Passive Stage Monitors: Flexibility With Amplification

Nine makers for passive models, ranging from Peavey, D.A.S. Audio, Yamaha, EAW, Yorkville, Electro-Voice, JBL, K-Array, and Turbosound offer quality monitors ideal for a worship space.

You and your church have already invested in amplifiers.

With a plan to utilize stage monitors for a setup at your church, the thought is to opt for such a combination for the next few years at least.

Portability could be easier with a passive stage monitor, without the issue of added weight from the amplifier being built in.

While active stage monitors might be a worthy option in certain setups, having invested in amps makes the passive option one that would logically be the one to lean toward, at least for now.

If interested in active stage monitors, review the Worship Tech Director slideshow featuring nine such models highlighted earlier this year, on Feb. 22: Active Stage Monitors: Simplicity In One Package

The inherent belief with active stage monitors is that by having the amplifier already encased in each speaker, there is a certain convenience. But if you have a preferred sound that is specifically already offered by a series of separate amps that you already have on hand, you have the ability to test out the right match for the passive stage monitors, versus being tied to what has been designed as the appropriate match with active stage monitors.

In addition, by having the speaker and amplifier separate, it provides a greater likelihood that when it comes time to need to move the speaker, portability could be easier, without the issue of added weight from the amplifier being paired in the same enclosure. That portability also made easier by avoiding to have to contend with power cables, versus only having to connect only speaker cables that are typical with passive systems.

When deciding on the size of the passive stage monitor, particularly the low frequency drivers in each speaker, it comes down to what sort of instrumentation will be handled on the stage within your worship space. If it's a mix of vocals, keyboards and guitars, for instance, a monitor using a 8- to 12-inch low frequency driver should definitely do the task. But if there is a significant amount of drums or bass guitar that is needing to be reproduced on stage, then the slightly larger woofers may be needed, i.e., 12 inches, and in some rare instances, up to 15 inches. To decide on what woofer size is ideally suited for your needs in the worship space, it would be best to receive feedback from an integrator.

For those you interested in investigating further some of the passive models on the market, here are nine models worth checking out (the slideshow with this article
provides a series of specs for the nine models discussed here). There are three models each in the three different price tiers, with the least expensive tier running $500 or less, the middle tier running between $500 to $1,250, and the third tier with the models running from $1,250 and up.

Beginning with the tier with price ranges below $500, the full-range Peavey SP 15M features a 15-inch woofer, paired with a compression driver with a titanium diaphragm. To help run the speaker as a monitor, each unit includes a baffle angle of either 30 degrees or 45 degrees. Power handling on the speaker runs from 1,000 watts program to2,000 watts peak. In a similar way, the D.A.S. Audio Action M12 includes a compression driver with a titanium diaphragm, but is paired with a 12-inch low-frequency driver. In addition, both the Peavey and the D.A.S. monitors are stand mountable. The power handling for the Action M12 stands at 300 watts RMS, and 1,200 watts peak at 8 ohms. The third monitor in this group, the Yamaha A12M features a maximum power rating of 600 watts and 300 watts program at 8 watts, thanks to a 12-inch low-frequency driver, and a one-inch high-frequency driver. As with the other two, the Yamaha stage monitors have the ability of being pole mountable.

For the middle group, that comprises of the EAW VFM159i, Yorkville E1152 and Electro-Voice TX-1152FM. The EAW stage monitor features a 15-inch low frequency driver, and a 1.75-inch voice coil high frequency compression driver. If the monitor is chosen to be connected with NL4 connectors, the EAW VFM159i is designed with connections on both sides, along with the ability for pole mounting, if that is needed. The EAW monitor has power handling capabilities of up to 600 watts at 8 watts, and a floor angle of 37 degrees. For the Yorkville E1152, the speaker runs up to 4,000 watts and 2,000 watts program at 4 ohms, courtesy of a 15-inch neodymium woofer and a 3-inch titanium high frequency driver. The last of this middle trio is the Electro-Voice TX-1152FM, one of the more highly recommended passive monitors on the market. Featuring an ultra-low distortion SMX2151 low-frequency driver paired with a 1.25-inch titanium high frequency driver, the Electro-Voice monitor is capable of 500 watts RMS, and up to 2,000 watts peak, at 8 ohms. Ideal for high-quality vocal and instrument applications, providing a very smooth response in the vocal range, and incorporates built-in protection with an advanced fourth-order crossover. For ideal setup on stage, the TX-1152FM has symmetrical 55 degree enclosure angles.

Finally, in the trio that includes the JBL VRX915M, K-Array KM8 and Turbosound Flashline TFM122M, each stand out for their powerful capabilities. That includes the Turbosound Flashline TFM122M monitor, featuring a 12-inch woofer, and is capable of 1,400 peak power, along with 350 watts continuous. The woofer is a carbon fiber-loaded 12-inch neodymium driver, with the high-frequency driver, also a neodymium driver, which is a 1-inch titanium dome. The TFM122M offers a 35 degree projection angle, which helps with its low profile, key for maintaining audience sightlines. Then with the K-Array KM8, it stands out with an impressive performance to size ratio, with an 8-inch ultra-long excursion bass driver. Covering the high frequencies is a pair of neodymium motor 1.75-inch voice coil compression drivers. With the dispersion technology of the KM8, it increases the area for which a constant sound pressure level and frequency response can be maintained. The result is variable vertical coverage and wide horizontal coverage. The final monitor of this group of nine is the JBL VRX915M. An incredibly powerful monitor, the VRX915M offers a peak power rating of 3,200 watts, with a continuous rating of 800 watts. With a 15-inch Differential Drive woofer, and a 1.5-inch high frequency compression driver, the full-range speaker handles a frequency response between 70 Hz and 20 kHz. Like a few others in this group of nine, it serves as ideal for stages, with a height of 14.75 inches. Loop through connections can be achieved with the VRX915M with NL4 input connections on each of the handle cups.

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