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Best pa systems 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]Last Updated January 1, 2020
Best pa systems of 2018
Many brands have introduced pa systems on the market. These brands have resulted in a variety for the user. These require that the consumers be well aware of what they are buying so as to make the best choice. Here are the customer reviews of some of the best pa systems of 2018. So, what exactly would anyone want to know about pa systems? I know most of us don’t really care much about the history and the origin, all we want to know is which of them is the best. Of course, I will spare you the history and go straight on to the best pa systems. I must say I am quite a fan of pa systems, so when the question “What are the best pa systems available on the market?” came to my mind, I excitedly started gathering information together with personal experience to write this article in the hope that it may help you find the suitable pa systems.
Test Results and Ratings
|Ease of use||
№1 – LAMPHUS SoundAlert Siren & Speaker PA System [100W] [6 Modes] [Heavy Duty] [120-130dB] [Microphone] [Hands-Free] [Dual 20A Switches] Emergency Horn Sound System for Police Cars & Fire Trucks
Why did this pa systems win the first place?
The product is very strong. Its material is stable and doesn’t crack. I am very happy with the purchase. It is definitely worth its money. The product is top-notch! I also liked the delivery service that was fast and quick to react. It was delivered on the third day. I really enjoy the design. It is compact, comfortable and reliable. And it looks amazing!
Why did this pa systems come in second place?
The material is pretty strong and easy to wash if needed. The design quality is top notch and the color is nice. Managers explained me all the details about the product range, price, and delivery. I like this product. For such a low price, I didn’t even hope it to be any better. It’s decently made.
№3 – ION Audio Tailgater
Why did this pa systems take third place?
It doesn’t squeaks nor bents. Looks great in my apartment. I liked the design. We’ve been using it for 2 months and it still looks like brand new. I hope that the good reputation of the manufacturer will guarantee a long-term work. This price is appropriate since the product is very well built.
pa systems Buyer’s Guide
Fed up with the terrible warbling noise your flat-screen TV makes? You’ve come to the right place.
Upgrading your TV sound can be as easy as plugging in a sound bar, but first you’ll need to buy the right one. In this guide we’ll look at the different types of home audio systems available, from sound bars to stereo speakers to full-blown, amped-up, surround-sound speaker packages. Here’s what you should be looking for to best suit your needs.
Step up to a surround-sound system
If you’re looking for something that sounds better than a sound bar, the best option is to put together your own system with an AV receiver and surround-sound speakers.
Surround Sound Formats
You may notice that surround sound systems are referred to in numbers, such as 7.surround sound. This lets you know how many speaker components the system has. A 7.setup boasts eight channels: seven discrete main audio channels, divvied up among seven speakers, and one channel fed to the subwoofer for the low notes.
A 5.surround sound system includes the left and right speakers to sit in the front near the screen, one center channel for vocals, the left and right speakers for either side of your seating area and the subwoofer. The speakers flanking you while you enjoy your audio attack are known as the surround speakers.
A 7.surround sound system has the same basic setup as the 5.1, but also includes a right and left back speaker positioned behind the viewer.
The 9.setup adds another pair speakers to the 7.mix. While the speakers in a smaller setup (in front of, to the side of, and behind you) allow sound effects to freely travel left and right, forward and backward, it takes two more speakers, each mounted a few feet above a corresponding left or right front speaker, to give the noise some opportunity for altitude. Height gives music and audio effects another axis, creating a more immersive experience.
Any of these systems can also incorporate multiple subwoofers, upping the number on the right side of the decimal point. Got a pair of subwoofers? Put them on opposite walls so you receive bass from two directions. Four subwoofers should take up one point each on a diamond surrounding the listener, creating a web of thumping and rattling that will catch anything in the middle and ensure it gets a good shaking. What good do all of these subwoofers do? They even out the bass response and make your movies and music thump a little harder and crisper. One of the first recommendations you will hear from home theater buffs is to add at least one subwoofer if you are rocking a 5.1, 7.1, 9.1, etc setup. It makes a massive difference.
Like a doctoral student collecting new skills, prestige and a series of letters to add to the end of a signature, your sound system can continue to advance into the future. Dolby Atmos, a leap forward in audio technology that breaks from the traditional channel-based system to free the various audio objects in a soundtrack and allow them to move about and come at you in three dimensions—including from above your head—can prompt you to turn your 5.system (one center channel, four speakers, and two subwoofers) into a 5.2.by adding four speakers to ceiling mounts or four speakers that direct sound up to bounce back down toward the viewing area. No longer tethered to a pre-assigned output, these sounds can move to come from the direction that best serves your movie-enjoying experience.
Too much? Your ears (and friends) may disagree, but that’s OK. Keep it simple with a 9.system, creating an encircling perimeter of speakers anchored by two subwoofers.
Must-Have Surround Sound Features
There are several essential components necessary for anyone looking to showcase what a home theater system can do. The cinema-experience-level technology available to everyone these days should get you excited about letting your speakers off the leash to really run wild.
THX-certified standards ensure that the sound being created on the movie-makers’ end is getting its due with the audience on the other end. A production company can pull out all the stops in crafting a scene where a shot ricochets off of a dozen metal objects scattered around the room before hitting the target, but if the system meant to broadcast that intricate series of sound effects is incapable of properly handling the load, nobody’s going to be ducking to avoid taking a bullet to the skull. Be sure to invest in THX-certified speakers—such as the THX UltraSeries from Klipsch, which earned the highest possible certification rating. Boom.
Consider a setup that can best deliver the free-range, real-world-emulating, three-dimensional sound experience of the gotta-have-it-if-you-care-about-movies Dolby Atmos experience mentioned above, including a speaker that bounces everything off of the ceiling, raining down noises and music to soak you with sound effects. We tapped out at a nine-speaker system in our initial explanation of this audio gift to humanity, but the technology can work with up to 34—repeat: 34!—so we’re sorry/not sorry to say that you don’t stand a chance against that level of audio power (but why would you want it any other way?). The Klipsch Reference Premeire Dolby Atmos enabled RP-280FA speaker has a built-in elevation channel that does nothing but blast away at the plaster over your head. Actually, it does do one other thing: win awards.
Klipsch emphasizes Wide Dispersion Surround Technology for all of its surround sound speakers, which ensures the best sound, no matter the home theater system setup. Can’t get fit the speakers exactly where you want them? Don’t worry. You’re still going to feel like you’re in the middle of the action.
Wireless vs. Wired Surround Sound
Wireless surround sound is ideal for people who prize both performance and simplicity. You can place the speakers anywhere without worrying about connecting them to the amplifier or hiding the evidence of those connections.
The fact that wireless systems can hold their own against their wired counterparts is evidence of how far technology has come since sound first electronically made its way from a source to a speaker.
If you’re considering a wireless setup, know that time is of the essence. That means the more modern your speakers, the better. Older wireless systems operated on technology that could interfere with or be disrupted by other wireless signals in the home. They also tended to be more expensive and not as reliable.
Sound bars are a simple way to provide richer, sharper sound quality and clearer voices from your flatscreen TV.
Entry-level sound bars offer standard stereo sound, but next level models create simulated surround sound using clever acoustics. This creates an immersive sound experience, with the best models creating surround sound that’s almost indistinguishable from the real thing.
Sound bars feature either an inbuilt or separate subwoofer. Subwoofers create deeper, low-frequency bass sounds. An inbuilt system won’t offer the same levels of depth, although high-end models come close. An inbuilt subwoofer may be beneficial if you’re worried about being too loud.
Home cinema system
TV sound is usually channel (stereo left/right). Home cinema systems expand this sound to go across multiple channels. For the most perfect, dimensional sound experience, you need a 5.(or above) soundtrack specially created for surround sound. You can find this on selected DVDs, most Blu-rays, and subscription or cable services like Sky or Netflix.
Multiple speakers take up space, but are available in many sizes, and smaller does not have to mean quieter. Unless you invest in a wireless system (which tends to cost more) you will have wires extending around the room. Some systems are part wireless – these connect the front and back of the room wirelessly, so only speakers near each other require a cable.
All sound systems come with a subwoofer, either built-in or as a separate unit. It creates deep, low frequency bass sounds and can be placed anywhere, as it doesn’t project sound in a direction the way a normal speaker will.
A separate subwoofer will produce deeper sound than an inbuilt subwoofer, although some premium designs come very close.
Active or passive speakers
This is largely academic unless you intend to customise your system. Most speakers are passive, because they don’t need to be connected to the mains. Subwoofers and amplifier/receivers will sometime require mains power, making them active speakers.
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Vintage and used gear can be a great option for buyers on a budget, as most high-quality home-audio equipment was built like a tank and designed to last for decades, says Geoffrey Bennett, sales manager at Decibel Audio in Chicago. “In lower price brackets, vintage will usually give you better quality,” Bennett says. But buyers should consider the cost and viability of getting their vintage gear serviced and cleaned. “A receiver that’s been sitting in someone’s garage for 30 years is going to need some sprucing up,” he adds. Other considerations include the availability of parts and the cost and effort of having the gear serviced in the future.
New gear will offer fewer choices, especially if you’re shopping at local big box stores, which tend to feature surround-sound home theater systems that aren’t optimal for two-channel audio playback. It does, however, offer some distinct advantages, Marra says.
New equipment likely will come with a warranty and user support, Marra says. It also is likely to be more compact and offer more contemporary features, such as remote control and more inputs for computers, iPhones and other digital devices.
The beauty of home stereo equipment is that you can mix and match vintage and new components. So if Grandpa gives you a sweet vintage turntable, you can connect it to a modern amplifier. Both vintage and new equipment are cool in their own right, Marra says.
While it’s easy to get caught up in the other features, the first thing you should look at when shopping for a Bluetooth speaker is the physical dimensions of the speaker.
Bluetooth speakers generally fall into two primary size categories. On the one side you have the ultra-portables that aren’t exactly pocket size but could easily be stuffed in a coat pocket, small bag, or purse. The Braven BRV-falls soundly into that category with a volume roughly that of can of soda (albeit a bit boxier). You won’t be sticking it in the back pocket of your jeans but at such a small size and weighing only 1ounces, it’s easy enough to toss it in a bag and take it with you.
The NYNE Bass, on the other hand, represents the semi-portable/table-top end of the Bluetooth speaker market. It is most certainly not coat pocket friendly nor even suitable for a small bag or purse. It’s roughly the size of a breadbox, large enough to merit a carry handle molded into the upper portion of the unit, and weighs 6.pounds (nearly times heavier than the Braven).
Now, before you fall under the spell of miniaturization and small form-factor consumer electronics let’s take a look at the other features to see where the trade-offs arise when opting for one speaker weight class over another.
If you’re looking for a big speaker to place out on the patio, ruggedized construction might not be a high priority. If you’re looking for a speaker to take to the beach, however, a speaker that can survive a splash or two becomes more important.
There’s not specific definition of “ruggedized” as far as the Bluetooth speaker market is concerned, so you’ll need to read the fine print for each speaker you consider.
The Nyne, for example, is a very sturdily constructed unit (the edges of the unit are rubberized, and we’re fairly confident it could survive a tumble to the patio surface just fine), but the manufacturer makes no claim that it is a ruggedized unit.
The Braven, on the other hand, is specifically advertised as a waterproof ruggedized Bluetooth speaker that can withstand full submersion for up to 30 minutes in one meter of water. We’ve dunked it in buckets, stuck it in the corner of a shower (and, by the way, it sounds absolutely fantastic when combined with the acoustics of a tiled bathroom), and kicked it around (metaphorically that is) at the beach. The speaker is designed for the moderate abuse that a beach goer/camper would throw at it and includes features such as sealed speaker membranes, a waterproof case, and a rubber-sealed cap that fits over the ports when they aren’t in use.
Bringing It All Together
When it’s time to actually do some shopping, prepare to be overwhelmed by the sheer number of speakers on the market. To brace yourself for the tidal wave of units even a simple search yields, read over the feature list above and prioritize your needs.
If you need a unit that doesn’t need a duffle bag of its own, focus on small form factor. If you need a speaker that can cut through the noise of the beach and provide tunes all afternoon, focus on large form factors with hefty batteries. If you need something can survive rain storms and your camping buddies dropping it, start with ruggedized models and narrow it down from there.
Battery life isn’t improved over original
Despite its small size, this option offers surprisingly good sound performance and, get this, up to 40 hours of battery life when listening at medium volume. We were able to get nearly 20 hours out of it at a high volume.
Powered Speakers, also known as active speakers, are speaker systems with amplifiers built into their enclosures. This configuration allows manufacturers to better match the amplifier with the speaker, resulting in improved fidelity and versatility. This improved quality makes powered speakers more appealing to many musicians and sound engineers, even when considering the extra weight.
With so many viable speakers on the market, and many more being released, we have taken another look to see which ones are the current best powered PA speakers. In this update, we reorganized our recommendations into groups by LF (Low Frequency) driver sizes, because different sizes can be better suited to different use cases, you can read more about the effect of different LF driver sizes in the Things to Consider section.
Based on the excellent Play:One speaker, the Sonos One delivers great audio in a small, standalone package. Six microphones will pick up your voice from across a room, and do pretty much everything you can do with other Alexa-enabled speakers. (However, it doesn’t support Alexa’s Drop-In Feature). And, you can link it with other Sonos speakers for whole-home audio.
The Echo Show has a 7-inch touchscreen and a 5-megapixel camera that, among other things, enables you to make and receive video calls between other Echo Shows, as well as smartphones with the Alexa app. You can also conduct audio calls with other Echo devices, too, though its Drop-In feature is intrusive. Dual speakers below the display produce audio on a par with the Echo, so you can rock out to songs. The Echo Show’s touchscreen delivers information in a visual format, such as news and weather. It’s great for reading recipes, though third-party skills designed for the Show are limited at the moment.
Looking like the love child of the Echo Dot and the Echo Show, the Echo Spot is a small, circular device with a 2.5-inch touchscreen and a camera that let you do pretty much everything you can do on the Show: Watch movies, video chat, and check the feeds from your security cameras, among other things. We found it most useful as a bedside companion, but watching videos on its tiny screen wasn’t all that enjoyable.
The Ecobeethermostat works nearly as well as the Echo Dot in recognizing your voice from across the room, and a small LED lights up blue when Alexa is active. It has a large and intuitive display, and works with a variety of smart home devices, too. But its most important feature is its remote sensors, which lets you make sure all the rooms in your house are the right temperature.
Special Projects AQUA 2020 Microphone System 16
Those were the simple reviews of reliable and worth buying wireless fitness microphones. Be sure that you read the first part of the article, because those features are really important when you want to buy this kind of microphone. Don’t encourage yourself to buy a cheap and low quality model, because in time you will invest the same amount of money, but with no satisfaction. Also, be sure that the microphone’s features are good enough for you and your type of work. Scan the market before buying anything and also make comparison between the products. Be really careful at the prices, too. Our advice is to buy a quality item, but some of them have only high prices, without any quality. So be really sure before you want to invest in something that is more expensive than usual. Don’t forget to make a pro and a cons list. This way will be easier for you to better see each item’s positive and negative features and the choosing will be simpler. Also, you can search for other reviews of the product and see other points of views. This will surely make you think about a product from different angles and it will really help you choose the right one for you.
Who this is for
At some point, every TV watcher and movie lover realizes television speakers are terrible. They’re almost always tiny, and oftentimes they don’t even aim their tinny sound out into the room (instead, they face down or backward into the wall).
So what to do? You have a number of options, actually. Even the most affordable soundbar offers a substantial audio upgrade, improving dialogue clarity and giving more weight to music and sound effects. The best soundbars deliver a level of performance approaching that of dedicated home theater systems.
Notice, though, that I said “approaching.” If you really want to re-create the true cinema experience at home, and you have the space for it, your best option is a 5.surround-sound speaker system paired with a good AV receiver. This includes separate speakers for on-screen action, music, and sound effects to the left and right of the screen; dedicated speakers at the rear of the room for surround sound effects; and a subwoofer to deliver deep bass. You could opt for a so-called “home theater in a box,” which includes the AV receiver and speakers all in one package, but you probably shouldn’t. You could also buy a larger speaker system with additional rear speakers and, these days, even overhead speakers (or top-mounted speaker modules that bounce sound off the ceiling). But for most people, 5.channels is plenty.
For now, we’re also limiting our consideration to 5.1-channel speaker systems, which may seem strange. After all, the surround-sound home theater market is currently going through one of its awkward growth spurts thanks to the arrival of the home versions of Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, which add overhead speakers to the traditional surround-sound speaker layout of three in the front and two in the back (or on the sides). This creates a truly three-dimensional element to the home movie-watching experience. That said, these technologies are still not nearly as ubiquitous as traditional surround sound. So for now, we’re sticking with 5.because you can add height speakers to a system down the road if you decide to upgrade to an Atmos-capable AV receiver.
And what do we mean by 5.1? The “5” stands for two main speakers positioned to the left and right of the TV, a center speaker between them, and two speakers in the rear of the room for surround-sound effects. The “.1” is the subwoofer, which creates all the low-frequency bass sounds.
It’s becoming increasingly common these days for home theater enthusiasts to add a second (or even third or fourth) subwoofer to their surround-sound setups. There are many reasons why this is a good idea, but considering that most of the systems we tested come as complete packages, we kept the playing field even with a single sub. Check out the A big upgrade section for more on why you’d want more subs, and some options.
How we picked
Because the goal was to find the speaker system(s) that would appeal to the widest possible audience, such love-it-or-hate-it packages were taken out of the mix. Using these methods I narrowed the list down to the best-reviewed and/or most-discussed systems. Because no reviewer (or perhaps anyone) had heard all of these systems back-to-back, I got them in for direct testing and comparison.
More recently, we added ELAC’s Debut series system to the mix, due to incredible critical success. We also added a surround-sound system built from KEF’s Q Series speakers, primarily due to how well they performed in our review of bookshelf speakers.
How we tested
For setup, calibration, and testing, I relied on Anthem’s MRX 7AV receiver. Why that receiver in particular? Two reasons, actually. First, its Anthem Room Correction software allowed me to store the distance, level, bass management, and room-correction information for each system in a file on my hard drive. This meant I could quickly upload those parameters during our blind listening panels, reducing the downtime between face-offs.
Secondly, the Anthem Room Correction software gives me more control over how I set up and EQ the speakers. For example, it enables very fine control over the crossover between the subwoofer and main speakers, which allowed every speaker system in our roundup to perform at its best.
Using EQ in speaker reviews is a somewhat controversial topic. If you’d like to dig deeper into why, you can read my article “Automated Room Correction Explained” on Home Theater Review’s website. In a nutshell: Pretty much any room is going to negatively impact the performance of your subwoofer and the low frequencies coming from your main speakers. The right amount of equalization can help ameliorate that. Applying EQ to the midrange and treble frequencies can drastically change the sound of a speaker, though, which would defeat the point of this guide. So I applied equalization only to bass frequencies below 300 hertz in an attempt to minimize any booming or unevenness in the bass caused by my room, but in a way that wouldn’t change the distinctive voice of each speaker system.
After I measured and calibrated all the speakers, I borrowed a second Anthem MRX 710, placed the receivers side by side, and connected the HDMI outputs from my Oppo BDP-9Blu-ray player to both. I wired the speakers with Wirecutter’s top pick for the best speaker cable, Monoprice’s 27412-gauge wire, then invited my lifelong friend Dave Calhoun over for numerous blind listening panels. Dave is a guitarist with more than 20 years of recording experience, and he was instrumental in sparking my interest in high-end audio back in the 1990s. He and I also tend to have quite different taste in speakers, which I thought might lead to welcome argument and discussion. The goal, after all, wasn’t to find the speaker system that I liked best, but the one that would work best for the widest possible audience.
My wife, Bethany, who works in video production, audio editing, and communications, kindly volunteered to operate the two receivers, switching between them at regular intervals so that neither Dave nor I knew which of two speaker systems we were listening to at any given time. We selected two speaker systems at random, uploaded their configuration files to the MRX 710s, checked their levels and matched them with my handheld sound meter, and the winner of each round went on to face another competitor. We also swapped the positions of speakers during testing to make sure that placement wasn’t giving one system an unfair advantage over the other.
For listening material, we relied primarily on four clips from the 201DTS Demo Disc Blu-ray. For movies, we focused on a clip from Oblivion, because its mix is so dense that dialogue tends to be muddy through anything less than an impeccably designed speaker system; and a clip from Pacific Rim, because Dave and I are little boys. (Also because the clip features some ferociously deep and hard-hitting bass, which makes it an excellent test for subwoofers—which tend to be one of the weak spots in surround-sound systems in this price range.) In additional testing, we’ve added the Star Wars: The Force Awakens Blu-ray, as well as selections from the new 201DTS Demo Disc Blu-ray to the mix.
For music, we mostly listened to the surround mixes of Silversun Pickups’s “Dots and Dashes (Enough Already)” due to its strong emphasis on guitars, vocals, and other midrange sounds, as well as Dave Stewart’s “Every Single Night,” which boasts tons of bass, plenty of high-end sparkle, and a very busy sound mix that has a habit of getting particularly crowded when played through lesser speaker systems.
During the course of our testing, we all noticed three common trends. The first is that larger speaker systems almost always won against compact speaker systems, even with their volumes matched. They were, with only a few exceptions, always more dynamic (meaning that they could play more quietly without sounding dull and lifeless and more loudly without sounding strained and distorted). And in most cases the larger systems sounded more cohesive, with less of an audible disconnect between the subwoofer and the main speakers.
The research also demonstrated that speakers with lower levels of distortion consistently ranked better than speakers with higher levels of distortion in blind listening tests, which speaks for itself. Of course, designing a good speaker involves a lot more than these considerations, but it’s a safe bet that most speaker manufacturers aiming to appeal to the broadest audience are going to aim for these three targets.
Another important aspect affecting overall system performance is the crossover between the subwoofer and main speakers. In your typical surround-sound system, the subwoofer is responsible for delivering deep bass frequencies (e.g., kick drums, bass guitars, the engine rumble of J-type 32Nubian royal starships), whereas the main speakers deliver the midrange sounds (e.g., human voices, guitars, horns) and high-frequency sounds (e.g., glass shattering, steam escaping from a teakettle).
But there isn’t simply one frequency at which the subwoofer drops out and the main speakers drop in. The subwoofer gradually drops off in volume at higher frequencies, while the main speakers gradually increase their volume to compensate.
So in any system that includes a subwoofer, there is a small range of sounds reproduced by both the sub and the main speakers. Simply put, the frequency at which both sub and main speakers generate the same amount of sound is the crossover frequency, which can be higher or lower depending on how much bass the main speakers are capable of generating. Ideally, this point shouldn’t make itself known. The speakers and sub should work seamlessly together, as they do in the ELAC system.
All three of our top picks were capable of handling a crossover point of 80 hertz, which is roughly the same tone generated by the fattest string (the low E) on a six-string guitar, and THX’s recommended crossover frequency. The Pioneer SP-PK52FS system did sound better with a slightly higher crossover point of 100 hertz, though, which is down around the lowest tones of a typical male voice.
Flaws but not dealbreakers
If there’s one significant knock against the ELAC Debut system, it’s that its subwoofer, for all its technological innovations, lacks a bit in the way of very deep bass output. This doesn’t keep the sub from delivering a healthy kick, mind you. Explosions and slamming doors and gunfire and exploding bombs all hit with appreciable oomph. But in The Force Awakens, for example, when Poe Dameron is first captured by Kylo Ren, you don’t hear the ultra-deep, resonant rumble of the blaster-bolt hovering in midair that you can hear with more powerful subs. It’s simply inaudible here.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. Throughout the game, there are times when non-player characters join you on your adventures, and their sidekicking dialogue always comes from the positionally appropriate speakers. If they move behind you (or you walk in front of them) while they’re speaking, their voices move from front to back. In such cases, there’s a tonal shift in the sound of the voices. Not so much that they sound like different people, but more like they developed a slight head cold on their trip from the front of the room to the back.
Simply moving the surround speakers down to ear level went a long way toward correcting this.
The one thing I couldn’t correct for with speaker placement is the fact that the sound of the ELAC Debut Ccenter speaker also gets a good bit softer if you’re seated too far off-center. Seated two people side by side, about 7.feet from the center channel, we didn’t notice this. In fact, I moved my head from side to side quite a bit from my seating position to check for any major inconsistencies in the sound. (With many center speakers, any significant head movement makes it sound like you’re listening through a picket fence). That definitely isn’t an issue. But I did notice that if I moved closer to the edge of the room (not where I would normally sit, but certainly within the bounds of normal seating positions in some living rooms), the center speaker became less consistent, softer, and less detailed, which did make dialogue a little harder to understand in shows like Netflix’s Daredevil.
Other ELAC configurations
If your budget has a little extra room up top, but you don’t want to move up to our upgrade system, our recommendation would be to add a second ELAC S10EQ subwoofer (or even upgrade to a pair of the larger S12EQ subs) for enhanced bass performance and more even coverage throughout the room. You might also choose to forego the ELAC subwoofer altogether and upgrade to an even more powerful offering, like the Hsu Research VTF-15H MKBrent recommends as a potential upgrade in his subwoofer buying guide.
Church Sound Systems
The Microphone is the first device in the system to capture a sound source and put it into the sound system. Many different types of mics are available for many different applications. There are mics for Vocals, Instruments, Choirs, Wireless etc.The mic pictured to the left is a Shure SM5which is considered a standard of sorts for vocals and is a true workhorse.
The next component is the Amplifier. These are selected mostly by power and name brand for reliability. The amplifiers should match the speakers in the power rating. Additional power is acceptable but never less. These can and should be located near the speakers and not necessarily near the soundboard. The closer they are to the speakers, the shorter the speaker wires can be and less power is lost due to long speaker wires.
Chorus can be used to make a choir sound fuller, or add depth to an acoustic guitar.
Delay can be used as an effect to make something sound farther away or in a larger space. It can also be used to tame time delays in very long rooms.
Monitor speakers are used to provide sound to the performers and speaker. Monitors come in a variety of sizes. The larger the monitor, the fuller the sound. The smaller monitors can be less conspicuous on stage. In-ear monitors are the least conspicuous. An example of a basic monitor would be a singer who needs to hear their voice and needs to hear the music they are singing with. A floor monitor that the singer stands in front of is a good choice. The size will depend on the need of a good full sound balanced with costs.
The microphone is the first device to capture the source material into the sound system. Using quality microphones makes a very positive difference to the over all system. Vocal microphones should have built in wind screens. Wind screens are not needed for instrument microphones. Pulpit microphones are great for a permanently mounted microphone. They have a very small profile and a huge sound. Choir microphones are similar to pulpit microphones but hang from the ceiling over the choir. Wireless microphone come in hand held and lavaliere types. A minister may want to use a lavaliere wireless so they can be free to move around. These also work well with drama members. A hand held wireless microphone works well soloist, guest singers, or events where the mic needs to be passed around.
MICROPHONES for INSTRUMENTS
Obviously microphones are used for speakers and singers but they are also used for certain instruments. Instruments that may require a microphone include acoustic guitars, guitar amps, piano, drums etc. When you mic an instrument, the position of the microphone will make a big difference. It is usually trial and error to find the best microphone position. In general, positioning the microphone as close as possible to the source is best. The closer the microphone is to the source, the better capture of the source and the better noise rejection of nearby sound sources. Placing the microphone too close to a really loud source could cause distortion. If the source is loud enough to do this, it may not need a mic or the microphone can be placed farther away.
WHEN TO MIC AN INSTRUMENT
Another technique being used is to add an instrument into the sound system to make is quieter. For example, say the electric guitar player tends to play too loud, you can have him or her face their amp to the back of the stage with a microphone on it. This way, the amplifier acts as their monitor and the sound system can put the proper amount of guitar into the mix out front.
The drums can be isolated acoustically with clear plastic dividers and adding microphones behind the plastic allows the sound person to bring just the right amount of drum volume into the mix. This also accounts for the growing popularity of electronic drums, which make no sound outside its electronic outputs connected to speakers.
Each channel has an effects send control (Some have more than one) which allow you to send an amount of each channel to the effects processor. For example, a singers voice may be enhanced by adding a touch of reverb. An acoustic guitar can be enhanced by adding a little chorus. If you have two sends per channel, you could have different effects on each send. Keep in mind that effects are easily over used and not always needed. An example might be when a singer finishes singing and begins to speak, the effects should be muted or greatly reduced. Most effect processors have stereo outputs. Many sound operators like to run the output of the effect to unused channels. This way you have the benefit of tone controls and the ability to send effects to the monitors.
Amplifiers are an essential part of the system. They determine to overall power of the system. The basic specification of an amplifier is the power rating. This rating is usually listed per channel at a certain load (ohms) with a rating in watts. An example is 200 watts RMS per Channel into ohms. A more precise rating would be 200 watts RMS at.1% HD both channels driven into ohms 20hz to 20Khz. This means the amplifier is being tested with both channels running which is the way you will be using it. Also, the.1% Harmonic Distortion means the amp is providing this amount of power at a low distortion level throughout the entire hearing range. The amp should also give a power rating at ohms. This rating should be about 50% higher than the ohm rating. In this example, the ohm rating should be 300 watts.
Single speakers are commonly rated at ohms. If you connect two ohm speakers to one channel of an amplifier, the load changes to ohms. (Parallel resistance divides) So in the above amplifier example, a single speaker would be driven with 200 watts, while two would be driven with 150 watts each. Some amps can certainly go lower than ohms and some even have ratings at ohms. I personally think not going lower than ohms is a good idea. This means not connecting more than two ohm speakers per channel. This may require more amplifiers in the system but it also means not pushing the amps too hard and having the benefit of redundant amp channels.
Effect Processor Tips
Reverb is a series of reflections made from the walls, ceiling, floor, and other hard surfaces in a room. The larger the room, the longer reverb times you will realize. If you clap your hands one time in a room and then listen for how long the reflections lasts, this is the reverb time. A small room may have.to 1.seconds. A very large room may have upwards to seconds.
If your room has plenty of natural reverb, you may not need any additional reverb from an effects processor. If on the other hand, if you have little natural reverb, then additional reverb may give you a deeper dimension to your sound.
Reverb is also useful in the vocal monitors. Singers tend to sing in a more inspired fashion if they hear themselves with some reverb on their voice.
Chorus effects are used to widen or thicken a sound. Chorus effects shift the pitch of the source in a regular repeating fashion. Some processors will use their stereo outputs to create a stereo sound from a mono source. So chorus may be used to make a mono source sound stereo.
Delay is an effect that simply delays a signal by an adjustable amount. You could even have each output of the processor have a different amount of delay. There is a ping pong delay that bounces back and forth between the outputs. Delay would normally be considered a special effect. An effect that might be used on certain songs or maybe certain instruments on certain songs. This effect is very obvious and can be easily over-used.
Delay can also be used as a tool to help tame long buildings. For example, the sound reaching the rear of a long building will be delayed slightly from the sound leaving the stage. If you placed reinforcement speakers in the rear of the church the sound in those speakers would sound like they were ahead of the sound from the stage causing a delayed effect. By using a delay processor, you could apply an equal amount of delay into the rear speakers that matches the delay from the stage. This way, the sound from the speakers will not sound out of sync with the sound from the stage.
The sound board has inputs labeled as effect returns. Usually you would connect the output of the effect processor into the effect returns. Then, with the return effect volume controls, you can adjust the volume of the effects into the mix. However, many sound professionals prefer to use unused channels as effect returns, rather than the ones provided. This is because with the regular channels, you have all the extra controls such as tone, aux sends, panning, buss assignments etc. An example would be the tone controls. You can adjust the tone of the effects separately from the source. You can also send effects to the monitors by simply adjusting the aux sends on the effects return channels.
Monitors are speakers used on stage for the performers. Ideally, each performer might have his or her own monitor. In reality, this would be a lot of speakers and some sharing is usually employed.
Monitors help the performers hear themselves and each other. Setting up a good monitor system can be harder than setting up the mains. In designing a monitor system you must decide how many monitors you will use and how many monitor mixes will be needed. Each separate mix will need a separate EQ and amp. Different mixes refers to having different material in different speakers.
For example, the singers may want primarily to hear themselves and a little guitar or keyboard. There will be plenty of drums and bass right on the stage and may not be necessary to put those into the monitors. The guitar player will want plenty of guitar and maybe keyboards plus vocals. These are different mixes that can be realized by how many aux sends your board has.
I have worked with three monitor mixes. We had a vocal mix. We had a different vocal mix. And we had a vocal plus instruments mix. Understand that the more mixes you have, the more complicated it is to run the monitors. There is certainly a good argument for keeping it simple. Still, two mixes is more flexible than one.
A typical setup for PA speakers is two speakers placed up high for good coverage, placing them in front of the most forward microphone to reduce feedback. They are usually located one on each side of the stage or hanging from the ceiling in the center. Recently trends are to hang them in the center. This way, you can run your system in stereo and still have the proper mix no matter where you sit.
As a performing musician you want a PA system that can deliver your sound with clarity and definition. But with so many different pieces of equipment designed for different live performance needs, it can be difficult to know just what it is you should be looking for.
This guide will help walk you through these and other important considerations to help you find the gear that’s right for you, whether you’re buying your first PA system or looking to add equipment to your existing system.
PA Systems in a Nutshell
Different PA equipment will have different capabilities, features, and designs associated with each of these functions. Your specific needs will determine what you want out of each.
Prepackaged PA Systems
If you don’t want to get too deeply into the nuts and bolts of PA equipment, you might want to consider one of our complete, live sound PA system packages that include everything you need to get up and running. If you’re new to PA gear, these systems can help you avoid the problems that can arise from mismatched PA components. And by purchasing bundled gear, you can save a lot of money.
Musician’s Friend carries prepackaged systems from great brands like Yamaha, Fender, Behringer, JBL, Peavey, Mackie, Kustom, and many more—all at the best prices you’ll find anywhere—guaranteed.
The Yamaha EMX5016CF / S115V PA Package with Monitors offers a complete live-sound performance solution with carefully matched components for plug ‘n’ play simplicity.
Musician’s Friend offers hundreds of live sound packages to match a wide range of performance needs and budgets.
All-in-one Modular PA Systems
For solo acts, duos and other smaller groups that play in venues lacking a built-in PA, a modular tower system can be a clean, simple way to get heard with a minimum of fuss. These systems typically house a speaker array, mixer and power amp in a single, column-like structure that breaks down for easy transport. Because the components have been optimized to work with each other and the speaker arrays are designed to generate high-quality, room-filling sound, these systems offer an affordable, portable option to standard PAs.
The JBL EON ONE Linear-Array PA System is an excellent example, delivering robust sound that’s highly intelligible. JBL engineers have created an array that serves up pro-quality sound to every corner of the room. A 10” bass-reflex subwoofer adds the kind of bottom end that can sometimes be a weak spot in similar systems. With its Bluetooth streaming capability, you have the option of going wireless—a great feature for active musicians, instructors, and other presenters who roam the stage or room. The 6-band mixer is simple to use and lets you easily connect all your gear. A parametric EQ section helps you dial in your sound with independent channel volume controls, a master volume and an onboard reverb.
The JBL EON ONE is so portable you can carry the entire PA with a single hand, then set it up in seconds.
With its great sound dispersion. the JBL EON ONE is at home in all kinds of settings.
Other modular PAs to consider include the Bose LCompact System with its two inputs, it’s a solid choice for singer-songwriters. The 800-watt Harbinger MuV MLS800 Line Array PA System houses a 3-channel mixer plus HF drivers and an 8” LF driver for convincing sound in smaller venues. For bigger gigs, multiple units can be daisy-chained.
PA Power Amplifiers
One of the most important questions when it comes to PA systems is “How much power do I need?” This is a consideration when purchasing a power amp for the system.The power amp’s job is to boost the low-level signals coming from the mixer and broadcast them through the speakers. How much power it produces is measured in watts. And you want to make sure you’ve got enough wattage to fill the venue without compromising the sound quality.
Exactly how many watts you need hinges on a number of variables. The most obvious of these is the performance location (room size, indoor/outdoor, acoustics). However, there are additional factors that complicate the issue. For instance, there is the efficiency of the speakers (i.e., how much sound the speakers produce per watt of power). There also is the concept of headroom (how much power it takes to handle peaks without distorting) and the desired volume level of the music.
Using speakers with average sensitivity, a rock band playing in a medium-sized club will need around 1,500 watts total power at a minimum, whereas a pop or jazz group might need between 250-750 watts. For simple folk music in the same venue, that requirement can come down to as little as 60 watts. Keep in mind though that these power estimates are generalizations; difficult performance spaces and music with a lot of dynamics can require considerably more power. As we note below, factoring in plenty of headroom will help ensure great sound when you’re performing in a challenging environment.
The very portable Crown XLS100Power Amplifier delivers 350 watts of clean power at ohms and offers extensive user controls including onboard DSP.
It’s important to buy an amp with plenty of power to drive your speakers plus enough headroom to prevent distortion. When shopping for speakers, you’ll see that they have a power rating, measured in watts. As a general rule, you will probably want an amp with twice the wattage of your speaker’s rated power handling to ensure a clean, undistorted signal gets to them. We will discuss this further when we cover PA speakers and their power requirements.
Keep in mind that a stereo power amp provides two channels, each able to drive its own speaker load. So if your amp provides 500 watts per channel, a pair of speakers rated for 250 watts would be a good fit. Note that the rated output for stereo power amps is usually given on a per-channel basis. A rating of “2x450W” indicates that the amp generates up to 450 watts into each of its stereo channels.
Getting to know the mixer
Learning to use a mixer might initially look like a daunting task, with all the buttons, knobs, and faders. But keep in mind that every channel has the same controls. Once you learn how to control one channel, you’ll know how to control every channel.
Compression and limiting
A compressor as the name suggests compresses the overall dynamics of the audio signal limiting the amount of variation between the loudest and softest sounds.It smooths your sound and protects gear by helping to avoid damage caused by clipping—a speaker-destroying phenomenon resulting from overdriving the amplifier into distortion. Well designed compressors not only prevent signal distortion, but add pleasing sustain to your sound.
The dbx 166xs has both compressor and limiter functions to smooth out live sound by producing tighter mixes and fattening up drum sounds.
A similar tool, the limiter keeps your speakers and ears from getting blown out by limiting the peaks in the music. A limiter allows compression to occur only above a set threshold, and the compression ratio can be very high. This prevents clipping, distortion, and other related problems.
Other common processors
Sonic enhancers such as the BBE Sonic Maximizer give your sound more presence by delaying the low frequencies relative to the higher ones, removing subtle inaccuracies in timing to preserve the sonic characteristics of live instruments.
The BBE 382i Stereo Sonic Maximizer enhances high- and low-frequency to help clarify and add punch to your sound.
There are many other processors that offer a huge selection of sound-shaping options to meet all your effects needs. Browse the huge selection of signal processors at Musician’s Friend.
Once your mixer, signal processing gear, and power amp have shaped your audio signals, it’s your speakers’ job to turn those signals back into physical sound waves. Speakers reinterpret the signal by using the voltage from the amplifier to move their cones back and forth, producing the sound waves that reach the audience’s ears.
Maybe it goes without saying, but speakers play a critical role in delivering quality sound to an audience, and it’s an area where quality gear can make a real difference.
As is true for the power amp, the size of the venue you play will help you decide on the power handling (wattage) and size of the speakers needed. For example, smaller gigs, conferences, and lectures may require about 350-500 watts, while club bands, garage bands, and mobile DJs may need 500-1,000 watts, or even more, depending on the venues they perform in.
Weighing in at a hefty 10lb. each, this pair of Yamaha C215V speaker cabinets have dual 15” woofers and compression drivers mounted on horns to handle high frequencies. Best used in permanent installations, they handle up to 1,000 watts of continuous power.
PA Monitor Speakers
Musicians need to be able to hear themselves and other performers clearly to sound their best, which is why stage monitors are essential. While floor monitors can cause feedback and increase the risk of hearing damage, they are preferred over in-ear monitors by many performers because they are easier to use. These usually wedge-shaped speakers allow performers to hear themselves and play better because of it.
The popular Yamaha A12M Floor Monitor has a a 12” woofer, 1” high-frequency horn, and handles 300 watts of continuous power.
Other PA essentials
We highly recommend getting a cable tester. If your system isn’t working correctly, a cable tester can save you hours of troubleshooting. We also recommend that once you find the defective cable, you immediately throw it away rather than putting it in a box to be accidentally used again someday, only to find that it (still) doesn’t work.
You may also want a dB meter; many venues require that you don’t exceed a certain volume level, and a dB meter will let you accurately monitor your volume.
Browse the complete selection of cable testers and dB meters at Musician’s Friend.
If your PA system is not being installed, you’ll need some heavy-duty cases or bags to transport your gear. Well built, durable cases are essential to protect your valuable equipment.
Microphone stands are also an essential accessory for most PA rigs. You’ll find a broad range of mic stands designed to position mics for vocalists, instruments, and speaker cabinets. Choose designs with stable bases/tripods that will resist being easily knocked over during performance. Mic stands with adjustable booms allow more flexible placement.
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your pa systems wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of pa systems
- №1 — LAMPHUS SoundAlert Siren & Speaker PA System [100W] [6 Modes] [Heavy Duty] [120-130dB] [Microphone] [Hands-Free] [Dual 20A Switches] Emergency Horn Sound System for Police Cars & Fire Trucks
- №2 — ChromaCast CC-PPASYS2-200 Portable PA 6 Channel 200W Sound System With Bluetooth
- №3 — ION Audio Tailgater