When Rev. Bill first introduced us to Cerwin-Vega’s hot new Active Series loudspeakers, little did we know that that was just the first round in what is shaping up as a powered loudspeaker shoot-out.

Not long after the rev’s inital review, we extended an invitation to QSC to join in, which they enthusiastically accepted. The first part of that review is up, with the second installment is coming shortly. We also now have a video review of the C-V Active Series posted.

Now, we’re pleased to report that Yamaha has entered the game with their MSR400 powered speakers. This is not a new designed, but rather a design that has been improved upon over the course of it’s production cycle.

Out of the box, I was impressed with the sturdy construction and balance of these 2-way bass reflex boxes—at 51 pounds, they are really easy to carry. One thing that I did find puzzling was why those paper labels had to be stuck right to the grill of each speaker. Neither of them pealed off cleanly and required a couple of treatments of Goo Gone. A minor point, maybe, but when I open the box and take out a prized piece of new audio gear, I’d like it to clean and ready to go (heck, I’m still trying to get the lable off my Mackie VLZ-Pro mixer that I bought 5 years ago!)

These units boast a power rating of 400W total with a max SPL of 121 db. For comparison, the QSC 12″ K-Series boxes claim a peak of 1000W continuous and an SPL of 131. When comparing these figures, it’s important to note that power output is figured on a log scale — so in order for the QSC’s to be even twice as loud, they would need 10X more powerful (more on that). Having used the QSC’s now on four gigs, I can say that without a doubt, they do play loud and sound great doing it. On the other hand, Yamaha is no slouch when it comes to building really efficient gear, so I expect the MSR 400s to definitely hold their own. We’ll find at our next L2P On The Road test gig, in early July.

Oh, and it also looks like Mackie is joining our little competition with their new high def speakers, so this should be one loud and fun summer.