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Portable PA Speakers

Jul 11, 2012 11:06 AM, By Mark Johnson

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Portable PA is the ultimate utilitarian tool for live sound. Equally at home as a main PA, on the front lip of a stage, suspended under a larger system or balcony for fills, or laid on its side for use as a floor monitor, these systems can be used for corporate and hotel AV applications or at a larger facility like a theater or performing arts center for smaller events.


While plastic or composite enclosures still make up the bulk of what’s out there, some manufacturers are turning back to wood as the cabinet material of choice. Many offer passive and active systems sometimes as options of the same model as well as companion subwoofers. Almost all include the ubiquitous pole socket or have an optional adapter for pole mounting. And some of these systems include integral rigging for permanent installation. For this showcase, the focus will be on active, self-powered systems.

American Audio DLT15A

American Audio DLT15A

The American Audio DLT15A active speaker system with a built-in Class D 500W (Program Power) amplifier has a wood enclosure. It features a 15in. woofer and a 1.3in. high-frequency driver mounted on a rotatable 90x40 horn. The speaker also includes 3-Band EQ, constant velocity fan as well as XLR and 1/4in. inputs and XLR outputs. The DLT15A has 14 fly M10 rigging points and is also stand mountable.

The Liberty Platinum Sound portable sound system from Anchor Audio features AC/DC operation, one or two UHF wireless receivers, an optional MP3 player, and a CD player. It also includes a USB port for accessory charging and two universal microphone input jacks. A 10in. Neodymium woofer driven by a proprietary Class D amplifier provides a maximum SPL of 110dB. The system features user-replaceable batteries, which provide six to eight hours of operation on a single charge. The frequency response is 60Hz to 15 kHz.

Azden’s APS 30U dual-channel powered speaker incorporates a 30W amplifier and a 6.5in. full-range driver. The APS 30 offers a choice of built-in UHF or infrared wireless receivers with bodypack or handheld transmitters. The speaker features auto on/off circuitry that is triggered by audio from any input. The frequency response is 50Hz to 15kHz with a maximum output of 103dB.

The Bag End self-powered PTA2000-R Time-Align features a finished 13-ply birch enclosure with a 35mm stand adapter. The 80-degree x 60-degree horn can be rotated. The driver complement include a 12in. woofer and a 1in. exit compression high-frequency driver mounted to a radial horn that provides a maximum SPL of 127dB and a frequency response of 70Hz to 20kHz.

Behringer EUROLIVE B412DSP

Behringer EUROLIVE B412DSP

Behringer’s EUROLIVE B412DSP includes a 24-bit digital processor for phase and time correction, plus a dual compressor/limiter for system protection, as well as a digital crossover, noise gate, low-cut filter, two-band EQ, and dynamic contour filter. The onboard mixer comprises two ULN mic/line inputs with individual volume controls and peak LEDs. The driver complement is a 12in. long-excursion woofer and a 1.75in. titanium-diaphragm compression driver mounted to an exponential/conical horn with multi-cell aperture throat. A line output allows for connecting additional systems.

Bose L1

Bose L1

The Bose model L1 column line array comes in a few different iterations; the L1 Compact, L1 Model I, and L1 Model II. The L1 Compact is a different design from the Models I and II, which incorporate 24 2.25in. high-frequency drivers and a bass module with two 5.25in. low-frequency drivers. The I and II offer more SPL over the Compact (115dB vs. 106dB), and all three provide slightly different coverage: 195 degree horizontal x 0 degree vertical, 160 degree horizontal x 0 degree vertical, and 180 degree horizontal x 40 degrees vertical for the Model II, Model I, and Compact, respectively.

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