Your Questions: How Many Watts Per Person Do I Need For DJ Speakers?

Christian Yates
Read time: 2 mins
Last updated 23 March, 2018


Digital DJ Tips Platinum Facebook Group member Tony asks: “I recall reading somewhere about there being a formula for working out the power rating required for speakers when planning an event. Something about the number of watts needed per person when taking the size of the venue into consideration? Is there a particular rule of thumb that I should follow?”

Digital DJ Tips Says…

Great question, Tony! As always, things like this depend on the type of gig, size of the venue, shape of the venue, expectations of the client, whether it’s inside or outside, positioning of speakers, speaker types, the style of music that you will be playing and so on.

As a rough rule of thumb, if it is an indoor gig, you should aim to have as a minimum around five watts per person. If you are playing outside or want “rave volume”, then you will probably want to double that and have 10 watts per person. Naturally, this is a loose rule of thumb – for instance, if you are going to be playing bass-heavy music, you might want to have extra subwoofers. In this case, a 2:1 ratio between subs and tops is common.

Most importantly, and something that is often overlooked, is to make sure that your speakers are being amplified efficiently. Bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better (or louder for that matter). Make sure the amps are rated at at least a third more power output than the speakers are designed for – half as much again or even more is also fine. Contrary to popular belief, it’s speakers being driven by underpowered amps that tends to blow them, not overpowered. Avoid this entirely by using modern active speakers, where all of that has been thought about for you.

Do you agree with this formula? Is there a rule of thumb that you follow? Do you have any experiences to share where you got it wrong? Let us know in the comments below…

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