* Prices may differ from that shown
As a gigging musician since the year 1843... (Ok I may be exaggerating slightly -lol!!) ... more accurately; as a gigging musician with 25 years experience I've had quite a lot of experience with PA speakers (PA in this context = Public Address System; as might be used by a band, DJ or installed in a Social Club or Church etc).
One of the better known makes of PA equipment is Peavey; in fact they have been gaining an increasing market share over the past decade, at least among the musicians and DJ's I know. The name Peavey is much uttered among the formerly mentioned; but is this acclaim justified or is it all clever marketing? Here's what Uncle Caveat Emptor thinks of Peavey PA equipment in general and of the PRO 15's specifically :-)
Valve-ue for money
There was a time when Peavey were perhaps best known among guitarists for their valve amplifiers (especially popular with country guitarists). But around a decade or so back (as I recall, during my time working in music shops) suddenly there was a 'buzz' around Peavey PA gear; both speakers and amps (solid state not valve).
If memory serves me right it was the DJ/Karaoke enthusiasts more than live bands that began to favour Peavey equipment. As time went on bands/trios/duos and solo artists (wouldn't it be good if they were called one-oes? Just kidding ;-) caught the Peavey fever too...
It's not that other PA makes weren't selling, but at the slightly budget end of the market that was perhaps formerly dominated by manufacturers like Carlsbro - Peavey gear became an increasingly popular choice.
Were Peavey's PA amps better than anything else in their price range; well, not to my ears no... but they were usually just as good as the competition - but significantly better (as some people believed) nope, not in my opinion! (Actually in terms of reliability far less Carlsbro amps came into the shop for repair than Peavey ones; though of course this was before Carlsbro moved a lot of their production to China).
Speaker to me!!
But what of the Peavey PA speakers?
(PA speakers should never be confused with hi fi/home music speakers. Hi fi speakers almost always have superior sound reproduction but good PA speakers are designed for heavy duty night after night use at gigs/venues)
...well surprisingly they (in my opinion) are (mostly) surprisingly good value for money.
Peavey PA speakers are not by any stretch of the imagination the best PA speakers I've heard or used, but for the price they do a very respectable job... But it's horses for courses; what do you need your PA speakers to do?
Punchy Or Thumpy?
The Pro 15 speakers cabinets contain (as you've no doubt already guessed -lol!) 15 inch speakers.
If you're not familiar with speaker characteristics: with PA speakers a good starting place might be this;
(speaker characteristics are a complex business without even getting into cabinet design, porting and resonant frequencies; which are outside the scope of this review, and more abuse than I care to put my typing finger through -so forgive me if I stay with the basics :-)
For 10 and 12 inch speakers -think vocal PA (a PA system where only vocals/acoustic guitars etc are put through the mixer; i.e. no bass heavy instruments). These sizes of speaker are very 'punchy' with the 12 inch speaker usually having a slightly better bass response than the slightly smaller 10 inch one.
For 15 inch speakers -expect a significantly better bass response, so they're more suitable for bass guitars/ kick drums/ discos/ full band mixes. They still work fine for vocals and guitars too, but they're not so punch as say a 12 inch PA speaker.
For 18 inch speakers; these are big, move a lot of air and are perfect for very bassy or so called 'sub bass' sounds. Not too useful for anything like vocals etc though when used without other smaller speakers though.
It is of course possible (provided you're careful matching the impedance of the speakers to that of the amp/amps to avoid over burdening the latter) to create a PA system with 12 inch speakers plus 15 inch or 18 inch speakers too (or other combinations)...
...and indeed this is what some bands/DJ's do... But many of the folks buying PA speakers just want to take a single pair of speakers to a gig (they're quite enough to carry/transport without bringing additional speakers along -lol!).
Another consideration is the horn which provides the sparkling end of the frequencies (without a high frequency horn a PA speaker would sound decidedly dull)...
..so unless a PA speaker is a special twin cone extended high frequency design (not too popular nowadays) or it's an 18 inch bass bin purely for low frequencies (see above) then it will have some sort of horn built in... as does the Peavey Pro 15.
So now you know (if you didn't already ;-) the very basics how to match the PA you want to the sound you make (your sound onstage that is; what you do in your personal life is your own business -lol!!), but let's see how the Pro 15's stack up...
The last gig I used a pair of Pro 15's at was about as good a test as any to evaluate them. It was a large function room (think social club main room size) with a fairly high ceiling and a fair bit of natural ambience to muddy everything up -lol!
We put the speakers up on stands (and the stands stood upon the elevated stage) to help project the sound better. The evening was a short DJ set followed by the band I was playing guitar with.
The Pro 15's were excellent for the DJ's CD/MP3 offerings; plenty of bass thump and a good clear(ish) mid range (even though I confess I hated most of the chart music the DJ played, but I can't blame the Pro 15 speakers for that!!). The top end wasn't exactly shimmering but it was reasonably crisp.
Then it was the band's turn. The recorded music a DJ plays is all nicely compressed and sanitised as far as volume levels are concerned, but a band can vary in dynamics in a way that no modern slickly produced pop record will; so a live band is a great challenge for any PA speaker.
Sure enough the vocals were a tad muffled - partly because a 15inch speaker just doesn't have the punch of a 10 or 12 inch, but also partly because of the room itself was so ambient, but still the vocal projection and sound weren't too bad at all considering the room acoustics.
The michrophones on the kick & snare drum from the drummer 'bumped' and 'thwacked' through quite well respectively -lol! The bass guitar and my guitar were plugged into our own separate combo (meaning amp plus speaker) amplifiers (commonly called backline) so we made quite a bit of noise on our own anyway...
but just to fill the large room better, my amp (via a mic) was fed through the PA system, and a line out was taken from the bass amp combo to the PA too.
The bass guitar sounded good through the Pro 15's though it was slightly hard to separate the backline sound from the sound emanating from the Pro 15's, but from where I was -it wasn't too shabby :-)
The guitar I think faired slightly worse and seemed a tad weak in the upper mid range (though not terribly so) despite an attempt to improve it by using the PA mixer's EQ (tone controls)... but it wasn't too bad.
I think the Pro 15's are pretty decent speakers for pubs and smaller clubs. The venue we used them at was probably a little large for just the two Pro 15 300w (RMS) speakers, but they performed quite well considering that we fed a full bands worth of instruments and vocals though them. For small gigs with just vocals and acoustic instruments I much prefer 12 inch speakers...
For full band gigs (or for DJ's) in smallish venues, I think the Pro 15's perform very well overall ... They're not breath taking but then again at sub £300 a pair neither is the price ;-)
Impedance is 4 Ohms each speaker - so if you have a stereo amplifier/powered mixer that can go down to 4 ohms per channel as many of them do - you'll get a great little PA system (if you aren't familiar with how speaker/amplifier impedance works I would strongly advise you to read up on it before buying a PA system -else buy a good fire extinguisher -lol!).
So is Peavey the last word in PA equipment -no, not in my opinion; but they're certainly well worth considering if you're on a budget!!
PS Thanks to Goosey for persuading me to come out of retirement and write the odd review again when time allows :-)
Hope you enjoyed my review and found it useful!! Thanks so much for taking the time to read it.
I have used Peavey equipment here and there for many years and when I decided to treat myself to a brand new set of speakers the Pro15 range seemed really good value for money even when they first came out. Peavey wouldn't put their name to iffy gear now would they? Hm. Anyhow my first ever brand new purchase of PA speakers was a pair of Pro15's and the matching Bass bins. Was I happy with them?...No. Are they good value for money?...No Do I wish I'd bought a decent pair of second hand HiSys?.. Yes, very definitely!
The truth is that if you are a serious about your sound then these things will just not do the biz. Hardware is awful. Piezo tweets burned out and I put in real compression horns with fabulous results. The cover rips at a touch, handles break off leaving hard sharp plastic to cut your knuckles and the crossover carrier plate is so bad that the legs holding the crossover to it would sheer off with the slightest dunt. Peavey were sending out full new crossovers on a modified plate FOC but thats not much good when you pick one up on the way in to set up for a Wedding Reception and the handle breaks off, cuts your hand, hits the deck and then you hear the crossover rattling about inside the box and you realise the painful truth that you now have only 1 speaker and your on in an hour! Time to phone a friend quickstyle. It all happened to me, but only once. Replaced the broken bits and sold them on at a loss and then bought a pair of secondhand JBL's TR125's. I'm not put off Peavey as a brand though cos I still kept my CS800 (bulletproof) amp and I still love their old 1980's Maple Bass guitars. Moral is you get what you pay for and in my opinion the prefix PRO is a joke. Might suit Bedroom DJ's but defo not for Pro Vocal P.A.
My son is in a heavy, heavy, metal band and over the course of 2 years he as gone through quite a few sets of speakers, mainly the tweeters keep blowing. I've spent countless money on repairs and replacements. Then, I bought a pair of these babies, together with a separate amp for the bass, so all of the power from his studio master goes to the tops. Its worked out fantastically. The sound is clear, but powerful, just what you'd expect from Peavey equipment, and up to now, 8 months down the line, they are still working fine. They have been knocked about quite a lot and apart from the surface of the case getting a bit fluffy, there still intact, and still look professional.
Club Managers like them because they know that they are professional and will fulfill power and volume, he as got more gigs because of this.
All in all a good buy.
I have personally used these in my band for well over a year now and they have held up reasonably well. They are carpeted exterior with a silver painted front grill covering the speaker cone. They are pretty sturdy and well built. Having used a really bad set of 100 watt p.a speakers before this these definitely feel like a step up and i'm really happy that I bought them. I do alot of shouting for my metal band and I have found they have have trouble handling a loud SPL from my Shure SM58 though and have a tendency to start clipping. This could cause issues with Direct Input instruments such as keyboards. They also give quite a middle heavy response and therefore CD's and audio input can take a bit of tweaking before they really start to sound nice and rich. Overall however I would say they are definitely worth the money.
I have already reviewed the Peavey PRO-12 speakers, which, for all purposes are the little brothers of these, the Peavey PRO-15. I will do my best not to make this review a comparison piece but I will apologise in advance if, at times, it seems I am compariong the two.
As with all Peavey products, these are high quality in build, design and audio output. The speaker cabinet is protected by strong black carpet, something which seems to be the norm when discussing professional speakers. The dimensions of these speakers are 25.6" high, 18.1" wide and 15.4" deep. Not huge, you'll agree, but big enough to make an impact wherever you set them up. They are also easy enough to transport providing you have a fair sized car or van. Lets face it, if you're a mobile DJ you really should have one or the other. The speaker itself is protected by a large metal grill which is very strong and ensures your speaker doesn't take any abuse. Weighing in at 22kg it's not exactly light but its easy to carry thanks to the plastic handles which Peavey have thoughtfully built in to either side of the speaker cabinet. The audio inputs on the speakers come in the form of two quarter inch jacks or two speakon connector inputs.
Performance wise, these are great. You get excellent clarity and the music goes very loud indeed. The Pro-15s give you 300 watts rms output which is fairly impressive for this price range (you can get a pair of these for between £250 to £300 so its worth shopping around).
As pA speakers go, you really can't go wrong with a set of Peavey's. These in particular are excellent value.