When selecting speaker PA systems for sports days and track / field events there are different requirements depending on the purpose and the reason of needing a sound system. We’ll try and make the different systems and their purposes a little clearer to help you choose the best system.
Simply putting a pair of speakers in a field powered by a generator might provide you with sound, but is it clear enough and will it travel the distance needed?
The two main speaker systems we provide for field events are active speakers, and 100V horn speakers.
Active speakers have the amplifiers built into them. They require mains power to the speaker which can be provided through extension lead or generator. These provide the best quality of overall music. Good bass, good clear top and what you expect to hear from hifi or disco type speakers. We use a brand KV2 which provide an incredibly loud speaker box with good long throw of sound. The speakers will reach a point where the sound level just gets too low and you lose the sound. These speakers provide clear music quality up to around 25-35m outdoors. It’s advisable that in poor weather they’re used undercover to protect the rain from the speakers with the in built electronics.
For larger fields or where the whole field needs to be covered with sound for speech information purposes, with very limited music playback and no real concern for the audio quality as long as it can be clearly heard 100V music horns are more suitable. There are a few more parts to make the system work, but it’s essentially as simple as the active speaker system.
Music horns are placed in small clusters on tall poles, usually wind up stands. They’re wired back to a central amplifier often in the information tent. The benefit these systems offer is being able to run over long cables without too much signal being lost, they can operate in the wet, and they’re very very good at providing clear music.
There is no need to be concerned by the 100V mentioned. This doesn’t require any special mains power, it’s more of a technology of how the speakers operate and can operate over long distances.
We have 3 different ways to be able to power your PA system.
1) Mains power if there is a nearby supply, typically a classroom or office.
2) Petrol / Diesel / LPG generator with optional UPS
3) Battery powered speakers
we would typically advise that any use of mains from a building or outlet in a field is limited to 20-30m maximum. There are several reasons we put limits on these kinds of cable runs, firstly it’s quite a trip hazard to have cables over this distance. There also starts to become electrical losses with cables of such length, which can cause issues such as voltage drops, potential difference on earthing. We strongly advise that all supplies are RCD protected, either by the fuse board, or we can supply an inline RCD adaptor. The purpose of which is to reduce the chances of shock to users.
Generators provide the convenience of power anywhere. Our small portable generators in particular the SDMO suitcase generator provides usual ample power for announcement systems, it’s quiet operating means it can be sited near to the sound system. With a reasonably sized tank and efficient engine the generator provides several hours of use. For peace of mind and for emergency systems we can provide a UPS battery backup solution which will provide up to 30 minutes of battery buffering in event of mains failure. This can be useful for emergency use if the mains generators of an event fails and evacuation plan needs to be put into action.
The third kind of speaker up until now we’ve not shown is our range of battery. These self contained small active speakers provide up to 6 hours of playback for loud speech and music running completely off their internal batteries.
These systems have a small in built mixing desk which can easily be bluetoothed up to a phone or computer for music playback, and connections to a microphone and guitar built in. They’re great for smaller sports days such as primary and small schools. They’re also great for little breakout spaces for larger sports days or for background music in waiting pens or registration desks to provide pre recorded information.