Best PA Systems

Review & Comparison, Last Update March 16, 2017
Making announcements in front of a big public may be quite a challenging task without using a decent-quality equipment. If this is a kind of device you're looking for, consider our comprehensive review of 5 best PA systems and enjoy an amplified sound in different venues. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2017
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
SET
POWER OUTPUT
FREQUENCY RANGE
INPUTS AND OUTPUTS
EXTRAS
DIMENSIONS
WEIGHT
WARRANTY
 
PROS
Thanks to the Bose Spatial Dispersion technology and 6 built-in speakers, the sound is distributed clearly in all directions across a room.
CONS
High-frequency range is pretty low.
OUR VERDICT
If you are looking for a versatile yet portable sound system solution, the L1 model is for you. The system can be used in many different venues and for multiple purposes and the sound power will never fail to amaze.
detailed parameters
SET
1 speaker with a power stand
POWER OUTPUT
130 Watts
FREQUENCY RANGE
50 Hz - 16 kHz
INPUTS AND OUTPUTS
1 x mic XLR input,
1 x instrument input,
1 x RCA stereo input,
1 x 1/8" stereo input,
1 x 1/4" balanced line output,
1 x RCA stereo output
EXTRAS
Bose Spatial Dispersion technology,
Two ToneMatch channels,
Integrated bass speaker,
Two setup positions,
Ideal for music performances, mobile DJs, classrooms, business presentations and other events
DIMENSIONS
16.5" x 13.25" x 16.75" (Collapsed)
78.5" x 13.25" x 16.75" (Extended)
WEIGHT
29.2 lbs
WARRANTY
1 year
PROS
With the speakers mounted on adjustable stands, you will achieve high-quality, clean, and crisp sound.
CONS
The whole system is a bit heavy.
OUR VERDICT
With the power yield enough to transform any performance into a real show, the Peavey PA system will be highly appreciated by karaoke singers and other performers. Includes 2 microphones and a separate mixer to allow fine-tuning of the system.
detailed parameters
SET
2 speakers, 2 mikes, Mixer
POWER OUTPUT
2 x 50 Watts
FREQUENCY RANGE
85 Hz - 20 kHz
INPUTS AND OUTPUTS
2 x 1/4" phone jacks in parallel,
Tape/CD,
Line out,
Record out
EXTRAS
Premium high-frequency driver,
Exponential horn,
PVi 10" woofer,
Steel corners,
Rugged construction,
Speaker stand adapter included
DIMENSIONS
28.5" x 21" x 20.7"
WEIGHT
81 lbs
WARRANTY
Amazon's 30-day return policy
PROS
The system uses the NFC technology that allows its quick syncing with mobile gadgets and provides a high-speed connection.
CONS
The wheels are pretty small and rather fragile.
OUR VERDICT
Those consumers who often need to speak to public in the open air or simply seek a reinforced sound system to listen to music away from home should opt for the ION iPA76A system. Designed to be compact, the system won't take up much space in your trunk but will surely impress you with the sound power.
detailed parameters
SET
1 speaker with a control panel
POWER OUTPUT
50 Watts
FREQUENCY RANGE
65 Hz - 20 kHz
INPUTS AND OUTPUTS
1 x Line 3.5mm,
1 x USB,
1 x 1/4" microphone input
EXTRAS
Powerful 8” woofer and wide-dispersion tweeter,
Easy Pair,
Up to 50 hours of continuous use,
Telescoping handle and built-in wheels for easy moving,
Bluetooth and NFC
DIMENSIONS
17.25" x 15" x 11"
WEIGHT
23.25 lbs
WARRANTY
90 days
PROS
400-watts power yield ensures that the Yamaha PA system suits equally well for both indoor and outdoor announcements, parties, etc. and produces a clear sound that can be heard by a great number of people.
CONS
Syncing the system with iOS devices might be problematic.
OUR VERDICT
Designed to be set up in a number of configurations this PA system will come in handy for many different occasions. No matter for what event you will use the system, you will be stunned with its performance and amplifying capabilities.
detailed parameters
SET
2 speakers, Mixer
POWER OUTPUT
2 x 200 Watts
FREQUENCY RANGE
55 Hz - 20 kHz
INPUTS AND OUTPUTS
Analog:
4 x mono mic/line,
4 x mono,
2 x stereo line,
Digital:
1 x USB Audio IN (iPod/iPhone exclusive)
EXTRAS
Detachable 8-channel mixer,
iPod/ iPhone USB connection,
1-Knob Master EQ™ with virtual bass boost,
High resolution SPX digital reverbs,
Hi-Z inputs,
StageLok™ clamps
DIMENSIONS
18.5" x 11.3" x 10.8"
WEIGHT
39.2 lbs
WARRANTY
1 year
PROS
The Pyle PA system comes packed with a remote control allowing you to change the settings while being away from the unit.
CONS
The produced frequencies range is rather narrow.
OUR VERDICT
What sets the Pyle PA system apart is the flashing lights which along with a reinforced sound can turn any event into a real disco party. Besides, the system offers compatibility with all modern gadgets.
detailed parameters
SET
1 speaker with a control panel
POWER OUTPUT
N/A
FREQUENCY RANGE
100 Hz - 20 kHz
INPUTS AND OUTPUTS
2x1/4'' microphone inputs,
Headphone jack,
Aux (3.5mm) input,
USB Flash & Micro SD memory card readers
EXTRAS
Karaoke and music streaming,
Wireless microphone,
Bluetooth audio streaming,
Built-in rechargeable battery,
Flashing DJ party lights,
Digital LCD display,
Carry handle and rolling wheels
DIMENSIONS
23.4" x 16.8" x 14.4"
WEIGHT
18.84 lbs
WARRANTY
1 year

What is a Pa System

We all know that in order to organize a good party it’s important to use the right music equipment, same as it’s important when holding presentations, giving speech and live music performances in public. And if you’re not happy with performance of your speakers or audio system, we recommend you to consider buying a reinforced audio system to amplify the sound. PA systems are quite compact in size and can be carried around, which is an important feature for performers who need to use it away from home in noisy places. All PA systems are standalone devices and therefore, can be used without being connected to any other gear, which contributes to their portability and convenience of use. Basically, all you need to do is insert a microSD card in the slot and off you go. In practice, however, a lot of users use tablets as an acoustical source to control the settings of their PA systems.

What Features to Compare

Type

For a start, you should define your specific performance needs and the size of the audience you plan to address since each particular system offers different tech specs and sound capabilities. If you need to use a PA system in small venues and in front of a small group of people, a system containing one speaker will be more than enough to make yourself heard. For bigger rooms and outdoor live performances, you will need a more powerful system with at least 2 speakers and a subwoofer. The idea is though, that you place each unit distantly from each other, allowing the sound to disperse evenly in all directions. This is the only way to achieve full, stereo-like sounding that you will never get with a single speaker at hand, even the most expensive one.

Sound quality

As regards the speaker's specs, one of the first things you need to pay attention to is a power output. For consumers who seek a PA system to use in big venues, we’d recommend choosing equipment with power output no less than 350-500 Watts. Consider the frequency range too, paying attention to the first and the second numbers. The first one will tell you of the quality of bass reproduction while the second one will give information on the sound accuracy.

Controls and connectivity

Since PA systems are standalone equipment, most of them are supplied with mixers and separate control panels. Mixers allow balancing and correcting input sound as well as applying to it additional effects and filters. PA systems can be connected with different musical instruments and mikes to be used as karaoke systems too. For a signal source, PA systems allow using all sorts of options, starting with a PC and ending with any other device fitted with a 3.5 mm jack. Among extra features you may want to pay attention to is color music option that can make your live music performance much more emphasized and dynamic. Small wheels and handles on the housing will facilitate using and transporting PA systems, which is handy for when the system is often used outdoors.

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Bose L1

Time-proven Quality

Bose company, founded back in 1964 by Amar Bose, has been producing and importing audio equipment from China for quite a long while already and hence, has worthily become one of the leading and reputable manufacturers in the market. Today, Bose is the name of brand that stands for professional audio systems sold in many countries all over the world. For our review, we've picked one of their best active PA systems, the L1 model. What strikes an eye is a sleek vertical speaker that gives a wrong impression of weak sound power. Yet, this isn't so at all. Despite thin dimensions and thanks to the advanced Bose Spatial Dispersion technology, the system is truly high-performance and the sound it produces is powerful and evenly distributed across a big room. The Bose L1 system demonstrated great sounding capabilities in noisy places, with the sound being heard equally well by people standing right in front of it and much farther away.  The total output of the system containing 6 built-in speakers equals 130 Watts.


Review of Bose L1 Compact

A Great Number of Ports

Among other things we'd like to draw your attention to is the integrated control panel the system comes fitted with, that features quite a lot of input and output ports for different connection options. The system has an RCA stereo input, Line-In for syncing mobile gadgets such as a smartphone, tablet, MP3 player, laptop, etc., as well as XLR input for connecting a microphone and TRS input for connecting musical instruments. Such a great variety of ports allows not only streaming music but actually playing it live in public. At the rear, there are two more ports - RCA and TSR, for connecting speakers and recording signal.  What's also worth mentioning is that the power stand of this system features an amplifier and a bass speaker, which in turn eliminates the need for you to buy or carry additional gear.

Bose L1 Compact in the use

Keep Options Open

As we've already mentioned above, the Bose L1 stands out from many other models as a unit with a great variety of connection options and high-quality sound reproduction. Yet, these are not the only strong points about this system. What also makes the current system so popular with consumers is its innovative modular design. The system comprises a power stand, a speaker array and extension, you don't need to use any external speakers, cables or other gear. When being disassembled, the whole system doesn't take up a lot of space in a trunk and allows compact storage and transportation. When assembled, a user can either set it as a compact unit or extend it to 78½ inches to address a bigger audience.  

All in all, the Bose L1 compact system is great audio equipment capable of producing horizontal acoustic waves and projecting sound on larger distances with minimal loss of volume. Whether you need to hold a business presentation, give a live musical performance or just sing for your family at home, the L1 PA system will come in handy.

Detailed review of Bose L1 Compact

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


Bose L1
Bose L1
 

Peavey Audio

10-inch Power

The next model in our review is the Audio Performer Pack from one of the largest audio equipment manufacturer in the world, Peavey company. Since its foundation back in 1965, the company has grown from a small workshop (in Hartley Peavey's basement) to an authoritative supplier of musical and professional audio equipment. Today Peavey company has a product range of around 2,000 goods and distributes them to 136 different countries across the globe. The Peavey Audio Performer Pack is a standalone PA system that requires neither additional speakers nor mixer connection. The package includes 2 PVi 10 speakers, 2 PVi® 100 microphones, a PVi 4B mixer, and 2 speaker stands. Each speaker features power output of 50 Watts that makes it suitable for using at indoor parties in rather large halls. The system features 10" subwoofers  and tweeters with an exponential horn, which means the high frequencies are really great here. As regards the low frequencies they aren't as good and may sound not as deep in the open air. 

Review of Peavey Audio Performer Pack

Simple and Clear

In our opinion, the PVi 4B mixer is one of the most simple-to-use mixers we have ever seen, thus it won't be a problem for most users to control the PA system. The 4-channel monitor with the total output of 100 watts offers a user a variety of connection options. If you want to hold a karaoke party or a small music performance, connect 2 x 50 watts speakers and 2 included mikes via XLR connectors located near the line inputs. The idea is, you can use all 4 channels but make sure that you don't overload them, the total power shouldn't exceed 100 watts. We found a digital effects processor on the system a nice bonus since with its help it's possible to set different sounding for each of the channels. Treble and bass controls allow  fine-tuning equalizer settings for each connected speaker, which is definitely super convenient.

Peavey Audio Performer Pack in the use

All-round Protection

The speakers' housing is made of a combination of durable materials that ensure its long-year use and robust performance. The sides and the rear panel of the speakers are carpet-covered while the front part has a black powder-coated steel grille.  For enhanced protection of the product, the corners of the speakers have been reinforced with steel plates so that it could also withstand impacts. Considering consumer's needs, the manufacturer has added a handle on top of the system for its easy carrying. The weight isn't big too and makes only 37 lbs, which is not too much for audio equipment. Yet, if you pair it with all the components, including speakers, mikes and a mixer, you may need some assistance to be able to transport or lift it. Anyway, we did like this system a lot for its convenience options, adjustability and overall sound performance. It doesn't look like a cheap piece of equipment and you will definitely have a lot of fun with it alone and in company of your friends. 

Detailed review of Peavey Audio Performer Pack

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


Peavey Audio
Peavey Audio
 

Ion iPA76A

Young but Innovative Company

ION Audio is a relatively young company that was created in 2003. The company aims to bridge a gap between classic and cutting-edge sound and video reproduction equipment by manufacturing different devices for digitizing analog media. Their equipment is used to digitize cassettes, VHS tapes, CD's, vinyl discs, etc. in order to play them back on modern video- and audio- equipment. Additionally, the iON produces innovative and exceptional gear for DJs, presents new musical instrument technologies, and manufacturers all sorts of music production tools. This is one of the reasons why we've decided to bring their Audio Block Rocker system on our shortlist. Another reason is that we found it rather amazing how manufacturer managed to pack such a great load of audio equipment into the compact dimensions of this system. The Audio Block Rocker system features an embedded woofer, tweeter, amplifier, and monitor onboard. The 8” woofer delivers powerful low-frequency sounds from 65 Hz and up, while a wide-dispersion tweeter produces vibrant sound up to 20 kHz, which both in a combination guarantee decent sound performance in small- and mid-sized rooms. 

Review of Ion iPA76A Block Rocker

Music to Suit any Taste

Apart from high-quality sound, the PA system offers a number of extra features. First of all, we should say a few words about the wireless technologies the system supports. It is compatible with all NFC-enabled smartphones and Bluetooth devices, hence you can easily stream music from either your mobile gadget or let your friend pair his/her smartphone to the speaker. No cables are needed, which is fantastic! What's more, you can install the ION Block Rocker app on your Android or iOS gadget in order to control the speaker, set sounds effects and fine tune equalizer settings while standing away from it. This means you will have much more time for your friends instead of hanging around the system during parties. 

Ion iPA76A Block Rocker in the use

Say No to Discharged Accumulator

Now, we've come to the most interesting part of this review. Not only does this system work wirelessly, it also doesn't need cables to operate. Powered by a battery, it offers users up to 50 hours of continuous music playback. This is especially handy for picnics and other events outdoors. Furthermore, the system has a USB port to allow charging other mobile gadgets, thereby making your outings much more enjoyable and less stressful. You know what it's like to end up trying to make a call from a dead phone. It will not happen if you have the iON Audio Block Rocker with you.  The system's also fitted with a mike and has an input for connecting a microphone. You will also appreciate a built-in AM/FM radio. 

Detailed review of Ion iPA76A Block Rocker

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


Ion iPA76A
Ion iPA76A
 

Yamaha STAGEPAS 400I

Real Power

Perhaps there is no person in the world who has never heard of Yamaha Corporation and its goods. Torakusu Yamaha has pioneered the production of Western musical instruments in Japan and nowadays, the company produces a wide variety of goods such as musical instruments, electronics, motorcycles, and sports equipment that are renowned and highly demanded around the globe. For this review we've picked their all-in-one Stagepas 400i model comprising 2 speakers and a mixer. The high-quality two-way bass-reflex speakers are designed with 1" voice coil compression driver and 8" woofer which both provide quite a wide frequency range within 55 Hz to 20 kHz in total. The given specs make it suitable for use not only indoors and in small venues but for outdoor events too. As regards the Maximum Sound Pressure Level, a mic can take as much as 125 dB without distorting the sound. The 400-watts power predetermines that it's capable of reinforcing the sound to the extent that all people who you gather around can hear you same well and clearly. 

Review of Yamaha STAGEPAS 400I Portable

With Future in Mind

The powered 8-channel mixer will help you control not only speakers but all other connected gear which is an important feature considering the number of configurations the PA system can be set up in. When giving speech in public, holding a live performance, streaming music online, use the mixer and make sure your voice sounds distinct, clear and is heard by everyone. The system features 4 mic/line, 2 XLR, 2 universal XLR inputs, as well as Hi-Z switch for hooking it up with acoustic-electric guitars and other instruments. It also has an output for connecting a subwoofer in case you'd need to add more bottom sounding to the system. We should also mention that each of 8 channels features its own volume level, while the equalizer itself has only high and low controls. If you are going to connect the PA system with vocal and acoustic instruments you will like the fact that the system features SPX digital reverb with 4 different settings: Hall, Plate, Room, and Echo. And finally, the mixer offers an additional input intended specifically for iPod/iPhone connection, allowing you to keep your gadgets charged during performances.

Yamaha STAGEPAS 400I Portable in the use

Everything at Hand

The unique system design ensures that you'll never leave any of its components behind you. Each speaker of the system has a storage compartment at the rear. One of them also has a lid that you can use for storing power cables away, while the other one can be used for holding the mixer. The included mixer can be used separately from the PA system, giving you much more flexibility and a greater number of playing options. The speakers are mountable on special stands with the StageLok™ clamps for secure fixing. To protect the system from overloading and overheating, the manufacturer has fitted it with a volume indicator that will start to flash when it's time to turn the volume down. All in all, we'd recommend this PA system to all active performers who often participate in noisy air events and those who need a device to not only stream music but also record live performance. 

Detailed review of Yamaha STAGEPAS 400I Portable

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


Yamaha STAGEPAS 400I
Yamaha STAGEPAS 400I
 

Pyle PWMA325BT

Bigger than the Average

Another active audio system in our review is the model from Pyle Audio. The company was founded in the 1960s as a manufacturer of car subwoofers, though nowadays, it produces a variety of audio equipment such as speakers, amplifiers, and DJ gear. Well, their PWMA325BT audio system is marketed as a portable karaoke system and has quite an eye-catching design. First of all, the sound system is equipped with 3 speakers: one 8" woofer and dual 3'' tweeters. While almost all PA systems have only 2 speakers, 3 speakers here come as an evident advantage. The frequency range, though, isn't as good and varies from 100 Hz up to 20 kHz, making the basses sound not as deep and low as you could probably want to. You could add a bit of bottom sounding to the system by placing one of its speakers on the floor.

Review of Pyle PWMA325BT Wireless Portable

Clearly Visible in the Dark

Now, let's consider the audio system controls and connectivity options. What strikes an eye is a backlit large volume control knob at the top panel which is clearly visible in the dark.  On the left and on the right sides of the control panel you will find special subpanels with a two-way equalizer, treble, bass, mic volume, echo rotary knobs, and two 1/4'' mic inputs that allow easy control of the speaker under different conditions. The number of ports includes a USB port, Line-In, TF card reader and ear mic output expanding the use and compatibility of the system with many additional gadgets. Besides ports, the Pyle PA speaker system has a Bluetooth audio streaming option, giving you an option to pair your phone or tablet and control music performance on a screen remotely.


Pyle PWMA325BT Wireless Portable in the use

Travel with Music

So, what's then so special about the design of this PA system? Designed with the wheels at the bottom and a carry handle on top it looks very much like a bag people drag around in airports, etc. yet, it's not a bag but a full-fledged system with a great set of functions and adjustment options. If compared to most other PA systems, this one offers an indisputable advantage of being a truly portable system. No wires, no power outlets are required too. All you need is to keep its battery charged in order to have it powered for a time when you need. With no shade of a doubt, the Pyle PA system is one of the best options one could find to use away on picnics, in the woods, on a lake, etc. With the bright flashing lights and performance characteristics it offers, this system can transform any of your parties into a real fun and disco time. 

Detailed review of Pyle PWMA325BT Wireless Portable

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


Pyle PWMA325BT
Pyle PWMA325BT
 

Sources:

1. Your Guide to Buying an Outdoor PA SystemeBay. January 27, 2016.

2. Choosing a PA SystemThomann.

3. How to Choose the Right PA SystemThe Hub. May 7, 2014.

4. Paul White Finding The Right PA System For YouSOS. June 2012.

5. Trevor Curwen What is a PA system, and how to buy oneMusicRadar. March 17, 2016.

6. Phil Morse How To Choose A Small DJ PA SystemDigital DJ Tips. November 19, 2012.

7. Affordable PA System Buying GuideeBay. January 27, 2016.

8. PA Speaker Buying GuideSweetwater.