Summer is here, which means it’s time to ramp up those outdoor gigs. You might be out with the big gear on the big tours, but for local, small-scale dates and your own personal gigs, portable PAs are often the way to go.
These days, you don’t have to sacrifice power and sound quality for portability, as manufacturers continue to bring pro technology into scaled-down packages ranging from simple, boombox-style, all-in-one systems to compact line arrays you can carry with one hand.
You’re not going to mix the Rolling Stones in Central Park on these, but for weddings, house concerts, and nontraditional venues, a portable PA has you covered. Want to get super creative? Go the extra mile, literally, with battery powered PAs from manufacturers like Bose, JBL, Mackie, and Roland.
Flip through this gallery to browse a few contenders in the “stick”-style pole-mounted and column PA category.
Sarah Jones is a writer, editor, and content producer with more than 20 years' experience in pro audio, including as editor-in-chief of three leading audio magazines: Mix, EQ, and Electronic Musician. She is a lifelong musician and committed to arts advocacy and learning, including acting as education chair of the San Francisco chapter of the Recording Academy, where she helps develop event programming that cultivates the careers of Bay Area music makers.