PA systems do not necessarily have to be expensive or difficult to transport; you can have a light and compact unit at any budget range. However, there are many brands in the market, which make the process of choosing the most ideal PA a challenge.
For small churches or church plants that rent their facilities, this is an important decision to make about a mobile sound system for church. Before settling on any unit, you must understand its features and what it has to offer. We have carefully reviewed 6 products to help you pick the right one. These include:
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1. Bose L1 Compact Portable PA System
Bose L1 Compact is very reliable and you can carry it to any event. It comes with 6-inbuilt speakers with a detailed line array. Its two-channel mixer has ToneMatch presets to serve each of the two. The best thing about L1 Compact is its portability and ability to serve even 100 audiences. Disclaimer, I own one of these, so I am biased, but it has been really terrific and the quality is excellent for all types of applications.
Items in the box include:
• L1 Compact extensions (two) • An AC Power Cord • Power Stand • Loudspeaker Array • Carry & storage bag for extensions (padded) • Slipcover bag for power stand
• Type: self-powered, 2way • Power rating: 130W • Frequency Range (-10 db): 50 Hz – 16 kHz • Frequency response (+/-3 dB): 65 Hz – 14 kHz • Nominal Dispersion: 180� H x 40� V • Maximum SPL @ 1 m : 106 dB SPL (112 dB SPL peak) • Weighs 11.2 kg (24.6lb) • Dimensions: 13.25” x 16.5” x 16.75” (W x H X D) • Dynamic limiter
Features of Bose L1
Easy to set it up
Bose L1 Compact has an easy setup process, thanks to its high-tech modular design. If you want to set it up for a large space, then make an extensive configuration. Alternatively, you can make a collapsed configuration if you want the compact to fit in a small space.
Crisp acoustics and clear vocals
If singing to the tunes of acoustic guitar and playing in a quiet place is what makes you happy, certainly Bose L1 will make you achieve that goal. It has crisp acoustics and clear vocals. These capabilities set Bose L1 apart from other lightweight PAs.
It has a uniform sound
Its spatial dispersion tech is brilliant. The high technology helps it to distribute sound uniformly. Therefore, the audio will be even across your audience and on the stage.
Built-in bass cabinet, mixer and amplifier
Bose L1 comes with a bass cabinet, mixer and amplifier. Hence, you do not have to spend money on the same. The power stand comes with an amplifier and a built-in bass speaker. Additionally, it comes with an integrated mixer, totaling to two outputs and four inputs.
Microphone input is the first Channel. It has one customized ToneMatch preset, which is great for a handheld vibrant microphone. The preset helps in optimizing the tone of a handheld microphone when you use it with a Compact L1. Channel 2, on the other hand, accommodates 3 inputs at a go. These inputs could be a combination of a keyboard, guitar, projector, MP3 player or DJ mixer. It features one customized ToneMatch preset to make the audio of your acoustic guitar as effective as possible.
Lightweight powered speakers
Bose L1 Compact is easy and light to help you carry the whole unit to anywhere you like. You can carry and walk with it on the stage. Pros • Easy to use • Clear sound • Lightweight • Compact • Perfect for small places with great acoustic Cons • Wish for additional channel options • Pricey • Limited functions Overall Just as its name “compact”, the Bose L1 compact comes with everything you would want in a compact module. Therefore, you will enjoy its portability benefits alongside excellent audio. You will fall in love with its wireless convenience and fuss-free design. I actually own one of these and use it in a church plant where we have to set up and tear down all our equipment every Sunday. I have to say it is one of the best ready to go systems I have purchased and the audio quality is excellent for vocals, acoustic guitars and music.
If you want to check out the current price of the Bose L1 Compact, click here
2. LD Systems MAUI 5 channel PA
The LD MAUI 5 is a compact PA that comes with Bluetooth connectivity and a mixing desk. Weighing just 25lb (11kg) and having 800W amplifier, MAUI 5 can reach levels as high as 114dB. It has one 8-inch subwoofer with a mixer and amplifier. These combinations can power four great three-inch mid-high speakers set in one column. The good thing about LD MAUI 5 is that it requires no PA speaker stands.
Inside the box, you will get:
• Owner’s manual • Power cord • 2x column spacers • 1x column speaker • 1x MAUI 5 8” sub-woofer w/mixer
Features of MAUI 5
MAUI 5 comes with a carrying case (vinyl padded). This case will ensure that it is kept compact and clean all the time. If need be, you can purchase an extra protective cover for the subwoofer.
MAUI 5 comes with an integrated 4-Channel mixer. The built-in mixer will ensure the sound is as perfect as possible. Thus, you will find the stage more accessible and comfortable to use.
Just plug then play
Setting up MAUI 5 is a breeze. Just sport two column speaker elements, one active and easily configure the 4 by 3-inch drivers. Within no time, your PA will be ready to work. MAUI 5’s column part splits into 3 sections. You can use each section at two distinct height levels – based on your preferred setup.
MUI 5 comes with inputs for Bluetooth, guitar, line and microphone. Each input comes with a different level control. This implies that you can use MAUI 5 alone and not add a mixing desk. The Hi-Boost and Sub level lets you tune the entire tone depending on the room. Interestingly, it comes with a limiter in case you tune an extremely high tone.
You can connect MAUI 5 powered speakers through Bluetooth to play music. Therefore, you can stream your audio from a mobile phone or laptop. It comes with Bluetooth functionality. Thus, you will be able to pair your tablets or smartphones with it within no time.
LD Systems MAUI 5 comes with a Hi-Boost knob. You can use it to adjust the treble. Turning the knob on the right will raise the treble, and vice versa. Unfortunately, it does not have additional features for noise control. But you can control the volume. #ad
Enjoy music as you play it
MAUI 5 has an excellent feedback resistance. Hence, it amplifies as well as monitors the audio in one unit. All you need to do is to put the MAUI 5 at the back and enjoy the music.
MAUI 5 has an attractive design, which makes it a perfect solution for discreet integration of live apps into almost any ambience.
• Wattage: 200W/800W • Amplifier class: D
• Type: Full-range • LF driver: 8” • HF driver: 4×3” • Active/passive: Active
• Weight: 25lb • Cabinet material: ABS • Width, Height & Depth (12”x37”x15.5”)
• Lightweight (25lbs) • User-friendly • Clear sound for small venues • Functions perfectly with acoustic duo especially in small clubs • Simple, making it ideal for DJ-ying in small parties • Multilingual user guide • Comes with one handle, for easy transportation • Not too expensive
• Limited functions, might need integrated effects like reverb for guitar and microphone inputs • Lacks outputs to connect to another This is still a really great powered speaker PA and not too expensive for what you are getting.
3. Yamaha STAGEPAS 600BT Portable System
Yamaha has a reputation of building great quality products. Yamaha mixing desks and pa systems are generally of good quality and the Yamaha STAGEPAS 600BT is not an exception. It has a unique design with highly developed audio products. STAGEPAS aims at giving great sound, functionality, power and features. You will enjoy all this in a single handy unit.
The bundle consists of:
• Instrument cable • XLR cable • Speaker cables (two) • Speaker stands (with a bag) • Yamaha STAGEPAS 600BT • Austin Bazaar polishing cloth
• Type: powered mixer, has two passive speakers (weighs 24.03lbs) • Mixer channels: 10 (weighs 8.37 lbs) • Mic preamps: 4 • Effects: Reverb • Total power: 680W • Playback: Bluetooth streaming • Inputs: 2xXLR, 2xXLR-1/4” combo, 6×1/4” TS, 2xRCA, 1×1/8” • Outputs: 2×1/4” (Speaker), 2×1/4” (monitor) 1×1/4” (Subwoofer) • Weight: 56.43 lbs • Dimensions: 21.45”x13.18”x12.55”, Height x Width x Depth respectively
Features of STAGEPAS 600BT
Light and compact
Stagepass 600BT is compact and light in a way that you carry by one hand. Its two small PA speakers, cables, one power cord and one detachable mixer are all lightweight. Most importantly, all these components do deliver high performances. In summary, the Stagepas 600BT is a compact package with extraordinary portability, making it ideal for outdoor functions.
Stagepas 600BT comes with one Bluetooth input. It will let you do audio streaming through wireless connections to your tablet or phone. Hence, you can seamlessly set up conferences, events and parties with your favorite audio playback.
Easy to setup
In as much as setting a brand new PA might be confusing, you can do it with Stagepas. It has an easy to follow guide on how to set it up. It has a simple design, which will simplify the process. You can get top-notch audio quality even with zero experience on PA systems.
SPX digital reverb
With a single knob, STAGEPAS 600BT will give you 4 top-notch reverb settings. Therefore, you can get the right reverb setting for your acoustic instruments and vocals. You can adjust the reverb knob to alter its time and type. Even better, you will be able to feed in the perfect resolution effect on every channel. #ad
Perfect PA for every event
Since STAGEPA is light and flexible, you can use it in different applications and environments. Most interestingly, you can set it up in several monitoring and PA arrangements.
• Perfect for live performance• Has a feedback suppressor for eradicating any background noises • A removable 10-channel mixer • A USB port to charge your device • Powerful outputs (680W) • Easy, simple to set up even with no experience • Ultimate lightweight and compact
• Would be nice if it had an effect aux-channel
Yamaha Stagepas 600BT is flexible, easy to set up, transportable and loud enough. It also has a clear layout for every occasion whether small or midsized one. I have used this one in the past and it was very good. I only swapped for the Bose L1 Compact because of quicker setup/tear down time for using in church. It’s still one of the best mobile PAs around.
If you want to check it’s current price, click here
You should also visit my post on how to do church sound on a tight budget
4. JBL-EON208P Lightweight 8 Channel PA
If you are searching for small PA systems that can easily carry with one hand, then consider the JBL-EON208P. It suits DJ gigs, musical groups, public speaking, and solo artists, among others. Although weighing not more than forty pounds, JBL EON208P gives dynamic, clear audio with great projection. It’s two speakers with 300 watts make it possible to give such high volume levels. It is a great solution for a small church either as a permanent setup or one to store away after a service.
What comes in the package?
• A IEC cable • One speaker cable • One AKG microphone • One EON208P
• Enclosure material: plastic • Dimensions: Height x width x depth, 22.6” x 30.5” x 15.7” respectively • Weight: 38.8 lbs • Total power: 300W • Inputs: 4xXLR-1/4” combo, 2×1/4” (left, right), 1x stereo RCA pair, 2×1/4” (keyboards, media), 1×1/8” TRS (aux in) • Outputs: 2×1/4” (speaker out), 1x stereo RCA pair, 2×1/4” (monitor out), 1×1/4” (sub out), 1×1/8” (headphones)
Features of JBL-EON208P
Comes with a DSP
JBL EON208P is easy to feed-in quality audio. Near the volume controls, you will find an LED feature. This will warn you in case you get too close to the max output power. Additionally, it comes with a DSP limiter for securing your speakers and delivering quality results. Whenever you hit harsh audio levels, the DSP limiter will control them. And of course, any product by JBL provides clear audio regardless of volume peak. #ad
Easy to set up and incredibly convenient PA
In a single trip, you can carry your JBL EON208P and guitar to your performing venue thanks to its carrying handle. Attaching the speakers to the mixers is easy. When you place the speakers on their poles, you can attach the speaker cables.
Ready for microphones and instruments
JBL EON208P covers all events, whether DJ birthday parties or acoustic groups. It has 4 inputs to cater for instruments or microphones. Each input has separate Reverb, Bass and Treble control knobs. In addition, you will get one stereo output to add one monitor speaker, 1/8” connectors and ¼” RCA. You can also use Bluetooth feature to stream live music from your tablet or mobile phone.
• Streams audio from a mobile device, thanks to the Bluetooth connectivity • You can polish sound with built-in Reverb, Bass and Treble tone controls • Detailed, clear amplification using a Class D amplifier • Has extra line-level inputs for music players, drum machines and keyboards • Easy to travel with, has a built-in mixer and 300W power • Ideal for small music groups, songwriters/singers and DJs • Lightweight package
• Not suitable for international shipping • Bluetooth input functions perfectly, but lacks volume control unless done on the source device
Get legendary quality on your stage with JBL EON208P standalone system. It features a suitable design, which produces perfect audio for events, meetings, and performances. The eight-channel removable mixers give professional connections for line-level sources, instruments, and microphones. Do not worry about your volume. It has a 300W power, which produces clear and loud audio.
To check out the current price of the JBL EON208P, click here
5. Behringer PPA500BT – for indoors or outdoors
The Behringer X32 console is one of the most popular mixers in use today and has helped with Behringer’s reputation in the audio world. However, the PPA500BT lightweight PA from Behringer is another cool piece of sound gear. It delivers as per your expectations of an all-inclusive solution. It delivers more than public addresses in a small venue and would be ideal for a small sound system for church on a tight budget.
• Speakers: 1.35” tweeter and 8” woofer • Inputs: 2x XLR o 6x ¼” TS, unbalanced o 2x ¼” TRS, balanced o 1x 2-channel Behringer ULM digital no-cable o 1x 1/8” TRS, stereo • Outputs: ¼” left & right • Effects: Presets – 100 o Type: Klark Teknik • Power: switching supply of power (ranging from 100 to 240V) • EQ type: 5-band graphic on output o 2-band mono channels • Weight 51.1 lb • Dimensions: (L x W x H), 30.0 x 23.0 x 14.0”
• Mic Clip • 6.1 m (20′) Mic Cable • XM1800S Microphone • 2 speaker cables • 10-year warranty (limited)
Small but powerful
Looking at the PPA500BT, it might appear small. However, it has great features that make it highly powerful. The inner stereo amplifier has a power of 500W, which drives the removable loudspeakers to room-filling and rich volume levels. In addition, the high-powered eight-inch woofers give articulate and punchy low-end midrange. Interestingly, the 1.35-inch compression drivers will give you a crystal-clear sonic replica. Besides, it’s light, which makes it easy to carry.
Wireless microphone system
Since it is wireless, you will enjoy stage mobility and freedom during your performances. Thanks to its 2.4 GHz, license-free frequency spectrum and ULM digital, you will have high-quality sound. The ULM no-wire functionality connects a spontaneous interface and high-quality audio alongside a simple setup. This connection will give you legendary sound performance beyond expectations. Perhaps you are wondering how you can connect the ULM. Well, just plug-in ULM’s receiver dongle and you will enjoy no-wire microphones.
Behringer is known for its production of FBQ Feedback Elimination PA systems and PPA500BT is one of them. The technology aims at making it entirely feedback-free. Hence, you will concentrate on your stage performance. It can detect feedback quickly. You will therefore notice feedback and tame their frequencies instantly when it reaches certain frequency levels.
The PPA500BT PA will allow you to stream audio from an app on your Bluetooth-equipped tablet, iPhone, iPad, or any other device. The capability to stream music through Bluetooth will give you a wide selection of content. #ad For instance, nothing will limit you from accessing multi-media providers or online radio channels. Just imagine having the entire PA under your controls. You can amazingly and easily control background audio or dance floor music right from your comfort zone.
• It has a serial number to prevent resale or fraudulent use • Perfect for weddings, parties, musicians, schools and presentations, among others • Easy to set up and transport • Comes with a wireless receiver for ULM series no-cable microphones • Bluetooth free streaming • High voltage power of 500W • Gives 100 effect presets such as delay, reverb, chorus, among others • Five band Graphic EQ • 2 low-noise microphone preamps backed with spectaculars power tech
• Only shipped to APO/FPO addresses and within the U.S
The bottom line
If you are searching for a PA that describes perfection, the Behringer PPA500BT is the perfect choice for you. With its 8-inch woofers, five-band Graphic EQ and 500W power Europort PPA500BT will take your audio experience to another step. Overall all a nice product at an affordable price.
To check out the current price of the Behringer PPA500BT, click here
6. Fender Passport Portable Speakers
Fender Passport is perfect for offering incredible audio. The latest version has the best features and it is a true reflection of sound reinforcement. The Fender Passport is middle-sized and comes with all the qualities you would want from a PA. A big more expensive than some other compact PAs, but a nice unit from the well trusted Fender brand. Click here to read more about active speakers.
What comes in the package?
• 2 speaker cables • 1 removable power cable • 2 speakers with 5.25-inch woofers
• Speakers: 2 (5.25” woofers) • Voltage: 120V • Wattage: 375 watts • Headphone jack: 1/8 inch Stereo with Level Control • Input: 11 (4 XLR mic/line, one ¼ inch instrument/line, 1 stereo
Bluetooth, 1 stereo 1/4” & 1 Stereo 1/8”)
• Line Out: 3 (1/8” stereo, one ¼” sub out, one 1/4 “ mono) • Channels: 7 ( 4 XLR mic/line, 1 stereo, 1 instrumental/line, one ¼” line & one 1/8” Bluetooth) • Horn tweeter: 2 (1.2” horn-loaded tweeter) • Speaker jack: 2 (1/4” Right & left – stereo) • Material: molded plastic • Weight: 64 pounds • Package dimensions: 34.2 x 25 x 20.7”
Fender Passport Features
This PA model comes with seven channel mixers that give you broad options for your performance. This feature makes it really appealing to people from distinct backgrounds. Musicians find this model suitable because they can incorporate different equipment and instruments. It has also showed to be ideal for speakers, as well as, people wishing to project their audiences frequently.
Reverb & tone
Another great feature from Fender Passport Event PA is its reverb & tone controls. It comes with separate bass, volume and treble controls for every channel. This feature adds great customization to it’s setup. When you participate in medium-sized events, you want your audio to be as clear as possible, is that right? Well, the Passport Event does that and more. It can make it audible to 250 audiences. #ad
Bluetooth ability will help you to connect it to your Bluetooth enabled devices such as a tablet or smartphone. You can stream your audio files to spice up your lecture or performance. The compact shape will let you carry it easily to any venue of your choice. With a cabinet form, you can easily flip it to open then close using its latches after use.
• 375W makes sure that everyone hears you • Class D-Amps for clear output • 20dB and 2-Band EQ for giving crystal-clear sound• It is easy to use with without technical know-how • You can use it in various places to serve different purposes • Has a built-in recorder to record excellent output audio• Highly mobile for gigging musicians • A tiny footprint to help you store and transport easily
• Might be louder • Audio might blur if you blow it to full volume Lightweight and easy to move around. It will offer excellent results in an incredible, compact system. You can use it for church, music mixing, DJ, pro audio, performances, games or outdoor events. Overall, this is one of the best portable PAs for the money and remains popular with gigging musicians.
To check out the current price of the Fender Passport PA, click here
Now that you have read our top compact PA, the decision lies on you. Either way, you should select one that you can easily carry, and has accessories such as an amplifier, microphone and speaker. If you need a battery powered mobile church PA system, there are of course other options available to meet that spec. As for the connectivity, you should go for one that has basic ports such as AUX and TF Card. Most budget breakers provide users with guitar jacks, Bluetooth support and audio source ports. Generally, you should consider factors such as budget, features and audio quality, among others. Nevertheless, you will certainly find one that works for you.
Frank Edwards is the founder and owner of churchsoundtips.com and has over 10 years experience running sound in his local church.