When Seeing Lights Is A Good Thing

5th in a series about PA gear and how to successfully use them.

There are times when every presenter needs to be the chef, bottle washer, and waiter all at the same time leading up to and during their presentation. If those chaotic responsibilities also include setting up the PA system before “go” time, then some reassuring help is on the way.

At its most basic level, the concept behind using a PA system is to amplify your voice so your audience can hear you. This is true whether you’re a teacher, giving a presentation at a conference or meeting, or giving instructions to a crowd at an outdoor athletic event. With most portable systems, there isn’t a reliable indicator for you to know the system is functioning. The Califone PresentationPro and PowerPro portable PA equipment however comes with a set of LEDs on the front of each speaker to give you visual confirmation that the power is on and the wireless mics are successfully transmitting your message to the PA.

Front facing LEDs on the PowerPro

There are three sets of lights to indicate radio frequency contact between the wireless mic and PA, audio transmission, and power for the unit. The PowerPro (shown here) has two lights for each of its two wireless mic receivers.

For the purposes of this demonstration, the top front edge of a PowerPro (PA919SD) is shown with its three sets of lights. They’re configured in a two-one-two series with each having a specific function to tell you what’s going on. The center (green) light indicates that the power for the PA has been turned on. The two outer sets of lights indicate the status for each of its two wireless mic receivers. If you’re only using one wireless mic, then the other sets of lights won’t turn on.

Of course before you begin, both the mic receiver on the PA and the wireless mic each need to be turned on and set to the same frequency (read more in the previous article). The two sets of outer lights correspond with the wireless mic directly on the reverse side of the PA (so if you’re facing the front of the PA, the two lights on the left side reflect the wireless mic controlled on the right side if you look at the rear of the PowerPro). The red-colored LED will light when the channel of a wireless mic matches its receiver on the PA. This shows the radio frequency has been established between the two.

Only after the red light comes on can the amber-colored light then function. This will illuminate when you begin talking into the wireless mic since this one indicates successful relay of your audio over the previously established radio frequency. So if you’re needing help to find out if your wireless mic is working, just look for the lights.

Read the next article or read the first article in the series.


Helping teachers and students with educationally appropriate classroom AV equipment since 1947.