PA’s for Vans

PA Options for Ford Transit, Mercedes Sprinter, GMC – Chevy, Nissan Vans and Ram ProMaster

Listed below are common PA options based on your vehicle’s year and type.

For many years a car stereo was a car stereo, it came with a radio, CD player and an AUX input socket to connect your phone to play music. So at Ready2Talk we made our super popular PA 5 Series PA systems that easily connected into the AUX socket and they worked great!

Today, many vehicle manufacturers are supplying stereos that are more integrated into the vehicles with heater controls, safety options, Sat Nav, internet and the new HD FM radios, but most importantly, they removed the AUX input socket. In these cases, this means we have to rethink PA options a bit.

What about using the USB or Bluetooth?

We are often asked about connecting a PA through USB, also about making a headset that connects into the stereo through Bluetooth? This would make way too much sense, but unfortunately it is not possible, here are the reasons why.

1) USB sockets are used for digital information and the sound coming out of a PA is analogue. Although you can get USB to 3.5mm mic adaptor boxes for computers, the van stereos don’t have the software to support the conversion.

2) Bluetooth suffers from a speed issue causing a slight sound delay from the internal Digital to Analogue (DA) converter. You might have noticed this slight echo when talking on BT through your phone? It might not seem like a big deal, but when you are talking and listening to yourself in the same vehicle, the echo will drive you and your customer’s nuts. The bigger problem is being able to pair a headset PA to your BT in the stereo. Unfortunately your stereo and a headset PA system are both are classified as “Slaves” and cannot pair together. Good idea, but sorry, no go.

Options

Listed below are your options based on your vehicle type and by model year. In some cases there are more than one option available, so hopefully there should be a solution to fit your needs.  If you are not 100% clear, please reach out to us and we’d be happy to answer ANY questions you might have.

 

Ford Vans

2011 to 2014 Econoline

In these years, almost all passenger vans came with the factory stereo including a dash mounted metal 3.5mm AUX input socket.  Connection of our PA 5 series systems is a breeze, either the PA 5 Portable that plugs into the cigarette lighter socket or the PA 5 hardwired version connected to the fuse box for power. When you want to use your PA, just push your stereo’s AUX button, adjust your stereo volume and start talking into your microphone. Super simple.

2015 to 2017 Transit

Most of the stereos came with a small screen display, (no back up camera or Sat Nav) and with a round metal 3.5mm AUX input socket to the right of the USB slot in the center console just ahead of the drink tray.

Connection of our PA 5 series systems is a breeze, either the PA 5 Portable that plugs into the cigarette lighter socket or the PA 5 hardwired version connected to the fuse box for power. When you want to use your PA, just push your stereo’s media button and choose AUX mode, adjust your stereo volume and start talking into your microphone. Super simple.

2018 to 2019 Transit

In late 2017 some Transit Vans started coming with large screen radio displays, back up cameras and Sat Nav, but Ford removed the AUX input socket.

You have a few PA options, depending on whether you rent daily, short term lease, long term lease or own your van.

Daily Rental – Short Term Use

If you need a super portable option for rental vans, the FM 1012 portable FM modulator with the PA 5 Portable can connect to ANY Transit van in seconds. Because the FM 1012 is not hard wired and runs on an internal rechargeable battery, we recommend this as a short term solution only!  It gets a PA into a van for a couple days then hand your van back to the rental company.

Leased or 6 Month Rental

Because the factory removed the AUX socket, we designed our TAK (Transit AUX Kit), a hard wired interference free FM modulator that connects between your antenna and stereo with no invasive vehicle modification.  It does require some basic installation and can be done easily by a local car stereo guy generally in 2 hours.  Once installed, it gives you an AUX input socket like the earlier year vans and then our PA 5 Portable can be connected in seconds.

When you want to use your PA, just tune your FM radio to 88.7MHz or 89.1MHz, adjust the stereo’s volume and start talking. This combo offers a clean look, great sound and is easy to use.

The TAK and the PA 5 Portable is a great option for short term leases, when your lease is up, just unplug the PA 5 Portable and remove the TAK, then it’s ready for next year.  Since the TAK is only $149, some people leave the TAK in when they return the van, depending on your local stereo shops removal cost.

Owned or Long Term Lease

If you own your van or it’s on a long term lease, you’re best value is our PA 63 amplified PA system.  Interestingly, it’s also your lowest cost option.

It’s often installed in the cubby hole under the drink tray and it connects between your stereo output and you factory speakers, just like adding an aftermarket car amp.  The PA 63 offers great sound with simple operation, it comes with a separate mic volume control and automatically mutes the stereo when the mic is turned on.  You can connect any of our microphones from hand held to headset and wired to wireless.  It’s a great basic PA system that will last many years.

If you offer more than a basic narrated tour, like Interactive tours with a step on guide or maybe two guides, then our premium PA 64 is your answer.  With the two mic inputs, it can even act as a 2 way intercom.

If you want to play music while on tour, the PA 64 offers variable music muting with the “Audio Mute” control on the front panel.  Now you can have the music continue to play, dim down slightly or shut off completely when the microphone is in use.  How about city tours by day and Karaoke tours at night?

Offering the best sound and control functions makes the PA 64 a popular choice for many van conversion companies.

2020 and up Transit

The 2020 Transit vans have received a major interior update, including the stereo and dash control design. After much testing, we have confirmed that the same options used for the 2018 – 2019 Transit vans (see above) can be used for the 2020 and beyond. Install our TAK with a PA 5 Portable, PA 63, or for a premium system, the PA 64.  Your lowest cost option is the PA 63, but as listed in the 2018-2019 info above, your choice can depend on whether your van is short term or long term.  If you have any questions, please call.

 

GMC / Chevy Vans

2012 and up Savana – Express

Almost all of these vans came with a 3.5mm AUX input socket on the front of the stereo.  Connection of our PA 5 series systems is a breeze, either the PA 5 Portable that plugs into the cigarette lighter socket or the PA 5 hardwired version connected to the fuse box for power. When you insert the PA’s output cable into the AUX socket, the stereo automatically changes to the AUX mode, adjust your stereo volume and start talking into your microphone. Super simple.

 

Mercedes Benz Sprinter Vans

2011 to 2018 Sprinter

All these  factory stereos came with a factory AUX input socket so connection of our PA 5 series was a breeze. Use either the PA 5 Portable that plugs into the cigarette lighter socket or the PA 5 hardwired version connected to the fuse box for power.  With the earlier vans, the sockets are generally located inside the rear of console pouch, the later years are on the drivers side of the dash top cubby.

If your van was customized, the manufacturer often would often replace the factory stereo with an aftermarket big screen stereo possibly with a DVD player. In this case the best system would be our PA 63 or PA 64 amplified PA system that connects between the new stereo and the vehicles speakers. This is an easy system to operate, just turn on the mic and whatever the stereo is playing will automatically mute down or off.

The PA 63 is a great performing, value based amplified PA. The PA 64 offers a number of great features, 2 mic inputs, AUX input on the front and rear, adjustable music muting so you can have the music or DVD partially mute in sound when the mic is in use. We also make the RMK-5 (Remote Mounting Kit) for custom mounting and the RME (Rear Mic Extension) so you can have a second mic socket for a step on guide.

2019 Sprinter

These vans are completely different from all the earlier vans and now have a stereo which is VERY integrated into the vehicles operations. Also, the AUX input socket has been removed so unfortunately, the PA 5 Series systems can no longer be used.

Fear not, you have a couple options, one temporary and one installed.

Option 1 – (temporary solution)

Although this might seem like a step back in time, but the simplest solution is to install either our PA 63 or PA 64 connected to a separate pair of box speakers mounted under the rear seats, totally isolated from the vehicles stereo (see box speaker info below). This is the only option for adding a PA and not incurring much installation labor, so we recommend this for short term leases and rentals. They can be so temporary that the power can be connect into the cigarette lighter socket.

Being a completely separate system from the van, it does not impact the vehicles warranty, providing you are mindful of the installation process. (If in doubt, please consult your Sprinter Dealer)

If you are wanting to play music while on tour, you could play music from the factory stereo and talk on the PA 63 or PA 64 at the same time. But, if you want a more control that automatically dims the music when the mic is in use, connect your phone into the AUX input socket on the PA 64. Now you can have the music continue to play, shut off completely or dim down automatically just by where you set the “Audio Muting” knob.

Box Speakers

Because the Sprinter Vans are known for being very quiet, in most cases you would only need 2 box speakers. We recommend that you don’t mount them up high, but place the speakers on the floor, against the drivers side wall under the second and last rear seats to distribute the sound evenly throughout the van.

If you prefer not to have box speakers, you could have flush mounted speakers installed. The speaker cost is similar to box speakers, but you would require a car stereo store to install them for you, so there would be additional labor cost.

Choosing the Speakers

There are many speaker options online, both box and flush style. The DUAL LU43PB have been proven to be good value. If you have ANY questions, please reach out to us and we would be happy to help you with speaker options at1 888 724-5351

Option 2 – (permanent solution)

If you have a long term lease or own your van and prefer a more integrated system, or you are having your Sprinter customized, the PA 63 or PA 64 is your best choice,  They are installed between the stereo and your factory speakers, just like installing an aftermarket amplifier. We offer a number of diagrams showing the different ways to configure the installation, but we always recommend that the installation is done by a Mercedes Benz authorized dealer, certified van conversion company or an experienced car stereo installer.

The PA 63 offers great sound with simple operation, it comes with a separate mic volume control and automatically mutes the stereo when the mic is turned on.  You can connect any of our microphones from hand held to headset and wired to wireless.  It’s a great basic PA system that will last many years.

If you are wanting to offer more than a basic narrated tour, like Interactive tours with a step on guide or maybe two guides, then our premium PA 64 is your answer.  It can do all that and with the two mic inputs, it can even act as a 2 way intercom.

If you want to play music while on tour, it offers variable music muting with the “Audio Muting” control on the front of the PA 64.  Now you can have the music continue to play, dim down slightly or shut off completely when the microphone is in use.  How about city tours by day and Karaoke tours at night?

Offering the best sound and control makes the PA 64 a popular choice for many van conversion companies.

 

Nissan NV Passenger Vans

2012 and up

Almost all passenger vans came with the factory stereo including a dash mounted 3.5mm AUX input socket.  Connection of our PA 5 series systems is a breeze, either the PA 5 Portable that plugs into the cigarette lighter socket or the PA 5 hardwired version connected to the fuse box for power. When you want to use your PA, just push your stereo’s AUX button, adjust your stereo volume and start talking into your microphone. Super simple.

Ram ProMaster Passenger Vans

2017 and up

Almost all passenger vans came with the factory stereo including a dash mounted 3.5mm AUX input socket.  Connection of our PA 5 series systems is a breeze, either the PA 5 Portable that plugs into the cigarette lighter socket or the PA 5 hardwired version connected to the fuse box for power. When you want to use your PA, just push your stereo’s AUX button, adjust your stereo volume and start talking into your microphone. Super simple.

Summing Up

All these options offer a great sounding, easy to use PA system that is well tested for your specific vehicle.

Don’t forget, we offer all types of microphones, hand mics to headsets, wired to wireless, even a touchless gooseneck mic!

We hope this info helped to shorten your quest in finding a viable PA option. If you have ANY questions, please give us a call at 1 888 724-5351 Thanks!