Choosing the right PA System

by Andrew Bishop

BishopSound PA Guide 4

Loudspeaker Buying Options
As we outlined in Chapter 3, when it comes to buying PA loudspeakers, your choices are basically determined by your requirements, the venues that you perform in, your vehicle and your budget – and not necessarily in that order.

Your PA Requirements
Working out what you actually need isn’t too difficult. If you’re a DJ, you’ll need a loudspeaker system capable of delivering plenty of volume for the venues you’re playing in and a bottom end that delivers plenty of punch – which means that you’ll be looking for a system that includes a subwoofer. If you’re solo, in a duo or a member of a band that’s playing in pubs and small clubs, your main concern is going to be making sure that vocals and any acoustic instruments can be heard clearly above background noise, backing tracks or your fellow band members.

If you’re in a band that is regularly playing bigger gigs, we’ll come back to your situation in detail in a future episode as you’ll have a more complex set of requirements that are beyond the scope of this particular chapter.

The PA You Need
When you start researching your options, you’re going to be overwhelmed by the amount and choice of gear that’s available – so how do you decide how which loudspeakers (and how many) to buy?

One tried and tested route is to get out there and look at the gear that other DJs, soloists, duos and bands are using in the venues that you’ll be playing in. Don’t worry about the labels on the cabs, look at the type and number of speakers - active or passive, driver sizes, subs and stage monitors. Don’t just go and see one band, see a few, talk to the band members about why they chose the particular combination that they use and, most importantly, think about the type of speaker setup that sounds best to you and that you think best fits your needs.

Ask For Advice
Once you’ve got an idea of the loudspeakers that appeal to you, it’s time to get some advice to check that what you’re thinking of is the best choice for your needs and to get an idea of the budget that you’ll need to buy it.

You’ll find a lot of advice on the internet – from YouTube to the relevant internet forums – but there is nothing to beat talking things through in-person with experts whose knowledge comes from years of experience.

Here at BishopSound, you’ll get access to advice from expert audio enthusiasts who have been involved in PA systems for most of their working lives, and who have rigged and run systems in venues ranging from intimate clubs up to large festival stages in support of artists across a whole swathe of musical genres – from solo singers and bands to top DJs.

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