2. Overview

You could sum up the whole idea of a PA power amplifier in a single word - sound. The power amp is a crucial part of a musician’s live sound. Clarity and quality are more important than volume - even a low volume sound that is distorted is uncomfortable to listen to, whereas a rich, clear sound can fill a large room without driving away the audience.

Technically, a power amp - sometimes known as an output stage - is there to amplify the signal from the mixing desk so that it’s strong enough to drive the PA speakers. The ideal power amp is small and light, but very powerful. It should also be highly efficient, so that it does not require excessive cooling. Inevitably, compromises must be made between all these factors, but there are some superbly engineered models available today that deliver substantial power efficiently and in a manageable form.

Power amps that are well matched to speakers have relatively little impact on the total quality of the sound. Microphones, effects and EQ will have a much greater effect on the fine detail of the sound spectrum, although the more complex that spectrum is, the harder the amp’s job will be.

The key to a good stage sound is consistent stable delivery of the whole signal to the speakers. So the power amp, receiving signals of varying frequencies, must be able to handle a complex load, and move it smoothly out to the front line. At the same time, it must accommodate the load represented by the speakers themselves, a factor made more complicated by the quality of the connecting cables. As far as they are concerned there is a simple rule - the shorter, the better.

Distortion and peaking are the great enemies - your power amp needs sufficient capacity to deal with the highest loads you expect to generate, without delivering a signal that produces a broken sound as soon as it hits the speakers. Naturally, the capacity required depends on the kind of music you are making. You can assume that a heavy metal band will need something more substantial, whereas a string quartet could probably make do with something fairly lightweight, although whatever volume you are playing at, it’s always advisable to have plenty of ‘headroom’.

So you need to consider your requirements carefully, and strike the right balance between performance, portability, and price. Over the next few pages, we’ll give you all the help we can in selecting the right amp for your stage setup.

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Best rated products

  1. the t.amp Proline 3000

    the t.amp Pro­line 3000

    In stock
    €589
    £508.86
  2. QSC GX 5

    QSC GX 5

    In stock
    €413
    £356.81
  3. the t.amp TA 1050 MK-X

    the t.amp TA 1050 MK-X

    In stock
    €245
    £211.67
  4. the t.amp E800 B-Stock
    B-STOCK

    the t.amp E800 B-Stock

    Product is sold out
    €147
    £127.00
  5. the t.amp E-800

    the t.amp E-800

    In stock
    €155
    £133.91
  6. the t.amp TA 2400 MK-X

    the t.amp TA 2400 MK-X

    In stock
    €344
    £297.20
  7. the t.amp TSA 4000

    the t.amp TSA 4000

    In stock
    €433
    £374.09
  8. the t.amp TA 1400 MK-X

    the t.amp TA 1400 MK-X

    In stock
    €315
    £272.14
  9. the t.amp TSA 1400

    the t.amp TSA 1400

    In stock
    €294
    £254.00
  10. the t.amp TSA 4-1300

    the t.amp TSA 4-1300

    In stock
    €489
    £422.47
  11. Behringer EP4000 Europower

    Behringer EP4000 Euro­power

    In stock
    €299
    £258.32
  12. the t.amp S-100 MK II

    the t.amp S-100 MK II

    In stock
    €135
    £116.63
  13. the t.amp E-400

    the t.amp E-400

    In stock
    €118
    £101.95
  14. the t.amp TSA 4-700

    the t.amp TSA 4-700

    In stock
    €389
    £336.07
  15. the t.amp TA 600 MK-X

    the t.amp TA 600 MK-X

    In stock
    €195
    £168.47

Top Brands

  • dB Technologies
  • ART
  • Ampetronic
  • RCF
  • Inter-M
  • Bosch
  • Dynacord
  • Axxent
  • Denon
  • QSC
  • Phonic
  • RCS

Most popular products

  1. the t.amp E-800

    the t.amp E-800

    In stock
    €155
    £133.91
  2. the t.amp TSA 4-700

    the t.amp TSA 4-700

    In stock
    €389
    £336.07
  3. the t.amp TA 2400 MK-X

    the t.amp TA 2400 MK-X

    In stock
    €344
    £297.20
  4. the t.amp TSA 4-1300

    the t.amp TSA 4-1300

    In stock
    €489
    £422.47
  5. the t.amp Proline 3000

    the t.amp Pro­line 3000

    In stock
    €589
    £508.86
  6. the t.amp E4-130

    the t.amp E4-130

    In stock
    €219
    £189.20
  7. Behringer KM1700

    Behringer KM1700

    In stock
    €169
    £146.01
  8. Crown XLS 1002

    Crown XLS 1002

    In stock
    €269
    £232.40
  9. Behringer NX6000D

    Behringer NX6000D

    In stock
    €377
    £325.71
  10. the t.amp E-400

    the t.amp E-400

    In stock
    €118
    £101.95
  11. the t.amp E-1500

    the t.amp E-1500

    In stock
    €266
    £229.81
  12. GC Carstensen Verlag Das PA Handbuch

    GC Carstensen Verlag Das PA Hand­buch

    In stock
    €30.68
    £26.51
  13. Wizoo Publishing Ratgeber Beschallung und PA

    Wizoo Pub­lishing Rat­geber Beschal­lung und PA

    In stock
    €15.90
    £13.74
  14. the t.amp E-1200

    the t.amp E-1200

    In stock
    €225
    £194.39
  15. Wizoo Publishing Behringer X32 Guide

    Wizoo Pub­lishing Behringer X32 Guide

    In stock
    €10.60
    £9.16