Top five questions to ask when buying speakers.

by Andrew Bishop

Choosing the right PA system is not easy, so here are the top five things to consider.

1. Powered (active) or unpowered (passive) speakers?

Active Speakers are an 'all in one' solution as they have an amplifier built into the speaker cabinet, such as our Orion speaker. This is perfect if you need a portable solution or do not have room to carry an amplifier. Putting the amplifier in is a compromise and does not please everyone, but it's convenient and loaded with features such as Bluetooth connectivity.

Passive Speakers are designed to have an amplifier connected to them. The design of the speaker is not compromised so the performance is often superior. With this solution you have full control on the tone as you can amplify the sub bass and mid/top range independently. Generally, its much easier to add speakers to a passive system and reliability is considered to be better.

2. How much power do I need?

Live music - A rock band playing in a medium-sized club will need around 1,500 watts total power as a minimum, whereas a pop or jazz group might need between 250-750 watts. For simple folk music in the same venue, that requirement can come down to as little as 60 watts.

Recorded music - Drum and bass or reggae like plenty of bass so 2,000 watts of subwoofers to every 1,000 of mid/top is fine for up to 1000 people inside, but if you go outside you will need twice this as the sound (especially the bass) has no walls to retain it.

3. What about a guarantee, spares or technical help? 

Many customers get caught out and cannot get sensible answers from suppliers who can often be more interested in shifting boxes than solving problems. Thankfully we get few technical issues, but if anything arises you can talk to Andrew (owner of BishopSound) directly on his mobile +447973223949.

At BishopSound we offer a personal guarantee which is based on reasonable use. If the speaker fails through no fault of your own and it's a manufacturing fault, then we will repair it free of charge. If it is a user error, then we will find a way to help solve the problem.

4. How many speakers can I use?

This depends on the amplifier and the impedance of the speakers.

When you're pairing your power amp with your speakers, you know you need to match the ohms rating. However, depending on whether you wire multiple speakers in series or in parallel effects those requirements.

Wiring a speaker system in parallel will decrease the amount of ohms (and thus resistance). A typical two-way PA speaker is rated at 8 ohms. If you wire two speakers in parallel, the impedance will be 4 ohms, three will be about 2.67 ohms and four will be 2 ohms. Although a smaller impedance rating means the electricity flows more easily, some amps can't handle a 2-ohm load, so be sure to consult your manual before connecting your speakers.

Wiring a system in series, on the other hand, will increase the impedance by adding the ohms together to create more resistance. So, if you wire two 8-ohm speakers in series, the load will be 16 ohms. If you have some identical speakers with lower impedance than the amp can handle, a series circuit can come in handy to raise the impedance.


5. How much should I spend and where can I get the best one to one personal advice?

Not on the internet, every loudspeaker installation and purpose is different so the only way to ensure your get the best speaker for the best job is to call Andrew on 01765 698233 or 07973 223949.