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  • The Portable PA & the Solo Performer

    I

  • #2
    I've played through one of the Fender Passport systems in a local music store once. I was not very impressed. It sounded alright, but the more you crank these things the worse they sound. Needless to say I didn't think it would serve my needs so I didn't buy it.

    I also looked at the Yamaha Stagepas system. I think it was the larger one (500). This time I didn't actually play through it, but listened to CD playback. I wasn't all that impressed with this one either. It had little to nothing to offer on the low end frequencies.

    I think I will agree with most people on this forum when it comes to these "portable, affordable systems". They are "OK" for low volume, very small events. But you will not get great sound quality out of them.

    The only portable system that I think was pretty decent was the Bose L1 system. Those seem to work well for solo/acoustic stuff. But they are pretty pricey.

    If, as you say, you are using this for solo/acoustic stuff. Depending on where you are using it, I would reccommend 1 good powered speaker on a stand ($500-700), small mixer ($250-500), a decent mic ($100), and all your cables.
    If you prefer, you can go the other way and buy a decent powered mixer($300-700), an unpowered speaker or two ($150-500 each).

    Keep in mind, that for a $1000 budget you will not have a "great" system. But you can definitely have something better than the prebuilt portable systems and still be pretty compact and within your budget.
    <div class="signaturecontainer">Anthony<br />
    <br />
    -Gibson Songwriter A/E Guitar<br />
    -Martin DC1E A/E Guitar<br />
    -Alvarez PF90SC A/E Guitar<br />
    -Soundcraft EFX8<br />
    -2 JBL PRX 512M's on stands<br />
    -TC Helicon VSM300XT Personal Monitor<br />
    -Radial JDI Passive Direct Box<br />
    -Whirlwind IMP2 Direct Box<br />
    -Electro Voice ND767A Mic<br />
    -Sure Beta 87C Mic<br />
    -Audio Technica MB4k Condenser<br />
    -Tascam US144 MKII USB Interface</div>

    Comment


    • #3
      Peavey Xr8600 is alot of bang for the buck. Great little powered mixer. You could even go a with a lesser powered version of the XR series. That coupled with a few speakers and you have yourself an ok system. Not to mention the XR series may have some extra features you may enjoy. The unit is solid and will last you a long time. You can upgrade your speakers as funds allow and still use your others for monitors. I reccomend the PR series speakers from Peavey either Pr15's or 12's. For under a $1000 I think you would be very happy with this set up and find it very upgrade friendly.

      Comment


      • #4
        What kind of music are you playing, and in what type of venue? I think that will determine what kind of gear will do the job.

        For example, I've played in tiny bars using only my $300 Genz Benz Shenandoah JR for acoustic guitar and vocals. It sounds great, and it's just a little 35 watt amp with a 10" speaker and bullet tweeter. Another great option would be the new Shenandoah 150LT with an extension cab. That would be a killer acoustic guitar + vocals rig. Very, very portable too.

        My basement rock band has one of the original Fender Passport PA systems for our practice space. We call it "The R2 unit." It does a decent enough job for vocals at rehearsal, but it's just a glorified boom box. The newer ones are probably better. I could see the Passport being a viable solution in some situations, but I wouldn't recommend one for solo performing.

        Peavey powered mixers are a great option. I just bought a used rental stock Peavey XR600G for $260. I've seen it's predecessor, the XR600F, sell for $200. I wouldn't go any older than that, since the prices of the older XR mixers don't seem to fall off much more. Either way, the XR600 powered mixers are legendary for reliability. I see tons of XR600B's still in service, and those were made 25 years ago. Add a pair of monitor wedges/PA speakers and you could have a decent coffee house rig.

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        • #5
          Venue would be [like] the coffee club and Type of Music would be Acoustic Guitar/Keyboards/Vocals/Harmonizer/drum machine = Classic, Folk, Reggae, Jazz = a soft mixture.

          I have heard from some folks that recommend the Fender Passport PD-500 System because of the sound and portability. The Yamaha Stagepas 500 portable is also recommended [The fact that the PA can sit on a MIC stand }. So there seems to be mixed reviews. What I do gather is that no system will do everything, and every one of these systems has a particular feature that either draws you to it or creates a negativity.

          Thats cool about the Peavey X8600, did not notice that system before until you mentioned it. Noticed no one has ventured to mention KUSTOM oke:

          Comment


          • #6
            the coffee club and Type of Music would be Acoustic Guitar/Keyboards/Vocals/Harmonizer/drum machine = Classic, Folk, Reggae, Jazz = a soft mixture.

            I have heard from some folks that recommend the Fender Passport PD-500 System because of the sound and portability. The Yamaha Stagepas 500 portable is also recommended [The fact that the PA can sit on a MIC stand }. So there seems to be mixed reviews. What I do gather is that no system will do everything, and every one of these systems has a particular feature that either draws you to it or creates a negativity.

            Thats cool about the Peavey X8600, did not notice that system before until you mentioned it. Noticed no one has ventured to mention KUSTOM oke:



            In my opinnion...Kustom is crap. But that is strictly MY opinnion.

            One thing to add, if you are going to be running keyboard/bass/drums/drum machine through the PA, then I would go with at least 15" 2-way speakers, possibly even a sub. 12" speakers will work, but won't produce a great bass response for those instruments.
            <div class="signaturecontainer">Anthony<br />
            <br />
            -Gibson Songwriter A/E Guitar<br />
            -Martin DC1E A/E Guitar<br />
            -Alvarez PF90SC A/E Guitar<br />
            -Soundcraft EFX8<br />
            -2 JBL PRX 512M's on stands<br />
            -TC Helicon VSM300XT Personal Monitor<br />
            -Radial JDI Passive Direct Box<br />
            -Whirlwind IMP2 Direct Box<br />
            -Electro Voice ND767A Mic<br />
            -Sure Beta 87C Mic<br />
            -Audio Technica MB4k Condenser<br />
            -Tascam US144 MKII USB Interface</div>

            Comment


            • #7
              I like the Yamaha Stagepas way better than the Fender passports I have heard. Though it won't rattle the walls, I found the Stagepas had a nice top end sparkle and a pretty full sound considering it's size. It had a very ear pleasing tone. The passports on the other hand were mostly midrange and got annoying very quickly... Al
              <div class="signaturecontainer">KV2 KX12s - Yamaha DXR15s, RCF ART 310A , Yamaha DXR8 - Yamaha DXS12 subs, Wharfedale Titan 12 actives, Yamaha MG12/4 mixer X 2, Peavey PV10 mixer, Yorkville PGM8 mixer - Many Sony MD players (home and portable), Shure cordless microphone and a variety of LED lighting effects.</div>

              Comment


              • #8
                I am a singer/songwriter artists who performs solo. PA is a big challenge. When I was looking, my budget was to stay under $800. I listened to the Fender stuff - vocals and guitar sounded OK, piano and backing tracks sounded like crap. I also checked out the Yamaha systems - vocals and piano sounded good, but no low end so again, the backing tracks sounded like crap.

                I ended up buying a Mackie power amp (I already had a decent Yamaha mixing board), two Peavey PR12 speakers, and two speaker stands.

                And it sounded somewhere between OK and good, but STILL no real low end. So I finally gave up and bought a pair of PR 15's. So NOW when I gig small places, I bring half my speakers. I put one PR 15 on the floor and I put one PR 12 on top of the PR 15. In some cases I'll put it on a pole. It's definitely bending the rules, but it sounds good. The 15 sitting on the floor make my drum loops and bass sound WAY better. The PR 12 is higher and covers the high end decently. And for outdoor gigs, I use all 4 speakers, with the 15's on the floor or stage and the 12's on poles. And it sounds pretty good.

                The nice things about the PR speakers are the cost and the weight. You can buy lightweight speakers that sound much better, but at 3 times the cost. I had a budget. Or you can buy the much famed Yamaha Club speakers for a bit more money than the PR's, but they weigh quite a bit more.

                When you're a solo artist playing with backing tracks, those backing tracks had better sound great - it's the difference between sounding like a band and sounding like karaoke. One PR 15 sitting on the floor driven by a decent amp will give you all the bass you need for a small gig. Then it's nice to have another speaker higher up to give you better coverage - otherwise you're aiming your high end at everyone's knees.

                Some might wonder why I didn't just buy the PR 15 subwoofers, since that's practically how I'm using them. The reason is that I wanted to have a very flexible system. I could take just one 15 to a gig, or I can take my usual 15 and 12 combo, OR I could take two of the 15's, or for just general vocal PA announcement stuff two of the 12's, OR all 4 speakers.

                The only problem I have now is that I need a more powerful amp to drive all four. The one I have now is OK but I really need about 600 wpc into 4 ohms to drive all 4 speakers. But that's for the future. And when that day comes, I'll buy the Yamaha mixer/amp combo.
                <div class="signaturecontainer">---<br />
                Richard MacLemale<br />
                <a href="http://www.richardmac.com" target="_blank">My Website at www.richardmac.com</a></div>

                Comment


                • #9
                  As much as I like the Peavey PR series for what they are....they can't escape what they are...entry level lowest-cost speakers. And that's the exact same problem the pre-packaged portable systems display...lousy speakers.

                  For under $1000 you're gonna be pretty much stuck with one entry-level type system or another, or shop used and score some decent powered speakers and a small mixer with built-in effects.

                  When you move up in budget, there are some pretty dramatic improvements in sound and portability available to you. IMHO there is no sub-$1000 portable system that is gig-worthy.
                  Write something...

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                  • #10
                    This is my combination and I am really happy with it: really portable and powerful: I've even played in halls for 300 people without problems:

                    2x 10' RCF Art 310A (just 10 Kg. each)
                    1 mixer Yamaha (MG82CX)

                    The whole set cost me about 1000 Euros in Spain (taking into account that music equipment is much cheaper in the USA than in Spain, I think that although the Euro is more expensive than the dollar, you can get this for about 1000$ or a just a bit more in the States).
                    If RCF is a little too expensive in the USA (it's Italian), I am sure you can get some really nice self-powered speakers of good American brands; Peavey, Yorkville, etc. though my 2 little RCF "spagettis" :-) really ROCK!!!!
                    <div class="signaturecontainer"><a href="http://www.telefonica.net/web2/josesuller/" target="_blank">http://www.telefonica.net/web2/josesuller/</a></div>

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I'll add a vote of confidence for the Yamaha StagePAS series.

                      My singer has the StagePAS 300 system and purely for putting vocals and acoustic guitar through, it easily keeps up at bar gigs where we play backline only and produces a good clean musical sound. This is with a rock covers band and would be 100 - 150 capacity venues.

                      In response to the comments about a lack of bottom end, we had to provide intermission music through it at short notice at a private birthday party we played at and with the eq set flat/5 out of 10/12 o'clock position it did lack some bottom end. Turn the bass control on the channel up to 6-7 / 1-2 o'clock and a surprising amount of musical low end came out. This was playing some dance music from CD.

                      As a single lift from the car system for venues in the capacity range above and the use we put it to, I think it's outstanding. Biggest drawback to me is that of the six channels it provides, only 4 have XLR inputs and ideally I'd like every channel to have that option.
                      <div class="signaturecontainer"><div class="bbcode_container">
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                      <div class="bbcode_quote_container"></div>

                      <div class="bbcode_postedby">
                      <img src="images/misc/quote_icon.png" alt="Quote" /> Originally Posted by <strong>richierobins</strong>
                      <a href="showthread.php?p=31259735#post31259735" rel="nofollow"><img class="inlineimg" src="images/buttons/viewpost-right.png" alt="View Post" /></a>
                      </div>
                      <div class="message">Mistaking a fanny for an arse is probably the reason behind their obsession with SIIHP.</div>

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                      Comment


                      • #12
                        It's slightly out of your price range, but Sound Projections make the best all-in-one portable PA out there. http://www.soundprojections.com/

                        Do a google product search and you'll find prices.
                        <div class="signaturecontainer"><a href="http://www.ross-hunter.com" target="_blank">www.ross-hunter.com</a><br />
                        <br />
                        Gits: Dean ML79F, Ampeg Dan Armstrong AMG-100, PRS SE Soapbar II, Gretsch G100, P-Bass w/ DiMarzio Split P <br />
                        Effects: Line6 POD X3 Live<br />
                        Amps: [looking for a 2x12 combo], Carvin R1000 =&gt; Gallien Kreuger 410RBH</div>

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          It's slightly out of your price range, but Sound Projections make the best all-in-one portable PA out there. http://www.soundprojections.com/

                          Do a google product search and you'll find prices.


                          220% of the OP's budget is "slightly out of your price range" ??? And that's the cheapest system...the big system is over $4000. These are not intended for live music...even their descriptions cite basic speech PA use.

                          But the packages are discounted a whole 3%.....
                          Write something...

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                          • #14
                            I'll add a vote of confidence for the Yamaha StagePAS series.
                            Biggest drawback to me is that of the six channels it provides, only 4 have XLR inputs and ideally I'd like every channel to have that option.


                            Thanks for the uplifting comment on the Stage pas. Now I see that the STAGEPAS 500 with 500 W (250W X2) Speakers with 10" woofers, and a 10-Channel MIXER. Thats 4 more channels than the 300. What do you think? Good Enough?

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                            • #15
                              I have excellent luck with a pair of Behringer powered speakers (B212A - $220 apiece) and my little Behringer mixer ($80). It sounds great (more low end than you'd expect), is pretty light, and gives me what I need.

                              If you want more bass response, you can add another $80 per speaker and get the B215A powered speakers - they're quite a bit bigger than the B212As, but have a bit more thump.

                              Some have had reliability issues, but I've been using Behringer stuff for almost 10 years and never had a single piece of their gear break down on me (except from something stupid I did).

                              I use my B212A as a stage monitor for my bass (I run direct), vocals, etc. now, and it sounds great. So if you ever have the need to make a bigger system in the future, you have an instant stage monitor system with the B212A...

                              Brian V.
                              "The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt." - Bertrand Russell

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