Please help me select something that will work
August 23, 2007 12:26 PM   Subscribe

I'm an absolute electronics ditz. I'm hosting a gathering in a park and someone is going to give a speech, I need a portable thingy with a microphone that he can give a speech on.

I'm taking over the leadership this fall for a local left-oriented social justice community group. I am in charge of a peace vigil this Tuesday at the park. This will be happening at least every other week so I need some sort of voice amplifier thing.

A vietnam vet is coming to speak to everyone, and I need some sort of thing that he can give a speech on. I always see those mini karaoke machines with a microphone attached. Is there a portable one of those that will work? I'd like one that can either run on AC or some sort of battery power?

Thanks so much!
posted by skjønn to Technology (6 answers total)
I've used one of these.

It has a speaker that goes on a stand to raise it about 6 feet off the ground, a 50W amp, battery power. Works well outdoors out to maybe 50 feet, depending on the ambient noise.
posted by doublesix at 12:39 PM on August 23, 2007

You could also go to a rental place and rent some gear for the day. You should have a multitude of options. Renting might be a better option than buying if there are a limited number of events and/or if you are expecting a huge crowd and thus need high power. PLus you could try out a product for the first week to see if it is adequate before making a purchase.

Alternatively, you could simply buy a megaphone. Maybe get one with a handheld mike so your speaker doesn't have to hold the phone himself. e.g. here or here.
posted by PercussivePaul at 1:01 PM on August 23, 2007

Some sound companies have all-in-one PA rigs that you can pick up, such as the Yamaha StagePass and the Fender Passport.

Your best bet, though, is to talk to the folks at your local music / pro audio stores. They'll be able to sell/rent you the right gear for your event / venue.
posted by jjb at 1:07 PM on August 23, 2007

You need a PA (Public Address) system. You can get a cheapie for $300. works good for our band.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:07 PM on August 23, 2007

Lots of factors here: size of crowd, location (windy? traffic? poor acoustics?), available electricity (might be locked, like park power boxes), etc.

I can almost guarantee that something like a karaoke machine or a low-end PA won't do the job. But, it's an easy gig for a pro sound person. Just call your local sound support business.

Or ask a (professional) musician, there's good odds they'll have something you can use, and they'll probably set it up for a couple of beers!

Don't cheap out, though. The PA can make or break an outdoor speaking event in a heartbeat.
posted by Aquaman at 2:01 PM on August 23, 2007

Don't buy one, rent one. We're getting a nice system for 2 days for $75.

Does all that we need it to do, and it announces for our triathlon...hundreds of people across lots of space, outside.

Talk to a local music supply store, preferably one that sells electronic guitars and/or amps. They'll rent you one.
posted by TomMelee at 2:18 PM on August 23, 2007

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