Examples of PA Systems
If a student asks how to get started, this is usually the answer. These can be anywhere from a couple bookshelf speakers on mic stands, to a couple powerful cabinets mounted on walls. When it’s the right solution, there’s nothing to be ashamed of here.
A Premium Small Stage Setup
A small stage doesn’t need a lot of audio. You usually can’t go wrong with something like two JBL VRX subwoofers and two VRX tops for each.
Two Line Arrays
Most mid to large venues have two line arrays. Due to the tight dispersion patterns if each cabinet, they provide great coverage and focused sound at a high level of efficiency. Older professionals usually have great things to say about how line arrays have substantially changed the whole industry for the better.
Many Line Arrays
Festivals and large stadiums require more arrays than just two. Desert Trip, for example, has more than a dozen such arrays to cover the millions of audience members. Indoor arenas often have 4-8 arrays that face each section of the circular audience, with a stage in the center.
While every permanent install and tour sound system should be engineered for the venue, sometimes the application required something particularly special. For example, a rock church in the Salt Lake Valley needed speakers that were more flat than usual, due to the short ceiling they were dealing with.
Anyone who’s experienced an Atmos surround system knows they’re something special, with up to 128 channels of audio emitting different content.
The Rice-Eccles Stadium has a 286,000-watt system that was designed to direct sound from the outside in, at the request of upset neighbors who want to keep noise pollution down.
Swimming pools require speakers that are not only designed for high ceilings but also are weatherized heavily enough to withstand the chlorine in the air. Boats face similar issues, so they have marine-grade speakers just for them.
Businesses who need to cover a lot of space with few speakers have omnidirectional domes that have less decay than a regular in-ceiling speaker.
Control systems are often required as well. For example, some restaurants have quiet areas and loud areas and customers who each have their own wants, so special controllers are set up to add on-the-fly flexibility. Stadiums may have special systems that make announcements when the fire alarm sounds, or at closing time every day. The Real Salt Lake team store has a special audio stream that comes directly from the stadium.
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