Speaker systems and karaoke systems have their place, but sometimes the situation calls for something a little bit more advanced and capable. This is where the PA System comes into play, but unless you plan to install a professional PA System in one location, it also needs to be portable.
Best Portable PA Systems on the Market
This is why we bring you the 5 Best Portable PA Systems and a helpful buyer’s guide.
|MUSYSIC M-Port PA2K|
|ION Audio Block Rocker Plus|
Great for a Solo
|PRORECK FREEDOM 15|
|PRORECK Club 3000|
1. MUSYSIC M-Port PA2K – Best All-Around Portable PA System
MUSYSIC is a fairly recent company with just under a decade of experience under its belt. However, the company does specialize exclusively in providing high-end audio equipment and requisite accessories. While they do not focus explicitly on PA Systems, they do provide more advanced gear than many of the other companies we reviewed. The M-Port PA2K PA System earns our best all-around mark due to a combination of good power as well as a robust console and numerous peripherals. While the MUSYSIC PA System definitely has all of the features that you will need for most situations, it does tend to be a bit on the pricey side.
Many people will look at a PA System and be drawn to the sticker specs like wattage, but PA Systems need to be able to do more than serve as a glorified speaker system. Thankfully, the MUSYSIC PA System understands this and makes it a point to cover as many bases as it can. It begins with a wide range of different inputs and outputs, providing nearly the most functionality out of all the different products we reviewed. Aside from the various common connections, the MUSYSIC PA System also surprises with a unique form of input that allows the same ports to be used for either XLR or 6.5 mm AUX connections. While this does mean that you do not get quite as many channels as with some consoles, it gives far more versatility in terms of what you can connect and where.
The ability to connect numerous devices and data streams is important, but the best all-around PA System still needs to produce good sound too. To that end, the MUSYSIC PA System comes with two 10” speakers that also have a 1” horn tweeter each. The entire setup can push 2000 peak watts which would traditionally not tell us much, but the included amplifier accounts for that. Basically, the MUSYSIC also comes with a Class-D amplifier which helps by providing a low-pass filter as well as allowing for a 90-percent efficiency, making great use of its peak wattage. In order to take full advantage of its speaker array, the MUSYSIC PA System also has an onboard digital sound processor to keep the audio quality clean and clear.
✚ Comes with 2 speakers and 2 mics
✚ Has a 5 channel mixer
✚ Comes with a Class-D Amplifier
✚ Has an onboard DSP
✚ Has more inputs and connections than some
2. ION Audio Block Rocker Plus – Best Budget Portable PA System
ION Audio is actually one of the older and more seasoned companies on our list with almost two decades of experience under its belt. While the company does not specialize in audio equipment exclusively, they do place most of their focus on DJ equipment which more than covers PA Systems. The Block Rocker Plus is an improvement on ION Audio’s already wildly popular Block Rocker, though there is definitely a different direction taken with this entry. While it may not have as many bells and whistles as some of the other PA Systems we reviewed, it is one of the least expensive options on our list.
While all of the PA Systems we reviewed are ostensibly portable, some of them really stretch that term to its fullest extent. Once your PA System is over 50-pounds, calling it portable can be considered a bit of a technicality rather than a functional definition for most people. However, the Block Rocker Plus takes that term to heart and is easily the lightest PA System that on our list. On top of that, the Block Rocker Plus also comes with a battery pack, though a number of people note that it does not last anywhere near the advertised runtime. Still, the telescopic handle combined with the wheels at the base does at least make moving it as simple as a grab and go. On top of that, the Block Rocker Plus uses much higher-grade of materials for its different parts and exterior, increasing its durability compared to other options we reviewed.
Up and Down
Beyond its ability to easily go anywhere, the Block Rocker Plus is a bit of a mixed bag. A big part of this comes from what we will generously refer to as its “console,” though it is nothing of the sort compared to the other products that we reviewed. Basically, the Block Rocker Plus does not offer too terribly much in the way of inputs outside of a single 6.5 mm AUX for a microphone and a 3.5 mm AUX for audio input. That said, this setup does make the Block Rocker Plus by far the easiest PA System on our list to use without the need of numerous cables and fiddling with a multiple of knobs, sliders, and other controls. Even better, the Block Rocker Plus only comes with a single speaker, but the 8” subwoofer can still pump out plenty of volumes.
✚ Is more portable than most
✚ Is easier to use
✚ Is louder than expected
✚ Has a rechargeable battery
✚ Is more durable than some
✖ Has poor battery life
3. Knox Gear – Best Multi-Channel Portable PA System
Knox Gear is a bit odd in that it is actually the only company on our list that is actually an in-house brand. In fact, Knox Gear is owned by Focus Camera and was just recently started a couple of years ago. On top of that, Knox Gear does not specialize in PA Systems, DJ equipment, or even audio equipment. While this lack of focus does show up in a couple of places, the Knox Gear PA System does still end up surprising in a number of other areas. On top of that, this is also a less expensive PA System that still provides a surprising amount of versatility.
Considering its price and the fact that the company does not focus on audio equipment, it is all the more surprising that the Knox Gear PA System can handle more functions that pretty much all of the other products we reviewed. In terms of inputs, this PA System has an 8-channel mixer that includes four dedicated XLR inputs as well as another two 6.5 mm AUX inputs. This is already on top of that standard direct and wireless connectivity that most decent PA Systems offer. Beyond the input ports themselves, the Knox Gear PA System can manage each channel individually and refine the audio quality better than most of its competitors.
While Kox Gear’s PA console is fairly impressive, the company’s lack of focus rears its head in a couple of other areas. One of the biggest issues with this PA System is that it is not as durable as some of the others on our list. However, it is worth noting that this durability issue does not center so much on the electronics as it does the general frames and accessories. In terms of the speakers themselves, the Knox Gear PA System offers an adequate amount of power for its array. The speakers come with 8” subwoofers and even have some of the larger horns we saw at 1 ¾”, all of which produces an impressive amount of sound. Even better, the Knox Gear includes an amplifier that provides phantom power, allowing compatibility with a wider range of peripherals than most.
✚ Has a robust console
✚ Has an 8-channel mixer
✚ Can provide phantom power
✚ Has decent speakers
✚ Has more inputs and connectivity
✖ Not the best microphone
4. PRORECK FREEDOM 15 – Best Solo Portable PA System
PRORECK is definitely a newcomer to the audio equipment scene with only a couple of years of experience, but they seem to provide a number of solid options. PRORECK also specializes not only in audio equipment broadly but PA Systems and their accessories specifically. This allows PRORECK to make products that cover more of the bases that their customers actually need without a lot of extra features that do not serve PA Systems as good. The FREEDOM 15 is not the biggest or baddest PA System on our list, but it definitely is the best solo PA System we found.
One Man Band
While many PA Systems focus more on offering the most versatility and functionality that they can, the FREEDOM 15 narrows its scope a bit to provide the best solution to a particular problem. Basically, if you need a portable PA System for a traveling musician or maybe an open mic night, this is the product for you. While it might be a bit more limited in terms of its inputs, it does come with XLR, RCA, and 6.5 mm AUX explicitly designated for instruments. On top of that, it is also one of the more portable PA Systems that we reviewed at only 41 pounds. It also comes with a telescoping handle and a wheeled base, so you do not have to worry about carrying it.
While the FREEDOM 15 might be a bit limited in terms of broad functionality, it does come with one of the better audio qualities that we came across. For example, the speaker system may only have 100 RMS watts, but it comes with 800 peak watts, perfect for additional peripherals. Even better, the massive 15” compression woofer is then coupled with a 1 ⅓” titanium diaphragm, producing some of the best sound quality we encountered, regardless of the speaker array. The FREEDOM 15 comes with 2 wireless microphones to increase its value, but the microphones are not the best quality.
✚ Is more portable than most
✚ Has a high-quality speaker
✚ Comes with 2 microphones
✚ Has more power than some
✚ Can handle instruments
✖ Has limited input options
5. PRORECK Club 3000 – Most Power Portable PA System
PRORECK makes another appearance on our list, except this time the PA System is definitely beefed up and can be used for a much larger venue than before. At the same time, this is also one of the more expensive PA Systems that we reviewed and it does not even come with the peripherals that you might expect. That said, if you need a PA System to put out some serious sound, there is no other option on our list that can truly compete with the PRORECK Club 3000 as it is by far the most powerful PA System that we reviewed.
To be clear, do not let the impressive array system fool you into believing that the Club 3000 PA System is on par with a dedicated hardwired PA System. Of course, you should not really expect that kind of performance from any portable PA System unless you intend to spend over $1000 and generally much more. On the other hand, the Club 3000 PA System provides 3000 watts of peak power but complements that further by pushing 750 RMS watts too. That is easily the most powerful system that we reviewed, and its array is able to make great use of it. The Club 3000 PA System comes with two 4 stack arrays of mids as well as a passive and an active subwoofer. However, it is worth noting that the subwoofers are not meant to truly boom as much as thump due to the box. To be fair, the subwoofer boxes use MDF, or manufactured wood, to increase durability, but this also dampens the bass a bit.
While the Club 3000 offers plenty in the way of speakers and sound, it does not necessarily top our list in terms of console and controls. This is not to suggest the Club 3000 PA System has a poor console, but it is definitely a bit more limited than some of the less expensive options. However, the Club 3000 comes with an amplifier that gives it more than enough power to allow the connection of musical instruments. On top of that, it can handle a couple of microphones, though this is actually the only PA System we reviewed which does not actually include one. However, this is also the only PA System on our list that comes with remote control, so you do not need to manually change the different settings.
✚ Has an expansive speaker array
✚ Has a decent console
✚ Has a good amplifier
✚ Can be controlled remotely
✚ Has a good number of inputs and connections
✖ Is the heaviest PA System reviewed
Best Portable PA Systems – Buyer’s Guide
Considering a PA System is meant to project volume over a larger space, potentially having to compete with other ambient noise, this is one of the more important considerations. That said, this definitely depends on your setting as the best PA System for an open mic night at a local bar will not be the same one that suits a dedicated stage at a fair or another outdoor event.
Regardless, it is important to consider how powerful the speakers of the PA System are, though this can be a bit difficult to discern at first glance. This is because most speaker systems have a couple of different power ratings with RMS watts and peak watts being the two most common. Generally, RMS watts is the more important of the two and will tell you how much continuous power the speakers can use.
While this does not always translate directly to volume, it is one of the better ways to estimate it. Conversely, peak power primarily tells you how many watts a PA System can handle in maximum surges. Traditionally, peak power does not refer to the amount of power that a speaker system uses continuously, but this can actually be a bit different for a PA System.
For example, if a PA System has a built-in amplifier with multiple speakers, the peak wattage can tell you how many different speakers you can run at one time. On top of that, if the amplifier system can run any other peripheral devices, the peak wattage will cover this too. As such, you will definitely want to look for a PA System that comes with a large RMS wattage rating, but you should also take care to look for peak wattage depending on the arrangement.
Speaking of the arrangement, as different settings call for different PA Systems, you will often need a different arrangement depending on the setting. The arrangement can be understood as the various pieces of hardware included in the PA System. Keep in mind, more advanced PA Systems allow you to add additional peripheral hardware to the setup.
As such, while a PA System with multiple speakers and other peripheral hardware can be a good value, that may not inherently be the best way of determining which PA System is right for you. For example, some PA Systems are little more than a “one-man-band” arrangement with a single speaker, a peripheral, and a couple of inputs. On the other hand, larger PA Systems can come with multiple speakers as well as subwoofers and numerous peripherals. Even further, you can find PA Systems that include everything in the first two and also allow for extensive expansion with additional peripherals beyond what comes with the system.
This last bit is especially important is you need a PA System for anything more than speaking as most portable PA Systems do not contain the kind of mixing board necessary for an extensive setup. This is not to suggest that you cannot find a portable PA System that allows you to connect a wider variety of different devices like musical instruments, but it is not necessarily expected.
This can actually be taken a couple of different ways, both of which might be important depending on why you need a PA System. Traditionally, inputs refer to the ports on a PA System that allow you to connect various peripherals to it. Speakers and microphones are the most common peripherals connected to a PA System, but various musical instruments and other equipment can connect as well, assuming the system has the proper ports.
Connections often refer to a way to transfer data to the PA System but do not often allow for interactive peripherals. In this instance, connections are most often used to port music or other recordings to the PA System. It is worth noting that quite often PA Systems will use many of these features simultaneously.
For inputs, by far the most common is for connecting microphones as you use PA Systems to project your voice over a larger or noisier space. While speaker inputs are also incredibly common, many PA Systems are also their own speaker systems and may not actually allow for additional speaker inputs. For microphones, the most common types of inputs are XLR and 6.5 mm AUX, which is also called a ¼” port.
It is worth noting that the 6.5 mm AUX can also be used to connect various electronic instruments to a PA System as well. Speaker systems are a bit more varied in their connections, though they too can use 6.5 mm AUX as well as RCA, though some may use specialized, non-standard cables too.
Connections, on the other hand, are a bit more recent except for the humble 3.5 mm AUX port which is the standard headset connection, though it is used for connecting smart devices as well. Outside of the more traditional port-type of connections, you have direct and wireless connections.
With wireless connections, you generally find Bluetooth to be the most common as it allows you to connect to a wide range of different source devices. Beyond Bluetooth, VHF or UHF are also fairly common connections, though they are generally limited to wireless microphones.
In terms of direct connections, USB is probably the most common as well as the most versatile due to its ability to both send and receive data. For example, you can use a USB to transmit music to the PA System, or you can use a USB to actually connect directly which might even allow for USB peripherals like microphones and other hardware. The second direct connection involves a memory card which usually takes the form of an SD card, though some USB devices fall under this heading as well.
Ultimately, why you need a PA System will have an outsized impact on which one is best for your needs. If you require a fairly robust PA System but are not looking to pay for professional-grade, the MUSYSIC provides a good all-around setup. On the other hand, if you just need a functional PA System and would like to save some money, the ION has you covered. The Knox Gear offers significant versatility with a wide range of channels and inputs but uses too much cheap plastic for long term durability. The PRORECK FREEDOM 15 may sacrifice a bit in the versatility department, but it is great for a solo musician. Finally, the PRORECK Club 3000 definitely provides the most power and good versatility but is not the best value or easiest to move.