If you are an artist, you would realize how difficult it is to perform on stage without a robust stage monitor. Stage monitors help the performers, artist or musicians maintain good compatibility among themselves. There are instances when one performer strays out of the tune, and it is difficult for the others to catch up. Scroll down to have a glance at the reviews of the ten best powered stage monitors 2018 on the market.
- 1 Top-Rated Powered Stage Monitor Speakers
- 2 Seismic Audio Floor Monitors
- 3 BEHRINGER B205D Mic Stand Monitor
- 4 JBL EON612 Powered Stage Monitor
- 5 BEHRINGER F1320D
- 6 QSC K10 Powered Speaker
- 7 Yamaha DBR10 Wedge Monitor
- 8 Electro-Voice ZLX12P Loudspeaker
- 9 JBL EON610: Good for Concert and Small Church
- 10 Kustom PA KPC10M Personal Vocal Monitor
- 11 Yamaha SM15V: Great Foldback Monitor
- 12 What to Look for When Buying a Stage Monitor?
Top-Rated Powered Stage Monitor Speakers
Seismic Audio Floor Monitors
Size: 14” x 13.25” x 21”
Inputs & Outputs: 2 x ¼” inputs
Frequency range: 45Hz-20kHz
Peak power: 200W
If you want a wedge monitor with ten-inch two-way cross-over woofers, this is a product you may like. It can be used as a studio monitor, stage monitor and floor monitor, and you will find it fitting in all the cases. It has dual ports and the input terminal has two ¼ inch input cables. The product has a warranty of one year and the front panel is made up of plywood. The monitor has a two-inch vocal coil and it comes with a 40-Oz magnet. The compact device has black and white metal corners that make it easy for handling.
- Recessed handles make for easy carrying and packing
- Metal grill protects drivers and metal corners limit wear & tear
- Appropriate as speakers or monitors
- Clear sound
- Can’t handle very low frequencies
- Q: Will a 120W mixer work with these monitors?
- A: Yes they will work but you won’t be able to use all the potential of the monitors. These units can handle up to 200W, so the amp will clip even before you reach the maximum output of the speakers. For general audio (when you don’t need high volume) a 120W mixer will suffice.
- Q: Do these require power?
- A: Yes, they require power, but as they’re not powered speakers they need to be connected to an amp. They will receiver power from the amp and not from a power outlet directly. There’s also no input to connect it to an AC power source. Even if you use them as part of a sound system (connected to other speakers), you’ll need an amplifier for them.
- Q: How many amplifiers do you need for one set of monitors?
- A: You can connect both monitors to one amp, as long as the amplifier has two channels.
BEHRINGER B205D Mic Stand Monitor
Size: 8.7” x 11.4” x 7.3”
Inputs & Outputs: Stereo input for audio source; XLR
This is a top-rated stage monitor that is available below $200. The powered stage monitor is ideal for home recording studios, press conferences, keyboard monitoring and so on. It is a good quality device and offers superb quality sonic performance. It is a light-weight gadget and has a power consumption of 150 watts. If you need a mixing monitor, you may buy this gadget. The amplifier technology incorporated in the monitor is really sophisticated and it has ultra-low noise features. The small gadget has a three-band EQ, with three-channel mixer features. The neodymium driver is full range and the consumer reports are mostly positive.
- Light and compact enough to mount on a mic stand
- Very portable thanks to lightweight and small design
- Instant loudspeaker system
- Can link more than one to create a sound system
- Versatile as it these small monitors can double as mixing monitors
- Not ideal for low frequencies
- No headphone jack output
- Only one unit, not a pair
- Q: Is this a good top monitor for bass players?
- A: Bass players will feel there’s a lack of low frequencies. The device was designed with vocalists and keyboard players in mind. If you do use it with bass you may also damage it over time as the drivers can’t handle the bass.
- Q: Can you use this as a monitor if you’re speaking on a wireless mic?
- A: Yes it’s possible to customize the setup to accommodate wireless components. The base station of the wireless device must simply have a line or a balanced XLR fitting as an output. Then you can connect it to the monitor and continue as normal.
- Q: How can you connect this mic stand monitor with a Smartphone?
- A: If you want to play audio from your personal Smartphone you have to use the RCA input. There are no Bluetooth connections.
JBL EON612 Powered Stage Monitor
Size: 26.14” x 14.96” x 12.44”
Inputs & Outputs: ¼” inputs
Frequency range: 60Hz – 20kHz
Peak power: 1000W
When you look out for a good stage monitor from a reputed brand, this is one of the high-end devices. The 12-in two-way powered stage monitor has a number of advanced features like Bluetooth integration and can be controlled through wireless devices and remotes. It is a professional monitor and provides extraordinary quality of sound. It is highly recommended for sound providers and working musicians. The floor monitor has a good rating and you can use it across all platforms.
- Plastic exteriors can get damaged easily
- Weight makes it difficult to put on a stand, especially for one person
- Sold as single units (not pair)
- Plastic exteriors can get damaged easily
- Weight makes it difficult to put on a stand, especially for one person
- Sold as single units (not pair)
- Q: Do these speakers have a standby mode?
- A: Yes you can minimize the times you need to switch the speakers on and off by using an external regulator for power. Leave the switch at the back of the unit in the on position and connect them to your regulator.
- Q: What is the Bluetooth connectivity for? Can you pair your mobile phone with the speaker?
- A: The Bluetooth feature is mostly to tune your speaker, not for streaming audio from your Smartphone. There is a JBL app you can download to an Android or iOS phone. Through this, you can manage volume, EQ, 5-way adjustments or use saved presets.
Size: 16” x 22.8” x 14.2”
Inputs & Outputs: XLR; ¼” TRS link
This is a top-grade live monitor that comes with the average budget and has a cohesive sound processor, which is efficient in delivering superb speaker protection and sound control. The class-D technology incorporated in the amplifier warrants incredible sound quality and the device is lightweight active stage monitor, making it easily portable. The vocal monitor speaker has an adjustable filter for feedback and the high-frequency bandwidth in the gadget ensures an exceptional quality of sound. Manufactured by one of the best brands, the 300-watt two-way monitor from Behringer is ideal for live performance.
- Volume knob allows for a lot of control by a user if you’re not near mixing station
- Feedback filter minimizes noise even at high volumes
- Instant sound system: Simply add a mic
- Can use as monitors or as part of a PA system
- Appropriate to use as the monitor for most instruments or to DJ
- Handy carrying handle
- Quite large, making them less portable than other units in this review
- Not good enough as FOH speaker
- Q: What is the exterior made of?
- A: Unlike some monitors housed in plastic, this casing is made of plywood. It makes it quite sturdy, but very heavy. Also, guard against getting it wet.
- Q: What drivers are inside the monitor?
- A: Your sound will come from a 12” woofer and a 3” horn. Note that the woofer is ported.
- Q: Can you use more than one of these units together?
- A: Yes you can chain these monitors. There is no limit to how many you can link. You’ll use the XLR output connector and link to the other unit’s input. The ¼” jack outputs can also be used.
QSC K10 Powered Speaker
Size: 23” x 16” x 17”
Inputs & Outputs: RCA; discrete line outputs; daisy-chaining outputs; XLR & ¼” Mic/line outputs
Frequency range: 60Hz – 18kHz
Peak power: 2000W
This is a single speaker of 1000-watts with a positive overall review. It is a 2-way powered speaker and has a ten-inch woofer. The gadget has a superb mechanism for mixing. The input and output infrastructure is highly sophisticated. It has a 75-degree horizontal and vertical coverage angle and is powered by a class-D amplifier. The IEC power cord has a V-lock, ensuring that unintentional unplugging will not mess up the performance. The bi-amped system functions continuously with a 2*500 power integration and it is one of the best devices on the market.
- Steel grille protects drivers from damage
- ABS enclosure is tough but light
- Handles are ergonomic, making them easy to carry
- High power handling
- Only possible to mount horizontally, not vertically
- Grill dents easily and can fit too loosely which results in rattling when speakers are in use
- Q: Does the manufacturer provide the necessary cables?
- A: No cables included with purchase. You must acquire these separately. You’ll need an XLR as a bare minimum.
- Q: Do these speakers suffice for outdoor usage?
- A: They’re powerful enough to use outside and deliver acceptable audio to listeners. However, your selection of music or audio determines their efficacy. Genres such as rap may require additional help from a subwoofer. In small venues (indoors) these work perfectly.
- Q: Can you use these active stage monitors as passive monitor speakers (switching off their own amps and using a powered mixer)?
- A: No these powered speakers can’t be used as passive units. If your mixer is powered its outputs won’t send the appropriate signals.
- Q: Do you always need a mixer when working with these speakers?
- A: You can have a basic setup without a mixer by adding only a mic and an instrument, connecting them directly to the monitor. You’ll have limited control over bass and some audio functions. However, you’ll have more control of the output for live performance if you add a mixer.
Yamaha DBR10 Wedge Monitor
Size: 15.94” x 15.12” x 22.92”
Frequency range: 55Hz – 20kHz
This is a 700-watt powered wedge monitor with superb features that comes to you at the best price. Its SPL is 129 dB and the product has a warranty of seven years. The main monitor speaker delivers high performance and the speaker is bi-amped, with ten-inch speakers. Considering the cost and performance, it is one of the most popular speakers on the market. The product also comes with a rugged and portable cabinet, ensuring utmost protection to the speakers.
- Amazing 7-year warranty on this wedge monitor
- 2 Channel mixer embedded on speaker
- The 50° wedges design makes it perfect as a floor monitor
- Drivers cater for both low profile and high frequencies
- A high-frequency range isn’t exceptional
- Quite heavy, making it difficult to mount or put on a speaker stand by yourself
- Q: For what size crowd are these wedge monitors appropriate?
- A: You can easily provide clear and high volume sound to a room with 200 people. It will be more effective if you use a pair with a subwoofer connected as well.
- Q: Which audio features can you control on the unit if you plug in your Smartphone?
- A: On the monitor, you’ll find a volume control. This determines the output of the speaker. You can also do the basic mixing with bass and treble controls. What’s so handy about this speaker is that there’s a volume knob for each input, so you can mix them separately.
- Q: Is the fan’s noise intrusive?
- A: The fan runs at all times while the speaker is in use. Luckily it’s very quiet so even when you use the speaker at low volumes it shouldn’t interfere with your enjoyment of the audio.
- Q: Is this an ideal speaker to use outdoors?
- A: The sound quality is good enough for outdoor use, but note that it’s not waterproof. Rain or humidity may affect it.
Electro-Voice ZLX12P Loudspeaker
Size: 14” x 14” x 24”
Inputs & Outputs: XLR/TRX combo jack; XLR link output; 3.5mm input
Frequency range: 50Hz-20kHz
Peak power: 1000W
Priced below $350, this is one of the best stage monitors to choose. The gadget ensures optimal gain structure, with the amplifier control and input level meters adjusting the desired output. It ensures a speedy setup, as it comes with a fine LCD display and a single-knob DSP control system. The gadget produces high-quality sound and also has LCD-powered ’limit’ and ‘on’ indications. It is easy to configure the pole-mounting, as the device has an immovable design for high and low grip. The driver time alignment is boosted up due to its split-baffle design.
- Protective grill provided
- Enclosure designed ruggedly for regular and hard wearing use
- Can be used as monitor or speaker
- Recessed handles make for easy packing, carrying and even distributing weight evenly
- Speaker’s shape doesn’t allow stacking
- Can’t fly these because there are no rigging points
- Q: Do you need to add a subwoofer if you’re using them as a sound system (not monitors)?
- A: These perform well for intimate settings with up to 200 people. In large spaces (e.g. 5000ft² where 500 people are gathered) you’ll need to add a sub to make up for not having side fills.
- Q: What cabling does the manufacturer provide?
- A: Your purchase includes power cables but no other cords. You’ll need to purchase XLRs and other connection cables yourself.
JBL EON610: Good for Concert and Small Church
Size: 21.9”x 12.6” x 11.6”
Inputs & Outputs: 2 mixed inputs
Frequency range: 52Hz – 20kHz
Peak power: 1000W
This PA system monitor can be used across a wide range of platforms. The product has been designed purposefully to boost up its performance. It is an affordable stage monitor, available at a price just around $340. The two-way stage monitor comes with advanced Bluetooth integration and you need not face the hassles of entangled wires. The customer reviews for this product are impressive and it is easily portable. You can buy it for professional purposes. In a nutshell, it is a highly-sophisticated studio monitor.
- 5-year warranty
- Great aesthetics
- Can work as speakers or monitors
- An output is much lower than some other models on this list
- Bluetooth connection requires a push of a button —impractical if speakers are mounted high
- Q: Can you connect multiple speakers to create a sound system for church, for concert or a linked monitor system?
- A: Yes you can. These speakers have the necessary inputs and outputs for chaining.
- Q: What voltage can you connect to these speakers?
- A: These speakers have a nifty feature of a voltage switch at the back. Depending on your setup you can select between 115V and 230V. Remember to do this before you turn on your system to prevent damage to the electronics.
- Q: Are the speakers sold as sets?
- A: No. These units are all sold separately.
- Q: Can you stream music via Bluetooth connection?
- A: No. The Bluetooth feature is only for regulating audio, not for audio sources.
Kustom PA KPC10M Personal Vocal Monitor
Size: 10.9” x 20” x 14”
Inputs & Outputs: 2 input jack (parallel)
Frequency range: 75Hz – 18kHz
Peak power: 150W
This is a good vocal monitor from Kustom that has a single ten-inch speaker. It is low in cost in comparison to other products, priced below $100. The pole-mounting can be configured at different positions and it produces good bass tones. You can use the cheap stage monitor as a personal stage monitor. It is also fitted with a horn. You can buy this product if you want a refined grade of sound quality in the professional platform. There are two parallel jacks for input on the monitor cab. The device has a sturdy construction and Tolex covering.
- Designed with 1-3/8” pole mount for easy setup
- Great differentiation between frequencies thanks to internal crossover
- Less impressive frequency range than most units reviewed here
- Some users report a strong smell coming from them (should dissipate eventually)
- Not made for heavy handling
- Q: Can you use this as a monitor (for vocalists or keyboard playing) if you’re playing with a drummer and guitarists?
- A: Performance is always dependent on where you’re playing. In large spaces with booming FOH you may need more volume and you can get that by using a larger amp. You can also opt to run only the guitar or mic through this monitor if you need to hear yourself more clearly.
- Q: Can you use this as a monitor for a drummer?
- A: Yes it will suffice, but remember you need an amplifier too.
- Q: Can you connect this directly to your guitar?
- A: No. These speakers need an amplifier to produce sound. Also, guitar amps are designed to supply audio to a mixer, then to an amp and then the speaker. Taking audio directly to the speaker may not work, unless you use a powered monitor.
Yamaha SM15V: Great Foldback Monitor
Size: 28” x 19” x 13”
Frequency range: 55Hz-16kHz
Peak power: 1000W
Yamaha brings you a fifteen-inch floor monitor with a two-inch titanium and tweeter diaphragm. The frequency response varies between 55Hz and 16kHz and it has a maximum sensitivity of 90 dB. It is a 1000-watt stage monitor with steel grill protectors and the jack plate is made of heavy steel. The product offers a warranty of three years and is a high-end gadget. The foldback speaker is large in size and is recommended for musicians seeking a monitor for drums. This passive monitor is one of the best products on the market.
- Durable build that can last for years
- Excellent clear sound
- Cool foldback monitor in terms of aesthetics
- Disappointing frequency range, especially for high pitched sounds
- Extremely heavy; ideal for floor monitor but not for mounting as speaker
- Rubber feet tend to vibrate and come loose
- Q: Is a speaker stand included in the purchase?
- A: No, these speakers are sold separately from mounting equipment. They’re also more suited to using as high-quality floor monitors than side fill monitors.
- Q: Can you use these speakers as audio equipment for your car?
- A: Yes you can hook them up to an amplifier and you’ll need the right power inverter. However, keep in mind that they’re extremely big and heavy. They will use up all your space and can even influence how your car performs as it will carry extra weight.
- Q: Do you need crossovers to improve the sound quality?
- A: Note that these PA monitors already have crossovers installed which is why the sound quality is quite exceptional.
What to Look for When Buying a Stage Monitor?
Your performance on stage is usually determined by how comfortable you feel. So pick the right stage monitor, that gives you value for money with these handy tips.
Powered vs Passive
Let’s be clear. There’s not always the best option. There’s simply the best option for YOU.
Let’s start with definitions:
- A powered monitor is amplified internally. These monitors also require power, usually from an AC power outlet.
- A passive monitor needs to be driven from outside so you need to connect it to an exterior amplifier. Your connection between the amplifier and the monitor will provide power so you don’t need an additional power source for it.
You can already see the logistical challenges here. On the bright side, if you already own an amp you can simply invest in a passive unit and they’re usually a bit cheaper. However, this setup requires more space on stage since you need an area for both units.
Note that your amplifier’s power rating (how much it sends out) must align with what the speaker can handle. If it doesn’t you can damage your monitor or the sound will be distorted.
A professional powered speaker is usually more expensive although manufacturers cater for all price ranges. The luxury is you simply put down your monitor and you start playing. The challenge here is to find a power outlet near where you’ll stand while playing because it’s reliant on a power source.
In this review, we mostly looked at good powered monitor speakers which is a favorite of many musicians, for their portability and space saving features.
Size & Weight
Size is a huge factor so think this through. Firstly you need a monitor that you can easily move around, especially if you’re a touring performer. Even if you’re stationed in one place equipment often gets locked away for safekeeping, so it’s wise to pick something you can easily carry. It also minimizes the risk of it getting damaged because it won’t slip out of your hands.
But size also determines the output. If you need bass frequencies fed back to you, you need a large unit. You may even opt to add a subwoofer (usually used by drummers). For higher frequencies (voice, keyboards etc.) a smaller and lighter unit will be sufficient.
This makes it vital you gauge what the monitor will be used for before you buy one. It must suit your unique application.
The output you get relates to a few specs, but power capacity is one of the most important. Yes, this does determine in part how loud your unit can go, but it’s also related to clarity. You need enough power if you want to fill a space with your sound.
You’ll see the following in the specs:
- RMS rating which is the average power it can handle at a continuous rate.
- Peak Power (much higher than RMS) can be reached at times but if you constantly use your monitor at this level it will quickly get damaged.
These monitors need to give you more sound than the ones you installed in your room at home. You need at least 100W if you want to hear the monitor above the din on stage. Note that the design also matters, so a powered wedge monitor usually provides the best angle, instead of a normal square design.
If you use monitors to provide music to dancers and actors you also need the sound level to create an atmosphere on stage. In a band setup, you may need even more than 100W coming from your monitor, since drum beats can quickly drown out the audio. That’s why you’ll see monitors with ratings up to 500W or even 1000W.
How Many Monitors do You Need?
Once again you must determine your future setup before you’ll know what you need in this department.
Of course, it’s ideal that each musician has his or her own monitor. The audio mix coming through each unit can be customized for each performer’s preferences. Some may want a lot of bass guitar while others simply want to hear themselves and the drum beats.
However, if your budget doesn’t allow for this, try to install two monitors to cover the stage from two sides. If this is for a band setup you’ll have to position the performers in such a way that they can hear at least one of the units’ output. Consider getting an additional one for the drummer, as this guy is usually positioned far away or behind the rest of the crew.
From this basic setup, you can build up your range and add units as money becomes available. Some musicians may opt for in-ear monitors which are awesome because they don’t take up space on stage.
Just because these are playing back to you and not the audience, doesn’t mean you can settle for low sound quality brands. You’ll be irritated playing while sub-par audio is in your ears.
In addition, top-rated stage monitors often double as speakers as part of other sound systems, to add more sound or cover a larger area. Investing in units that provide high sound quality means you own versatile monitors that can help you in many situations.