Monday, December 28, 2015

Pyle-Pro PPHP103MU Powered PA Speaker Review

Howdy!

I have plenty of big and powerful PA equipment, but it is expensive and is not exactly the kind of stuff I want to be loaning out or letting out of my sight. Recently I got a few Pyle-Pro PPHP103MU powered PA speakers, and for the money they seem to be pretty capable and easy to use.

You may remember Pyle as the company that made those mediocre yet big, thumpy, and cheap car speakers back in the 1980s. Well, it turns out that nowadays they crank out mediocre yet amazingly low priced pro audio equipment that is generally good enough to get the job done.

The Pyle speakers we are looking at today are reasonably-sized and easy enough to tote around. They have blow-molded ABS plastic cabinets that measure around 12 x 22 x 15 inches, and they only weigh about 22 pounds each. There are also handles molded into the sides and top that make it a little easier to hoist them onto speaker stands, and there is a 35mm socket in the bottom of the cabinet. Also, they are shaped so that the speakers can be laid on their side to use as floor monitors.

These are powered speakers, so there is no external amplification needed, but how much power they actually put out is kind of a mystery. Pyle rates them at 800 watts peak / 400 watts RMS, and Amazon rates them at 600 watts peak / 300 watts RMS. I am more inclined to believe the lower numbers, as these things are not deafeningly loud. This power is routed through a 10-inch woofer and a 1-inch titanium driver tweeter. Depending where you look, the frequency spec number are almost as murky, with lows down to either 40 or 45 Hz and highs up to 20kHz, with a crossover at 2.0 kHz.

There is plenty of stuff going on around the back side of these speakers, and a casual user could easily get away without having to use a separate mixing board. There is a channel with an XLR input and a ¼-inch jack, and another with an XLR and RCA inputs. Both of these have their own level controls, but no dedicated EQ or gain knobs. Master controls are treble and bass cut knobs, and a master volume knob. There is also a ¼-inch line out for your other speaker, a power switch, the 110V/220V selector switch, and an IEC power cable socket.

Then there is a completely separate third channel for all kinds of electrical junk. There is a 1/8-inch input jack, an SD card slot and a USB port with an LCD display and controls so that MP3 files can be played back. This channel has its own level control, too. The USB port acts as a charger port, and it is possible to use this unit to record your performance directly onto a flash drive or SD card as a .wav file. I have not tried that feature, so I do not know how well that actually works.

But the rest of the features on the Pyle PPHP103MU speakers work fine. They are light and easy to set-up, and I was able to (over the phone) walk a friend through getting everything plugged in and it worked fine when she was done. They have reasonable power output, and a pair of these would do fine for karaoke or a small house party. Anything more than that (big room or loud band), and the these cabs would have to strain to keep up. The XLR inputs do not seem to have phantom power, so condenser mics will be a no-go here.

They seem to have about the same build quality as all of the other plastic entry-level speakers on the market, so they should be durable enough for casual use, but you would not want to take them on tour. I have loaned them out a few times and they came back no worse for wear, so that is a good sign.

The best thing about the Pyle-Pro PPHP103MU powered PA speakers is that they are dirt cheap. They have a list price of $420.99, and nobody on the internet is charging more than $150 each for them. At that price, if you get a dozen gigs or parties out of them you have gotten more than your money’s worth.

Mahalo!

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