Pro vs. Consumer

Have you ever wondered what makes equipment “Pro Gear”? Some pieces are “Pro” and some are “Consumer” and there is a difference. What those differences are is often the mystery. Sometimes the differences are subtle and other times there is a big differences. Audio is one of those areas where the smallest improvement can make a huge difference. Let’s take speakers, for instance. Your typical consumer speaker has a “carpet” covering, quarter inch jacks, and is loud. This may be all you need and all you can afford. That’s OK, but why do those things make it consumer and not pro? Well, often the carpet or other “fuzzy covering” is hiding the the pressboard that the box is made of. It is weak and doesn’t transfer vibrations very well. A pro speaker, like Turbosound, uses 13 ply, void free, birch plywood. They are a piece of furniture. They also are tough (we know, we’ve dropped them before) and the wood is solid and void free so the vibrations transfer very well. Pro boxes will also usually come with Speakon connectors instead of quarter inch. These connectors are locking, so cables won’t fall out when they are 20 feet in the air. They also offer multi conductor connections which I won’t go into right now. Now a “loud” speaker is good, but what is the quality of that loud sound? Will that sound make your ears bleed? A cheap speaker has lower quality components which translates into lower quality sound.

Audio is one of those areas where the smallest improvement can make a huge difference.

A pro speaker can produce the same loud volume without hurting your ears. There is a harshness that is eliminated with the right components. It is a much more pleasant listening experience. Inteligibility is also a factor you should be aware of. Can you actually understand what is being said? Sure it’s loud but are the words understandable? The same types of issues are applicable in all varieties of gear. Will the tape deck break in 6 months? Is the mixer prone to hums and does it produce a lot of hiss? How does the gear “color” your sound? Cheap, consumer gear can make your PA system sound like it’s being fed through a coffee can. Pro gear will give you clarity and a warm, “nice to listen to” sound. I hope this helps clarify this, sometimes confusing, topic. There are many differences and I only touched on a few, but it should give you an idea what people mean when something is “Pro” or “Consumer”.