If you are a speaker – doing workshops, keynotes, trainings, and the like, you may be wondering, “How important is it for me to have my own speaker/microphone system? If I am going to buy such a system, what should I be looking for?”
If you are an established speaker who ONLY does keynotes for large audiences, then you don’t need to even read this article. On the other hand, if you are getting established and/or if you do trainings and workshops, then I believe it is worth looking into making the purchase of your own speaker/microphone system. Many groups do not own a system and you will be able to demonstrate your professionalism by showing up with your own (plus you know it works).
For many years, I owned a portable (luggable) “Anchor Amp” speaker and a Shure microphone (wireless lavaliere) that I bought through Troxell Communications. Nearly 6 years ago, I paid about $1200-$1300 for the system, and I’m sure you could get it for less now. About a year ago, I purchased a Fender Passport system that is portable enough that I can take it in my suitcase (the Anchor Amp system is not that level of portable).
The positives of the Fender Passport are its portability and the fact that the Executive package also comes with an attachment to the wireless that puts the microphone right in front of your mouth. The sound difference is amazing when compared to using the lavaliere. The downsides of the Fender Passport are its short battery life. It advertises that the battery charge lasts for 8 hours, but I’ve yet to have it last that long. It cannot be plugged in while you’re using it, so you have to depend on the battery charge.
When you are determining what kind of system to purchase, here are a few considerations:
- What size group will you most often be speaking to? The Anchor Amp will work with groups of hundreds in a gymnasium; the Passport will work with 100 or more in a smaller venue.
- What kind of voice projection do you need? If you have a weak voice or you have damaged your voice from overuse (or incorrect use), then be sure to get a system that offers rich, full sound.
- Are you going to want a second, handheld mic to pass around your audience. If so, invest in one of the more expensive systems (like Anchor products) that offer these options.
If you are earning your living from using your voice, then be sure to have the tools to protect it. You may also be surprised how many of your audience members thank you for using a speaker system. People who are attending your speeches, workshops, and trainings want to hear you so they can learn from you. Give them that opportunity by amplifying your voice.