Best Compact Wireless Speakers for DJ's
July 8, 2014 at 9:49 pm #firstname.lastname@example.orgParticipant
What would you rate are the best speaker(s) for an extremely mobile setup ie: lightweight, compact and wireless. I have been looking at the Beats by Dre Pill and a similar speaker done by JBL.
Any thoughts?July 9, 2014 at 8:13 am #2042195
Nothing really comes to mind. Nothing serious anyway. I don’t think wireless speakers have a place in a DJ’s kit, but that is just my opinion.
I can see how you’d like to go battery-operated for those “out-of-way” gigs (like on the beach), but if you can’t even run a pair of audio cables to your speakers, I think you are sacrificing too much for too little.
Again, just one man’s opinion.
p.s. If the Pill is anything like the headphones, they will be underspecc’d and overpriced imho.July 9, 2014 at 9:53 am #2042232Terry_42Keymaster
I agree with the Chuck on this one 😉July 12, 2014 at 5:57 am #email@example.comParticipant
How many people do you plan to play to? most of the little bluetooth speakers dont carry a whole lot of power.July 12, 2014 at 4:47 pm #2042936Terry_42Keymaster
If you are playing for more than 10 people, no bluetooth speaker will cut it.July 22, 2014 at 7:43 pm #firstname.lastname@example.orgParticipant
Yeah had a go with some of the setups available and the sound is horrible, i decided to buy the beats by dre speakerbox which is a normal speaker but wireless and still quite compact. Also has mad bass for such a small speaker. Will only be using it for house parties though, thanks for the comments…July 22, 2014 at 10:23 pm #2045045squarecellParticipant
You’re still going to be woefully underpowered with that thing, in my opinion. For the same price, you could get a Mackie Thump15, which would be way louder and would not distort at high volumes the way the BeatBox does.July 28, 2014 at 1:50 am #2046760
Wireless equipment certainly has a place in DJing and I see the desire growing fast. Wireless technology is not perfect, though always being improved upon. The most affordable option is Bluetooth for Wireless Speakers and Headphones. I’m going to focus on the Speakers.
One quick mention about using Bluetooth PA speakers. There’s a bit of chatter in various forums about a fear in using them because of Bluetooth Hijacking, aka “Bluejacking”.
If you buy a Bluetooth speaker, simply pair your Bluetooth music device with the speaker immediately after plugging it up at your venue or even before going into your venue if your speaker has a built-in battery. Once pairing is in place, it should remain in tact as long as the music device and speaker remain within operating range. I think the ‘fear’ chatter is just that as I have yet to learn about any Bluetooth speaker hijacking being such a common occurrence with DJs to bring about this fear. My opinion is that you’re more likely to have a speaker get damaged at a venue than to be hijacked via Bluetooth. And if you find you are “Bluejacked”, which I believe is rare, have cables as a backup.
Now I will chime in on a few wireless Bluetooth PA Speakers for anyone else looking to consider. I desire to go all wireless too and use my iPad 3. This list of Bluetooth PA speakers is not exhaustive and are just a few common models I’ve researched:
1) For a decent, compact Bluetooth wireless Active PA speaker, consider the Samson Expedition Rechargeable line of speakers and speaker kits. They can be mounted on stands, range from 8.5 – 21 lbs in weight, and have built-in rechargeable batteries. For a basic model, consider the 30 W Expedition Escape. To step it up a bit and get a wireless mic included, consider the 100 W Expedition XP106w. Keep in mind these are ideal for a small area/small room of people. I visited my local Guitar Center to demo any of the Expedition Rechargeable models but none were available.
2) If you’re fine with carrying a 40 lb speaker and and need much more wattage, consider the Alto Truesonic Bluetooth Active PA speakers. They offer 800 W of power in 12″ and 15″ models. I demoed the 15″ model at my local Guitar Center a month ago with my iPhone 4. It worked flawlessly when playing music from the iOS Music app (no DJ apps tested). I moved about 30 ft away, adjusted the volume a few times, and heard it take effect pretty much immediately.
3) Another model that people seem to like on Amazon that’s lighter than the Alto is the Pyle Pro PPHP1037UB Bluetooth Active PA speaker. It’s a 700 W, 10″ speaker that also allows music to be played from a USB flash drive and SD card. You can record via these two mediums on this speaker and other speaker sizes are available:
5) American Audio is in the game with their ELS15 BT Wireless Bluetooth Active Speaker. It’s a 15″ speaker weighing about 40 lbs with USB Flash Drive and SD card inputs like the Pyle. Has an MP3 player also.
Here’s something else to try: I saw a YouTube video of a guy using a Jabra CLIPPER Bluetooth headset device with a non-Bluetooth Pyle 15″ PA Speaker to give it Bluetooth audio transmission capabilities. He plugged a 3.5mm to RCA male cable to the CLIPPER and Pyle speaker to do this. He says it works fine – view the video and see what you think! Wonder if it would work if using a 3.5mm to TRS or 3.5mm to XLR cable? Possibly.
Another two products to check out: Rocketfish makes a Bluetooth Music Receiver that does what the guy did with the Jabra CLIPPER. It’s $50 at Best Buy. Logitech has one also for $32 at Amazon. A slight disadvantage with these two products is that an AC adapter is required for constant operation whereas the Jabra CLIPPER only uses an AC adapter for charging the internal battery. But, the Logitech has a 50 ft Bluetooth operating range which is on average 20 feet farther than what the Bluetooth PA Speakers offer.
The PA Speaker I’m eyeballing currently, which is unfortunately non-Bluetooth, is the JBL EON510. I’m hoping that JBL will offer their EON line in a Bluetooth version. The 510 is the ideal wattage, size and weight for me. I really don’t want to carry a speaker over 25 lbs, let alone two if needed. Perhaps I’ll get a hold of a CLIPPER, one of the other 3.5mm cables, and test it with a JBL EON at Guitar Center.
Hopefully this information helps anyone else wanting to take the wireless DJing speaker plunge.July 28, 2014 at 8:14 am #2046860
Well you are clearly an avid advocate of bluetooth audio and it’s place in DJ-ing.
Personally I would NEVER use wireless audio if there is any way around it. I’ll motivate that decision in a bit. When speakers need power, you still have to run power cables to them (my cables for active speakers contain both power and signal, so it’s one cable to run anyway). In which case I don’t see how the wireless audio transfer helps me, bar running one XLR cable less (or like in my case, NO extra cable). And with the (potential) problems bluetooth brings with it, the trade-off is just not worth it.
It’s a tell-tale sign, imho, that there isn’t a single high-end brand delivering this technology. All the brands you mention (Behringer, Alto, Pyle, American Audio) are on the low-end/budget side of PA. My personal opinion is that Bluetooth is being used as a sales-promoting gimmick rather than a serious option, but that’s just me.
Why won’t I do wireless (and certainly not bluetooth).
1) 2.4 GHz. This is the frequency that wifi sits in, as well as a zillion other equipment up to and including microwave ovens (and if you play at a venue they will possibly have BIG microwaves). And while this won’t necessarily alter the quality of the sound, it can very well cause audio dropouts which is not acceptable under any circumstance if you are getting paid for a gig.
2) 10 m. This is the normal maximum distance the bluetooth signal reaches. I am assuming that the low-end speaker manufacturers are not spending the money on significantly more expensive class 3 (up to 100m) long range BT hardware. And 10 meter (30 ft) in a venue is not very far. Especially since the advantages of having wireless would show itself specifically if you are trying to add a speaker in a room/position further away (like an extra speakers for a smokers room or lounge room).
3) Sound quality. Years ago BT audio was bad. No two cents about it. Digital compression combined with the then state of technology ment that listening to BT streaming audio was YIKES at best. It HAS improved over the recent years. And it works fine imho to stream stuff from your iPhone to your car stereo or to a BT speaker if you are sitting on the beach. But, there is still digital compression and other things that prevent BT from delivering the same quality as cabled connections. If you are a serious DJ that asks money to play gigs, I believe you owe it to your customers to give them the best quality they are willing to pay for. As I said, running one extra cable per speaker gives you so much more security (no dropouts) and such quality improvement, that I think it’s not a good plan to use BT.
4) BT drivers. If you use BT, you will need either a dongle or a built-in BT device in your laptop. Those need the right drivers to work properly. And we all know that some DJ software can be pretty picky when it comes to drivers.
5) Latency. Any kind of wireless streaming introduces latency. Not necessarily a problem when you are streaming your playlist on autoplay from iTunes on your iPad, but it does require either mixing in your headphones (which I don’t really like myself) or the necessity for a booth speaker when you are DJ-ing.
A final word on using something like a “hacked” earpiece to create a BT wireless connection to an otherwise cabled speaker. Two things here. Most earpieces will have some kind of EQ curve to compensate for the in-ear aspect, the frequency response curve (like lacking lows) and the primary goal of reproducing speech (2-4KHz). Which is fine when you use it for earpieces, but not if you are trying to transfer full-band audio to PA speakers. The other thing is that a 3.5mm hook up might not deliver the same signal strength a normal RCA output would and most definitely it will be a way low signal if you decide to go 3.5mm to XLR/Jack. Also, since that won’t make it balanced, there is no quality gain to be had. If you are going to use stuff like this, might as well stick with RCA’s.
From an old hand at this game, who is also a live sound engineer, my advice to all of you that are looking into the wireless “advantage” (which for all but the smallest of implementations means just one cable less) would be to – at the very least – listen to both BT and wired speakers in a direct comparison and to trust your ears. Then, if you still want wireless, play a few gigs/parties with them to see how stable that connection really is (any dropouts).
Only then commit good money to this feature.
Greetinx.July 28, 2014 at 9:19 pm #2047077
Hi there! I certainly respect opinions not to go Wireless with DJ equipment. “Never” is pretty strong though. 🙂
Needless to say, I like where technology has taken this industry. I also admire the “Minimalist DJ” wanting to embrace a small, technology-centric, mobile DJ setup.
As for advocacy – I’m truly an advocate for helping people find what they seek vs telling them why not to seek, ask of it, or use it. I admire those who try what others won’t because to me, they lead the way, maybe even prove the majority wrong, and help someone else in the process. I’ve come to learn that at least once in many of our lives, we’ve been told not to do something only to go against the grain, do it, and it works out quite well.
Btw, nice meeting you DJ Vintage! I’ve read many of your helpful comments/replies on DDJT for the last year as a lurker but just decided to join.July 28, 2014 at 11:43 pm #2047111
Hi there, pleasure is mutual.
Good to see you moved from lurker to contributor 🙂
I have been known to go against the grain on occassion (with varying results btw), but on this topic I feel I have a valid case. Probably because I feel very strong about giving the customer the best possible result they are willing to pay for and that – for me – excludes experimenting with things during paid (mobile) gigs.
Clearly I can see the advantages of wireless. I have used wireless/battery-powered speakers for small outdoor events (speech mostly though), I have one location where I do live sound every year where I’d be happy to have a wireless audio option (it’s a good 300+ feet and I have yet to find a working solution that is affordable). I understand where it would come in handy to set up an extra speaker in a lounge room or dining room or something.
My point here being that bluetooth (with all it’s drawbacks) combined with the needed dependability and quality of a main PA at any event is not a good option (yet, anyway) imho.
At the end of the day, everyone has to make his/her own decisions and do what feels good and as always “trust your ears”.August 20, 2014 at 1:51 am #2049466
Quite true that we must trust our own ears Vintage!
I saw something today that I’m a little late on – JBL has two new PA speakers using Bluetooth technology. It’s the EON610 and EON612.
Their bluetooth feature is not for streaming music though; it’s to control the volume and EQ on the speakers via iOS and Android devices. Here’s a 2014 NAMM video about it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VhGksQ5LZEk
I think it’s only a matter of time that JBL and other well-known PA speaker companies will utilize bluetooth streaming. Or, they’ll implement an affordable means of wireless streaming to speakers using some proprietary method.August 20, 2014 at 1:58 am #2049467
Correction – It’s the JBL EON610, EON612, and EON615.August 20, 2014 at 7:26 am #2049477
Frankly, those things are really gimmicky, imho. Why? In (serious) PA work, you set the speakers once (0dB signal path) and never touch them again. EQ-ing is done on a mixer or room EQ, volume control on mixer or controller. Big PA’s already are remotely controlled through intelligent amps or sound processors.
Due to the limitations in BT I don’t really think streaming audio will become that big. In a recent thread on the subject a few area’s where identified where wireless audio has a place, but in general I stick with my mantra “enable cable!”.
Proprietary streaming systems might tackle a lot of the BT problems, BUT in wireless you are always dependent on various laws and rules for airwave use (severely limiting the frequency bands/channel bandwidth you can use). With limited room, almost all wireless audio (in-ears, mics) is compressed. Compression means signal loss.
Another bad thing about proprietary is that you are stuck with a certain brand. And when I am at a gig, I want to be able to grab another pair of speakers if necessary without having to worry about proprietary. It’s way connectors and such are highly standardized.
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