Over To You: Help Needed Buying A PA System

Last updated 6 April, 2018


The Mackie SRM450 PA speakers are a good workhorse, but consider a subwoofer and definitely budget for stands too.

Forum reader Ginger writes: “I’m new into the DJ world and I need to get a DJ PA system. I’ve asked around and everyone is saying something different. I’ve done hours of research and now I’m just confused and don’t know what to get. If I go to a store to listen to or buy the speakers, I don’t really trust the salesman, because I’m afraid he’s going to get me to buy something that doesn’t suit my needs. The gigs I’m doing are small i.e. college parties, 100 to 400 people, but I want to eventually do big stuff. My budget is: US$1,200. What should I get?”

Digital DJ Tips says:

We haven’t reviewed any PA systems so can’t give you a list of choices, but our experience (and apparently backed up by some members of our forum where you asked this question) is that Mackie SRM450s are a good active (ie no need for a separate amplifier) speaker. There’s a big difference between 100 and 400 people though, and for bigger parties you’ll need a sub-woofer too (a bass speaker to sit on the floor), and it’s also imperative you buy a pair of stands for the speakers so you can position them correctly for maximum impact. This will take you over your budget so you may have to shop around.

For the record, our own PA is really rubbish, a second-hand $200-out-of-the-newspaper system that we take to parties where we don’t expect to get it back! How we’ve managed to keep it so long I don’t know, but it still seems to keep working. But if someone was hiring me to do a serious/paying gig I’d definitely use something better.

As a non-mobile DJ, I always use the gear wherever I play, which is why I can’t give you much first-hand advice – other than possibly to consider hiring systems to see what works for you before buying.

So, over to you: Do you have a good sub-US$1200 recommendation for Ginger? Should he buy a subwoofer too? How important are stands? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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