PA System Selection Guide for Social Events

Choosing a Sound System for your Wedding or Party

A complete PA System is often required for a number of uses at private or corporate social functions, parties and weddings (see the Weddings page for further discussion of wedding PA systems).

The systems detailed below are suitable for events featuring recorded music. Additional microphones and other inputs can be added to any of these systems for live music, but a system primarily intended for live music may be more suitable if your event includes both live and recorded music (see the Live Music Selection Guide.

The chart below compares the general characteristics and principal equipment supplied each system, together with common variations and additional items. More detailed information on each item is available further down the page.

System Comparison Chart

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 to opt for alternative equipment. [Back to Table]

Extras. Anything listed under Extras can be supplied in addition to default equipment or services for a supplementary charge. Generally, charges for supplementary equipment will be equivalent to standard Dry Hire prices, less a 15% discount. Charges for supplementary services will be subject to individual quotation, but for reference some service costs are detailed on our PA Hire Prices page. [Back to Table]

Applications. Any of these systems will play recorded music with a high degree of fidelity, enhanced, in the Disco Systems, by deep and powerful bass reproduction. All three systems also provide excellent intelligibility for speeches or announcements, which, with music, are a common requirement at any social function.

Each system has enough input channels to connect additional source equipment, so you can also use your own or third-party equipment - from iPod to DJ mixer - with it. Input cables for an MP3-player or laptop are included. Note, however, that you will need a DJ mixer or separate RIAA preamplifer for vinyl sources (we can supply either of these, but they are not included within the standard charge). [Back to Table]

Microphones. All these systems include Sennheiser XSW or Evolution 100-series radio microphones, which can be used for announcements, speeches, or as DJ microphones. Transmitters are hand-held (e145 dynamic supercardioid) microphones by default, but clip-on lapel (AKA Lavaliere) microphones or headsets can be supplied instead with any radio system at no extra cost. If you do not require a microphone, any of these systems can be supplied without one for a £20.00 reduction in ex-VAT hire cost.

We stock both additional radio systems and a range of wired microphones if you need them.

We can also supply other microphones and accessories to order. [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 any of these systems. However, please do not hesitate to ask us about these if you are not sure whether you will need some. [Back to Table]

CD/MP3 Player. Historically each of these systems included a CD-player. Other primary sources are now more commonly used, and all systems currently include adaptor cables so that your own MP3 player, laptop computer or other source equipment can be connected to the mixer. If you would still like to use a CD-player we can include one without extra charge, as long as you let us know beforehand. We can also supply additional or aternative source equipment (including CDJs and vinyl decks) as chargeable extras where required. [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. Each of these systems includes a professional-standard Soundcraft or Allen & Heath mixer that ensures first-class audio reproduction. However, we can supply a DJ (crossfade) mixer as well as or instead of this. When we deliver a system we will set up the mixer 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 All systems provide high-quality full-range stereophonic sound. Our Announcement and Disco Systems use Martin Audio F10 loudspeakers (supplemented by Martin Audio S15 bass loudspeakers in the Disco System), while High-Power Disco System uses d&b audiotechnik E12 loudspeakers, with two pairs of Martin Audio S15s. Both Martin Audio and d&b audiotechnik loudspeakers maintain their clarity and even frequency-response at high volume, and are therefore excellent choices for events where high audio quality is required at all volumes.

The QSC PLX1804 amplifiers supplied with our Announcement and Disco Systems are controlled by a dbx Driverack PA controller, which - as well as providing the crossover function for the Disco System's bi-amplified loudspeakers - provides system-specific equalisation and loudspeaker-protection. 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 High-Power Disco System. Also, our d&b audiotechnik loudspeakers are supplied with E12 flying brackets, allowing vertical angle control in both flown and stand-mounted configurations.

The Announcement System is often adequate on its own - in both quality and output-level - for music at typical dinner-dance volume. However, where greater bass output is required, the one of Disco systems would be a better choice. Any of these systems can be supplemented with additional amplifiers and loudspeakers where higher output levels are required (either because the sound needs to cover a large area or multiple locations, or where musical styles require additional output in all or any part of the system's frequency range). [Back to Table]

Stands and Hardware. Each of these systems includes microphone and loudspeaker stands (or poles mounted in the bass cabinets of the Disco System), and sufficient 230V and loudspeaker cables for most social events. However, we have a range of supplementary hardware, including 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 within 15 miles (mileage charges usually apply to greater distances), 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 if you prefer (which will generally result in a 15% discount), but you should note that all equipment is flightcased, and will generally require an estate-car or larger vehicle, as well as help lifting some of the heavier cases. We recommend, also, that any vehicle used for this is fitted with a bulkhead to protect driver and passengers from equipment moving forward in the event of a collision or emergency-stop. [Back to Table]

Technician on site. Only our concert systems normally include a technician on site, and once other systems are set up they don't usually require any special technical expertise to operate. 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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