tornredcarpet wrote:Well, if not for sound quality, I would definitely want the passport for its features and design...
The features of the Passport are minimal. It is just a plug and amplify amplifier, with minimal volume and EQ controls, depending on the model. The amount of control over the EQ is MUCH greater with a simple portable stereo, in part because the frequency range is so much broader. Boomboxes/portable stereos are 1) less expensive, 2) more portable (not nearly as heavy), and 3) produce better QUALITY sound for small-mid sized rooms than the Passports. Boomboxes and portable stereos also can come with detachable speakers so you can spread them out.
are PA systems just not recommended altogether? I notice people keep mentioning customized systems or boom boxes.
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I just want to bring in the system, connect my turntable, balance & sound check, and go.
PAs are recommended because they fill larger rooms with better quality sound, not because they are convenient. Thier electronics allow more power to get to the speakers, resulting in "bigger" sound where the volume doesn't need to be as loud (or "pushed") to fill the room with sound. Passports do have sufficient power and electronics (low OHMs), and will fill a larger with volume better than a boombox. But the sound quality will suffer. That is why I dislike them: not because they are PAs. If you have anything up to about 1000 square feet, a big portable stereo will suffice until you can afford a better system.
The biggest downside to a boombox/portable stereo (and historically one of the reasons why Passports ever showed up at smaller Lindy venues) is not having two channels in which to preview and cue the next song, which was a problem when we used only CDs. Most music shops that sell or rent P.A.s don't have cheap setups with dual-CDs attached to a mixer. That's why many people turned the the Passports: because it is often the smallest, least expensive sytem at a music equipment rental/sales shop to which you can attach a mixer with dual CD-players.
However, the stand-alone mixers do not require a full-blown 4 (low) OHM system to get a dual-CD mixer system. You can get stand-alone mixers at Radio Shack for under $100, sometimes combined with an amp so they can attach directly to home-stereo speakers. Alternatively, get a boombox/portable stereo with a "Aux" input, and plug the unpowered mixer into the "Aux" input, and the 2 CDs players to the mixer.
Moreover, now that most DJs use laptops, the dual-CD mixer problem is covered through software. So you can just plug a laptop into an "Aux" input on a decent portable stereo, and you're good to go.