Friday, March 6, 2015

My Pyle PWMA1090UI 800 Watt Wireless Portable PA System

As someone who's performed on various levels, from small clubs to large theatres, I know the value in proper sound equipment. I set up my home studio to suit my needs as a not only to record, but to use as a rehearsal space even though I've not performed live in many years. I own a Behringer studio mic as well as a Nady, a Shure and a "Radio Shack" branded Shure microphone. I also have two wireless microphones, one a handheld and the other a headset system both made by Nady, a company I've been loyal to since I bought my very first wireless system back in 1993. I also have a Mackie mixer with on board effects and an Alesis NanoVerb Digital Processor for additional effects. My set up is pretty simple and perfect for recording but if I could also use it if I decided to create videos for YouTube or even do a live online concert on a site like
When I was really young, I wanted a Singalodean karaoke machine with a wireless microphone, I covered that story in a previous blog. While writing that blog entry, I decided it might be fun to invest in a larger guitar amp that could possibly double as PA system also. I began researching all in one systems, mainly because I didn't want to have a ton of components...I already have enough clutter in my house. While searching Amazon, eBay and several musical instrument retailers, I found many PA systems that looked alike made by Nady and Alesis, both great brands. Further research lead me to lookalikes of those same Nady and Alesis systems made by Gem Sounds, Hisonics and Pyle which I was familiar with just because they always came up during searches while shopping around for the microphones I currently own. I posted a question on Facebook regarding the Pyle branded sound devices and got one response from someone. His response was more based on his impression of the brand rather than his experience with it. The Pyle systems, to me, looked sharp and they had an equal amount of bad reviews as they did good reviews. In my experience, I find it best to take bad reviews regarding sound equipment with a grain of salt as most people either expect too much from a budget friendly item or they just have no clue how to use it out of the box and take their ignorant frustration to the internet. The Pyle system definitely have a large selection to choose from when it comes features, power and wattage but let's face it, you're not going to get stadium filling sound quality from a system with a price just under $250.

To be completely honest, I wasn't looking for anything out of this world, just something that would be easy and fun to use...and I kept in mind that if I ever moved out of Atlanta back to NYC, I might be able to start a career as a street performer with it...Dream Big!!! Anyway, the good reviews featuring the Pyle PWMA1050 outweighed the bad reviews. An 800 watt system that includes a VHF wireless microphone and jacks for additional wired microphones or wireless systems, a guitar and an input for an ipod, mp3 player or device of some sort. The system also includes an "echo" feature to add a reverb effect to live vocals. The fact that it is completely portable with a rechargeable battery was the kicker for me. I placed an order for it on Amazon which had it priced at $188.00 and FREE shipping with my prime account, I was SOLD...$188 isn't much to loose and even if it was bad, it would still be something I could turn around and possibly sell on craigslist.
Through a complicated circumstance, I ended up changing my mind on the PWMA1050 and going for the slightly higher priced PWMA1090UI. While still rechargeable, with a wireless handheld VHF microphone and inputs for additional mics, guitar and all the same features as the PWMA1050, this unit comes with an iPod/iPhone docking station on top, a wireless body pack that could be used with the headset or clip on lavalier microphones that are included as well as it has an FM radio and inputs for both a USB AND SD/MMC readers. There were less reviews on this system than the other system, most likely due to the fact that is more expensive than the PWMA1050.
When this system arrived, I was shocked at the size and weight of the box. This must have cost Amazon at least a fourth of what I paid, just to ship it. It was HEAVY enough that I had to drag it down my hallway. Unboxing was pretty simple though this system is seriously heavy for such a portable unit, thankfully it is on wheels. The first thing you notice when you open the box is all of the peripherals such as the microphones, cables a remote control and the instruction manual and warranty literature. The instructions are pretty straight forward and detailed, though the writer could have used spell check or had someone proof read it before it went to print.

The charging time for the unit's battery seems to be around 8 to 10 hours and I believe the unit's charge will hold for 6 hours of continuous use. The instructions insist those that will use the system on an infrequent basis should charge it every two weeks just to keep a healthy battery life. The unit, itself, feels as if it's built solid and the wheels and the handles for lifting and pulling the unit are quite sturdy. As for the microphones, while I'm not a huge fan of light weight plastic, the pickup on the handheld mic isn't bad but you've definitely got to hold it close to your mouth while in use. I'm most likely never going to use the clip on mic but I will most likely use the headset mic a bit. The headset mic does pickup a bit better than the handheld and it's quick comfortable on your head. I've had issues with more expensive headset microphones being heavy or tight on my head. My only complaint with the headset is more with the 3.5m plug, it's angled where it hangs off the edges of the transmitter rather. I will eventually replace the headset with one with a less intrusive plug. The frequencies of both microphone transmitters seem to be good and I didn't experience any interference when trying the mics out within 30 feet of the PA system. I wasn't expecting the quality of Sennheiser, Shure or Nady but I was definitely impressed that the microphones weren't cheesy looking and didn't sound like my Mister Microphone toy I had when I was a kid. I'm not exactly sure what Pyle has done with the electronics but feedback is not an issue with it at all, many cheap units have excessive feedback issues, especially when coupled with cheaper microphones. I also love the fact that the mics are powered by two AA batteries rather than 9 volt batteries that most of the higher end microphone manufacturers use.

So what does the unit sound like? It's loud, it's clear and it's a great unit for the price point. I would honestly say that if I actually saw a working unit in person, I would have bought it even if it cost more than the price I paid. While it does sound great, there is one issue I do have, there is a bit of a hum emanating from the unit, nothing that would be noticeable in an outdoor setting.

All in all, this PA system is not worthy of many of the negative reviews I've read, in fact I've noticed just the opposite experience with my unit than many others have had with theirs. In spite of the lower end price, it's a great system with many bells and whistles that higher priced systems don't come with. If you're looking to entertain the kids, karaoke night at home or want to unleash your inner street performer, this is the system for you!!! Will I use this in public? Unfortunately, the laws in Atlanta in regards to buskers or street performers state that use of amplification devices are not allowed so you will not be seeing me perform on the streets of Atlanta though I think it would be great fun and this system would be an amazing tool for such performances.

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