PA System for Schools – Old technology vs new technology.
Let us inspire students, stimulate academics and engage visitors with newer, more advanced technology including PA system for schools. We think it’s time to give a completely new approach to our students by making education more interesting than ever! With interactive displays on the increase, online learning is becoming more common! However, nothing replaces face-to-face interaction, and with all large campuses or school grounds requires a robust communication system. We now can achieve this thanks to the technological advances which enable us more flexibility than ever before.
What is a Public Address System?
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 School PA System
There are numerous components of public address systems for schools such as:
- Audio Playback
- Monitoring systems etc.
Basic Purpose of a PA System in Schools
PA systems are essential pieces of equipment for the modern school. The most necessary systems that schools use are for:
- Lecture Room PA Systems
- 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 PA system for a school is to address large groups of students and teachers. Importantly, to transmit an emergency audio communication to a large group of people. Audio transmissions usually start with a microphone (some emergency broadcasts are pre-recorded and automatically activated). The microphone is an essential component of a PA system. Technically speaking, a microphone transforms sound into an electrical signal that is transmitted to an amplifier and a speaker.
Public address systems tend to use dynamic microphones over condenser microphones. Usually, dynamic microphones are more rugged compared to the condenser mic and are able to withstand the school environment a little better. On the other hand, condenser microphones need their own power source to work (phantom power). They produce better-quality sound which is perfect for musical instruments. However, because condenser microphones are so sensitive, they are not ideal for a broadcast PA system.
Installation of a PA System for Schools
If you are planning to install a public address system in a school. First, consider the area to be covered. Halls and gymnasiums have a rather challenging acoustic profile. They are shaped like a huge rectangular box with timber floors and concrete walls. This means the sound will bounce around with an ‘echoing’ effect. However, with professional help, you can pinpoint the perfect position for the speakers and minimise this kind of problem. Moreover, Here are some of our most common practice installation methods that you may want to keep in mind when designing a PA System for a school.
To keep speakers out of sight and out they can be mounted up high on walls or within the ceiling (in the case of a false ceiling). Similarly, the mixer and amplifier should be kept out of reach of students at all times as the dial and buttons are very attractive to curious little fingers! In addition to this, the microphones should be handled with care and stored in a moisture-free environment for longer life.
Large Coverage Areas
If the area has a large space 100V line technology is necessary. Generally speaking, these PA systems are used in a large hall or arena (think of sports stadium speaker systems). Obviously, the installation in large public spaces needs to be out of reach for safety. In addition, to get greater coverage, multiple speakers are daisy-chained together which is only possible with 100V line PA systems. Therefore, when a school grounds has a large surface area to cover, this type of speaker system design is a perfect PA system for schools and school grounds.
Advanced Components in PA System for Schools
Now we have covered the basic requirements for the standard School PA System, let’s look deeper into the latest PA System technology.
- ‘Help’ Stations for emergency distress calls during school and after hours.
- Video Intercom for secure entrances to school buildings.
- IP music sources over the network.
- School bell scheduling interfaces
- VoIP phone devices over the network.
- Network paging systems.
- Managed Network Switch for remote management.
Along with all the standard features of a PA system, you can now expand a simple audio and voice system, to a fully customized communication center. With the addition of a robust network, programmable notices options are endless.
Today’s modern school will already have a 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 there are additional devices such as the paging system, the intercom, and the emergency station. The PA System is programmed and 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 installations. 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.
The best PA system for schools have speakers placed in every classroom. This is not only convenient for school notices, but it is also must for the safety of children in the event of an emergency. As shown above, live announcements and broadcasts to individual classrooms are handled more easily by a professionally configured School PA system.
This article was published by the technical team at AV Concept & Design