5 Pieces of AV Equipment You Need for Live Performances

Want to learn more about a live sound setup?

Did you know the audio/video market is predicted to grow 9% in 2018? Why is that important news? Well, we’re glad you asked.

Increased growth in any industry is followed by increased production in that industry. Increased production is followed by higher availability and lower prices. In other words, now is the perfect time to research and purchase AV equipment.

The trick, of course, is knowing what kind of gear you need. In the sections below, you’ll find the five pieces of must-have AV equipment that’ll ensure you rock your next live performance. Read on to learn more.


In any live performance, you need a public address (PA) system. As any expert will tell you, it starts with a quality mic. Unfortunately, the task can be daunting.

The problem is the overabundance of microphones available. Each offers its own set of benefits and drawbacks. When you search, keep the following criteria in mind:

  • Customer feedback
  • Price range
  • Frequency response
  • Quality

Customer feedback is a great place to start. You can quickly narrow down your search by determining a company’s return policy and general customer satisfaction. If you read through online posts, you can gauge whether a mic is generally liked or disliked.

Next, narrow your search by price. A good microphone can make or break your performance. The bad news is, professional-quality mics come with price tags in the thousands of dollars.

Frequency response is also imperative. This term refers to the range of frequencies a microphone will pick up. Microphones that pick up 80Hz to 15kHz make for good vocal mics. But, you may need one that picks up sounds as low as 30Hz for instruments.

And, of course, you want to make sure the mic is well-built. You don’t want to blow three grand on a mic that you’ll need to replace six months down the road.


For any AV setup, you need at least two speakers. The first is used to amplify the sound that’s fed into the microphone. The larger the forum, the more speakers you need.

The second is a monitor.

Monitors are speakers that you point at the performers. They negate most of the ambient sound, much like noise canceling headphones. That way, the performers can hear themselves sing and play.

Mixers and Amps

A mixer is a device into which you plug your microphones and instruments. It allows you to balance each of these channels to produce a harmonious blend of sounds. With it, you can adjust the volume and tone of each incoming instrument.

Amps are used to amplify the volume of input from the microphones and instruments. Some amps are built into speakers; some, into mixing boards. Others still come as a stand-alone package.

Make sure to adjust the mixer throughput before the live performance. Perform a sound-check to balance and improve the acoustics.


“V” is for video. Every AV setup should include visual recording equipment. First, decide in what manner you’ll show the video.

Will it be on YouTube? Will you use pieces in your next promotional video? Your decision will define what type of video equipment you need.

Fortunately, high-definition and ultra-high-definition cameras are available today for a fraction of the cost of those 10 years ago.


This one’s tricky. Many venues come with their own lighting. If that’s the case, you still need to become acquainted with the system and adjust it to your needs.

If the venue doesn’t have its own lighting, you’ll need to figure out what stage lighting design will best suit your needs. Theatrical productions, concerts, and other live performances may use any or all of the following:

  • PAR lights
  • Strip lights
  • Scoop lights
  • House lights
  • LED stage lights
  • Spotlights
  • Beam projectors

If you’re uncertain what type of lights you need, it’s safe to stick with PAR lights.

Other Factors for Your Live Sound Setup

If you can’t determine what equipment you need, don’t feel shy to ask an expert. Another option is to rent equipment for your live sound setup. It saves money in the short run and gives you the ability to test the equipment you’re thinking of purchasing.

If you found this information helpful, take a few minutes to browse our library of other audio/video articles.