Talk:Public address system

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Merge?[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

The decision was to RETAIN BOTH sound reinforcement system and public address.

Shouldn't the information in this article be merged with that in sound reinforcement system? I think the info in this article is somewhat better, so moving stuff over would be advisable IMHO (then this article could just become a redirect). Or we could just remove info on PA's from the sound system article. What does everyone else think? —Frecklefoot 19:12, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Agree with a merge, but I think that sound reinforcement system should be merged into public address system because: sound reinforcement system gets about 7410 Google hits, but public address system gets about 117,000 Google hits. --Lexor|Talk 12:21, 8 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Hi, this is a tricky issue, because I think most non-musicians or non-sound engineers use the term PA, regardless of whether it is a 50-watt amp-mixer at a local coffee shop or a 10,000 watt pro touring rig at a rock concert. Yet from a pro-sound point of view, I imagine that "PA system" just refers to relatively simple institutional/commercial setups permanently installed in schools, hockey rinks, and churches, and "sound reinforcement system" would be used to refer to a pro setup with dozens of speakers, racks of poweramps, a mixing board with effects gear, etc. IMHO I think that it would be a good idea to keep a PA system article, but keep it limited to the relatively simple institutional/commercial setups permanently installed in schools, hockey rinks, and churches--and perhaps the small, portable systems that bar bands use in small and mid-sized venues (which seem to be universally called "the PA" by patrons and musicians!! : )...... The article could then indicate that larger concert systems are typically called "sound reinforcement", and direct readers to the sound reinforcement page.NatMor 17:01, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

Ill put an official tag upMartijn Hoekstra 13:10, 22 April 2006 (UTC)

Can this be merged in as well? Live sound reproduction For the record, a sound reinforcement system is one which is subtley "reinforcing" the sound as in a church or meeting room, Larger "Concert Systems" are referred to as PA systems. I am a Live sound engineer of 12 years experience --Badger 22:41, 10 July 2006 (UTC)

It seems that everyone has a different opinion of what these systems are called. I, for one, understand the terms much as NatMor does. Perhaps it might not be a bad idea, though, to put them all on one page and redirect all of the others to that page. Whether the title of that page should be PA Systems, Sound Systems, or Sound Reinforcement Systems is what we should be debating. I suppose PA System is as good as any, because that's probably what most of the public knows them as... cluth 20:26, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

I agree Cluth. --Badger 09:04, 26 July 2006 (UTC)

How about merging it all into Tannoy? My question is rhetorical = not a real question. But "sound reinforcement" has been an accepted term for what a PA-system does for at least a few decades, whether it's subtle or rock-concert levels involved. It remains a sticky question unfortunately. However, Live sound reproduction is erroneous; it's a made-up word, among many made up words that find their way into WP. ... Kenosis 14:14, 26 July 2006 (UTC)

Seeing as Tannoy is a registered trademark of Tannoy, I think that would be a bad idea.... Kind of like Hoover / Vacuum Cleaner analogy. --Badger 12:50, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

I removed the merge templates as this discussion wasn't really going anywhere. Public Address and Sound Reinforcement are really only alike in that they amplify sounds for a lot of people to hear. PA is usually for one voice, and Sound Reinforcement is usually for entire musical groups. Furthermore, Sound Reinforcement requires an operator and is considered an art form by many, whereas PA is just a system. --Ortzinator 22:16, 1 November 2006 (UTC)


The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.


Use as a mixer[edit]

In a public bandpractice studio (im lost for a better word) we have a PA (intended for mic amplification) with 2 speakers. We have used this setup as a mixer, running the instruments trough it, and sending the result to a 8 track recorder (Boss Br-8). We were told that this could damage the PA as it has "no way to release its power". To me this sounds like nonsense, but then, what do I know. Anyone know if this is true? Martijn Hoekstra 13:10, 22 April 2006 (UTC)

The mixer doesn't care whether you plug tape decks or amplifiers into its line-out jacks. In fact, plugging *nothing* into its line out jacks won't hurt it. There's no such thing as "needing to release its power." If your "PA system" is an all-in-one deal that includes a built-in amplifier, it may not be the best thing to leave an amplifier on that's not connected to a speaker, but in any case, I've done so for months on end with no damage to the amplifier. Far more damage would result from putting a super-low-impedance load on the outputs (say, if the amp's outputs are rated for expecting 4 ohms, putting a 1-ohm load on them could result in overheating and damage). No damage will occur by putting a higher-impedance load (and plugging nothing in is effectively an infinite impedance) than the outputs expect. cluth 20:23, 12 July 2006 (UTC)
There is one case of an amp-mixer needing to be plugged into speakers. If you happen to have a vintage TUBE amp-mixer, you should note that tube amplifiers need to be plugged into a speaker(s), so that there is a load on the amplifier.

Commercial links[edit]

The following was placed on my talk page today. I'm placing the discussion here in the most relevant place. ... Kenosis 19:17, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

Hi, I added those 2 links to the PA article page, which you called spam and removed. The PA systems primer, from Yorkville, explains how to plug in and set up a basic PA system. You stated that the article is supposed to provide the info, but in this case, these guides are very "how-to" and practical, more detailed info than you'd want in an encyclopedia. So I think that the link to the PDF document is helpful. I'm going to check what the wikipedia policy is, as far as what qualifies as spam, and what is legit.--ThanksNatMor 18:53, 12 July 2006 (UTC)
Hi again, I had a similar discussion on the bass amplification page, and so I posted this note to Lightcurrent (an editor); he responded by sending a policy quote:
Leave out the adverts [left unsigned 19:10, 12 July 2006 by 198.103.196.130 ]
The article is about bass amplification, and the specific subsection is about amplifying the upright bass. Including the names of manufacturers seems reasonable. I believe an article about sports cars, specifically Italian sports cars would list the names Lambourghini, Ferrari, etc. There is even more justification in the bass amplification/upright bass preamp example, because whereas Lambourghini and Ferrari are well-known names, even to those outside the field of sports cars, the names of manufacturers of impedance-matching preamplifiers are probably unknown to most non-upright bassists.NatMor 02:07, 12 June 2006 (UTC)
Links to the manufacturers are at the bottom of the page. I believe this is the acceptable place to put them, not in the body of the article.8-|--Light current 02:12, 12 June 2006 (UTC)
Policy quote:
Advertising. Articles about companies and products are acceptable if they are written in an objective and unbiased style. Furthermore, all article topics must be third-party verifiable, so articles about very small "garage" or local companies are not likely to be acceptable. External links to commercial organizations are acceptable if they can serve to identify major corporations associated with a topic (see finishing school for an example). Please note Wikipedia does not endorse any businesses and it does not set up affiliate programs. See also WP:CORP for a proposal on corporate notability.
....The policy quote indicates that external links to commercial organizations are acceptable -- and yet in my case, I wasn't even trying to link to the PA company's website, only to a PDF primer on PA systems.NatMor 19:11, 12 July 2006 (UTC)
The Sweetwater link was a commercial link, pure and simple. The Yorkville primer is a closer call in my estimation. I have no objection to its inclusion. ... Kenosis 19:21, 12 July 2006 (UTC)
Hi, thanks Kenosis...I wasn't sure which forum you'd respond in---I thought you might respond on your Talk page. Thanks for your letter : )NatMor 18:46, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

Commercial Links, Part II[edit]

Wikipedia does not allow “Links that are added to promote a site, that primarily exist to sell products or services, with objectionable amounts of advertising, or that require payment to view the relevant content.”

  • This rule seems to prohibit commercial websites from manufacturers, because a PA company's website's main purpose is to sell products or services. However, I suppose if you add a link that doesn’t exist primarily to sell products or services (such as the “Basic PA systems Primer”), then that would be OK.

“Wikipedia does not allow the insertion of links that appear to promote products by pointing to obscure or not particularly relevant commercial sites. (Also called commercial links.)”

  • Yorkville is a manufacturer of PA systems and equipment that sells their products in North America and Europe, and so this rule would not seem to disallow the inclusion of a Yorkville link.

“adding a small number of relevant external links can be a valuable service to our readers.”

  • It is argued that the Yorkville “PA systems Primer” would provide a service to the readers that are interested in knowing how to set up a PA system.

External links should be to “Sites that contain neutral and accurate material not already in the article. Ideally this content should be integrated into the Wikipedia article, then the link would remain as a reference, but in some cases this is not possible for copyright reasons or because the site has a level of detail which is inappropriate for the Wikipedia article.” ….....

  • Well, in this case, the Yorkville “PA Systems Primer” seems to qualify, because it has detailed information on how to set up, plug in, and sound check a basic PA system, which is arguably too much detail to put into an encyclopedia article about PA systems.

External links to commercial organizations are acceptable if they can serve to identify major corporations associated with a topic.

  • I guess an editor proposing a company would have to show proof that the company in question is a major corporation associated with the topic.
  • Yorkville Sound is a Company that designs and manufactures all of its products at the 150,000 square foot facility. In the 1960's Yorkville sold PA and amplifier products in North America. In 1972 Yorkville expanded distribution into Europe.

“Advertising. Articles about companies and products are acceptable if they are written in an objective and unbiased style. Furthermore, all article topics must be third-party verifiable, so articles about very small "garage" or local companies are not likely to be acceptable. External links to commercial organizations are acceptable if they can serve to identify major corporations associated with a topic (see finishing school for an example). Please note Wikipedia does not endorse any businesses and it does not set up affiliate programs. See also WP:CORP for guidelines on corporate notability.”

  • Please see the paragraph above on Yorkville Sound
  • The PA systems primer makes no reference to any Yorkville products in the text, even when the text is discussing the different types of microphones, amplifiers and speakers. Nor are there any references to the purported attributes or benefits of using Yorkville products.
  • Summary of content of proposed link: BASIC P.A.SYSTEMSA PRIMER FOR USING P.A. SYSTEMS

· What is impedance · How to calculate the total impedance · microphone types (dynamic, condenser and ribbon) · equalizers (including parametric equalizers) · What are crossovers · How do mixers work · Connecting the various parts of a P.A. system · What are decibels · How do amplifiers work · How to deal with noise in a P.A (e.g., magnetic fields, radio stations, ground hums, hiss) · Does length or thickness of speaker cable matter · What is “clipping” ? · Why do speakers “blow”? · What is feedback (loud squealing sound)NatMor 17:23, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

Monitor systems in PA[edit]

In the Large venue PA systems section, it is claimed that monitor systems are a part of PA systems. It is my understanding that having a monitor system is one of the significant lines which divides a Public Address system from a Soun Reinforcement system. Unless anybody begs to differ, I will take the liberty to edit this section extensively. I will do my best to cite sources so that the editing and discussion on this topic will be as progressive as possible --Davidkazuhiro 11:49, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

Sounds incorrect to me. --Ortzinator 03:38, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
Was that an agreement or a disagreement? --Davidkazuhiro 04:21, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
I don't mean to be trite, but perhaps monitor systems are more accurately categorized as " 'semi-private' address systems". ... Kenosis 04:30, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
valid =D --Davidkazuhiro 07:04, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

Other PAs[edit]

I think this should mention the PA systems that are used in schools and offices, which can he hooked up to telephones as well as microphone. --D-Day 22:48, 26 March 2007 (UTC)


The quantification of what really is good sound has always been a very slippery subject. How do one explain to an average person, what is a good quality sound, without sounding like one is ramming one's opinion down a throat? Most DJs automatically think they are indeed the ultimate expert on this subject and all they ussually do is to qoute brand names and talk pretentiously around the subject like they have some GOD given power to hear sound that no one else can. I think it is about time someone should find a way to classify sound into different category eg . Class A, Class B, Class C, Class D, in a way that ordinary people can somewhat differentiate them. I am refering more to general background music and paging system. How? What about by using these factors? eg. STI(Speech Transmission Index), Frenquency Response, Sound pressure level above ambience noise, Even coverage of direct sound. Actually, through experiment, by varying these four criteria, one can create up to four diferent quality of sound which an average person can diffrentiate. Anyone tried this? Afterall when one pay for a sound system one is 'buying sound' not some high-tech box for the sake of being high-tech or well advertised brandname. 8 may 2007.AEXsystem.com

Merge revisited[edit]

I'm not sure whether the was originally more discussion on this. From the discussion at the top of this page, it is not clear to me what the justification was for the decision to leave this as a separate article from Sound reinforcement. I support a merge for the following reasons.

  1. The public address article is viewed 20 times more often than sound reinforcement. The sound reinforcement article has received more attention from editors and is higher quality. A merged article would give more visibility to higher quality Wikipedia content.
  2. The content of the public address article appears to be largely a subset of the content in sound reinforcement. The discussion of PA vs SR needs to be repeated verbatim in the lead to each article. These structural issues would be resolved by a merge.
  3. The SVC reference makes it clear that it is not a cut-and-dried question. In my opinion, this gives us latitude to organize the material in a manner which works best for the editors.

Can anyone list reasons for not doing the merge? In the original discussion, I don't see any that are particularly relevant or that are not already covered in the SVC reference. --Kvng (talk) 15:11, 28 June 2010 (UTC)

Let's make public address into a disambiguation page so that the reader can figure out what kind of sound system they are looking for. We should make a list of such sound systems and then write the articles not yet written. Some possibilities:
  • Concert sound system
  • Discotheque sound system
  • Nightclub sound system
  • Public safety or paging sound system Binksternet (talk) 21:36, 28 June 2010 (UTC)
That's a different idea and arguably the opposite of a merge. Does this mean you do not support a merge or are you just brainstorming? --Kvng (talk) 06:21, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
I wasn't around back then or I might have preferred a merge. There are very large sound reinforcement systems that are set up for public address, and very large sound systems that do not "reinforce" existing acoustic sound, but only amplify recorded sound. A lot of guys in the concert sound reinforcement business refer to the huge main array of speakers as the "PA", hearkening back to a time when it was called "public address", though only the abbreviation is left for those guys. The various terms blend one into the next far too often. Perhaps the public address article can be retooled as a public safety system and paging system, the kind found in institutions such as schools. Binksternet (talk) 21:32, 28 June 2010 (UTC)
Too keep all discussion in one place, I took the liberty of moving the above comment from Talk:Sound reinforcement system.
This rings true to what the SVC reference says which I would over summarize as, "There are various ideas and much overlap between the two terms." I don't think this tells us whether or not a merge is appropriate. We have to look for other motivations. --Kvng (talk) 06:21, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
I've put up some merge banners to solicit more input on this. --Kvng (talk) 14:42, 30 June 2010 (UTC)
Somewhat Oppose: Firstly: I'm not at all a specialist here, and I'm only commenting since I happened to notice the banners Kvng helpfully placed at the top of the article. As I see it, and as the disambiguation at the start of both articles seems to reinforce, a SR system assists an individual or group in situ to be heard by their audience. By comparison, a PA system is designed to reach an audience which is not in situ. Since they have different roles, they should remain distinct articles. While it's unfortunate the PA article gets more views (likely due to lower use of "SR"), that in itself is a shortcoming of visitors' vocabulary, and we shouldn't lump two subjects together for convenience. I do support however, either making an expanded disambiguation page (which helps correct the vocabulary use), or to keep the disambiguation in the introductory paragraphs. That said, I can see the logic behind a merged article, particularly with regards to quality. If that becomes the endorsed course of action, perhaps "Sound Amplification Systems" would make a good title. Just my thoughts on the matter. Cheers! --Aidolon (talk) 18:26, 23 July 2010 (UTC)
I would like to know where it is that somebody defined "public address" as a term for use with an audience that is not sitting or standing or perhaps just expecting sound. Use of the term in situ makes the impression that the loudspeakers are carried to the potential listeners, rather than the loudspeakers being in place but the people near them move around. Both can be public address: in 1935, an early portable public address system was described in Popular Mechanics, to catch people wherever they may be found, and a portable lectern containing a public address system was described in the same magazine in 1945, for people in situ, but using portable electronics. In 1942, that magazine described a permanent 20-speaker public address system for a military post, with unmoving speakers but moving people.
Back in 1922, the Bell Telephone system made a very simple definition: "A public address system comprises electrical equipment to greatly amplify a speaker's voice so it will reach a much larger assemblage than he could speak to unaided." This definition covers a very wide span of sound systems.
In 1996, the American Society of Civil Engineers published standards that apply to transit system vehicles and stations, calling the speakers in a train car, and the speakers in a train station "public address".
In terms of fire safety, this book says that public address systems are for communicating to a building's occupants from a central fire command center.
In 1991, a construction inspection book described a useful fork in the definitions: a rudimentary sound system intended only for voice is a public address system, and is installed in buildings for multi-room communications. A high-fidelity sound system may be installed in a building's auditorium or other public space, the system tuned for accurate reproduction of music, a more difficult task. The author, Jay M. Bannister, did not supply a name for the higher fidelity system. Michael Talbot-Smith writing in 1991 about sound system operation says that public address systems can include two very different types: one being loudspeakers found at racetracks and railway stations whose sole purpose is intelligibility, the other being a system where the microphones, loudspeakers and audience are in the same room together, and the system, performing "sound reinforcement", is for high fidelity. Talbot-Smith writes that "'sound reinforcement' would generally be a more accurate term to use, but rightly or wrongly, 'public address', or 'PA' for short, has come to stay." Writing again 11 years later, Talbot-Smith divided "public address" into three categories:
  1. Audience is far from the microphone(s). Examples include racetrack and railway station.
  2. Audience and microphone are in the same hall. Examples include auditoriums and other performance spaces.
  3. Large-scale concerts, such as a rock concert.
Talbot-Smith calls the first two cases outdoor PA and indoor PA respectively, and does not name the third case. Binksternet (talk) 20:40, 23 July 2010 (UTC)
Binksternet, do you have an opinion as to whether we should proceed with a merge? --Kvng (talk) 04:54, 24 July 2010 (UTC)
I can go two ways with this: I can see a merge being good, resulting in a longer article that contains all the cases, or I could go with this page being a disambiguation page directing the reader to the appropriate article, one more focused on a certain task. I am not in favor of the situation remaining as it is now, with two articles struggling to cover much of the same material. Binksternet (talk) 14:51, 24 July 2010 (UTC)
Opinion: I think a simple merge is NOT desirable here. While anyone in a general audience probably knows what a PA system is, very few would know what a sound reinforcement system is. Frankly, I have never heard the term outside of specialized or technical audio literature. However, I bet that everyone knows what a sound system is, which is the far better umbrella term for both, the PA system, and the obscured one. And it is pretty clear that the PA system also is a sound system. However, there are differences between PA systems and sound reinforcement systems, and this difference lies probably mostly in the second word, reinforcement. It amplifies what can be heard live. I am not so sure that applies to all PA systems. Also, I don't like the title of public address for this article; this article is clearly about public address SYSTEMS, not about the concept of public address, and should be changed in any case. When President Lincoln gave his last public address, he didn't have a PA system or a sound reinforcement system. That's the meaning of PUBLIC ADDRESS, the mistaken title of this article. But it suggests that there is also a difference in the historical origins of these terms, which should be examined in an encyclopedic article. Kbrose (talk) 03:04, 12 August 2010 (UTC)
Have a look at Sound system history. It looks like it was originally set up as you describe. It would be prudent to understand why it was changed before proceeding down that road. Renaming this article Public address system is a sensible suggestion. Please read the SVC reference. This casts refutes assertions (that as far as I can tell are based on WP:OR) that there's a accepted difference between PA and Sound reinforcement. --Kvng (talk) 12:19, 15 August 2010 (UTC)
I read the SVC reference, reflected on it, and I think it probably discusses the difference in the correct light. This brought to mind the habit of musicians in even small bands, who set up a sound system every time they play at a bar or restaurant. They would sometimes say Give me the PA, when they wanted to address the audience verbally, but would not use the term for the sound reinforcement that the same system provided for their musical instruments. This supports the notion of limited bandwidth or limited purpose as discussed in the reference, even though the actual bandwidth of the equipment may be the same. Kbrose (talk) 15:51, 15 August 2010 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── A year later... Are we really confusing the 100,000 watt system that "Spinal Tap" sets up in a stadium to drive in the eardrums of 20,000 screaming fans with those little white grilles in the ceiling that say things like "The bake sale to raise funds for the carwash has been cancelled due to confusion." ? PA systems and SR systems are different in intent and application. I've removed the merge tag. --Wtshymanski (talk) 16:12, 17 June 2011 (UTC)

You also edited the article to indicate that PA was for voice. That's not what the reference says. You should either revert these changes or find another couple references supporting your position. --Kvng (talk) 21:41, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

Front of House: system or location?[edit]

In my experience (stagehand and setup/strike in the pacific northwest), "front of house" refers to the area for the main sound board and its associated gear (compressors, effects processors, and so on), rather than to the entire main system. Is this just where I work, or does the article need tweaking? Commodore Pedantic (talk) 19:41, 28 July 2010 (UTC)

I've seen "FoH" refer to both the location and the system. Where there would be ambiguity, "FoH system" and "FoH position" are used. I've reviewed use of "FoH" here and in Sound reinforcement system and I don't see any serious ambiguity. --Kvng (talk) 20:02, 28 July 2010 (UTC)

Move to public address system and disambiguate (2012)[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

This article needs to be moved to public address system. Since the're is not yet a specific article for public address (in the sense of the speech, like a presidential public address), until one is created both public address and public announcement must be redirected to Public speaking.--Sum (talk) 16:10, 12 September 2012 (UTC)


The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.


Requested move (2013)[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: Move to public address system. Jafeluv (talk) 10:16, 31 May 2013 (UTC)


Public addressPA system – This is about a public address system, not the act of addressing publicly. Unreal7 (talk) 19:06, 24 May 2013 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.