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Review: Yamaha STAGEPAS 600BT Portable PA System

Test driving a lightweight portable sound system offering Bluetooth connectivity, SPX digital reverbs, feedback suppression and more.

By M. Erik Matlock February 11, 2019

STAGEPAS 600BT portable PA system from Yamaha (Credit all images: Yamaha)

The mixer itself is very user-friendly and intuitive. I like it when actual audio engineers are involved in product development. The mixer is absolutely purpose-designed, and as a result is great for what it does.

For tweaking the tone of a mix, Yamaha got creative with the unit’s limited space. The lack of a graphic EQ was just starting to irritate me when I found the 1-Knob Master EQ, which as the name describes, is a single knob for adjusting the overall shape of the sound. My first reaction was not positive – how was I ever going to achieve 129 dB without a legitimate EQ?

The knob actually controls presets for various reinforcement situations, from basic speech to music to an additional bass boost. It was quite effective once I was able to separate my “angry control-freak” impulses and just work with it. The mixer also offers built-in feedback suppression and a very respectable FX unit that also works via a single knob.

But the larger question looms: How does it sound?

My first “tuning” was indoors. I found myself tweaking the individual EQ on the Bluetooth channel for more high-end and slightly more lows. Once that was done, I really couldn’t find anything to grumble about. We ran a few classic tracks through it and couldn’t reach the point of distortion before someone begged for mercy. It’s substantially louder than I expected and still clean. Pretty impressive.

Once we prepared to turn the STAGEPAS system loose on its first campground show, we found that the lack of parallel jacks on the loudspeakers to be a limitation. Since the venue was “a little light” on cabling, that limitation kept them off the speaker stands. So rather than serving as mains for the first gig, I deployed them as floor monitors, where they worked quite nicely in general, enhanced by the cabinet monitoring angle.

After talking with several of the performers, everyone was happy. They were all very satisfied with the coverage and sound quality. The house levels never topped 90 dB (A-weighted) for the entire show, so we weren’t really pushing it. At subsequent events, with more cables, the STAGEPAS system provided house music and supported multiple solo performers beautifully.

The Master EQ knob proved more than adequate, but the “old sound tech” in me would have felt better with some type of graphic EQ. However, at the levels this system is typically used, it’s not an issue but simply a matter of the user adapting to it.

STAGEPAS is ideal for smaller venues like coffee houses, clubs and churches of 100 seats and less, and for live applications along these lines. For traveling performers needing a full-range system for gigs of this scale, the system is hard to beat. In fact, thinking back to my years of working trade shows, corporate training events, and breakout rooms, this system would also be excellent in meeting the needs of many of these applications.

Clean effects, dedicated instrument inputs, quiet preamps, a user-friendly mixer, and lightweight loudspeakers with solid performance – add it up, and STAGEPASS is a quality system package at a very reasonable price. I will gladly recommend it without reservation for smaller applications, specifically those needing shorter loudspeaker cables.


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About M. Erik

M. Erik Matlock
M. Erik Matlock

Senior Editor, ProSoundWeb
   
Erik worked in a wide range of roles in pro audio for more than 20 years in a dynamic career that encompasses system design and engineering in the live, install and recording markets. He also spent a number of years as a church production staff member and Media Director, and as an author for several leading industry publications before joining the PSW team. Visit ErikMatlock.com to read more.
http://erikmatlock.com

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