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Choosing a Portable Sound System
Questions to ask when comparing portable PA systems
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The initials PA stand for Public Address, and a portable PA system allows you to do just that; speak publicly to a large group of people. A portable PA is a compact audio solution for amplifying your voice and music.

Before you buy a portable PA system, there are a few questions you should ask yourself first:

What is the largest amount of people I will want my PA system to clearly reach, and, how large of a space am I going to operate my PA system in? If you’re going to use your PA system in a large room or outdoors, its volume will be absorbed by the surrounding space and fewer people will be able to hear it. In these situations, you will want as powerful a system as you can afford.
Do I want to use wireless microphones with my portable PA system? If so, what kind: a handheld microphone, a clip-on microphone, or a head-worn microphone?
Do I need a battery powered PA system, or will there always be a place for me to plug it in for power? Some portable PA systems can use battery power, others cannot.

Here's a comparison of some popular portable PA systems:

Fender Passport
The elegantly designed Passport series from Fender cleverly folds together in the form of a suitcase for easy traveling. There are a range of models available from the 80 Watt P-80 to the powerful 500 Watt PD-500. It comes complete with all of the necessary cables and a wired microphone, and features an input for a CD or MP3 player. Fender makes optional wireless microphone kits and a battery pack kit specifically for the Passport.

Anchor Liberty
Built in the USA with a 6 year warranty, the Anchor Liberty is easy to operate and loaded with great features. It runs off an internal battery or uses AC power. It is equipped with a built-in CD player and is available in a variety of configurations, both with and without wireless microphones and receivers. There are two additional microphone inputs for wired microphones, and a line input to connect a CD or MP3 player. Having all of these elements together in one box is the key to easy traveling.

Peavey Messenger
Business professionals and musicians alike will appreciate that the Messengerís 24 inch body makes it an acceptable piece of carry-on luggage for a flight. A completely self-contained system, it sets-up quickly and provides 100 Watts of power. The lid of the unit folds open and acts as an impromptu lectern/music stand. It comes complete with all the needed cables and a wired microphone.

Anchor Explorer
The Explorer is a slightly smaller cousin of the Liberty system from Anchor, but it shares most of the same qualities. Two internal wireless microphone receivers are included, and instead of a built-in CD player it has an input for a CD or MP3 player. Its speaker is smaller than the Libertyís, but itís actually 10 Watts more powerful and more affordable. Compact portable PA systems for business presentation donít get much better than this.

Mackie SRM450
The popular SRM450 from Mackie is a speaker with a built-in amplifier. It can act as an entire PA system by plugging a microphone directly into it, or it can be used with a mixer to add more microphones and additional powered speakers. It packs 400 watts of juice and sounds great for live music performances as well as lectures and presentations.

Everyone has different needs for their sound system. There are many options for PA systems and wireless microphones to use with them.

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