Yamaha Stagepas 1K MKII review: What is it?
For many artists and small groups starting out, the search for a practical PA system can be a daunting one. Who wants to spend their valuable time working through the intricacies of a full PA system, separate amplifier and 16-channel mixer? Thankfully, Yamaha has created a neat All-In-One system that ticks a whole host of boxes.
The Stagepas 1K MKII comprises an active 12” sub with a column-style array speaker that attaches either directly to the sub or can be separated by one or two spacers. The array enclosure includes ten 1.5” drivers, which in combination with the subwoofer generate a quite astonishing 125 dB sound output. The MKII improves on its last iteration with an increased maximum output and a more intuitive DSP.
With a smart 5-channel in-built mixer with integral EQ, effects and shaping options, Yamaha has clearly designed every inch of this unit to be functional and user-friendly. The addition of Bluetooth streaming and control really pushes the possibilities of this system far beyond that of a standard small PA. A separate footswitch (not included) can also be used to toggle the Reverb on and off. A ducker switch is a neat little extra to tail off the backing music whilst speaking.
Yamaha should also be applauded for including a quality padded soft case which comfortably houses the entire system, as standard. Here is a PA solution that can legitimately claim to be portable, with the entire unit being of a size where it could fit in most boots or on the back seat of a Fiesta. I wouldn’t even be surprised to see a solo musician carrying this on a bus.
The Stagepas can be expanded with either an additional identical system for a stereo pair or by purchasing the DXL1K which is virtually the same system, with just fewer channels and effects.
Yamaha Stagepas 1K MKII review: Performance & verdict
The Stagepas impresses me with its idiot-proof design and setup. The column mounting system simply slots together requiring no cables. Upon testing, I decided firstly to see how this would perform for a mobile DJ. Connecting my phone via Bluetooth was as easy as pressing a button and seconds later I had music streaming through the 4th Channel which acts as a dual Bluetooth and ‘Stereo In’ (which can be run at the same time, hence why this is technically a 5-channel mixer).
When streaming music to the Stagepas, I’m left wondering how on Earth this colossal sound is generated from just a 12” subwoofer and ten tiny little array speakers. Forget about it being a PA system for a moment, I could see someone purchasing this as a great speaker for the ultimate house party. The tiny footprint means it can be nestled sweetly in the corner of a room without anyone noticing it.
The simplicity and elegance of the Stagepas really sets this unit apart from the more traditional PA solutions. That being said, there is a limit to what can be squeezed out of the Stagepas. Pushing the volume past 105 dB, I noticed slight distortion in the mid and high ranges. Not an issue for small to medium-sized pubs, but for larger halls and spaces, this system could struggle.
For a solo singer with backing tracks, the Stagepas is an absolute dream. With seamless Bluetooth connectivity, you can create up to 8 different settings or ‘scenes’ for your gigs. Very handy if you have a regular or recurring slot in a particular venue.
Bose L1 Pro8: Weighing just 16kg and packing a punch with 180 degrees of coverage at 118 dB peak. This little beauty is not to be ignored. However, only 2 XLR inputs limits the possibilities somewhat.
LD Systems MAUI 11: For the price, this system competes with the very best. An incredible 124 dB peak and a tiny footprint make the LD a very serious contender.
Electro-Voice Evolve 50: The EV system remains one of the market’s most popular systems with an almost unbelievable output of 127 dB peak without any noticeable degradation in sound. The eight 3.5” drivers plus its 12” subwoofer provide a rich and full-range sound that other systems struggle to replicate.
Upon plugging in my microphone (a Sennheiser e945), I found the signal to be a little darker than I like. Although the EQ knob allows you to tailor each channel for either speech/vocals or music, it was only when diving deeper into the App that I was able to finely tune the EQ for each channel. Using a device such as a tablet with this portable PA system is critical to get the most out of it. The App itself is simple to navigate and allows for effortless control of the sound.
The speakers produce a wide coverage of 170°, so the absence of a stereo pair is barely noticeable. At a reasonably loud level, the speakers are beautifully clear and vibrant. However, bear in mind that to eliminate the possibility of feedback, you should position yourself behind and away from the system.
At their maximum height, the speakers are stable, although I wouldn’t like to know what happens if a drunken hen or stag accidentally falls into them. Once fully disassembled and back in its nicely made soft case, this truly is a remarkable system. Full PA systems can be an arduous and back-breaking beast to handle, particularly after a long night of performing. It is in these situations where a working musician or DJ will thank their lucky stars that they chose to purchase the Stagepas.
Yamaha Stagepas 1K MKII review: Hands-on demos
Pale Wizard Records
DIGITAL DJ GEAR
Brighton Music Center
Yamaha Stagepas 1K MKII review: Specifications
- Low Frequency Driver: 12" subwoofer
- Speaker Array: 10 x 1.5" drivers
- Amplification: Class D
- Output Power: 1100 W (LF: 500 W, HF: 600 W)
- Sound Output Level: 125 dB SPL
- Coverage: 170° H x 30° V
- Built-in Mixer: 5 channel, digital
- Effects: SPX Reverb, Priority Ducker, One-knob EQ
- Dimensions (W x H x D): 334 x 2000 x 418 mm
- Weight: 23 kg (total), 20 kg (sub only)
- Contact: Yamaha