Go to the Behringer Website and click on loudspeakers>portable. I think you’ll agree that the choices are, at first, quite overwhelming. The Eurolive series alone offers everything from 300-Watt 2-Ways with 8” LF drivers to 2200-watt cabinets with dual 15” woofers. In the mix you’ll find something for almost every application, with features such as integrated mixers and wireless operation. So selecting a model for this evaluation was a bit daunting—there are almost too many choices. To meet my criteria, I needed something that would be reliable, loud, and be of a manageable size and weight.
My first choice might have been the B2520 Pro, the 2200-watt mothers that I spoke of previously. But in reality, a speaker of this size, power and weight is not exactly what I would consider as a “go-to” rig, so after a bit of personal debating, I went back to the tried and true 15” 2-way design and requested the B615D.
Out of the box, or should I say, “while trying to get them out of the box,” it becomes apparent that terms such as “lightweight” and “compact” are relative. These are in the same size and weight (58 pounds) class as most other molded 15” 2-ways. They are not back-breakers, but they can be a bit awkward to lug around. The molded plastic cases are tight, solid, and rattle free. The handles are placed vertical, one on each side and provide well balanced lugging-lifting points. The wedge shaped design allows for them to function either as a front of house main speaker or a floor monitor. While they are similar in size to others in this category, they do possess a bit of a fashionable flair—instead of being just round and flat, the front grills have an indentation across the centers. It doesn’t make them any louder, but at least it makes them different.
The specs, (and the semi-obnoxious shiny chrome labels on the fronts), claim a combined maximum output of 1500-watts from the two high current amps tucked inside the cabinet. One amp drives the 15” low range and the other a 1.75” Titanium compression driver. SPL is rated at 125dB@1 meter. Whereas many loud speaker brands use parts supplied by a third-party, Behringer is one of the few that actually makes all their own drivers. I recently had the opportunity to tour the Behringer factory in China and was quite impressed with the operation. And, as you expect, by making many of the parts in-house, Behringer is able to keep the cost down on the finished units.
The back panel on the B615D is clean and simple. There’s a 1/4” in for balanced TRS and unbalanced TS plugs and an XLR Mic/Line connection. A single XLR link output can used when passing the signal on to another powered speaker. A level control with clip light facilitates adjusting output volume. Note that the mic pre-amp kicks in right a 12 o’clock, so if the signal coming out of your board is hot, things can get loud real fast.
On The Road
Everything now is about Digital Signal Processing and it’s made a huge difference in the sonic experience you present to your audiences. This is why it’s more important than ever to conduct good A-B comparisons before you plunk down a grand or two or three or more for new speakers. Call me anal (and many have) but if I can’t get the sound the way I want it, then I don’t want those speakers.
Over the last few months I’ve had the pair of B615Ds out on several jobs, from providing PA in a large arena to outdoor wedding receptions. In terms of how they sound, the B615Ds proved to be quite pleasant to work with. For the arena PA gig, which was mostly vocal announcements, there’s was little to do beyond set ‘em up, turn ‘em on and leave them be for four days. The receptions, however, allowed for a little more creative soundcrafting. They responded nicely to little aural exciting and compression, allowing me to dial in the dynamics I wanted and still keep the sound focused on the dance floor (well, mostly).
Paired with the new, F2 stands from Frankenstand, we had all the volume, with plenty of punchy bass and ample head room, needed to fill the tent and the surrounding grounds. I typically don’t like to mess with the a speaker’s on board tone controls, but these come with bass and treble controls (labelled: “low” and “high”) for added tweaking. Working outdoors in tents means not having to deal with sound bouncing back from hard walls, but it also takes greater volume to keep the sound consistent, especially with changing winds and weather conditions. It can be a challenge, but the B615Ds handled the task brilliantly.
The DSP on the BB615D teams an active 2-way electronic crossover, graphic EQ, parametric EQ, mic preamp, and limiter with the two Class-D power amps. According to Behringer “As output demands rise, the internal processor frees up LF amp and transducer resources by reducing program bass content, so that higher overall system volume can be realized.” Good clean bass is always on the wish list, and with those 15” woofers, these do not disappoint. Bottom line? Awkwardness and shiny chrome labels aside, The Eurolive B615D sounds good, plays loud and is priced priced at around $450 (online), which puts its right up there near the top on the “bang-for-your-buck” list. —Robert Lindquist