Hands-On Review:Travel light, set up fast, and deliver full, clear sound!
Small is beautiful. Passports have been proving that premise for several years in coffee houses, small clubs, schools, and churches everywhere. They may be small, but they're just the right size for many situations and venues. Sophisticated in design, simple to operate, easy to move and stow, quick to set up, and tough enough to take a beating. Most importantly, they perform reliably and produce great sound. Musicians who use them, love them.
In a world where most gear soon becomes outmoded and obsolete, Passport systems are sure to be around for a long time. They may never become a Fender classic like the Strat , Tele , or Precision Bass , but it is unlikely that anyone will design a more compact or better sounding system.
Passports are ingeniously designed and tailored to the real needs of music makers everywhere. If you haul your act around from place to place, perform in modest-sized venues, and don't require a lot of channels, a Passport 150 or 250 is very likely just the system you need. The four-channel 250 version is an ideal setup for guitar/vocal duos or for trios not needing to mic the drum kit. Even larger groups that only need to amplify the vocals can cover a lot of gigs with a 250. Both the 150 and the 250 make a nice stage rig for key-boardists. They are set up with two stereo channels and the speaker design accommodates the keyboard range very well.
Simple and Practical
Their self-contained aspect and simplicity of operation make Passports perfect for musicians who want to be musicians and not sound technicians. Setup only takes a few minutes. Once you're familiar with your system, sound checks become almost unnecessary, just a matter of getting the volume and effects right for the particular room. And this simplicity of operation makes them easy for non-musicians to operate, too - the perfect small-event PA for schools, churches, businesses, baseball leagues, aerobics, or dance classes, etc. And when the party or class is over, the Passport stows away easily and compactly. There's even a compartment to hold all the mikes and cords.
The Passports are complete systems: speakers, mixer, and amps. They even include two microphones with cords and clips, and the mixer has a built-in eight-bit digital reverb. It's everything you need, ready to go right out of the box.
And "go" is really the operative word. The Passport is made for hauling around. The way the two speakers hook together with the mixer/amp section sandwiched between them is pretty cool. You can literally pick up the entire PA with one hand, pack it out the door like a suitcase, plop it into your hatchback, and head off to the gig. The total weight of the 250 is only 53 lbs; the 150 is a mere 40 lbs. The case itself is made of a rugged polymer that can take some hits, while all the critical components are protected inside. Also, when you do get the inevitable road scuffs, the case cleans up easily with a damp cloth.
And once you get to the gig, you can set this baby up in just a couple of minutes. It's that fast, that easy. Just undo the snaps, set the three pieces where you want, plug in the speaker wires and mic cords, plug in the power cord, and turn it on. You're there. The speakers are designed so that they can stand alone, be mounted on stands, or hang on walls. The system can also operate on an optional transformer and battery pack that adds yet another dimension to its portability. You really can use it anywhere!
It's the speakers that really make the Passport a hot sounding system. Each enclosure of the 250 holds four 6-1/2" full-range transducers. They are especially efficient neodymium magnet speakers that weigh only a fraction of what conventional speakers weigh. With two sets of these in operation, you actually end up with a lot of speaker surface for moving air, and in a form that handles both the high and low ends quite nicely. With 250 stereo watts (2 x 125) to drive them, you get clear, strong, well-balanced sound that projects amazingly well.
The mixer section covers the basics and adds several nifty features and lots of practical touches that make it extremely easy to use. The 250 provides four primary channels and eight inputs altogether, inclining two stereo channels. It has digital reverb for sweetening the sound. Another feature is an adjustable ducker (Fender calls it a VIP or Vocal Input Priority) that lowers the output of channels two through four when channel one input is activated. This is a handy feature for DJs or anyone who needs to speak over background music. Other features include tape out jacks for recording performances, selectable main/monitor operation, and even a voltage selector in case you find yourself on tour in a foreign country.
Beautifully Small in Price, Too
What really makes the Passport beautiful is its small price. Considering its superior quality and the fact that the Passport is a total system, you simply can't beat the Musician's Friend deal. Check out the Passport.
Passport P-250 Features & Specs