Using PA Speakers In A Home "Audiophile" Application!

Hi guys,

I am a bit inspired to explore/trial usage of a pair of PA speakers at home after i attended a live event recently. 

I looked at some Yamaha PA models and zoomed in on one that isn't too huge/heavy, relatively easy to move around perhaps. 

Are there any audiophiles here who had relative satisfaction trying such speakers at home? I am also thinking that this may not be a great idea, but, just curious at the moment.



While I do have some Peavey speakers in my workshop, but I really think hifi speakers are designed to reproduce hifi sounds and PA speakers are designed to project sound, if that makes sense?

All the best.

I’m a pro concert sound "person" (!), and a long time pro musician. Most home listening areas won’t abide Clair Brothers boxes or even La Scalas, but I use a pair of original series Mackie 350s (10" woofer) with a 92 lb Mackie woofer in my music studio (along with other small near field things) and they’re great. Titanium horn loaded tweeters and a very strong woofer. Note that most well designed pro stuff is far more efficient and tougher than nearly any home audio items. Put an uncompressed kick drum through a PA speaker and it works...put it through some home audio speakers and they’ll explode. The pro stuff is generally far less expensive also. I run clean stereo recordings through live show systems before soundcheck and just sit in the middle and note how great it sounds.

This...this is what i experienced recently at a venue before the show started (before it got packed). The sound lady was kicking up a storm with the stuff she played. I could gather that it was all some model Yamaha PA speakers, but, couldn't be sure of the front end.


As previously mentioned, several brands like JBL, Klipsch & Altec ( in the past) offer both home & pro “PA” speakers which are very sensitive, dynamic & can play loudly while still sounding quite good without straining. Often the difference between their home & pro models was primarily the cabinet style & finish & terminals for connecting to an amp.

Volti Audio Rivals use Italian made pro drivers by Faital to similar effect and look and sound great in a home environment. You may want them out. Of course, it’s a matter of taste but Their big, open & effortless dynamics bring a realistic, live sound that not many high end speakers can match.

@jonwolfpell , I have always had TAD speakers (most time spent with their sound), which is essentially a Pro Audio company before and after Andrew Jones got his hands in the mix.

More recently, it looks like Levinson (DHertz) also went down the PA route for his flagship M1 speaker. Here he is.. getting into some of his design decisions and how his drivers got custom done by a PA company...interesting talk.

Levinson may be onto something...Maybe, some of the conventional home audio hardcores are missing part of the secret sauce....

There is video on you tube of a guy who salvaged PA speakers from a venue.... The horns are massive, GE drivers (I think) and a structure to support the things. Totally impractical, but man, wouldn't it be grand... High school friend had black painted Altec Lansings which I think came from a movie theater, his dad was a Master Electrician. They could go louder than you could tolerate. Led Zep and Cream until his dad would go to the panel and pop the breaker...time to go home. Definitely high db focus, for us, at that time. They were perfect

I’ve also worked in pro sound. Though that was long ago, the general design principles remain the same today as then. The biggest advances are in DSP (digital signal processing). Some things to consider.

1) most (not all) music venues are mono - not stereo. This is because you want people everywhere to hear roughly the same sound. Given that pressure levels drop by 3 DB as you square the distance, people on the left side of the hall are not going to hear separate information on the right side of the hall. PA speakers are not designed with imaging in mind if this is important to you.

2) because of the demands for high acoustic volume, most PA speakers (even relatively large ones) will have limited low frequency extension unless you adopt a line array structure (not practical for home use). You’ll also notice how big the subs typically are (often multiple cabinets the size of a VW Bug w/ twin 18” woofers). They’re pretty poor at low bass definition (these are not the most rigid woofers because of their size) but wow can they put out the volume. However, even those huge subs don’t go to 20 hz - typically only down to 30 hz. 

3) as others previously mentioned, crossovers built in are for power handling. Many better sounding PAs use outboard crossovers with separate amps.

4) The cabinets are designed to take the abuse of the road. They’re felt covered plywood or vinyl covered plywood, or plastic. And, they ring like crazy. Because they’re driven to high volumes in larger spaces, nobody cares.

5) There’s an adage that goes something like:  full range, high output volume, high quality, or low cost: pick two.

This is not to say it’s a bad idea. There are certainly pretty good sounding PA speakers. And, many home audio speakers put more into their cabinets (looks are everything). But on balance, at a price point, home audio speakers will perform better in home than PA speakers adapted for home use. The latter will play louder with far less effort.

As others noted, some Klipsh classic horn speakers might do the trick by offering that dynamic pop. Other horn loaded speakers will likely do the same as they’re very efficient and generally easy to drive. You might also look at horn loaded monitor speakers used for mastering. They’re higher quality and can produce high volumes without stress.