Your Questions: What Speakers Do I Need for House Parties?

However tempted you are to use someone's home system for your DJ sets, don't do it. Pic from: universityjewelryandpawn

However tempted you are to use someone’s home system for your DJ sets, don’t do it. Pic from: universityjewelryandpawn

Reader Dennis Boyle got in touch and said: “I’m looking to start DJing some house and indoor pool parties. What size speakers do you think I should get? I’m looking at the Mixtrack Pro when it comes out for a controller also a Korg Padkontrol for some looping stuff.”

Digital DJ Tips says…

From his question, it’s clear that Dennis is a musical guy with some good ambition. Adding a Midi controller for triggers and stuff on top of a simple (but excellent) DJ controller like the Mixtrack Pro shows this. However it is also clear that Dennis is probably just starting out and also doesn’t have a massive amount of money to spend.

Anything but someone’s hi-fi…

So our advice about speakers for indoor pool parties and house parties is really simple: Buy ANYTHING other than being tempted to use a hi-fi system. It doesn’t matter how big, or powerful, or tempting it is to just plug in your home speakers (or someone else’s) – simply don’t. Why? Because the EQs on DJ equipment will quite simple shred those speakers. As the drink goes down and the volume goes up, it’s curtains for domestic gear.

So what to go for? Well you can buy some cheap PA (it stands for “public address” and just means speakers with a heavy duty amp and inputs for microphones and other sound sourcnes, like DJ or band kit) systems with, say, 200W of output that would be fine for indoors.

Cheap PA speakers

Cheap-brand PA speakers can sound fine, but be sure to audition them with your music first to be sure.

There are some bargains with two speakers and a separate PA amp for $200 and upwards. At this level they ain’t ever going to sound brilliant, so audition first and try secondhand too. Also at this level, brands aren’t really worth worrying about as no top brand has equipment this cheap – just try what you can find. If you spend just a little bit more, you can get a powered PA (or “active speakers”), which means there’s no separate amp.

Speakers like this are more convenient but will cost more – look at upwards of $300 minimum.

The bigger the cabinets, the better the bass

Remember that generally the bigger the cabinets, the better the bass. More powerful PAs often come with a third speaker, that only handles the bass, but I guess these are going to be out of your price range. Finally, think about getting speaker stands. They’re usually tripods with telescopic poles, that’ll stop your speakers being used to rest drinks on.

So our advice? Listen first. Try secondhand. Get stands. But don’t, please don’t, use anyone’s home hi-fi for a house party, ever.”

Want to add to our advice for Dennis? Disagree with us? Have your say in the comments below. And if you want to ask your own question, sign up for our FREE DJ emails below, and click the member’s link at the bottom of one of them to go to the form.

Comments

  1. I’ve been using krk Vxt 8′s they had been killing it up until last week when they both stopped working. A very poor school boy error on my behalf, probably should of used some light compression but more importantly not turned the dial up so high at the rear of the monitors.

    What are your thoughts on using studio monitors for house party’s? I also use them for production but have obviously had to put that on hold.

    The monitors are currently getting repaired but I have not recieved a call yet for what the damage shall be.

    Gutted

  2. Marc Tauros says:

    I use M-Audio EX66 Studio Monitors for Producing and if it happens and some people are comin over i use tem for this little house partys too – thing is – they can get very loud but for this type of partys its really not necessary. Get the volume down a little bit and the ppl can still speak to another.
    When there is some Birthday party or that type of thing where the “crowd” is a little bigger i trust my Crest PA with separate Sub.

    My recommendation is also to get a PA system so you can easily expand your System in future. Maybe your Tops are good for monitoring then.

    greetZ

  3. I don’t even own speakers. My speakers at home are just some 5/1 surround system hooked up to my computer.

    Usually though when I have to do a party or something, I’ll get whoever asked me to come to rent a pair of self-powered JBLs.

    I’m of the mind that one should buy speakers when one needs them. If you’re planning on doing a lot of mobile work, then invest. However if you’re only going to be playing at home and guest spots at clubs/bars/parties, then just worry about what works for you. In my case I never invested in a speaker system because I keep ending up living in places where I can’t crank it…someone’s sleeping, someone’s baby is sleeping, etc.

    It’s probably why I get more adamant on having good quality headphones.

  4. Stands stands stands! In a crowded room it is imperative to get the speakers up in the air, above the people. If you don’t the bodies will absorb the sound. It will sound good to the people standing right in front of the speakers, but will sound muffled and muted to the people standing in the back of the room.

  5. Phil Morse says:

    Failing that, bar stools are a good stand-in, or even two tables one on top of the other (but make sure they’re stable…)

  6. My home speakers actually are of better quality and go a lot louder than my 400W Behringer Eurolive212 speakers. So don’t count hifi out ;). But on normal terms I agree, never ever use hifi. Certainly not when other people are playing aswell.

  7. Get a stands, suddenly when I got a stands to my “rubbish PA system” they started flying!

  8. OMG I love this site, im a newbie at all this and i been messing with VDJ Software (im addicted to it). i been taking notes all day off the articles, reviews, and comments. so i have decided to step it up and buy some equipment. im gonna also wait to get the
    numark mixtrack pro in nov and i m gonna hold off on the speakers for now since im just practicing at home. DO you guys think thats a good start or should i spend more and get something higher quality? also what is a Korg Padkontrol ?

  9. Phil Morse says:

    Good move, hold off on PA speakers, get the Mixtrack Pro (it’s a really good controller for anyone) and practise, practise, practise! PS Korg is a Midi unit for triggering samples etc. Not necessary by any means.

    • Hey . I have the mix track pro for about 6 months . And I feel confident . I need active speakers under 200 . Please help

  10. Got a question. Im looking into getting a laptop for mostly dj’ing and music files. What are the requirements i should be looking for?

  11. Phil Morse says:

    Danny, most DJ software is really very forgiving on laptops nowadays. A laptop is not a long-term investment so buy one that suits the minimum requirements of your software then a bit for comfort. The hard drive is the important thing – make sure it’s big enough for your music. anything smaller that 13″ is going to hurt the eyes – 15″ is ideal.

  12. Anthony says:

    What happens if I HAVE to use a hifi sound system? there are some way to minimize the risks?

    • Phil Morse says:

      Levels. Keep them down. Put the speakers where they are as close as possible in height and position to where people will be dancing so you don’t need to have it as loud, but it is turning the volume up when drunk that blows them. And probably will, whatever you do…

    • Anthony,

      one thing you can do, is take a trip to your local radio shack and pick up a inline fuse holder like this one.

      http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2102786

      to calculate the size fuse use the formula I=sqrt(P/R)
      where
      I = Amperage ( fuse size)
      P = Power in watts
      R = resistance of speaker
      sqrt = square root

      be sure to buy a fast blow fuse and if anything undersize it and buy extra !!

  13. I know this post was ages ago but I actually bought some speakers when I got my S4. I use computer speakers that have 200 watt power. I use klipsch speakers that have 2 speakers with a 6 inch woofer and an 8 inch subwoofer. I hook the line in through my 1.4 jack off a converter. Is this a bad setup? I’ve used it before with friends and recently down in PCB but no one said anything mainly cause everyone was wasted.

    • Phil Morse says:

      Sounds OK too me, if they’re Klipsch PA speakers you probably won’t harm them which is the main reason for this article being written – to stop people blowing up hi-fi speakers!

      • They are actually “computer speakers” but, I was told they could be used as “party speakers” I haven’t had a huge problem with them yet so I suppose I’ll stick with them.

  14. Numark DJ Studio Monitors (NPM5)

    how does that sound just for bedroom djing and small house party??

    do you have recommendation?

    thx?

  15. hi am getting a mixtrack pro and a pair of npm5 speakers, do you think i should get a bass box with them and what 1

  16. Question, someone please help. I have decided to start having our family reunion at my house ever year. I hosted the first one this past Labor Day. It was out doors with aprox 85 people. I played my mp3 through my reciever, and old fashioned speakers for dancing. After about 4 hours into the party, my speakers started to sound crapy, and it was imbarrasing! I want to host this party right next year therefore; I am getting prepared now. I have my mp3, and receiver, can someone tell me where to go from here to get the sound of an actual event party? I want my guests to feel the music for the dance competitions that we have. Do I just need to buy some PA speakers to run with my reciever and MP3 player? please help because I am sooo lost. If I have to, I am willing to start all over with a new system.

  17. Hi all just a few things to bear in mind as Phill says hire is always an option untill you figure out if the investment is worth it for you also with pa buy the best you can afford and consider 2nd hand Ebay is good your local pa supplier will often have a used selection and you can try before you buy and if you hire then buy you can often get a discount. Also if you do buy and get larger gigs the you simply hire whats needed for the gig .One last thing PA amplifiers are designed to amplify a clean signal in wave form not a clipped signal which has the top of the wave taken off by your mixer or output soundcard etc. The best way to see this is if your mixer has green amber red led output indicators keep the signal flashing green not all the way up to red this clipping the signal and will kill your speakers sooner or later,this will allow you to max the volume on powered speakers you have to be more carefull with a seperate amp and speakers combo choose the amp and speaker rating carefully or get advice from someone that knows what they are doing with PA again your local PA guitar music type store.What ever you do set your PA up correctly and you will have a great time with no worries. Dont forget you can also check other forums that specilise in PA and sound Blue room is good for this.

  18. Let me take a moment to respectfully disagree with the author here. I live right outside of New York City, and am most often doing house parties at friends’ apartments. The spaces are almost always small (between 300 and 500 square feet) and the hifi systems they own are more than sufficient. Granted, I am religious about setting my levels properly, and I never red line anything. And I don’t drink, so liquor never gets between me and knowing when something is too loud. But a hi fi system can suffice, especially in smaller spaces with nearby neighbors that you don’t want to piss off.

  19. Samson has a set of passive and powered speakers at a great price and size (12″ and 15″) they are very light and portable. You may have to throw a bit of EQ to get more treble. For me that is good because I find cheap PA speakers (Tapco and Behringer) sound way too bright. Samson Auro D15 is the ones I got.

  20. RocksoRockaveli says:

    if you want to be taken seriously as a dj get good gear simple as that people always judge you by your gear

  21. I use QSC K8 1000 powered speakers. They are AWESOME!! I have 3 of them but mostly just use 2 and if I can get away with it I only use 1 because thats all that is needed. They can do so much for just a speaker. I would definitely recommend them to anyone!! The only thing about these speakers is the cost, but you are getting a GREAT speaker for the price!!

  22. Props to Phil for putting out this post with sage advice. Yes, if you use your typical home system for a dance party the chances are very high that you will blow the speakers. I know what some of you are probably thinking:

    “What are they on about? My home stereo is so massively loud that I can’t even turn it up past 2 without making myself, my gf and my next door neighbor stone deaf, not to mention those death threats from my dog AND my budgie!”

    No doubt. But put even as few as 20 extremely efficient human sound absorbing devices in that same space and everything changes. Human bodies are particularly good at soaking up low frequencies and as the dance floor fills up you’ll keep reaching for that volume knob just to keep it a basic level. But sooner than you know it, you’ll push that amp past it’s limit and it will start clipping and sending the DREADED SQUARE WAVE down the wire and your cones are are going to be as ripped up as that old Ruts DC t-shirt you keep hanging onto, in case they do a reunion tour ;-p.

    Think about what’s happening: your speakers have a big magnet that the cones are attached to that pulls the cones in and out as the electric signals come into it. Normally the amplitude of the signals has something of a gradual ramping up and down and the cones are designed to handle that well. Now picture a clipped signal that instantly goes from 0 to it’s peak, holds it for an a millisecond and then instant drops back to 0. What happens to your speaker with this clipped signal is that it’s instantly pushed out to it’s maximum outward travel, held out for a millisecond and then instantly yanked back to it’s maximum inward travel. Those thin cones simply aren’t designed for it and rip apart: your classic “blown” speaker. And it can happen right quick too.

    Sure, you can discipline yourself to keep the volume down and avoid clipping the amp but then you won’t have enough sound to keep anyone awake and dancing. Might as well just have a chill party instead: decorate your flat and set a nice sensual mood and you’re chances of getting lucky are MUCH better, after all ;-).

  23. Hey, hoping to get some advice on a speaker setup for a party. I’m DJ’ing a 3,000 sq/ft indoor space for about 200 people. Any thoughts on # of speakers, wattage, brand, and sub that I should be renting?

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    -Eric

  24. MadeInMachines says:

    What about my Dynaudio BM15As? 124db rms at 1 meter. As long as you have a brick wall limiter and leave a bit of headroom all should be good.

  25. Gsr-12 the best ones to use and not that expensive

  26. I myself have just done an outdoor party and before that I did a gig in a local working mens function room, I was using a mixer connected to my dj controller, my laptop and then using my Rokit5 KRK’s they cost me £250 ish, I don’t think it is set in stone that you cannot use studio monitors, however if you are not careful you can ruin them for producing with at home, which obviously wouldn’t be good, my advice is just watch your levels, I don’t really drink so I try keep an eye on things.

  27. Personally, I DJ college parties with up to 200 people dancing in basements, so I bought a used B-52 matrix 1000 V2 for $500 and love it. Not as mobile as say, powered 15 inch mackie thumps, but I love having the sub. perfect for my situation

  28. im going to order a vestax vci100mk2 , although i dont have any speakers atm! will the sound still come out of my mac ? or will i need speakers ?

  29. Love all the info and input. I’ve read in another thread that clubs mostly run in mono. Is that true for the home DJ? Would you still recommend two speakers even for a small room?

  30. More of a general PA question; if I bought a couple of PA passive speakers and a Mixtrack pro(I hear nothing but goodness of this controller(:) would I need an amp and if I didn’t get an amp would it impair the sound of the speakers.
    (The speakers I was thinking about geting were the QT sound QTs)
    Thank you in advance

  31. I have a full PA setup consisting of two 15 inch loudspeakers, two 18 inch subwoofers, a powered mixer and a professional amplifier. I’ve used the powered mixer along with the speakers for multiple house parties. It was more than loud enough, but the only problem is that the speakers barely put out any bass. They are vintage TOA SL-150 loudspeakers and I’m guessing they weren’t actually built to put out much bass.

    I want to keep my setup as minimal as possible whenever I’m DJing at house parties. I was thinking of using my tower speakers (they’re most likely white van knock-offs and I got them for free, so I could care less if I blew them). They have dome tweeters with Ferro-Fluid, 6 inch midrange woofers and two 6 inch woofers. The frequency range is 45Hz – 20,000Hz.

    My powered mixer (Peavey XR800F) puts out 210w per channel @ 4 ohms. I’m not sure what it works out to for an 8 ohm speaker. I’ll have my Vestax Typhoon connected to it for DJing. It has a clip indicator and so does my powered mixer. I usually keep the equalizer flat on my mixer, and I turn up the treble sliders a little bit.

    Would I run the risk of blowing my speakers if I have them running at high volumes as long as I don’t clip the signal? The XR800F mixer has some sort of speaker protection technology in it that prevents damage from distorted signals, and while I wouldn’t rely on it, I’d still make sure my levels don’t go up to the point where they will clip.

    This is just a wild guess, but whenever a DJ connects his mixer to a home stereo system, the EQ kills the speakers quickly because for one, it has a higher output compared to an iPod or laptop and it’s also difficult to determine if the sound is clipping or there’s distortion in the signal because home stereos don’t have clip indicators.

    Would I be on the right track by using the mixer and keeping the levels away from the point of clipping? Like I said, I don’t care if I blow my speakers, but then again, I wouldn’t want them to blow in the middle of the party, leaving us without music to listen to for the rest of the night.

  32. I’m not a dj, just want an awesome speaker for my room. And also to use at small parties, like 40 people. What are your views on an Ibiza AMP15 Active DJ PA Speaker 15″ Inch Bass – 900W?

  33. the mackie thumps th-15a are excellent for mobile DJs. I use one for small rooms at house parties, 2 for a little bigger, and add a QSC sub when i play small venues. anything bigger than that should have their own PA already.

    they thump HARD in a small room. like really hard.

  34. What do you lot think about the Ibiza AMP15 900w which I might get please help

  35. Hi ,I’ve just bought a Kim 1750 mixer to go with my CD players and laptop. I have some small speakers which I think are 200 w and for the house they are great but looking to buy bigger around 15″ 500w speakers for larger events and parties . Am just starting out so don’t want to spend massive amounts of money yet. Any tips ???

  36. That would be KPM 1750

  37. I just picked up 2 huge Peavey (International 115H) peakers at an estate sale…I was told they’re from the late ’80s..they’re about 2′ wide x 1 1/2′ deep x 30″ high…and I got two tripod stands with them. I paid $130 for everything… which seemed like a good deal for their size. ..but I’ve ONLY ever played out of my guitar amp… but want to pay out with these. Forgive my naivety but how do I power them? How can I test to know they work? There are four inputs on the back. Where do I begin?

  38. Hi
    I recently bought cervin vega 8″ speakers and an 18″ subwoofer. I was informed that this was more than sufficient for 130 people. After reading your specs, I’m a bit concerned. Should I be?

    • Nu,

      Are they PA speakers?, if so you are probably just fine. If they are hi-fi speakers, then you need to proceed with caution and I recommend getting some inline fuses, with plenty extra fast blows on hand. also be sure to slightly undersize the fuse. see a previous post the formula to calculate the fuse size.

  39. Linning Hu says:

    Hi,
    I plan to buy a pair of Yamaha DXR 10 for home karaoke purpose very soon. My living room is about 800 sq/ft. Would this pair of speakers are good enough for my space or I need to buy DXR 12 to have good (tight/punchy) bass.
    My karaoke party is about 25 people max.

    Thanks for your comments

    • Hu,

      In terms of volume those will be plenty for your needs. In terms of punchy bass, it should have great volume, but will not hit supper low into the frequency range as it drops to only 56hz. well into the bass range don’t get me wrong, but I personally prefer to see something down to more like 45Hz. Personally for that real punchy bass feel. With that said the 12″ version drops you to only 52HZ, so not a big difference there.

      in conclusion the DXR 10′s will suit your needs great maybe even a bit overkill, but don’t expect subwoofer style performance out of them.

      Rick G.

    • I have the DXR 12s and even one of those is enough to cover 800 sq. ft. Two of them can play to a room of 100+ people, easily. I can barely turn them up in my apartment without getting noise complaints. (Which is why I don’t practice with them.)

      I’m actually DJing a house party this weekend with just one 12″, as I’ve done in the past. It’s plenty loud for your intended purpose. As far as the bass goes, you don’t have to worry so much about that for karaoke purposes, but I will attest that the DXRs will be clear and detailed enough for your intended use. But even for playback of recorded club tracks, the bass hits well enough that you won’t miss not having the sub. That being said, I still plan on buying matching 15″ subs (overkill, I know), but that’s just how I roll.

      #basshead

  40. I’m also a beginner dj, been practicing off an on in my spare time, at home, for about 4 years. I’ve done a few house parties at a friends house with some Altec Lansing computer speakers. That worked out ok as it was small party and also it was their parents house so it couldn’t be very loud anyways. I’ve been looking around for a while now for speakers, on craigslist, haven’t decided on any yet. I would mostly be doing house parties and family gatherings, but would want to advertise myself for small events. Don’t think these would work, but I’m looking at Yamaha’s StagePass 300. Of course, I don’t have the money to throw down on nice speakers otherwise I would just get a pair of Mackie Thumps. What do you think?

  41. Do floor speakers w/ a receiver count as a home “hi-fi” system that I SHOULDNT be dj’ing on?

  42. Been browsing around now trying to study which speakers are good. Started DJing with Mixtrack Pro for the past year now and began throwing deep house events at small dining bars and cafes in Tokyo.

    My parties run around 30-50 people normally. I just did an event with my own set-up and had to use my own speakers (GCI TECHNOLOGIES GX-1) but I felt that it was lacking in good sound quality over a bunch of people. But it was what I use at home as it came with the Mixtrack Pro package that I bought.

    I’m actually looking for good speakers to carry around with me (in a mobile casing) as Tokyo is the worst place to have a car in.
    Everyone talks about the Rokit 5. (or maybe 6 for better bass)
    Considering on getting it very soon.
    However, I am not actually quite sure if that’s an overload for speakers or am I doing it completely wrong… I have been kind of winging it with these events! And learning from there.

    Any advice?

  43. In the event I was using my home hi-fi system (in this case a set of Logitech Z906′s good for 500W), would it be best to keep the master gain levels in the software limited and have the master volume on the hi-fi system up (relatively) higher? Or should the gains in the software be up higher, and the hi-fi volume be used as the limiting factor? I imagine it’s the former, as it would prevent the signal out to the hi-fi from being too high in the first place.

    Not that I’m planning to play a gig with my hi-fi, it’s more so I don’t accidentally blow my beloved studio/bedroom set while practicing!

  44. I just enjoy watching so call DJs bring their home stereo system to DJ with. Picture this, poor fellow is trying to fill a 5,000 sq ft room that has 25 foot ceilings using his 200 watt Kenwood receiver and two Pioneer 3-way speaker he bought from the pawn shop. This system would struggle to provide loud clear sound in a 12 by 12 foot room much less this venue. You know the really sad part about this is how many people think the music sounds good (with 30% distortion). Minutes later you see the DJ watch white smoke come his receiver as it melts down. Cheap DJ gear is better than the home stereo (even mid level components, tried before). Come on bring your home stereo. The end result will be more DJ work me.

  45. Any thoughts on the LD Systems Dave 8 XS or the Dave 8 Roadie? They look really well, but they are maybe a bit more expensive than what I can afford at the moment. I don’t want to spend most of that money on another below par system though so I would rather go for one of these if they are worth it!

  46. QSC K8 or k10′s are nice if you can afford them. Other than that, most of these entry level powered speakers are pretty much all the same. 8 or 10″ powered speakers are small enough for practice at home and tough enough to schlep to a small gig. If you need to get bigger, add some 18″ subwoofers

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