When Yamaha upgraded their STAGEPAS system to succeed the acclaimed 300 and 500 portable PA solutions, they scored a hit with the 400i and 600i offerings. But Yamaha never rests on their laurels, which brings us to the 400BT and 600BT, which you could consider to be the 2.0 of the 400i and 600i.
The main selling point to distinguish the ‘i’ and ‘BT’ versions of the 400 and 600 is the inclusion of a Bluetooth wireless audio streaming function. And straight up, it’s one of those no-brainer design inclusions that makes so much sense for how this unit is likely to be used. So kudos to Yamaha for that.
On more of a macro level, what we’ve got here is an all-in-one PA system consisting of two lightweight speakers and a detachable mixer, along with a pair of speaker cables and a power cord, all easily stashed into a setup that you can carry to the gig in one trip from the car. The mixer stashes into the back of one speaker, the cords into the other, and off you go (well, you might need to make another trip to the car for some mics or speaker stands and stuff). There’s also a Yamaha BMS10A mic stand adaptor available to mount the mixer to a stand onstage, and the FC5 footswitch for reverb ON/OFF, so if you’re a small act that needs to handle its own mixing while performing, this setup is totally ready for you.
The 600BT has ten inputs including a Hi-Z switch on one channel for plugging guitars in direct; feedback supressor and 1-Knob Master EQ on the output channel; 40 mono mic line inputs, six mono/three stereo line inputs, outs for monitor and subwoofer in addition to the speaker outs, Bluetooth version 4.1 with a range of up to 10 metres; and onboard SPX digital reverb with four programs and parameter control. The speakers pack a 10” cone and a 1.4” voice coil compression driver into a very lightweight enclosure with a moulded top handle.
This is such an easy rig to set up, and it sounds incredibly clear. For many artists the Bluetooth will be a big selling point, reducing the number of cables and setup time needed, opening up the stage space just that little bit more and making it nice and simple to get backing tracks into the ears of your audience. And the inbuilt SPX reverbs sound predictably perfect, with Plate, Room, Hall and Echo modes. The 1-Knob Master EQ is super simple. Turn it all the way to the left for speech - ie; if you’re using the PA for some kind of public-speaking situation. As you turn it up the sound gets progressively more tailored to lead vocals, a simple acoustic-guitar-and-vocals setup or a full band. Then the last 20 percent of the knob’s travel introduces virtual bass processing which is tailored for DJs. And the feedback suppressor intelligently removes feedback without fuss, which is great for if you have to mix your own show while playing it.
Is this the ultimate Yamaha portable PA? Well… yes! It’s loud, it’s flexible, it can be augmented easily, it’s portable as all heck, and the layout is so clear that you can easily yell across the room to a complete moron, “Hey can you turn the High control on Channel 4 of my mixer to 2 o’clock?” and they’ll figure it out.
Hits and Misses
A dedicated effect aux channel would be nice