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Portable PA Systems - Tips on purchasing the perfect unit

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How to buy a Portable PA System

Whether you're a DJ, an auctioneer, or a musical group, and you need to be heard above the crowd, investing in a portable pa system is essential. Our PA systems are available in a variety of models, with different sized speakers and a multitude of other options. Power output, number of channels (microphone inputs), and mixing components are typical considerations. If you're on a budget, or need something easy to transport and set up, consider these tips on how to buy a portable PA system.

1. Determine your needs. When purchasing a portable PA system, there are functional considerations. If you are a public official and need to address a small crowd using a podium, for instance, you will probably only need 1 microphone and a single channel mixer. The mixer is the part of a PA system that allows you to "mix" the volume and tone of each channel.

  • Choose a small sound system designed either as a single unit, with the mixer, power amplifier, and speaker in 1 cabinet. 
  • For a public speaker or an auctioneer in a small crowd of less than 50 people, choosing a small, single unit speaker PA will suffice.

2. Decide on the component features. Calculate how much power and how many channels (microphone inputs) you will need. Volume is rated in watts. For each person in the listening audience, 1 watt is generally needed, so for 100 people, you'll need a 100 watt system. But the power you'll need for adequate volume also depends on the size and shape of the room, and the acoustical environment. If the room has carpet and drapes, it will absorb more of the volume.

  • The number of channels depends on how many microphones or instruments you need to amplify. Musicians often have their own instrument amplifiers, so you may only need enough channels for vocal microphones.

3. Purchase the accessories. The accessories you will need to operate a portable sound system are the speaker cables (1 for each speaker cabinet), microphone cables, and microphones. All basic cable requirements will be included with your portable PA but consider if you have any additional cable requirements. For added convenience, use microphone stands and speaker stands. A speaker stand will elevate the speaker cabinet to the audience's ear level, increasing the quality of the sound and the efficiency of the speakers.

  • Speaker cables are made in various lengths and gauges. Purchase each cable in lengths that will be sufficient for any perceivable situation, usually 50 to 100 feet (15.24 to 30.48 meters)