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Considerations for hiring a sound system

Your AV rental specialist will suggest the most suitable PA (Public Address) system for the job based on the information that you supply. What information is important?

  • Is the event outdoors or indoors and how big is the area that requires sound coverage?

Sound dissipates very rapidly outdoors and to combat this you will need powerful speakers with a long throw distance. Special consideration needs to be given to account for inclement weather when planning an outdoor event. Determining factors for indoor events are the height and the shape of the room. High ceilings and reflective surfaces like concrete and steel have a big effect on the sound quality and can increase the possibility of feedback. Additional speakers will help combat these problems and are also a great way to spread sound evenly in big rooms or rooms with an irregular shape.

  • How many guests will be attending the event?

Bodies absorb sound frequencies, so the bigger your audience is, the bigger the sound system should be. The general “rule of thumb” is one watt per person. To avoid disappointment, overestimate the number of attendees as the audio level of a large PA can always be turned down while a small sound system cannot extend it’s reach once the audio level limit has been attained.

The audio visual supplier needs to be aware of all the potential situations that might require amplification in order to supply the necessary microphones, microphone stands, playback equipment, cabling and a suitable audio mixer for the job. If there is an entertainment aspect to your event in the form of a band, let your av supplier liaise directly with the band to ensure that their requirements are met.

Monitors are generally used for bands and dj’s as they perform behind the front of house speakers and they need a way to reference what the audience is hearing. Stage monitors can also be used to allow panellists and presenters to hear questions from the floor in large conference rooms.

Provision needs to be made for sound feeds to recording equipment. This could range from a single feed for an audio or video recording or multiple feeds for members of the media. Inform your av supplier how many feeds to cater for.

There may be some instances which don’t need a sound technician and where you are comfortable running the event without one. This is not recommended for high profile events or events with complex sound requirements. An experienced technician will ensure smooth operation of proceedings, give you peace of mind and will allow you to concentrate on other aspects of the event.

  • Any other questions?

Feel free to enquire with your audio visual hire company. These professionals will advise and guide you to find the most appropriate sound system for your event. You can always arrange for an on site meeting to get familiarized with the venue and for that extra peace of mind.