If you’re looking a new audio system for your school, the author recommends you consider the following:

1. Audience. What is the size of your audience, and do you want the speaker to be able to interact with it? If so, you might want to consider a wireless microphone.

2. Voice and/or music. Voice amplification is best with a system that delivers mid-range sound, while music is best heard with high-fidelity. If you need both functions, there are flexible systems available that can handle both jobs.

3. Indoors or outdoors. For indoor events, the author recommends amplification at 10 times any other sound in the room. The more people, the more volume you will need. For outdoor events, the system’s “intelligibility” must be considered.

4. Portability. A portable system can be a less expensive alternative to having dedicated systems for your auditorium, athletic field, and band room. Portable systems are typically lightweight and easy to set up.

5. Ease of use. In the school environment, a sound system is typically used by a variety of people, from administrators and teachers to students and parents. Look for a system that is simple to set up and operate, with displays and controls that are easy to understand and use.

6. Power source. Consider your needs. Battery-powered PA systems can go anywhere, but your time is limited to the battery life. An A/C system offers an unlimited amount of time.

7. Accoustical environment. Your sound system and the accoustical environment in which you intend to use it go hand-in-hand. For a room with optimal accoustical design, you will want a system with high wattage. For a room without optimal accoustical design, or if you plan to use the system outdoors, you will need to overcome factors such as ambient noise, so voice amplification will be key.