How to Choose the Right PA System
From live sound mixers to PA speakers and monitors to mics, get the info you need to take your show to the people.
As a performing musician, capturing, mixing, and amplifying your sound involves choosing a live sound system that’s well matched to your music, budget, and the venues in which you play. In this guide we’ll walk you through all the live sound gear you need, tell you how it works, and help you find the right PA equipment to make your music sound its best.
Table of Contents
PA Systems in a Nutshell Prepackaged PA Systems Portability vs. Control PA Power Amplifiers Live Sound Mixers Signal Processing (Effects) Equalizers PA Speakers PA Monitor Speakers Microphones Cables and Other Live Sound System Essentials Tips & Tricks Glossary
As a performing musician you want a PA system that can deliver your sound with clarity and definition. But with so many different pieces of equipment designed for different live performance needs, it can be difficult to know just what it is you should be looking for.
Certainly, there are a lot of variables to consider when choosing a PA. For instance, you'll need to think about the size of your audience, where your performances will be, how portable you need your system to be and how much money you can invest.
This guide will help walk you through these and other important considerations to help you find the gear that's right for you, whether you're buying your first PA system or looking to add equipment to your existing system.
PA Systems in a Nutshell
In short, a PA system—more formally, public address system, and also known as a sound reinforcement system—is an electronic amplification system used to get sound from the performer(s) to the audience. It's made up of several components, and while one system can vary greatly from the next, each one handles these same basic functions: