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Author Topic: Best "packaged" PA for foolproof setup and easy transport. Fender Passport?  (Read 1222 times)

Corey Scogin

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I'm considering purchasing a small all-in-one PA to be used by untrained people for the occasional "we need to borrow a PA with a mic and iPod input" scenario. These are typically for wedding rehearsal dinners (toasts and such), or larger classroom/training groups. There's a chance it'll be used for a singer/songwriter coffeehouse or something too.

The Fender Passport seems to be the most popular for this application. I have heard an older one and was impressed with it's size, ease of setup, and functionality. The sound wasn't amazing but it was fine for speech reinforcement. The intelligibility was good.

Does anyone have any experience with the new versions, the Fender Audio Passport Venue or Fender Audio Passport Event?

Are there other, better alternatives?
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Jonathan Johnson

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I'm considering purchasing a small all-in-one PA to be used by untrained people for the occasional "we need to borrow a PA with a mic and iPod input" scenario.

I don't have any experience with the Fender Passport series.

What I use for this is one of my powered EV ELX112P speakers. It has 2 inputs, input 1 is combo XLR-1/4" or RCA; input 2 is XLR-1/4" with a mic/line pad.

Put it on a stick, plug in a mic and a media device with a 1/8"TRS to 2RCA cord, and you're good to go. If you need more coverage, the speaker has an XLR line level output to feed another powered speaker. Usage is pretty simple, there are only 3 knobs.

The ELX112P does have a fair amount of hiss. I'm sure there are other powered speakers with similar capabilities.

What I see as the advantage of this approach is that the speakers can also be used as monitors or fills in the larger portable system. The disadvantage is that it doesn't pack up into its own shell like the Passport does. And the Passport definitely has more features, but along with that comes more complexity.

Never underestimate the ability of untrained people to hook it up wrong, no matter how simple it is.
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Milt Hathaway

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Simplest and most foolproof is going to be something from Anchor Audio. I have a number of the Liberty units I rent regularly for exactly what you are talking about. You can get them with one or two wireless receivers built in, and with internal rechargeable batteries.

They're not cheap, but they do pay their own way.
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Lee Douglas

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This is my favorite.  The un-powered version is even more fool proof and reliable!



Seriously I'll second the Anchor products, especially with the built in wireless receivers.  Plug it in, turn on the mic and go.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2017, 11:04:42 pm by Lee Douglas »
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John Rutirasiri

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Are there other, better alternatives?

RCF EVOX 8 with a little Mackie 402VLZ4 clamped to the post, on a custom dolly.
But way more $$$ than a Fender Passport.

John R.
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John Roberts {JR}

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I'm considering purchasing a small all-in-one PA to be used by untrained people for the occasional "we need to borrow a PA with a mic and iPod input" scenario. These are typically for wedding rehearsal dinners (toasts and such), or larger classroom/training groups. There's a chance it'll be used for a singer/songwriter coffeehouse or something too.

The Fender Passport seems to be the most popular for this application. I have heard an older one and was impressed with it's size, ease of setup, and functionality. The sound wasn't amazing but it was fine for speech reinforcement. The intelligibility was good.

Does anyone have any experience with the new versions, the Fender Audio Passport Venue or Fender Audio Passport Event?

Are there other, better alternatives?
I clearly have a bias, and have not been following the more recent entries, but I was involved in the definition/design of the Peavey Escort, last century.


As compared to the other toy systems the Escort used 'real" 2-way speakers, 10" with piezo tweeter loaded by a proper horn.

The escort will actually make some decent quality sound (the small GEQ even has FLS feedback locating).

The Escort looks and works pretty much like a real PA, FWIW.

======

For a dirt simple system I would look at a single powered speaker with a mic/line input or two... These used to be pricy for something that didn't suck, but they have had a few decades to make the cheap ones better.


KISS   8)

JR
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Ivan Beaver

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This is my favorite.  The un-powered version is even more fool proof and reliable!




We have a military college near us that still has the old large megeaphone on a stand that they used for the parade grounds.

They could address large areas with pure "acoustic power".

http://www.peachridgeglass.com/2013/02/those-west-coast-megaphone-bottles/
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dick rees

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https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_microphone

Click on the pic on the page...hire those gals.
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Corey Scogin

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Thanks for the suggestions...most of you anyway. You've broadened my product consideration pool a bit.
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Nathan Riddle

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We use the passport system JR talks about at our church (or similar model). Surely decent, personally I'd rather go with a single speaker with small built in mixer. Not sure what fits the bill, but that'd be what I look for.
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John Roberts {JR}

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We use the passport system JR talks about at our church (or similar model). Surely decent, personally I'd rather go with a single speaker with small built in mixer. Not sure what fits the bill, but that'd be what I look for.
The Fender passport used several small speakers in series-parallel so had a strong midrange output but suffered for highs and lows. The Peavey Escort used a 10" woof and piezo tweeter so covered more of the audio range without requiring corrective Eq.

I like the single powered speaker idea too... Something like the Anchor which has surely been knocked off for less money by now, or just buy an Anchor (cry once).

JR
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Lee Buckalew

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Thanks for the suggestions...most of you anyway. You've broadened my product consideration pool a bit.

A couple of others that I have used, in addition to both the Fender and the Peavey are;
The Yamaha Stagepas series.

http://www.yamahaproaudio.com/global/en/products/pasystems/stagepas_400i600i/

The Sennheiser LSP-500 Pro.  It has many advanced features but it is not inexpensive.  Built in iPad control, Bluetooth, WiFi, dual hot swap-able batteries plus corded power, etc.

https://en-us.sennheiser.com/sound-systems-wireless-loudspeaker-lsp-500-pro



Lee
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Caleb Dueck

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I've used the Fender system a few times, and disliked it every time.  You're paying for a neat package rather than quality sound. 

Personally I would put my money into higher quality components.  Turbo M12, Sennheiser XS wireless, and micro iPad mixer flavor of the month will seriously outperform a Passport system. 
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Corey Scogin

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I've used the Fender system a few times, and disliked it every time.  You're paying for a neat package rather than quality sound. 

Personally I would put my money into higher quality components.  Turbo M12, Sennheiser XS wireless, and micro iPad mixer flavor of the month will seriously outperform a Passport system. 

A neat package and ease of use is what I'm looking for as indicated by the OP and title of this thread. Sending untrained people out with multiple components to hook up and wireless networking to troubleshoot is out of the question. The less cables the better.

The Yamaha and Peavey variants above are on my short list as well as just going with a common powered speaker. The Anchor Audio stuff looks like a fit and I trust the recommendation, but it sure is ugly.

I hesitate to ask because I suspect I know the response but the lack of a need to carry a speaker stand would be nice...
Any experience with the sub+tower arrangements? (JBL EON One, Bose L1 Compact, Turbosound IP2000, others?) Budget is ~$1k.

Again, this is primarily for speaking events set up by untrained personnel. Needs a spare input for an iPod and maybe one for a guitar for rare use.
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Nathan Riddle

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The Yamaha and Peavey variants above are on my short list as well as just going with a common powered speaker. The Anchor Audio stuff looks like a fit and I trust the recommendation, but it sure is ugly.

I hesitate to ask because I suspect I know the response but the lack of a need to carry a speaker stand would be nice...
Any experience with the sub+tower arrangements? (JBL EON One, Bose L1 Compact, Turbosound IP2000, others?) Budget is ~$1k.

Again, this is primarily for speaking events set up by untrained personnel. Needs a spare input for an iPod and maybe one for a guitar for rare use.

I've heard the Bose twice. I'd rather have my K12 any day. Basically sounded like all the HF was coming from the floor. They win in ease of setup and probably transportation. Also being able to put sound 'everywhere' might be an ease of use factor, though I'm not so sure that is a good thing.
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