Loudspeakers

TECHNOLOGY SHOWCASE: Line Arrays

10/01/2017 2:41 PM Eastern
TAKE AWAY

This year saw strong action with some significant new releases in speaker arrays. In particular, manufacturers sought to expand options across a range of sizes and prices, acknowledging the demand for arrays in a widening scope of applications. In addition, manufacturers continued to pay attention to installation, whether through weight and rigging innovations, software setup, or Dante compatibility.

In June, Bose Professional introduced the self-powered Panaray MSA12X Modular Steerable Array. The slim, unobtrusive design and column configuration tailor to applications such as houses of worship where intelligibility and full range music reinforcement have to discreetly stand up to acoustically challenging spaces. The array comprises twelve full-range 2.25-inch transducers (with 75 Hz-14 kHz response). Twelve internal 50-watt power amplifiers provide a total 600-watt rated power. Onboard DSP allows for digital control and beam steering of vertical coverage patterns. Horizontal coverage is delivered via Bose’s Articulated Array configuration for 160-degree coverage. Each array has independent level and EQ control for two separate beams; memory stores up to 10 presents. Compatible with Dante networks or line-level analog. An integrated mounting bracket allows up to 90-degrees of pivot; setup is supported by Bose software. Available in black or white or paintable.

In April, d&b audiotechnik added software features to its R1 Remote control software. Array Verification has been created to help avoid cabling mistakes in both mobile and permanent applications The patent pending procedure automatically identifies the physical position of a loudspeaker in an array, allowing it to be compared to the setup in the d&b ArrayCalc simulation software. The feature not only confirms that loudspeakers are cabled and working correctly, but that each amplifier channel goes into the right loudspeaker in the array. For users on the go, the ArrayCalc Viewer app has been designed specifically for tablets and smartphones, providing all key data for positioning and flying a d&b loudspeaker system. Once the system has been designed, calculated and optimized in ArrayCalc, the dbac2 file can be shared via email, AirDrop, or downloaded onto any iOS or Android device. For users, the new app means any changes can be shared instantly, with no more need for paper print-outs. The software supports a range of d&b speakers, including the Y-Series, which remains a flagship for small to mid-sized applications. Within the range, the Yi loudspeakers are designed for integration within permanent installations, differing from the mobile Y-Series in cabinet construction and mounting hardware. The Yi cabinets are coated with an impact resistant paint finish, with color matching and weather resistance options.

In January, D.A.S. Audio announced the Event Line Array Systems Performance Simulator. This intuitive new tool—available on the company’s website—enables users to easily calculate how many Event 208A or Event 210A systems are required to properly cover a given audience, or a determined audience area. The company says it was designed with users such as aspiring professionals or church sound volunteers to calculate system size in just a few clicks and provide a datadefined prescription. Users simply select the system, whether the loudspeakers should be flown or ground stacked, the area to be covered, or the number of people in the audience. By next clicking on “Calculate,” the simulator quickly outputs a wealth of data, including the number of Event 208A or Event 210A systems required, configuration options, coverage maps, and rigging data. Areas up to 115 feet by 115 feet or an audience size of up to 4,900 people are supported.

Just over a year ago, Eastern Acoustic Works (EAW) debuted the Dante-ready RADIUS, family of loudspeakers for both portable and permanent installation applications, with intelligent features aimed directly at streamlining setup. The range includes a double 8-in articulated line array. With all-wood enclosures, EAW Roadcoat finish, minimalist aesthetic and Power Factor Corrected Class D amplification, all models in the RADIUS family feature a large, highly-legible navigation screen that provides on-box access to all RADIUS functions through the use of a simple turn and push encoder. Dual locking etherCON connectors provide simple daisy-chain Dante connectivity for single cable audio and communications. There is also an integrated WAP connection on every speaker to provide flexible router placement options. XLR audio input and thru connections provide an analog input option and automatic fail-over redundancy. Power is delivered via powerCON inlet and loop connections to simplify cable management. The rear panel LCD screen and encoder on each enclosure also provide direct access to a wide variety of useful functions. The 41-pound RSX208L line array module incorporates 2x 8-in woofers and 2x 1.4-in voice coil compression drivers into a compact 3-way package. The design uses both 8-in woofers to deliver low frequency reinforcement; integrated DSP provides clean mid-range while maintaining wide coverage pattern and inherent acoustical symmetry. The RSX208L and RSX12 include array self-detection via on-board infrared sensors and accelerometers that enable new OptiLogic technology to pre-optimize the array and air loss compensation processing to reduce setup and tuning time. Key to the line is the EAWmosaic iOS-based application. This integrated and intuitive platform provides for prediction, control, and monitoring at any location in the venue wirelessly.

In April, HARMAN Professional Solutions extended the VTX family with a new dual 12” line array, engineered from the ground up for large size touring and high-end fixed installations. The JBL by HARMAN VTX A12 features entirely new and proprietary transducer and high-frequency waveguide designs, innovations in the rigging and suspension hardware, and refinements to the physical aspects of the cabinet. While many of the features are pitched at touring pros—lighter weight, smaller profile, rigging improvements and a patented locking mechanism—these same features can simplify installation in fixed applications. VTX A12 features improved acoustic technology; the new high-frequency (HF) section features three uniquely designed drivers that combine the HF phasing-plug and waveguide into one part, claiming better tolerances and increased sensitivity above 6 kHz, while reducing distortion and overall weight. A newly designed Radiation Boundary Integrator (RBI) combines four 5” mid-frequency drivers into the high-frequency waveguide and provides a smooth horn surface for the high frequency section. A lightweight 12” low frequency woofer (LF) features a fourth-generation Differential Drive design and new dual NEO dual-coil magnet arrangement. These elements combine to deliver a system that claims high output per weight, low-frequency extension, and 90-degree directivity down to 300 Hz. VTX A 12 also features an updated exterior.

The L-Acoustics KIVA II ultra-compact modular line source, started shipping late last year. It adds 6dB of max SPL (137dB) versus its predecessor, maximized amplifier density with 16 ohm impedance, and a new rugged enclosure material. Despite its ultra-compact format, the Kiva II features L-Acoustics’ Wavefront Sculpture Technology (WST), giving it a long throw capability and claiming even SPL from the front row to the back of the audience. Its coplanar transducer arrangement and new K-shaped coplanar transducer configuration generates a symmetric horizontal coverage of 100 degrees without secondary lobes over the entire frequency range. Lightweight at 31 pounds with flush-fitted rigging, it naturally fits into installations that require minimum visual obstruction, and particularly in L-ISA multi-channel configuration installations.

Martin Audio’s Wavefront Precision Series is a brand new generation of multipurpose line arrays designed to bring the company’s signature sound, coverage consistency and control to a broader range of touring applications, installations and budgets. Comprising the WPC (2 x 10” LF) and WPM (2 x 6.5” LF)—as well as two subs—Wavefront Precision line arrays are designed as complete systems with the external iKON multi-channel amplifiers (also new this year) supported by Martin Audio’s automated DISPLAY software. While the fixed-resolution MLA Series remains the flagship, Wavefront Precision’s combination of scalable resolution and external multi-channel amps is what makes the new arrays flexible, upgradeable, and financially scalable as well. The way Martin Audio sees it, dedicated amp channels mean resolution and coverage control—and incremental choice. At the low end of the resolution scale, the results are solid, and at the top end, performance approaches the level of the MLA systems. In between, customers can decide how many iKON amps to deploy depending on their application.

They newest and smallest member of Meyer Sound’s LEO family, the discreet new LINA, very compact linear line array claims the same inherent linearity, low distortion, and power-to-size ratio as Meyer’s LEO, LYON, and LEOPARD, making these benefits available to a larger range of applications and venues. The self-powered LINA measures 10.17 inches wide and weighs just 43 lbs. It shares the same structural footprint as Meyer’s MINA line array loudspeakers, the rigging and mounting hardware is interchangeable and mixed MINA and LINA systems can be integrated using the delay integration in Meyer’s Compass control software. LINA has new drivers and an updated amp and DSP package that conforms with the LEO design philosophy. A new class D amplifier offers greater efficiency over MINA; an upgraded power supply enables high peak output. The 3-inch HF compression driver has a new magnet structure first used in the LEOPARD line array. Low-frequency distortion from the dual 6.5-inch woofers is reduced compared to MINA via new internal venting and baffling. On-board DSP has more power and includes LEOPARD’s optimized Native Mode for performance with minimal processing. For most applications, Meyer recommends integration with the companion 750-LFC low frequency control element to extend bass performance across its operating frequency range of 36-125 Hz. Configured as single cabinets or short stacks, LINA loudspeakers can serve as front fills and under-balcony fills.

Launched with fanfare at ISE, the NEXO GEO M10 has since been touring the country as part of the Geo Experience Tour. This new high-output sound reinforcement system was developed for long-throw theater and live music applications and is twice as powerful as its sister GEO M6 compact line array launched two years ago. While the M10 maintains a similar design, the larger M10 cabinet draws on structural and acoustic innovations first released in the NEXO STM Series modular line array, particularly the STM M28. There are two versions of the M10 cabinet, offering 12.5° and 25° of vertical dispersion. Both have 80°/120° horizontal dispersion which can be configured manually by removing the magnetic grill and adjusting the company’s unique flange fixing system. A single 10” neodymium LF driver is paired with a 1.4” HF titanium diaphragm HF driver; the 2-way passive module will deliver a frequency response of 59Hz-20kHz and nominal peak SPL of 131dB. The intention of the single 10” driver is two-fold—it delivers a much better lower frequency response from a 2-way cabinet; and the cabinet’s narrow profile and height provides for tighter inter-cabinet angles. This profile, coupled with the 46lb. weight, make the M10 an easy and unobtrusive choice where sightlines are important.

In May, PreSonus announced the launch of the PreSonus Commercial Division. This new division combines product lines from PreSonus and WorxAudio (which PreSonus sold and marketed) to specifically serve pro installation and live sound. WorxAudio founder Hugh Sarvis will run the loudspeaker division, which includes a full range of WorxAudio line arrays, including the XL1 ultracompact line array, available in both touring and install versions (powered and passive) for a wide variety of sound reinforcement applications. The XL1 features 160-degree horizontal dispersion and 10-degree vertical throw. The XL1 includes a large-format, 1.4in. exit compression driver coupled to a stabilized proprietary FlatWave Former for clear high frequencies over different coverage areas. Dual 8in. cone transducers are coupled to the Acoustic Integrating Module (A.I.M.) to minimize cone filtering. The powered versions of the XL1 incorporates a Class D power amp (PDA-1000) with 500W per channel, Dante audio networking capability, and WorxControl management system. The full WorxAudio line array range includes 14 products.

The QSC KLA Series is a fixed, active line array loudspeaker designed for live entertainment and other venues. Comprised of two models, the KLA12 is a 12in., two-way loudspeaker and the KLA 181 is an 18in. ported subwoofer. Since both models utilize the same efficient power amp module with different configurations, it enables up to five KLA models to run off a single electrical circuit. The KLA12’s frequency response is 44Hz- 20kHz and can be extended to 38Hz with the KLA181. Ar-Q frequency optimization is included to quickly tune and configure the array for quick setup times. Also, its SOLO rigging system supports deployment without tools or hardware.

With a range of five horizontal dispersion angles and Renkus-Heinz’s unique transitional waveguides, VARIAi’s VA101i-15 Modular Point Source Array configurable enclosures and hardware make it easy to tailor each speaker to multiple applications. The VA101i-15 is self-powered and comes in 7.5-degree, 15-degree, and 22.5-degree arrayable, weather-resistant enclosures. Whether flown vertically, horizontally, or ground stacked, the VA101i-15 brings a new, ultra-streamlined design to VARIA’s hardware. Dual 1in. HF drivers and a 10in. subwoofer produce a punch of 126dB peak SPL. Custom paint options are available for this unit.

TOA’s SR-D8 M is an active line array speaker system harnessing eight built-in digital amplifiers to project sound waves to targeted areas with greater precision than is possible with conventional speakers. The speaker system has eight 10cm LF drivers, twenty-four 2.5cm HF drivers, and comes with DSP effects. CobraNet-ready integration is included and the speaker can be paired with its matching subwoofer (SR-D8 S) to push 93db SPL. The SR-D8 M also has 90-degree horizontal coverage, vertical angle adjustment up to 45 degrees, and beam splitting for greater aiming flexibility.

Designed for large-scale applications, VUE’s al-12 is powered by the new VUEDrive V3 Systems Engine for higher efficiency, increased power handling, and reduced power compression. The three-way, line array system consists of two 12in. LF drivers, six 4in. MF drivers, and two 1.4in. HF beryllium diaphragms. Altogether, the al-12 delivers 4000W burst for each of the low and mid frequencies, and 1000W burst for the high frequencies. It is complete with a frequency response of 47Hz-28kHz, 144dB SPL level, and 90-degree horizontal coverage. Flexible rigging options are available to allow flying and ground stacking.

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