PA Hire & Freelance Sound Engineering

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JBL Pro PRX725

Suitable for larger venues. 139 dB SPL @ 1m. From £150 a pair per night/gig.

dBTechnologies 515DX

Suitable for small to mid sized venues. These can also be used as Monitors/Stage Wedges. Dry Hire from £50.

dBTechnologies Opera 15

Similar to the 515DX's, these have an uprated Amp and closed metal grille. Suitable for small to midsize venues. Dry hire from £50.

dBTechnologies SUB808D

To bring more bottom end to your event. Great for parties or bass-heavy gigs. Use in conjunction with any of the other Speakers we have available.

About Me

A lover of music, a passion for good sound and a genuine desire to help musicians and bands showcase their talent... Continue to my blog at the bottom of the page..

benefits of working with us

Expertise & Knowledge on a budget

news & articles from our blog

our blog

Hello fellow music lovers!  Its very nice to meet you.

My name is Andy and I own and run PA Hire Northwest Ltd.  

Im currently studying a BSc Degree course in Studio & Live Music Production at the School of Sound Recording in Manchester.  I decided to return to University and pursue my love of music a bit later in my life at the age 40!  I figured you only live once and ive been following different career paths my whole life.  So i figured why not?

It has occured to me just how expensive and difficult it is to showcase your talent as a new or upcoming musician or artist, especially when sourcing PA equipment.  Not only have you got the costs of the equipment itself, but then there is storage, transport, insurance and other logistics involved when putting on an event.  So as a fellow music lover, i am offering my assistance in all the above at budget cost and for the privelage of sharing your new gig experience with you.

Returning to full time education at this stage in life has not been easy. Nevertheless, its been a useful learning curve, and so ive decided to share some of my select writings here in these blog posts.  It will give you a little insight into what im about and what i do. 


(This is an extract from a paper i submitted for a module in my BSc Degree Course in Studio & Live Music Production, October 2016)

If it was not for the Personal Address System (PA), then the audience at a Live Event would not hear the band or artists performing.  The PA system amplifies the musicians to a suitable volume whilst at the same time dispersing it evenly amongst the crowd at full range.  On stage however, there can be a great number of instruments, vocalists and other performers all playing or singing at varying levels and pitches. 

The roll of the Sound Engineer is to take all these performers and instruments and mix them together at the correct levels, thus creating the very pleasing sound that is heard in the venue. 

Some of the people that liaise and work with the Sound Engineer at an event are, System Technicians who manage and hold expertise in the various pieces of equipment, Stage Technicians who deal with Microphones and cabling, Patch Persons who arrange the patching together of the correct cables, a Radio Frequency(RF) Person that takes responsibility for Radio Mics or other wireless systems, PA People who put together and have knowledge of the PA components, Riggers and Lighting experts.

A good Live Sound Engineer will mix all the line level inputs together on the Mixing Desk, adjusting them so the sound the audience hears is balanced and integrated.  For example, so the audience can hear vocals clearly at the appropriate times. If the music being heard is lacking in low bass tones, the Sound Engineer can adjust the levels on the EQ to bring a more balanced piece of music to the listeners.  There are many challenges that the Live Sound Engineer has to face, such as different venue types and shapes, the acoustical differences that that may bring, the logistical restrictions such as what power is available and also the band and performers themselves who need to be able to hear themselves perform, and like the sound of it. There are also many other variables that can change during a performance such as how many people are in the audience, temperature and humidity; all of which can affect the acoustics of the event.  It could be argued that the Live Sound Engineer is just as important as the band or performers, yet the audience probably do not even know he or she is there.  (Crosby T. 2008).    

Sectors that might employ and require a Live Sound Engineer are Theatre, TV & Broadcast, in-house at venues such as nightclubs, freelance on tour with a Band, Sporting Events, Corporate Events, Places of Worship – especially in the USA (Everard A, 2014), Manufacturing ‘Research & Developments’ and PA Hire companies.

Ultimately, it is the PA System that takes the sound from the stage performers and then reinforces it to the audience. When we say audience in this sense, we are referring to a venue of some description, such as an Arena, a Nightclub or a Theatre.  There is a specific and detailed pathway for the sound signals to travel along before it reaches the Loud Speakers; the final link in the PA chain of equipment.  That chain starts first of all with the Microphone.  This a transducer, in that it changes acoustical energies and subsequent sound waves into electrical energy.  This signal is then taken to the Sound Engineers Mixing Desk by cabling, where he or she mixes and balances it with the rest of the performers.  From here the signal may pass through a Master Graphic Equaliser (EQ) or other Effects Machines prior to being amplified by the Amplifiers.  The cabling between the stage, Mixing Desk and Amplifiers are called Tie Lines.  At a large event this would consist of a thick multicore cable leading into a distribution board with the necessary sockets at either end.  The last part of the PA System, being the Loud Speakers, are then connected to the Amplifiers.

The limitations of Loud Speakers are that they are not very efficient at creating a balanced tonal response across the full frequency range.  So in order to overcome this, the signal is often split and separated into two frequency ranges and then sent to different Loud Speaker cabinets which have been specifically designed for that frequency response.  For example, a Subwoofer is a type of Loud Speaker that has been designed to play only low frequency sounds.  Other types of Loud Speakers are Dynamic Drivers and Horn Speakers, the latter of which is best suited to high frequencies.  These are shaped in such a way that the normally narrow focused sound waves are dispersed widely and evenly to the listeners.  Dynamic Drivers are usually round, cone shaped and either made out of paper or vinyl, then enclosed in some kind of box for practical and acoustical purposes.  The type and design of the speaker enclosure is very important with many different designs and shapes which reinforce the frequency response and sonic characteristics of the drivers (Gibson B, 2011).

The device that separates the high and low frequencies going to the Loud Speakers is called a Cross Over, of which there are two types; Passive and Active.  The frequencies need to be separated so that they are sent to the correct loud speaker that is designed to perform at that frequency range.  There would be no point sending the high frequency signals to the Subwoofer because the driver cone is so big, the high frequency oscillations would be simply lost amongst the large throws of the cone creating the bass frequencies.  Passive Crossovers operate without their components requiring a power supply and are made up of resistors, capacitors and inductors. Active Crossovers require a power supply and are often incorporated into the circuit of the Amplifier (Boyce. T, 2014).  This is known as Digital Signal Processing or DSP.  Active Crossovers that are not built into the circuitry are used inline prior to the Amplifier using the low level of the signal path.  Passive Crossovers are often cheaper and very simple in design with a fixed crossover frequency, whereas Active Crossovers offer more flexibility and adjustment in the crossover frequency.

The Amplifiers take the line level signal from the Microphones and other sound sources and ultimately reproduce it at a much higher level in order to drive the Loudspeakers (Biederman R, Pattison P).  Most Amplifiers used in large venue PA systems are separate units mounted in a rack.  However, some Loudspeakers have amplifiers located inside the cabinet to make one simple portable package.  These are known as Active or Powered Speakers.  Power output of an amplifier is measured in Watts.  Usually Watts Root Mean Square (RMS) which generally equates to average power.

So in summary, when all these pieces of equipment are put together, they are collectively known as the PA System.  Once installed and powered up in a venue, it is then the Sound Engineers job to adjust, mix and blend all the sound sources together to create one sound that sounds good to the audience. (Slone J, 2002)

The equipment that the Live Engineer uses has evolved over the past 40 years.  Early PA systems had some limitations with the amount of inputs and outputs within the Mixing Desks, although these could be daisy chained together to form bigger versions.  PA systems were not as versatile as they are today with huge stacks placed either side of the stage.  An example of this was at Iron Maidens set at Castle Donington in August 1988.  They had a total of 360 Turbosound Cabinets offering 523kw of Power with an average Sound Pressure Level of 118db. (Guinness Book of Records, 2000, Worlds Largest PA System).  Whereas these days, PA Loudspeakers are ‘flown’, in that they are suspended in arrays above the stage.  This frees up space on stage and offers more versatility with speaker design and directionality (Everard A. 2014).

Mixing Desks have also grown in size and stature over the past 40 years.  As previously mentioned, early Mixers had many limitations with few inputs/outputs.  Sound Engineers overcame these issues by linking them together.  It did not take long though for the larger Analogue Desks to arrive and very shortly after; the advent of Digital Consoles.  The advantages of the latter being that with Digital, there are a multitude of functions and capabilities that can be assigned and selected from the screen display.  Early Digital Mixers were only ever found in the largest of venues and events, with the focus of control being with the on-screen display.  However, as times have changed, the focus with newer Digital Mixing Desks is changing back to a more analogue layout with Faders and Pots, but with the screen display being used to select effects, other features, with the operator being able to assign the channel strips and controls using the screen menus. (Biederman R, Pattison P, 2014)

It could be argued that Live Events have become more popular in recent decades with the growth in Music Festivals and bigger and better venues, and also because the income Bands used to receive from recording albums has dropped now due to the availability of music files purchased on the internet. 

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