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If you are planning to use your system outdoors or another location where the availability of electric power is limited or uncertain, you should consider one of the battery powered units. Battery powered PA audio systems range in price from about $99 to about $599 and range in power from about 15 watts to 100 watts. They will let you run on A/C power where available and on batteries when necessary.
For uses where electric power is hard to find, such as a backyard barbeque, a performance in the park, a mall kiosk, or a small convention center booth, we recommend the following systems:
Samson's Expedition XP40i Portable PA includes a rechargeable battery, plenty of power, and an extremely portable lightweight design, and an iPOD dock for your background music and prerecorded presentations. Two XP40i units can be combined for stereo, and there is even a version, the Samson XP40iw with a built in wireless microphone. This would permit you to set up your sound system in the front of the class or coffee shop, and wander freely about with your microphone. The XP40i is surprisingly powerful with a built in 40 watt Class D amplifier that will be sufficient for most backyard gatherings, classrooms, boardrooms, a small convention center booth, and coffee houses. Two units combined double your power and range. The XP40i also makes an excellent powered speaker system for keyboards, karaoke, and even guitar or bass.
The Roland BA330 is another battery powered unit at the higher end of the scale. Unlike the XP40i, Roland's unit comes as a stereo pair of speakers. The BA330 sports a 100 watt amplifier and iPod dock, digital reverb, delay, and wide effects, and an intelligent feedback reducer to help you avoid embarrassing howls from badly located microphones. Roland's unit gives you the option of running on A/C power or 8 "AA" batteries. An optional wheeled carrying case is available for convenient transport of this lightweight unit.
Another battery powered unit to consider is the Alesis Transactive Mobile. Again a microphone is included, along with an iPOD dock and 15 watts RMS of power. Conveniently mounted on wheels with a handle, the Transactive Mobile will cover distances of up to 150 feet.
As lightweight as the above units are, they are not for use while marching in front of a moving crowd. For mobile uses, such as leading a marching band, a charity walk, or a demonstration, we recommend the Behringer EPA40 Europort Portable PA System. The Behringer EPA40 can be worn with a shoulder strap and comes with a microphone and built in rechargeable battery that lasts up to 8 hours. There is even an auxiliary input into which you can plug an CD player or other sound source. This would be sufficient to lead a crowd of up to 100 people.