Wiring and Setting Up PA Speakers

PA speakers.

There is far more to setting up PA speakers than simply connecting a speaker to an amplifier. PA (public address) speakers need to be balanced, matched to a compatible amplifier, and chosen according to type that will be used. Depending on the type of speaker used, there is also a matter of their installation and setting to be taken into account.


When installing wiring for speakers in a standard speaker system, which is a 16 gauge system, two-conductor wires are used. This will apply to all systems where speakers are powered by a common amplifier, no matter how high the volume is turned up.

In a system of speakers with built-in amplifiers, the wire connected to them must also deliver power to the amplifier in each speaker. In these systems, a four-conductor wire is typically used.

Adjusting Volume

A single speaker can be adjusted for volume by using the volume control on the amplifier. A series of speakers, in a system powered by a common amplifier, may not be properly adjusted for volume by changing the amplifier volume control. Some speakers, such as those located closer to the amplifier, may receive more power and will therefore deliver a greater volume.

There are other factors that must also be considered when installing and adjusting PA speakers. Some of these factors may include distance from the listeners hearing sounds amplified through the speakers, the type of sounds that are amplified and the direction the speaker will face.

    Volume Controls

    Individual speakers in a system may need to be adjusted for changing environments. A speaker in a large room filled with people one day may need to have a greater volume than the same speaker will need on a different day when only a handful of people occupy this room.

    If a speaker is not moveable and will need to be adjusted to suit a changing environment, it may require a volume control to be mounted on a convenient wall where it can be easily accessed to change the speaker volume.

    Amplified Speakers

    Some speaker manufacturers make their speakers with built-in amplifiers. The speakers in these systems will not be connected to an amplifier, instead they are connected to a control unit that operates the speakers.

    Speakers Direction

    In a larger area, where multiple speakers are installed such as a warehouse, speakers will need to be installed to broadcast their sound in a specific direction. Sound from two speakers located a greater distance from each other and pointed in the same direction will reach a given point in that room at different times. This sound will then be distorted when it is heard by a person in that room.

    Speaker Usage

    Speakers chosen to amplify music should be a different type of speaker than those used to broadcast announcements over a large area. Also, speakers used in an outdoor environment will need to be resistant to water and other natural elements.