Recommended Public Address Sound Systems
Here it is!! After years of installing and upgrading sound systems, here is our recommended system. This is designed to allow relatively low-skilled operatives to get good quality results with a minimum of effort. It is built from quality parts that will last and above all, be reliable.
Shure SCM800 8 channel automatic mixer. The heart of the system. This is a "set and forget" part that automatically selects any microphone that is being used whilst muting all others. Special features keep feedback under control. Excellent. More here.
2 x Sennhesiser Evolution 300 UHF Diversity radio microphones. Built to last with a great sound and being true diversity, no dead spots (given a good aerial system). Not cheap but ........ save up!
1 x CD player. The model shown is a Tascam CD160. However, models change all the time. Suggest you buy a twin unit that can both play and record on seperate CDs. Make sure it can play MP3 format disks.
On the left we have the ONLY part of a sound system (fitted in a public building) that is REQUIRED BY LAW. This is a standards compliant (IEC118-4) Induction Loop System. The one shown uses two ILD300 amplifiers made by Ampetronic. This uses a special foil layout that goes in a defined pattern across the width of the hall (under the carpet or above the ceiling). More information here.
On the right is a Telephone Dialup System to allow anyone (who is issued with the correct PIN) to call in by telephone from anywhere in the world and listen, live, to the program. More information here.
Tricky this one and depends on your hall. In short, buy quality equipment designed for your space. Start with speakers made by Tannoy and work up.
In order to prove that your loop system works (and remember you could be taken to court if it doesn't), you need a loop tester. Buy one of these and then test the loop regularly. Keep records to prove you have done this.
Power Amplifier. Buy a good quality unit to power all the speakers.
Signal Processing. Maybe, and only if you have problems with differences between very loud talkers and very quietly spoken people. A Rane DC24 or similar will allow you to seamlessly adjust the dynamics (difference between loud and quiet) and level out the volume. WARNING. Access to the controls MUST be restricted otherwise "fiddlers" will make the sound far worse than not having the unit at all. Needs to be set up by someone who really knows what they are doing (rare)!
The equipment list above is not exhaustive but has the potential to make an excellent sound system. If you can't afford it, DO NOT replace ANY parts with cheaper equipment. Rather, save up and then buy. It IS worth it.