Hardware dedicated to PA management is a relatively new offering on the scene. These rack mounted units incorporate features that make them kind of a mash up of a mixer, signal router, effects unit, headphone mixer and more. Just plug everything in, and use the software or front panel interface to build your whole signal routing and processing scheme. These units are extremely helpful for mobile PA installations, as well as theater stage systems — or any scenario where the parameters and signal routing often change.
One of the first things you should consider when choosing a PA management unit is your desired channel count. Channel counts range from 2 to 12, with varying numbers of inputs and outputs. Some models allow you to cascade multiple units for increased connectivity. You can also use multiple units in other ways, such as using one for mains and another for monitors. What these models lack in channel counts, they more than make up for with flexibility and features. These things can literally replace an entire rack of outboard gear, maybe two.
Your range of configuration options can be a bit dizzying. Thankfully these units are designed to be configured from your laptop in addition to the front panel. You can save multiple configuration snapshots for easy recall later on. If you have venues that you frequent, this feature makes it crazy simple to get up and running. Plug in and pull up your config, and you're done. Some brands allow you to control multiple units simultaneously with their proprietary software.
One of the most popular features on these is the advanced feedback suppression. They can identify and completely stop feedback almost instantly. You'll never be paralyzed by that piercing wail again. Other common features include advanced EQ, automatic crossover tuning, compression, and manual and automatic delay settings for mitigating distance and other environmental factors. It’s impressive how so many critical functions have melded into a piece of equipment that’s far more than just the sum of its parts.
Making the jump into PA management hardware can be a bit daunting if you've never used one before. It may not be obvious how it pulls together all of the various pieces of your existing rig. If you need a hand sorting everything out, call us. Our Sales Engineers are happy to go over your current configuration and explain how a PA management unit can help. They can also walk you through all the features and configuration options. We love talking about this stuff, and we’ll make sure you have all the knowledge you need to choose the perfect hardware management solution for your PA system.
Sweetwater's Sales Engineers are regarded as the most experienced and knowledgeable professionals in the music industry, with extensive music backgrounds and intense training on the latest products and technologies. They are available to offer you personalized product advice any time you need it.