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Tech Roundup: Installed Speakers 2022

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.

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, openair 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 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, salt water or sand.

The AtlasIED SHS-3T2-HD is designed to blind mount into hard deck ceilings with a minimum clearance of 3.5” above the ceiling deck; once installed the visual appearance is reduced to the size of a high-end ceiling sprinkler head with a patented 3” dispersion lens and trim that can be color-matched. The unique speaker includes a single full-range driver. The transducer is attached to the SHS’s tunnel waveguide; as the sound exits the waveguide, it travels through the patented adaptive dispersion lens that acts as a phase plug. A great solution for sound and music reinforcement and sound masking, it is adaptable to various ceiling heights. Amplifier-ready and Cat5e compatible.

Ashly Audio IS Series dual-impedance column speakers got a new companion sub in February. The IS series is 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 SP-12.1P 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 ([email protected]) 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 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 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.

Last year, 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 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 twoway 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.

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 PREVIEW is a platform-independent software application designed to configure Electro-Voice linearray 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 fullcolor 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 simplifies the creation of subwoofer arrays, and 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.

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 an outdated model, this is for the 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 high-design 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.

The K-Array KGEAR debuted in spring of 2021 as a new budget-conscious pro audio brand made based on K-Array’s Italian design, engineering, and manufacturing. The KGEAR portfolio can be divided into two main areas – High Performance and Installed Sound – and comprises column systems, line-arrays, ceiling and wall mount speakers, subwoofers and amplifiers for 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.

In May L-Acoustics Soka and its companion subwoofer SB6i debuted (shipping Q1 2023 and Q2 2022). Along with the recent LA7.16i and Ambiance launches, Soka and SB6i extend the L-Acoustics installation-focused product range and offer exciting 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 ultra-shallow 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 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 loop – ing 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 sys – tems (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.

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 90Hz-20kHz. The slim 1m-length column is joined by two companion products, a low-frequency extension module (ID84L) and partner subbass (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 QSC AD-S5T 5.25in two-way loudspeaker system offers 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, pendant-mount, ceiling-mount, columnar and SUB/SAT) and provides consistent sonic characteristics across the entire line, allowing the ability to mixand-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.

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 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.

Debuting at ISE 2022, the Renkus Heinz PCX Series brings The Sound Solution to more partners, across more installations, in more locations. This series now incorporates UniBeam steerable technology in passive columns. Renkus-Heinz’s Passive UniBeam technology addresses each transducer with a specially designed passive filter network to generate an asymmetrical vertical dispersion pattern, shap – ing the coverage downwards, and delivering consistent front-to-back coverage with mini – mal side lobe artifacts. The PCX Series utilizes state of the art neodymium 3” Full- Range drivers ensuring a sleek and ultra-discrete 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 mount – ing 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 a 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 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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