Portable PA systems are a great way to offer simple sound reinforcement in a wide range of situations: youth & children’s work, outdoor events, small meetings & services, outreach, backup PA… the list goes on! The advantages of small size, light weight, battery power and simplicity to operate make these a great addition to any church.
As with any live sound system, with portable PA you need to choose the right tool for the job. But these compact and versatile systems can be turned to a great many uses and are becoming ever more popular with churches.
You can choose systems that will be more suited to basic speech & presentations, for individual musicians & soloists or for a group of live musicians but most will comfortably cover all situations as general purpose PA packages. There are also products that offer great extra features such as integrated wireless mic systems, iPOD dock, battery power, small over-the-shoulder carry speakers, anti-feedback, simple compression, sound enhancement and more.
Another big advantage is simplicity. Designed often with novice users in mind the mixer/amp control hub of these systems are well laid out and intuitive to use. Setup or pack down can be completed within minutes.
Commonly these systems offer around 4 mic inputs and 1 or 2 other inputs for CD player, instruments etc. If requiring more connectivity, control or power there is always the option of putting together a package from separate components (such as powered speakers, mixer etc) that can still be portable and simple to use. This may cost a little more but it will open up the possibilities to a wide range of gear to better suit your needs.
It is usually worth adding speaker stands and a selection of cables to these systems to increase sound coverage and connection options but, where required, Portable PA packages usually include their own speaker leads, commonly at least 6m (20ft) long each.
So for youth work, outdoor events, small meetings & services, outreach, home & garden, schools or even as a backup sound reinforcement solution, portable PA systems are a valuable yet simple and cost effective resource. Every church should have one!
If you need a Portable PA in a location you simply can’t get mains electrical power to, then you have two choices; hiring a generator – which can be noisy and expensive or choosing a battery operated system.
Some mains powered Portable PA systems are also capable of running on battery power, offering true outdoor versatility. Of course there are limitations with battery power. Size and output power of this type of system can be limited and some may not last with an all day event.
Easy to setup & operate
Great option on a budget
Some offer battery power
Wide range of applications
Battery systems have limited power/volume
Most do not include mics, stands, brackets etc.
Some do not have Phantom Power (for Condenser mics)