If you want to be able to amplify a live band at your event, then you will need a public address system, something that is commonly referred to as a PA. There are plenty of speaker system hire companies dotted around Australia, so this should not be a difficult thing to do. However, if you want a PA for a one-off gig or for a party and have never set one up before, then there are some things you need to know beforehand. What are the main points that are worth taking on board before you hire a PA?
Do You Need a Backline, Too?
Most live rock bands — and musical groups of many other genres — will have their own backline. Essentially, this is the guitar, keyboard and bass amplifiers that the musicians use to generate their sound. If the band in question does not have these items, then you may need to hire a back line as well as the PA itself. This is worth checking beforehand. Assuming the band supplies their own backline, then the PA will be used to amplify acoustic instruments and vocals only. Make sure you know the exact number of musicians will need to be plugged into the PA so that you can hire one which has enough inputs. The number of microphone inputs is usually limited by the mixer unit. Commonly, mixers offer you 4, 8, 12, 16 or 32 inputs depending on their size.
The next thing to check out is the power rating of the PA system you intend hiring. It is easy to hire a PA which is much too large for your size of the room, so take advice from the hire company. The rating of a PA is given in watts. Essentially, the greater the wattage of the power amplifier, the louder the system will go. However, you should bear in mind that the speakers also need to be rated for the same level of power. A big amp with small speakers will be overloaded and sound terrible.
Active or Passive Speakers?
Another key factor to consider is whether or not you will use active or passive speakers. Essentially, active speakers have their own built-in amplifiers, so these should be rated correctly. If you opt for passive speakers, then the set-up can be a little easier, but you need to make sure that your power amplifier and mixer unit are compatible with one another.
A Monitor System
Finally, it is worth making sure that the musicians will be able to hear themselves. If you hire the front of house speakers only, then it is hard for musicians to pitch their music correctly, something that especially affects singers. Therefore, you should hire one or two foldback speakers which relay the sound of the performance back to the band. The bigger the band, the more of these foldback monitor cabinets you will need.