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Tech Roundup: Installed Speakers 2023

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 is 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 to create 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 delivers 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.

The Adamson IS-Series weatherized installation speakers are 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 have an IP55 rating without sacrificing performance or aesthetics. All structural steel elements of the ISSeries Weatherized cabinets are made of a high-yield strength stainless alloy that offers 100% corrosion resistance. The 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, salt water or sand.

In March, AtlasIED announced two new speaker endpoints for the AtlasIED IPX family of IP-enabled mass communication products. These products work off existing VoIP and IT infrastructure to quickly and reliably dispatch audible and visual notifications for both routine and emergency communications. The newest additions to the IPX Series include two passive loudspeakers, the IP-12SYSP and IP-22SYSP. The AtlasIED IP-12SYSP and IP-22SYSP are installer-friendly, suspended ceiling-mount 8-ohm loudspeakers designed to integrate with existing IPX Family of IP endpoints. The IP-12SYSP and IP-22SYSP are designed for expanding announcement and paging coverage in large spaces across multiple markets, including education, corporate, government, worship, and other commercial installations. With the same industrial design as the popular AtlasIED IP-12SYSM endpoint, the new speaker works seamlessly with mixed systems of passive and active speakers. The AtlasIED IP-12SYSP is suitable for suspended ceilings with 1’ x 2’ tile sizes, while the IP-22SYSP fits 2’ x 2’ grid patterns.

In April, the all-aluminum IP55-rated AUDAC VIRO5 was announced. It’s a 2-way coaxial loudspeaker with 8 Ohm and 16 Ohm variants and optional toroidal transformer modules. It combines a soft, silk-domed tweeter for smooth tonality with a 5”, 2-way coaxial speaker driver. This unique acoustical composition was designed for clarity and a surprisingly low-frequency response. The optional 70V / 100V line transformer enables the VIRO series to be used in low-impedance installations and in 70V or 100V systems. The transformer can be easily inserted by simply removing the back plate. The multifunctional mounting bracket that comes included allows for the VIRO5 to be mounted on any wall or ceiling. In addition, there are several optional mounting adapters for poles, stands, and ground pins. AUDAC is available through A.C. ProMedia.

Ashly Audio IS Series dual-impedance column speakers and companion sub are designed for 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 flatscreens in conference rooms or houses of worship. The speakers combine with Ashly amps and processors that incorporate Protēa or AquaControl DSP. The SP12.1P subwoofer provides an extended low end and offers a portable “system-on-a-stick” configuration solution. The new SP-8.1P sub handles up to 150W at 8 Ohms, with a sensitivity of 95dB (1W@1m) and a frequency response of 43Hz-180Hz (-10dB).

The patented Biamp Magic Cable is used in the company’s Desono 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 subcable jacket that encloses the metal support cables, a second sub-cable jacket for the insulated audio cables, the main ripcords, as well as sub-cables that allow tool-less stripping of each cable jacket. Because of its unique assembly, it also meets the UL 13 Standard for Power-Limited 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 pre-dressed 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 January, the new Biamp Desono C-IC6LP and DX-IC6LP low profile, high-efficiency ceiling-mount loudspeakers debuted for conference rooms, and a range of affordable commercial loudspeakers compatible with the Vocia line of voice communication solutions, all of which are now available globally. The Desono C-IC6LP and DX-IC6LP offer the shallowest, low-profile ceiling loudspeaker form factors on the market with just a 4” (10 cm) mounting depth. Optimized for speech reproduction in conferencing environments, the C-IC6LP is a two-way 6.5” (16.5 cm) passive coaxial loudspeaker with either standard category cable or traditional speaker cable installation connection. The C-IC6 includes RJ45 jacks (for connection to the Biamp AMP-450BP) and is low-impedance only (no transformer). The DXIC6LP includes a switchable 60W transformer and low-z tap and omits the RJ45 jacks. Biamp also introduced the Biamp DC220T, a 2’ x 2’ (61 cm x 61 cm) lay-in tile ceiling loudspeaker that provides wide coverage and higher output, ideal for high ceiling applications. The new Biamp CM10TB is a one-way 5.5” (14 cm) in-ceiling back-can loudspeaker that delivers clear audio for speech reinforcement applications

Also in January, the Bose ArenaMatch Utility compact outdoor loudspeakers debuted as a turnkey solution for entire outdoor sound installations; the range includes both array and utility loudspeaker options for consistent zone-fill coverage and easier equalization of complete systems. Designed and built for zone-fill coverage or high-SPL foreground music, the four new Bose ArenaMatch Utility loudspeakers (AMU208, AMU206, AMU108 and AMU105) feature similar tonal balance to ArenaMatch DeltaQ array modules but in compact designs. They have the same EMB2S compression driver as ArenaMatch arrays and the same IP55 weather rating. Users may deploy them for zone-fill coverage in sports stadiums, arenas, outdoor entertainment centers, and more. Or they may be utilized to provide intelligible, high-level sound in any outdoor area — from niche venues such as breweries and fairgrounds to larger settings like resorts and outdoor shopping centers. These speakers provide wide, even coverage via a constant-directivity high-frequency horn, which can be rotated for horizontal or vertical installation. The largest model (AMU208) features 70 Hz – 18 kHz frequency range and 126 dB maximum peak SPL, with all models supporting the lowest vocal range. ArenaMatch Utility modules can mount easily with the included stainless-steel U-bracket. ArenaMatch loudspeakers also integrate with Bose PowerMatch amplifiers, ControlSpace DSPs and ControlSpace Designer software, which simplifies setup and monitoring, saving users time with loudspeaker presets for EQ, limiter and crossover settings.

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.

The Electro-Voice MTS series is a full-range, high-output, long-throw, point-source loudspeaker system incorporating four 15-inch woofers and dual coaxial mid/high frequency compression drivers. The system is capable of generating more than 151 dB peak SPL with exact directivity for very-longthrow applications. The MTS series includes 16 unique models. These are based on two standard three-way configurations (MTS-4153) with 60 degrees x 40 degrees or 40 degrees x 30 degrees coverage, and two cardioid configurations (MTS6154) that provide the same coverage patterns with enhanced low-frequency directional control. The 60 degrees x 40 degrees models can deliver extremely high SPLs: 151 dB peak (music) and 154 dB peak (speech) down to 55 Hz at -10 dB; the 40 x 30 models are capable of 152 dB peak (music) and 155 dB peak (speech) down to 50 Hz at -10 dB. All MTS loudspeakers have an IP55 rating, indicating that they are highly impervious to dust and water ingress. The loudspeakers were designed using exclusive High-Performance Computing (HPC) clusters, running proprietary modeling software designed by EV engineers.

The Extron 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 and 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.

The Holosonics Audio Spotlight AS24i offers the strongest output and deepest low-frequency response of the company’s highly directional models. It is designed to compete with noisier environments or areas requiring more coverage, making it great for museums, trade shows, supermarkets, outdoor applications, and many retail environments. It easily replaces standard 2x2ft. ceiling tile with no additional hardware. It includes a built-in microSD player, and balanced and unbalanced audio inputs are standard. Bluetooth and motion sensor options are available, and it has a standard VESA100 mounting pattern.

The JBL Control 23-1 is the most compact of JBL Professional’s Control Contractor Series indoor/outdoor loudspeakers making it a fit for patios, foyers, retail, or other applications where foreground/background music and paging are required with minimum aesthetic impact. The two-way 3” speaker was designed for rich sonic character, wide coverage, consistent dispersion, versatile mounting, and a contemporary highdesign look that fits into a wide range of decors. This makes the Control 23-1 appropriate 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.

In January, the K-array dedicated installed sound business unit debuted, bringing K-array, KSCAPE, and KGEAR under one roof as a single resource for consultants and integrators looking to specify projects. The company says the unification of its brands under the single umbrella will help to ensure the timely delivery of product and it will help to circumvent the current supply chain issues faced by the industry. K-array emphasizes that it has invested in both components and final assembled stock to guarantee a minimum of 12 months’ supply to ensure that solutions are available upon demand. ISE 2023 saw multiple new products from each of the three brands, from the K-array miniaturized Lyzard loudspeaers, to the KGEAR GF column speakers, to several innovative partnership products such as the KSCAPE RAIL all-in-one sound and lighting solution. Also new is the Dolby ATMOS certified Rumble-KU315 for tight aesthetic indoor and outdoor situations (including a marine version). A choice of plugins ensures integration with most major control systems such as Crestron, Crestron Home, Q-SYS and Control4. K-array also claims to be the first manufacturer to adopt Audinate’s revolutionary ‘Dante Ready’ licensing program that allows customers to add Dante channels and features as and when they are needed.

The L-Acoustics Soka and its companion subwoofer SB6i extend the L-Acoustics installation-focused product range with new creative possibilities. Inspired by the success and design principles of Syva, the discreet colinear Soka combines line source technology with a sleek aesthetic. Soka integrates nine 3.5-inch MF drivers and three one-inch HF transducers to impart a wide 140-degree horizontal coupled with a highly controlled 26-degree vertical directivity. Soka and SB6i are an ultrashallow 3.9 inches/99 millimeters, designed to be easily enclosed in-wall or discreetly mounted on-wall. Despite its diminutive size, Soka delivers 124 dB over a wide bandwidth that extends down to 70 Hz when used with the full-range preset. Using the SPL preset, Soka offers an even higher 130 dB down to 100 Hz. Like all recent installation products from L-Acoustics, Soka hides its technical features from sight. The rear face holds all the mounting points and speaker connectors. All mounting gear is located at the back of the loudspeaker to allow it to be mounted on a wall in any orientation, or flush mounted in the wall. The ultra-wide horizontal directivity and throw capacity of up to 35 meters make Soka the perfect solution for L-ISA immersive deployments. With two 6.5- inch neodymium LF drivers and the L-Acoustics Laminar vent technology found in the company’s concert-grade reference subwoofers, L-Acoustics designed SB6i to be one of the most powerful ultra-compact subwoofers on the market. The 4-ohm enclosure can operate down to 29 Hz and produce as much as 114 dB, again via two presets, matching coupled or decoupled configuration with the main system. Both Soka and SB6i are rated IP55 for virtually any indoor or outdoor installation.

The Lowell ESP Series pendant was developed to match the ES Series of recessed speakers and utilizes the same drivers and transformers. 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.

The long-established Martin Audio CDD comprises six two-way full-range coaxial systems from the micro CDD5 to the powerful CDD15, which, when complemented by high-performance SX Series subwoofers, cover practically all install applications. With the CDD Weather Resistant (WR) and Marine (MAR) variants, those applications are extended even further. The range supports a broad even coverage area, which can reduce speaker count. The enclosure design is visually appealing and different models are optimized from different materials including ABS, UPM Formi fiber composite, and birch ply.

The Meyer Sound 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 power-to-size breakthrough for the company. The ULTRAX20 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 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 has been carefully considered.

In January, Meyer Sound announced the Meyer 2100-LFC low-frequency control element, which extends the PANTHER large-format linear line array loudspeaker down to the lowest limits of audibility. By pairing a Class D amplifier with a single, all-new 21-inch driver with four voice coils, the 2100-LFC produces a linear acoustic output suitable for the most demanding applications. An extended frequency response from 30 – 125 Hz is achieved in a loudspeaker that is more than one foot (30 cm) narrower and about 20 percent lighter than the 1100-LFC product.

NEXO’s first column speaker design, the NEXO ID84 comprises eight 4-inch long-excursion neodymium low-frequency drivers paired with an array of eight 1-inch dome tweeters configured in a patented arrangement to maximize efficiency. It has a peak SPL output of 135dB and a frequency response of 90Hz20kHz. The slim 1m-length column is joined by two companion products, a low-frequency extension module (ID84L) and partner sub-bass (IDS312), which can be configured to provide a scalable solution for acoustically challenging architectures. The ID84 offers switchable dispersion, with a choice of two vertical directivities selectable by a switch on the back plate – +0/-10 degrees in Narrow Mode or +0/-25 degrees in Wide Mode. Dedicated presets are available for each directivity. Sonically, the ID84 shares the same phase response as other NEXO loudspeakers, making it possible to seamlessly pair with different models without the risk of comb filtering or the need for complex electronic adjustment. For long-throw applications, the ID84L low-frequency extension cabinet has almost exactly the same footprint as the ID84 and contains eight 4-inch LF components. The ID84 can stand alone on a specially designed base plate, or stacked on the dedicated IDS312 sub. The ID84, ID84L and IDS312 are available in installation, touring and TIS versions. Connectivity is made through cable gland and captive two-core cables and the installation version is IP54-rated.

The Pioneer Pro Audio CM series offers a more discreetly sized range of options alongside the company’s flagship XY series, while also drawing on the company’s club-based heritage. These uniquely shaped speakers—neither square nor round—suit nightclubs, bars, shops, offices, hotels, and restaurants, and in tight areas such as corridors, bathrooms, and VIP zones. Newer additions to the range include the affordable two-way CM-S54T, CM-S56T, and CM-S58T, and the Kelton-configured CM-510ST sub, all with installation-friendly transformer taps.

In May, the Q-SYS PL Series was announced. It’s a new family of installation loudspeakers designed for entertainment, auditoriums, houses of worship, theaters, small sports venues and more. The Q-SYS PL Series includes line array, point source, and subwoofer models, allowing integrators a way to install audio in unique spaces. When paired with the Q-SYS Platform, including Q-SYS processing and network amplifiers, PL Series lets integrators take advantage of simplified setup and custom voicings (Intrinsic Correction), telemetry, monitoring, and customizable end-user control. A weatherized enclosure (IP54 rating) is available. Comprising the lineup, the PL-LA models are two-way passive line arrays (8” and 12”) ideal for front-of-house needs in small to medium-sized venues. PL-DC models are two-way point source loudspeakers with directivity control. The dual-4” and dual-6” are ideal as stage fills, delays or under balcony fills, while the 8” and 12” can act as delays or be deployed in distributed systems. The three larger models also include reconfigurable half-horn assemblies. PL-SUB are passive subwoofers (10”, 12”, 15” and 18”) that offer a range of size options, all in a compact form factor. Additionally, the two larger subwoofers offer omnidirectional or cardioid coverage when deploying two or more subwoofers.

The full-range passive two-way RCF X MAX series was designed 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 drivers with electronic protection, X MAX 10 carries a 10” woofer and delivers a maximum of 128 dB SPL with a total power handling of 700 W. The 12” woofer X MAX 12 reaches a maximum 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

The Renkus Heinz PCX Series brings The Sound Solution to more partners, across more installations, in more locations. This series incorporates UniBeam steerable technology in passive columns. RenkusHeinz’s Passive UniBeam technology addresses each transducer with a specially designed passive filter network to generate an asymmetrical vertical dispersion pattern, shaping the coverage downwards, and delivering consistent front-to-back coverage with minimal side lobe artifacts. The PCX Series utilizes state of the art neodymium 3” Full-Range drivers ensuring a sleek and ultradiscrete appearance. The PCX will be available in three different sizes upon launch – PCX4, PCX8 and PCX16. The combination of the included wall mount bracket (optional pan and tilt bracket) and Passive UniBeam will enable flush mounting in most applications. This results in the lowest possible architectural intrusion without compromising audio coverage. All models in the PCX Series are weather resistant (IP64) as standard. Each model includes a gland/conduit knock-out input cover for added security and enhanced weatherization, and high quality, low insertion loss transformers with an easily accessible tap switch for 70V/100V constant voltage operation in larger, distributed audio systems. Specification is aided by compatibility with EASE Focus 3 software.

SoundTube Entertainment STNet IP-enabled pendant speakers are Dante capable. The IPDRS62-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.

Suitable for high, open-structure and sloped ceilings, the Yamaha VXH series comprises two models, the VXH6 and VXH8, engineered for optimum background music and voice reproduction. Featuring a 120-degree dispersion pattern, the 6.5in VXH6 has a peak power handling of 300w and is designed for use where the speakers are to be suspended at a relatively low level. The 8in VXH8 has a narrower dispersion pattern of 75-degrees and a higher peak power output of 360w for higher suspended positions. Installers can mix and match both models, as well as with other speakers in the comprehensive Yamaha range. Weighing just 5.7kg and 7.2kg respectively, The VXH6 and VXH8 support high and low impedance connections, while the speaker wattage can be easily switched even after installation, thanks to the straightforward tap selector. VXH series speakers are IP45-rated and are supplied with a Gripple suspension hardware and wire kit for easy, safe height adjustment during installation.

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