Why Buy Your New PA System From A Sound Company?

Why Buy Your New PA System From A Sound Company?

Buying a sound system if you are inexperienced leaves you completely exposed to the whims of the sales person, unless you are assisted by an individual who really does know his stuff. I'm not talking about the veritable loudmouth know it all who hasn't got a clue, I mean a person who has actually worked for a sound company and moved through the ranks to reach a position of respect.

Many retailers these days are not only resellers but importers as well so they will flog their own apples. They may also be selling what is the 'flavour of the month' or whatever is getting them the biggest margin at that time. Some actually do specialise in say drums, keyboards or guitars but many stock a huge mish mash of all sorts of gear and although such large ranges certainly do look impressive they can also confuse the unwary. You can imagine that knowing a lot about all of it is almost impossible for them. This is not a criticism at all, merely an observation and there are always some exceptions to the rules.

PA systems are highly specialised and are a profession in their own right. So much so that highly sophisticated systems often require the input of a consultant or professional designer. These guys do all sorts of complex calculations to predict the performance of a system in a void so that before any money is spent the person spending the money has a good idea about what will actually work.

At grass roots level things are nowhere near as critical but nevertheless still challenging enough.

A sound company who runs a hire division knows what products have been successful in hire and if he values your business and his reputation he will try to sell something he knows will stand the test of time and take the rigors of road use in its stride. He knows all about quality cables and road cases. He knows all about headroom. He knows all about thermal issues or he should do. He also knows exactly what is inside the loudspeaker enclosures and believe you me this can vary incredibly. At retail level a lot of really good quality speakers are almost unsellable. This is because if a full retail margin were included in the price they would become very expensive indeed. If the PA company has imported them itself you may not have to pay this double markup structure. Many sound companies will be happy to show you the contents of a speaker enclosure and explain the differences to you in a way you can understand.

Some retailers actually have a High Tech department and may even employ someone who knows his stuff quite well. Ask him if he will give you an after hours phone number that is still attended at 10pm and if he will do a callout if you need one urgently. Believe it or not most sound companies will do this if they can. This is because many of them support term hire systems in nightclubs and they have no choice but to offer this service. Not all of them do though, so be sure to get this one sorted out well in advance especially if you intend spending upwards of say $15000 on a PA rig. In our own case our phones are still attended at 11pm. Sometimes of course there may be nothing anyone can do to help at very short notice so don't be misled either.

Be careful buying unknown brands that you have heard nothing about. They may sound good in the shop but you may have big problems sourcing recones or horn diaphragms. Ask for some spares when you make your purchase and see what sort of reaction you get from the sales person.

Listen to the difference between plastic and timber speaker enclosures. I sure know what I like best and the box came from a tree, not an oil well!

If you can afford it buy the highest powered system your wallet will allow. Its easy to turn the volume down in a small venue but if you run out of power in a big one there will be absolutely nothing you can do about it, except look embarrassed and try to explain to the crowd why they can't hear you at the back.

Find out about the most revered brands before you go looking and remember if all you want is a cheap price then all you can expect is a cheap backup from the dealer. Most dealers will discount when they are asked to in order to get the sale and compete but they remember those who really screw them on price and you will be lucky to get any backup worth having when you get into serious trouble. Expect to wait three weeks for it to be repaired with no loaner system to help you fill the gap.

For any further information on this or any other blog topics please call Paul Johansen on 444 8776


Stage Sound Enterprises

Stage Sound Enterprises Ltd
Unit 4-77 Porana Road, Glenfield, North Shore, New Zealand
Phone: 09 444 8776 Email: [email protected]
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 9 AM to 6 PM