When you want to set up a small army of PA speakers in multiple rooms throughout a department store, shopping centre, restaurant, school or business, a 100-Volt system is a fitting solution. Since multiple speakers are connected to the same cable in parallel, it’s perfect for covering long distances combined with relatively low-powered speakers. As such, 100V systems are also used at sporting events, and in this blog, Bax Music product specialist, Bob is here to explain the basics and what to look out for when buying and setting up a 100V system.

The Basics of 100 Volt Systems

What’s Included in a 100V System?

Any 100V system consists of a 100V amplifier, a number of 100V speakers, and speaker cables. The first thing to ask yourself when you’re looking to buy one is: what’s the focus: speech or music? If the answer is speech, you’ll always want to go with an old-fashioned 100-Volt horn, while if the answer is music, you’ll want to turn your attention to column speakers, or full-range horns. Due to the size of the pitch, watertight horns are a dependable choice for football games, while music-backed parades down long streets might be better off with watertight column speakers to counter any unwanted reverb.

How Many Speakers Can I Hook Up to a 100V Amplifier and How do I Match Both Components?

The maximum amount of speakers depends on the power capacity of the amplifier, Bob says. “A 240-Watt amplifier can handle six 40-Watt speakers, twelve 20-Watt speakers, twentyfour 10-Watt speakers, and so on. Different speaker power capacities are possible, meaning you could run a single 10W speaker off a 240W amplifier without damaging anything. As long as the total combined speaker capacity doesn’t exceed the maximum amplifier load, you’re free to connect it all up.”

The Right Cable Thickness for Your 100V System

Bas: “The right cable thickness has to do with the distances between the speakers, the amount of power capacity, and any signal loss you’re willing to accept. There’s no one-size-fits-all-solution here, and you can’t proceed without doing some calculations. For example, if I have 1,200 Watts at my disposal to get sound across 1,000 metres of cable, I’d use 4mm² cabling for the first 500 metres and 2.5mm² cabling for the last 500. That’s mainly based on experience. When advising customers, I always recommend going for 1.5mm² cabling if the distance is less than 200 metres and the amplifier has 400 Watts of power to dish out. In case of longer distances and more power, I recommend 2.5mm².”

What Else Should I Take Into Account?

Bas: “This entirely depends on the purpose. Do the speakers need to be ceiling-mounted or wall-mounted? Are they going to be installed indoors or outdoors, and how big is your audience? Is the system meant for subtle background music in a restaurant or for clearly intelligible announcements or commentary at sporting events? Industrial applications often include volume controls connected to individual speakers to adjust the volume per room. Most 100V speakers also let you toggle the transformer power down to 70V, which, for example, can be useful if speakers installed in a shop need to sound louder in the aisles and quieter near the cashiers. Similarly, at sporting events you might want full power on the pitch, and a little less power in the stands, or vice versa.

See Also

» 100-Volt Speakers
» 100-Volt Mixers and Amplifiers
» 100-Volt Speaker Cables and Accessories

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