Guide to Powered Stage Monitors

March 27, 2012

Powered stage monitors aren’t just for bands who lug their own P.A. systems to gigs. For even if you perform at club venues with installed house systems, you may desire more articulation, separation, and/or volume levels for critical instruments. For example, one of my bands has a cajon player instead of a trap drummer, and if the band can’t hear her, we all collapse into a stuttering jumble of off-therails rhythms. So when a house monitor mixer can’t or won’t bring up the cajon to a comfortable reference volume for the band, we break out our own trusty powered monitor speaker, split the cajon mic to the house system and the stage monitor via a stereo mic preamp, and crank the groove until everyone is nodding their heads in rhythmic bliss. Many powered stage monitors can also do multiple duties as mains for small venues, side fills for huge stages, and expanded frequency range playback systems for laptop guitarists. Here’s a sampling of some excellent performers at various price points.


Profile: Wedge or main
Power: 625 watts
Speakers: 15" woofer, 1" neodymium compression driver
Goodies: Onboard EQ (bass/treble), limiter, 3-channel mixer.
Price: $699 street

Behringer Eurolive F1220A

Profile: Wedge
Power: 125 wattsv Speakers: 12" woofer, 1" HF driver
Goodies: Feedback filter, limiter, mic/line input with volume control, 3-band EQ.
Price: $217 street

Yorkville YX15P

Profile: Wedge or main
Power: 200 watts
Speakers: 15" ceramic woofer, 1.4" HF aluminum driver
Goodies: Two XLR/1/4" combi jacks, 3-band EQ, limiter.
Price: $480 street

Yamaha DXR12

Profile: Wedge or main
Power: 1,100 watts
Speakers: 12" woofer, 1" HF titanium driver
Goodies: New at NAMM 2012, XLR, 1/4", and RCA inputs, 3-channel mixer.
Price: TBD

Mackie SRM150

Profile: Mini, mic stand mountable
Power: 150 watts
Speakers: 5.25" neodymium driver
Goodies: TRS (2) and RCA inputs, 3-channel mixer, 3-band EQ, phantom power.
Price: $246

Samson Live 612M

Profile: Wedge
Power: 300 watts
Speakers: 12" woofer, 1" titanium compression driver
Goodies: XLR input, 2-band EQ, limiter.
Price: $349

Carvin PM15A

Profile: Wedge or main
Power: 400 watts
Speakers: 15" woofer, 1" H F titanium driver
Goodies: Three inputs (XLR, 1/4", RCA ), 3-band EQ.
Price: $319 direct

Line 6 StageSource L3t

Profile: Wedge or main
Power: 1,400 watts
Speakers: 2x10" woofers, 1" compression driver
Goodies: New at NAMM 2012, feedback suppression, smart speaker mode (orients output for P.A., floor monitor, electric and acoustic guitar, playback, and keyboards), onboard effects, mixer.
Price: $1,199 street

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