Public Address System (PA system) is an electronic sound amplification and distribution system with a microphone, amplifier and loudspeakers, used to allow a person to address a large public, for example for announcements of movements at large and noisy air and rail terminals.
In short, a PA system is a public address system. Also known as a sound reinforcement system, a PA system is an electronic amplification system used to get sound from the performer(s) to the audience. It's made up of several components, and while one system can vary greatly from the next, each one handles these same basic functions:
- Converting acoustic sound into electronic signals, most often with microphones or line inputs.
- Processing and mixing these electronic signals, using mixing boards and effects modules
- Amplifying signals with a power amp
- Delivering the sound through speakers
- Monitoring the performance with speakers or in-ear monitors
- Different PA equipment will have different capabilities, features, and designs associated with each of these functions. Your specific needs will determine what you want out of each.
As a performing musician, capturing, mixing, and amplifying your sound involves choosing a live sound system that’s well matched to your music, budget, and the venues in which you play. Whether you're a singer-songwriter performing in a café, a band playing in a local bar or club or a DJ playing weddings, you're going to need a PA system to be heard. In this guide we’ll walk you through all the live sound gear you need, tell you how it works, and help you find the right PA equipment to make your music sound its best.