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Tech Roundup: Installed Speakers 2021

As we return to public spaces, installed speakers take on new importance. Here’s a look at some of the options including new releases introduced over the 15 months we’ve been home.

In May, the Adamson IS-Series Weatherized loudspeakers and design tools debuted for the premium installation market. The introduction included an extension to its IS-Series of installation loudspeakers and a suite of improved and updated design tools for architects, integrators, and sound designers. With the introduction of the IS-Series Weatherized line, Adamson offers AV professionals a loudspeaker family purpose-built to withstand the most extreme climates in the world. Weatherized enclosures are ideal for marine and coastal venues, outdoor stadiums, open-air performance spaces, and other permanent outdoor installations. IS-Series Weatherized models achieve an IP55 rating without sacrificing performance or aesthetics. All structural steel elements of the IS-Series Weatherized cabinets are made of a high yield strength stainless alloy that offers 100% corrosion resistance. The new models also feature an interior and exterior coating with a distinctive smooth finish that provides a water-resistant seal and allows for easy cleaning and removal of dirt, grime, saltwater or sand. To supplement the product release, Adamson is also releasing an update to its suite of design tools for integrators, including new Autodesk Revit and SketchUp libraries for the IS-Series, and updated EASE and CAD files for the complete Adamson loudspeaker line. The design tools are available now for download on the Adamson website at www.adamsonsystems. com.

The AtlasIED IPX Series VoIP speaker is 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.

Ashly Audio IS series dual-impedance column speakers are designed for extreme flexibility for integrators by operating at 8 or 32 Ohms, making them effective for simple applications or allowing larger numbers to be used in distributed installations – up to 32 IS Column speakers can be run off a single Ashly PEMA or CA amplifier. The IS Series is designed for precise vertical dispersion and consistent sound levels front-to-back in virtually any type of venue, including next to flat-screens in conference rooms or houses of worship. The speakers combine with Ashly amps and processors that incorporate Protēa or AquaControl DSP. The SP-12.1P subwoofer provides an extended low end and offers a portable “system-on-a-stick” configuration solution.

In April, Biamp announced that the company has been awarded a patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for its Biamp Magic Cable, used in the company’s Desono family of business audio pendant loudspeakers. Magic Cable comprises two stainless steel suspension cables, two 18 AWG signal conductors within a separate cable jacket, and integrated ripcords that allow the installer to easily slice through the jackets as needed — greatly increasing installation efficiencies. Magic Cable’s patent covers its innovative construction, a sub-cable jacket that encloses the metal support cables, a second sub-cable jacket for the insulated audio cables, the main ripcords, as well as subcables that allow tool-less stripping of each cable jacket. Because of its unique assembly, it also meets the UL 13 Standard for PowerLimited Circuit Cables with a Class 3 indoor/ outdoor rating. With the Class 3 rating, it is “listed for purpose,” meaning there’s no need to seek a waiver if installed at lengths longer than 10 feet (3 meters). The cable is also predressed in an outer jacket that provides a clean post-installation appearance without the need to smooth out kinks, regardless of ceiling height and/or length of exposed cable. Magic Cable is pre-terminated inside the Desono P6 and P6-SM pendant models to ensure there are no exposed connections at the loudspeaker. It can also be used with other Desono pendant loudspeakers including the DP6, DP8, P30DT, and P60DT.

In late April, Bose Professional added to the DesignMax line with four new pendant loudspeakers—the Bose 30-watt DM3P loudspeakers (75 Hz–20 kHz) and 60-watt DM5P loudspeakers (65 Hz–20 kHz); the 125-watt DM6PE outdoor-rated loudspeaker (62 Hz–20 kHz); and the 300-watt DM10P-SUB subwoofer (40 Hz–125 Hz ). The DM3P, DM5P. and DM6PE pendant loudspeakers all feature the Bose Dispersion Alignment system, providing a consistent listening experience throughout the room by matching the coverage of the woofer to the pattern of the tweeter. First introduced in 2019, the DesignMax family includes coaxial two-way loudspeakers and subwoofers with in-ceiling and surface-mount models available, plus high-SPL compression-driver options, compact models for tight spaces, and various IP55-rated outdoor options. All models require no DSP or EQ. They can also be paired with select Bose DSPs and amplifiers to enable Bose loudspeaker EQ and SmartBass processing. With the addition of these four pendant models, system designers and installers can now choose from a total of 16 DesignMax products to curate tailored solutions for background and foreground audio applications.

Designed to deliver high-performance audio in nearfield applications with a wide range of flexible mounting options, the d&b audiotechnik 44S is the company’s first flush mountable cabinet. It’s comprised of dual 4.5- inch neodymium LF drivers together with dual 1.25-inch HF dome tweeters mounted on a rotatable constant directivity horn for a rotatable dispersion characteristic of 90° x 30°. An optional d&b 44S back box can be used for flush mounting the loudspeaker into ceilings or walls, in both horizontal and vertical positions. The 3.6kg (6.2kg with back box) loudspeaker can be used as a standalone system or supplemented by actively driven d&b subwoofers. Measuring 390 x 128 x 150 mm, the asymmetric cabinet design and the optional back box promotes adjustments of +/- 20° in 5° increments for different listening heights. Powered by 10D or 30D installation amplifiers, the passive 44S can produce a maximum SPL of 121dB and 123dB output respectively. The compact point source two-way design incorporates an intelligent, rotatable waveguide and baffle design that the German manufacturer claims will deliver smooth horizontal and tightly focused vertical dispersion between 90Hz–17kHz (-5dB). The injection molded enclosure is finished in a resistant paint and further protected by a rigid metal grille. Two M8 threaded inserts are incorporated into the back panel to connect to different rigging accessories. The loudspeaker cabinet and most accessories are also available with the Special Color (SC) option that can be executed in all RAL colors.

In May, EAW announced the company has successfully begun assembling its MKD Series installation speaker line in-house at its Whitinsville, Massachusetts headquarters. The new dedicated assembly space began operation in November 2020 and has not stopped since, with production of the new 3-way full-range EAW MKD1200 Series and customization of existing products, such as the QX and MK lines. With two stations for assembly, the 2400 square-foot space is in full operation. In addition to assembly, the new dedicated space also serves as QC and testing—the production floor is immediately in front of the engineering team, which allows any potential problems to be identified and improvements to be made in real time.

In June, Electro-Voice PREVIEW debuted, a new platform-independent software application designed to configure ElectroVoice line-array loudspeakers for optimized coverage. The software provides efficient system setup by creating visualizations of coverage, SPL, frequency response and precise mechanical load calculations. PREVIEW features a full-color 3D interface, enabling users to place and manipulate objects and control rotation, scaling, and translation; surfaces viewed straight on are transparent. This helps specifiers, designers, and audio engineers quickly calculate the ideal configurations and positioning of line arrays, as well as the angles between loudspeaker elements, amplifier drive and delay requirements, and other system design parameters. The software also recommends mechanically valid combinations of loudspeakers and rigging hardware. Quick Map delivers immediate visualization of the coverage density. The flexible auto dB range option maps the predicted SPL range across the full available color range. Virtual microphone positioning allows users to predict frequency response anywhere in the venue. The unique spectrogram display presents a vertical frequency response plot for each loudspeaker at the point at which its main geometric axis reaches the audience area. These plots are shown side by side, to help the designer assess how evenly the venue is covered in both level and frequency. The software also simplifies the creation of subwoofer arrays. The application also includes a detailed report generation function and a powerful project file database, providing users with detailed acoustical and mechanical information. This timesaving database allows specifiers, designers and audio engineers to import existing designs and to store new project files, drawings and templates. The first full public-release version of PREVIEW will support most Electro-Voice touring and install line-array models, including X1(i), X2(i), XLC, XLD and XLE, as well as complementary subwoofers. More models will be added in future versions. Windows and Mac OS versions of the software are available as free downloads.

In May, the Extron SoundField ceiling tile speaker debuted. The new SoundField SF 228T Plus is a two-way ceiling tile speaker for low impedance and 70-volt/100-volt systems. The SoundField SF 228T Plus features a new coaxial driver that delivers high power handling with a smooth frequency response and clarity. It features a low-profile, 2-foot by 2-foot (610mm x 610mm) by 5.3-inch (135 mm) deep enclosure that is UL 2043 plenum rated, utilizes toolless connections, and drops directly into standard US-style suspended ceilings. The two-way ported design includes an 8-inch (203 mm) woofer and a 1.1-inch (28 mm) silk dome tweeter in a coaxial configuration that provides a smooth frequency range of 47 Hz to 22 kHz for music and speech reproduction. The SF 228T Plus offers 90 watts continuous pink noise and 180 watts continuous program output. This speaker is sold in pairs and is designed for fast and easy installation into sound systems requiring high-performance audio playback.

The JBL Control 23-1 is the most compact of JBL Professional’s Control Contractor Series indoor/outdoor loudspeakers, making it ideal for patios, foyers, retail, or other applications where foreground/background music and paging are required. The two-way 3” speaker was designed for rich sonic character, wide coverage, consistent dispersion, versatile mounting, and a contemporary high-design look that fits into a wide range of decors. This makes Control 23-1 an excellent choice for a wide variety of applications, including retail stores, restaurants, health clubs, theme parks, educational facilities, hospitality, music cafes, leisure venues, and anywhere where a top quality compact indoor/outdoor foreground/ background music (and/or paging) speaker is required. The unique and global patent pending InvisiBall mounting hardware is included in each system, plus available U-bracket.

The L-Acoustics X4i ultra-compact coaxial enclosure is a powerful yet unobtrusive and highly weatherized coaxial loudspeaker for installation applications. Weighing less than a kilo (2.2 lbs), X4i, it’s the smallest loudspeaker the company has ever manufactured, measuring only 3.9 inches/99 mm deep, yet still offering the L -Acoustics world – class sonic signature. Dimensioned for ease of integration into conventional construction materials, X4i is designed for fill applications in performing arts centers or houses of worship, matching the sonic signature of main L-Acoustics systems like A10 and Kiva II. X4i can be hidden in walls, stair risers, stage lips, pit rails, under balconies, or any other tight spot with ease. The enclosure can additionally provide vocal reinforcement in conference rooms, museums and exhibits, hospitality venues, and other settings. Combined with Syva Sub and complemented with a versatile mounting accessory, X4i supports indoor or outdoor background music in restaurants, bars, hotels, and retail locations. Outdoors, the X4i is IP55 rated and becomes watertight with a rear sealing plate, allowing integration in challenging climatic or outdoor environments.

Developed to match the ES Series of recessed speakers, and utilizing the same drivers and transformers, the Lowell ESP Series pendant supports a wider range of installation environments. The ESP-82TB is a 120W pendant unit that can be used in 25, 70, or 100V systems as well as an 8-ohm configuration. It is equipped with a 20-gauge CRS press-fit grille and a magnetic mount top that hides the integral top bracket and wiring terminals. The integral bracket assembly is ready to hang from cable or pipe, but can also be converted to surface mount to a wall or truss by attaching an optional U-bracket to threaded insert points. ESP Series speakers are available with a 6.5- inch 50W coaxial driver, 8-inch 120W coaxial driver, or 80-inch 150W coaxial compression driver. The durable ABS plastic ported enclosure (black or white) is tuned for extended bass response.

In March, K-array KGEAR debuted. The new pro audio brand was made to meet a wider range of users worldwide with an essential line of pro-audio solutions designed, engineered and primarily made in Italy with a special attention to budget-sensitive yet demanding applications. The KGEAR portfolio can be divided into two main areas – High Performance and Installed Sound – and comprises column systems, linearrays, ceiling and wall mount speakers, subwoofers and amplifiers for the most diverse applications ranging from large venues and commercial buildings to room-sized, residential environments. The elegant Installed Series comprises a line array column, point source column, 6” and 4” commercial wallmount speakers, and a compact passive sub.

The Meyer Sound ULTRAX20 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 ULTRAX23 (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 has been carefully considered.

NEXO P+ Series point-source speakers are both available as installation models. The 2020 P8 and P10 models follow on from the company’s first P+ Series model, the P12, launched in mid-2019. These 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.

Last December, the QSC AD-S5T 5.25in two-way loudspeaker system debuted, offering integrators a premium option for a wide variety of foreground and background sound reinforcement applications. The AcousticDesign Series includes a wide variety of sizes and enclosure types (surface-mount, pendantmount, ceiling-mount, columnar and SUB/ SAT) and provides consistent sonic characteristics across the entire line, allowing the ability to mix-and-match enclosures in a single installation. In addition, by utilizing native Q-SYS network amplifiers, including CX-Q Series, or standalone QSC DSP processing amplifiers, integrators can take advantage of Intrinsic Correction, a proprietary voicing algorithm for QSC loudspeakers, which helps to further reduce the setup time and tuning process. To ease installation, the AD-S5T includes the X-Mount system, which enables the loudspeaker to be aimed and installed at a variety of precise, repeatable angles without slipping over time. It’s available in black (RAL9011) or white (RAL9010) and housed in a rugged ABS enclosure, to withstand the harshest elements.

In February, the full-range passive two-way RCF X MAX series debuted. RCF designed it as a multi-purpose speaker, to achieve nearfield quality, vocal coherence, and a stable tonal balance even at full volume. X MAX series builds on the heritage of the popular RCF MAX series for a complete range of solutions for high-powered applications in bars, party rooms, clubs, and discos. The sleek and compact design with accurate finishing makes it suitable for almost any environment and architectural constraint. The X MAX Series features a custom-designed mid-frequency shaping for close distance listening on a perfectly tuned crossover to ensure even coverage and detail of the vocal range. Both models feature 1″ compression driver with electronic protection, X MAX 10 carries a 10” woofer and delivers a maximum SPL of 128 dB SPL with a total power handling of 700 W. The 12” woofer X MAX 12 reaches a maximum SPL of 129 dB SPL with a total power handling of 800 W. Each cabinet is covered with a sturdy black textured acrylic paint and a powder-coated metal grille with internal foam protection. Included are multiple rigging points to fly the speakers and a robust steel pole socket on the lower side. The rotatable 90°x70° horn allows installation either vertically or horizontally.

Renkus-Heinz Iconyx Compact Series is designed 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 full range, 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.

SoundTube Entertainment STNet IP-enabled pendant speakers are Dante capable. 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.




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