PA Solutions for Presentation & Communication
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PA Solutions for Presentation & Communication

By Robert Morton

Whether you are a teacher speaking to a noisy assembly of grammar school students or you are a tour guide in the middle of a major city, you are going to need some help overcoming ambient noise to get your message heard. That's where a PA (Public Address) system comes in handy. It allows presenters to communicate effectively, and is available in a variety of sizes and configurations.

Where Would I Use a PA?

First, let’s take a look at some of the places that presenters would use a PA:

• Schools- Classrooms, Assemblies, Coaching

• Corporate- Boardroom, Trade shows, Training

• Houses of Worship- Churches, Synagogues, Meeting Halls

• Tours- Museums, Tourist Attractions, Walking Tours

• Hotels- Meeting Rooms, Event Rooms

• Auctions- Galleries, Outdoor Markets

What PA System Best Suits my Needs?

Now that you know where presenters would use a PA, let’s take a look at some of the hardware you would use, and where you would use it.

Megaphones- A megaphone is a portable, hand-held, funnel-shaped device designed to project a person’s voice in a targeted direction. Megaphones are more a type of communication device than a true PA, but they are important to mention because they are a great solution for certain applications.  These simple devices are commonly used for sporting events, political functions, film/video shoots, and crowd control. Police officers and Fireman often use them to communicate with suspects and rescue crews.


B&H carries a variety of megaphones from manufacturers including: TOA, Anchor Audio, and Califone. The TOA ER-3215 is a 23-watt megaphone with a detectable push-to-talk microphone and a strap that enables over-the-shoulder operation. TOA’s compact ER-1206 series megaphones are designed for outdoor/marine applications and are available with an optional siren or whistle. The powerful LBH-300 Little Big Horn from Anchor Audio is an easy-to-use megaphone built from high-impact ABS resin. It provides 10 to 14 hours of operation time and projects up to a quarter of a mile (great for set direction and crowd control).


Lecterns- A Lectern, sometimes referred to as a Podium, is a slanted top reading desk designed for presenters and lecturers. Lecterns are available in a variety of designs and configurations; many have integrated sound systems. Lecterns provide a focal point for the audience and allow presenters to read from their notes or scripts discreetly. You will find lecterns in variety of locations including: Schools and Universities, Houses of Worship, Corporate Board rooms, Hotel Event rooms, and even Auction Houses.

Smaller gathering/meetings or facilities with installed sound systems may not require a lectern with built-in sound capabilities. A popular choice for this type of lectern is the Oklahoma Sound OK810 Premier Lectern. It is available in three different laminates (walnut, light oak, and medium oak), and a reading surface that adjusts in height from 42" to 52". This versatile lectern features four easy-roll casters, a digital timepiece and a brass reading lamp. Oklahoma Sound’s Orator 800 series lecterns add a built-in sound system with two microphone inputs, line in/out, and a full array of multimedia functions for A/V presentations.

If you are looking for a more portable lectern, two systems to look at are the Anchor ESN-6000 Ensign Pro series and the Oklahoma Sound 007HT. The ESN-6000 is a rugged, portable lectern system with a built-in amplifier, gooseneck microphone, and reading light. It is available in configurations that include CD players and wireless microphone options. A really unique product is Oklahoma Sound’s 007HT Portable PA System in a Briefcase. Perfect for lecturers on the go, the 007HT comes with two convenient microphone options, and allows you to use either standard AC power or battery power for total mobility.

Portable Lecterns

Portable PA's

Hand-Held Portable PA- Compact, hand-held portable PA systems, (sometimes referred to as Personal PA systems), are an ideal choice for schools, tour guides, and small gatherings. They allow you to move around freely while giving your presentation; offering a high-fidelity alternative to megaphones, without the bulk and weight of larger systems. These lightweight systems are also very effective for crowd control and emergency communication in noisy environments.

A few systems worth mentioning include: The Fender Passport P-10, the Califone PA-285AV, and Anchor Audio’s PB-25. The Passport P-10 is a battery-operated, 27-watt system equipped with a wired dynamic microphone. (The P-10W version includes an integrated wireless system with a condenser microphone transmitter). It provides up to 8 hours of continuous use, and is designed to be carried using the included shoulder strap or mounted to a standard microphone stand. Similar in design to the P-10 is the 15-watt Anchor Audio PB-25 Minivox PA system. It operates for up to 24 hours on (9) C cell batteries, and is equipped with a handheld microphone and 1/4" and 3.5mm line inputs for CD & Tape players. The Califone PA-285AV is a perfect solution for small classrooms, field trips, and tours. It is light enough to wear on a belt, but also has a stability-formed base for desktop use. This 5-watt system includes a dynamic headset microphone, and is equipped with a belt clip and 3.5mm inputs for projectors and laptop computers.

Portable PA - Portable PA systems are designed for applications with larger audiences including: School Assemblies, Houses of Worship, Sporting Events, and Outdoor Presentations. They provide louder output, higher fidelity for integrating music, and offer expansion options not available on Megaphones, Lecterns, and Personal PA hardware. B&H carries Portable PA solutions designed to cover audiences of up to a 1000 people. Below is a breakdown (small to large) of some popular Portable PA systems for various applications.

Anchor AN-130

Anchor AN-130

At just 8.5 pounds, the AN- 130 is the ideal PA solution for corporate presentations and lectures. Designed to cover up to 100 people, it features 30-watts of power, a magnetically shielded 4.5" carbon fiber speaker, and a rugged injection-molded case built to handle all the wear and tear portable PA’s receive.

Azden APS25B

The versatile APS25B from Azden is a portable powered speaker system with 20- watts of power. It features the ability to operate from a rechargeable battery or AC power. You can use a wired microphone or add one or two wireless modules. With a line level input for background music and output for an additional speaker, the APS25B is a unique solution for presentations, meetings, and events.

Azden APS25B

Fender Passport PD-150

The PD-150 is a completely self-contained portable 150-watt PA system designed to provide audio for presentations, school programs, lectures, or any application requiring sound for up to 300 people. Its stereo powered amplifier and 4-channel mixer is protected from physical damage and the elements by a black luggage style molded case, all less than 28 lbs. in weight.

Anchor Audio Beacon BEA-6000

The Beacon sound system is a lightweight portable speaker array with eight 4.5"mid-range speakers and three 8" woofers. It provides 120° of coverage at distances of up to 500', and is equipped with (2) universal microphone inputs and a "voice-over" music ducking function. The Beacon’s durable case features both wheels and a retractable handle.

Anchor Audio Beacon BEA-6000

Anchor Audio Explorer Pro EXP-6000

Anchor Audio Explorer Pro EXP-6000

Designed for crowds of 800+ people, the EXP-6000 is a portable sound system featuring a high-efficiency amplifier and full-range speaker. Ideal for schools, corporate trainers and houses of worship, the EXP-6000 is equipped with two universal microphone inputs, a built-in rechargeable battery and a "voice-over" music feature.

Califone PA-916

The Power Pro PA-916 is a complete self-contained sound system equipped with two built-in wireless microphone receivers, a fully programmable CD player and a variable speed cassette recorder/player. This unique portable PA can be expanded by using an unlimited number of wireless Companion Speakers (PA916-PS & PA300+UHF). Designed to provide sound coverage for crowds up to 1000 people, the PA-916 is an ideal for schools, government facilities, presentations/conferences, athletic events, houses of worship, and A/V applications.

Califone PA-916

If you have any questions about Portable PA for Presentation and Communication, we encourage you to contact us on the phone, online, or in person at our SuperStore in New York City. 1-800-947-9923

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