There are many different types of PA speakers, each with unique features. This blog post will give you a rundown of the most common types of speakers and the benefits they provide for you and your audience. We’ll talk about why it’s important to choose a speaker best suited for your needs and how to ensure you’re getting the best quality sound at an affordable price.
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The Basic Types Of PA Speakers
- Active And Passive PA Speakers
- Mains (Tops)
- Subwoofers (Bottoms)
- Stage Monitors
There are variations to each of these speakers needed in a PA system. We will go over each one and why the variation is important.
Types of PA Speakers
What is an active PA speaker?
An active PA speaker is a powered loudspeaker, which means that the amplifier and power supply are combined into one unit. These types of speakers require less cabling because they do not need to connect an external amp or mixer for them to work properly. They typically have multiple inputs and outputs on their back panel, so you can hook up different devices simultaneously.
The benefits of active speakers are that they take up less space and can be more easily transported because the amplifier is built into them. Still, there’s also a downside to this type of speaker: you cannot use an external amp like you could with other types. An active PA speaker needs its power source (battery or AC outlet) to work properly.
What is a passive PA speaker?
A passive PA speaker must be connected to an external amplifier for it to function, but you can use an amp with more power or beefier speakers once you are ready. You can also use multiple amps at once if necessary because there isn’t a built-in amplifier that only allows one power source.
While passive speakers are typically lighter because they do not have an amplifier built-in, they can be more difficult to transport if you need multiple amps or a larger one. The issue here is that the weight of the PA system will depend on how much power it needs and what types of speakers are being used.
What does Mains mean?
PA mains (tops) refer to your main/front speakers in a PA system. They are typically the speakers you speak into or play music from and can be used for smaller to medium-sized venues such as classrooms, conference rooms, gyms/sports fields, clubs, etc.
There are three different types of mains: full range (or standard), bi-amplified, and tri-amplified.
Full-range (or standard) speakers are typically used for smaller venues and can either be passive or active, but they do not provide any additional power to the sound system like bi-amped or tri-amped mains might.
Bi-amplified PA mains have two separate amps: one that powers the low frequencies and another that powers the high frequencies. These types of speakers are typically used for larger venues where you need a more complex sound system with various speaker components, such as in churches or auditoriums.
Tri-amplified mains have three amps: one amp to power low frequencies, one to power mid ranges, and one to power high frequencies. These types of speakers are much like bi-amped PA mains but provide a more complex and powerful sound system.
What is a Subwoofer?
A subwoofer (also known as the bottom) refers to your low-frequency speaker in a PA system that provides lower-end sounds like bass or drums. The benefit of having a subwoofer is that it makes the music sound fuller and more powerful.
While there are three different types of subs, they all have one thing in common: you cannot use them without connecting an external amplifier because the built-in amplifiers do not produce enough power for larger venues or stronger frequencies.
There are passive (or un-powered), active (or powered), and bi-amped subwoofers.
A passive subwoofer is exactly what it sounds like: a speaker that does not have a built-in amplifier but needs to be connected to an external one. While these subs are usually lighter than their counterparts, they cannot handle deep bass frequencies.
An active subwoofer has a built-in amplifier, meaning you do not need to connect an external amp for it to work properly. This type of sub can handle deeper bass frequencies and is often more powerful than passive subs because the built-in amplifier provides stronger support.
What Is A Stage Monitor?
A stage monitor is a speaker you place on the ground or floor so that performers can better hear their vocals and/or instrumentals. Stage monitors are typically used for live performances to help singers, speakers, and drummers perform more clearly without using in-ear monitors.
There are stage monitors, including wedge, drum, and side-fill monitors.
Wedge monitors are typically used for performers because they sit on the floor where singers can easily see over them while performing. These types of stage monitors are also referred to as low profile or monitor wedges. They provide a clear mix but do not handle higher volumes well due to their smaller size (usually smaller than subwoofers).
Drum monitors are typically used for drummers because they sit on the floor like wedge monitors but can handle higher volumes more easily. They offer a good mix of vocals and instrumentals (drums), making them great for live performances where singers need to hear their own vocals clearly over other sounds.
Side-fill or side-address monitors are speakers you place on either side of your main performers while they perform because these types of mains face the audience instead of the performers. These types of stage monitors are usually smaller than wedge and drum monitors.
What Is A Column Speaker?
A column speaker is a PA speaker consisting of one large cabinet with two or more drivers, usually compression drivers and horn-loaded tweeters. These speakers typically handle high frequencies well but do not provide much bass support because they don’t have dedicated woofers to power low-end sounds.
Column speakers are great when you need high-quality sound but do not have the space for multiple speakers.
What Are Line Array Speakers?
Line array speakers are small PA speakers that form an ‘array’ (line) and can be used in indoor and outdoor venues. Because these types of speaker cabinets contain multiple drivers, they provide high-quality sound with strong low frequencies but usually do not handle mid-range frequencies.
These speakers work best in large open spaces because they can handle high volumes while maintaining low frequencies.
Conclusion – Types of PA Speakers
There are three types of pa speakers for you to choose from when building your PA system. These include mains, subwoofers, and stage monitors; all three are passive or active.
Hopefully, this article has helped you understand the differences between the different types of pa speakers.