Small PA System Setup

Setting up a PA for a small gig for a band or performances such as duo’s, trios, playback for dance performances, or even speeches. This little setup is the most common configuration for small sized shows.

Gear Required 

  1. A mixer (Analogue or Digital)
  2. Front of House Speakers (FOH)
  3. Foldback speakers (recommended, but not necessary for some shows)
  4. 2x speaker stands (for FOH)
  5. Cables required for your system (Power cables, XLR Cables, Speaker Cables, minimum 1 power board with surge protection)
  6. Graphic EQ (Optional but recommended especially)
  7. Microphone(s) (number will vary on your requirements)


Speaker Positioning

The first thing to do is work out where you will be putting your FOH speakers (preferably Front Left and Right of stage) in position by placing them on top of your speaker stands. My preference of FOH speakers are active speakers. With the modern technology, they are light but also have a built in DSP (Digital Signal Processor) which not only reduces outboard gear, but is added protection to your speaker.

Some duo gigs or even trio, where performers are the ones setting up your own equipment, you maybe forced to position speakers behind you due to space in the Pub or Venue. This is ok, just need to listen our for feedback due to speakers being behind the mic. Try and position off the the side a little to stop this. Always try to have speakers in front of performers to avoid feedback, and uses a foldback speaker so they can hear.

Location for Mixing Desk

Locate the best position to mix from in your venue, preferably out front and centre, but if this is not possible, on the side of the room out front will be best alternative. Try and avoid side stage.

You will need to run your multicore or if running a digital system Cat5e cable from desk to stage box. If you are a solo, duo or trio artist, and are mixing yourself, it would be wise to setup the mixer on stage with you so you can mix from there and adjust. This will eliminate the multicore, allowing you to plug directly into the mixer itself.

Connecting Equipment

The next step is to plug the speakers in, powered up and running a sound source to them, I generally use a good quality music track that I love (Best of You, Foo Fighters), so I can hear how the system sounds in the room to that track. After you have your FOH going, position and setup your foldback speakers. Test that signal is going to them via a track.

Roughly position your microphones where they are going to be for artists or band, plug them in and test if they are working.

Tuning PA

Finally we come to tune your PA. To tune a PA System we use a Graphic EQ (32 band recommended). This will allow you  to tune the PA to the room to give you the best sound for the room you are playing in. For a duo or trio gig it is not necessary but will assist with giving you the best sound possible.

You now have setup a small PA system.


At Amplify This 200 Productions we specialise in PA system for hire or purchase. We have a range of different configurations that are simple and easy to use, and suitable from a solo gig right through to outdoor concerts. Call or email today to find out more.