Perfect PA Speaker for My Venues
With so many accolades for both Sweetwater and Behringer it’s hard to know where to begin. I needed a PA speaker for small venues, 50-60 folks to whom I give PowerPoint presentations occasionally. These are dinner meetings, so about an hour of recorded music is provided during the meal preceding the program. Therefore I looked for a speaker with MP3 memory-stick capability. Also, I need R&L RCA ports because the presentations involve both video and audio, and the audio needs to be piped from the PC to the speaker. Very difficult to find this combination of USB MP3 player and RCA ports in a single speaker unit. Finally I found one in a long web search, namely: Behringer’s Eurolive B207MP3 PA speaker.
I had some technical questions about Behringer’s MP3 player which I felt only Behringer could answer. My son-in-law, a professional musician, suggested that one of Sweetwater’s expert Sales Engineers could probably answer them as well, so I decided to give them a try. I must say, this my first experience with Sweetwater turned out to be a real winner!
Jeff Bohan at Sweetwater really knows his stuff! Contacting Behringer, Jeff was told that their MP3 player was of proprietary design (not one of the available packages such as Windows Media Player, Creative’s MediaSource Player, RealPlayer, VLC’s media player, etc), and that MP3 memory sticks for their player had to be FAT16 formatted. That was important info, since almost everything now is FAT32. However, no real problem, since reformatting a flash memory stick to FAT16 is relatively easy and straightforward.
Behringer’s “instruction” pamphlet for this speaker is exceedingly sparse, but there are pictures! The very helpful photo showing the speaker’s 19 labeled control components is accompanied by a 6 to 40 word fine-print description of each, with an arrow leading to the appropriate item, over half of which either affect or apply directly to the MP3 player. The player has its own volume control, but is also affected by the speaker’s main level volume control, as well as the speaker’s three (treble, mid, and bass) frequency control knobs. All 5 of these controls need to be adjusted and balanced to get the best possible fidelity from the speaker when playing an MP3 flash memory drive.
One of the other 8 dedicated MP3 player controls is simply the PLAY button, whereas the remaining 7 are used to control various player modes that show up in the little LCD rectangular display window at the top of the control panel. My collection of 22 songs, to play during dinner, resided on the stick in separate tracks. I could not get these tracks to play in the order I wanted. (Behringer gives no information whatsoever on any functions of the MP3 player, other than those already mentioned.) However, using AVS’s Audio Converter, it proved a simple matter to merge the 22 tracks into one large 141 MB MP3 file that plays perfectly. So much for that problem.
The speaker was ordered on Wednesday, shipped from Sweetwater in Fort Wayne, IN, that day, and arrived 2 days later in Virginia by FedX at 2 pm on Friday! Wow! What a quick delivery, and FREE no less! The speaker was packaged by Behringer in an elaborately decorated cardboard box with graphics showing the speaker and all its features, with styrofoam inserts snugged up to hold the speaker tightly in place. The box itself has a handle attached, so the box can be used as a carrying case for the speaker, which weighs only about 12 lbs. Cardboard doesn’t hold up long under hard travel, but patching and reinforcing cardboard boxes with duct tape – as I’ve often done – extends their life considerably. Sweetwater’s outer box and inner packaging I also found to be not only more than what I’ve come to expect from other sellers, but excellent added protection for the speaker. Incidentally, the speaker has its own carrying handle integrated into the top of the unit.
Behringer describes this speaker as a “Monitor Speaker System”, which I’m sure works well for on-stage monitoring in much larger venues than mine. However, for my PA needs it is just perfect! The audio from my PowerPoint video clips feeds into a Nuforce transmitter in the PC’s USB port, transmits to the Nuforce receiver next to the B207 speaker (and is connected to the speaker with two short R&L RCA cables). This setup eliminates cables between the projector and screen (where the speaker is), and proves very convenient, since I walk while I talk, and therefore have no obstructive wires to trip over. I use an ATM410 dynamic mic plugged into the speaker for dialog during silent-picture slides, although the speaker does have built-in Phantom Power to support condenser mics.
Great speaker (Behringer), fantastic seller (Sweetwater), and terrific service (Sweetwater again)!!! What more can I say, other than the fact that the sound is also equally outstanding!