Renting a PA System in Singapore – Things to Know

Renting a PA System in Singapore

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.

Sound Console - Renting a PA System in Singapore
Sound Console

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.

Loud Hailer
Loud enough?

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.

In smaller rooms, you may be able to get by with one speaker. The norm, especially in larger rooms or with big crowds, is two speakers. Even larger spaces could require four or more.

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.

Renting a PA System in Singapore - Microphones
Pick a mic!

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!

Separating the ‘P’s from the ‘J’s… Basses that is.

We often talk about P-basses, J-basses and even PJ basses.

These refer to the iconic bass models that were created by Leo Fender – the father of the modern electric bass. Here is a short history of them, outlining their characteristics.

The Precision Bass was first introduced in 1951 and the Jazz Bass came out in 1960. Till today, the Precision and Jazz Bass (or P and J Bass) designs are the most common in the market. So how do you tell your Ps from your Js?


PBass

 

The standard P-bass can most easily be identified by the split coil pick-ups located near the neck.

These offset pick-ups (one under the E and A string and the other under the D and G string) are humbucking (i.e. they cancel out unwanted noise that individual pick-ups tend to… erm… pick up). Its body shape is similar to a Stratocaster and it has a single piece pickguard with a characteristic hook at the end. It only features two knobs, one for the volume and one for the tone. This is the zen of basses, stripped down to its essential function and form.


JBass

 

The J-bass was introduced as the deluxe bass model by Fender and had more bells and whistles than its older brother. This came in the form of a thinner neck compared to the P-bass (to provide better mobility to the player) and an offset body which mirrored that of the Fender Jazzmaster guitar. The J-bass also had two single coil pick-ups, one at the neck and the other closer to the bridge. The tones from these could be mixed together from the three control pots mounted on the control plate to provide a wider sonic pallet compared to the P-bass.

Both designs are bass classics and their staying power is testament to the vision
of Leo Fender who designed them. Of course, there are also variants such as PJ basses which combine the split coil neck pick-up with a single coil bridge pick-up, however, fundamentally, most basses draw their inspiration from one of these two designs.

And now you can tell your Ps from your Js.

Music Warehouse Singapore provides rental of sound systems, musical instruments & equipment, including basses. See the bass rentals available from Music Warehouse.

Why Do I Need a Mixer?

Why Do I Need a Mixer?

“I just need a microphone and speaker for my event. Why do I need a mixer?”

Sometimes, we get asked why a mixer is included in our Basic PA System or Standard PA System – especially when all the client wants is a microphone.

The mixer serves the essential purpose of controlling the microphone’s volume (or for any other inputs connected to the mixer). It allows you to raise or lower the volume of the microphone over the sound system as needed.

No doubt, the mixer can be used to do many other things as well, but its most basic function is as a volume control – to raise and lower the volume of the devices attached to it.

And, despite all the fiddly knobs there are on the mixer, the main fader or knob that controls the volume (or “level” in technical speak). If it is a fader, pushing it upwards raises the volume and bringing it down lowers the volume. If it is a knob, turning it clockwise raises the volume while turning it anti-clockwise lowers the volume.

We are sure that you’d agree that this is some that is useful for any sound system, and therefore, you will find a mixer included in our Basic PA and Standard PA Packages.

The Mixer's Faders are Used to Control Volumes
The Mixer’s Faders are Used to Control Volumes

Three Tips on Organising Music for Your Event

Event day is coming up. You want to make sure it goes off without a hitch.

What can you do to make sure your music is ready for your event? We look at three simple steps to getting your music ready for your event.

1. Appoint a person to be in charge of the music

Firstly, it is good practice to make one person responsible for the music playlist. If that is you, you will need to ensure all needed music is ready BEFORE the event starts. You should also be prepared to coordinate any last minute changes to the playlist (for example if a person wants to add a new song item or has a track in a different key).

2. Normalise your music

Next, not all music is created equal. Some audio tracks can be louder than others. One way to manage these different volumes is to use the mixer to adjust volumes “on the fly” as the music gets played. Alternatively, use a software to normalise the music beforehand, allowing all the music to be set to the same level. In this way, you will avoid music being blaringly loud on one track and super-soft on the next.

3. Order your playlist

If you have a number of items or performances taking place during your event that require music, you will want to order these audio tracks beforehand. What you should do is create a new folder on a computer and place all required audio tracks into a folder on a computer. After that, rename them “01-Name of Track One”, “02-Name of Track Two” and so-on, according to the sequence of the performances. This makes it easy for you to to play the tracks in the right sequence during the event.

There you have it – three simple and easy ways to organise music for your upcoming event.

Playing Music With a 3.5mm Audio Jack

3.5mm Jack

Nowadays, most music gets played from digital devices such as mobile phones, MP3 players (i.e. iPod or iPad), or laptops.

And what do you use with these 21st Century digital devices? A piece of equipment that traces its roots back to the 19th Century – the 3.5mm audio jack.

This little piece of audio gear is known by many names – mini jack, 3.5mm jack, headphone plug, 1/8″ jack, mini-stero jack and mini-TRS plug.

It can be most commonly found at the end of a pair of earphones where it is used to plug the earphones into a mobile phone or laptop.

If you are intending to play music from a laptop or MP3 player over a system provided by Music Warehouse, all you have to do is connect your device to our sound system through the 3.5mm jack we provide. This jack is provided with all our PA systems, from the Portable PA System to the Standard PA System.

Just be sure that your device has a 3.5mm headphone output socket!


Phone with 3.5mm Plug
Phone with 3.5mm Plug