Tips for choosing the right PA system

In a nutshell, a PA system (also known as a public address system), amplifies a performer’s sound. Read on for tips for your next event hire.

What are common uses for hired PA Systems?

  1. Live Performances: live music performances, outdoor concerts, festivals, and other events. PA systems are also used commonly used for small, indoor performances, such as coffeehouse gigs or acoustic shows.
  2. Award Presentations: Queensland Hire PA systems are often hired for public speaking events, such as lectures, award presentations, and speeches.
  3. Outdoor Events: PA systems are great for outdoor events such as markets, shows, weddings, picnics, and other gatherings. They provide a convenient way to amplify audio playing music and public addresses.

1. Choose the right PA speaker size

As the size of your event and audience increases, so do your power requirements. What area or venue are you presenting in, and how big is your audience? What size audience will you be catering for? This will determine how much power your PA System requires. Aim for about 1 watt per person for spoken sound and double this for music.

If you’re using the PA system for outdoor events – sound reflections (and therefore the perceived volume of the PA system) decrease — and the amount of wattage you need increases.

Similarly, an auditorium with high ceilings requires far more amplification than a small conference room.

Power is measured in watts. If you don’t have enough watts to cater for the venue you are playing in, you will end up with crackly and distorted (clipped) sound when pushing the volume.

How much Wattage do I need in my speakers for my presentation?

  • With the idea of 1 watt per person, a 100-person audience will require a 100-watt PA system. This is between speakers – so you would only need one if it’s above this wattage.

How much Wattage do I need in my speakers for Musical Performances?

  • A band playing will require around 1500 watts of power between speakers.
  • A solo, duo or softer style performance might require less than 750 watts between speakers.
  • An acoustic performer in a small space (especially indoors) may only need around 60 watts, with one speaker.

Carefully consider your needs and hire your equipment to suit your venue and audience.

2. Decide how important portability is

Are you likely to be requiring your speaker system in the one location with power or a generator readily available, or do you need a system that is extremely portable?

Traditional PA systems come with multiple separate pieces, are hefty to transport, and can take a bit of time to set up on stage. If you are needing portability, consider a battery-operated portable PA system, which has all the necessary components within a single enclosure.

If your event is outdoors or in areas where a power socket is not easily accessible, then going for a battery-operated PA system is a great choice. Setup will be much easier and fast.

3. How knowledgeable are you in setting up the PA system?

If you are not an audio guru, consider asking your preferred hire company for an easy plug-and-play option. These are great to allow your event to run smoothly without issues.

4. Setting up: Microphone and Speaker placement

If you hold a live microphone right in the cone of a speaker through which it’s playing, you’ll get that unwanted feedback.

For this reason, when setting up your space, face your main speakers toward the audience, then set up your mics behind them.