12-inch speakers provide more power than 10-inch speakers while retaining a manageable size and weight. They also pair perfectly with subwoofers if you do need more bass response. In this guide, we check out the very best options available in the 12-inch space.
A powerful and loud speaker with a warm audio profile. Excellent clarity and advanced DSP options.
A reliable and trusted speaker with a flat sound profile. High build quality, good power and lightweight.
A Detailed Review Of The Top Rated Speakers
12-inch powered speakers are often among the most popular choices for performers. Below is our selection of the best 12-inch powered speakers currently available.
Turbosound iQ12 Review
- Warm Audio Profile – The iQ12 offers up a very pleasing sound profile. Plenty of warmth while retaining solid clarity.
- Excellent DSP – The Klark Teknik DSP is fantastic. Easy to use with a range of effective presets available.
- Lightweight – At just 46 lbs. (21.1kg) this a speaker that won’t break your back. Not as light as others but an excellent balance between quality and ergonomics.
- Loud And Clean – This speaker can get very loud. Even at higher volumes, the output is still clean and clear.
- Not Cheap – The advanced DSP and high quality does come with a higher price point.
The Turbosound iQ12 is an excellent 12-inch powered speaker that packs a serious punch. It offers excellent sound across the full range. Clarity is the real highlight here. Defined lows, warm mids, and crisp highs without any muddiness.
While the price tag is high it is well worth it with excellent features and solid build quality.
Yamaha DBR12 Review
- Fantastic Clarity – Yamaha delivers excellent clarity in the DBR range of speakers. All frequencies hold a distinct presence with a very flat response.
- Yamaha Quality – The top-notch build quality behind Yamaha speakers is on full display. A reliable speaker that’s built to last.
- Ultra-Light – An impressive speaker that is still exceptionally lightweight. Perfect for quick and easy transport and setup.
- Good Power – Loud coverage with plenty of power backing it up. Smooth delivery across the full projection range.
- Might Be Too Flat For Some – The distinct Yamaha sound isn’t for everybody. You may prefer a more colored output.
The Yamaha DBR12 is just as good as the other models in the DBR range. With clear and precise audio it’s a great choice for musicians that want accuracy. Rugged and dependable while still delivering on the loudness front.
The entry-level DBR12 from Yamaha is among the best 12-inch powered speakers available today.
JBL EON 612 Review
- Excellent Clarity – The JBL EON range offers excellent audio quality. Distinct and clean highs and mids backed up by smooth lows.
- Consistent Coverage – Waveguide technology does an excellent job of smoothing output. Maximum coverage and consistency.
- Solid Build – Rugged polypropylene cabinets that are very durable. Able to handle the occasional bump while maintaining a lightweight feel.
- Good Presets – Effective EQ presets are perfect for adjusting output. Main, Monitor, Sub & Speech work as intended.
- Bluetooth Limitations – Bluetooth integration for remote EQ changes only. No ability to stream music to the speaker.
JBL consistently produces high-quality audio equipment. The EON range is no different. Sound quality is the true star. Vocals and instruments are clean and precise. The bass response is smooth without any boominess. At 126 dB these are loud enough to handle small to medium-sized venues.
An excellent all-rounder that sounds great. Excellent durability and reliability tip it over the edge as one of the best 12-inch powered speakers available.
QSC K12.2 Review
- Excellent Sound Quality – QSC continues to impress. The sound quality is fantastic with rich defined tones across the full frequency range.
- Packs A Serious Punch – This speaker is loud. Really loud. Plenty of headroom so you’re not pushing it to its limits.
- Detailed Presets – An extensive range of presets make this one of the most flexible speakers in the market.
- Clean Imaging – Excellent dispersion that delivers clean distortion-free sound. Works well in outdoor environments.
- Not Budget Friendly – Top-level quality does come with a higher price.
The QSC K12.2 is one of the best 12-inch powered speakers on the market today. There is a reason that it is often the go-to recommendation for artists. Perfect for a variety of uses. From speaking events, DJs, and bands the QSC is ready to tackle the task.
If you want premium sound quality and have the money to spend you can’t go wrong with the QSC K12.2.
Read our full QSC K12.2 review for more detailed information.
EV ETX 12P Review
- Impressive Audio Quality – The premium level ETX-12P offers outstanding audio quality. Detailed and defined at both low and high volumes. No muddy tones present.
- Easy To Use – The onboard DSP is intuitive and easy to use. Effective and useful presets that are well-tuned.
- Attractive – Clean and distinct lines with excellent materials. A professional-looking and sounding speaker.
- Plenty of Headroom – Lots of volume up your sleeve. You’ll be able to crank these up without fear of overheating.
- Expensive – The ETX-12P is very expensive. You can buy 2-3 other speakers for the same price.
The Electro-Voice ETX-12P is a fantastic 12-inch speaker. Excellent sound quality and premium build. The raw power behind these speakers is very impressive. You can easily fill a medium-sized space with loud and clear audio. They perform well outdoors as well as indoors. The only drawback is the big sticker price.
If you have the money to spend and want an exceptional speaker the ETX-12P is a great choice.
PreSonus AIR12 Review
- Clear Sound – The AIR12 lives up to its name with excellent audio clarity that sounds airy and pleasing to the ear.
- Reliable – Good component quality along with an excellent cabinet. Able to handle the rigors of frequency gig use.
- Hybrid Amplifier – The innovative amplifier delivers a smooth response that is warm and natural. No boomy lows or grating highs.
- Portability – Excellent weight for moving the speaker around. The well-crafted handle and added side support for monitor use complete the package.
- Could Be Louder – These are quieter than other speakers on this list. If you need extreme loudness this speaker will disappoint.
The PreSonus AIR range delivers a unique and pleasing listening experience thanks to the hybrid amplifier. It retains plenty of flexibility too. The range of connection points is solid and so are the tuning options. Built tough it is perfect for the working DJ or band. While it is a little light in volume the clarity and precise audio delivery make up for it.
The AIR12 is a dependable mid-level 12-inch speaker that delivers on several fronts.
Mackie Thump 12A Review
- Loud Output – The Thump delivers on its name with plenty of well….thump. The low end is meaty and pronounced and the maximum volume is high.
- Affordable Price – Aggressively priced for the entry-level market. A good choice for beginners that don’t want to spend too much on speakers.
- Easy To Set Up – Light and nimble. One person can easily carry and set the speaker up. A good choice for solo performers.
- Flexible – Use as a main speaker or as a monitor. The angular design is well executed.
- Muddy Tones – The mids and highs are not as precise as more expensive speakers. Not the best clarity.
The Mackie Thump 12A has a lot going for it. It’s very loud and delivers a satisfying low end. But, the mids and highs do let it down. Presets are good but tend to cut the low end too aggressively. But, the price point is a real head-turner.
Affordable and smart in appearance the Mackie Thump 12A is worth considering if you’re on a budget.
Mackie Thump 12A
Peavey DM112 Review
- Fantastic Audio Quality – The DM112 offers excellent audio quality. A little overbalanced in the mids and highs but at this price still well above average.
- Good Price – Speaking of price points these are well priced. Affordable and professional in appearance. A good choice for people starting out.
- Rugged Build – Solid construction with good quality components. Dependability is high on my list of priorities and these are among the best.
- Low Power – Despite a listing of 124 dB these struggle to get high in output. Ideal as a monitor or for smaller gigs.
- Odd Sub Configuration – You can’t run two of these with one sub. Each speaker will require its own sub.
The Peavey DM112 is a solid 12-inch powered speaker that is ideal for intimate gigs or as a monitor. The sound quality is impressive with clean and distinct tones. The solid front metal grille coupled with the rugged cabinet offers plenty of heft.
If you need a dependable speaker and don’t need epic volume levels the DM112 is a solid option.
Behringer Eurolive B112D Review
- Nice Sound Profile – The B112D from Behringer offers very good audio quality. Clean mids and highs with a decent low-end response.
- Surprisingly Resilient – For a cheap speaker these last the distance. Especially if they are not pushed to their max.
- Light – At just 26 lbs. (11.79kg) these are very easy to transport. Added carry handles make it even easier.
- 2 Band EQ – High and Low tuning knobs give you control over the output. The response is sharp and clean.
- Feels Fragile – The lightweight cabinet doesn’t inspire confidence. Despite this, there have been few reports of failed units.
The Behringer Eurolive B112D is an impressive speaker with an excellent price. A pair of these can come in at less than one solitary top from other brands. But, you won’t have the same level of quality. The sound delivery is surprisingly good as well and better than most would expect from a budget brand.
If you need a cheap 12-inch powered speaker the Behringer B112D is an excellent option.
Behringer Eurolive B112D
Alto TX312 Review
- Respectable Sound – At this price the Alto overperforms. Clean and precise with no distortion and plenty of headroom.
- Bargain Price – The TX range from Alto offers an aggressively priced range of speakers. A solid entry point if you don’t have much to spend.
- Ergonomic – The dual handles and low weight lend the TX312 to easy setup and transport.
- Build Quality – Component quality is not amazing. Make sure your purchase comes with a warranty in case of early failure.
- Needs Tuning – Out of the box, the output is not balanced. No tuning options mean you’ll need to connect to an external board for adjustments.
The Alto TX312 is an affordable entry-level 12-inch powered speaker. It is loud and powerful and offers decent sound quality. While not as refined as more expensive speakers it’s hard to fault due to the low price. It’s attractive and pole mountable.
Despite some durability concerns, it’s a capable speaker at a great price.
Our Expert Buying Guide
There are a few things worth factoring in beyond the standard sound quality and build quality considerations. If you’re interested in buying some 12-inch powered speakers make sure to consider the below.
What Accessories Do You Need?
Buying a speaker is just one piece of the puzzle. You’ll also need to consider any accessories you may need. Below is a list of the top 3 accessories to consider picking up when buying your speaker.
Cables – High-quality cables are a must if you want to get the most out of your speaker. This is one area where it is not ideal to look at budget options. Good quality cables will not only help with audio quality but they’ll also last you a long time.
Good quality cables are an important part of your sound setup.
Stand – Unless you intend on using the speaker as a monitor you’ll need a stand. Most modern speakers have a standardized pole mount size. But it is worth checking that the stand you are buying is compatible with the speaker you intend to buy. Another thing to consider is if the speaker can be angle mounted. This is especially useful if you are on a stage and want to direct the music to the audience at ground level.
Protection – If you do transport your speaker regularly it is worth picking up a bag to protect the speaker from dust and accidental dings.
Coverage is a vital component to establishing your setup. Most speakers offer 90-degree horizontal coverage and 60-degree vertical coverage. Knowing this can ensure that you avoid any dead spots when setting up for your gig.
It is usually best practice to have a pair of speakers facing inwards towards the crowd and at head height. One on either side is usually enough for most gig scenarios. This gives you the best chance of covering the entire dancefloor with even sound.
Some speakers offer broader coverage which is worth considering if you have a larger or more awkward space to fill. Utilizing stands is the best way to adjust speaker placement and height.
The last thing you want is for dead zones on the dancefloor or uneven sound coverage.
Adapting To Different Gigs
As a working music professional adaptability is a key skill you’ll need to learn. Every gig will be different. You’ll deal with different promoters or customers. Different venue types. Different crowds and different expectations.
Each gig will bring unique setup challenges that you’ll have to overcome.
Understanding all these components can help you determine what features you’ll need from your speaker. If you use your speakers for a variety of tasks you’ll want a good DSP. This allows you to customize the output to suit the task at hand. If you primarily play in clubs and bars you’ll likely need to prioritize speakers that offer good volume and plenty of headroom.
Talking with the promoter or customer can save you lots of headaches during setup. You can come prepared and adjust to the environment. This allows you to not only meet but potentially exceed expectations. This can lead to more bookings.
Are Powered Or Passive Speakers Better?
Passive speakers give you greater flexibility to customize your setup. But powered speakers are easier to use. They have dedicated amps specific to the speaker. This allows you to push them harder without the fear of damaging them as you might with passive speakers.
Do Speakers Use Power When Not In Use?
A plugged in powered speaker will draw some power. The amount of power it draws is minimal when there is no signal.
Which One Should You Buy?
There are plenty of outstanding 12-inch powered speakers available today. All the options in the list above are worthy contenders. And while it is hard to pick a favorite the Turbosound iQ12 is a standout. It offers an advanced design with premium sound quality. Easy to use, very loud, and excellent durability. While a bit on the expensive side it’s a speaker that won’t disappoint.