Those of you who follow me on Facebook know that a couple of weeks ago, I abused everyone at Coffey Music while selecting a pair of speakers to replace my aging Peavey 1510HTs. I wanted something much lighter that still sounded good, and I couldn't spend a lot of money. That pretty much ruled out my first choice, the incredible QSC K12. My budget also ruled out pretty much any of the modern powered speakers. I had also considered Mackie Thumps, Carvins, Behringers, and a few others, but the bottom line is that I wanted to be able to listen to these before buying. That left me the choice of the Peavey PVx speakers, and the only choice was the size -- 12" or 15". After listening to the two, it was clear that the 15s sounded much better. Once home, I did some additional testing, pairing the PVx 15s with the low frequency section of the 1510HTs, crossing over between the "subwoofers" and the mains at 100Hz, and driving the whole rig with a QSC GX3 power amp. The combination was really pretty impressive. Very good clarity and a satisfying amount of thump.
So now we fast forward to this past weekend, and my first real-world use of the new speakers, this time paired with a Mackie powered 18" sub and using the same GX3 to power the Peaveys, doing sound for The Dixon Ulmer Band at a private, outdoor party. Generally speaking, the PA sounded great. Out in the open, the PVx 15s have a little bit of a bark to them, but certainly nothing that couldn't be taken care of with a little EQ tweaking. Over all, the system was loud and clear, with possibly a little too much bass from the Mackie sub.
I have only three, minor complaints with the new speakers, all pretty minor:
- Peavey elected to not put any damping material in the cabinets. I think this is why they tend to sound a little boxy -- the bark I mentioned previously. This is easily remedied by installing some polyfiber batting inside the speaker cabinet.
- The stand pole pockets are a smaller than they should be -- it takes two to get the speakers off the stand, or a good shaking to loosen up the stand. I'm figuring this will take care of itself with use.
- The speakers are equipped with parallel-wired pass-thru input connectors, which is fine. Unfortunately, Peavey chose to use one 4-pin Speakon connector and one 1/4" TS jack. I can't see that it would have cost that much more to use a pair of Speakon/1/4" combo jacks.
What's my final verdict? I would say that if you're on a budget and need some decent sounding PA speakers that won't break the bank or your back, you'll be hard-pressed to go too far wrong with a pair of PVx 15s. Just be sure to observe the power handling and don't over power them, and they should treat you well.
Next up for PA purchases will be a replacement for the GX3 (it's and old design and weighs a ton). I'm thinking of either a Peavey IPR2-2000 or a Carvin HD3000.