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 the Merman’s use some "PA" components, they are quite unlike any other speakers I’ve heard in their presentation, soundstage, and imaging. And don’t even get me started on dynamic impact! It is uncanny and anyone is welcome to come by and hear it for themselves if you get down to Orange County, CA.

And, I have and have heard plenty. I currently have JBL L200/300s, JBL L112s, tri-amped, one-off, Altec Big Red Supers, Chartwell LS3/5As, and others. None can hold a candle to the impact, detail, and 3D imaging of the Mermans.

Currently in my system I am using some touring level outboard gear with what I think are excellent results. I am not using touring level speakers but I have been wanting to compare some of Meyer Sound Labs products like the UPM-1P, UltraX20 and the UltraX40 with what I have for quite awhile. The problem is that I enjoy what I have, so I am having a difficult time getting out of my lazy chair to do the comparison.

I think that touring level pro gear can be unfairly maligned and I’m not sure how many people have done actual comparisons with high end audio gear. I also think that there is a significant difference in sound quality between touring level pro gear and club level pro gear. I would never consider using club level pro gear in my system.


you are correct that there is a large gap between touring and club level gear. The former is much better. But the gear is still designed to play loud and clear, but it will not be as flat in frequency response, nor will it reach as low, or image as well. There is not some magic engineering in pro PA gear that isn’t known by home audio designers. Engineering is engineering.

You can make a PA speaker that can play loud and clear, but to also make it full range, with a cabinet that doesn’t ring (adding distortion, smearing imaging and tone), will cost too much for that market.  

It isn’t done because other factors are more important (weather resistance, durability (when you literally hit it with 5000 watts), ability to play at >110 DB (and higher) and throw that sound a long way. It must hold up to being set up and ttaken down regularly and thrown into a truck without having to worrry about marring the cabinet. But more important than anything else is reliability.  Companies that support big name bands must be able to put on the show no matter what. Reliability under any conditions outweighs everything else. Literally everything.

Could that speaker be engineered? Probably - but I’m not sure. Would it cost what a sound company is willing to pay? Not a chance.  I don’t want to suggest I know all there is to know in this space. Relative to some, I’m a newbie. But I do know that pro-audio gear and home audio gear are two entirely different markets and the gear is designed accordingly. If you want loud and impact, then seek a home audio speaker system that’s based around horns (Klipshorns or something like that?). Yes, you can employ Meyers sound speakers (they’re quite good) at home, but they (probably) won’t offer the fidelity of most any similarly price home audio speaker.

And, if you need reinforcement on the idea that it’s hard to design a speaker that can play loud - and low? Just look at the spec sheets for any of the ones you posted. I did a quick review - none play below 50 hz - a level achieved by even the small home bookshelf speakers.



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.

I am not sure why a well designed PA speaker with a decent off axis response and dispersion characteristics shouldn’t image just as good in a stereo setting. Image depth/perception of layering, etc gets killed largely by the likes of goofy PA amps like Crown, etc. But, hifi amps and dacs should address that.

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.

IMO, it is good that they don’t have low bass extension. “Full range” is essentially a problem speaker catered to old school audiophiles who don’t wanna deal with subs. Loads of low bass output/extension in the inevitably “wrong location” for bass, ( i.e. the optimal location for a speaker’s imaging) leads to room chaos/ modal hell in a home setting…Not to mention the fact that cabinet costs have to soar exponentially now to contain some chaos when adding octaves on the low end. Subwoofers (modal treatment devices, not just for low end extension) in the right locations are the right tool to address bass extension and modal hell.


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

This…I’m not entirely sure because I’ve never dissected crossovers in any higher quality passive PA speaker. But, I would think they play it conservative/safe with the crossover points to mitigate heat and mechanical distress for the drivers at high SPLs (lot more so than in home speakers). The quality of the crossover components themselves can play into how much detail can be perceived, etc. That may be the only compromise if corners get cut.

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.

Well, it appears that the speaker the sample speaker I linked on the OP appears to be made of Finnish birch! all the way from Finland!! I’ll sand it down a bit and give it a nice rustic wood stain, make it look pretty. 😁


On the video link I posted above, Levinson is charging audiophiles a measly 100k (!) for what I’m essentially reading as a Pro audio speaker with a nicer looking cabinet and so on. My hope is there are some diamonds hiding in the humongous list of PA speakers out there that would shine at a much lower cost, if the audiophile ethos for front end electronics, room, etc are applied.

I always run PA systems in mono sometimes with a little stereo reverb to make people think they’re having more fun, and the soundcheck stereo thing is for my own amusement...if you mixed an act in stereo, even relatively small venues, people on the edges would deserve a ticket refund and the crowd could riot and burn the place down.