If you’ve been DJing for a while now, you must’ve noticed how funny the working conditions in this job are. Some venues will offer you the best DJ booth with fancy booth monitors, while others will just show you to your corner of the room and wish you the best of luck.
I always feel a bit nervous when I take off to the venue for the first time. Every time I just cross my fingers and hope there will be monitors and a nice little booth. But you never know what to expect and this kind of DJ equipment is crucial for every aspect of DJing.
Why Are DJ Booth Monitors Important?
The reason why booth or PA monitors are important to every DJ is because of all the help and support you get from them during your DJ set. For those of you that are having a hard time visualizing this, let’s try to make stuff clearer.
First off, do you know what a DJ booth looks like? That’s the area in a venue reserved strictly for the DJ and their equipment. Modern DJ booths usually contain studio monitors facing the DJ and are there to serve the disc jockey, allowing them to rely on the sound going through the speakers.
The booth monitors play the sound going through the master output, and if you don’t have them near you, things can get difficult. This is all because of acoustics, i.e. the way the sound reaches your ears.
Once it leaves the speakers, the sound travels through air, bounces off the walls, and finally ends up in your ear canal, before reaching its final destination – the eardrums. So, the further the sound is from you, the later it will reach your ears.
This will cause a sound delay which will make it really tricky for you to beatmatch by ear. However, if you have a booth monitor facing you, the sound you hear will be the same one that goes from the master output to the audience. In your case, it’s going to be called booth output.
Now, if you’re spinning in a small room with some 20 people, this will not be such a big deal, but not having monitors facing you at a festival is one of my biggest nightmares. So, let’s see what the market offers regarding these DJ essentials.
Top 9 DJ Booth Monitors
Best Overall: Vonyx SL10
The Vonyx SL10 speakers have a professional look and a rugged design. They are a perfect choice for your DJ setup. They have enough power to cover a medium-sized venue, boosting 500 watts of output power at their peak.
They’re two-way speakers meaning that they have two separated drivers, each in charge for the lower or higher frequencies. Both drivers are 10 inches long in diameter, which is okay, but I’d be happier if they stretched for 12 or 15 inches.
A cool thing about the Vonyx SL10 is the professional, sturdy cable stretching for 20 feet. The cable ends with a high-quality metal jack connector and has a pretty reliable sound transmission. I’ve had a chance to play it – not bad at all.
Frequency response is solid, going from 45 Hz on the low end to 20 kHz on the high end. This is almost headphone-level response, so you don’t have to worry – this speaker will transmit all the frequencies present in a track.
The speakers feature high build quality, and the company made sure to prove it by offering a two-year warranty on the product. From what I’ve seen, you probably won’t need it for a long, long time. I know people who have owned this set for over 6 years without a trace of damage.
The Vonyx speakers have built-in three-band equalizers, which you can manually adjust. This is great since you’ll probably use them for a house party, which is not a place with already set acoustic surroundings.
The price is more than fair at some $200 for a set of two speakers.
- Sturdy cables, metal jacks;
- Good frequency response;
- Great price;
- Can only be used at small and medium venues;
- Drivers’ size is not impressive.
Runner-Up: DAS Audio Action M512A
The DAS Audio Action M512A stage monitor can serve perfectly in your DJ booth. It’s easily portable thanks to the two handles on the sides and the fact that it feels like carrying a big case of beer – 43 lbs. Not only is it compact, but it provides a great, clear sound too.
This is a 1000-watt speaker meaning it can receive a lot of power from the amplifier. It packs a ¼” titanium compression driver, which is the unit that generates the speakers’ sound. Using titanium for tweeters is great because it’s light and firm.
Since it’s a two-way monitor, it has a 12” subwoofer in charge with the low frequencies, or bass. The sound is crisp and sharp, as the booth monitor offers a frequency response from 60 Hz – 20 kHz. This is the standard range for such a DJ speaker.
On the back, there are three inputs. The first two include XLR connectors enabling you to connect a microphone or a stereo system if you like. The AUX input features a TRS connection for a third-party device, such as an MP3 player, DJ headphones, a DJ controller, and so on.
In addition to being flexible with connections, the DAS Audio Action M512A offers a clear LED interface, making it easier for you to navigate through the features. It has the capacity to cover a party of 250 people. For more than that, you might need a pair of these.
- Clear sound;
- Titanium compression driver;
- 2-way monitor;
- LCD screen;
- Versatile connection options;
- No Bluetooth;
- Might need a pair for bigger parties.
Best High-Powered: QSC K12-2
It’s only fair to start by saying why the callout High-Powered was attached to this monitor’s name. It has an input power of 2,000 W, meaning it can handle a big amplifier. Usually, even when you see 1,500 W on the product description, you know it’s a blast.
The loudness of the speakers depends on the input capacities, measured in watts in our case. With high-powered input, you get a super loud booth output, measured in dB (decibel).
Remember, for every increase of dB by 10, the sound is twice as loud. Sometimes, you might see a small difference in dB output, but that makes a lot of difference to your ears. Anyway, that’s what makes the QSC K12-2 booth monitors so competent on the market.
It has a Class D amplifier, which as I said before is not a bad thing. Amps are complicated and what one class lacks, the other one has, and vice versa. Class D is not the best option regarding sound clarity, but this is the most efficient design of all amps.
In case that’s not clear enough, the more efficient the amp design is, the less it will heat up. This will prolong its lifetime and decrease the risks of burning out. Another thing that will also keep it safe and durable is the thermoplastic rugged ABS enclosure, guaranteeing durable build quality.
The QSC K12 series is one of the most wanted models for festivals or concerts. They’re a bit pricey, but they offer a lot! To prove it, the company provides a six-year warranty upon registration.
- Ultra high-powered (2000 W);
- Very efficient;
- High build quality (thermoplastic ABS enclosure);
- Good for huge parties or gigs;
- Six-year warranty;
- A bit pricey;
- Robust design.
Most Efficient: Fenton CSB215
The Fenton CBS215 is big, hefty, powerful, and loud, and comes with two separate 15-inch drivers. Some would say that this sentence is enough to figure out how mighty this speaker is. But let’s see what’s hiding beneath its rugged surface.
It’s very powerful, boosting up to 1600 watts of output power, enough to make the club walls shake. It’s equipped with a built-in amplifier, making it easy for you to connect your DJ mixer, laptop, or even MP3 player, without the need to employ an external amp.
The Fenton CBS215 packs bass reflex ports, which boosts the bass even further. For the high frequencies, there’s the piezo tweeter which transmits all the high tones perfectly. By the way, a piezo tweeter is so special due to the piezoelectric crystal diaphragm which provides one of the clearest sounds.
There are two mic inputs to which an echo effect can be applied. This will allow you to have another DJ help you with your conversation with the audience or a vocalist join in, so you can apply the effects for a spacey sound. The speaker just screams party!
Moreover, you can hook up additional speakers to it thanks to the RCA output on the back of the unit. Bass and treble can be adjusted manually with the CSB215, so you can fight back if you’re at a venue with bad acoustics.
Frequency response is simply magnificent. Ranging from 35 Hz to 20 kHz, this is much above the industry’s average. Now, the price reaches almost $250 which is not really considered cheap, but you do get a lot for the money.
- 15” drivers;
- Very powerful and loud;
- Bass reflex ports;
- Piezo tweeter;
- Two mic inputs;
- Good frequency response.
- Not so cheap.
The Best Splurge: Mackie Thump 15A
Mackie Thump is a well-known line of speakers, very popular among DJs, musicians,and bands, which all have in common the wish to shop on a budget. The 15A model costs some $300 but offers a really good deal for that price.
The design is rugged, and it looks quite heavy. Although it has handles on the side it’s a bit complicated to carry around. Just to make things clear, it only looks heavy, whereas in fact, it weighs some 35 pounds. You decide if it’s too much.
The unit packs two amplifier blocks, with the woofers boosting 1,000 watts and the tweeters contributing with 300 watts at their peak. There are four fixed sound modes that can be called up: music, live, mono and sub, all affecting the sound in a different way, based on your needs.
For DJs, there is the music mode because this one emphasises the bass and treble. The mids, on the other hand, are lowered when you have the speaker in this mode. Musicians, unlike DJs, prefer the live mode.
The Mackie is pretty powerful. boosting some 1,300 watts at its peak, accompanied with a 15” driver. It has a built-in Class D amplifier, which is the most common type you’ll find in this kind of speakers. At the same time, this class has the highest efficiency of them all.
The Mackie Thump 15A speaker has LED lights which can be turned off if you’re not fond of them. On the back, you’ll find an XLR output so you can connect another speaker to it if one is not enough, and most often, it isn’t.
- Two amps;
- Four modes;
- LED lights;
- 15-inch driver;
- Might be considered heavy;
- A bit pricey.
Best Value-For-Money: JBL IRX 108BT
The JBL IRX 108BT is a very powerful 2-way loudspeaker with splendid features such as Bluetooth connectivity and excellent feedback suppression. It’s the perfect choice for parties, live events, so it’s therefore often used by both musicians and DJs.
DJs are very fond of it due to the ducking feature which turns down the volume of the audio, when another specific tone is applied. In other words, if you take your mic to address the crowd, the music volume will decrease, and then increase again once you’re done talking.
It’s pretty powerful, with the ability to boost 1300 watts of output at its peak. Another cool thing is the frequency response that ranges from 54 Hz to 20 kHz, making sure every tone is transmitted perfectly with high quality.
Although it looks very big and hefty, it’s actually not that heavy. If you don’t have trouble lifting a microwave, you won’t have a problem lifting the JBL IRX 108BT. The design is also very old-school classic, which is always a sign of good taste.
The driver could be regarded as disappointing as it only stretches for 8” in diameter. Surprisingly, it has pretty decent bass for that size. However, I’d prefer at least a 10-inch driver.
On the back, there are two XLR outs so you can hook up a microphone, another speaker, or a third device for that matter. The price is higher than what you’d want if your goal is to save money. To have it, prepare to spend up to $350.
- Bluetooth connectivity;
- Ducking feature;
- Two XLR connections;
- Good frequency response.
- Could be cheaper;
- Driver size not satisfying.
Best All-In-One: Samson Expedition XP300
The Samson Expedition XP300 is a sound system that includes two 6” booth speakers and a 6-channel DJ mixer. It might not be the best option for a festival, but it would be great for a gig in a smaller space or in music production.
The items can be put together as a single unit, which allows you to transport them comfortably. Altogether, they weigh 24 lbs, and that’s a joke compared to other booth speakers. Moreover, it has a Bluetooth connection so the types of devices you can hook up is endless.
It’s a two-way sound system so the low and mid/high frequencies are managed by two separate units, the woofer and the tweeter. Neither are big in size, but they provide a pretty clear sound, with an emphasized bass response.
The two amplifiers can both produce 300 W for the two speakers. As I said, that might not be enough for festival gigs, but it’s quite good for music production and parties in smaller facilities.
I know a couple of music producers that have been using Samson for a while, and I’ve never heard them complain. The whole system costs around $400, a good deal considering all the items you get for the money.
- Good value-for-money;
- Bluetooth connection;
- Two speakers, and a mixer;
- Not much power;
- Only good for smaller parties.
Best High Audio Output: Avante Audio A15
The Avante Audio A15 DJ monitor is an excellent addition to your DJ setup. It offers great performance, high power, and amazing audio output. You could use it on any occasion, from small room parties to big concerts or gigs.
The amplifier could generate 1200W at its peak, and that will be enough for the Avante Audio A15 booth speaker to produce a maximum of 124 dB, which is pretty loud! The highest dB output on the list was 95 so far.
The cool thing about this monitor is the built-in Digital System Processing (DSP) LED screen, which is a mathematical operation that has the purpose to improve a signal of any sort, in this case, the audio signal. However, I’ve had the opportunity to launch this speaker and I was satisfied.
The build looks pretty firm and I like what’s on the inside as well. The speaker packs a 15” woofer to deliver defined bass, and a 2.5” voice coil. Now, the voice coil’s size matters, because the bigger it is, the more power it can handle.
This monitor has flexible inputs, two RCA entrances, and a ¼” XLR combo jack. The design is a bit robust but easy to carry around as it weighs only 42 lbs.
It comes at a reasonable price and my advice to you would be to at least give it a look.
- High output (124 dB);
- Digital System Processing (DSP);
- 15” woofer;
- Good connectivity;
- Robust design;
- No Bluetooth connection.
Best Traditional Speaker: RCF HD10-A-MK4
RCF has been a market player since 1949. We’ve all come across some of their products, whether we know it or not. Most clubs used to equip their facilities with RCF speakers, and there’s a good reason for that.
The RCF HD10-A-MK4 DJ booth monitor packs solid power, impressive audio output, and firm quality build.
It’s a two-way speaker, meaning it’s powered by two amps: one for the low frequencies, and one for the mids and highs. Combined, they produce 800 watts at their peak. With this amount of power, the speaker produces a maximum of 128 dB.
The inside consists of a 10” woofer, something I’m not impressed with. The sound coil, which handles the power amount, amounts to 2”, which is not great, but also not terrible.
It includes DSP (Digital System Processing), a mathematical manipulation to improve the sound signals. This will ensure that you have clear sound at high volume levels.
All in all, the speaker has a very professional old-school look and is a product that has been proven worthy many, many times before.
- Solid power (800 W at peak);
- Good audio output (128 dB);
- Digital System Processing (DSP);
- Good frequency response (50 Hz – 20 kHz)
- Not impressive woofer size (10”);
- Outmoded design;
Best DJ Booth Monitors: Buyer’s Guide
The items listed above are my personal favorites, and I’ve chosen them based on many parameters, including price, durability, loudness, etc. However, there are some things that you should personally consider when purchasing DJ booth monitors.
Set Your Budget
As you’ve probably noticed, the speakers differ in price, and that’s almost always because of their differences. When you’re setting your budget, you have to think about your needs. Don’t go around spending money on something you don’t even want.
If you’re doing some small-time DJing right now, opt for something less grandiose, and maybe one day you’ll actually have the need to purchase something fancy like the JBL Pro SRX835. Until then, find monitors that will suit your DJ set and match your budget.
If you’re looking for something reliable that will guarantee you good sound for parties and doesn’t cost a fortune, I’d say you go with the Electro-Voice EXL115.
If you’re a producer, maybe check out the Samson Expedition XP300, and if you’re looking for a cheap but durable speaker, try the Gemini AS-15BLU.
Do Your Research
I say this to every potential buyer. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for turntables, DJ controllers, or speakers, you gotta know what you’re buying! Nonetheless, DJ booth monitors are the trickiest of them all.
Your main focus here is loudness and accuracy. To recognize a good monitor speaker, you have to know a bit more about sound and power output. You read a lot about decibels and sensitivity, but do you know what they are?
The sensitivity rating is perhaps the most important feature that’s worth looking at. This feature will tell you how much sound volume you can get from a certain amount of power or electricity. Sensitivity is simple to understand once you understand the logic behind it.
If you place a sound pressure level (SPL) meter, exactly 3.2 feet away, which is the equivalent of 1 meter, you’ll be able to measure the sensitivity. Connect an amplifier that will feed it 1 watt, and see the results measured in dB: that’s the speaker’s sensitivity.
Everything below 84 dB shouldn’t be an option for you.
Other than sensitivity, which I think is the most important here, try to gather some information on frequency response, power levels. or at least learn which cables are used for what. Would you use an RCA cable to hook up a microphone? Think about it.
Best DJ Booth Speakers: Conclusion
I’m sure you have a lot of gigs to your name and there are plenty more to come. As you grow as an artist, your DJ equipment will start getting bigger and more complex. DJs rarely stick to one set of equipment, as they’re keeping up with new equipment all the time.
Your purchase should make you happy, so think twice before you settle for a pair of speakers. Choose something that will suit your needs, ears, and wallet. Don’t compromise because something’s out of stock, always make sure you’re getting what you want.
The DAS Audio Action M512A is great if you want something durable that will cover a party of over 250 people.
The Avante Audio A15 is a good choice for those that would like to save some money, but still, make sure that they get a perfect sound.
Finally, if your pockets are heavier than usual, why don’t you give a look at the JBL Pro SRX835?
Best DJ Booth Monitors: FAQ
How Do I Connect My DJ Mixer To My Speakers?
Check out the connection on the sides or on the back of your device. Most DJ mixers can be connected to a speaker or studio monitor via a male RCA mini-jack to TRS cable. It’s the same connection you’d use for your DJ headphones or studio monitors.
What Speakers Do Concerts Use?
Concerts usually use loudspeakers, also known as stage monitors, which you can often see in bars, clubs, or other similar venues. They are usually placed on a pole and elevated above the ground.