6 Guidelines to Choosing a Podium & PA System
Are you looking for a PA system for your next formal event that not only amplifies voices but also dignifies your presentation?
Podiums provide such features as built-in sound systems, authoritative appearance, and portability to a wide variety of presentations.
Podiums are incredibly versatile, with styles and features to accommodate rooms and venues of virtually any size and style.
A well-selected podium blends function with form to give presentations an added air of polish and gravitas. From corporate boardrooms to houses of worship to school auditoriums to the White House, podiums are an essential part of formal presentations – both big and small.
However, there are so many different kinds of podia available that you may be overwhelmed by the variety of choices.
Here are 6 guidelines to getting your ideal podium:
1. Match the Podium to the Room
Your podium should match the room in which it will be used. Many different styles are available.
Wood finishes are both classic and versatile, and are standard for many conference rooms or auditoriums. Podia have a variety of different finishes (for example, cherry and mahogany). There are many other options ranging from clear acrylic to black marble finishes for a more modern, high-tech look.
For greater versatility, some podiums come with fabric covering to which you can attach signs or logos with Velcro or hook tape, which is great if you need to frequently change designs or messages.
2. Pick the Size of the Podium to Fit Your Needs
Whether you want a sleek, slim podium or a wider, bulkier one depends on what you’ll be using it for. If you’ll be using it primarily for reading prepared texts or oral presentations, you may be better off with a slimmer model.
If you need extra storage space for objects like laptops, audio sources, presentation materials and the like, a wider podium with extra storage space is your best bet. If you’re not sure how your needs will evolve, it’s best to go for a wider podium.
Most podiums stand between 40 and 50 inches high. Many podiums also have height adjustable bases which give you, in general, about ten inches of height to play with. This can come in very handy for school use – for example, if both younger students and adults will be using the podium.
Aesthetics play a part in your decision, of course, but functionality should come first.
3. Consider Portability of the Podium
Many podiums come with wheels or rolling casters to facilitate transport from room to room. Some also have detachable or folding bases.
It’s important to look into size and weight when shopping for a portable podium. Podiums can weigh less than 40 pounds or more than 65 pounds; do you need the added weight that comes with added size or added features?
Think about which features are essential for your portable podium before you buy one that’s heavier or bigger than you need it to be.
4. Decide if You Need Amplification
Podiums come both with and without built-in PA systems; those without are known as podium housings. Depending on your budget and the size of the room in which you’ll be using it, you may decide that the housing alone will meet your needs.
There are also housings which are designed to work with an existing in-house PA system, or that come “PA-ready” for an upgrade.
If you have a portable podium and expect to travel with it, a built-in PA system makes an excellent “insurance policy” for rooms without an in-house system.
If you decide on a PA system, figure out how powerful you’ll need it to be. Will your presentations be in small meeting rooms or large auditoriums? The Wattage you select will depend on the size of the room; most podiums come with PA systems ranging from about 10 to 50 Watts of power.
When in doubt, always go for a more powerful system (at least 25 Watts); the less you have to turn up the volume, the less you’ll be risking distortion or blowouts.
5. Choose a Compatible Mic
The standard microphone for a podium is a wired handheld model attached to a flexible, “goose-neck” mount. This kind of microphone is usually detachable from the mount to allow more freedom of movement.
Many podiums with PA systems are also wireless-compatible if you want to use a wireless microphone, but check compatibility before you buy!
6. Choose the Extra Features You’ll Need
Do you need space for presentation materials? Extra inputs for external audio sources? A reading lamp? Many podiums come with extra features like these and more. Figure out what you’ll need – shelf space for a laptop, for example, or a timer to let you know when your presentations are running long – and then shop for a podium that has it. Odds are you’ll find what you’re looking for!
Have a look at our podiums with PAs, podium housings, and podium accessories. Still have questions or need more assistance in picking the perfect podium? Email us or call 1-800-263-0112.