Usage and Troubleshooting for the Fender® Passport® Studio Powered Monitor Speaker System

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Usage and Troubleshooting for the Fender® Passport® Studio Powered Monitor Speaker System
The Passport® Studio reference monitor speakers are an excellent solution for high quality, accurate and portable critical monitoring purposes. When using reference monitors, it is important to keep some basic considerations in mind. First would be the environment that you are using the monitors in. The Passport Studios have a very good "sweet spot". That is to say that they offer an excellent representation of the frequency range available at a near listening distance and are able to be used in a variety of different environments very effectively.

With this said, it is ideal to optimize your listening environment as much as possible. Some simple things you can do include room selection (where possible). Select a room that is less reverberant and one that has some soft surfaces such as carpeting and draperies, etc. to help balance any hard/reflective surfaces.  Also, as mentioned in the user guide (see Related Downloads below), placement in the room and creating an equilateral triangle (equal distance triangle) is very important to get the best results from your Passport Studio monitors. The main idea here is to create an equal distance triangle that is also at an optimal height. Additionally, be mindful not to place your Passport Studio monitors too close to walls or corners in the chosen listening environment.

Some users may be interested in acoustic control products - even for a mobile environment. The proper usage of these products can enhance the experience of "mobile engineering". There are a number of different products available that are intended for mobile or portable use. An internet search of the term "portable acoustic treatment products" will show a variety of options. This being said, your Passport Studio monitors have been designed to optimize whatever listening environment that you are in, so that you can achieve the accurate monitoring, even in less than ideal locations.

Next, paying attention to the types of cables used to connect your Passport Studio monitors can be very beneficial toward achieving a quiet and clean audio signal. As noted in the user guide, the Passport Studio monitors include balanced 1/4 inch (TRS) jacks on the rear panel. These input jacks are an ideal way to go whenever possible, as using balanced audio cables helps to eliminate possible noise and ground loops, etc. Using balanced, shielded audio cables will require that the signal you are outputting has balanced output jacks (TRS or XLR). If the output source you are coming from does not have balanced output jacks, you can use an ungrounded 1/4" TS cables to connect to the rear left and right inputs as well.

If you encounter noise issues when connected to your Passport Studio monitors with unbalanced cables, again, try balanced cables if possible. Optionally, if the output source is unbalanced, you can use a direct input or "DI" box to "balance" the output from your source by connecting the unbalanced line to the DI box, then connecting a balanced line from the DI box to the Passport Studio monitor's rear panel input jacks. For more information and pricing on DI boxes, please check in with your local music or pro audio retailer.

There are a couple of additional notes to be aware of regarding cabling and connectivity. You will need to connect the jack labeled "TO RIGHT SPEAKER" from the left speaker to the right on your Passport Studio monitors with the supplied 1/4" TRS cable. In case you misplace the cable and need a replacement, the part number is listed in the user guide linked below. Also, the included 1/8" stereo cable should be used when connecting unbalanced and portable sound sources with 1/8” stereo output jacks. In case you misplace the cable and need a replacement, this part number is listed in the user guide linked below as well. 

Finally, once you have successfully connected your Passport Studio monitors to your mixer or audio interface, etc., you will most likely want to do some critical listening to determine that you have placed the speakers in the best possible location in your environment, and whether or not you may need to use the Bass/Treble attenuation switches located on the front panel of the left speaker. To best determine this, we recommend that you gather a variety of music files that you are familiar with. Once you have your song list, set an overall listening level that you would normally use and begin playing back your selected songs. Be sure to pay attention to the variances in lows, mids and highs from song to song, noting what the overall balance is while auditioning your songs. Keep in mind that the goal with reference monitors is to listen accurately, rather than in a casual, end-user type of setting where added bass punch or enhanced highs may be desired.  

Make an overall determination as to whether there may be a bit too much information in the highs, or a bit too much information in the lows, or perhaps neither. And if needed, switch the 1.5db boost or cut for the Bass or Treble (as applicable). As you are switching the Bass/Treble attenuation switches to boost or cut, audition your song list and make an overall determination as to how well the music translates.  Note that the specific frequencies that can be boosted or cut are 75Hz (bass) and 7.5kHz (treble).  There is not a right or wrong setting. Rather, the goal, once again is to create the most accurate or "neutral" reference system that will translate as well as possible to as many "real world" playback systems as possible. Please see the information below for basic troubleshooting information. 


Basic Troubleshooting steps for using your Fender Passport® Studio System:

Problem - Passport Studio does not output sound or you hear sound from only the left or right speaker.

Solution - Check to make sure that the speakers are connected to the correct output on your mixer or audio interface. Make sure that the included 1/4" TRS cable for the speaker to speaker signal is connected. Also make sure that the power is on the Passport Studios. If you are only hearing sound from one speaker, again, confirm that the included 1/4" TRS cable is connected from left to right speakers, and that you do not have pan knobs/software controls panned to only left or right channel.

Problem – Passport Studio is exhibiting buzzes or hums, etc.   

Solution – Check to make sure that you are connecting with balanced TRS cables whenever possible. If the system is not currently connected using balanced cables, consider using balanced cables or a DI box. As an additional test, you can disconnect the Passport Studios from your mixer, audio interface, etc., and try connecting a battery powered sound source to confirm if the noise is present. If the noise is not present when connected to a battery powered sound source, then it is likely that you have a ground loop occurring. Again, it is ideal to utilize balanced cables, as will likely reduce or eliminate these types of noise issues.

If you are still unable to resolve the issues you are experiencing with your Passport® Studio, please contact us at ConsumerRelations@Fender.com or call (480) 596-7195.