Alto Professional - PA System Basics and Components

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alto pa setupThe term “PA” stands for “Public Address.” With this, the intention of a PA system is to amplify audio source enough for crowds, small and large, to easily understand what is being addressed by the audio creator. This guide will walk you through basic information on PA systems and the components you will typically find within a PA system.

 Here is a list of the most common components you will find in almost any PA system:


  1. Loudspeaker
  2. Power Amplifier
  3. Mixer
  4. Cables
  5. Microphones
  6. Microphone Stands
  7. Signal Processors


The intention of a loudspeaker is to convert electrical energy into acoustic energy – moving air that is audible with our ears. With a lot of loudspeakers, they will normally be paired with subwoofers. Subwoofers are optimized to reproduce the lower range of frequencies of an audio source. Due to lower frequencies requiring more power and different speaker construction than higher audio frequencies, subwoofers can be useful in a lot of larger areas where loudspeakers just aren’t enough to properly reproduce low frequencies.


Power Amplifier

The job of a power amp is to receive incoming audio signal and increase, or amplify, their power so they can properly output through speakers. The amp power is measured in watts. The higher the wattage in a power amp, the higher the levels you can reach with your system’s speakers, although, the speakers must also be able to handle the amount of wattage you are driving from your power amp. Nowadays, a lot of loudspeakers are “active,” meaning that the amp is built INTO the speaker itself. A pro to this type of speaker is that all three components – speaker, amp, and cabinet – are all properly optimized to work together. Not to mention, active speakers mean that there is less to carry around since the power amp is already built into the speaker.



A mixer takes in all audio signal sources, such as microphones and instruments, and combines these signals to send out to a unified output, which can then send out to a power amplifier if in use. Not all situations will require a mixer, but it can definitely help in situations where volumes of multiple devices need to be adjusted and you want to do it all on one machine.



Cables are the veins of a PA system, allowing all components of a PA system to connect to one another. Although expensive cables aren’t needed, due to their use in PA systems, it’s a must to make sure that your cables are quality-built and you also have spares.



Like the opposite of speakers, microphones convert acoustical energy  (such as voice and instruments) into electrical energy that can be fed directly into speaker or mixer inputs. Although sound quality is determined by all components in a PA system, microphone quality is extremely important since this is what the audio source is feeding into from vocalists and instrument players. Luckily, high quality microphones have become extremely low in cost compared to what they used to go for. This allows us to spend less money on high quality microphones. In order to minimize clutter on stage and allow more movement, wireless microphones are ideal for live sound performances.


Microphone Stands

For microphones to properly sit in one position, they need a place to “park.” This is where the microphone stand comes in. There are two main types of mic stands: straight and boom. Boom stands enable you to position the mic away from the stand if the stand ever gets in the way of something else around it.


Signal Processors

These devices alter the signal of audio signal come from a mic or instrument in order to enhance overall quality. Examples of signal processors would be equalizers, compressors, limiters, etc.



Further Technical Support

Whether you are a customer or dealer, if you already own a Alto Professional product, or if you have pre-sales or parts questions, the Alto Professional technical support team is available to help!

Each product has a dedicated support page on the website where you can find manuals, specifications, software updates, and troubleshooting guides:

Visit the link below to connect with any of the following support options: online community support, phone support, email support.


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