How to Set Up a P.A. System
Basic instructions on setting up the type of personal address system
normally used by solo artists, duo's, bands, musicians for live work.
Please Note:- The advice below is suitable for a basic
powerpod or mixer amp, however, systems vary considerably and some are
more complicated than others.
When purchasing a P.A. or any other amplification equipment
make sure that the seller provides you with all manuals and instructs
you in the correct set up or get some help from an experienced person.
Don't buy a second hand equipment unless you are knowledgeable about
the pitfalls (or have someone with you who is!).
- Place the speakers on the stands at a height of approx 5' to 6' high and 6' minimum apart.
- Plug the speaker leads into the connectors provided at the back or
side of the speakers and amplifier. Some connectors plug straight in,
others require inserting then turning (usually clockwise) to 'lock'
them in place. If you are using a mixing desk the outputs are sometimes
located at the back of the unit or on the top right hand section above
the volume meters.
- If using a minidisc, cd, audio cassette or other player for your
backing tracks or interval music, plug the phono leads into the back of
the player and the jack or phono plugs into one of the equivalent
sockets (located at the front of the amplifier or top of the mixer).
- Plug the microphone lead into another socket of your amplifier and
connect the other end to the microphone. Cannon to Cannon leads are
preferred for microphones and Jack to Jack leads for Instruments,
Effects, Tone Generators and Sequencers.
- If you have a monitor you will usually find the slave or monitor
outputs marked clearly at the front or rear of the amplifier, use a
speaker lead to connect the amplifier to the monitors input socket.
(Most Slave & Powered Monitors have an input and output socket so
you can link the sound out to more than one monitor if required).
Powered monitors are also connected to the mains using a normal power
- Check that all volume levels and power switches are OFF and all
leads are connected correctly before switching on the mains power. (At
the end of the gig turn off everything including the mains power before
disconnecting plugs and leads).
- Use your Extension power leads and plug the amplifier and player in - switch on & BINGO - you should be up & running.
- Keep your LEADS neat and tidy - use GAFFA Tape on trailing leads to avoid trips and wires being pulled out of the sockets.
- LOOSLY wind the Speaker leads around the stands or use tape to keep them neat and prevent accidents.
- ALWAYS use an extension lead or plug with a safety cut off feature.
Extension leads should always be fully extended and checked for breaks
or kinks in the wire before use.
- Clean your leads regularly with a soft (slightly) damp cloth & check for wear & tear.
- Perform regular maintenance checks on all equipment, cables, leads, plugs and accessories.
- Carry spare fuses/batteries/strings/plugs/screwdriver/pen/paper & a torch!
- Have glasses full of liquid on stage or placed on speakers/amps
or equipment - Drink from a screwtop or resealable bottle (less likely
to tip & ruin your electrical equipment & cause electrocution
or severe equipment damage!).
- Plug anything but Speaker Leads into the Speaker Outputs!
- Use leads or plugs that are split or broken.
- Cover the aeration vents on any equipment
- Block emergancy exits with equipment
- Have loose trailing leads that people can trip over!
The latter are very important, local Health & Safety departments
can stop your performance if these exits are not accessable and if an
audience member is injured by tripping over your leads or falling
equipment you can be sued for damages, so make sure you are fully
insured and be careful!
The online wavelength calculator is designed to assist ham radio
operators in converting a frequency to its wavelength in feet or
inches. Other uses include acoustic measurement and adjustment,
microphone placement, room tuning, and speaker positioning. To read
more and use the wavelength calculator Click Here
For the real enthusiasts who are into the technical side of equipment building visit Ishtek Speaker Design, where they have provided a speaker design applet that you can download Free from their site.
The speaker design program which you can access via the site
uses Thiele-Small parameters for a speaker, and allows you to calculate
various designs. The two primary style of speaker designs handled by
the program are horn-loaded cabinets and vented cabinets.
The designs produced may be used to construct high efficiency
horn-loaded cabinets for PA and sound-reinforcement use. Horn flares
may be conical or exponential. Exponential flares have the best
efficiency/distortion tradeoff of all flares. However, conical flares
are easy to build. A conical flare is commonly seen as the mid-range
cabinet in large PA systems (a Roy box perhaps?). Other flare types
(hyperbolic, parabolic) are not implemented.