Side by Side: Portable PAs
When the show goes outside the studio, there's almost always a need for some kind of sound reinforcement, even if it's just for the off-air (or mock off-air) signal. A boom box is common, but has limitations and rarely fills the space. There's also an advantage to being able to talk directly to the crowd.
We looked at several systems, keeping portability in mind. These five systems are all compact enough to be hauled and set up by one person. Two of them offer battery-power options, which could be useful in some situations. One important accessory would be stands to elevate the speakers.
In all cases, we looked for units with at least one mic input and one line input. Adding a small tuner or a backhaul feed from a codec can provide the on-air feed. And with two line inputs, the studio mix-minus backhaul can be mixed with the local audio feed. An iPod dock might be handy for some.
|Model||Alesis Transactive Mobile||Fender Passport 150 Pro||Roland BA-330||Samson Expedition XP308i||Yamaha Stagepas 300|
|Style||all-in-one||speakers and amp||all-in-one||speakers and amp||speakers and amp|
|Inputs||1x XLR/TRS mic, 1x TS instrument/line, 1x RCA stereo||2x mic XLR or line TS, 2x line 1/4" TS or 3.5mm TRS||2x mic XLR or TRS instrument, 2x TS stereo line, TRS link, RCA aux||4x XLR or TRS mic/line, stereo TS/RCA, stereo RCA||4x XLR or TRS mic/line, stereo TS/RCA, stereo RCA|
|Outputs||1/4" TRS line||3.5mm TRS line||stereo TS link, stereo TS line||stereo TRS line, RCA||stereo TS line, RCA|
|EQ, Effects||none||tone on channel, master tone, reverb||tone on channel, bass and treble on master, antifeedback, reverb||2-band EQ on channel, speech/music master, reverb||2-band EQ on channel, speech/music master, reverb|
|Frequency Range||63Hz - 80kHz||20Hz - 40kHz||not provided||20Hz - 20kHz||20Hz - 20kHz|
|Output Power||16W||2x 150W||2x 15W||2x 150W||2x 150W|
|Speaker Spec||8" woofer, tweeter||5.25" woofer, 2.75" tweeter||4x 6.25" woofer, 2x tweeter||2x 8" woofer, 2x 1" tweeter||2x 8" woofer, 2x 1" tweeter|
|Special Inputs||iPod dock||-||-||iPod dock||-|
|Features||built-in wheels and extending handle, battery indicator, iPod charger, internal speaker pole mount||joins as single unit for transport, internal speaker mount, storage bin in amp||tilt-back stand, pole-mount adapter, battery indicator||joins as single unit for transport, internal speaker mount, storage bin in speaker, amp can be removed||amp can be removed from speaker, storage bin in speaker|
|AC Power||100 - 120Vac, 220 - 240Vac||100 - 120Vac, 220 - 240Vac||12-16V/4A from ac adapter||100 - 240Vac||100 - 120Vac|
|Battery Power||internal lead-acid||none||8x AA batteries||none||none|
|Battery Life||12 hours||-||alkaline: 8 hours|
Ni-MH: 10 hours
|Dimensions (inches)||15 x 18.5 x 11||19 x 25 x 11||16.375 x 14 x 20||19.1 x 20.1 x 10.6||10.875 x 18 x 10|
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