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InfoComm 08 in Review

Newsworthy AV products and trends at this year’s show. 8/01/2008 8:00 AM Eastern

InfoComm 08 in Review

Aug 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Trevor Boyer

Newsworthy AV products and trends at this year’s show.




Sidebars
2008 Pick Hit Award Winners

Crown Macro-Tech i series power amplifiers (top to bottom): MA-12000i, MA-9000i, and MA-5000i

Crown Macro-Tech i series power amplifiers (top to bottom): MA-12000i, MA-9000i, and MA-5000i

InfoComm 08 was a packed and energetic show, with important technology on display in all categories — video, audio, AV, and various types of related gear. This year's video trends were examined last issue (svconline.com/
projectors/
features/infocomm_trends
). In this issue, I'll take a look at many of the important audio and AV trends.

AUDIO

Celebrating its 40th anniversary, Community Professional introduced the full-range, three-way column line-array system called Entasys. Each column includes six low-frequency neodymium drivers, 18 2.35in. mid-range drivers, and six 7"×1" Compact Ribbon Emulator (CRE) high-frequency elements. The Entasys line is designed to be modular, according to Community. Multiple columns can be used to create extremely narrow, focused vertical coverage that was previously possible only from powered, steered arrays.

Community also rolled out the first members of its Versatile Low Frequency loudspeakers. With a response down to 70Hz in passive mode or 60Hz using DSP, the VLF208 can function in pairs as a steered bass array. The VLF212 features slot-loaded woofers for extended low-frequency response down to 50Hz in passive mode or 43Hz using DSP. The VLF212 will also be available in a powered version with an integrated amplifier in both portable and installed models.

At the massive Harman Pro Group booth, Crown was displaying its new Macro-Tech i series of power amplifiers: the MA-5000i, MA-9000i, and MA-12000i. Designed for touring, they're expected to find permanent homes in high-powered installations; Crown's installation line, CTs, maxes out at 1500W per channel, but Macro-Tech i offers 2000W, 3000W, and 4000W per channel at 4Ω. Crown also introduced a much smaller amp, the 135MA. Designed for audio installations such as smaller retail stores and medical offices, the 35W mixer/amplifier has a three-input mixer (each input has volume control) for a single audio zone. There's also the 160MA, with four inputs and a 60W amplifier output.

In the same booth, JBL was touting the new 8100 series ceiling loudspeakers for their wide coverage. The 8124 is a 4in. loudspeaker; the 8128 is an 8in. model with extended bass response and a higher SPL output. The 8100 series models feature a sculpted grille and an open back with pre-attached dog-ears. Moving up the in-ceiling loudspeaker ladder, the Control series got new members in the form of Control Contractor 40 models. JBL claims extended bandwidth, improved fidelity, and wider coverage for the loudspeakers — which is made possible by a large-diameter, high-frequency waveguide and low-frequency projection apertures.

JBL also introduced two new line-array elements: the three-way, powered VerTec VT4899ADP and the VT4880ADP ultra-long-excursion, powered subwoofer. The VT4899ADP is capable of producing a maximum of 143dB SPL (1 meter).


InfoComm 08 in Review

Aug 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Trevor Boyer

Newsworthy AV products and trends at this year’s show.




Klein + Hummel KPA series

Klein + Hummel KPA series

Danley Sound Labs showed dozens of new offerings in its demo room. The GH 60 houses 18 drivers (eight low, eight mids, and two highs) per cabinet, using the company's new Synergy horn. According to Danley, GH 60 avoids some of the problems often associated with line-array systems — such as the fact that coupling filters don't work at all frequencies. The GH 60 has a 60-degree horizontal and 45-degree vertical pattern. It also offers 20dB of gain. When it's hung at 25ft., Danley claims the cabinet provides even coverage from 10ft. to 100ft. out.

Klein + Hummel (K+H) is known best in the United States for its reference and studio monitors. K+H aims to change that perception. At InfoComm, the company touted its installed-sound loudspeaker line. The IS-122 is a horn-loaded 1in. model with 12in. woofer. The three-way IS-123 loudspeaker has a coaxially integrated 1in./2in. driver and a 12in. woofer. The IS-153 is a three-way model with a 1in./2in. coaxial driver and a 15in. woofer. Peak SPL is 135dB. All three models are biamp-only or available with self-powered back-plate options. The self-powered version includes factory DSP tuning. In addition, K+H showcased its K8 digital audio-distribution system, the new CLS series slim-line loudspeakers, the PAS 100 indoor/outdoor portable loudspeaker, and the KPA series of audio power amplifiers.

Known best for its amps, QSC also has several lines of loudspeakers. New at InfoComm was the AD-S32T, the company's most compact surface-mount loudspeaker. The AD-S32T has a 3in. low-frequency driver outfitted with a polypropylene cone and a 0.75in. titanium dome tweeter. The weather-resistant enclosure has a power rating of 30W (continuous), 85dB sensitivity, and extended low-frequency range of operation down to 73Hz. QSC also exhibited its compact WideLine-8 line-array system. The WideLine-8 includes the full-range WL3082 and the WL212-sw subwoofer. The system accommodates arrays of up to 12 boxes.

Renkus-Heinz expanded its Sygma loudspeakers line with the new SG/SGX12S subwoofer, which comes in an externally powered version or a version that includes power amplification. There are also new coverage pattern options for the SG/SGX121 — which is now available in 120°×60°, 90°×60°, 60°×40°, and 90°×40° versions. Renkus-Heinz also introduced the second generation of its Iconyx R digitally steerable arrays with new dual-tweeter drivers for improved high-frequency response.

Tannoy introduced its VQ line of directional loudspeakers built for large-scale installations that need great audio quality and extremely high SPLs. The VQ 60 mid-high hits 115dB, according to the company; the VQ 100 mid-high reaches 110dB. Tannoy's signature design, which aligns the acoustical centers of the transducers to provide a single wavefront, enables heightened pattern control with no interference between the high frequency and the midrange at the crossover point.


InfoComm 08 in Review

Aug 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Trevor Boyer

Newsworthy AV products and trends at this year’s show.




Yamaha has released so many high-profile digital consoles in the past few years that a new analog board is actually big news. Available in 24-, 32-, and 40-channel configurations, the new IM8 line is built in the Japanese factory that makes the company's PM boards. According to Yamaha, the focus with the IM8 is on high sound and build quality. Also somewhat new from Yamaha is the PM5D EX 96-channel board, which is essentially a 48-channel PM5D combined with a DSP5D digital-signal-processing unit that doubles the brain power of the PM5D console and thereby doubles its channels.

Roland's version 1.5 update of its RSS M-400 V-Mixer digital console made possible several new capabilities that were based on user feedback. These include a number of shortcuts to speed the setup process, the addition of eight matrices, user-interface enhancements, direct channel-output assignment for multitrack recording, and a more flexible compressor and gate functions.

Known for its Audio Spotlight super-directional loudspeaker panels, Holosonics has introduced a much smaller companion amp (about one-sixth the size of the previous model) for the AS-16 and AS-24 loudspeakers.

Auralex introduced its fabric-faced acoustic Ceiling Tiles for installation in new and existing drop- and suspended-ceiling grids. They're available in standard grid sizes, or they can be customized in size and thickness. A noise-ratio coefficient of .80 means the tiles can help control many common acoustical problems.

The Aviom 6416m mic-input module demonstrated at InfoComm provides 16 mic-level inputs with switchable pads, DB25 mic split, gain control in 1dB steps, phase and filter controls, and 48V phantom power. These and other features are remote-controllable through Aviom's A-Net protocol with the Remote Control Interface (RCI) and Mic Control Surface (MCS).

Known for its audio-for-video products, Azden has recently branched out into classroom amplification systems. The company has been OEMing all the components of the new IR-CS system to other manufacturers for a few years, but this is a newly branded package. The IR-CS includes a pendant mic with an emitter, a handheld mic, a dual-channel receiver, an infrared sensor, and four 6.5in. ceiling loudspeakers. There's also an IR-WS system that employs wall-mounted loudspeakers.

Revolabs' audioconferencing systems have found their way into many wood-paneled executive boardrooms, but the company is now going after all the other conference rooms in the building. Designed to be plug-and-play, the Fusion system is an eight- or four-microphone wireless audioconferencing system that sits on a tabletop instead of in a rack. It's not controllable via AMX or Crestron, but it is designed for rooms that might already have a plug-and-play videoconferencing setup. Via a videocard input, the Fusion base station hooks up easily to a videoconference codec. Packages include eight microphones, a recharging tray, and a receiver.


InfoComm 08 in Review

Aug 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Trevor Boyer

Newsworthy AV products and trends at this year’s show.




In an impressive InfoComm appearance, Bosch showcased its PL series professional vocal and instrument microphones. These mics — including condensers and dynamics — feature ultra-low handling noise, multistage pop filters, hardened-metal Memraflex grilles, and a non-reflective, textured satin finish.

Also unveiled at the show was a complete new range of Electro-Voice (EV) fixed-installation loudspeakers in the EV Innovation line. These incorporate the new SMX woofer family with symmetric motor and suspension design and the HD2B high-frequency compression driver with rim-center-diaphragm design and die-cast aluminum heat sink. The new products include the EVF series front-load product family, the EVH series of horn-load coaxial design that features EV's new rotatable HF waveguide with seven coverage patterns, and the EVA series of expanded vertical arrays. These EV products also offer external passive/biamp selection, a diagnostics port, and a 70.7V transformer kit-landing pad.

EV also showed its Iris-Net Intelligent Remote and Integrated Supervision Network for complete PA-system monitoring and control with the NetMax N8000 digital matrix processor and up to 250 Remote Power Amps. Featuring a very adaptable and customizable graphical user interface, the application allows the operator to see everything happening on a large sound system and to control it all from one location.

Also on hand was EV's TourX line of road-worthy loudspeaker systems with a patent-pending Backbone grille, SMX woofers, and steep-slope analog crossovers with elliptical filters providing slopes of up to 36dB per octave. The 12in., two-way ZX3 loudspeaker was there with its ND2 neodymium compression driver and DVX3121 12in. woofer, ready to be fitted with its CB-5 array kit or MB3 wall/ceiling-mount bracket and other attachments.

Samson makes a variety of audio products, from WAV recorders to simple zoned audio systems. New for Samson was the ZM125 — a 6-channel-input, five-zone system that uses one monoblock amp (125W/70V). There's a telephone output for music-on-hold. Designed for aerobics and other hands-free presenters, AirLine Synth is a tiny transmitter with an integrated mic. The idea is that for many applications, a corded lavalier is too cumbersome. AirLine Synth is a frequency-agile model that operates at 800MHz.

After the big introduction of the groundbreaking SpectraPulse high-end audioconferencing technology at last year's show, Audio-Technica (A-T) had a relatively quiet InfoComm. It showed the fruits of its rebranding efforts (“Experience More”), along with some new gear. The ES905CL is a rigid-pipe gooseneck with one microphone element. A-T also introduced the ESRSC remote-switch control box, which enables contractors to extend remote on/off and muting functions to mics that don't otherwise have control interfaces. ESRSC adds a contact closure, and the user supplies the switch.

If you're looking for the smallest of the small in body-pack transmitters, Shure's new UR1M is worth a look. The company says that it beta-tested the UR1M at the 2008 Academy Awards (on host Jon Stewart) and at this year's Miss America pageant. The tiny transmitter is set to ship in late summer. It's part of the Shure UHF-R wireless microphone system. The receiver can control several aspects of the UR1M via infrared — such as frequency, gain, and level.


InfoComm 08 in Review

Aug 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Trevor Boyer

Newsworthy AV products and trends at this year’s show.




DISTRIBUTION AND CONTROL

AMX was busy this year. Perhaps most intriguing for integrators, the company is leveraging its own technology to make it easy to set up control systems. With AMXmeetingroom, integrators can generate a program file for a room's control system by simply answering a series of questions on a Modero touchpanel about the intended functions of the room. The company also announced its acquisition of U.K.-based IPTV software manufacturer Atrium Group Developments and its flagship Vision2 software. The content-management system could be a solution for hotels, colleges and corporate campuses, or residential buildings for the Internet- or intranet-based storage and retrieval of both on-demand and live video.

On its AutoPatch side, AMX introduced 72 new fixed-matrix switchers ranging from 32 I/Os to 64 I/Os. The Octaire line is designed for analog video distribution (composite, S-Video, component, and RGBHV via BNC connections). It is set to replace the 8Y series. AMX touts the compactness of the line (4RU enclosures) and its ease of installation.

Crestron introduced 70 new products. Here are just a couple highlights of that massive rollout. First is the Isys TPS-6X 6in. touchpanel, a full-motion videopanel that communicates via Cresnet or Ethernet (wired) and via RF and IR (wireless). The new Media Presentation Controller (MPC) line of classroom systems connect, control, and route AV presentation equipment for one-projector applications. Crestron also previewed its new software designed to harvest data on energy use, efficiency, and cost for all the systems run by Crestron panels in a particular building. Green Light software can calculate carbon output and energy savings over a period of a few months up to five years.

Extron Electronics demonstrated the long-awaited new version of its GlobalViewer AV system monitoring and control application, GlobalViewer Enterprise. Instead of clicking through a succession of web pages to check multiple rooms, users now can see the rooms of a whole building on one screen. Lamp times, power states, and connection status are all displayed along with scheduling and other information.

The Sansonic HNB Digital Communication System — introduced a few years ago — added video, infrared control, and wireless microphone capability this year. The system comprises various combinations of wall-mounted modules for specific functions. These install in standard electrical wall-mount boxes, and they can be fitted out with familiar household trim plates. Inputs can be wired or wireless. System setup is so easy that the company says the first commercial installation was done before the manual was written.

Fiberplex unveiled its LightViper Shadow combined-media transport system for audio, video, and control signals over fiber in high-density combinations. There's the capability to send up to 256 bidirectional audio signals or 128 channels of video, sound, intercom, and control data. Consisting of the MP16 Audio Module and the STP64 Combined Media System, the Shadow uses three 2.5GHz bandwidth master multiplexers — and all optics are SFP-connected.

Communications Specialties introduced its Pure Digital Fiberlink 3150 series for carrying HD-SDI video via fiber in industry-standard SMPTE 292 and 259 with or without embedded audio. The system reclocks the input signal to maximize stability at the input prior to transmission and offers a reclocked SDI loop-through and two reclocked and equalized SDI outputs.

MOUNTING SYSTEMS

Premier Mounts had quite an eye-catching new custom mount at the show: a suspension cable mount that hung Panasonic's huge 103in. plasma screen from the ceiling. The 200lb. SCM-103 has a maximum weight capacity of 1,600lbs. Another option, and perhaps even more impressing from an engineering perspective: the TWM-103, a tilt wall mount for the same huge screen. Appealing to a much wider audience of integrators, Premier also introduced the PDS and PDS Plus line of projector mounts designed for educational installations. Supporting projectors weighing up to 75lbs., the new mounts feature a low-profile universal mount and have four-axis tilt and rotational adjustments, with a 33-degree tilt range (+/-16.5 degrees) and a 15-degree roll range (+/-7.5 degrees).

Peerless showcased its PRG Precision Gear Projector Mount at InfoComm. The product allows easy image alignment via the adjustment of two knobs — pull the handles out, adjust tilt with one hand, and roll with the other.

Chief Manufacturing introduced MountBuilder, which it's calling “a visual product configurator” for dealers and installers. It's available online at chiefmfg.com/mountbuilder. In terms of new hardware, Chief introduced the innovative Fusion Mounting System, with sliding bars to help eliminate stud-placement and centering problems.


2008 Pick Hit Award Winners

  • Sanyo LP-XP200L projector
  • Hitachi CP-A100 projector and StarBoard FXDuo-77 whiteboard
  • ProjectionDesign F10 AS3D stereoscopic projector
  • Canon Realis WUX10 projector
  • Westinghouse Digital M470SWP LCD and digital-signage software
  • Sharp XG-P560W projector
  • Da-Lite 3D Virtual Black screen
  • InFocus IN3100 series projectors
  • Extron GlobalViewer Enterprise management software
  • FiberPlex LightViper Shadow
  • Sansonic Wired HNB modules
  • Rane Mongoose and Mongoose Tracker software
  • Avocent Emerge MPX HD Multipoint Extender

Read more about the 2008 Pick Hit Award Winners.


SVC's Bennett Liles contributed to this report.


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