Types of AV Equipment: Guide for Event Planners

Whether it's a corporate conference, a product launch, or a team-building event, AV equipment is the gear that helps you communicate, collaborate, and share information effectively.

January 10, 2024

Let's face it - selecting, setting up and managing AV equipment for events is a major headache. With so many technical details, venue constraints, equipment failures, and last-minute changes, pulling off successful AV is tough. But here's the good news: you don't have to do it alone.

As seasoned veterans with over 16 years perfecting corporate events, concerts, conferences, and more, Catalyst has your back. We make AV look easy because it's what we eat, breathe and live. Our experts become an extension of your team, seamlessly handling the finer details that make you look like a pro.

In this guide, we'll walk through the most common (and most innovative!) AV equipment and how we're using it to create stellar events.

What is AV equipment?

Audio-visual or AV equipment is all of the gear that enhances both sound and visuals at an event. More specifically, AV includes:

  • Audio equipment like microphones, speakers, and mixers that capture, amplify, and distribute clear sound.
  • Video equipment including cameras, projectors, and screens that record, display, and switch between visual elements.
  • Lighting equipment such as stage lights, spotlights, and controllers that illuminate and accent presenters and environments.
  • Interactive technologies like live polling devices, VR headsets, and gaming systems that boost engagement.
  • Accessories like rigging, cabling, and power distribution that enable seamless AV operations.

These AV solutions work together to aid communication, deliver impactful multi-media presentations, and create an immersive environment. Flawlessly integrating audio, video and lighting is key to transporting and wowing the audience of your event.

Why is AV Equipment Important in Event Planning?

AV equipment is key in event planning for various reasons, like: 

  • Enhanced Communication: AV equipment facilitates clear and effective communication. It makes sure all messages are delivered accurately and understood by attendees.
  • Engaging Presentations: With the right AV setup, presentations are more engaging and interactive. This keeps the audience interested and involved.
  • Professionalism: High-quality AV equipment contributes to the overall professionalism of an event, creating a positive impression on attendees.
  • Improved Accessibility: For large events or venues, AV equipment ensures all attendees, regardless of location in the venue, can see and hear the proceedings clearly.
  • Audience Engagement: Interactive AV technologies can increase audience engagement, making events more memorable and impactful.

The lack of proper AV planning leads to a host of issues, from technical glitches to poor audience engagement.

Types of AV Equipment

Here are the most common types of AV equipment.

Audio Equipment

Audio equipment refers to a set of devices that record, manage, and/or play sound.


Microphones capture sound. They come in various types – wired, non-wired, lavalier for individual speakers, handheld for audience interaction, and shotgun for capturing a wide range of sound. Wired microphones offer reliable audio capture, while non-wired microphones provide more mobility, allowing presenters to move freely around the stage.

For small meetings and panels, the Shure MX418D/C microphone provides clear voice pickup at an affordable price.

For large conferences, we recommend the Sennheiser EW 100 G4 wireless microphone system for reliable performance and mobility. High budget events may opt for Shure's Microflex Complete Wired Microphone System for superior clarity.


Speakers deliver sound to the audience. You can choose between powered speakers (with built-in amplifiers), unpowered (need external amplifiers), and passive or active. Other types include PA systems, monitor speakers, and subwoofers. The choice of speakers depends on the size of the venue and nature of the event.

The JBL EON612 portable PA system works well for audiences under 500. For larger conferences, the TOA F-2352C speakers paired with a TOA 900 series amplifier provides widespread coverage across ballrooms and auditoriums. High-end options like the Bose L1 Model II system offer pristine audio reproduction for keynote addresses.


Mixers control and adjust the audio levels.  They’re crucial for managing multiple audio sources and ensuring a smooth audio experience.

The Behringer XENYX 1202FX mixer offers extensive features for under $100. For easier portability between events, the Mackie PROFX12V2 12-Channel Mixer with effects is a superb choice. Events on a budget can even opt for a small Presonus Audiobox USB 96 2x2 USB Audio Interface.


Amplifiers boost the audio signal, making it louder and more powerful. They’re especially important in large venues where the sound needs to reach a large audience.

Audio Recorders

Audio recorders capture and store audio data. This is incredibly useful for post-event analysis or for creating recordings of presentations or lectures.

Video Equipment

Video equipment devices are used to capture, record, process, and display visual content. It ranges from cameras and video recorders to monitors, projectors, and video switchers. 


Cameras capture video footage, which can be live-streamed or recorded for later viewing. The choice of camera depends on the event's requirements, including the desired video quality and the need for features like zoom or image stabilization.

The Logitech C930e webcam captures sharp 1080p video for live streams and video conferencing. Larger gatherings requiring more professional video should use PTZ cameras like the Panasonic AW-HE40. The Sony FDR-AX53 Handycam shoots clear 4K footage for events on a higher budget.

Monitors and Projectors

Monitors and projectors display video content. Monitors are typically used for smaller venues or for displaying information at booths, while projectors are used for large-scale presentations.

Projector Brightness Considerations

When choosing a projector, consider brightness and lumens in addition to resolution. Projector brightness is measured in lumens - the higher the lumens, the brighter the image. A bright projector is needed to clearly display presentations in rooms with ambient light. Consider screen size, seating arrangements, and room lighting when determining ideal lumens. For large screens with wide viewing angles, choose projectors upwards of 10,000 lumens. Smaller rooms may only require 2,000-3,000 lumens.

Video Switchers

Video switchers enable seamless transitions between different video sources. They’re crucial for events with multiple presenters or for presentations that include a mix of live footage and pre-recorded videos.

Video Recorders

Video recorders capture and store video data. They allow for post-event analysis and for creating video records of the event.

Lighting Equipment

Lighting equipment also plays a significant role in setting the mood and enhancing the visual appeal of an onsite event.

Stage Lights

Stage lights illuminate the main area of focus. They’re crucial for highlighting the presenter and for creating a visually engaging environment.


Spotlights are used to highlight specific individuals or objects. They’re used to draw the audience's attention to a particular area of the stage.

LED Lights

LED lights offer energy-efficient and versatile lighting solutions. They’re used to create various lighting effects and to set the mood for the event.

Lighting Controllers

Lighting controllers allow for precise control over all lighting elements. They enable the event planner to adjust the lighting to suit the event's mood and to highlight specific moments.

Innovation In AV Equipment

Interactive audio-visual technology transforms passive spectators into active, engaged participants at your event. These innovative tools empower attendees to contribute in meaningful ways, creating a more memorable and rewarding experience for all.

Here are some of the most innovative ways we boost audience engagement using interactive AV.

  • Install LED video walls to display dynamic branded imagery, graphics and footage to WOW attendees.
  • Use wristbands with built-in LED lights to accentuate key moments through synchronized flashing and lighting effects.
  • Incorporate pyrotechnics and cryo cannons on stage to dramatically highlight major entrances and transitions.
  • Enable live polling, real-time quizzes, and moderated Q&A sessions so attendees can actively participate through their mobile devices.
  • Provide QR codes for instant access to presentations, videos, surveys, contests and other event material.
  • Add gamification elements like leaderboards, points and rewards to encourage friendly competition.
  • Leverage immersive technologies like VR and AR to transport attendees to fantastical worlds.

Whatever your goals, work closely with your AV partner to devise creative ways to wow your audience using the latest event technology. The possibilities are endless for transforming passive spectators into active participants.

AV Equipment Setup and Execution

Proper setup and flawless execution of AV equipment is critical for a successful event experience. Here's how we handle the finer details:

Equipment Placement

Our team strategically places equipment based on room dimensions, seating arrangements, stage locations, and power outlet positions. We evenly position speakers throughout the room for uniform audio coverage. Projectors and displays are carefully placed based on optimal screen size and viewing angles.


We use only high-quality cables and connectors to prevent signal loss or interference. Cables are neatly taped down out of walking paths to avoid tripping hazards. For reliability, we bundle cables and route them through cable trays under carpets.


We ensure adequate power outlets and reliable supply for all AV gear, especially power-hungry lights and projectors. Equipment is placed near power sources or connected via heavy duty extension cords. Backup power banks provide uninterrupted power if needed.


For internet-reliant equipment, we confirm ample wired and WiFi bandwidth throughout the venue during event times. Wireless routers are optimally positioned for extensive, uninterrupted coverage.

Testing and Troubleshooting

We thoroughly test AV systems ahead of time and troubleshoot any issues discovered to prevent problems once the event starts. Our seasoned techs are ready to quickly address any glitches.

Rigging and Ground Support

We determine optimal rigging versus ground-supported setups based on the venue and production needs. Rigging allows for even coverage, while ground support stands offer flexibility. Our goal is maximizing equipment effectiveness for flawless experiences.

Proactive Troubleshooting for Smooth Execution

With audio visual equipment, it's inevitable that some issues will come up. Be prepared by partnering with an experienced live event production company that has experience with troubleshooting and support. Here's just some of what we do to keep things running smoothly.

  • Prioritize vendors with seasoned technicians who can quickly diagnose and fix problems onsite.
  • Thoroughly test all equipment the night before to resolve issues early.
  • Request a dedicated tech manager to oversee execution and assist if needed.
  • Confirm backup equipment is available in case primary gear malfunctions.
  • Ask about remote monitoring capabilities to enable offsite troubleshooting.
  • Provide detailed run-of-show plans so techs are prepared for every transition.
  • Designate an event POC for technicians to coordinate with.
  • Report issues immediately to be swiftly diagnosed and addressed.

With the right preparation and an expert partner, any technical glitches can be easily resolved without disrupting your event. Proactivity is key for flawless event execution.

How To Choose the Right AV Partner

If you want to avoid renting and setting up equipment as well as troubleshooting technical issues, you're at the right place. At Catalyst, we handle all of that for you. We own our own equipment and have decades of experience producing corporate events, so our clients can focus on everything else. That being said, here are the most important tips when choosing your AV partner:

  • Look for true specialists with extensive expertise in your specific event type. Generalists often lack the specialized knowledge to excel.
  • Vet technical competency - do technicians receive ongoing training on the latest gear? Ask about certifications.
  • Confirm they own their equipment for better availability and pricing. Avoid renting third-party equipment.
  • Inspect equipment to ensure it's modern, well-maintained and clean. Upgrade aged gear won't deliver.
  • Request examples and read testimonials from clients with similar events to yours.
  • Ask how they troubleshoot onsite issues and handle last-minute changes. Judge flexibility.
  • Make sure they provide both onsite techs and remote monitoring/support. Dual oversight prevents problems.
  • Inquire about discounts for multi-event packages to maximize value.
  • Ensure they will be your single point of contact for all equipment/services.

By partnering with specialists like Catalyst, you gain peace of mind that your audiovisuals will impress and engage every attendee.