Public Address systems (PA system) respond to a variety of complex needs: from background music in commercial and tourist businesses or broadcast of vocal messages for paging or alarm evacuation, to audio facilities in conference rooms

A PA system may include multiple microphones or other sound sources, a mixing console to combine and modify multiple sources, and multiple amplifiers and loudspeakers for louder volume or wider distribution.

Simple PA systems are often used in small venues such as school auditoriums, churches, and small bars. PA systems with many speakers are widely used to make announcements in public, institutional and commercial buildings and locations—such as schools, stadiums, and passenger vessels and aircraft. Intercom systems, installed in many buildings, have both speakers throughout a building, and microphones in many rooms so occupants can respond to announcements. PA and Intercom systems are commonly used as part of an emergency communication system.