JBL PRX vs. SRX – Which One to Choose? (Difference Explained)

jbl prx and srx series - two different models, product image

If you’re about to choose between the JBL PRX and SRX series, you probably know for which purpose you will use it. 

You’ll see good feedback on the SRX 800 series on the internet, but you won’t find much on the PRX 800 series.

Even though the SRX sounds very noticeably better, and the SRX stuff is hands down the best gear before you hop into the big boy world, PRX is also extremely durable and quality.

Between two clubs I DJ at, we have ten of the older PRX 715s and they’re all still going strong for four years. 

They get used for live music seven days a week, both as monitors and mains.

Is it worth buying the more expensive SRX? What are the differences in real life, not according to the specs? Do you need subwoofers with these?

In this article, I’ll explain everything you need to know.

Why SRX Series is Better

The two have noticeably different sound qualities.

For the past few years, I’ve had a pair of PRXs, and they’ve been fantastic. But I recently purchased a pair of SRX, and they sound better.

  • The highs are sharper without being harsh,
  • The bass is crisper,
  • The mids are warmer and punchier.

Even while the PRX speakers are still excellent, once you hear the SRX speakers, you’ll never want to go back.

Without even coming near to limiting, the volume alone sounds twice as loud as PRX.

  • The HF driver and the digital processing are improved in the SRX components.
  • Compared to the PRX system, the SRX system will sound better and have more output. There is little doubt that the SRX series is a higher-level product line, although it is debatable whether that will matter in your application.

For example, the SRX815s are surprisingly good at the low end, so depending on your demands, you might find them sufficient without subs for smaller performances. In addition, because it can be mounted on a pole or stand, it provides a more portable alternative than the 835.

Best of JBL PRX and SRX series in 2022

PRX Series

jbl prx series on stage

The PRX800W Powered Series is an advanced powered speaker that can be controlled wirelessly from an iPad or Android device. 

Setup is quick and easy, and adjustments can be made while listening to the actual sound on stage or in the audience, allowing you to build a high-quality PA system. 

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The sound quality is also excellent, delivering class-leading sound to every corner of the venue.

The PRX ONE is an all-in-one PA system for quality PA. It integrates speakers, power amplifiers, mixers, effectors, and outboards in a compact package.

PRX One (check specs on Amazon) delivers clear sound quality and powerful sound to the entire venue, which is unimaginable from the ease of assembly. 

In addition, the high-performance DSP allows for a wide variety of sound creation, from sound quality correction to production with effects. 

It is ideal for temporary PAs in venues with high sound quality and musical demands or in harsh acoustic environments. 

It is also useful for banquets, halls, and other facilities where space is limited.

The PRX400 Series is a speaker system that delivers natural, clear sound quality with minimal distortion. 

Its superior sound quality and high output sound pressure make it ideal for various applications and professional use.

SRX series

JBL SRX speakers on stage

The SRX800 Powered Series is equipped with selected drivers and CROWN power amplifiers to achieve excellent sound quality and high reliability, overturning the conventional concept of powered speakers. 

Various signal processing functions and convenient operational features are also available to meet the professional field’s demands.

The SRX800 Passive Series is equipped with carefully selected drivers to deliver the high-quality sound demanded by engineers to every venue corner at extremely high sound pressure. 

The SRX800 Passive Series is ideal for live houses, clubs, and large concert fills, where superior reproducibility is required.

Which ones should you choose?

Choices go from lighter to heavier and more costly.

PRX815 with and without subs seems more flexible than 812s. But is the PRX835 as a 3-way close enough to the SRX series?

SRX812 with subwoofers underneath for lighter weight per speaker? Close enough in sound to 835?

SRX835 with and without subwoofers is better quality, but is it worth the weight?

Lots of questions. Let’s get into it.

For example, we’ll take three different systems and determine what’s most convenient. I included Amazon/Sweetwater links.

System A: ~$11,100

 2 – SRX812P

 4 – SRX818SP 

System B: ~$7,100

 2 – SRX812P

 2 – SRX835P

System C: ~$6,700

 2 – PRX818XLFW 

 4 – PRX815

The PRX812/815s over a PRX818XLF would be somewhat light, 36-42 lb. over 56 lb. subwoofers.

The SRX815s with or without subwoofers, 62 lbs. if sound quality equals 812s.

The SRX812s over subwoofers, 58 lbs. over 87 lb. subs (PRX818 sub not much lighter).

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The SRX835s is the only option that would handle 90% without subs. Most people will purchase multiple subwoofers to keep up with tops if money is no object.

If I had to purchase today, it would be either the SRX812s (vocals) vs. 815s (instruments, fuller sound, more bass). The 815s would win. 

If 835 cost and weight are not an issue, and there’s no issue with 60-degree dispersion, the 835s would handle all kinds of sound and may grab the PRX710s to fill in possible gaps close-up to the stage. 

If two 818s are close to the sound of a single SRX828, I believe this would be more flexible since the center cluster would yield close to the same SPL.

It really depends on what you will be using them for and whether or not you consider the extra money worth it.

SRX 815 vs. 828s vs. 835

SRX 835 – If weight and money are no problem, the 835s are magical, have great sound, and are loud. 

Most people are not bothered by the tight dispersion. However, coverage may not be sufficient depending on the space size.

Conversely, the narrow dispersion may produce more focused sound and fewer wall reflections in extremely reflecting environments with insufficient sound absorption.

The 835s would be able to throw further outside or in very wide spaces.

If you need consistent sound in a large room, some people tend to face the 835s more than one another.

Regarding sound quality in the same frequency ranges, it would be fantastic to hear from someone who can compare the 835s to the 815s with subwoofers or the 828sp.

Many people say that 28s have poorer clarity or sound than 15s. This might not be a problem on high-end vehicles like the SRX or DSR.

The 3-way seems perfect since vocals mainly have the dedicated midrange, and beaming is completely avoided. 

The 828sp and 815, to a lesser extent by actual physics, have beaming but using a better HF horn and DSP compensates.

The SRX828sp sounds very close to the 815s for vocals, midrange, and overall clarity, and if the weight’s an issue, you might as well buy them since they are only five more pounds than the 815s. 

PRX series for smaller venues

The SRX series is hands down the best of consumer gear. They have a reputation for a reason. 

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I mixed on the 2×15″ SRX passive mains with Crown XTI amps for years. They’re amazing. Now I mix in a smaller venue with PRX 15s for mains and monitors. 

Between a few different venues, we have around 13 of these speakers. They have been going strong for over five years now. They rarely have problems. 

We’ve only had one or two blown horns. And it’s from mishandling. They run 17+ hours a day, seven days a week.

My biggest problem with them is that the input/XLR Jacks go bad. 

However, this is because they’re being used as monitors. Laying on their side, the angle isn’t very good. The XLR gets smashed into the input.

We run bass guitars directly a lot, and these 15″ PRX handle it like champions. Even at really high volumes.

Even though the SRX sounds twice as good as the PRX, the PRX is just as indestructible.

If you decide on PRX for small venues, I’d recommend buying an 18″ sub or two, depending on your application. You won’t need it in a small area, but it’s nice in a packed room to have that low-end punch and take some load off the mains.

For rental purposes, you can also choose PRX

My friend was looking at getting some new powered 12/15 and a sub or two for rental purposes. 

Their main usage was supposed to be renting out a complete system – DJ console, soundboard, and PA. He would be doing the setup and teardown. 

He planned to use it mainly as a set and forget for DJ. It wouldn’t be used for any large band performance, maybe a small duo or trio.

We both saw that there used to be a bigger “jump” between PRX and SRX, but the price point and feature set appear on parity.

The PRX series has WiFi built in to control speakers/subs – that might be a nice feature to dial everything in quickly. SRX appears to have Ethernet, though. 

Ultimately, he went with the PRX series, and if you have the same dilemma…

Renters won’t want to pay more for the SRX system because they won’t notice the difference, so choose the PRX instead. You’ll recover the investment much more quickly.

The SRX won’t let you down if you need anything to use for your own managed sound services (where you run the system) for small to medium-sized gigs.

Tray Fiddy

Tray has come to terms with the fact he will probably never be a famous DJ.... but that hasn't stopped him from mixing and researching audio equipment. Tray has over 12 years of experience DJing at home and events.

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