Selecting the right portable PA system is a critical choice for your setup. And depending on what type of performer you are you may want a system that doesn’t rely on a power supply.
In this review, we check out the Roland BA 330. A compact and powerful battery-powered option for your setup.
Roland BA 330
The Roland BA 330 has been around for a while. But it has stood the test of time and remains one of the best battery-powered PA systems available today.
The Roland BA 330 is an appealing option for DJs, buskers, and anyone that needs a PA system powered by batteries. Below we take a close look at what the BA 330 offers.
The Roland BA 330 features great sound in a portable system. It is loud, exciting, and full of life.
The bass response is solid thanks to the array of drivers. Something that many portable systems struggle with. The mids are equally impressive with plenty of clarity. The highs also don’t disappoint. There is no tinniness or harshness in the top end.
The BA 330 offers loud and clear sound quality.
Another excellent trait of the Roland BA 330 is the ample headroom it offers. When reaching the upper limits there is some noticeable compression. But this doesn’t impact the sound quality too much. It is quite consistent across the full volume range.
The four primary drivers and two tweeters also provide excellent dispersion. Equal and satisfying sound over a broad area. A great choice for buskers but equally impressive for DJs playing smaller gigs.
When it comes to the sound the Roland BA 330 doesn’t disappoint.
Another appealing element of the Roland BA 330 is the industrial-strength build quality. This unit is tough. Tougher than the vast majority of portable PA systems out there.
The BA 330 is one of the toughest portable PA systems available today.
The molded plastic enclosure is thick and durable. Not prone to scuffs or scratches. This is a unit built for frequent use. The grille is also exceptionally tough. The integrated carry handle is secure and as tough as the rest of the unit.
Around the back, all the connection points and knobs are equally impressive. You can tell there was a focus on ensuring this unit could take some punishment. And I have no doubts in this area.
If you want a rock-solid portable PA system the Roland BA 330 is among the very best.
The Roland BA 330 delivers 30W of power across two amps. 15W each. This manages to be enough to fill small spaces with even sound.
Despite a low power rating the BA 303 gets quite loud.
Roland states this unit is good enough for 80 people but this might be a stretch depending on how loud you want it to sound for your audience.
Behind the grille is a set of four 6.5-inch speakers. There is also a pair of tweeters nestled in there as well. The angle of these speakers is what gives the BA 330 such excellent dispersion.
At 109dB Max SPL, this little unit packs a serious punch. But, I wouldn’t recommend driving it at those volumes for long periods. Battery life will be shorter and performance at the upper end does suffer slightly.
But for most small gig situations this unit is loud enough. Great for a coffee shop gig or small party.
The Roland BA 330 also provides some basic tuning controls. Around the back, each of the four channels offers a tone knob to adjust the output. You’ll also have some control over the Master Output via a 2-band EQ that accommodates the lows and highs.
The Roland BA 303 doesn’t feature a lot of tuning controls.
There is also a set of effects with access to Reverb and Delay. They sound good and perform as expected.
Beyond that, the Roland BA 330 doesn’t offer any further tuning options. More modern PA systems provide a greater range of presets and effects. Plus they also offer more granular control over output. But considering how old this unit is I’m not surprised that some of the modern features are absent.
The Roland BA 300 is a good-looking portable PA system. The all-black finish is refined and professional. No gaudy colors or distracting elements. It’s an appealing unit for performers that don’t want their speaker to draw too much attention.
Moving beyond appearance the BA 330 also features some convenient design elements. The first is a handy back stand that allows you to tilt the speaker. This is a great choice for buskers that don’t want to carry a stand with them.
The stand is an easy way to direct sound.
The upward angle also helps project the sound to your audience. Quick, simple, and effective. There is also a slot to place connected devices.
Of course one of the most appealing aspects of the Roland BA 330 is the battery power. Roland has opted to give the user maximum control with a slot for eight AA batteries. This is a different approach from more modern units that opt for a rechargeable internal battery.
I like this old-school approach. AA batteries are easy to acquire and you never have to worry about the lifespan of an internal battery.
The battery compartment is removable for easy access.
If you have any experience with smartphones and tablets you know how much they degrade over time. Plus no having to wait for a unit to charge up. Just pop the batteries in and you are good to go.
Battery life is also impressive. The Roland website states up to 24hrs. But take that number with a grain of salt. Volume level and application will impact battery life.
But even then this unit is capable of running all day. More than enough for the majority of gigs that this unit applies to. You can also opt to plug this PA system in as well with a 12V DC power supply included.
Portability is high with the Roland BA 330. It’s a good size and can easily fit into a car for transport. The carry handle also makes it easy to lift.
The BA 303 is relatively compact making it easy to transport.
But if I was to have one complaint it would be the weight. At 30.5 lbs. (13.8 kg) it isn’t overtly cumbersome but certainly not as lightweight as some might like.
The Roland BA 330 also provides an extensive set of connection options.
Channel One and Two feature XLR and ¼-inch TRS connection points. The remaining channels offer ¼-inch TRS connection options. This combination is often all you’ll need to connect your gear. Great for guitars, DJ gear, microphones, and keyboards.
The BA 330 also features an AUX connection via RCA or ⅛-inch TRS. There is also a dedicated level knob for the AUX connection.
The BA 330 offers a range of connection options including AUX.
Plugging in a smartphone to play backing music or a playlist is simple and intuitive. A good option between sets or as warm-up music for your crowd.
Further flexibility is available to chain multiple units together. You can send the signal to another BA 330 or even feed signals between them. A good choice for slightly larger crowds and multiple performers.
But the Roland BA 330 doesn’t feature Bluetooth. A feature that has become increasingly common in modern PA systems.
Despite missing modern bells and whistles, the BA 330 is still a capable and flexible portable PA system.
The Roland BA 330 offers good value. Loud output, rock-solid quality, and flexibility. All for a more than reasonable price. If you are looking for a larger and more powerful PA compared to smaller budget options this is a good upgrade.
But if you need to cover bigger gigs I’d look elsewhere. Even a pair of these is insufficient to handle a medium-sized gig. In that regard, you’ll be better served spending your money on larger speakers or a column-array system.
The Roland BA 330 is a popular portable PA system. It has been around for years and continues to receive positive reviews even to this day. Multiple 4 and 5-star reviews highlight the good sound, battery life, and flexibility this unit provides.
3 Quick Tips For Playing Outdoors
If you are buying a battery-powered PA system you’ll likely want to be able to play outdoors. And while there is something special about performing in the open air there are some things worth considering. Below are three quick tips to help your performance be a success.
Watch The Weather
This one may seem obvious but I’ve seen it countless times. A performer shows up and isn’t prepared for the weather.
Be mindful of the potential for rain. Take note of the wind conditions on the day. Avoid long spells in direct sunlight. All three are not great for you and definitely not great for your gear.
Another common pitfall is not having enough volume up your sleeve. Large crowds absorb sound. If you want to make sure everyone can hear the performance make sure you have a PA system with plenty of headroom.
More relaxed settings may not call for lower volume levels.
On the flip side of this be mindful of your surroundings. Some places will have sound laws that you won’t want to cross.
Likewise, the event style will dictate your volume. Playing a party? Sure crank it up. Playing at a chill-out bar? Dial things back to suit the atmosphere.
This applies to all gigs and not just outdoor events. Preparation is critical to your success. Have backup plans available if an issue arises.
Spare batteries or even a spare PA system are worth considering. Plus don’t forget about the gig itself. Know what you plan to play but also be ready to be flexible and adjust to the crowd.
The Roland BA 330 is not the only battery-powered option available. Below are some alternatives worth considering.
Bose S1 Pro Review
The Bose S1 Pro is a powerful battery-powered portable PA system. It features impressive sound and a flexible range of features.
- Excellent sound quality with a high level of clarity and precision.
- Long 11-hour battery life and flexible positioning options.
- Only features 2 channels as opposed to the BA 330s 4 channels.
Bose S1 Pro
Mackie Thump Go Review
The Mackie Thump Go is another lightweight portable PA system that is well suited for solo performers. It is also cheaper than the Roland BA 330.
- Highly durable thanks to the textured polypropylene cabinet and tough grille.
- Removable rechargeable battery. This allows you to bring a spare for quick changeover if required.
- The bass response is decent but may not be meaty enough for DJs.
Mackie Thump Go
Samson Expedition XP106w Review
If you are looking for something cheaper than the BA 330 this portable PA system is a decent choice. Lightweight and easy to transport it is well suited for buskers.
- With up to 20hrs of battery life dependent on usage the XP106w can last the length of most gigs.
- The cheap price point and high portability make it a solid budget-conscious choice.
- While it does offer Bluetooth it is prone to dropouts.
Samson Expedition XP106w
Should You Buy?
The Roland BA 330 is an appealing choice for those looking for a portable PA system. The high level of directionality is a real draw. Perfect for capturing an audience’s attention. The super-solid build quality is also another highlight. Plus the classic battery style will be appealing to certain performers.
It doesn’t feature all the modern bells and whistles and it is a little heavy. But despite this, it is still one of the best battery-powered PA systems available today. A durable and dependable choice from a well-respected brand.