Have you been placed in charge of renting a PA system for your upcoming office event but do not know where to start? Wondering what equipment you need and whether the equipment is suitable for your needs?
Renting a PA System?
Not all PA systems are created equal.
But, if you have been appointed the chosen one to get a PA system for the next office function, here is a quick guide to give you the lowdown on what to bear in mind when hiring a PA or Sound System in Singapore.
1. Equipment Setup Location
Firstly, PA systems consist of two parts, the sound console and the speakers.
The sound console is where you will find the mixer. This is the “headquarters” of the system. From here, you can control the volume of microphones and other things you wish to play over the speakers.
The sound console and speakers are connected via cables.
Depending on the event layout, you may want the sound console to be at one location and the speakers at another. If the locations are close by, that is not an issue. However, if you want to place the console at the back of the room and the speakers at the front of the room, you may want to check that the sound rental company has sufficient length of cabling for the job.
Therefore, plan out your event layout early and communicate any special requirements to the sound system provider.
2. Speaker Power and Quantity Needed
The loudspeaker or speaker just needs to have sound right? Well, not exactly.
Some systems have more power than others – and by power, we are referring to electrical power or wattage.
Imagine trying to use a loudhailer to address a crowd of 100. Yes, it may be cheap to rent loudhailer but it would not be able to project a person’s voice to the entire crowd. Hashtag “Fail”.
Instead, you’d want to be renting a PA system with enough power to cover audience so everyone can hear what is being said.
Check with the rental company that the system is sufficient cover the audience. If they tell you a 250w speaker is sufficient for a 30-table D&D, you better keep on looking!
3. Quality of Equipment
We have all heard the saying “loud and clear”.
Just being loud is insufficient – what comes over the system needs to be clear as well.
Even if a PA system has sufficient power, the speakers can be so badly abused that all that comes out is a muffled mess. This defeats the purpose of renting a PA system in the first place (and can be downright irritating to bosses who don’t want to sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher).
Make sure the company you hire from maintains their equipment well and the equipment has not been worn out from years of use.
4. Account for Set-up Time Needed
Snap the fingers and a PA system appears! Not really…
Setting up a PA system takes time. Time is required to locate equipment in the right place, run cables and test the system to make sure it is working properly.
Be sure to allocate enough time for the equipment to be setup.
For smaller events, a simple setup can take as short as half-an-hour. For larger scale events, the setup may need to be done hours before the event or even the day before.
If your office or event location is within the Singapore CBD, the rental company will need to realistically give sufficient time to travel to the event location, particularly if the event coincides with peak traffic hours.
Choose a rental company that has a reputation for arriving on time and the experience of setting up the system efficiently.
5. What Type of Mic Do I Need?
“Just get a microphone” is the instruction passed down.
This leaves you wondering, “Are all microphones the same?”
Microphones fall into two categories – handheld and hands-free.
Handheld microphones are… well… those that can be held in a hand or come on a microphone stand. They can either be wired or wireless.
These are generally the most flexible and easiest to use. They can be used by the person giving a talk and then handed off to an audience member on the floor.
Wired handheld microphones have a cable leading back to the mixer. Wireless handheld microphones transmit the signal back to the mixer through the “air” like a radio station.
Hands-free microphones, on the other hand (pun intended), are usually wireless. Two common styles of hands-free microphones are lapel and headset microphones.
Wireless lapel microphones get clipped-on to the speaker’s clothes. They pick up the speaker’s voice from the chest position where they are clipped.
Increasing popular are wireless headset microphones. Nowadays, these are thinner in design, skin-coloured and more discreet – avoiding the need to look like Britney Spears. They are preferred because they are easier to use and less prone to irritating feedback than lapel microphones.
So, depending on your event needs, decide on the type of microphones required and avoid any surprises on event day.
6. Dry or Wet Rental – Equipment Alone or With Services Required
No, we are not talking splashing water on the PA system. That’ll just be a plain bad idea.
When it comes to renting a PA system, dry rentals are when you only need to rent the equipment alone. Once the equipment has been delivered and setup, it will then be handed over to whoever is in-charge of operating it during the event. Very often, in the office, this ends up being the IT guy.
Dry rentals are most common when the PA system is being used in a straightforward situation such as giving a talk within the office or for an office party where you want background music to liven up the atmosphere. Perhaps, there is only one or two microphones being used and therefore, it is easy for whoever is in charge to manage that those microphones.
Wet rentals are when the services of a sound operator are required to help operate the system. The sound operator or technician will be able to work with you to manage the system, eliminating the need for anyone in the office to fiddle with the knobs on the mixer. Of course, it is a good idea to let the sound operator know what is the programme for the day – while sound operators have many skills, they can’t read minds. Not yet at least.
Wet rentals are usually required for more important events or where there is a more complicated PA setup. Examples could be where many microphones are being used, different presentations being made or the event is important enough to warrant having a trained person around to troubleshoot any problems that may creep up.
7. PA Systems for Outdoor Events in Singapore
Perhaps you are renting a PA system for your sports day or outdoor carnival? Here in sunny Singapore, any PA rental company will ask if there is a shelter for the equipment to be setup under.
That’s because sunny Singapore is rainy Singapore too!
Without a shelter, a sudden downpour will leave thousands of dollars of equipment soaking wet – and we are not talking about wet rentals here!
The shelter can be in the form of a tentage or a covered area where the equipment can be setup. A site survey will help determine a suitable location for the equipment to be placed.
This way, you can be assured that if there is wet weather, you can still make use of the PA system to make announcements!