School sound systems come in many forms, from simple systems switched on at the start of assembly, to full blown sound systems with a stage area for drama and music. School buildings also vary and include traditional halls, modern buildings designed with amplification in mind, and multi-purpose sports halls. It is very likely that each School sound system will therefore have unique requirements.

we have previously helped Schools with the following areas:
  • Choosing the correct microphones
  • Training staff and pupils in using their Schools sound system
  • Problem diagnosis and resolution with existing sound systems
  • Sound system design and installation
  • Integration of projectors and computers

Choosing the right kind of mixer and microphones for your School

A common requirement for schools who use a multi-purpose space for assemblies, school productions and sports lessons is for a simple "switch on and it works" system, together with a more complex portable system that can be easily brought into use for productions.

With a bit of planning it is possible to provide a solution to both requirements that shares key components such as speakers and amplifiers

If you do not have anyone to operate your system during use and it has to be switched on before and after use then the best microphones for use in this instance would be high quality condenser microphones on flexible stems, these can be adjusted by your installer and left alone. The problem with radio mics and "unattended operation" is that the conditions in which the radio mic is operating change all the time.

Unless you have a full school theatre and have competent operators then I would recommend limiting yourselves to a mixer with up to 16 microphone inputs. If you teach pupils the technical side of theatre productions then a full 32 channel mixer desk could be a worthwhile investment.

When considering the use of wireless microphones keep in mind these considerations:
  • Quality Hand Held wireless mics
    • Less prone to feedback than lapel mics and when held correctly
    • They provide a good sound signal
    • They do rely on being held correctly or a correctly positioned microphone stand
  • Lapel wireless microphones
    • If the wearer has a suitable collar or tie they can be very effective.
    • More reliable pickup than a poorly held hand mic
    • However, the antenna and thin microphone cable to the transmitter are quite fragile
    • Use of headset mics instead of the tie clip is ideal for performers and presenters

Choosing speakers for your School sound system

This is definitely an area where your prospective installer should advise you on the location, number and performance requirements for speakers to cover the proposed seating area.

In one hall with a vaulted roof multiple pairs of speakers at a lower volume were used to reduce the sound reverberating around the hall and increase intelligibility by using a speaker management system.

For multi-purpose halls I would recommend poly-carbonate moulded speakers for added durability, where you have recital halls or school theatres then the choice of design is down to personal preference.

Plan for the future

When considering your new sound system or simply upgrading an existing system try to visualise how the use of your school sound system could grow in the next few years.

The process of laying and routing sound cables in School buildings is very time consuming and often involves specialist access equipment, so it makes sense to lay cables for extra microphones, projectors and audio monitors at the same time as your system is installed, even if they are not going to be used right now

Services from MPB Sound and Light

  • Sound system design and installation
  • Sound system maintenance and upgrading
  • Sales of pro audio equipment
  • Training for sound technicians