There are plenty of options available when it comes to PA systems. But not everyone needs a large overbearing system. In this review, we check out the Samson Expedition Express+. A compact and portable alternative to larger PA systems.
Samson Expedition Express
The Samson Expedition Express+ offers a range of features that are well-suited to certain situations. An ideal choice for solo performers that don’t want to lug around a huge PA system.
The Samson Expedition+ Express is quite impressive for a small compact system. Even more appealing is the attractive price point. Let’s dive into the details of this portable PA system.
This is one area where the Samson Expedition Express+ exceeds expectations. Despite its small size it manages to deliver excellent sound quality.
The highs are clear and distortion is minimal, even at higher volume levels. The mids are full and take center stage. A good feature for vocal performances. The lows are solid but certainly won’t deliver huge bass. It is a compact system after all so it is hard to expect too much. The balance here favors the lower mids. This is fine for most applications, but if you prefer a more neutral response, you’ll need to look elsewhere.
Also surprising was the volume level this unit can achieve. It can fill small spaces easily but will struggle with larger crowds or rooms. But for a compact system, there was plenty of headroom available.
For a portable system at this price point, it is hard to find fault with the Samson Expedition Express+.
Affordable PA systems can suffer when it comes to the quality department. Thankfully the Samson Expedition Express+ doesn’t fall into this trap. The solid polypropylene enclosure adds plenty of durability and peace of mind. Something that is especially crucial if you perform outside regularly.
The Samson Expedition Express+ features a tough polypropylene cabinet.
Component quality is also decent. Both the woofer and tweeter perform well and the metal grille helps to protect them. Connection points are secure. The included cables are also robust and don’t look cheap.
The wired microphone however is not the greatest. It’s serviceable but any serious vocalist will want a better microphone. But for general announcements and speech, it holds up well.
The Samson Expedition Express+ offers a 6-inch woofer along with a 1-inch tweeter. A 75W Class D amp powers the unit. For a small unit that is ample. But there are more powerful systems available if you want a little extra grunt up your sleeve. Despite no official Max SPL rating, this compact PA system is quite loud. But unless you are looking for soft background music I would not suggest using this for a large space or event.
The Expedition Express+ is quite loud despite its small size.
My main issue is with the battery life. Advertised as up to 20 hours subject to operating conditions. And this is where the conditions come in. At higher volumes, you will not get anywhere near this amount. The battery drains rapidly when the unit operates at higher volume levels. A full charge also takes approximately 5 hours.
As with all rechargeable batteries, they will degrade over time. When you consider the relatively average battery life to begin with I can’t see this as a good long-term option. But you can operate the unit via traditional power if required.
This is another area that highlights the trappings of budget systems. The unit offers a 3 channel mixer but each channel only offers volume control.
A separate bass and treble knob is available but this affects the entire output. For some scenarios like music playback, this won’t be a big issue. But when you combine it with a microphone I would have preferred individual channel controls.
Limited tuning options are available on the Expedition Express+.
Beyond that, you don’t have any further flexibility. There are no effects like Reverb which often is a must-have for vocalists. I will admit I’m been over critical of this area. This unit is super affordable so you can’t expect too much. But it is still worth highlighting if you prefer more granular control over your channels.
The Samson Expedition Express+ looks great. Well suited to professional use for buskers, announcers, or small events. It looks the part but is also highly functional.
The Samson Expedition Express+ can be utilized as a compact monitor.
The added feet add stability for the vertical position. But you can also flip it horizontally for use as a monitor. The molded carry handle integrates cleanly and adds to the portable appeal. Completing the versatility is a pole mount that suits most stands. A great inclusion for solo performers.
Smart and capable, the Samson Expedition Express+ ticks a lot of boxes.
One of the biggest appeals for this portable PA system is its compact footprint. Small and easy to transport it is a great alternative to other heavier battery-powered systems.
The Samson Expedition Express+ is lightweight and portable.
At just 11.9 lb (5.4 kg) it is also extremely lightweight. If you dread carrying your gear around you’ll appreciate how nimble this unit is.
The Samson Expedition Express+ does offer up a range of flexible connection options. A primary combo XLR / 1/4” connector for Mic/Instruments. A secondary ¼” line input and a ⅛” AUX. This can cover a wide range of potential scenarios or gig types. A USB port is also available for integration with the Samson range of wireless microphones and headsets.
The Expedition Express+ features a solid selection of connection options.
Bluetooth connectivity is also present and among the best features of this portable PA system. Pairing is quick and simple. The range is also large and more importantly reliable. Streaming music for backing tracks or between performances is a breeze.
For what this unit offers the price tag is fantastic. Ultra affordable and a good option for a lot of performers. No, you don’t get all the extra bells and whistles. But what you do get is a no-nonsense, solid, and dependable compact unit.
Added features like Bluetooth and the included microphone are also nice inclusions. If you are on a small budget or want a cheap backup unit the Samson Expedition Express+ is a great value.
The Samson Expedition Express+ is a well-liked portable PA system. Plenty of 5 and 4-star reviews highlight its versatility and sound quality. What is equally impressive is the varied amount of gig types people mention. It’s a great little unit for a wide array of applications.
Portable PA Systems – Hints & Tips
Portable PA systems are fantastic for small performances. This could be at a friend’s house, for karaoke, or professional speaking gigs. Battery-powered options are also ideal for buskers. Below are some quick hints and tips on both performing and utilizing your portable PA system.
Mind The Load – Select a portable system that is easy to transport. Ideally, you want something that is light to carry or features wheels and a carry handle. When you already have other gear to bring the last thing you want is back pain before you even start performing.
Have A Backup Plan – Things can and at some stage will go wrong. Have a plan for what to do when that happens. If your microphone dies make sure to have a backup available. Need more time to set up? Pick a unit with Bluetooth so you can start building the atmosphere. If possible have another PA system available in case your main one fails.
Be wary of people with drinks around your equipment.
Watch Out For Accidents – If you are holding a Karaoke party or are busking be mindful of the surroundings. Spilled drinks, drunken friends, or clumsy onlookers can quickly lead to a disaster. Aim to place your gear in a spot where you can minimize the chances of something going wrong.
Be Prepared – It may sound a little cliche but the old saying “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” is super accurate. Preparation is key. Test your gear. Try different configurations. If you use a battery-powered PA system make sure to have it fully charged. Think about different scenarios and what you will do to handle them. Proper preparation will ease your nerves and help guide you to success.
Portable PA systems have grown in demand. There are now a wide variety of potential options available. Here are some alternatives worth considering.
Mackie Thump Go Review
If you want a portable PA system with more features the Mackie Thump Go is an excellent choice. It packs more power and can handle larger gigs while still maintaining portability.
- Great range of presets for both voice and location. Can adapt to a wide range of gig types.
- Removable and replaceable lithium-ion battery and battery indicator. No surprise cutouts!
- A lot more expensive than the Samson Expedition Express+.
Mackie Thump Go
Alesis TransActive Wireless 2 Review
Wanting even more portability? Then the Alesis TransActive Wireless 2 takes it to the next level. Convenient features like device charging and long battery life set it apart.
- It’s ultra-portable thanks to the recessed wheels and telescoping pull-out handle.
- Sound activated light show built into the system.
- While it can get loud the sound quality does degrade at higher volume levels.
Alesis TransActive Wireless 2
Behringer MPA40BT Review
If you are looking for a little more punch the Behringer MPA40BT is a good option. The 8-inch woofer helps deliver a more robust and full low-end. A good choice for bass-heavy music.
- Loud and clear audio quality with a satisfying sound profile.
- Very affordable yet still includes features like Bluetooth.
- The battery indicator is a bit unreliable.
Should You Buy?
The Samson Expedition Express+ is not perfect but it also has a lot going for it. The excellent sound quality at all volume levels is a real highlight. Bluetooth connectivity is fantastic and it is ultra-lightweight and portable. While I would love a few more features this portable PA system is attractive, capable, and at a low price.
It may not be the best option for more professional performers. But for busking, speaking events, and karaoke it’s a great value buy.
Samson Expedition Express