The Total PA series sports ION Audio's most powerful tools for vocal performance. This guide serves to aid you in configuring your Total PA Speaker for your performances, be it a singalong, karaoke, or fully fledged concert.


Understanding Volume Parameters

As is the case of all ION Audio products, the most thorough resource for guidance in configuring your Total PA is your user manual, which contains full connection diagrams, features lists, and operational tips. However, one element that's easy to miss during initial setup is the existence of multiple volume parameters, which are not present on simpler products and portable Bluetooth speakers. In particular, you'll find the following parameters on your Total PA:

  • MAIN volume: This is the master volume of the speaker and affects all underlying parameters.
  • SOURCE volume: This parameter affects the input volume of input devices connected via Bluetooth or AUX. This parameter must be turned up along with the MAIN volume in order for Bluetooth/AUX playback to be properly projected.
  • MIC 1 volume: This is the input volume for MIC channel 1.
  • MIC 2 volume: This is the input volume for MIC channel 2.

On newer Total PA models, such as the Total PA Ultimate and Total PA Live, these parameters can be toggled between by clicking on the Main Control Knob. See figure #2 in the image below, which depicts a diagram of the Total PA Ultimate's rear panel.

For older Total PA models, such as the Total PA Premiere, these volume parameters are controlled by separate buttons/knobs on the rear panel. Please reference the diagram below, which depicts the rear panel of the Total PA Premiere with the parameter controls boxed and labelled. There may be slight variabilities from model to model, but most follow this general format.

To view diagrams specific to your model, please reference your user guide.

Balancing Levels for Performance

For optimal performance, these volume parameters must be brought into proper balance. This process is called Gain Staging. Please reference the following procedures for optimal gain staging with your Total PA speaker.

  1. Power on your speaker and reduce all volume parameters to zero.
  2. Connect your input device (phone/tablet/computer, etc) via Bluetooth or AUX. Set the device's volume to 100%, then set the SOURCE/AUX volume on the speaker to ~50%
  3. If you are using microphones, connect a microphone to either input and raise the corresponding MIC channel volume to ~50%
  4. Begin audio playback from your input device and slowly raise the MAIN volume until you've reached your desired overall volume level. If needed, you can increase the SOURCE and MIC volumes to add extra volume, but be mindful that too much input gain will overdrive the speaker and reduce sound quality or damage the internal drivers.
  5. Adjust the MIC and SOURCE volumes until they reach a good balance for your performance.

Additional Resources

Regarding Stereo-Link deployments and Bluetooth: Why Can't I Hear my Microphone Through Both Speakers?

Linking Two Speakers via XLR: Linking Your Speakers Wired Connection Guide 

Regarding the Total PA Freedom's Wireless Microphone: ION Audio Total PA Freedom | Wireless Microphone Setup and FAQ