Hands-On Review:Peavey PR Series PA Cabs

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Peavey PR Series PA Cabs

Low-cost speakers that sound like a million bucks.

By Gerald Newman

I could be a Peavey celebrity endorser, if only I were a celebrity. The endorsement part comes easy. I have played through a TNT bass amp for years. It has been solid, super reliable, and its Black Widow speaker has held up extremely well. I've used a Peavey CS power amp for even longer. It has been such a reliable workhorse I may never have to replace it. I also own a Peavey guitar-a Wolfgang model. This one I bought recently simply because I liked its style. It's a nifty little guitar and plays great.



It's not that I'm a Peavey fanatic. It has just happened that when I needed a piece of gear, Peavey was there with a competitive price, a name I trusted, and a product I liked. But the performance of these Peavey products over the years has made me a believer. I was, therefore, quite willing to do a hands-on review of their PR Series speakers. They are firmly in the affordable range, and if they proved to have anywhere near the quality, reliability, and durability I had come to expect from Peavey, they would be a terrific deal and speakers I could easily recommend.


A trio at my door
I was delivered three sets of speakers: PR 10s, PR 12s, and PR 15s. All are passive two-ways in molded polypropylene cabinets and are pretty much identical except for cabinet and woofer size. Lifting them out of the cartons, I was immediately impressed by how light they are. The small one is only 25 lbs., the weight of a medium-sized dog. The big dog PR 15 is under 40 lbs. One person can pack a pair of PR 15s without making two trips.


Since their horn is molded into the cabinet, all the weight is in the woofer, hi driver, crossover, and the grille. This means that while their overall weight is low, the woofer and driver are fairly beefy-always a good sign. Weight isn't the ultimate issue-you choose speakers for sound quality-but the best case scenario is that they sound great and are light, too. If the PRs sounded good, their easiness on the old back would make them very attractive.


I began plugging in each set and putting them through my grueling "ear test." I always use my Steely Dan's Aja CD for sound check purposes. I'm familiar with it and it is so cleanly recorded that it gives me excellent feedback. When it sounds clear and defined you know the speakers are earning a thumbs-up.


The studio test
First I plugged in the little guys and brought the system up. I was immediately greeted by a clear, balanced, and surprisingly full-range sound with no weak spots that I could detect. I pushed them a little and the PR 10s responded nicely, so I pushed them a little more. They were putting out a sound that filled the room. I tweaked the EQ which was set for my regular boxes, then upped the volume a little more. No problem. By this time, the PR 10s were pumping out an amazing volume and staying completely on top of it.


I was afraid of toasting them until I checked their power handling and was put at ease: 200W continuous, 400W program, and 800W peak. Those are good numbers for a box with a 10" woofer, and an indication that the drivers are the heavy-duty good kind, not off-the-shelf cheapies. They're Peavey designed, not generic brands.


Looking at the specs again, I learned that the low driver has a 2" coil, and the high end is handled by a 1" compression driver with a 1.4" titanium diaphragm. They perform well and should hold up in the Peavey tradition. A set of PR 10s on polemounts will serve up vocals to quite a large crowd with ease. They would also make great side monitors for loud bands.


Next up, the PR 12 & PR 15
These speakers performed just as well, the only difference being that each added more low end. The PR 12 kicks butt for such a small box, and a pair would be ample as mains for groups that don't use heavy drum 'n' bass. For full-tilt bands, a pair of PR 15s for mains would suffice nicely, and you could use a pair of PR 10s for monitors. It would be a great system and very affordable.


Musician's Friend told me that the PR speakers are among their fastest-selling products. It's easy to find use comments on the Web. Check 'em out. You'll find them overwhelmingly favorable ... in fact, most of them rave about how good the PRs are.


PRs live onstage!
I wanted to hear the speakers in a real performance situation. With a little calling around, I found a young local band called The Skuds that uses a pair of PR 15s for mains. They invited me to hear both the band and the speakers at a youth center dance gig.


A few nights later, I braved teen spirit so thick you could cut it with a knife. The band was really loud and had more energy than polish, but the crowd loved them. As for the speakers, they acquitted themselves nicely. The band's tech was proud of the sound he got from their system and gave the PR 15s much of the credit. They had worked perfectly for the entire six months the band had been performing.


I left feeling that the scene had been uplifting: young guys seriously into their music, and dependable Peavey still providing excellent gear at affordable prices to help them live their dream.



Features & Specs:



PR Series
Shared features:
  • 2-way passive system
  • 14XT compression driver with 1.4" titanium diaphragm and 1" exit
  • Premium Peavey-designed woofers
  • 90°x40° constant directivity horn
  • Tweeter protection
  • Heavy-duty crossover
  • Lightweight molded polypropylene enclosure
  • Molded-in polemount
  • 400W handling/800W peak
PR 10PR 12PR 15
  • 10" premium, 2" voice coil woofer
  • 14"W x 19"H x 13-2/5"D
  • 25 lbs.
  • 12" premium, 2" voice coil woofer
  • 18-1/4"W x 24"H x 14-1/2"D
  • 30 lbs.
  • 15" premium, 2" voice coil woofer
  • 22"W x 29"H x 17-1/10"D
  • 37 lbs.