What speaker system is right for you?

Posted on: November 30, 2015 | By: Jenn Grimmett | Filed under: Tech Tips

Image by Flickr user Nan Palmero / Creative Commons licensed BY-CC 2.0

Last month, we introduced new speakers to the Media Services inventory. Speaker systems are one of our most requested items because they have so many uses. They’re used in meetings, student organization events, faculty/staff events, and small band set ups, to name a few. Now that we have four options to choose from, we often get the question: which speaker system is right for my event?

Read on for a breakdown of each speakers system available at Media Services. 

Speaker systems in Media Services

Picture of USB speakers

USB speakers

Picture of GoSpeak


Picture of Mackie FreePlay

Mackie FreePlay

Image of Stage Pass system

Stage Pass

USB speakers

USB speakers are perfect for sitting on your desktop or playing music at a smaller venue. Students have also used our USB speakers to enhance audio from a Skype video call.


GoSpeak speaker systems are thin, light, portable speaker systems that are easy to fold up into a laptop bag and carry with you. This type of system performs best in indoor settings, especially in small to medium spaces. According to the equipment specifications, the maximum recommended audience size is 200 people. In our experience, though, that might be pushing it. This system has one mic input, one line in input (ex. connect your laptop) and one line out input (ex. output to a recorder).

Mackie FreePlay

The Mackie FreePlay Bluetooth speaker is the newest member of our sound-system family. This portable loudspeaker system has Bluetooth technology and runs on batteries (a backup AC power cord is included). Regarding audio quality, the Mackie FreePlay system is far superior to the GoSpeak. The Mackie produces rich sound, making it a great speaker for both indoor and outdoor events. This speaker has two microphone inputs, instrument (1/4”) connector options (shared with XLR inputs), and an AUX input. The Mackie kit includes one handheld XLR microphone and mini cable (Aux cable), and comes in a rolling case for easy transport. We also have microphone stands available for checkout.

Stage Pass

Stage Pass systems deliver the loudest sound of any speaker option in our inventory. This type of system is a great choice for large outdoor events or small band gigs. The kit comes with two speakers, one mixer, two speaker stands, two XLR microphones, two microphone stands, two XLR cables, two speaker cables, and one mini-to-mini cable. There are a total of four microphone inputs; we have additional XLR microphones and microphone stands available for checkout if you need more than the two included in the kit. This system comes in a rolling case (bigger than the Mackie’s) and includes a separate soft case for the speaker and microphone stands.

Students are required to review and sign a user agreement before checking out this equipment. Here’s how to do it:

  • Login to Moodle
  • Search for the class “Media Services Equipment Training”
  • Self-enroll into this course
  • Click on “Stage Pass User Agreement”
  • Agree to terms, and submit

Checkout Policies

All Media Services equipment is available to Elon community members, free of charge. There are two ways that you can make a reservation. First, you can use our online system WebCheckout, logging in with your Elon credentials. Second, you can call 336-278-6598, and one of our technicians will be happy to help you.

For a refresher on lending policies and open hours, click here.

If you would like to learn more about available equipment, enhance your equipment operation skills, or talk through the “what would work best?” questions, contact us! We have highly-skilled student technicians working in Media Services who are available to help you, so please stop by. Contact Jenn Grimmett with any questions!

Jenn Grimmett

I have a passion for finding out-of-the box solutions to support the student, staff and faculty experience. Looking at ways to integrate technology into learning outcomes is a lot of fun! One of my roles within Media Services is to help our student technicians find engaging ways to contribute to the mission of Elon. I graduated from UMass Amherst with a B.A. in Team Training and Development, and I am currently working on my M.A. in Peace and Conflict Studies through UNC-G.

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