Best PA Systems Guide

There’s an awful lot to consider when it comes to buying a PA system.

Different components, power ratings, price tags – where to start? Here are a few top tips to help you find the best PA system to suit your needs!

From school halls to colossal stadium tours, PA systems are everywhere. They come in all shapes and sizes, each designed to suit a different purpose.

They’re produced by some of the biggest brands in the industry, including QSC, Yamaha, JBL, Electro Voice, Alto, TurboSound, Mackie, RCF and many more. In this article, we’ll be exploring the different requirements for PA systems based on setting and usage to help you find the one that’s right for you!

If you'd like to learn more about the different features and designs that impact the price and quality of a PA speaker, check out our guide on How to Choose a PA Speaker here!

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Large Venues

A large venue will need a PA system designed to handle a full backline. You’ll be sending your entire band through this: vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards, and drums – often multiple mic signals from some of these sources. You’re going to need a system that is powerful enough to accurately project that many signals at a variety of different frequency bands.

If you’re a DJ performing in a larger venue at a big party, for example, you’re going to want bass bins and subs available for all the bass you can get!

Medium Venues

For medium sized venues, you're going to want a high-quality, loud vocal PA that can handle some additional audio sources as well. You won’t be sending everything to the system, but it will still be used to handle sources like vocals, acoustic instruments, and keys. This is ideal as you probably won't have acoustic guitar amp to boost your volume, and you can use the PA speakers to give a nice stereo-spread to the keys.

This kind of system would be ideal for a small DJ setup – a NYE party in a big pub for example, or a band performing at a wedding or a school hall. There will be some variation in what you might choose, it all depends on the size of the venue and how loud you need the PA system to be. 

Small Venues

In a smaller venue, you really just need a PA system for getting vocals and acoustic instruments over the rest of the band. Drums and amplifiers provide plenty of natural volume on their own for these types of venues, so you need a system capable of getting the quieter elements loud enough to compete.

This kind of setup would work well in places like small pubs or small indoor venues.

Solo Performer

If you’re a solo performer – playing in a small venue like a wine bar, you’re going to want something that can handle a bit more than just vocals but isn’t going to need to compete with other loud sources like drums.

It might be for your vocals and acoustic guitar or piano. You might have some accompanying backing tracks or need another mic input for the occasional accompanying performer.


Outside of live music performance, there are a range of different situations where you might need to amplify your voice. You don’t need a huge PA system but you need something better than your standard portable stereo system. There are many smaller, simpler PA systems and speakers great for simply boosting speech, perhaps with a bit of background music too depending on your situation.

This kind of system could be ideal for a variety of different uses: an instructor leading a yoga class, announcements at a small fete, or speaking at a conference. It would also work well playing background music in a small venue or restaurant.

You might want to consider options that are easy to carry around and can be powered using batteries, if you’re going to be using it outdoors.


If you’re a busker and you’re looking for a suitable PA system, then there’s a bit of overlap with the previous section. However, you’re going to definitely want something that’s portable and is a little bit focused on music performance.

Look for PA systems which feature dedicated mic inputs and plenty of headroom for clear volume. Models such as the Roland Cube Street have an input for your amplifier, and the Yamaha Stagepas has a mixer capable of handling more than person.

Battery power is a must if you want to use the system anywhere without mains power. Wheels and a travel handle of some kind are also very important if you’re planning to take the speaker out with you.

More Info

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