We try out Yamaha's first entry to the portable column PA market.
There's been no shortage of mini line–array PA systems in recent years, so I was a little surprised that Yamaha waited this long to develop their own take on the concept. The benefits of compact line arrays are portability, clarity of reproduction — especially over the vocal range — good resistance to feedback, wide-but-shallow dispersion and minimal disruption to sight lines in smaller venues. A system like the Stagepas 1K won't be for everyone, as it probably won't move enough air to satisfy a loud rock band, but for solo artists, duos, and bands working in smaller pubs and clubs who need a PA mainly to carry vocals and the odd acoustic guitar or keyboard, such systems are often ideal. The maximum SPL for the StagePas 1K is a healthy 119dB at one metre. A single system is of course mono, but that isn't a serious limitation for most real-life applications and it is possible to add a second system if you need stereo and/or more power.
Powered by a total of 1000 Watts of Class‑D amplification, fed from a 240Hz active crossover, the speaker line-up sees 10 1.5–inch drivers handling the mids and highs, teamed with a 12–inch ported sub in the base unit. Because the line–array drivers are so small, no tweeter is required to reach those high frequencies so there's no mid/high crossover to cause problems. The total system frequency response is quoted as 37Hz to 20kHz at the -10dB points.
All the mid/high drivers reside in the top third section of the column, the lower section being essentially a two-part spacer and conduit for the connections. It is possible to use just one or even no spacers if required, as may be the case when the speakers are set up on a high stage and you need to keep the drivers close to the audience's head height.
All the column sections have integrated connectors so no additional cables are needed. The lowest three drivers in the array are stepped back to modify the distribution pattern, which in this case is specified as 170 degrees wide but just 30 degrees in the vertical plane. This makes the best use of the available sound energy and also helps keep sound away from reflective ceilings.
A further benefit of line arrays is that they have a longer 'throw' than traditional boxes, as the wavefront they produce is...