Loudspeakers, Amplifiers, Signal Processors, Mixers, Music Source & Microphones
Sound Equipment is the name for the equipment used in sound reinforcement systems on stages, in nightclubs and in a major arena. It usually consists of amplifiers, speakers, signal processors and a selection of mixing desks.
Speakers & Loudspeakers
Speakers for use in sound equipment can also be called loudspeakers. In the world of sound equipment, the word loudspeaker is prefered to the word speaker. This is because the word speaker can also mean a person who is saying something whereas there is no ambiguity with the word loudspeaker.
A loudspeaker for use in a sound system is usually housed inside a box referred to as a cabinet. The phrase speaker cabinet or speaker cabinets refers to the housing around the loudspeaker.
Amplifiers & Amps
In the world of sound equipment, amplifiers are used to amplify the music and send it to the loudspeakers. Often, the word amplifier is abbreviated to Amp. This abbreviation is literally short for amplifier and has nothing to do with Ampere.
A major (but usually optional) piece of sound equipment is the signal processor. There are many different types of signal processor which do some very different things including sound filtering and sound smoothing amongst many others.
Mixers come in many forms like Live Mixers, PA Mixers & DJ Mixers. However, the type of mixers that are used in sound equipment are the Live Mixer type. Live Mixers are used by sound engineers in live environments like stage performances or in an arena. A live mixer usually has at least 24 input channels and will not fit in a conventional 19" rackmount flight case. A PA mixer would fit in a 19" flight case and would usually have less than 24 audio inputs.
In contrast, a DJ mixer is very different from a PA mixer or a live mixer in that it is designed for beat matching and usually has a cross-fader which most PA mixers and live mixers do not.
A very integral part of any sound system is the microphone. Microphones come in various forms including vocal microphones, tie-clip microphones, headset microphones and boundary microphones. All types of microphone are usually available as corded microphones or cordless microphones also known as radio microphones.
The music source for use with sound equipment can be anything from DJ equipment to an instrument. The most popular sound source is a digital audio player that the perfrming artist can can use as a backing track for their voice. This can be used in conjunction with a band who use instruments.
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