Whether a modern, traditional, or modular PA system, it serves your communication needs even during emergencies. The beauty of this audio solution is customization. The system requires integrating various elements to offer a smooth and seamless sound and voice messaging experience. No matter the type of PA system you build, some components will be similar, and a few will be exceptions depending on the scale and complexity. So let’s explore the elements that complete your PA system to help it reproduce loud music and spoken words in your commercial setting.
PA system components
You can install this audio solution for streaming live music or voice messages. Some devices that make this setup complete include speakers, amps, audio mixers, mics, speaker processors, cables, and commercial public announcement control systems.
Active and passive are the two broad categories available in various speaker designs. Loudspeakers are critical to any PA system. Active speakers come with built-in amps, while passive models require them additionally. One may wonder why one should bear the cost of adding an amplifier. The audio designers say that different sound environments depend on different methods. A simple sound setup usually contains just the main speakers. Then others can also require adding subwoofers and monitors. When choosing the main speakers, you can focus on size, bulkiness, frequency, loudness, and shape. Adding subwoofers makes sense when you deal with lower sound frequencies. They can help with proper distribution.
The term ‘amplifier’ is self-explanatory; still, you include them in your PA system to make your announcements and music loud and clear. These standalone units are for passive speakers used in a large area.
Digital or analog sound mixers
You can refer to them as the brain of the PA system because they receive input signals, manipulate and send them. Some find these devices intimidating as they contain many buttons and knobs. Once you know what each does, controlling sound levels will be easy. Digital mixer units can come with preset features that demand pushing some buttons together for the desired output. You can customize your settings. However, analog models work differently. You have to choose the settings yourself. Analog devices are affordable and easy to use, while digital audio mixers come with many capabilities required by a large organization.
Announcement control system
This device connects mixers and amplifiers for signal processing through a single unit. It can equalize, compress, and limit speakers to protect them from damage. Plus, you can rely on it to match the audio delivery to the ambiance. Some devices also provide signal routing and crossover functions when handling multiple speakers. You can also expect them to offer a feedback suppression feature to silence a ringing note. Going with something that drives frequency response while providing the much-needed sounding curve can be the best. If you install it in a large venue, you will also want the system to have a delay or time alignment feature to coordinate speakers in the back and front, avoiding echo.
These are the most popular PA components. You should check their frequency response and polar pattern details during exploration. Another consideration can be the choice between a dynamic mic and a condenser mic. The first one is more common in most circumstances. The other one comes in handy when you deal with subtleties. Plus, you should be clear about the location or environment: live or recorded event.
A quick view of types of PA systems
As mentioned, PA systems can be traditional, modular, and a complete package. Go with a full set of PA systems if you struggle to combine different elements. It will be convenient. Modular options can be suitable for a single-person band. You can set up your audio system and walk away with them easily after your performance. Even businesses can depend on portable systems for smaller outdoor events. For instance, a temporary medical camp may include it to make its operations and communications smooth flowing. Please don’t expect supersonic sounds from them, though. For a more customized experience, you can lean on traditional PA systems.
If you go with them, you want to study all the elements that make your audio communication setup proper. Some people refer to tutorials, and others take help from sound design consultants to ensure they invest in the right equipment. In this installation type, you combine independent parts to help them collaborate and coordinate to create the desired sound experience. One of the main reasons to choose them can be scalability. You can scale your existing PA system by adding more components when your business expands. Or, you can scale it down also, depending on the situation. As a result, you feel more in control of the device. Are you ready to browse through speakers, amps, mixers, subwoofers, announcement management systems, etc.?
A brief account of cables used in PA systems
Whether you plan to buy cables separately or they come with the device, PA systems may use an XLR, Jack, RCA, or Speakon connection. XLR cables connect mixing consoles and microphones or mixer and the amp. You can also depend on them to link devices like equalizers, effects, etc. People prefer this cable type for its ability to send balanced signals. It eliminates your worries about noise pickups. Jack cables also help plug different devices, but they don’t match the performance of the XLR. Speakon cables come with insulation that tackles the risks of shortages and damages. RCA cables are a typical part of mixers to handle input and output signals. Nowadays, their popularity has declined a bit. However, some analog mixers may still need them.
Of all the components of the PA system, one complex area can be the announcement management system. These high-end mass communication platforms can be most helpful in schools and colleges. They add this to their communication setup to ensure a smooth transfer of messages and speeches across network devices, including IP speakers, IP amplifiers, zone controllers, and more. They also support external input and output devices and analog audio systems as gateways. When you build on your PA system, understand every component well to utilize them fully.