PA System Selection Guide for Public Speaking

Choosing a Sound System for Talks, Presentations, Lectures and Conferences

A PA system is often required in its literal sense - as a Public Address system - for public speaking or as part of an audio-visual presentation.

We have two systems that are intended for this specific purpose: our Announcement System, and our Conference System.

The table below outlines the general characteristics and principal equipment of each system, together with optional variations and additional items that are often hired with them. More detailed information on each item is available further down the page.

System Comparison Chart


£175.00 + VAT

(£210.00 inc. VAT)

£250.00 + VAT

(£300.00 inc. VAT)


Single Speaker or Presenter

Audio-Visual Presentations

Multiple Speakers or Panellists

Larger Auditoriums



Hand-Held Radio Microphone with Stand

Two Hand-Held Radio Microphones with Stands

Lapel or Headset Microphone(s)

DVD Player and/or Remote Control

Cable for iPod, MP3 Player or Laptop

Cable for iPod, MP3 Player or Laptop

Allen & Heath WZ3 12:2

Allen & Heath WZ3 16:2

QSC PLX1804 with dbx Driverack PA Controller

d&b audiotechnik D12

2 × Martin Audio F10

2 × d&b audiotechnik E12

2 × Proel SPSK300 Loudspeaker Stands

2 × K&M 21300 Loudspeaker Stands

Client Can Collect

For Set-Up Only

For Set-Up Only

Technical Information




Mixer Channels

8 Mono, 2 Stereo

16 Mono

Loudspeaker Cables

2 × 10 metres

2 × 20 metres

Loudspeaker Height

1,470 - 2,180 mm

1,590 - 2,375 mm

Peak SPL, 1 metre

128 dB Nominal

137 dB Nominal

Range (85 dBLp)

118 Metres

400 Metres

,Power Requirements

230V, 6A

230V, 10A

Item Details

Cost. The amount shown is the standard daily hire charge for each system, including delivery to an address within 15 miles of our postcode, set-up, and collection. Weekly hire charges are equal to three days’ hire. Charges for longer periods are negotiable. [Back to Table]

Options. Anything listed under Options can be supplied as a substitute for default equipment without any additional charge. Please note, however, that you need to tell us before placing an order if you would like us to provide alternative equipment. [Back to Table]

Extras. Anything listed under Extras can be supplied in addition to default equipment for a supplementary charge. Generally, supplementary charges will be equivalent to standard Dry Hire prices, less a 15% discount. [Back to Table]

Applications. Either of these natural-sounding systems will provide excellent intelligibility both indoors and outdoors over a wide area and up to a substantial distance. The principal differences between them - aside from a single microphone and the overall cost - are that the Conference System has greater clarity and range, greater immunity to feedback, and loudspeakers that can be angled vertically for more even volume and tone over the audience area.

Both systems can also play recorded music with a high degree of fidelity, and are suitable for background or moderate-level dance music. However, although they can be used for disco and similar purposes, we recommend using a system that includes bass speakers (which can be hired as supplementary items for either system) where high-volume dance-music is needed. [Back to Table]

Microphone(s). A microphone is a core requirement for public speaking wherever an unaided speaker cannot be heard and understood by all audience members. In practice, this includes most situations in which the furthest audience members will be more than about five or six metres from the speaker.

The microphones supplied with our Announcement and Conference systems are Sennheiser Evolution series diversity radio ("wireless") microphones. Diversity systems use more than one antenna, and have high immunity to drop-out even at a considerable distance (50 metres or more) from the receiver.

With the loudspeaker systems supplied, these microphones exhibit high immunity to feedback.

As well as providing complete mobility for a single speaker, they are easily passed from one speaker to another in situations where only one person at a time will be speaking. We supply hand-held microphones by default, but clip-on lapel (AKA Lavaliere) microphones or headsets can be supplied instead with any radio system at no extra cost. Please note, however, that lapel microphones typically result in less consistent speech levels and coherence than hand-held or headset varieties (with lapel microphones, both distance and angle from the speaker's mouth vary as the speaker's head is turned), and that they are less immune to feedback. Available gain before feedback is typically more than 12 decibels greater with hand-held or headset microphones than with equivalent lapel microphones.

We stock additional radio systems if you need them (if, for example, several people need to speak who will not be sitting or standing near each other, or where dialogue - either between presenters or in question-and-answer sessions - is involved). We can also supply a range of wired microphones if these are required.

We can also supply other microphones and accessories to order, including table-top microphone-stands, lectern microphones (with or without a lectern), and hand-held microphone booms (AKA fishpoles, for audience talkback sessions). Please ask us if you would like any further information about or help with choosing microphones, stands or accessories for your event. [Back to Table]

DI Boxes. DI Boxes allow connection of audio devices that do not have balanced outputs on cable runs of over three metres. They are not usually needed - and are not included - with these systems. However, please do not hesitate to ask us about these if you are likely to need them. [Back to Table]

CD or DVD Player. If you will only be using the system for speaking, you won't need a CD player. Many of the hirers for whom these system are suitable require one, however, so although they offer good value without one, all our systems currently include a CD player. If a visual presentation is part of your event, we can substitute a DVD player (which will also play CDs) without extra charge, but you will need to tell us about this before you place an order. We can also provide remote control handsets for CD or DVD players without extra charge, but again we will need to know about this before processing your order. [Back to Table]

Cables and Other Inputs. A 2-metre input cable for any device with audio output on a standard 1/8″ stereo jack socket is included with all systems. This includes almost all pocket MP3 players (including iPods and most smartphones), as well as laptop and notepad computers. We can provide alternative input cables for a range of analogue devices, as well as custom interfaces (including DI boxes, isolation transformers and preamplifiers). In general, we will supply these at minimal extra cost (often without charge), but you will need to tell us about any special input requirements before placing an order.

We can also supply other audio visual equipment, including a projector and screen if you need them. [Back to Table]

Mixer. In any system a mixer is necessary for level-matching, and for volume and tone control. A very basic mixer will often cope with speeches or announcements using only a few microphones, but in difficult acoustic environments - like a lot of village halls and large function rooms - a professional mixer can achieve better results. Our Announcement and Conference PA Systems include professional-standard Allen & Heath mixers that ensure optimum speech reproduction wherever they are used. When we deliver a system we will set it up for you, so that the only thing you may need to adjust after we leave it with you is the volume.

We can supply alternative mixers if you require additional inputs or other special features, or can arrange sub-hire from other suppliers of a wider range of analogue and digital mixers if your event calls for a specific device or set of features that are not covered by our own hire stock. [Back to Table]

Amplifiers and Loudspeakers Our Announcement System uses Martin Audio F10 loudspeakers, while the Conference System uses d&b audiotechnik E12 loudspeakers. These combine clarity, articulation and detail with an even frequency-response throughout their intended area of cover. The QSC PLX1804 amplifier supplied with our Announcement System is controlled by a dbx Driverack PA controller, which provides system-specific equalisation and loudspeaker-protection, together with multi-band feedback-suppression filters. Multiple-function Digital Signal Processing is an integral part of d&b audiotechnik systems, and is incorporated in the D12 amplifier that is supplied with our Conference System. Also, our d&b audiotechnik loudspeakers are supplied with E12 flying brackets, allowing vertical angle control in both flown and stand-mounted configurations.

Either of these amplifier/loudspeaker combinations is adequate on its own - in both quality and output-level - for most audio-visual presentations. However, where higher output level or even cover of a large area (or of more than one area) is required, additional amplifier and loudspeaker subsystems may hired. In some circumstances (for example, where a film forms part of the presentation), it may also be preferable to use a system that can provide deep bass reproduction, and in this case additional bass loudspeakers or a different PA system may be required (our Disco System may be a suitable alternative: as well as all the equipment provided in our Announcement System, it includes an extra amplifier and bass speakers). [Back to Table]

Stands and Hardware. Each of these systems includes loudspeaker and microphone stands, and sufficient 230V and loudspeaker cables for most public speaking applications. However, we have a range of supplementary hardware, including table-top and table-clamp microphone stands, fishpoles, lecterns, and K&M loudspeaker tilt-adaptors (which allow up to 15° of downward tilt when used with stand-mounted Martin Audio loudspeakers). [Back to Table]

Delivery and Set-up. All our packaged systems include delivery and collection within 15 miles (mileage charges usually apply for more distant locations), and set-up. Generally this saves you time, money, and the potential wear or damage to you or your car from carrying equipment. It also ensures that everything will be correctly connected, tested, and working to its best advantage when we leave it with you. However, you may collect and return equipment yourself (for which a 15% discount will usually apply) if you prefer. [Back to Table]

Technician on Site. Technicians only remain on site by default with our Live Electric Music Systems, and once other systems are set up they don't usually require any special technical expertise. However, we can provide someone to operate or supervise equipment if this will help your event to run more smoothly. A general idea of what this is likely to cost can be found on our prices page, but please ask us for a quotation if you would like a technician to remain with the equipment throughout the event. [Back to Table]

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