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Audio Tech Business

A PA System Buying Guide for Beginners

14/03/2020

You may have heard or even used the “PA” word if you work in the event organizing or music industry. As a reminder, a PA system stands for the Public Address system. It is basically an audio amplification system that can be used for musical concerts, public speeches, seminars, meetings, or any other occasions that involve a large audience. 

If you’re here, you probably an establishment owner who’d like to invest in a PA system for your own venues, or you’re probably a businessperson looking to buy the system so that you can rent it later. Either way, here are all the things that you need to start to learn. 

Active Vs. Passive Speakers

speaker diaphragmThe first basic you should learn is that you must know the difference between active and passive speakers. Active speakers have a built-in amplifier and power system. It’s a plug-and-play device. If you want to use the speakers, you only need to connect the speakers to a sound and power source. There won’t be any complicated cabling installation and channel routing. Therefore, active speakers are best for traveling musicians, DJs, and any events that don’ require extensive coverage. 

However, since active speakers have all packages in one cabinet, they can be quite heavy to carry. And if one part breaks down, the whole speaker can become useless. And the price is quite high too. Hence, if you want to invest in active speakers, make sure you get only the best powered speakers

As for passive speakers, they are way more affordable than their active counterparts because passive speakers are mostly used for large-scale events. Passive speakers will need separate amplifers and mixers. This may seem like a drawback, but in an upscaled PA system, passive speakers make it easier for sound engineers to replace any unit that has issues. Besides, a PA system consisting of passive speakers can adapt quickly to the scale of the event. 

New vs. Used Speakers and Amplification Gears

Buying secondhand gears may look tempting, but if you are not adept at the technical proficiency, your entire investment can turn into a scam. Amplifiers and speakers can get more than 40% price drop when sold as used. And you may even find them normally functioning when you test them out on the sales spot. But usually, the issues will appear in several months, especially with frequent usage. With brand-new units, you can expect your PA system rental to be in business for three or four years without a problem, as long as you don’t overdo your gears’ capacity. Now, think about this factor before you spend your budget. 

Preparing Your PA System Crew

Your crew is just as important as your PA gears. Without a well-trained sound engineer, your PA system won’t operate at its full potential. And you may lose your customers for that! 

Even the loading crew also matters. If they don’t know how to organize all the cables, speakers, amplifiers, and other gears, the chances for you to lose them during transport will be high. If they don’t know how to handle big heavy stuff, they may even damage your speakers.