PA Systems – Old tech vs New tech
Lets inspire students, stimulate academics and engage visitors with new advanced PA system for schools. It’s time to give a completely new approach to all our students by making education more interesting than ever! We owe this thanks to the technological advances which enable us more flexibility than ever before.
What is Public Address System for Schools?
A public address system (also called PA system) is an electronic system comprising microphones, loudspeakers, amplifiers, and other related devices. In most cases for emergency communications within a school, as well as paging and school assemblies. However, nowadays there are new advancements.
First let’s dive into the basics.
Essential Components in a PA System for Schools
There are numerous components of public address systems for schools such as:
- Audio Playback
- Monitoring systems etc.
Basic Purpose of PA Systems in Schools
PA systems are essential pieces of equipment for the modern school. The most necessary systems that schools use are for:
- Playing back music for school assemblies
- Making announcements at outdoor carnivals
- Providing sound reinforcement for concerts and school plays.
- Emergency broadcasting*
*The best example of this is an advanced fire detection system that uses the Voice Alarm (also known as VA) in conjunction with a public address system. After all, live broadcasts are a strategic part of a school emergency communication plan.
How Do PA Systems Work in Schools?
The main purpose of a PA system for schools is to address students, teachers, and parents or to transmit audio communication to a group. This transmission can start with a microphone, which is the most basic device that can assist in magnifying the speakers volume. A microphone is an essential component of this system that transforms sound into an electrical signal.
Public address systems use dynamic microphones over condenser microphones. It cannot be refuted that dynamic microphones are more rugged as compared to the condenser mic and are able to withstand the elements a little better. On the other hand, condenser microphones use their own power source and produce better-quality audio signals, which are perfect for musical instruments. However because of this they can sometimes be so sensitive that they also receive background noises.
Installation of PA Systems for Schools
If you are planning to install public address systems in school halls and gymnasiums then this is a great decision. However there are some important thing you need to consider. Here is some of our most common practice installation methods that you may want to keep in mind when deploying a PA System for schools.
To keep speakers out of sight and out they should be mounted up high on walls or within the ceiling. Similarly the mixer amplifier should be kept out of reach of students. In addition to this the microphones should be handled with care and stored in a moisture free environment.
Large Coverage Areas
If the area has a large space 100V line technology is necessary. Generally speaking this is a large hall or arena. In the same fashion the installation should be discreet. In addition, for greater coverage multiple speakers can be daisy chained which is a unique quality of 100V line PA systems. Therefore this type of system design is a perfect PA system for school grounds.
Now we have covered the basic requirements for the standard School PA System, let’s look deeper into the latest PA System technology.
Advanced Components in a PA System for Schools
- ‘Help’ Stations for emergency distress calls
- Video Intercom for secure entrance to buildings
- IP music sources over the network
- School bell scheduling interfaces
- Voip phone devices over the network
- Network paging system
- Managed Network Switch for remote management
Along with all the standard features of a PA system, you can now expand what was once Audio and Voice over a loudspeaker, to a fully customized communication and notification center. With the addition of a robust IP network, the programmable options are endless.
Today’s modern school will already have an network deployed by an IT department. Therefore, to integrate new devices into the network requires an IP controller to communicate to the new PA system. From here the additional devices such as the paging system, the intercom and the emergency station will all be programmed and controlled via a master station (this is usually a PC kept within the IT department).
One of the advantages of having a PA system over the network is the flexibility for future installation. Previously, the new speaker wire had to connect directly to the existing amplification system.
However, with a network PA system there is the possibility to extend the network from the closest wiring infrastructure over to the new location. Moreover you can add a WiFi speaker as long as WiFi is available. Again it is this unique aspect of the network PA system that makes it so functionally appealing.
In Summary, the best school PA system has speakers placed in every classroom. As shown above, live announcements and broadcasts to individual classrooms are easy. Likewise is the control of the entire speaker system over the school grounds.
This article was published by the technical team at AV Concept & Design