Is it Time to Upgrade your Portable PA System?
How’s your current PA system faring? Are you feeling a little frustrated at the lack of power or by distortion that shouldn’t be there? If you find yourself setting up for bigger events and venues than you used to or are limited by the features of your current setup, ask yourself these questions to see if it’s time to upgrade.
- How much power do you need?
Are you constantly trying to turn your system up to ‘11’? You may need to look at more powerful PA gear. As a very general rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to plan for at least half a watt per audience member for announcements and speeches, and at least triple that for anything involving music. Remember, with the right system you can always add additional passive or powered speakers for larger venues as needed.
- Which audio sources will you be using?
If your system is over a few years old then there’s a good chance you might be feeling limited by the audio sources you can connect to. At a minimum, it should be easy to plug in smartphones, tablets and laptops, while Bluetooth and wireless functionality can free you and performers from a lot of unnecessary cords. If your PA is often used with a microphone, for example within church or school settings, consider voice priority functionality which automatically lowers the music volume when someone speaks.
- Is battery performance letting you down?
One of the most common reason we see people upgrading their portable PA systems is because they’re being driven batty by terrible battery performance. Batteries have come a long way in a short period of time, and if you’re looking for a battery operated option you can get up to 8 hours or beyond of high quality performance, as the Alto Transport 12 provides.
- Have you looked far enough ahead?
It’s absolutely critical that if you are making a sizeable investment you’re looking to tomorrow’s events as well as today’s. Quite often, even a hundred-dollar difference will give you powered speakers with significantly more power and clearer performance going into the next few years. As the saying goes, “It’s unwise to pay too much, but it’s worse to pay too little.”
- Partial update or full upgrade?
Before you go spending thousands on an upgrade, make sure you’ve carried our testing to ensure a simple fix won’t do the trick instead. How old are your microphones? Has your mixer been exposed to dust or spillage? It’s possible that you might hear a noticeable difference in performance simply by investing in some new cables – after all, they can experience a whole lot of wear and tear in a venue situation. If you’ve tested your system and are looking to upgrade, speak to your closest Pro Audio dealer for expert advice.