Public Address/Paging Systems for Your School
Most schools are familiar with the need for public address systems. Schools are filled with opportunities for large groups of children to gather together and be addressed at the same time, which means that they need a public address system large enough and with enough power to generate sound that can be heard at the far corners of a room and even beyond. When you're selecting a public address/paging system for your school, there are a number of factors that you should take into consideration.
Where will your public address/paging system be used within the school?
Your needs will vary based on where the device is being used and what purpose it will be set to. For example, if the device will be used primarily in the theatre, which is hopefully already designed to create the best possible flow of sound, you won't need as much power as you would for a device that will be used on the football field while the entire school full of students gathers in the stadium.
How many people are you trying to reach?
Elementary school children are noisy. Middle and high school-aged children are noisier. The more people you'll be trying to reach with your public address system, the more volume you'll need to generate. Keep in mind that a quiet auditorium makes it much easier to hear sound than one packed full of students. Even when they're being quiet and paying attention--a fairly rare phenomenon in many schools--students still shift in their seats, rustle papers, and whisper to their friends. That means that if you want to be heard, you have to take these factors into account ahead of time.
How often will the device be moved?
If you're picking up a device with the sole intent of using it in a single area in your school, you can estimate the necessary power and volume based on that room. On the other hand, if you're planning to use the device in different areas around the school depending on the needs of the moment, you'll want to choose a device that is both portable and suitable for use in all areas.
What type of power source do you prefer?
That is, do you want a device that can run off of a battery pack, or a device that runs primarily off of outlet power? If you're going to be using your public address system in the middle of the football field, it will take a lot of extension cords to get to the nearest outlet. On the other hand, if you're planning to use your public address system primarily in the gym, outlets are readily accessible.
How many microphones do you need, and what type?
Initially, you may assume that you need only a single hand-held microphone for your public address system. In general, you'll only have a single speaker at a time, you think. This might not always be true. Sometimes, you'll want to have multiple speakers who are able to use the public address system around the same time. This means that it might be more convenient to have several hand-held microphones. Also keep in mind speakers who may prefer lapel mics or microphones that are attached by a headband or other means.
As you're selecting your microphones, also decide whether you want them to be wired--that is, attached to the public address system--or wireless, enabling the speaker to move more freely around the area. In many cases, wireless microphones can offer a greater realm of convenience, but they can also create problems that your sound team will need to solve before the speaker takes the stage.
Will your system need to play music?
Think ahead to talent shows, pep rallies, and other events. Do you intend to play music over your PA system? If so, you will need to make sure that it's high enough quality to handle these needs and comes equipped with a means for playing the music: a CD player, MP3 player, or other program that will enable music to go through the system.
Looking to select a PA system for your school? Contact us to learn more.