Powered LOUDspeakers. My speakers are loud. Do they count?

No.  Your speakers that happen to be loud are likely not “dynamic powered loudspeakers”.

“Dynamic Powered Loudspeakers” are specifically built speakers that are amplified and capable of being tuned per channel, for use with other components on the back panel of the speaker.  They also accept one or various cable types including XLR, 1/4 TRS input and possibly thru channels as well.  Their construction provides for excellent amplified sound from the speaker box meant for small to medium sized crowds.

Investing in a  loudspeaker setup means you are investing in your (DJ) business.  Investing in yourself to be able to play anywhere you want.  Anywhere that has power that is.  We’ll talk more about power preparation in a later blog post.

Let’s get down to brass tacks (the essentials).  

Today we’re going to examine my Mackie SRM450 loudspeaker.  I bought my pair of 450s used off of craigslist.  Risky, sure, but they are an amazing quality and have held up perfectly for me.  I would recommend you buy new to get a warranty with them.   For me, I love taking stuff apart and fixing it so I was willing to buy used.

It’s 1000 watts of amplified excellence with an integrated 2 channel mixer in the speaker.  I rarely use the mixer in the speaker since I typically put my microphone input thru my MultiMix mixer board or my DJ Controller board.  However, it makes this purchase very versatile.  I could plug my acoustic guitar into this loudspeaker directly as well as plug in my microphone to this speaker directly and play to a crowd.  Versatility means extended value…..I could rent this asset out to local artists and make money off of my equipment when I’m not using it.

In the photo below, you can see each channel has its own amplification ‘gain’ knob.  Mostly you’ll want to just start at the line level input signal from your mixer board or your DJ Controller board.  Then ….pump up the volume… from that source and test (well ahead of time!) the limitations of either distortion on the top end or a decibel reader to make sure you don’t cause any type of ear drum damage at the party.  Thankfully, these speakers also have “automatic feedback destroyer” technology built into the circuitry.  That isn’t standard on all speakers and may be hard to identify for other brands.   A very excellent feature !!!

Most any smart phone these days (android / IOS (apple) / Samsung) has an available decible reader that you can use to guage what is acceptable for setting your loudness limits with the gain knob.  These are important for being able to comply with city noise ordinances.  Check with local authorities to know what to expect.

If the volume or tuning isn’t what you like, add some gain and try again.  Remember, start at line level or ‘low’, depending on your knob reading — add volume to max (testing it) from the source (mixer board, DJ Controller board, etc) and then try increasing the gain – only if needed!

You can also purchase higher quality and more accurate decibel readers, which are what the police will likely use if they are called.

Here are 3 well recommended decibel readers.  They’re very affordable and great to have for other applications as well.   nudge, nudge…  you can use this for your car stereo system too to make sure you’re not going to get a ticket for bumping your ride in the wrong spot at the wrong time.

     

Alright now, focus…  back to it.    >   The channel 1 and channel 2 inputs shown in the image above accept both types of cables (XLR male or 1/4″ TRS).  These two types of cables are the standard types of cables you’ll be using in the DJ life.   The THRU port is to either daisy chain the same circuit to another speaker (maybe you want 2 left channel speakers) or to a powered bass speaker for extra POUNDING bass.  This THRU output sends the unobstructed line level signal thru the speaker to the other cable.

If you’re not interested in purchasing loudspeakers, it means you’re planning to work your DJ skills at home and either stay in that mode of fun / just for kicks DJ skills or you’re hoping to hop the fence of working hired gigs and go straight to the varsity league of playing clubs (clubs that already have their own setup).

Here’s a link to the Mackies that I bought:

Don’t forget your headphones!