The Types of PA Speakers

There are many different types of PA speakers, and each one has its own unique features. This blog post will give you a rundown of the most common types of speakers, as well as the benefits they provide for you and your audience. We’ll talk about why it’s important to choose a speaker that is best suited for your needs, and how to make sure you’re getting the best quality sound at an affordable price.

The Types of PA Speakers

The Basic Types Of PA Speakers

  • Active And Passive PA Speakers
  • Mains (Tops)
  • Subwoofers (Bottoms)
  • Stage Monitors

There are variations to each of these speakers needed in a PA system. We will go over each one and why the variation is important.

Types of PA Speakers

What is an active PA speaker?

An active PA speaker is a powered loudspeaker, which means that the amplifier and power supply are combined into one unit. These types of speakers require less cabling because they do not need to connect an external amp or mixer for them to work properly. They typically have multiple inputs and outputs on their back panel so you can hook up different devices at once.

The benefits of active speakers are that they take up less space and can be more easily transported because the amplifier is built into them, but there’s also a downside to using this type of speaker: you cannot use an external amp with it like you could with other types. An active PA speaker needs its own power source (battery or AC outlet) to work properly.

What is a passive PA speaker?

A passive PA speaker must be connected to an external amplifier for it to function, but this means that you have the option of using an amp with more power or beefier speakers once you are ready. You can also use multiple amps at once if necessary because there isn’t a built-in amplifier that only allows one power source.

While passive speakers are typically lighter because they do not have an amplifier built-in, they can be more difficult to transport if you need multiple amps or a larger one. The issue here is that the weight of the PA system will depend on how much power it needs and what types of speakers are being used.

What does Mains mean?

PA mains (tops) refer to your main/front speakers in a PA system. They are typically the speakers that you speak into or play music from, and can be used for smaller to medium-sized venues such as classrooms, conference rooms, gyms/sports fields, clubs, etc.

There are three different types of mains: full range (or standard), bi-amplified, and tri-amplified.

Full range (or standard) speakers are typically used for smaller venues and can either be passive or active, but they do not provide any additional power to the sound system like bi-amped or tri-amped mains might.

Bi-amplified PA mains have two separate amps: one that powers the low frequencies and another that powers the high frequencies. These types of speakers are typically used for larger venues where you need a more complex sound system with various different speaker components, such as in churches or auditoriums.

Tri-amplified mains have three amps: one amp to power low frequencies, one to power mid ranges, and one to power high frequencies. These types of speakers are much like bi-amped PA mains but provide a more complex and powerful sound system.

What is a Subwoofer?

A subwoofer (also known as the bottom) refers to your low-frequency speaker in a PA system that provides lower-end sounds like bass or drums. The benefit of having a subwoofer is that it allows the music to sound fuller and more powerful.

While there are three different types of subs, they all have one thing in common: you cannot use them without connecting an external amplifier because the built-in amplifiers do not produce enough power for larger venues or stronger frequencies.

There are passive (or un-powered), active (or powered), and bi-amped subwoofers.

A passive subwoofer is exactly what it sounds like: a speaker that does not have its own built-in amplifier, but rather needs to be connected to an external one. While these types of subs are usually lighter than their counterparts, they cannot handle deep bass frequencies as well.

An active subwoofer does have a built-in amplifier, which means that you do not need to connect an external amp for it to work properly. This type of sub can handle deeper bass frequencies and is often more powerful than passive subs because the built-in amplifier provides stronger support.

What Is A Stage Monitor?

A stage monitor is a speaker that you place on the ground or floor so that performers can hear their vocals and/or instrumentals better. Stage monitors are typically used for live performances to help singers, speakers, drummers, etc., perform more clearly without having to use in-ear monitors.

There are different types of stage monitors including wedge, drum, and side fill monitors.

Wedge monitors are typically used for performers because they sit on the floor where singers can easily see over them while performing. These types of stage monitors are also referred to an as low profile or monitor wedges. They provide a clear mix but do not handle higher volumes well due to their smaller size (they are usually smaller than subwoofers).

Drum monitors are typically used for drummers because they sit on the floor like wedge monitors, but can handle higher volumes more easily. They offer a good mix of both vocals and instrumentals (drums), which makes them great for live performances where singers need to hear their own vocals clearly over other sounds.

Side-fill or side-address monitors are speakers that you place on either side of your main performers while they perform because these types of mains face the audience instead of facing the performers. These types of stage monitors are usually smaller than wedge and drum monitors.

What Is A Column Speaker?

A column speaker is a PA speaker that consists of one large cabinet with two or more drivers, which are usually compression drivers and horn-loaded tweeters. These types of speakers typically handle high frequencies really well but do not provide much bass support because they don’t have dedicated woofers to power low-end sounds.

Column speakers are great when you need high-quality sound, but do not have the space for multiple speakers.

line array speakers

What Are Line Array Speakers?

Line array speakers are a series of small PA speakers that form an ‘array’ (line) and can be used in both indoor and outdoor venues. Because these types of speaker cabinets contain multiple drivers, they provide high-quality sound with strong low frequencies, but usually do not handle mid-range frequencies as well.

These types of speakers work best in large open spaces because they can handle high volumes while still maintaining low frequencies.

Conclusion – Types of PA Speakers

There are three types of pa speakers for you to choose from when building your PA system. These include mains, subwoofers, and stage monitors and all three are passive or active.

Hopefully, this article has helped you understand the differences between the different types of pa speakers.


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