When hosting, toasting or roasting, it’s not quite the same when no one can hear you. A public address system, or PA system, gives words that extra boost when the guest list goes from a gaggle to a herd. While in a previous career post of mine, our marketing department kept a set of amps and a microphone in supply to help event music and remarks travel the extra mile. I’m now in the market for my own mini PA system for parties, public relations professional needs and the karaoke potential.
Getting on the loud speaker is not necessary at every shindig. Hosts and hostesses should consider the size of the crowd and the appropriateness. Are remarks expected? Will it disrupt more than it will enhance the gathering? Wedding toasts are a different beast altogether and a topic for another day.
When there is an opportunity for a brief-yet-meaningful toast or welcome, a PA system is often a dandy addition, especially for outdoor events. I’m honing in on the options below, and my eyes have been peeled for these user-friendly features: Portable (preferably on wheels), simple / low-tech, sturdy, preferably with an iPod dock, and with both battery-charge and AC options. In the running:
- PylePro PWMA100 Rechargeable Portable PA System $71.49
- Alesis TransActive Mobile Portable PA System with iPod Dock $199
- Ion Audio iPA16 Block Rocker AM/FM PA System with iPod Dock $175.97
- DJ Tech iVisa 50 Light Wireless iPod PA Speaker $149.99 (a little too tour-guidey)
- Pyle PCMX240I Battery Powered Portable PA System with iPod Dock $182.71