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Should AAUW NC purchase a sound system?

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We’ve started some investigation of characteristics/prices of sound systems so that we can evaluate whether AAUW NC should purchase such a system to have it available at all of our state meetings. Our convention has been held at full-service hotels that provide audio equipment, but for our other meetings we sometimes do without. At the fall meeting, we experimented with “simultaneous captioning” of some of the major talks, and we’ll continue with that. On the other hand, making sure that the oral remarks are as clear as possible is another of our goals. Such a system may also allow us to do better at presenting multi-media information like the 2005 video on women’s economic security.

A message was sent to the e-mail list, and here’s what people said:

One member’s husband’s suggestion was for “AAUW to rent the equipment when it is needed or use equipment the meeting place has available. Appoint a person from AAUW as Sound Coordinator who would be responsible for spending time learning how to use the equipment and also be available at the meeting to see that it functions properly. His reasoning behind rental is two-fold: Sound systems are expensive (Would we use it often enough to get our money’s worth?) and when renting, you frequently receive a newer system.” He didn’t know of a state-wide rental agency.

Another’s neighbor, Ron Kolstedt of Misty Moon Electronics,, recommended the Pyle Pro 200W Wireless Battery Powered PA System, PWMA230. He says “I’ve looked all over for a suitable PA system for AAUW. Most all systems are made very rugged for shipping & banging around, which means they are HEAVY. I found this one which , I believe, would meet your needs. It weighs only 26 pounds & has wheels for traveling from the car to your meeting room. It even has a battery supply so it can be operated in a park or field where AC power is not available.” I didn’t quite understand the pricing and options, but it looks as if we’d need to budget about $300-$350 to cover microphone, shipping, etc. Internet pricing may be different (see but there may be other risks there. More info.

A third member dropped into Radio Shack and asked them for info. Their recommendations boiled down to (modulo what I can find on their web site today):

Nady WA-120LT Portable Wireless Public Addess System
– $239.99
AmpliVox® S222 Portable Public Address System – $299.99
AmpliVox® ShowStyle Roving Rostrum Portable Sound System – $499.99
AmpliVox® Wireless ShowStyle Roving Rostrum Sound System – $799.99

So ………………………………

Is anyone willing to volunteer to dig into things further and come up with a specific recommendation? Can we find a rental company that would “stick with us” for a few years? Is that worth the hassle of working out the details each time when our needs aren’t really that specialized? Do we need a rugged machine, or one with computer hookups (think about the ways the Association has been distributing info lately)? Do folks who do this all the time have experience with the brands mentioned? What power would we really need (these range from 20W to 100W if I’m reading specs correctly.) What about wireless? Note that ease of use is important — since we run a “lean” organization, we’re unlikely to have someone showing up just because they know how to handle finicky equipment.

If you’d like to volunteer to head this evaluation project, please contact Nancy. If you’ve got info to share, feel free to post it here or send it to