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Thomann's Cool Online Guides: PA-Amps

2. Overview

You could sum up the whole idea of a PA power amplifier in a single word - sound. The power amp is a crucial part of a musician’s live sound. Clarity and quality are more important than volume - even a low volume sound that is distorted is uncomfortable to listen to, whereas a rich, clear sound can fill a large room without driving away the audience.

Technically, a power amp - sometimes known as an output stage - is there to amplify the signal from the mixing desk so that it’s strong enough to drive the PA speakers. The ideal power amp is small and light, but very powerful. It should also be highly efficient, so that it does not require excessive cooling. Inevitably, compromises must be made between all these factors, but there are some superbly engineered models available today that deliver substantial power efficiently and in a manageable form.

Power amps that are well matched to speakers have relatively little impact on the total quality of the sound. Microphones, effects and EQ will have a much greater effect on the fine detail of the sound spectrum, although the more complex that spectrum is, the harder the amp’s job will be.

The key to a good stage sound is consistent stable delivery of the whole signal to the speakers. So the power amp, receiving signals of varying frequencies, must be able to handle a complex load, and move it smoothly out to the front line. At the same time, it must accommodate the load represented by the speakers themselves, a factor made more complicated by the quality of the connecting cables. As far as they are concerned there is a simple rule - the shorter, the better.

Distortion and peaking are the great enemies - your power amp needs sufficient capacity to deal with the highest loads you expect to generate, without delivering a signal that produces a broken sound as soon as it hits the speakers. Naturally, the capacity required depends on the kind of music you are making. You can assume that a heavy metal band will need something more substantial, whereas a string quartet could probably make do with something fairly lightweight, although whatever volume you are playing at, it’s always advisable to have plenty of ‘headroom’.

So you need to consider your requirements carefully, and strike the right balance between performance, portability, and price. Over the next few pages, we’ll give you all the help we can in selecting the right amp for your stage setup.

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Terms and Conditions for participation
in online competitions

Note: Participation in an online competition runs independently from any purchase at Musikhaus Thomann e.K. The following Competition Rules apply when participating in any online competition run by Musikhaus Thomann:

  1. Competition

    1. The competitions are organised by Musikhaus Thomann e. K., owner: Hans Thomann, Treppendorf 30, 96138 Burgebrach, Germany.
  2. Participation

    1. Competitions are only open to persons of full age.
    2. To take part in the competition you must answer all questions correctly, fill in the registration form and submit your entry to Musikhaus Thomann e. K. by pressing the "send" button.
      By pressing the "send" button the participant accepts the aforementioned terms and conditions.
    3. The participant is responsible for entering their email and/or postal address correctly. Entries to the competition will be logged electronically.
  3. Qualifying Entrants

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    2. Should these conditions of participation be violated, especially by using illegitimate means, Musikhaus Thomann e. K. reserves the right to exclude persons from the competition. In case of such violations prizes can be withdrawn and claimed back subsequently.
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    1. The winners will be notified by Musikhaus Thomann e. K. by email or in writing and their names may be published on the homepage www.thomann.de. The winner accepts this form of publication explicitly.
      Should for whatever reason the winner not claim their prize, then a new winner will be drawn.
    2. The prize presented to the winner may not be identical to the item description. There can be deviances regarding the model, colour etc.
    3. The merchandise prizes will be sent by Musikhaus Thomann e.K. or by one of its contracting delivery companies, per freight forwarder, courier or postal service to the postal address indicated by the winner.

      The delivery is free of charge. Only extra transport costs and customs/duties must be covered by the winner. In the case that the delivery has to be made through a freight forwarding company the freight forwarding company will contact the winner to arrange delivery timings.
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      Musikhaus Thomann e. K.
      to the data protection officer
      Treppendorf 30
      96138 Burgebrach, Germany
    2. Musikhaus Thomann e. K. is obliged to consider the regulations for data protection according to the Federal Data Protection Law (BDSG) valid at the conclusion of the competition. In this context the general data protection regulations under notes regarding data protection should be noted.
  6. Liability

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nigel.towxxxn@britishcoxxxx.ro, 04.09.2014

PA-Amps overview