DJs have specific needs when it comes to their speakers. We need monitors for our home or practice studios, PA-style speakers for when we’re DJing in public, and who also doesn’t want a Bluetooth portable speaker for parties, holidays, barbecues, camping, the beach etc? In short, we can (and often do) end up with a whole range of speakers in our lives.
However, in recent years, a type of speaker has emerged that can do the job of potentially all of the above. If you’re a hobby DJ who wants to use your home speakers for parties without risking damaging them, or if you’d like a portable speaker that you can actually plug DJ gear into and DJ with too, or if you DJ outdoors and want something portable that doesn’t necessarily need mains power to work, one (or just as likely, a pair) of these may be for you.
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What we’re talking about is battery-powered PA-style speakers. While even among this segment of the market they come in different sizes, with different volume levels, and with varying features, what they all share in common is battery power, portability, and Bluetooth – the latter being great for when you just want to use them to play music on, for instance, streaming from Spotify etc on your phone.
We’ve reviewed several such speakers, and we’ve used most of them (even those we haven’t got around to reviewing yet) – so here’s a round-up of our favourites. Again, bear in mind you’ll probably want to buy two of the model you go for, and factor in the cost of stands and – optionally – protective covers/cases too.
6 Best Battery Powered PA Speakers For DJs 2023
Best all-rounder: Mackie Thump Go
In our review, we wrote: “The Mackie Thump Go is a marvel of a speaker. Not much bigger than a standard studio monitor, it is in fact a small PA speaker, with pro inputs and outputs, a long-lasting replaceable rechargeable battery, Bluetooth, and a mini live mixer built in. For the size, it sounds great. For DJs, a pair of these may be the only speakers you ever need for DJ practice, small parties, and just throwing in the trunk to play down the beach with Bluetooth.”
It has a modern moulded construction, but it’s sturdy and smart looking. Indeed, a pair of these wouldn’t look out of pace in a home practice studio, but equally, these are going to look good as part of a mini DJ set-up for out and about. Arguably these speakers walk the line between home, small gig and outdoors better than any here. And they’re truly loud for the size.
Best for traditionalists: HK Audio Move 8
This is a traditional-looking mini-PA style speaker. It can be used as a “monitor wedge” (ie laid horizontally with the speaker angled up towards you, musician-style), put on any suitable surface with its rubber feet, or put on a pole – indeed, put two on poles and you’ll have a passable ultra-tiny PA system.
It has a versatile built-in mixer but there are options you can access in addition via the HK Audio phone app. The batteries are detachable so you can swap them over if needed, and they’re “hot swappable” so no interruption in music while you do so.
We liked the sound, which was warm without a hint of the harshness sometimes associated with this type of speaker. It is well built too, in a traditional-style cabinet, so should last. A pair of these would give you lots of options for home and outdoors.
Best for DJ/musicians: Bose S1 Pro
Like a cross between the HK Audio Move 8 and the Mackie Thump Go looks and build-wise, we liked the two channels with separate EQ and reverb on this one, in addition to the aux in (for your DJ gear or Bluetooth), so you can plug a mic directly into the unit (rather than through your DJ controller) and get it sounding just how you want, and then add a musical instrument on top of that. Bose has something it calls “ToneMatch”, giving musicians access to one-touch guitar and vocal presets.
Another nice thing about this speaker is the way it can be positioned. You could have it upright, on a pole, “traditional” landscape wedge, or at a diagonal angle vertically, which is an unusually wide choice. Bose says that internal sensors detect the orientation of the speaker and adjust the EQ accordingly, automatically. It has a TRS line out for connecting to another system, too.
Power: 120W (our estimate)
Battery: Up to 11 hours
Dimensions: 330 x 241 x 285 mm
Weight: 7.1 kg
More info: Bose website
Best for occasional DJs: Soundboks Go
Soundboks are a company who made their name with super loud speakers (see the Soundboks 3 in this roundup) designed for music lovers primarily to take to festivals etc with them for partying.
The Soundboks Go is their “more portable” take on the full-sized speaker. It has great wireless smarts, but while it can be used as a DJ speaker, that isn’t its main purpose. As such, it only has a single 1/8″ minijack input for external audio, and absolutely no mixer or other pro audio smarts.
Even so this is a great sounding and trendy speaker that would be just as at home in use as your practice speaker, down the park, or in your living room as a statement all-rounder. It also has the negligible-latency SKAA “better than Bluetooth” option for hooking several up wirelessly. As a cool serious Bluetooth speaker suitable for occasionally DJing through, this is a good choice.
Best for multi-speaker set-ups: JBL EON One Compact
Like all of the units here, this ticks the basic boxes: Pro inputs, Bluetooth for simply streaming music, a decent (four channel) on-board mixer with pro inputs plus a minijack for aux (ie for your DJ gear). Notably though there’s an eight-band EQ tuneable via the app, so you can get them sounding just how you like. Build-wise, the speaker is matt black with curved edges, giving it a modern look, and it is designed to be used on its side, upright or on a pole/stand. At 8kg, it is small and light.
But the stand-out feature for us is the 1/4″ pass-through feature that lets you link up to four other EONs when you want a bigger set-up. These speakers are some of the smaller ones here, so such a set-up could give you ultimate flexibility: You could have a pair of these at home in your practice studio and keep a pair in the garage, and take three or four with you to bigger gigs. Add in a sophisticated digital mixer, USBs for phone charging, plus a capable phone app, and you’ve got a thoroughly modern mini PA speaker.
Power: 120W (our estimate)
Battery: 12 hours at full volume (40 at mid volume)
Dimensions: 399 x 255 x 291 mm
Weight: 8 kg
More info: JBL website
Best for regular gigging: Soundboks 3
Of all the speakers here, this is the one that looks most like a “grown up” PA speaker. Grab a pair of these, put them on stands, and you’ve got a PA system that will work well for up to medium-sized parties, with lots of the smarts of battery Bluetooth speakers – the Soundboks 3 even has low-latency “better-than-Bluetooth” wireless built in (a system called SKAA) for ganging two up with negligible latency, without wires.
Add in the control app, the plethora of input options, and easy-to-swap heavy duty batteries, and whether it’s powering a serious outdoor party with Bluetooth audio, or DJing indoors, outdoors, near or away from mains power, they’ll have you covered. They sound great, with much more power than any other speakers on this list, frankly because they are double the size of any of the others.
Battery-powered PA speakers are a great option for DJs because they offer the convenience of being able to use them anywhere without being tethered to an electrical outlet, and as I said at the start, this means potentially you can use them in all situations you may want a speaker for, DJing or not. When making your final decision, compare the size of the battery, the maximum volume output, and the range of inputs. But you won’t go far wrong with any of those in this roundup.
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