We are living in a weird version of the future. Parking lot events are becoming the new normal as social distancing guidelines are still in place across most of the 50 states. A lot of the time, logistical issues get in the way such as power. Audio reinforcement needs power to project, but it doesn’t always need to be from an AC source, a lot of speakers with DC batteries pack a punch to broadcast over a large space.
I’ll start with my favorite for small events which is the Behringer MPA series. Behringer starts small with a 30 watt version which is good for ribbon cutting events and basic outdoor sound reinforcement for up to 50 people. Background music in a restaurant comes to mind especially, since most seating will have to be outside. This is a cool speaker because you can use it for countless other purposes down the line. The whole MPA line comes equipped with Bluetooth capabilities. The MPA100/MPA200 comes with a wireless microphone and better output options. 100 is 100 watts, 200 is…. you guessed it, 200 watts! Both are decent for an acoustic duo in the corner, raffle, parade, etc. Batteries tend to last 4-8 hours depending on use.
Want something that sounds better? Take a look at the Bose S1. The Bose S1 has different mounting options which can be handy in your parking lot situations. You can tilt it back in a few different ways and it has a pole cup option so you can mount it like the rest of the available speakers. You can also have it sitting on a table or in the back of a car. Bose has a bunch of strong points such as their seamless integration with their Tone Match mixer. Although the Bose will sound better than the Behringer, it doesn’t get much louder than the MPA200, though it’s about 5lbs lighter and is a little more robust of a speaker.
The Sennheiser LSP500 has a bunch of cool options, such as a wooden chassis and modular inserts depending on what you want to do. For example, you can load in EW500 series wireless microphones in to the back for a high quality wireless microphone option. You can also load in a transmitter and broadcast to multiple end units throughout the parking lot, all of this with minimal effort and latency. The LSP500 is only 120 watts, but for the pros in the room, it’s really the best choice for audio quality.
Finally on the list, the Anchor Audio BIG-DUAL-HH Bigfoot 2 Dual Package. This puppy packs a punch, but is definitely at the top of the price list. If you get a second you should comb through all of the options because its really too much to list. It has all the bells and whistles as the other models but has the output of a regular powered speaker. Big thing, it sounds awesome! When Anchor Audio demoed it for us we were able to project about 1,000′ down the road, now that’s impressive. It is NOT pole mountable since the speaker is a snap together format. When you wheel it out it looks like trash can, but when its assembled it looks like a robot ready to deliver some serious sound reinforcement. The speaker configuration is 5 x 8″ neodymium speakers so its relatively light in comparison. You can connect multiple units with its AIR TRANSMITTER which boasts a 300′ transmission range.
Keep in mind all of these speakers have a microphone input, 1/8″ stereo input, and Bluetooth audio input. Most of them last 4-8 hours since they all share similar battery technology. The difference is the output, weight, peripheral features. My favorite is the MPA200 for price and options. I like to put a speaker up on a speaker pole and project to the masses. Remember, if you get enough height you can broadcast pretty far, so getting one of these speakers up high is crucial to broadcasting distances.
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