How many watts do I need?

When you're trying to decide how many watts you need, you can start with our very basic guide below

Type of use Watts RMS per audience member
Spoken Word and Background Music 1 to 2
Acoustic Acts, Solo Artists & Duos 2 to 3
Bands & Average Sized Venues 3 to 4
Loud Bands & Large Venues 4 to 5

There are other factors to take into consideration such as the acoustics in the venue, whether you're indoors or out, and the sound pressure level (SPL) of the speakers, so if you'd like some help please complete our simple enquiry form or email enquiries@whatpa.co.uk .


What is RMS?

On the What PA? product pages we always show the power in watts RMS - the power it can comfortably and safely deliver over a long period of time, which is what you want. That makes it easier to compare and match different speakers and amplifiers, and to decide whether you are getting value for money as well as a system that's right for your needs.

Choosing the right PA system for your needs

Do be careful when comparing items on different websites because they aren't consistent and some will show the power rating of speakers and amplifiers at Peak power and not RMS.

Always buy a PA system that's capable of more power than you think you need. You should not have your PA system turned up to its full capacity because any peaks in the music may cause the sound to become distorted. If you need to run your speakers at full power all the time you will also shorten the life of them.

Finally, don't forget that you need more power if you are using the PA system outside, because there are no walls for the sound to bounce off and there's a surprising amount of background noise from traffic, wind, birds and conversations.