Sound System Hire
22 Aug 2017

Sound System Hire

No matter the type of event, there is always a need for a decent sound system because people need to be heard. At conferences you have key note speakers sharing their expertise with delegates, at seminars you have instructors training attendees, at gigs; festivals, shows, weddings and parties you have music, and at special occasions like award ceremonies; product launches and theatrical events you have guests and actors making speeches. So if you’re organising an event, you’re going to need to invest in sound system hire, otherwise no one’s message or any great music will be heard, enjoyed and remembered.

What is a sound system?

A sound system is principally a collection of audio components that, when combined together enable guest speakers, bands and DJs to be heard.

The essential elements for any sound system are microphones, speakers and inputs (or Bluetooth connectivity) to connect to MP3 players or other devices like tablets or laptops. On top of this, you can add supplementary pieces of equipment to make a more powerful sound system – a mixing desk or DJ mixer, subwoofers, amplifiers and splitters.

So, if this is the first time you’ve ever been asked to hire a sound system, or this is the first time you’re hosting a certain type of event, it can be quite daunting making sure you’re hiring the best sound system for your requirements. What equipment do you need? How many loudspeakers do you require? How much power do you need? Read on to find out.

What types of sound system can you hire?

On the whole, there are three different types of sound system that you can rent.

For small indoor or light outdoor events – ideal for audiences up to 50 people – there are easy, "turn-on-and-go" sound systems to hire called Portable All-in-one PA Systems. They typically consist of one speaker with one wireless microphone and have inputs (or Bluetooth connectivity) for music playback. They provide a softer level of noise for speech and music and there are even some which provide automatic “ducking” when the microphone is used which lowers the level of the music being played. These small PA systems will generally run on battery for approximately three hours, but they can also be plugged into the mains. The emphasis on this type of sound system is convenience, portability and affordability.
 
For medium to large indoor or outdoor events – those that have audiences up to 150 people, or where there’s more than one keynote speaker talking at any one time  – a 2 Speaker PA System is ideal. This industry standard sound system comes with a mixing desk so that AV technicians can switch seamlessly between audio channels and can be made more powerful for outdoor use (or in non-standard room shapes) by increasing the number of speakers.
 
For live music events – so that’s bands or DJs – you’ll need a more powerful sound system with additional bass bins. If you ask for a Live Event PA System and expand on where your gig is going to be (indoor, outdoor, venue or event space dimensions), audience size, etc., any AV company worth their salt will be able to recommend a sound system to hire ideal for your particular scenario.
 

TOP TIPS FOR SOUND AT OUTDOOR EVENTS!

The British weather can sometimes be a nightmare to work with, but PA systems can actually handle a bit of rain more than people think (although obviously not a torrential downpour!) When in doubt about the weather, you can hire waterproof covers for all the elements of a sound system to protect it from drizzle.

Another thing to consider when hosting an outdoor event is where you’ll be taking your power from to work your sound system. There is an option to use the mains power from a nearby building, but if you’re using a Live Event PA System, it’s better to hire a generator to power it. But remember, your generator needs to be twice as powerful as the sound system you’re hiring to make sure it works. So if you have a SKw sound system, you’ll need a 4KVa generator.

TOP TIPS FOR SOUND AT INDOOR EVENTS!

Protecting your guests and event staff’s hearing.
It is always best to work with AV companies and professional AV technicians to set up and operate your sound systems. That way, you can rest assured that the legal limits on noise exposure are not exceeded and that the volume levels across all your sound systems are at their optimum. When considering the layout of your event and if you’re setting up the PA system on your own, make sure to position any loudspeakers as far away from the bar or table arrangements as possible. If you do need speakers near to where people are speaking, particularly at a bar, provide event staff with ear plugs and have directional loudspeakers near the bar on their own dedicated volume control which can be turned as and when required.

What do you need to consider before hiring a sound system?

Like with event lighting or event production, there are a few things that you need to consider– or at least discuss with an AV company – regarding your audio requirements before you invest in a sound system.
  1. Audience – How many are attending your event?
  2. Type of event – What type of event are you hosting? How many speakers/bands/artists will there be? Will keynote speakers be talking separately or will there be open discussions or panel discussions? Will the audience be participating and therefore you’ll need additional roving wireless microphones to allow the exchange in dialogue to be heard?
  3. Venue or event space – What are the dimensions of the venue? What are the natural acoustics like? Where can the equipment be set up? Would you want the speakers attached to the wall, on stands or on the floor? Will additional power need to be supplied?
  4. The laws and environment – What are the acceptable sound levels at your venue? Will there be conflicting noises or interests throughout your event? How will you be protected from anti-noise legislation if your live event plays music after 11:00 pm – do you know your what licences your venue has?
The more information you can give to an AV company prior to a site visit, the better idea they’ll have about which sound system – or systems - will work best; where the best locations are to set up equipment and speakers, how many technicians would be needed to operate the sound systems, etc.
 

TOP TIP!

Always locate your speakers in front of open stage microphones and not the other way around. This will drastically reduce the risk of feedback. And remember, a room will sound very different when the audience arrives. When you conduct a sound check, make sure you have the ‘headroom’ to increase overall volume without getting immediately into the feedback zone!

Why you need to spend a little more to hire a good quality sound system.

When you hire a sound system that has exceptional clarity and fidelity, you’re improving your venue’s atmosphere whilst reducing audio distortion which can cause stress, headaches and fatigue. And when guests are happy, they spend more – at the bar or food stalls – and they're also more likely to remember their day or evening. So, sound quality - and even music choice - does effect profit and brand recognition, so it's worth investing in.

For more help regarding sound system hire for your event, get in touch with Richard, Hannah, Taz or Ryan today on 0208 692 6050, or drop them an email.