I have to admit, I’m not usually a fan of the ‘ultra-portable’ PA System. But the Yamaha STAGEPAS250M has changed my mind. This little system is simple enough for a first-time or inexperienced user to set up quickly, and versatile enough to allow for some rather complex setups.
This combination mixer/amplifier/speaker system is lightweight and portable. Since everything but the cords are in one unit, you can be set up and playing within a matter of minutes. And when you’re done, you can just as quickly be packed up and out the door.
Shortly after receiving the STAGEPAS250M, my first setup of the system happened to be in a situation where I needed to quickly set up for a keyboard player. Without even so much as opening up the manual, I was able to get the system up and running in a minute or so.
But the real strengths of the STAGEPAS came when I had time to set it up in a much more complex setting. And, I have to admit, it lives up to the claim of being a very versatile system:
• First, I used an optional MSR250 powered speaker to turn the system into a true stereo sound system. (see comment below…)
• I plugged in a high-quality Phantom-powered microphone into Channel 1 (Channel 2 also has XLR input and Phantom power)
• I plugged in two stereo keyboards, PLUS I still had channels left for connecting a Click-Track as well as an iPod into the provided RCA jacks.
• The real value of this little system comes into play with its Output Flexibility:
• Besides the powered speaker output and the output to the optional self-powered MSR250, this unit has a separate stereo output with its own volume control that can be routed to a House sound system.
• In addition to all this, there is a headphone jack, which I used to feed a wireless in-ear system to monitor myself. With the STAGEPAS250M, I was able to route the Click-Track channel solely to the headphone/monitor speaker outputs while leaving it out of the send to the House sound system. This is a wonderful feature in a sound system so small!
I like, on the one hand, that this mixer has both Reverb and Compressor/Limiter switches on Channels 1 and 2. On the other hand, the inability to set how much Reverb gets applied to each channel, or what type, is a real weakness in this system. The same goes for Compression – one must be able to adjust those types of things for different situations, or they can become virtually useless.
Another good feature is that the Mixer is detachable from the speaker housing. But to mount it on a stand, for instance, you have to buy the optional BMS-10A Mic Stand Adaptor.
My one real complaint with this system is that the speaker is “un-powered” – it is powered by the mixer. Personally, I would have preferred that the speaker itself be powered. Granted, this would have meant one more power cord, but it would have also meant that the mixer would be lighter (for mounting on a stand) and that the optional MSR250 powered speaker would perfectly match sonically. I’m sure the STAGEPAS250M speaker and the MSR 250 are supposed to be matched, but my tests did not find that to be the case. There were some frequency response differences at different volume levels, and matching the volume level between the two speakers is a little tricky. I’m sure the design guys at Yamaha debated this for a while, and opted to have one power cable instead. But, hey, ask for the stars…
That being said, I think this system would make a great choice for a church, group, or individual that wants a very portable, easy to set up sound system.
For all its features and flexibility, the STAGEPAS250M is an excellent value. The price is comparable to other similarly powered portable systems and probably cheaper than buying equivalent components individually.
This system is ideal for a Keyboard Player or other Instrumentalist in need of a personal monitor system with the flexibility of sending a stereo signal to a House system. But it could also be used by a singer performing for small crowds, or even a small band or ensemble needing only a few vocal and line-level channels.
Product Website: http://www.yamahaproaudio.com/products/pa_systems/stagepas250m