Meyer Sound UPJ-1P
May 1, 2004 12:00 PM, By John McJunkin
Meyer Sound UPJ-1P
Meyer Sound makes some nice products and has a good reputation that results from the satisfaction of its clients. In anticipation of a high-quality device, I eagerly awaited the arrival of the review pair of UPJ-1P self-powered speakers ($3,700 each.) I expected a larger shipping box based upon what I'd read in preparation for examining these speakers. Once I pulled them out of the box, however, I discovered a package that is best described by the adjectives
. Here's the rationale for that assessment.
THE NUTS AND BOLTS
The UPJ-1P is a speaker with a cabinet face measuring 22.5 inches high (or wide) by 12.25 inches deep by 11.15 inches wide (or high). Looking at the unit end on, the vented box is symmetrically trapezoidal, with the back panel of the unit measuring 7½ inches wide. It has a perforated steel grille that affords good protection of the drivers. The box is constructed of ⅝-inch plywood and has aluminum end plates to accommodate Meyer's proprietary rigging hardware. Among the available options vis-à-vis hardware are the MAA-UPJ array adapter, which enables precise horizontal or vertical arraying of multiple speakers; the MYA-UPJ cradle-style mounting yoke, which yields versatile hanging; and the MLB-UPJ L bracket, which facilitates floor-, wall-, or ceilingmounting. The aluminum end plates can also accommodate eyebolts to provide pickup points. The entire unit features a nice black textured finish. The low-frequency driver is a standard ten-inch cone woofer with a neodymium magnet. Its voice coil is a healthy two inches in diameter. With a nominal impedance of 4W, it can handle 400W (AES continuous.) The high-frequency driver in the speaker is a three-inch compression driver with a nominal impedance of 16W. The voice coil and diaphragm both measure three inches, and the exit aperture is ¾-inch. The rotatable horn attached to the high-frequency driver provides 80-by-50 or 50-by-80 degree coverage patterns, contingent upon orientation.
The cabinet also includes a 2-channel class AB MOSFET amplifier that provides a total output of 300W. The loading capacity perfectly matches the drivers, with 4W on the low-frequency channel and 16W on the high-frequency channel. One truly distinct feature of the amplifier is the cooling mechanism. It uses a large heat sink that was designed to occupy a large share of the rear panel of the speaker box. Both convection and forced air from a fan are used to exchange the heat from the fins of the sink. At 167 degrees Fahrenheit, the fan increases from its nominal speed to a higher rate until the temperature drops below that threshold once again. AC power is provided to the speaker by a PowerCon three-conductor system with locking-style connectors. Power for as many as four speakers can be daisy-chained in 115V operation and up to eight during 230V operation. Several protection schemes are used here, including a ramping of power during initial application of AC. Also, energy storage circuits (ostensibly based upon capacitors) maintain voltage at an operational level for a brief period, shutting down only if the stored power is depleted before the main supply is restored. In this brownout scenario, the speaker can fly-wheel through a brief reduction in supply voltage long enough to maintain a reasonably consistent sound-pressure level (SPL) throughout.
Meyer offers a proprietary Remote Monitoring System (RMS) for the remote monitoring of various parameters of speaker operation. Use of RMS with the UPJ-1P requires the installation of an optional communication module and passes along amplifier voltages, limiting activity, power output, temperature, fan and driver status, warning alerts, and other data. Using a Windows-based computer, as many as 62 speakers can be monitored without a network repeater, more than enough for most applications. Additionally, individual speakers can be muted or soloed through the same software front end. Individual speakers can be named and commissioned for control and telemetry. Because this speaker lends itself to usage in delay rings or other distributed audio applications, this monitoring is a welcome and powerful option, particularly for applications that require a multitude of speakers to be placed an unusually long distance from a control center, such as in a theme park.
The use of the UPJ-1P can be enhanced by the addition of Meyer's USW-1P or 650-P subwoofers. The manufacturer recommends the ratio of two UPJ-1P speakers per one USW-1P or four UPJ-1Ps with each higher-powered 650-P sub. Meyer also manufactures line drivers intended to help smooth the frequency response while providing signal for lengthy cable runs and equalization for multiple cabinet systems. The LD-1A or LD-2 can be used for this purpose. Meyer's legendary SIM system is also recommended to get a handle on the energy dispersion of the system in any given space.
GETTING AN EAR ON 'EM
With the help of chief live-sound instructor Keith Morris, I set up a pair of UPJ-1Ps in the 5,000-plus square-foot live-sound venue at the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences in Gilbert, Arizona. We did not have a similar product from any competitor with which to conduct A/B comparison, but after some listening and discussion, we quickly ascertained that there really are no competitors making such a high-quality speaker in this size and price category. Phase coherency was measured using SIA-SMAART and proved to be smack on the money. We also recognized that arrayed usage of these speakers would be easy, because of their predictable dispersion performance.
There is a short list of manufacturers that make sound-reinforcement speakers that exhibit the high accuracy of studio monitors, and Meyer inhabits that list, specifically with this product. At lower SPLs, this speaker is uncannily flat and accurate. One complaint is that the pristine quality of the audio falls apart at the outer edge of the SPL performance. This is not a speaker for high-SPL usage. If you want rock 'n' roll, you'll need a large array of the UPJ-1Ps supported by subwoofers or to use a different product altogether. That's the other concern that I have — low end. A ten-inch low-frequency driver won't shake the floor, and the UPJ-1P did not. The published free-field frequency response is 66 Hz to 18 kHz, ±4 dB. Anyone should recognize the need for subwoofers to extend the bass response with this type of compact speaker.
HOLD ON A MINUTE
However, it's not that this speaker is not useful in front-of-house applications. If you bear in mind that subs will be necessary to extend low end if you want it, these speakers provide near studio-quality audio at reasonably high SPLs. Meyer recommends them for “portable and installed audiovisual systems,” “theatrical sound reinforcement,” “front and underbalcony fill,” and for “conference centers, presentations, ballrooms, and houses of worship.” Indeed, these speakers easily meet and exceed the requirements of any of those applications. For applications in which the need for quality supercedes the need for quantity, it is difficult to beat the UPJ-1P.
is the principal of Avalon Audio Services in Phoenix. For more than 20 years, he has engaged in studio recording, live sound, and broadcast, and he consults in design and commission for numerous studios and artists
Operating Frequency Range
55 Hz-20 KHz
Free-Field Frequency Response
66 Hz-18 KHz, ±4 dB
Maximum Peak SPL at 1 meter
Transducer (low frequency)
(1) 10-inch cone driver with neodymium magnet, 400W
Transducer (high frequency)
¾" exit, 3" diaphragm compression driver, 100W
Automatic Voltage Selection
90-264 VAC; 50/60 Hz
Female XLR input and male XLR loop output
PowerCon with looping out
(W×H×D) 11.15" × 22.43" × 12.25"
46 lb.; shipping weight: 52 lb.
Meyer Sound Laboratories
Near-studio-quality audio, compact, self-powered, versatile.
Not intended for high-SPL operation, many applications require subwoofer support.
$3,700 each. Options: MYA-UPJ cradlemount: $185; MAA-UPJ array adapter plate: $230; MLB-UPJ L-shaped mounting bracket: $170.