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Public Address System or PA system is a very important system in the amplification of sound. It usually consists of an electronic sound amplification device with a system that distributes sound. This sound distribution system typically comprises of loudspeakers, microphones, and amplifier. The PA system is used for addressing a crowd or a certain number of people publicly. It can be very useful in guiding the movement of the crowd or people such as in the case of a rally, or in terminals or any place wherein someone needs to make a public address. It may specifically refer to a system that includes a mixing console, amplifiers with the loudspeakers.
These portable PA systems can be hooked to multiple wireless devices and microphones. They are very much useful in seminars, performances, conferences and other live performance events.
Features of PA Systems You Should Know
Gone were the days when people were trained to have stentorian voices so that they could speak publicly and audibly to a crowd. Nowadays, you need no training in voice modulation to because there are already available PA systems that you can readily use to amplify your voice. PA systems can be small, mid-size, and large. Small PA system consists of 2 pole-mounted frequency PA speaker cabinets, with two small subwoofers. Medium-sized PA system has four larger multi-woofers with mid/high frequency and four subwoofer cabinets; while large-size PA system has multiple frequency PA speakers with several subwoofer cabinets for optimum amplification.
Factors To Consider when Buying a PA System
There are many factors to consider when buying a live music PA system, and it would be good to consider these following factors so that you can zero in on the ideal PA system for your need:
1) The Area Coverage where You Intend to Use the PA System
This is crucial to your choice of a PA system for live music. As mentioned earlier, there are different sizes of PA systems, namely, small, medium, and large PA systems. If you intend to frequently use your PA system in an in-house party or small-sized gathering, you can surely opt for small, portable PA systems. But if you intend to use the PA system in a huge place with hundreds of people, you should opt for large-sized PA systems.
2) Portability & Size
Another factor that you must consider, aside from the area coverage is the portability of the PA system. If you intend to use your system at small-sized venues, it should be very portable, meaning, it should not be bulky, and it should be easily movable from one place to another. It should likewise readily fit into the compartment of your car so that you can easily transport it from one place to another. Of course, all PA systems have a certain degree of portability. Even the large systems are, to a certain degree, portable. Yet, if you would use it only in small venues, you should really opt for the portable ones.
3) Input Options and Expandability of the PA System
PA systems should have many channels of inputs at hand. It should have multiple input options for convenient use. It should likewise have provision for Bluetooth connectivity and wireless connectivity. Hence, when selecting a PA system, you should bear in mind the value of more inputs and the aspect of expandability for future expansion. However, if you opt for a portable PA system, you can also get a standalone mixer to increase and expand the input options of your PA system. With this standalone mixer, there is no need for you to buy bigger PA systems.
4) Necessary Extra Gear
Once you have opted and bought your PA system, you may find yourself aching for additional gear. These additional gears include extra cables, additional mixer, extra stands, additional microphones, and other additional equipment. Hence, before you even buy a PA system, make sure that you have already taken into consideration these additional gears, and have already included these additional gears within your budget.
5) Effects and Built-in EQ
When selecting your PA system, it is also good to consider the aspect of built-in EQ and effects to configure it for better live sound. These built-in EQ and effects are necessary so that you can enhance the quality of sound that comes out of your PA system. With these built-in EQ and effects, you can calibrate the sound of your PA system according to the size of the venue likewise. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you should opt for PA systems with many effects. What is important is that your PA system has workable built-in EQ and effects that can enhance the sound coming from your PA system. If, however, you have opted for a PA system that seemingly lacks effects, you can opt for a third-party system that could provide you with the necessary effects to improve the sound of your PA system. This third-party effect unit is usually enough and a better option than switching to a larger PA system. However, this unit can lengthen your setup time and may add additional weight to your system.
6) Your Budget
The last determining factor in your selection of a PA system is your budget. If budget is not an issue, the only thing you will consider is the abovementioned other features of your PA system. Moreover, you can opt for a larger size PA system that has all the necessary gears for a perfect PA system. However, your budget surely plays a crucial role in your choice of a PA system. Hence, you can only select a PA system based on your allotted budget.
Recommended Best Portable PA Systems
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1) Hisonic HS700 True RMS 35 Watts Rechargeable & Portable PA System
The Hisonic HS700 utilize a 75 watts speaker, and it also can be used in the noisy and large area. With the dimensions of 14.5″ x 8″ x 11″, weighted at 9 pounds and an adjustable luggage handle which can be extended up to 30 inches, it is one of my favorite portable PA systems that you can carry anywhere you go.
It also features with the built-in Dual VHF wireless mic system that you can use with a handled mic and a portable transmitter that you can match it with a headset/lavalier mic.
It supports the Bluetooth and AUX music streaming inputs from your mobile devices such as mobile phone, tablet, card reader and USB port.
2) Hisonic HS120B Lithium Battery Rechargeable & Portable PA
It’s relatively smaller than the HS70 model we have reviewed just now. This HS120B PA system only weighted at 6 pounds with the size of 11.5″ x 4.5″ x 7″. And it uses a 40 watts speaker to power its sound.
And it also features a built-in VHF wireless mic system and an extra input jack for the add-on microphone. It’s very lightweight and compact in size, but the main disadvantage is that due to its 40 watts speaker, it’s only suitable for smaller indoor or outdoor live music environments.
3) ION Audio Tailgater (iPA77)
The ION Audio Tailgater (iPA77) is one of the best multi-functional PA speaker systems. This system does pack with the useful features like Bluetooth connectivity, rechargeable battery that can last for 50 hours of usage duration, AM/FM Radio (AM 520 – 1710 kHz; FM 87.5 – 107.9 MHz), USB charge port, 1/8″ auxiliary input and microphone input jacks.
You can download its proprietary iOS/Android app for more convenient and remote control over the PA system. It is an advanced feature I like the most, which I can’t find in most of the other PA systems. Its Bluetooth range is up to 100 feet coverage.
Weighted at 16.3 pounds with the dimension of 12.5” x 9.4” x 12.8”. It is heavier than the two Hisonic’s models we have reviewed above.
4) STARQUEEN Portable Bluetooth PA System
This rechargeable PA system uses 15″ Woofer, and it is designed for the large events; it is so powerful and capable of project sounds for the events with around 150 people in the indoor or outdoor environment. In fact, with the size of 29.50″(L) x 19.50″(W) x 18.80″(H) and weight at 40 pounds, it is heavier and bigger than other PA systems. And it does also come with an adjustable tripod speaker stand, wireless mic, remote control and telescoping handle and wheels.
This Starqueen PA system packed with the useful features such as Bluetooth connectivity, recording function, FM Radio, USB/AUX/SD/MIC/Guitar Inputs, 5-band EQ selection options.
Overall, this system is more suitable for the bigger events that catered to more than 100 people.
5) PRORECK PARTY 15 Portable 15-Inch Woofer 2000 Watt 2-Way Powered PA Speaker System
This Proreck Party 15 model is the most powerful PA speaker system among all the other models we have discussed in this review list. Like the Starqueen model we reviewed just now, it also utilizes the same size of 15” woofer. The most powerful part is that this Proreck party 15 is a 2-way 2000 Watts PA speaker system that comes with the most common and useful every PA system should have, excepts the rechargeable battery. To be clear, it a powered system that you need to have AC power to power it up. There are also installed with the built-in telescoping handle and wheels for each speaker for mobility and portability purposes. Is it a portable PA system? Yes, it is. But, you have to make sure that there are AC power sources nearly.
Thus, it’s more suitable for the events like singing performances, backyard weddings, social gatherings and other indoor/outdoor live music performance events that catered to more than 200 people. And it’s very suitable to use in a home studio as well.
6) Pyle PWMA200 Compact & Wireless Microphone PA Speaker System
The Pyle PWMA200 is a more simple and compact kind of PA system that featured the basic functions such as rechargeable battery, one mic input, built-in single-channel VHF wireless receiver and REC line out. It also comes with a wireless lavalier mic (working distance up to 100 feet) and a wired microphone.
It is only weighted at 9.7 pounds with the dimension of 7.1”W x 4.3”D x 11.8 H. And considering only with the power output of 80 Watts, This Pyle PWMA200 is only suitable for the small group events such as casual presentation, singing, and guitar playing sessions.
7) LyxPro SPA-12BAT PA System
It’s is a heavy-duty rechargeable PA system that can produce 70 RMS power with the 12″low-frequency woofer. Regarding the inputs, it is featured with 3.5mm stereo auxiliary inputs, RCA L/R inputs, and two wired mic inputs. And it also supports the Bluetooth connection, USB, and SD card readers. Thus you can easily use it with various type of playback applications.
With the dimensions of 25.5” x 16.5” x 14.17″ and being weighted at 39.6 pounds, it’s quite a heavy as compared to other models. However, It does come with the built-in luggage handle and wheels. Considering the powerful sound features it offers, it still can be considered as the powerful heavy-duty PA system that you can carry around for any small to medium events.
8) Pyle 500 Watt Outdoor Portable Bluetooth Karaoke Speaker System
This is a compact 500 Watt portable PA system that equipped with an 8″ sub-woofer speaker and dual 3″ tweeters. Based on the existing users, some users claimed that the rechargeable battery life could last for 7 hours of music without intermission. It does feature with the Bluetooth, SD card and USB connectivity functions. So, you can easily play the music from your most of the audio sources.
Furthermore, it also features the recording and microphone priority talk-over functions.
With the dimensions of 14.4” x 16.8” x 23.4”, this model is more suitable for the small indoor events such as karaoke, singing, classroom performance or presentations.