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A good small PA for gigs?

BluesBop HarryBluesBop Harry Mexico city, MexicoVirtuoso
edited May 2007 in Archtop Eddy's Corner Posts: 1,379
I`m thinking about buying a small PA system to amplify my band at our gigs, mainly parties, bars, restaurants.
Only the guitars (3) are to be amplified as the soprano sax is loud enough and the bass has it`s own amp if needed.
I saw a Fender Passport PD150 which has two speakers plus the mixer and about 150 watts stereo (also includes a mic and cables).
It goes for around 600-700 bucks, it`s lightweight and portable which is very important, no idea about the sound yet.
Has anyone tried/owns one of these or a similar system?
What other options are out there?
I welcome any advice,


  • ElliotElliot Madison, WisconsinNew
    edited January 2007 Posts: 551
    I've been looking as well. Up until recently I've considered the Yamaha Stagepas a better unit, and cheaper than the Fender, but perhaps better yet is the new Alto OEX 400. It is primarily for musical use, has all the goods to fit the bill, and is even less expensive, ~ $400. Me likey!

    OEX400 Features

    * Complete 400-watt self-contained PA system
    * 7-channel mixer (Three mono, Two Stereo channels)
    * Neutrik® XLR / 1/4" Combi-jack microphone / line inputs on mono channels
    * RCA inputs on Stereo Channels
    * 2-band EQ on all input channels 8)
    * 7-band master graphic EQ 8)
    * Satellite speakers with 10-inch / 1" Coaxial drivers for wide full- frequency response 8)
    * Integrated speaker stand / microphone stand mounts on satellite speakers
    * On board 24-bit DSP w/16 presets – On / Off footswitch included
    * 1/4" monitor / headphone outputs
    * Heavy duty yet lightweight construction
    * Luggage style wheels for ease of transport
    * The complete OEX400 package weighs less than 42lbs
  • BluesBop HarryBluesBop Harry Mexico city, MexicoVirtuoso
    Posts: 1,379
    Hey Elliot!
    Thanks a lot, the Alto system looks great, much better than the Fender, hope I can find one around here....
    Have you listened to how it sounds?

    Anybody else have more options?
  • ElliotElliot Madison, WisconsinNew
    Posts: 551

    No I haven't, and I live pretty near to Full Compass Sound. They'd have to set them up for me in advance, so until now I have been hesitant to ask them to do so until I'd be ready to walk out with one, especially if they have to order the Alto (I know they have the Stagepas in stock). The moment I do, I'll certainly put up my impression of them. I haven't even seen a review of the Alto as of yet, it is that new. On the other hand, maybe I shouldn't care if I don't buy it that day - with the business they do and the size of their warehouse, it's not like I'd be putting them out that much....! :twisted:
  • djangolindjangolin Memphis, TNNew
    Posts: 32
    I used the Fender PD-150 for several years with a 5 piece band. Nice sound in a small package and currently on sale at for $489. The biggest drawback is the lack of phantom power for condenser microphones and the limitation of only 3 inputs. I got around the lack of phantom power (because I much prefer condenser mics to dynamic mics for acoustic instruments) by buying condenser mics with internal battery power supply. Unfortunately, the Yamaha Stage suffers from the same lack of phantom power (but does have more power and 1 additional microphone input). Another similar package is the Peavey Escort 2000 which has 4 inputs and 150 watts and does supply phantom power. When I recently sold my Fender system I decided to purchase 2 Behringer Eurolive B212A 12 in self-powered speakers (450 watts max each) and run them through a four input Peavey PV6 mixer. The Peavey mixer provides phantom power. The total cost of the new package is only $490 with significantly greater power, more bass response, phantom power, and still a simple setup.
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 3,138
    Here's a small one by Carvin. ... 0&CID=SYS1

    It's big advantage is that it can run on battery power. It does not have phantom power.
  • badjazzbadjazz Maui, Hawaii USA✭✭✭ AJL
    Posts: 130
    I wonder why anybody makes a PA or any piece of hardware that has a mic input without phantom power. Don't condenser mics sound better for just about everything? At least doesn't just about everybody want the option?
  • Josh GibsonJosh Gibson FLNew
    Posts: 29
    No, condenser mics are not better for everything. In a typical live music setting, they amplify the background noise WAY too much. In my experience, condenser mics are best used in "Concert" settings, where the audience is attentive and the room noise is at a minimum.
  • I would just use a Schertler UNICO. You can plug 3 guitars into it.
  • BluesBop HarryBluesBop Harry Mexico city, MexicoVirtuoso
    Posts: 1,379
    Thanks everyone, I really appreciate your advice and opinions.
    djangology wrote:
    I would just use a Schertler UNICO. You can plug 3 guitars into it.
    Well... The thing is I`m trying to avoid using pickups in favor of microphones, plus we have vocals in a few songs, I need a mic to speak to the audience in between songs and the sax may need amplification in larger venues.
    Also I saw the aforementioned Alto system (Thanks for the tip Elliot) going for around $350 and according to a friend who owns one they sound terrific, are really light and portable and sturdy enough to take the beating.
    I would love to have a Unico but they go for $1000+ and I believe they are mostly designed to be used with pickup equipped guitars.
    Thanks, anyway maybe someday I`ll make enough dough to get a Unico and Schertler pickup to match!
  • ElliotElliot Madison, WisconsinNew
    Posts: 551
    I just found somebody on the Harmony Central Forum who while he hasn't tried the OEX-400 personally, says he has owned some of Alto's other stuff and would expect the Yamaha Stagepas to be much better in both sound and build quality.
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