Hands-On Review:Nady Roller PA Systems
Nady Roller PA Systems
Powerful, affordable, and convenient
By Kelly Roberts
Due to the latest round of budget cuts at my school, I recently found myself operating as my own A/V specialist. Setting up a public address system is something I had no experience with until recently. I found myself digging around in the storage room, trying to find each component—the power amp, mixer, speakers, and cables—then figuring out what goes where, and which cables plug into which slots. Thankfully, Nady has given some serious thought to educators facing the same plight, and developed the Roller line of PA systems. Everything is in one convenient case, complete with wheels that your back will love!
Rethinking the norm
Modern PA systems have had virtually the same design since they first came about. Essentially, the components are a power amp to amplify the signal, a mixer for connecting your microphones/instruments and applying the proper levels to each, and speakers for delivering the mix to the audience. While products like active speakers and powered mixers have eliminated the need for having all three components, it's safe to say that almost any PA is a multipart unit.
Nady realized that this might not be the best design for everyone and decided to do something about it. Each of the three systems in the Roller lineup is a one-piece, portable sound system, complete with powered mixer and two-way speaker system. Each also includes durable rubber rollerblade wheels and a collapsible handle so there's no problem placing it where it needs to be.
The RPA-2 and RPA-4
Though compact in size, all three of the Roller PA systems produce bold sound that is loud enough to tackle the needs of elementary educators. Most of us deal with a multipurpose room, a small theater, or a gymnasium. You'll want to pick the system that is right for your needs—the size of the room, the number of people in the audience, and the number of inputs you'll need. For those in small- to medium-sized rooms, the RPA-2 or RPA-4 should be sufficient.
The RPA-2's powered mixer puts out an impressive 40W RMS. It employs a 10" woofer for the bass and lower midrange, and a dome tweeter for the upper midrange and high frequencies. I put it to use during a district meeting in our multipurpose room, and it performed amazingly well, delivering clear sound that the 50 or so of us attending had no trouble hearing. It has two mono balanced inputs (XLR and 1/4" TRS, for microphones and instruments respectively) that make it ideal for speeches or perhaps solo musical performances.
If most of your events take place in a small gym or theater, perhaps the RPA-4 is a better choice with its 80W RMS output. It's noticeably louder than the RPA-2, yet it maintains clarity by employing the same speaker setup of a 10" woofer and dome tweeter. It also offers four mono balanced inputs (XLR and 1/4" TRS).
The largest Roller PA is the RPA-6. For schools with a large gymnasium or multipurpose room, or for outdoor plays, talent shows, or other gatherings, this system is ideal. Boasting an impressive 120W RMS, a 12" woofer and piezo electric horn, it delivers crisp, rich sound at a very loud volume. In addition to its output, the RPA-6 has six mono balanced (XLR and 1/4" TRS) inputs. The 12" woofer and added power produce deep low end with lots of punch, while the horn disperses the high frequencies at a wide angle, assuring that a large audience will hear every part of the performance.
In addition to their power and portability, each of the Roller PAs has digital reverb, an effects loop, and master three-band equalizer. The RPA-4 and RPA-6 have additional high and low tone controls on each channel so you can find the ideal mix when you're putting all those inputs to use. All three units also have stereo RCA inputs—ideal if you want to add music from a tape deck or CD player to a performance. Stereo RCA outputs are provided as well, so you can easily capture performances on any stereo recording device.
If you're worried that the all-in-one design of the Roller PAs might not cover enough area, you'll be pleased to know that they all have an external speaker output. The RPA-2's power output increases to 65W RMS with an external four-ohm cabinet, the RPA-4 jumps to 100W RMS, and the RPA-6 puts out 130W RMS. Even with the purchase of an external speaker cabinet, the Roller PAs are still much more affordable than a traditional PA.
The perfect companion
Any school that's considering a new PA system should give serious consideration to the Nady Roller PAs. As if the convenience of having everything in one compact cabinet isn't enough, they are easy to transport, have built-in reverb, and the ability to add an extension cab. With three systems available, you won't be forced into buying something bigger than your school needs, or conversely, being stuck with a system that can't deliver what you need because of cost concerns. Affordable, portable, and powerful, a Roller PA would be a welcome addition to any A/V room.
Features & Specs:
|RPA-2 ||RPA-4 ||RPA-6 |