We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is a Public Address Amplifier?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A public address amplifier raises the volume of speech so people can be heard clearly in a large area or throughout a building. Inputs feed from one or more microphones through the device, which increases the power of the signal. The amplifier pushes the signal to outputs which relay the speech through speakers or horns, depending on the design of the system. Some systems are very complex and provide coverage throughout a building or complex, while others are small and mobile, designed for activities like giving lectures in classrooms or public facilities.

At a minimum, the public address amplifier has at least one microphone input and a speaker output or built-in speaker. Many include several different microphone channels to allow people to use the system from several locations. At a music venue, for example, the public address system might include microphones in the box office, in the technical booth, and on the stage itself, providing several areas for making announcements. This can be especially important in emergencies, where personnel may need to convey information quickly.

Mixers can also be embedded into a public address amplifier. The controls allow an operator to adjust the curve of the sound for different settings and speakers. Someone who is naturally loud, for example, may require some level adjustment so the amplification doesn’t cause distortion. Advanced systems apply mixers to different channels to allow technicians to control the levels for each microphone input. This provides greater control and functionality.

Some enable two way communication. Microphone inputs by the speakers allow people receiving messages over the public address system to respond. At a school, for example, teachers may be able to activate a button to send a message to the office through the public address amplifier. This can be useful when people need to call for help or respond to a directive like a request to confirm that all the students are secured in the classroom during a lockdown.

Costs for a public address amplifier can depend on the complexity of the system. Sometimes it is possible to get a discount by purchasing an entire public address kit, including speakers, microphones, and wiring. When selecting a system, it is important to think about projected uses that may change over time, to ensure that the system is flexible enough to meet ongoing needs. If people are likely to want more microphone inputs in the future, for example, they might want to purchase a more costly system with more inputs than they need to be prepared for more demand.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.