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Tech Roundup: Installed Speakers 2020

At this time of year we expect to see some new installed speakers hit the market and the show floor at InfoComm. This year, InfoComm was virtual, but the product releases were real, the result of engineering and R&D efforts by teams across the industry. With that in mind, here’s a look at some of the key launches so far in 2020, from NAMM to ISE to InfoComm Connected.

At InfoComm Connected 2020, Adamson Systems Engineering launched the CS-Series to bring the features of Adamson’s sub-compact S-Series loudspeakers into the networked future with onboard amplification and DSP, plus Milan-ready AVB connectivity. The CS-Series loudspeaker offerings are available as standalone products or as an upgrade to existing S-Series enclosures. Their Milan-ready AVB architecture includes built-in network redundancy contained in a single cable to relay audio and control signal, as well as assurance of long-term viability as part of an IEEE standard. The new CS-Series is comprised of: the ultra-compact CS7 two-way, full-range array enclosure; CS7p point-source enclosure; and companion CS118 subwoofer, along with the sub-compact CS10 two-way, full-range array enclosure; CS10n narrow-dispersion array enclosure; CS10p point-source cabinet; and companion CS119 subwoofer. CS-Series loudspeakers feature the same form factors as their S-Series counterparts, and their fully compatible sonic signatures are uniform with the S-Series and IS-Series, ensuring scalable configurations. A turnkey CS Upgrade Kit allows existing S-Series cabinets to be easily converted to CS models in minutes by simply removing four screws, connecting the CS Jackplate with the provided wiring connectors, and switching the front grille. Rounding out the series are a suite of CS rack-mounted systems and a dedicated CS software solution for design, simulation, installation, and diagnostics.

At press time, AtlasIED announced that it’s IPX Series VoIP speaker is now compliant with key Avaya IX Workplace solutions, with powerful capabilities related to calling, collaboration and meetings, as well as a range of flexible, connected phones and devices. Avaya Holdings Corp. is a global leader in solutions that enhance and simplify communications and collaboration. The IPX Series VoIP speaker helps customers communicate efficiently and effectively for both daily messaging and emergency alerts. Ideal for corporate enterprise customers and those in the transportation, education, and healthcare industries, the IPX Series VoIP-speakers effectively use a facility’s communication system to help maintain a safe work environment. The application is now compliance-tested by Avaya for compatibility with Avaya IX Workplace Calling components Avaya Aura Communication Manager 8.1 and Avaya Aura Session Manager 8.1.

InfoComm Connected saw the US debut of the d&b KSLi System. The system was designed as a complete installation package for the full range of installations and applications. The system features the KSLi8 and KSLi12 loudspeakers, combined with (KSLi-SUB/KSLi-GSUB) subwoofers, the new 40D high-performance installation amplifier, plus a complete catalogue of system specific accessories and customization options. The KSLi8 and KSLi12 are acoustically identical to the mobile KSL System delivering the same performance characteristics: full-range broadband directivity control, extended low frequency response and enhanced high-frequency resolution in a complete package. The KSLi8 and KSLi12 loudspeakers, with 80° and 120° horizontal dispersion, respectively, provide consistent pattern control down to the lowest frequencies, in part due to the geometry of two front-facing 10-inch drivers and two side-firing 8-inch drivers, which couple and apply cardioid techniques to cause directivity with low-frequency headroom. The new KSLi SUB excels where space or weight limits exist, either flown in an array KSLi-SUB or ground stacked KSLi-GSUB.

DAS Audio positions the new addition to its Event series, the Event Series 26A and 115A sub as a compact solution equally suited to touring and installation, especially for musicforward applications such as clubs. DAS cites groundbreaking engineering, and quality transducers in these latest additions. The EVENT-26A line array and the EVENT-115A subwoofer are both IP43 rated. The EVENT26A is a two-way, symmetrical, ultra-compact, lightweight, self-powered line array in a double 6.5” ‘v-shaped’ configuration that provides a uniform 100 º horizontal coverage. The EVENT-115A is a compact birch wood cabinet self-powered front-loaded bass reflex subwoofer that uses a single 15” low frequency transducer designed for use with the EVENT-26A and includes compatible rigging hardware. Both systems incorporate a DAScontrolTM interface (an onboard 24-bit DSP w/ LCD screen) that simplifies preset selection.

Meyer Sound has been on a roll with its ULTRA family, a re-invention of the point source loudspeaker that debuted last year with the ULTRA-X40. Meyer used InfoComm Connected to highlight the widespread success of that speaker across multiple applications including houses of worship, installations, clubs, corporate and Broadway. Adding to the range, last month Meyer introduced a smaller sibling and companion sub, both set to ship in September. The new ULTRA-X20 Compact Point Source Loudspeaker claims the same revolutionary design principles and advanced technologies as the X40 but employs smaller drivers in a lighter and more compact package — a design that is new to Meyer Sound, and is a power-to-size breakthrough. The ULTRA-X20 incorporates two 5” cone drivers, one 2” diaphragm compression driver and a rotatable 110°x 50° horn in a coaxial configuration. Power comes from a three-channel Class D amplifier with extensive DSP. Everything fits inside a compact cabinet that measures just 7.5” wide by 19.04” high by 8.6” deep and weighs only 26 pounds. Preliminary performance specifications give an operating frequency range of 60 Hz to 18 kHz, phase response of ±45° (100 Hz – 16 kHz) and linear peak SPL of 123.5 dB measured with M-Noise. The ULTRA-X20 may be ordered with any one of three connector panel options. The two AC powered versions both have looping Powercon connectors with choice of 3-pin XLR for audio or 5-pin XLR for audio and RMS remote monitoring. Another version is offered for integration in IntelligentDC systems (audio and remote DC powering on a single cable) with a 5-pin Phoenix connector. Two additional variants are offered, identical except for the patterns of the rotatable horn: ULTRA-X22 (80°x 50°) and ULTRA-X23 (110°x 110°). For extended low-frequency power, the ULTRA-X20 may be paired with the new USW-112P subwoofer, the 750-LFC low-frequency control element or USW-210P subwoofer. Versions of the USW-112P are offered with either direct AC powering or for integration into systems using IntelligentDC, Rigging and installation, as always, has been carefully considered.

In January, NEXO unveiled two new compact point-source loudspeakers in its P+ Series, both available as installation models. The new P8 and P10 models follow on from the company’s first P+ Series model, the P12, launched in mid-2019. These new multi-purpose speakers all build on the performance of the classic PS Series cabinets that established NEXO’s global reputation. The P8 arrives exactly 20 years after the launch of the PS8, a super-compact stage monitor and PA speaker which, together with the larger PS10 (launched in 1993), became a staple of AV and audio production rental inventories and a common sight in fixed installations. At its manufacturing headquarters, NEXO has invested in new tooling and assembly capabilities to produce the curvy, modern enclosures that are the signature of its new P+ Series. The P8 features a coaxial 8-inch LF driver with a 1.5-inch diaphragm HF driver. The P10 has a coaxial 10-inch Neodymium LF driver and 1.7-inch diaphragm HF driver. The horn driver can rotate in both cabinets, a NEXO hallmark since its introduction in the PS Series. In the new P+ Series, the quick-release Magnelis steel grille can be quickly removed, allowing the horn to be swapped out and changing the standard 100º x 100º dispersion to a 110º x 60º alternative. Custom-designed coaxial drivers are at the heart of these speakers. SPL output is 129dB Peak for the P8 and 136dB Peak for the P10. Frequency response is 66Hz to 20kHz for the P8, and 63Hz to 20kHz for the P10. Both new models are compact and lightweight with features to aid installation and a range of power sources. The L15 is the recommended sub.

At the end of April, QSC announces its shipping two new loudspeakers – the AD-P.HALO, an integrated SUB/SAT pendant loudspeaker system, and the AC-C2T-LP, a low-profile ceiling-mount full range loudspeaker. As part of the AcousticDesign Series, AD-P.HALO features an integrated 6.5” subwoofer and four 2.75” transducers in a single pendant-mount enclosure. This purpose-built design is ready to install right out of the box. The AD-P.HALO is ideal for applications where music inspires the overall atmosphere, such as high-end retail or hospitality. At 200 watts RMS, the AD-P.HALO offers significant dynamic headroom. It also shares sonic characteristics with the rest of the AcousticDesign Series, allowing integrators to seamlessly mix-and-match enclosures types, including ceiling-mount, pendant-mount and surface-mount form factors. The AcousticCoverage Series AC-C2T-LP is a low-profile, ceiling-mounted 2.75” full-range loudspeaker, designed for installations with tighter space requirements or where lower ceiling heights are more common. Featuring a 95 mm installation depth, it offers a cost-effective option for environments where voice-reinforced coverage is a primary concern, including conference rooms and background music (BGM) applications. The diameter of the AC-C2T-LP matches the popular AC-C6T, a 6.5” 2-way system loudspeaker, which allows installers to interchange them when they encounter unexpected ceiling obstructions. It also offers a 170° conical coverage, reducing the number of loudspeakers required for consistent coverage in low-ceiling applications. When combined with Q-SYS network amplifiers, QSC processing amplifiers or MP-M Series mixers, both the AD-P.HALO and AC-C2T-LP take full advantage of Intrinsic Correction, a QSC proprietary voicing algorithm that helps reduce the set up time and tuning process.

In January, RCF began shipping the TT+ family of speakers pitched at touring and, for installation, theaters. TT+ speakers are the RCF flagship active systems. The onboard two-channel amplifier, the RCF Precision transducers coupled with the constant directivity horn provide extensive coverage and linearity. The five TT+ models in the upgraded version II feature: onboard RDNet Networked Management Card; FiRPHASE Processing for 0° Linear Phase response; and new processing chain and improved tuning for TT+. Thanks to the latest firmware, older speakers – upgraded with the RDNet card – will be fully compatible with Version II TT+ speakers. The innovative transducers’ design of the RCF TT+ series ensures extreme power-handling, making these compact speakers the right choice for high demanding applications. The onboard DSP provides linear phase filters and crossover, system equalization, polarity control, fast limiter, RMS limiter and configuration control from the back panel or advanced remote management via RDNet.

Renkus-Heinz has introduced its new Iconyx Compact Series, intended to provide integration options for midsized installations in house of worship, corporate, transportation, education, and government markets. The new line is immediately available, and kicks off with the Iconyx Compact Series 12/3-RN single array module, aimed for use within spaces where even traditional ICONYX arrays might be too large. The ICC12/3 provides digital beam steering in a compact footprint, housing a dozen 3-inch fullrange, treated paper cone drivers, along with a 12-channel digital amplifier and DSP channel for each driver, resulting in a package nearly 40 percent smaller than previous Iconyx offerings. The module provides full RHAON II beam-steering with the latest U.R.G.O beam algorithms, a movable acoustic center, multiple beam opening angles, and high-pass filtering of individual beams. Standard RN units have analog and AES inputs, and come with an included wallmount bracket.

In January, MSE Audio, parent company of SoundTube Entertainment, Soundsphere, dARTS, Phase Technology, Induction Dynamics, SolidDrive and Rockustics, announced that STNet IP-enabled pendant speakers were shipping to dealers and distributors worldwide. One of the first pendants in the pro AV industry with Dante capability, the IPD-RS62-EZ and IPD-RS82-EZ use SoundTube’s BroadBeam Ring high-frequency dispersion technology for clear, understandable messaging and music over a wide area, even off-axis from the speakers. The IPD-HP82-EZ uses a BroadBeam HP compression driver with waveguide for use in rooms with extra high ceilings. Applications for STNet pendants include any facility with high or open ceilings. All speakers are available in a black or white with a paintable finish. Hanging hardware is included. With digital signals plus power sent directly to the speakers via standard category cable, SoundTube’s STNet bi-amped pendant speakers are DSP-managed with the crossover, time correction and EQ all done in the digital domain. Because they are on the Dante platform, they are interoperable with a host of other products worldwide. The STNet pendants may be used with SoundTube’s ST-Net Switch, offering up to 40 watts PoE to each speaker, or with standard PoE or PoE+ switches.

Pitching In

In May Yorkville Sound announced that it was engaged in an open-source ventilator design project in conjunction with Starfish Medical to increase the availability of ventilators in Canada. “Our design and manufacturing team is very excited to be part of the solution during this unprecedented time.” says Steve Long, Yorkville Sound’s President.  “We’re providing circuit-board design and layout, as well as the assembly of the control panel for the ventilator project.” Yorkville Sound’s collaboration with Starfish Medical is an answer to the Government of Canada’s call to action to Canadian businesses and manufacturers to help deliver critical health supplies to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. This particular ventilator project is inspired by The Winnipeg Ventilator, designed for ICU use and high volume production.  More information on this ventilator design can be found here:

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