The Fender Model 1270 ($199.99) is a lightweight, portable loudspeaker designed for small or crowded stages, or for isolated applications like a backstage monitor for cuing. The Model 1270P ($399.99) is a powered version with a built-in amplifier, tone control, microphone and line input. I used two of each model for this review.
Product PointsApplications: Live sound, theater, installations, worship houses
Key Features: Stage and fill monitors; 10″ woofer, 1.5″ compression driver; 200 W (program), 400 W (peak) power handling; powered and passive models.
Price: Model 1270: $199.99 Model 1270P: $399.99
Contact: Fender Musical Instruments at 480-596-9690 Web site: www.fender.com
Both versions consist of a high-impact ABS plastic enclosure that is an asymmetrical hexagon when viewed from the side and square when viewed from the front. This shape, besides making for a very strong enclosure, allows three different placement angles. Rubber feet on the three sides permit 30-, 45- and 80-degree placement options.
The speaker drivers are protected by a metal grid that is held in place by a protective hard-rubber surround. Everything is finished in a matte-black finish. A molded-in carrying handle adds to the convenience.
The Model 1270 input panel has 1/4-inch amp-in and speaker-out jacks for connections to an external amplifier and to allow daisy chaining to another 1270 monitor. The control panel graphics are attractively screen-printed on a metal cover along with the Fender logo.
The 100-Watt biamplified Model 1270P has an IEC-type power cord connector and a rocker-type power on/off switch for AC power. There are rotary level and tone controls, a balanced 1/4-inch TRS line-in jack, an XLR mic jack and an amp-in input jack (for an unbalanced line-level connection).
The amp-in jack is for connecting a line-level signal from an instrument, and the level and tone controls do not affect this input. Typically, the instrument’s level and tone adjustments are made at the signal source. This could be a bit confusing since it is labeled as “amp-in” and someone who did not read the instructions first could plug in a speaker-level output from an amplifier (hey, it says “amp-in”) and then get to explore Fender’s 5-year limited warranty.
The units are spec’d as follows: power handling is 200 W (program), 400 W (peak); impedance is 8 ohms; sensitivity is 95 dB. The low-frequency driver has a 10-inch woofer, and a 1.5-inch piezo coaxial compression driver handles the high frequencies. Maximum output is 115 dB SPL (continuous), 121 dB (peak). Dimensions are 13-3/8 inches by 13-3/8 inches by 9-1/8-inches and it weighs 13-1/2 pounds.
The gig was a night of contemporary Christian music at a retirement home. The venue was a 40-foot by 70-foot multipurpose room. The setup consisted of a piano, miked just to put a little fill into the far side of the room’s main speaker for balance, and a little piano into the Fender monitors, which were mainly used for the vocalists. I used two of the Model 1270s for the vocalists.
The two 1270P powered monitors were used down the hall in rooms for patients who could not be moved to the multipurpose room. I had brought long lengths of connection cords with me, which came in handy.
In the off-site rooms, volume could be controlled locally with the 1270P monitor’s built-in amps. Being able to control the volume at the monitor end was convenient and, again, the limitations are up to your imagination.
A church dinner theater/fundraiser event provided another opportunity to use the Fenders. The staging called for intimate participation with the audience, yet there were also characters that were far from the stage front who needed to be heard while talking at normal conversational levels. Also, onstage cues needed to be heard by actors behind the stage.
For such a simple production, there were two audio problems to be overcome. If this comedy was to live up to its full potential, it was important to get audio to the middle/back of the audience while preserving the intimacy of the actors who would interact with the audience. The audio had to be slightly filled into the rear of the room, but it still had to seem as if it were coming from the actor’s mouth.
The first problem was solved by suspending two 1270s from the high ceiling about 10 feet above the middle of the audience area and angled back about 45 degrees. Spaced 12 feet apart and suspended by black cables, they were hardly visible in a dimly lit room.
The 1270s were getting signal through two strategically placed PZM mikes on stage that fed an SM162 Carvin StudioMate mixer, which I controlled from the audience, near the rear of the room.
The second problem was the backstage cueing. The actors waiting backstage could barely hear the lines of the people onstage, yet the timing of their appearance was critical to the humor. I solved this by running a 1270P powered monitor back stage. The volume could be controlled independent of the mixer so it was a perfect solution.
The Fender 1270s sounded fine, and performed admirably for their size. Piezo drivers, commonly found in monitors in this affordable price range, can sometimes be a little edgy, but for a monitor, an “edge” can actually help to cut through all the other sounds floating around the stage. I really liked the flexible placement and angle options the Fender monitors provide. Their small footprint, and the ability to angle them many different ways, makes setting up monitors on a crowed stage much easier.
The Fender 1270 and 1270P monitors are highly useful audio/PA tools. In venues large or small, there is always someone, somewhere, who needs to hear what is going on. The Fenders fill this role conveniently.