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Why is it so confusing when it comes to choosing a portable PA system for a Marriage Celebrant, Funeral Director, School, Corporate Business, Tour Guide,  Sporting Club or Fitness Instructor?

Why do so many companies feel the need to WOW with jargon that no ordinary person can possibly understand?

Why are portable PA systems so expensive compared to home hi-fi or portable bluetooth speakers?

Why can’t someone write a simple and easy to understand blog to help decipher this minefield?

Well…. Look no further, here it is!

Here are some of the most common questions and comments that I would like to address.

“I don’t need a portable PA system, my voice is really loud!”

Having a loud voice doesn’t necessarily mean that it projects well, or evenly, across a large group.  Have you ever had to sit through an outdoor wedding or funeral, a School Principal’s address at an assembly, a club meeting, or a fitness instructor trying to yell over 24 flat out exercise bikes in a spin class and not being able to understand a single word?  Sometimes you might be the person in the front row experiencing an uncomfortably loud presentation by a person who is also trying to reach the audience at the back.  Or you may be the person at the back straining to catch what is being said when the presenter turns, or looks down at their notes and does not project their “really loud voice”.

If you need to present in these situations and would like to give your audience a polished experience, let me explain portable PA systems and how they can help you.

What is a Portable PA System?

A PA (public address) system is generally made up of:

  • a speaker or speakers,
  • an amplifier to supply power to the speakers and
  • various microphone options (hand held, head worn or lapel worn)

These combined components broadly make up a PA system used for amplifying a voice or instrument so that an audience of a particular size can clearly hear the announcement or performance.

Why are some Portable PA Systems so expensive?

Consider the equipment required to achieve a public address system.

  1. amplifier
  2. speakers
  3. wireless microphone receivers
  4. CD player
  5. Bluetooth music receiver
  6. Batteries and power converters

Public address involves presenting to large groups of people, often in locations where this equipment cannot be permanently set up or installed.  It must be brought in, set up and considerations need to be given to whether power is available or if rechargeable battery sources have to be utilised.

A portable PA system enables you to carry (or wheel) a unit to the presentation location, flick one switch and be ready to speak in under ten seconds.  This convenience eliminates the need for all the above equipment and power requirements.

Portable because it is a compact size, but also portable as all the components described above are able to run from the internal rechargeable batteries. (For some models for periods of up to 6 hours on a single charge!)

This is a Portable PA system.  This complex equipment is contained in an easy to transport, fully self sufficient package, that can be moved to any location.  This is the convenience that you are paying for.

Which system is best for me?

This depends on your needs and how big an audience you have to address.

For example, consider the following when making your choice:

  • Do I want to be able to use one or more (up to four) microphones?
  • Do I want my microphones to be wireless? And if so, do I want a hand held, head worn or lapel worn wireless microphone?
  • Do I want to be able to play music from a built in CD player, with a cable from a phone, or streamed wirelessly via Bluetooth?
  • Do I want to be able to cover an audience of varying size from 50 to 100, 300 or up to 500?
  • Weight of the PA system, am I able to carry the unit comfortably from a store room or my car? And am I comfortably able to put it on top of a speaker stand?
  • Do I want to be able to run my system without the need for mains power?

 

 

The internet offers too many options, which brands are the most reliable?

Ask the following questions to the company trying to sell you a Portable PA System:

  1. Length of warranty and is it valid in your city/country?
  2. How long has this brand been on the market?
  3. Spare parts? Are they readily available?
  4. Can servicing or repairs to your unit be carried out locally or does it have to be shipped back to the place of purchase? (Often at the buyer’s expense?)
  5. Does the seller offer product training? Or are they just handing you a cardboard box?
  6. In the event of warrantable repairs does the seller offer a complimentary loan unit? Consider your business and down time.

You can surf the net for nearly any product you want, but there are many things that internet retailers cannot offer, the most common being:

  • You can’t physically try to pick the unit up
  • You can’t hear the real sound of the unit
  • You can’t feel the true build quality

Why do I need to have a Portable PA System?

You want your audience to be engaged!

People’s concentration often wanders when they can’t clearly hear or understand the message being announced.

A quality PA system will determine the success of your presentation and reflect positively on your business and yourself as a presenter.

Compiled by:

Enzo Volpe
3 Monkeys Audiovisual
30 years of experience in live audio retail, design, installations and customer training.

Email: enzo@3monkeysav.com

 

 

 

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