A PA system (Public Address System) is an electronic audio system which consists of loudspeakers, microphone, amplifiers, and other related equipment. It is used to enhance or increase the loudness of sound produced by human beings and musical instruments. They are used to amplify sound in churches, weddings, sports fields, and other public social gatherings.
Setting up a simple PA is not a complex procedure. Below is a step-by-step guide on how to set up a simple PA system.
- Having the right equipment
The first step is to ensure that all required equipment is available, all in working condition. This step is very important, especially for a PA system that is rented. Broken and loosely fixed parts should be an issue of concern. Any part or component that seems to have malfunctioned should either be replaced or repaired.
A public address system mainly consists of the following equipment:
- Microphone and speaker stands
- Signal processors
- Source of power
- Setting up the speakers
As a rule of thumb, speakers should always be places in front of microphones. When done otherwise, there will be a lot of feedback which will lead to production of undesirable noise due to interference. For most cases, two speakers are ideal. However, for large gatherings, like in sport stadium, more speakers are required.
- Fixing the microphones
Fixed microphones should be securely installed and placed at the most convenient height with respect to people who will use them. The cables should be tight and securely fixed. For handheld and wireless microphones, the batteries should be checked and be replaced if they are old.
- Connecting the PA system to the microphone
The next step is to connect the PA system and the microphone via the microphone cable. The cables should be places such that people will not step or stumble over them.
- Testing the Public Address system
After setting up the speakers, fixing the microphone and finally connecting to the PA system, they should be tested to ensure that they are functioning. While testing, the speakers are adjusted to obtain the best location for quality audio.
To test, the system is connected to a power source, and then powered on. One person will then speak or sing over the microphone as the other person listens to speaker output.
- Adjusting the system for smooth sound
This is probably the last step. It should be done before an event begins. The volume is adjusted to suit the expected audience. The speaker location should be adjusted once more to avoid occurrence of feedback and echoes. It is absolutely necessary to do this in advance because once the event is in progress; it will be difficult to make any adjustments or testing.
- Old cables should be replaced by new ones.
- The microphone should be about four inches from the mouth of the person speaking.
- Speakers should never be places close to walls. Doing that will lead to formation of echoes
- Rooms with hard surfaces or walls are not recommended for PA system. Is such rooms are used; the speakers should be placed further from such surfaces.
To wrap up
In conclusion, the objective of using the PA is to make the audience to get what the speaker is saying without strain. To achieve this, proper preparation should be made in advance. A good PA system should neither be noisy nor inaudible. Taking sufficient time to set up and test the system before use is the secret behind having a good sound output.