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CostHelper > Consumer Electronics  > TV, Home Theater & Audio > Public Address System

Public Address System Cost

How Much Does a Public Address System Cost?

low costBasic Public Address System: $100-$275 Per Dayaverage costProfessional-Quality Public Address System: $300-$800 Per Dayhigh costBuying a Public Address System: $130-$20,000+
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A public address system, commonly called a PA, may come in many sizes and cost levels. The type of equipment needed is often determined by audience size, venue location and the specific use.

Typical costs:

  • A basic public address system for a speaker or solo musician typically rents from $100-$275 per day. Northern California's Live Sound Audio[1] offers a $95 package for indoor or outdoor events of up to 200 people. Included is a PA system, one wired microphone and stand, iPod connectivity, two 10" speakers with stands, setup and delivery. This setup is ideal for one person speaking or streaming digital music, but not a full band.
  • A band or DJ suitable public address system typically rents for $300-$800 per day. For $400, Pro Audio Chicago[2] rents a big band package which will carry audio to 300 people at a club or event. Equipment includes a 24-channel mixer, two handheld wireless microphones, two subwoofers, four speakers, four direct input boxes, all cables and stands and common band add-ons like a drum mic kit. The extra components of these packages are necessary for a band with multiple instruments to plug in to the same PA system. Studio 116[3] in Los Angeles rents a mid-level DJ package for $350, which projects in a room of 500 people and includes extra amplifiers and subwoofers to project a loud dance beat.
  • Buying a basic public address system for a speaker typically costs $130-$400. These portable systems weigh 3 to 26 pounds and run on batteries. Included are a wireless microphone and speaker that will project sound within a 100-foot range. For $139 shipped, Musician's Friend[4] carries a NADY PA system suitable for presenters in classrooms, conference rooms, churches and small auditoriums.
  • To purchase a multi-channel public address system, suitable for singer-songwriters, solo musicians or DJs, typically costs $330-$600. Markertek[5] sells an 8-channel Samson PA with two speakers for $500 shipped. The upgraded mixer and iPod connectivity makes it suitable for presenters, but also for a guitarist or keyboardist who would use separate channels for an instrument, a drum machine or vocals, for example.
  • To purchase a band-quality public address system typically costs $2,000-$5,000 but can go higher than $20,000 for the highest levels of technology. A 16-channel PA system with two speakers and stands, two monitors, 4 microphones and all required cables. This system carries sound to indoor and outdoor audiences of a few hundred people can run around $2,400+.
Related articles: Wedding Music Band, Live Ceremony Music, Wedding Reception Venue

What should be included:
  • A basic public address system should include a microphone (which receives the sound), a speaker (to project the sound), a mixer[6] (to control volume and sound quality) and all required cables.
  • For larger crowds where the sound will need to carry, amplifiers and powerful speakers are often packaged with PA systems. Monitors[7] , which let band members hear their performance on stage, are another option, as are speaker stands, equipment cases, an iPod adapter, battery packs and wireless microphones.
  • Delivery, setup and pickup should be included with most PA rentals, though this should always be confirmed. Nick Foster Entertainment[8] in San Francisco includes a comprehensive sound check in addition to set up, to make sure everything is working properly.
  • An instruction manual should be included with all rental PA systems. In addition to providing the instructions, Audiolinks[9] offers phone support during business hours.
Additional costs:
  • Renting a wireless microphone typically costs $40-$50 more than a wired microphone.
  • Renting monitors typically costs an extra $30-$75 each.
  • When renting sound equipment, expect to pay at to run the equipment at the event.
  • Northern California's Live Sound Audio[10] offers sound package upgrades such as an on-site sound engineer ($100), broadcast quality wireless mics ($155) and the Avid Pro Digital Console, which adds numerous options to a band-quality PA system ($495).
  • Save more than 50%when renting a PA system for longer than one day. Meeting Tomorrow[11] rents a unit that typically costs $195 per day for $585 each week, a savings of 57 percent.
  • Free shipping is common when shopping online for a public address system.
Shopping for a public address system:
  • Search by state for sound engineers to work an event at the Audio Engineering Society[12] , a trade group for sound engineers.
  • Musician's Friend[13] has a buying guide for band-quality PA system components.
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What People Are Paying - Recent Comments
PA Systems
Amount: $0.00
Posted by: Jeffrey Miranda in Los Angeles, CA.Posted: March 19th, 2011 08:03PM
Make/Model of System: JBL/Mackie
PA Systems will vary in cost depending on what you require. This article shares many good points. Many portable PA systems feature active (also known as powered) speakers. In essence they do not require an amplifier. For many small to medium events (especially just if using it for speech) can be handled with a system like this. I would recommend Mackie or JBL, as they both offer powered speaker systems. The JBL system works great!
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