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Welcome to PAforMusic

About PAforMusic

PAforMusic is a web-based information resource that aims to promote technical understanding and good practice in the use of PA / sound reinforcement systems. (Within this site we consider these two terms to be equivalent − for information on their history and usage follow the links.)

"Skip all this introductory blurb − I accept your Disclaimer etc., just get me started!"   OK then, try starting with the FAQ page.

This resource is designed as a useful technical reference for professional sound engineers, engineers in training and others involved in any way with audio-related systems, though the focus is primarily on sound reinforcement applications. It includes 'Getting Started' sections for those relatively new to the subject, and a comprehensive extensively cross-referenced glossary of PA terminology which includes terms relating to digital audio and some technical fundamentals of video, lighting and electrical power distribution.

This is a non-commercial site, and isn't trying to sell you anything. Its purpose is simply to provide useful technical information and guidance − without involving scientific or mathematical details that are of no practical help to most users of real systems. The information concentrates on general principles and practice, rather than on the pros and cons of particular makes and models of equipment. If you have a specific question you would like to ask PAforMusic, please see Ask PAforMusic below.

This is an information-only site. Although there are no products for sale here, there are links to many of the most popular equipment manufacturers and to some UK suppliers. PAforMusic is not a business enterprise and is not sponsored by any manufacturers or suppliers.

In the assembly and operation, or use, of PA systems and related equipment, many things can only be learned through practical experience. However, it can often be useful to check up on facts or find out a bit more. We aim to provide in this one handy place all the information you are likely to need on general principles and typical practical issues − and probably a lot more besides. So if you are having difficulty finding the information you are looking for, we would like to know! First try the structured list of topics on the Training page, and if you still can't find it on this site then please contact us, as updates with additional information are often made. Suggestions are also welcome as to how this site could be improved or how it should develop in the future. And please contact us if you have any advice from your PA experience (or experiences − good or bad!) that may be useful to other readers (see PA Proverbs).

If you wish to provide a link to this site from your own site, to ensure continued operation of your link please link to the relevant page at If you wish to copy or otherwise reproduce any information from this site, see Reproduction of information from PAforMusic below.

Calculators and quiz pages: For these features to work, your browser must be configured to allow active, i.e. script, content.

Accessibility: The size of text on this site is fully scaleable using the View − Text Size menu item of Internet Explorer or Firefox. (This will not affect the size of diagrams or images, and very large size settings may cause the menu to overlap the page text.) Alternatively in IE and some other browsers use the Zoom facility, which will scale the diagrams and images as well as the text.

Use of this site is conditional upon acceptance of the Disclaimer located at the bottom of this page.


This contents list is also available via the Menu item at the right of the top bar.

Ask PAforMusic

The author is happy to take any technical questions on PA systems − such as how to solve a problem with your existing equipment, or how best to interconnect it, use it, or adjust it. Contact PAforMusic at (but first please check the FAQ and refer to the privacy policy below). This service is entirely free and without obligation. Please provide as much information as you can about the problem or situation, including the makes and model numbers of the relevant equipment (if applicable). It will usually be possible to provide a response within 2 or 3 days. PAforMusic does not guarantee response times, nor to provide replies to all questions received. Replies from PAforMusic are subject to the Disclaimer below, and to any further disclaimer contained in them.

If, however, you are seeking advice as to the most appropriate make or model of equipment to buy for a particular purpose, you would be better advised to contact a reputable PA equipment supplier − though for microphones first check out the PAforMusic microphone selector and for mixers first see the notes on choosing a mixer. Other information on this site may also be of help to you in understanding what you require from your equipment. Descriptions and technical specifications of specific equipment may often be obtained from the relevant manufacturer's website − for links see the Manufacturers page.

The content of this website is copyright. No part of it may be commercially published in any form. However, limited permission is hereby granted for information derived from this content to be reproduced in a substantially reworded form, and for small portions of text (less than one paragraph) to be reproduced without rewording, provided that this source is acknowledged. If however you wish to reproduce larger portions in any form (electronic or printed), then you must first request permission by emailing All rights reserved.

Privacy policy

This site does not use cookies and collects no personal information about users browsing it. If you contact PAforMusic by email then the content of your email(s) and your email address is retained only in so far as is necessary to make replies you have requested, and will not be used to send you unsolicited emails or disclosed to any third party. Any such retained information will be deleted should you request this.

About the author

The author of this site is Mark Phillips, who has had over 25 years' experience of working with PA systems in a non-vocational capacity. His work includes the design, installation, repair and testing of systems, as well as mixing for several small bands and training other sound engineers. A taste for most kinds of music and a professional background in electronic engineering and computing have driven a passion for quality in live sound reproduction. This site is about providing technical information rather than about a person, however a little more information about the author can be found at author profile. (The author of PAforMusic has no connection with the site

The information and advice given on this site is of necessity of a general nature, and is limited in its detail and extent. It may, therefore, require adjustment by the reader to suit specific circumstances. No liability is accepted for any errors or omissions, nor for the consequences of any action taken or avoided (whether directly or indirectly) as a result of information or advice given, implied or omitted. Any trade marks used are the property of the company by whom they are currently registered. Every effort has been made to acknowledge trade marked names where applicable, however the presence or absence of acknowledgements to trade marks (or similar) may not be taken as confirming or refuting the legal status of any such mark. Where reference is made to legislation it is not to be considered as legal advice. All images must be assumed to be copyright of their creator. Your continued use of this site indicates your acceptance of this Disclaimer and of the Privacy policy above. The author of PAforMusic is not responsible for the content of other sites referred to or to which links are provided; accesses to any such sites are entirely at the reader's own risk. Any person or organisation using the information supplied on the PAforMusic site, including all external links, does so at their own risk and shall agree to fully indemnify the author(s) harmless against all claims, damages and expenditures. If any part or aspect of this disclaimer is deemed legally invalid, the remaining parts or aspects remain valid.

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