Music Gear News

At Gear4music.com we update our news channel daily to ensure you always get the latest and most important music news.

A Beginner's Guide to PA Speakers

What are PA speakers?

A PA (public address) system is an amplification structure that takes a source signal at input and makes it louder at output. Its basic structure typically consists of a sound source, an amplifier and a loudspeaker, the latter part of which is the main focus of this guide.

Different types of PA speaker

There are two different types of speaker, active and passive. Actives, which are generally looked on as ideal for those who do not know a lot about PA systems, have built-in power amps, making the system much simpler as all a musician needs to set one up are the speakers, leads and a mixer. In addition to convenience, they can also help to improve sound quality. Conversely, passives - which do not have built-in power amps - do have some advantages. They are significantly lighter and if something goes wrong, it is probable that the user will only lose the use of the speaker, not both the speaker and the amp. Those setting up their PA system correctly, however, regardless of which amp they choose to use, will likely be able to stay clear from any such problems.

What to look for when buying a PA speaker

Power is a big issue to consider before purchasing a PA speaker. In general, the more watts a speaker has the louder the volume it is able to produce. Those hoping to use the speakers so that acoustic instrument or vocal sounds can be heard above a drum kit should probably be looking at models with 200 watts continuous power per side and those who do not require such a level of volume can make do with less.

Size is also an important factor. A HF compression driver or 12-inch low-mid drivers and piezo horn are suitable for those using the speakers for vocals or instruments that do not have much low frequency, although 200 to 300 watts of power will be required to help the sounds be heard above a full band. For low-frequency instruments and brass then 15-inch low-mid drivers and a one-inch HF compression driver with at least 300 watts output are a better fit. A sub will be required for those with further bass frequency demands.

PA speakers on the market

There are a host of active and passive speakers available in the market place. The 180W 10" Active PA Speaker for example costs £129.95 and offers users crisp and clear audio in the live concert environment. It is designed to produce loud, high quality sounds in addition to providing users with a quick and convenient setup.

In a higher price bracket is the Yamaha MSR100 Powered PA Speaker for £319. Built to be small and light, the multi-purpose loudspeaker can act as a small-scale FOH PA system, a personal stage monitor or a utility speaker for the most common band instruments, including keyboards, drums, guitars and vocals.

Nearer to the top of the range is the Mackie SRM450 V2 Active PA Speaker for £499. The 400-watt 12-inch bi-amplified portable device boasts pure studio monitor-quality sound and control at big-time live performance sound levels. Power-efficient technology means heat from the device is reduced, which in turn improves sound quality and ensures it has a longer lifespan.

An example of a passive device is the £39.95 P-12H 150W PA Speaker. The 12-inch instrument features a piezo tweeter and is designed to offer a clear and focused sound, good treble and mid-range definition and solid bass response to those seeking good value for money.

Geared more towards professionals is the Peavey Messenger Pro 12 PA Speaker for £110. Built to look and sound good, the 12-inch speaker can deal with 1,000 watts of power at its peak and can also manage 250 watts RMS continuous and 500 watts program.

Posted on 22 May 2009 16:43 to category : Tips and advice

Related Music News

thumbnail

Update available to improve performance and fix bugs.

15 May 2015 07:00
thumbnail

Shure recently discussed how guitarists can achieve great results when recording at home or in a small project studio. We took a look and picked out our favourite points.

25 Jun 2014 14:15
thumbnail

Recreate the Brazilian carnival atmosphere at your World Cup party with our Samba instruments.

19 Jun 2014 09:46
thumbnail

Many parents want to encourage their child to take up an instrument early on in life. Music can be a fun and rewarding activity for children but knowing where to start can be tricky. Here are our top picks for ideal starter instruments for children under 7.

7 May 2014 11:16
thumbnail

You've spent ages perfecting your sound and now it's time to let others hear it too. Read our 8 Tips for Putting on a Great Live Show.

9 Sep 2013 15:09
thumbnail

When you're shopping for a loudspeaker, often the specifications can seem a bit confusing! Use this guide to help you demystify common terms and find the right speaker for your needs.

24 Jun 2013 11:47

Recent Music News

thumbnail

The latest addition to the illustrious range of Katana Amplifiers, the Katana-Mini guitar amplifier brings classic BOSS tone in a portable and lightweight design

23 Jun 2017 10:23
thumbnail

Today's second pedal release from BOSS for Roland's 'Future Redesigned' campaign, the MD-500 is the latest comprehensive workhorse for the modern musician.

23 Jun 2017 09:49
thumbnail

The most advanced reverb pedal to come from BOSS to date, the RV-500 pedal promises a wealth of tone shaping options and professional grade versatility

23 Jun 2017 09:14
thumbnail

Using the feedback from the guitar player community Walrus Audio has devised a new and improved pedal that eliminates the pitfalls of its predecessor.

22 Jun 2017 16:09
thumbnail

After the release of the Hall of Fame 2 and Pipeline Tap Tremolo Pedals, TC Electronic's Flashback 2 promises for unprecedented expression and otherworldly tone.

21 Jun 2017 15:29
thumbnail

Looking to get that perfect take? M-Audio's M-Track 2X2 Vocal Studio Pro gives you professional standard recording capabilities in a robust and compact format.

20 Jun 2017 15:01