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Post subject: More on Expo
Posted: Tue Dec 30, 2014 6:44 pm
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Aspiring Musician
Aspiring Musician

Joined: Wed Feb 16, 2011 7:24 am
Posts: 422
Okay, so the tower section of the second Expo arrived. My wife likes the look enough that they now are bookends for her piano. No closet space necessary.

The newest discovery is the arrangement of the 6-½" speakers. While the rest of the speakers point level forward, the bass speakers are angled toward each other. The top speaker points down maybe 30-45 degrees, symmetrical to the lower speaker pointing upward. It's not easy to see because of the metal grate. You have to stick a strong flashlight right up to the grate to see it.

So, the axis of each speaker converges and crosses that of the other speaker. I'm sure I don't understand the effect. At any rate, I had it hooked up to an iPad and it sounded great. I also hooked it up to the TV, but the effect was not good, since the TV is not on the piano, and the sound was therefor coming from the right of the TV.

But if one wants to play along with recorded music on the piano, the setup is perfect...

I haven't used these as a PA yet. January 7th, I will. Until then, I can only report that these things make for a kick-ass home stereo.

I wish that the carry-bags for these were either less expensive (looks like about $100 for covers for the two Expos), or better made than I've heard these covers are. Fender says "padded" and at least one review said "cheaply made". I wish I could see one before I have to pay that much for it.


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Post subject: Re: More on Expo
Posted: Wed Dec 31, 2014 8:00 pm
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Rock Star
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Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2011 5:14 pm
Posts: 3030
Location: Linningrad
Thanks for the review and update. I guess they would make a really good stereo! :mrgreen:

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One day they shall name a GREAT city after me, and they shall call it LINNINGRAD


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Post subject: Re: More on Expo
Posted: Thu Jan 01, 2015 11:01 am
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Hobbyist
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Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2011 5:06 pm
Posts: 46
Location: Just north of Calgary Alberta
Anxious to read your impressions on it cause your a pretty die hard Passport guy. But what does a guy do for tone - reverb and all that ? Plug in a separate mixer or what ? I'm kinda thinking upgrading my 500 for the Venue ,watched a few videoes on it and I like it plus it's 100 watts more and I'm all about power cause more power gives you clarity also .


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Post subject: Re: More on Expo
Posted: Thu Jan 01, 2015 7:37 pm
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Professional Musician
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Joined: Mon Jul 30, 2007 6:07 am
Posts: 1747
Location: Central WI
Louis8, if you're interested in hearing how we have used our Expo's with a soundboard maybe read the other reviews I've posted on them. As a PA we've played a couple gigs with them and loved it.

For me personally, I use a TC Helicon reverb pedal on my own mic before the board for tone.

As for cases, I'd agree with Contra said. I read many reviews before purchasing an Expo and all of them rated the cases as not well made or worth the money. For our 3 Expo systems I did some online shopping and got some generic bags for the bottoms and discount/closeout speaker stand bags for the towers. I purchased and cut some foam from a fabric store to line the cases. And using a cardboard tube from a carpet roll I made endcaps to slide over the pins for protection. Total about 2 hours labor and under $100 total for cases that should work well. I figure the cases don't need to be super heavy duty because these things will be hauled in our vehicles, no more trailer banging around like the old PA.


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Post subject: Re: More on Expo
Posted: Fri Jan 02, 2015 8:32 am
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Rock Star
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Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2011 5:14 pm
Posts: 3030
Location: Linningrad
I wish there were 'Like' buttons to push to let folks know you read their posts and liked what they said. So consider this a 'Like' :wink: Maybe this sub-forum should be renamed "Fender Audio; Expo, & Passport"


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Post subject: Re: More on Expo
Posted: Fri Jan 02, 2015 4:54 pm
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Hobbyist
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Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2011 5:06 pm
Posts: 46
Location: Just north of Calgary Alberta
Thanks Lin , gonna sure be reading and trying them out 1st for sure .Right now still partial to up grade to the venue -- sure agree with you on hauling loads with pick up trucks and trailers , did 20 -- 25 years of it and picking up my 500 and a couple stands is just fine with me.


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Post subject: Re: More on Expo
Posted: Mon Jan 05, 2015 6:45 am
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Aspiring Musician
Aspiring Musician

Joined: Wed Feb 16, 2011 7:24 am
Posts: 422
In answer to the question about what one uses for "tone, reverb and all that", and to explain my conversion from being such an advocate for the Passport to favoring the Expo:

The Passport is a great portable sound system for a lot of people. Singer/songwriter in a restaurant, rock band in a bar, choir with soloists... It's a great design, very compact, portable, easy to operate and the sound is amazing, given that you would expect to have to compromise on sound quality to get something this light, small, and easy to use, but you don't. The Passport sounds great.

But it doesn't have a monitor mix, and I need one. I do sound for contra dances. Dancers need to hear the caller and the band mixed together. The band just wants to hear itself and not hear the caller. Actually, each musician in the band wants to hear "more me in the monitor". The Passports can't do this. It's for musicians and/or speakers who want to hear exactly what the crowd is hearing. I need multiple separate mixes.

I get that with a Mackie DL1608. That's 16 input channels, 8 output channels, and lots of digital signal processing in the middle. Each separate input channel and each separate output channel has its own parametric EQ control, reverb, echo, and/or delay. The crossover for the subwoofer is something I can play with until I like the sound, unlike the Passport, where I have to trust that the manufacturer set it right (for a subwoofer they've never seen).

With the DL1608, I have the main stereo mix, plus six other output channels that can be used for the sub (with it's own EQ), for mid-hall speakers (with a delay for the distance between front and rear speakers), and monitor mixes (each output has a completely independent mix).

All this makes the mixer in the Passport redundant. I don't need it anymore, and it actually is a problem because with redundant gear, it gets easy to accidentally tweak "the other" mixer and screw up the sound. It adds elements to the system that need to be checked, and makes even the simple volume level more complex because there are so many places to adjust volume.

Add that the DL1608 allows me to control the mixer wirelessly with an iPad. I can explore the parts of the room where the sound worse than the rest and stand there while improving the sound, then walk around and see how that change affects the rest of the room.

But I hate conventional, bulky, heavy speaker systems that need to be shoved up a pole, creating a safety hazard with 50 pounds 7' off the ground, potentially knocked over, landing on a dancer. I loved the 15 pound Passport speakers.

The Expo gives me big sound with simple controls. It gives me even volume levels over a big distance range. It complements the DL1608 perfectly. The heavy part sits on the floor and has a perfect handle for carrying it around. Setup is ridiculously simple. I love the Expo. The Passport is still great for someone who doesn't need more than the Passport mixer will give them. The Expo is better for someone who needs multiple monitor mixes and other stuff that require Somebody Else's Mixer.

Fender cares about sound quality. I trusted them with the Passport and they didn't let me down. Now, I'm trusting them with the Expo. Both are great packages easy to store, transport and set up, and both sound great. Each has an ideal market, and I've grown from one to the other.

I could not have learned to use the DL1608 if I didn't have experience with the Passport 500 Pro, and once I moved on to a different mixer, it's great to have the Expo to use with it.


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Post subject: Re: More on Expo
Posted: Mon Jan 05, 2015 7:05 am
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Aspiring Musician
Aspiring Musician

Joined: Wed Feb 16, 2011 7:24 am
Posts: 422
Oh, and I did take the Expos to the venue I'll be using this Wednesday for testing. I hooked up an iPod for recorded sound and a wireless mic so I could walk around and listen around the room to a mix of speech and music.

The venue is relatively small (though much bigger than any room in my house). Music sounded great. Speech had reverberation problems at higher sound levels. Higher sound levels set off the room acoustics. This is a techno-contra, so the band typically wants louder sound than my usual acoustic bands.

My first thought was to set up for the loud sound, then use the mixer to cut back to clearer volume levels that don't set off the room's reverberation, so I can bring the volume back up if enough bodies walk in the door to change the room acoustics. Days later, I awoke realizing that I can probably get away with louder sound without so much reverb if I move the speakers farther out to the sides and aim them at the diagonal corners of the room. During the test, I had aimed the Expos directly at the back wall of the dance hall. The shape of the cabinets encourages this because, hey, they are prettier that way.

I was also wanting to avoid spilling the very wide dispersion of these speakers to the stage, so the band doesn't hear the caller so much. Fender says dispersion is 120 degrees, but I think it's closer to 180 degrees. Meanwhile, sound reinforcement requires compromise, and I think the band would prefer louder sound with less room reverb, and put up with more spill-over sound from the mains, rather than have me throttle back the volume or have the dancers unable to understand the caller.


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Post subject: Re: More on Expo
Posted: Thu Jan 08, 2015 11:45 am
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Hobbyist
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Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2011 5:06 pm
Posts: 46
Location: Just north of Calgary Alberta
Like usual very good explanation,so looks like i'll stay with the 500 cause i don't need a monitor mix. Would be nice to some some shots of different set ups

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Post subject: Re: More on Expo
Posted: Thu Jan 08, 2015 12:02 pm
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Aspiring Musician
Aspiring Musician

Joined: Wed Feb 16, 2011 7:24 am
Posts: 422
First gig with two Expos:

I had tested the venue empty with recorded music and a wireless mic. For the test, just above 40% volume level, the room reverb was making the voice less than clear, but I had the speakers pretty much equally spaced between each other and the walls, and they were aimed directly at the back wall.

With three contra lines (pretty much a full house, not packed too tightly) at the real gig, I had the speakers nearer the side walls, aimed at the opposite diagonal corner, and eventually had the speakers cranked up to a notch past 50%. I also had a 400 watt subwoofer (set at about 25%) with a low pass filter at about 150Hz and put a high pass filter on the Expos at just below 100Hz. The music and caller were loud and clear.

The band consisted of a duo, called The Buddy System. Noah Van Norstrand played fiddle (with a pickup), didgeridoo (mic), and vocal (he's probably the world's first contra rap singer), while Julie Valimont, played a computer (Ableton Live with mostly rhythm tracks full of thumps, claps, random humorous voice actors and other interesting sounds) and synthesizer keyboard (most often set to acoustic piano sound). Noah also does great foot percussion, but his floor pickup fried near the beginning of the evening, and Julie also plays jaw harps, but decided not to because the small stage's near back wall was generating incomplete threats of feeding back at what I'm told is about 200-300Hz, so she wanted one less live mic on the stage.

Things started out well, though adjustments tended to go less aggressive with the bass and bring up the bright sounds with the Expos. This is louder music than I usually do. I wore hearing protection (expensive, audiologist-fitted ear plugs designed to reduce amplitude 15dB without EQ distortion) for about 2/3 of the event to tone down the tinnitus I'd be having today without it.

Julie stepped out to listen at one point and pointed me toward said lowering of bass and bringing up of brightness. I asked around for other opinions and feedback (the nice kind). People were happy with the sound. Even another sound guy was pleased, though he still prefers more expensive options. A pair of his most expensive speakers could buy my whole sound system.

I'm pleased. The gig was up a long, straight flight of stairs. The Expos are compact, easy to carry up and down stairs, easy to set up, they sounded good in every corner of the room and down the middle in a room full of bodies. No top-heavy speaker setup to topple. No pushing heavy speakers up a pole. Controls are easy to get to during the gig while the speakers are in place. I will definitely not need the sub for my acoustic gigs. The bass is clear and balanced, though for techno-thump you feel in your chest, a sub is still required.

The net? Definitely worth the price. Definitely easy to live with. I like working with two of them, just to distribute the sound more, so there's less awareness of a place the sound is coming from that isn't quite where the band is. The pair can definitely handle much larger venues than this (an Odd Fellows Hall, over top of a small grocery store).

What's not to love?


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