Field Report: Behringer EPA150

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When choosing a PA system, the main factor to take in is how much area needs to be covered with sound. The most looked at aspect is having a system that is big enough. You don't want to under-do it, but at the same time, you can easily over-do it. This is most obvious when the poor remote engineer is lugging PA equipment that requires several trips and a dolly to haul the super-sized speakers into a small room. I have seen and set up remotes that once all the broadcast cases and PA equipment were set up there was no room for the talent in the broadcast area. So I have found a PA that not only takes up little space, but also can provide enough sound to cover the smaller areas (e.g. strip mall stores) and save the engineer's back.

Behringer EPA 150

The Behringer EPA150 is a convenient 75W-per-output channel PA that fits into a case the size of a medium suitcase (13.8" x 24.1" x 7.3"). This portable unit contains two speakers, a mixing board, a zipper case for storing the included microphone, speaker cables and power cord. The case opens to pop out the speakers and then can be propped open to provide protected access to the mixer. The entire unit sets up in seconds. All sections on the mixer are well labeled so that set up is nearly obvious.

Added features

The mixer is unique in that it contains a studio-grade 24-bit effects processor with 100 presets including reverb, chorus, flanger, delay, pitch shifter and various multi-effects. This may not be a requirement for a remote broadcast PA, but this demonstrates the versatility of this system. Musicians would love this portable system for playing the local bar or coffee house and so will radio engineering professionals for filling a remote broadcast with sonic performance.

The mixer also contains the FBQ Feedback Detection system that instantly reveals frequencies for feedback removal. While this is not going to remove all feedback, it will remove those accidental occurrences on most occasions. This is great when using the PA for interviews or when the talent wanders too close to the speakers.

Performance at a glance
Portable, small size
Fast, easy setup
24-bit effects processor
Feedback detection system
Five inputs, four outputs

The microphone included is the Behringer XM1800s and also comes with a mic clip and cable. This is a nice mic with a two-stage pop-filter, presence lift in the mid-range, cardioid pattern with feedback suppression (added plus with the FBQ system built-in to mixer), and balanced XLR output.

Before I go into specifics about the inputs and outputs of this system I would like to point out that this also features the Planet Earth switching power supply for flexibility (100 - 240Vac). Providing noise-free audio, and low power consumption for energy savings (or maybe having to pull off a generator, this will not bog down the generator.)

As for the inputs, this mixer has five inputs including two "invisible" mic pre-amps with phantom power for condenser mics, one microphone/instrument channel and one stereo channel with separate CD input (via RCA jacks). Channels one and two are the mic inputs with XLR and 1/4" jack inputs; channel three is the microphone/instrument channel providing two 1/4" jacks one for microphone or instrument and the other for line-in. Channels four and five are the stereo inputs with 1/4" jack inputs or RCA inputs.

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