Welcome to PAforMusic
PAforMusic is a web-based information resource that aims to promote technical understanding and good practice in the use of PA / sound reinforcement systems. (Within this site we consider these two terms to be equivalent − for information on their history and usage follow the links.)
This resource is designed as a useful technical reference for professional sound engineers, engineers in training and others involved in any way with audio-related systems, though the focus is primarily on sound reinforcement applications. It includes 'Getting Started' sections for those relatively new to the subject, and a comprehensive extensively cross-referenced glossary of PA terminology which includes terms relating to digital audio and some technical fundamentals of video, lighting and electrical power distribution.
This is a non-commercial site, and isn't trying to sell you anything. Its purpose is simply to provide useful technical information and guidance − without involving scientific or mathematical details that are of no practical help to most users of real systems. The information concentrates on general principles and practice, rather than on the pros and cons of particular makes and models of equipment. If you have a specific question you would like to ask PAforMusic, please see Ask PAforMusic below.
This is an information-only site. Although there are no products for sale here, there are links to many of the most popular equipment manufacturers and to some UK suppliers. PAforMusic is not a business enterprise and is not sponsored by any manufacturers or suppliers.
In the assembly and operation, or use, of PA systems and related equipment, many things can only be learned through practical experience. However, it can often be useful to check up on facts or find out a bit more. We aim to provide in this one handy place all the information you are likely to need on general principles and typical practical issues − and probably a lot more besides. So if you are having difficulty finding the information you are looking for, we would like to know! First try the structured list of topics on the Training page, and if you still can't find it on this site then please contact us, as updates with additional information are often made. Suggestions are also welcome as to how this site could be improved or how it should develop in the future. And please contact us if you have any advice from your PA experience (or experiences − good or bad!) that may be useful to other readers (see PA Proverbs).
If you wish to provide a link to this site from your own site, to ensure continued operation of your link please link to the relevant page at www.paformusic.info. If you wish to copy or otherwise reproduce any information from this site, see Reproduction of information from PAforMusic below.
Calculators and quiz pages: For these features to work, your browser must be configured to allow active, i.e. script, content.
Accessibility: The size of text on this site is fully scaleable using the View − Text Size menu item of Internet Explorer or Firefox. (This will not affect the size of diagrams or images, and very large size settings may cause the menu to overlap the page text.) Alternatively in IE and some other browsers use the Zoom facility, which will scale the diagrams and images as well as the text.
Use of this site is conditional upon acceptance of the Disclaimer located at the bottom of this page.
This contents list is also available via the Menu item at the right of the top bar.
- Getting Started − assembling a system
- Getting Started − for mixing engineers (mixer operators)
- Getting Started − for performers
- Glossary of PA terms (lots of information in here!)
- Mixing facilities
- Amplifiers and speakers
- Decibels (including conversion calculators)
- PA Proverbs (collected PA wisdom)
- PA for places of worship
- FAQ − Frequently asked tech questions
- Common audio-related calculations
- Self-test quiz
- Training − a structured list of training course topics
- Links to manufacturers' sites
- Links to UK suppliers (equipment and components)
- Other links
- Installation and construction projects
- Improving acoustics (using sound absorbent walls)
If, however, you are seeking advice as to the most appropriate make or model of equipment to buy for a particular purpose, you would be better advised to contact a reputable PA equipment supplier − though for microphones first check out the PAforMusic microphone selector and for mixers first see the notes on choosing a mixer. Other information on this site may also be of help to you in understanding what you require from your equipment. Descriptions and technical specifications of specific equipment may often be obtained from the relevant manufacturer's website − for links see the Manufacturers page.
Reproduction of information from PAforMusic
The content of this website is copyright. No part of it may be commercially published in any form. However, limited permission is hereby granted for information derived from this content to be reproduced in a substantially reworded form, and for small portions of text (less than one paragraph) to be reproduced without rewording, provided that this source is acknowledged. If however you wish to reproduce larger portions in any form (electronic or printed), then you must first request permission by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. All rights reserved.
About the author
The author of this site is Mark Phillips, who has had over 25 years' experience of working with PA systems in a non-vocational capacity. His work includes the design, installation, repair and testing of systems, as well as mixing for several small bands and training other sound engineers. A taste for most kinds of music and a professional background in electronic engineering and computing have driven a passion for quality in live sound reproduction. This site is about providing technical information rather than about a person, however a little more information about the author can be found at author profile. (The author of PAforMusic has no connection with the site markphillips.com)
Visited count: More than 12,200 since 16-Aug-2000
This page last updated 05-Sep-2019.