounds to the passive subwoofer. And also to the other tweeter speakers and line array speakers.
It is an impressive lineup of speakers and equipment with lots of sound options. And it is also reasonably priced, but control of it is worrying as there is so much going on. The other negative as we see it is that there is a lot of equipment to carry around.
- Plenty of speaker power.
- Effective price point.
- Massive power output.
- Lots of connectivity.
- Complicated to operate.
- A lot of equipment to carry around.
2 Klipsch R-41PM Powered Bookshelf Speaker
If you are looking on a list of manufacturers of high-quality speakers, you will likely find Klipsch on their somewhere. They have been in the speaker design business for over 70 years. Founded in 1946, they are still based in Indiana in the US. In 2011 they were acquired by Audiovox, who are based in Florida.
The R41 range of speakers has a number of good features. One of them is the integrated Bluetooth.
Klipsch speakers are recognizable by the cabinets. It is a striking design that shows off the copper woofer and the tractrix horn. They are well-built from MDS fiberboard and have a strong and powerful feel to them. They are not lightweight cabinets and not particularly large either. Measuring 9.8 inches x by 6 by 7.5 inches, they weigh 8.7 pounds each.
The copper-spun woofer is 4 inches and has graphite cones. There is a one-inch tweeter situated in the horn. The tweeters are aluminum and benefit from the Klipsch LTS suspension system.
They have grilles made from a cloth material that is removable. And features a magnetic snap-on design, which is a good feature. It is a good idea to have a front grille that is easy to remove or fit. Some will want to show off the workings of the speaker. And they do look very impressive.
Klipsch includes with the speakers some soft pads for the corners of each speaker. This is in case you position them on a wooden surface, but they are worth using whatever surface you put them on as they will remove some of the low-frequency vibrations.
The speakers each have a built-in amplifier to drive them and remove the need for external amplification. They have a frequency range of 76 Hz to 21 kHz, which gives an indication that they are going to be a bit light in the bass area. They do reasonably well but don’t really go down very deep. The output is rated at 70 watts.
On the rear are the connections, which include optical, 3.5 Aux, and RCA for a turntable. A USB for computer connection and a micro USB port are included. There is also a master volume control. The bass ports are also found here.
A very well-equipped system and will be one of the best-powered Bluetooth speakers systems you will find. With this goes a very attractive price point.
- Good connections with built-in Bluetooth.
- Well-built with good features.
- Bass is a bit lightweight.
3 Edifier R2000DB Powered Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers
Established in China in 1996, Edifier has joined the hierarchy of quality speaker manufacturers in a relatively short time. They came to the attention of those who want quality bookshelf speakers with their R100DB range. Today we look at the R2000DB, which is a follow up to those speakers.
This is another manufacturer whose speakers are instantly recognizable with their sloping front design. They have a robust look about them that is not what you might call subtle in any design way. However, they will still attract your attention.
They are made from high-quality MDF fiberboard and are finished off with a facing front of a black textured leather look. To be honest, it is hardly what you might call appealing. Unlike the wooden looking sides, which are attractive and save the appearance somewhat.
The R2000DB are getting towards being on the large side at 7 by 10 by 11.5 inches, and they weigh 22 pounds. They give the impression of being a tough set of speakers, and they are.
They also have their fair share of technology built-in. To pair up your devices, Bluetooth is included and to connect your TV, DVD or Blu-ray, or an optical unit. On the rear are Aux inputs and a dual RCA output. Also, headphone connections and controls for volume bass and treble.
Inside the cabinets are a 5-inch alloy woofer and a silk dome tweeter. This is the 25mm version. There are bass ports that are located at the back. The emphasis with these speakers does seem to be with the tech rather than the sound. They do sound quite good, though, with adequate crossovers and good frequency separation.
The frequency range is 50Hz to 20kHz, which shows the bass to be a little underpowered. And they have an output of 120 watts.
They are a decent speaker and will continue to enhance Edifier’s growing reputation. And have an attractive price, which makes them one of the best budget powered speakers on the market.
- Strong build.
- The good sound across the frequencies.
- Rather bulky on their design.
4 Mackie Thump12A – Best Powered PA Speakers
If you think this looks like a beast of a speaker, you are quite right. At 14inches by 14 by s4 niches and weighing in at 29 pounds, it certainly is a bit of a handful.
It has tough and robust and built to take a few knocks. It’s what be called ‘road-ready.’ It has a dual-angle design that allows it to be used as a stage monitor. Inside are the 12” high-performance woofer 1.4-inch titanium tweeter. These produce 1300 watts of peak power. That equates to about 600 RMS. That ought to liven up most parties.
It has a Class D amplifier with a built-in Dynamic Bass Response system. This produces a boost for the mid and low frequencies. When the amount of volume you can use is reduced by the size of the venue. This just lifts the bottom end a little to still give you a warm thumping low-frequency sound.
It pushes a lot of power through the speakers, which in normal circumstances, could make them liable to damage. However, the speakers in this unit, though they are protected by a thermal limiting system protection.
There are Vita preamps for the two-channel mixer. They allow the use of a microphone and line-level signals. There are also four-speaker modes to choose from for sound reproduction definition.
The controls are located on the back of the speaker include an XLR output should you need to connect to other speakers. There are also TRS and TS connections. There is the option of mounting in a tripod for use or simply placing them on a stage.
The sound is clear and defined with a two-way crossover that separates the higher and lower frequencies. This gives a superior and powerful sound reproduction that is loud and powerful but does not muddy with an increase in volume.
This is not a speaker for the faint-hearted. It is powerful, it is loud, and it is very bass-heavy. It is going to suit some musical uses, DJs, EDM, and Urban, all come to mind, but maybe not other genres. If you want bass and power, this is going to be worth a look. It could be one of the best powered PA speakers around.
- Loud with a very tough build.
- Has some good sound features built-in, including a mixer.
- Very bass-heavy sound will not suit some environments.
5 Rockville RPG15 15″ Professional Powered Active
The RPG 15 from Rockville is a powerful Active speaker system. It has a power rating of 250 watts RMS with 1000 watts peak. The frequency response is quite wide at 35Hz to 2okHz, so the bass is prominent.
Despite it being described as such, this is no lightweight, compact system. It has a big strong build that is ready to take a few blows. It is measured 15.5 inches by 15.6 by 27 inches. One can hardly call it compact. It weighs in at nearly 56 pounds, so unless you happen to be the Incredible Hulk, it is no lightweight either. It has a strong build with a wire mesh grille.
Inside this robust cabinet is a powerful 15-inch long-throw woofer. To clarify, a long throw design describes the ‘shape’ of the sound. It is in a tight pattern meaning it will travel further.
The focus then of the design is the lengthy distribution of an accurate sound model. With such a design using a 15” speaker, the bass is going to be very powerful. Providing the higher frequencies is a Japanese made 3” aluminum voice coil tweeter. There is a horn that is molded into the top of the cabinet. The maximum Sound Pressure Level (SPL) is 125dB.
There is a Linear AB design amplifier. Being Linear, they will draw current when no signal is present at a low rate. When a signal is recognized, it will increase the current. The AB refers to the design, which has a great working efficiency than a Class A but produces less distortion than a Class B.
Built-in is an EQ processor for treble and bass to control the sound and also protect the speakers. Controls and connections are on the rear. There are the standard Master, Gain, and Volume with Bass and Treble. There are also XLR and ¼” jack connections with Line RCA, and an XLR input. Bass-heavy speakers but could be considered as an example of top powered speakers
- A powerful Active speaker with a good frequency range.
- Competitive price for such a powerful unit.
- Quite heavy and bulky to carry around.
6 Audioengine A2 Plus 60W Powered Desktop Speakers
If you happen to be looking for an understated, ‘plain jane’ speaker system without visible frills, you have found it. To say that this design is understated is understating it. But then, in many ways, that is its appeal.
Audioengine has been producing powered speakers since 2005. They are based in Austin, Texas, and the A2 Plus is one of their core speaker systems.
The A2 is a desktop speaker system that gives you a full audio experience from a very compact little package. They are well-made for fiberboard wood and lightweight, and very portable. They are just 4 inches by 5.25 inches and 6 inches and weigh just under 7 pounds. For such a small size, they pack quite a punch. Absolutely perfect for use with your computer or in smaller sized rooms.
It has a built-in DAC (Digital Analog Converter), which changes your digital formats and converts them into analog — thus allowing the system to then playback through the speakers.
They have 2.75-inch fiber woofers and three-quarter inch tweeters with a silk dome design. They will deliver a peak power rating of 60 watts or approximately 30 watts RMS.
There are built-in amplifiers that are analog with analog audio inputs and a USB audio input. The connection options are all situated on the rear of the speaker. They are ready to go with connections to Mac or PC. and require no extra software. They will also operate with turntables with their own preamps and music players.
The connections, though are extensive and also include phones, and other devices, TV’s and CD and DVD players. In fact, most devices with an RCA output or a ⅛” jack. Apart from all those connection options, there is also a Volume control.
Audioengine provides some useful extras. Two meters of speaker wire and a USB cable A mini-jack, 1.5m audio cable and speaker and cable bags.
We think these are a super product and one of the best portable powered speakers around. They are not cheap, though, but are still excellent value for what they offer.
- Great little speakers in a compact size.
- Well built with lots of connection options.
- Maybe a little expensive for desktop speakers.
7 Behringer Eurolive B210D Active 200-Watt
Our friends from Germany, Behringer, offer their ‘Eurolive B210D Active speaker system to take a look at. Most people think that Behringer has been around for a long time, but it is not the case. They were founded in Germany in 1989 by a Swiss engineer.
Since then, they have made a big name for themselves in a variety of audio equipment fields. Two things that can always be said about Behringer products are that they are affordable and well-made.
This is a 2-way speaker system that has a variety of uses. It is relatively large in its construction being 9.5 inches by 11.5 by 18 and a half inches. It weighs just over 19 pounds, so it is not a modestly sized unit.
Driving the 200 watts of sound are a ten-inch woofer and 1.35-inch aluminum diaphragm tweeter. The tweeter is built into the horn at the top of the cabinet, giving a good dispersion of the sound. The bass is deep and powerful, and the higher frequencies well served by the conical shape of the horn. It maintains its clarity of reproduction even at higher SPL’s.
It is powered by a Class D amplifier that has a low power consumption and provides audio that removes noise. There is a two-band EQ covering bass and treble. The controls are situated in the rear of the speaker. Basic in their operation, they do offer a degree of control over the sound.
Also on the rear of the speaker are XLR in and out connections and a jack socket.
Not too much in the way of fancy frills and options; it is a powerful speaker that does its job and does it well. But then that applies to all Behringer products.
A good design with good features at a realistic price. One of the best self-powered speakers on the market for its price point.
- Well-made, with good features.
- Powerful sounds with built-in EQ.
- Some may want more onboard features.
8 Edifier R1700BT Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers
Since its inception in China in 1996, Edifier has made a big name for themselves. This 1700BT Bookshelf speaker with Bluetooth is one of the reasons why. They are well-made from quality MDF fiberboard and are 8.5 inches by 9 by 9.9 inches. They will, therefore, fit neatly on a bookshelf. Weighing 14 pounds, the weight won’t be a problem either.
They have been given an attractive design with a walnut wood finish on the sides and a black baffle board. They have been designed to fit the decor of most homes.
There are some controls that are recessed into the side of the speaker. This is a good idea taking the controls that are most used and placing them out of sight but in a convenient position. Other controls are on the back. More on this later.
Inside the speaker box, there is a 19mm tweeter and four-inch driver. The design for the sound has included a front-facing port. Some will prefer that arrangement as against on the rear where you normally find them.
The sound is good, especially the mids, which have a warm, rich sound. The bass is acceptable but can boom a bit when the volume goes up. They are not over-powerful, but then many people prefer that. Also, the highs are not shrill and sharp, as is sometimes the case with budget range speakers. They are, though, a little weak.
On the sides are rotators for volume, bass, and treble. The volume will set itself automatically when the speaker is turned on but can be adjusted. It also serves as the Control for Bluetooth pairing. This is activated by pressing down. Bluetooth connectivity means you can connect up to your devices or a Mac or Windows computer.
This is a decent system and one that has many good features. For the price, it represents good value. Just don’t expect a top quality sound.
- Well made with a nice design.
- Some basic but good onboard features with good mids.
- High and Low frequencies are a little weak.
9 Micca PB42X Powered Bookshelf Speakers
Highland Technology from Hong Kong produces the Micca range of speakers. Some of the speaker designs, though, are created in the US. They are given a very simplistic design. Many will think that is too bland, but we like the understatement that they make.
All you will see is a plain black cabinet. Made from MDF fiberboard, it has good construction and feels quite substantial. The front baffle board is also plain black. And the whole unit is covered in a vinyl-like covering.
There are no holes at the front to fit the speaker grille to break up the plainness. The grilles are magnetic, and so just clip on. They are what you might call compact being 9.5 inches by 5.8 by 6.5 inches. They weigh just four pounds. This makes them ideal as bookshelf speakers
The front shows us a woofer that is a four-inch carbon fiber design. It is fixed to its housing by a rubber surround. This has the effect of producing a secure fit but also soaks up energy. The tweeter is a silk dome ¾” inch.
The low frequencies have a nice resonant warmth, and the highs are clear and very concise. The mids are a little bit overlooked to a certain extent. They are not as prominent as perhaps they might be. They also get a bit crowded when the volume goes up, and the bass takes over. But for budget level speakers, the sound is surprisingly good.
The built-in amp is designed to Class D standards and gives you a modest 15 watts per channel. It does sound quite a bit louder than you would expect, and the amp will drive the speakers.
On the rear, just basic controls, and connections. Aux inputs, volume control, and an off/on switch. Also the speaker connections
Good price point, nicely minimalistic design, they are excellent value and possibly the best low cost powered speakers available.
- Simplistic design.
- Well made and good sound reproduction.
- The design will not be to everyone’s taste.
10 Mackie Studio Monitor
Mackie’s CR 3 studio monitor is a budget range of speakers designed to produce good quality sound at an affordable price.
They are made from good quality of fiberboard and finished in a black styling. They do, though have an interesting feature in that the speakers and the power control are given a luminous green border. This isn’t to our taste at all, its personal taste, but some will like the idea.
They are portable and compact and are 6.2 inches by 5.5 by 8.2 inches. They weigh just 9.4 pounds. This makes them ideal for use on a bookshelf or in a small area.
One good design idea they have for the front of the speakers is to include an Aux socket for use with a phone or other devices. This is a very convenient idea. With these, you don’t have to start playing around at the back to connect up. There is also a headphone socket on the front, which is also useful.
They are designed for multi-media creation and for entertainment. The frequency range, though lends itself to a very average sound reproduction. As monitors, they might operate quite well for fun, but for serious work, the range will need to be wider.
80Hz to 20kHz says that the bottom end is going to be weak. That will be fine for some basic video creation but won’t be good enough for professional sound reproduction.
They are a budget level speaker system, and as long as that is what you expect, then you will not be disappointed. However, the price point is very competitive, and if you are looking for a cheap pair of best powered speakers, they will be worth considering.
- Very cost-effective price.
- Well made construction.
- Sound quality not so good
- We are not very keen on the green surrounds on the fascia.
Also see: Top 10 Best 6×8 Speakers For The Budget
Best Powered Speakers Buyers Guide
Finding The Best Powered Speakers
It shouldn’t really be a problem at all. There are a lot of quality products to look at and choose from. But there is a big decision to be made first of all. However, a question must be asked and answered before you can get the credit card out and spend, spend, spend! Do you actually want an Active speaker system, and why?
Active or Passive, That Is The Question?
They both have their good points and in some people’s opinions, bad points. Active speakers are usually very compact. Internally the amplifier can be matched to the speakers used to achieve the best possible results. This often leads to better sound reproduction.
But What Are The Disadvantages?
They are heavier because they have to include the amplifier to drive the speakers. They can be less reliable because there are more components to go wrong. And when they do go wrong, you have lost both the amplifier and the speaker, which would not happen if they were separate.
You will also need two cables instead of one. One to power the other to link to another speaker. There is no need for a passive crossover, and this can decrease sound quality. And the tech onboard can, at times, be very confusing to operate.
Passive speakers, of course, are just speakers — no confusing tech to deal with. Just plug them in. They are usually lighter in weight and easier to carry around. Spending identical amounts of money on a set of passive speakers and a set of Active speakers, who wins?
Well, the passive speakers will have all the production costs spent on the cabinet design and the speakers within. The same amount for Active speakers will have to include an amp and sometimes other tech to make it function well. That extra funding for the Active speakers has to come from somewhere. So it could be that the speakers and design might suffer.
Active speakers, though, are a self-contained unit. They work on their own and need nothing else. To some, that is the deal that wins.
The choice is fairly easy when viewed through the eyes of cost and ease of use. What do you want them for? Do you want the ease of use with an all-inclusive system, or do you want a traditional setup? Both have their advantages and a few disadvantages.
Convenience is often the issue that seals the deal. Having everything, including Bluetooth and other connections all in one cabinet with an amp, is seen as the easiest solution. Sound-wise though, it is often not the best option.
But what are the Best Powered Speakers?
What Would We Buy?
We would want a system that is easy to operate. It needs to have a good sound with a decent frequency range. Not too heavy at the bottom end and with good solid mids. We would also pick a system that has a solid build. A system that is capable of sitting on a bookshelf, on a desk or on the floor.
After taking all of this into account, we have gone for the…
Our choice for Best Powered Speakers currently available.