Best Powered PA Systems

If you’re looking to upgrade from a small PA system, then full-featured powered mixers are a great place to start. You won’t have to worry about purchasing both a mixer and power amp as they’re combined into one compact and lightweight package.

Powered Vs. Unpowered

If you’re looking to upgrade from a small PA system, then full-featured powered mixers are a great place to start. You won’t have to worry about purchasing both a mixer and power amp as they’re combined into one compact and lightweight package.

The following five PA systems are all compact, easily portable, and weigh under 50lbs., so you know you won’t wear yourself out carrying these around to all your gigs (although the same can’t be said about most tube amps or drum sets).

Our choices for the top powered PA Systems:


Behringer Europower PMP6000

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Overview

Starting at $599

True to form, Behringer’s Europower PMP6000 1600W 20-channel powered mixer is the most affordable PA in this review, and its feature set keeps up with models double in price. The PMP6000 provides ample power and inputs for any small to mid-sized venue looking for powerful mixing capabilities, loud volume levels, and a wide range of onboard effects while still on a budget.

Pros
  • 800W + 800W
  • 12 mic/line inputs
  • 4 stereo line inputs
  • FBQ feedback detection system
  • XPQ stereo widening
  • Dual digital effects processor with over 100 effects, more than any other PA reviewed
Cons
  • The only PA reviewed with a 7-band graphic EQ for main and monitor outputs (all other PAs have 9-band graphic EQs)
  • Only 2 speaker outputs.
  • No input for a lamp

Yamaha EMX5016CF

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Overview

Starts at $999.99

If you find yourself reaching for compression more often than not when doing live sound, then Yamaha’s EMX5016CF 1000W 16-channel powered mixer has your name on it. With built-in compressors on the first eight channels and a three-band stereo maximizer on the main mix bus, the EMX5016CF let’s you compress just about everything.

Pros
  • 9-band graphic EQ with instant recall of 3 user presets and a Frequency Response Correction system to tune your EQ to the room
  • 8 mic/line inputs
  • 4 mic or stereo line inputs
  • Built-in stereo 3-band maximizer for the mix bus
  • Built-in compressors on mic/line inputs 1-8
  • Feedback suppressor
  • Dual SPX digital effects processors with 16 effects each
Cons
  • Smallest power amplifier (500W + 500W)
  • Shortest warranty (1-year)
  • No separate graphic EQ for the monitor section

Mackie PPM1012

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Overview

Starts at $1099.99

Mackie, otherwise known as LOUD Technologies Inc., stays true to its LOUD namesake with the PPM1012 1600W 12-channel powered mixer. While this unit has a limited number of inputs, it excels in delivering lots of power and features better mic preamps than other powered PAs for higher sound quality.

Pros
  • 800W + 800W
  • Dual digital effects processors with 24 effects, including tap button for customized delay times
  • 2 stereo line inputs
  • Built-in compression for channels 1-6
  • Hi-Z instrument connections on 2 channels to DI instruments straight to the PA
Cons
  • Only 8 mic/line inputs
  • No feedback detection or suppression

Peavey XR1220

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Overview

Starting at $1199.95

If your primary concern is input count, then Peavey’s XR1220 1200W 20-channel powered mixer will deliver. There aren’t many artist setups that the XR1220 can’t handle save the most elaborate situations.

Pros
  • 600W + 600W
  • 18 mic/line inputs
  • 2 mic/stereo line inputs
  • 4-band EQ on channels 1-18, including a unique Mid-morph EQ which changes the ratio of high mids to low mids
  • Feedback Ferret feedback suppressor
  • Separate L/R master faders
  • Digital effect send with tap button for customized delay times
  • Auto EQ with input for an RTA (real time analyzer) mic to tune the EQ to your room
Cons
  • Only has 1 effect send (all other models reviewed have 2)
  • No lamp input