How To Choose My Speakers?
Speakers come in all sizes and varieties and serve different purposes for the audio industry. The first categories to look at are: “Passive” speakers and “Active” speakers.
Differences between Active and Passive speakers
The difference between the two are that passive speaker systems require a separate power amp to drive them as they are not powered, and active speakers have power amps built into the speakers. There isn’t really any argument about which type is better as there are hundreds of varieties of both, from entry level to the highest professional end.
Larger systems which are likely to be used in major shows and outdoor festivals tend to be passive systems, using separate amp racks. Passive systems are better suited for outdoor use, where the natural elements might be an issue. Although the amplifiers would have to be undercover and kept dry, the speakers themselves are not mains powered so will not blow up if they get a little wet.
Active speakers do carry mains power and must be kept undercover when used outdoors even if there is the slightest chance of rain.
One thing we would say in favour of active speakers is that not only are they easier to set up (plug and play) but the built in amplifier has been specifically designed for that speaker.
Speakers and Amp compatibility
With passive systems, unless you are using the amps that are designed for that particular make/model of speaker you might not get the optimum performance out of them. People often buy amps and speakers separately that may not be compatible with each other. The amplifier must be powerful enough to drive the speakers.
You don’t want speakers rated at 750W each being driven by a 200W amplifier. Equally, you also want to avoid using a 1000W amplifier blowing up your 200W speakers!
If you have a great amp but the speakers are rubbish and vice versa, it will not sound great. Remember, they are only as good as each other.
How big does the PA system need to be?
When clients ask us what size PA system they need for their event, we normally work this out by audience size and venue size.
We recommend 800W for events of up to 150 people. This would include house parties, small business presentations, in-store DJ events or small pub gigs.
For events of up to 300-400 people which include larger bands, DJ sets and weddings we recommend a power output of between 2.4-3.5K.
Bigger size events of between 500-2000 people which include large weddings, concerts and small outdoor festivals we recommend a minimum of 5K (5000W).
What is a Subwoofer?
A subwoofer is a speaker dedicated to the low-pitched frequencies or bass.
It is important to consider that subwoofers are not always necessary depending on the type of event.
So the question you may be asking yourself at this point is, do I need to hire subwoofers for my event?
If you are using the PA system mainly for speaking, background music or are playing a genre of music where the subwoofer frequency range isn’t very prevalent, then no.
This would include Country, Jazz, Rock, Classical or anything recorded pre 60’s.
If you are a DJ playing Urban, Pop, Dance, Hip Hop or RnB where these frequencies are very prevalent and almost essential then we absolutely recommend subwoofers.
If you are a live act using keyboards, making up drum kits or running bass guitars through the front of the house system, subwoofers are also recommended.
This is a rough guide to help you decide on what type of speakers you might need to hire for your event. Please feel free to contact us for more detailed advice on sound equipment, lights and special effects to create a great atmosphere.