Drawing a Line Between Consumer & Professional Audio Equipment

If you are a novice in the music industry looking to buy audio equipment, you may be asking yourself what is the difference between consumer and professional audio equipment?

Consumer equipment is designed to look good and manufactured to sound just pleasing. However, it cannot fulfill the needs of an individual who is seriously interested in the sound quality rather than look. Here are the main differences between the two types of equipment.



Professional audio equipment is rarely recommended for home seating as homes usually don’t need an amplifier that can manage 100 speakers in parallel. A home audio setting should be able to switch from one audio source to another, not combine several sources together. The connectors are different as well. Professional amplifiers tend to have Neutrix Speakon connectors while consumer amps tend to have screw terminals or some light-weight wire clips. The audio signals on consumer equipment are typically unbalanced on RCA connectors while professional balanced signals on XLR connectors are obtained with professional audios. All these differences can greatly determine the intended purpose of the equipment.


Professional audio equipment generally has higher power than consumer equipment. Plus, the state specifications of a professional audio tend to be more real than the state specifications of a consumer amp. When it comes to power rate, there are various ways to falsify the specifications, but professional audio tends to be more reliable as they usually come with a footnote in the instructions that explains exactly how the specifications are measured.


Professional audio equipment is built to last and intended to be used while touring. It is bolted on various racks to be able to handle extreme amounts of mate-unmate cycles and is generally made of thicker housing material. This type of equipment is also meant to withstand more vibrations, shocks and extreme temperatures.


As mentioned before, consumer gear is designed to look and sound pleasing. For beginners, this means that the sound from the equipment is more likely to give you an output that is good to hear but not necessarily accurate. A professional audio equipment, on the other hand, is designed to sound accurate.


Before you buy your audio equipment, first decide how you are planning to use it. If you want to do serious business, then a professional audio equipment is worth spending the extra money for.

With so many opportunities within the music industry, it is no surprise that there are so many choices of audio equipment to select from. In order to get the best value for your money take the time to learn about each component and its function. With the knowledge, you will be able to determine which pieces you need and which equipment is unnecessary.