6 Questions to Help You Choose a Portable Sound System for Your Classroom
A portable classroom PA system is an affordable, easy-to-use system that allows teachers to amplify their lessons.
Why do you need a PA system for your classroom?
The answer is simple: the proper sound reinforcement system allows a teacher’s voice to reach all corners of the class, overcoming background noise and holding students’ attention in the face of multiple distractions.
Before you choose a portable sound system for your classroom, ask yourself these 6 questions!
1. How portable should your classroom sound system be?
If you want to use your sound system in different classrooms throughout the school, consider a system that’s easy to move. While a mini PA system can weigh only a few ounces, some larger PA systems are surprisingly portable, and often feature wheels or cases as well.
To achieve the ultimate in portability consider getting a sound system with an on-board power source, especially rechargeable batteries. Such battery operated sound systems are suitable for use on field trips or other on-the-go activities.
2. What kind of microphone should you use for your classroom sound system?
Most portable classroom sound systems are compatible with a variety of microphones.
Wired microphones are an inexpensive option available with many PA systems. If you’re not concerned with wires (or don’t need both hands to teach), a wired mic should be adequate.
Wireless microphone systems – especially handsfree wireless microphone systems like lavaliere (or lapel) microphones – eliminate cumbersome cords and allow greater freedom of motion for a teacher.
3. How much power do you need for your classroom sound system?
One of the key principles of PA system selection is the larger the classroom, the more Watts of power you will need.
A mini PA system with 5 Watts of power, for example, may be adequate for a small classroom. For a classroom seating 50 to 75 students, however, consider upgrading to a more powerful system.
4. Will you be using your sound system for speech or music?
Music requires greater fidelity than speech, and therefore requires more power.
Most inexpensive mini PA systems are not made to reproduce the high and low frequencies that are intrinsic to experiencing music – even in a relatively small classroom.
Many mid-size portable sound systems feature loudspeakers and amplifiers designed to provide the frequency response necessary for quality music reproduction.
Finally, if music is in your curriculum, consider a PA system like the Califone PA419 pictured above, which is iPod compatible. Many manfacturers (like Anchor Audio) also include Bluetooth as standard in many of their PA models.
5. Is the classroom going to be used for formal presentations?
A demonstration that involves frequent trips to the blackboard may be well served by a small portable speaker placed on a desk, but formal lectures require a system that complements the prestige of the presenter.
Portable tabletop lectern PA systems add authority by providing a platform for notes and readings. Such powered lecterns include built-in loudspeakers and amplifiers.
6. What other features do you need to conduct your class?
When shopping for features, remember that as you add more features, you’re adding to the price tag. Figure out which options you can’t live without and which ones you can sacrifice for the sake of saving money, to get the system that does what you want at a good price.
Still have questions? Expert advice from the AudioLink staff is just a phone call (1-800-263-0112) or an email away!