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Tech Roundup: Line Arrays 2021

For some time now, line arrays have proven a powerful tool in sculpting sound coverage with consistent frequency response, high SPL, and suppression of unfavorable lobes. Proper rigging also reduces setup and strike time along with enhancing safety. Originally used almost exclusively for touring operations, line arrays now enjoy a solid market position in permanent installations with both passive and self-powered units. The products shown here illustrate how far line array technology has come and the promise it shows in the reemergence of live events.

For a precise sound pattern down to 300Hz and very unobtrusive appearance in small rooms, the AtlasIED EL1503-B full range line array system is a very effective solution. Its fifteen proprietary 3in. drivers are mounted in a sealed Baltic birch enclosure finished in heavy duty black Duracoat. The LF response can be extended by addition of the A-Line ELW110A-B/ELW110X-B low frequency speaker system. The EL1503-B is designed to be run by the ELW110A-B powered low frequency driver and amplifier combination. Capable of 4-ohm and 8-ohm operation, each column is connected with NL4 Speak-ON terminals for quick and secure hook-up.

The versatility of line arrays is showcased in the Bose Professional ArenaMatch AM40 with its DeltaQ replaceable waveguides for variable directivity. Each array element uses a 14in. neodymium woofer and six Bose EMB2S titanium-diaphragm neodymium compression drivers to deliver high SPL for long throw applications. The ArenaMatch line can take it all outdoors featuring a water-resistant woofer cone coating, three-layer stainless steel grille, industrial polyurethane exterior coating, and a protective molded input cover. Coverage is tailored with a selection of 10, 20 and 40-degree modules. Installation options include bi-amp capability, passive crossover, and 70/100V transformer inputs. They are also EN54 certified for fire detection and alarm systems.

Available in a number of variants to suit specific environments, the Clair Brothers i212 is a three-way active line array element with a frequency response of 45Hz to 20kHz. The cabinet houses two 12in. woofers, four 6in. mid-range drivers and two 3in. voice coil diameter HF drivers. Operating at a nominal 8-ohm impedance, the unit’s power handling is 1800W (LF), 720W (MF), and 320W (HF). The standard dispersion is 90 degrees horizontal x 10 degrees vertical but there is also a 120 degree horizontal by 10 degree vertical option. The cabinet connects on two EP-8 terminals and there is integral bimodal rigging capability.

The DAS Audio Aero 50 three-way large format line array module teams two 15GNR 15in. neodymium woofers, four 8in. midrange drivers, and two M-75N 1.5in. exit HF compression drivers for big sound in big venues. All of these elements are housed in a birch plywood enclosure with a painted finish and the splay angles are adjustable in small increments for custom tailored coverage. For maximum effectiveness it is recommended that the DSP-4080 digital processor be used with the Aero 50. Each unit is also fitted with a PL-50 front dolly panel attached by means of the rigging hardware and it is quite useful in the rigging process.

At press time, the d&b auudiotechnik XSL System debuted, the smallest member of the company’s SL System. Smaller, lighterweight, and more energy efficient, the company says it brings the directivity of the SL System for the widest range of applications as stand-alone, self contained, delay, or fill systems, including applications. Touring (XSL) and installed variants (XSLi) both feature two-way active design, high SPL and cardioid low frequency performance and integrate with GSL and KSL siblings.

The EAW RADIUS (RSX Series) features some very high tech control features including OptiLogic that provides automatic array self-detection and instant optimization for rapid and simplified setup and tuning. The EAWmosaic app can be used for total system optimization from anywhere in the venue, plus intuitive room design and prediction. The RSX212L uses a pair of 12in. woofers and two 1.5in. exit 1.7in. voice coil compression drivers for HF coverage. These produce a nominal beam width of 90 degrees horizontal and 12 degrees vertical with an operating frequency range of 50Hz to 19kHz. There is integrated Dante networking with loop-thru on all models including analog redundancy capability.

In June, EAW unveiled the EAW NTX Series line array. The NTX201L is a 2×10” articulated array with an integrated 1600 W two-channel amplifier and universal PFC power supply. The NTX210L operates in the 55 Hz – 18 kHz range with a max SPL of 140 dB, and additionally has a 90° horizontal and 12° vertical nominal beamwidth. The NTX201L uses EAW’s OptiLogic technology, providing automatic array self-detection via onboard infrared sensors and accelerometers, and optimization including air loss compensation and more. The NTX series features integrated Dante networking including analog redundancy capability, allowing the analog input to be set to automatically enable if the Dante signal is lost.

Small to mid-size venues and large rooms with coverage gaps to fill can have extensive use for the JBL Professional VTX A8 line array element. It consists of two 8in. Differential Drive woofers, four 3.5in. midrange drivers, and two 2in. HF drivers all housed in a black finish birch plywood cabinet with an IP55 rated full-face, enclosed grille and 110-degree dispersion. Rapid installation is assured through the auto-locking rigging mechanism and it integrates seamlessly with JBL system control and prediction software. Frequency response extends from 19kHz all the way down to 50Hz at a maximum SPL of 139dB. There are also four integrated recessed handles for a safe grip.

K-Array has introduced its K-Gear line of audio products including the compact GF82 line array column speaker with eight 2in. ferrite magnet woofers in an IP56 rated ABS enclosure suitable for indoor or outdoor use. Capable of handling up to 100W RMS power, the unit has a frequency range of 160Hz to 20KHz at a continuous SPL of 96dB with a coverage angle of 10 degrees vertical and 90 degrees horizontal. The column can be installed to virtually disappear into the architecture while delivering superior sound. The LF can be further extended by matching the GF82 with a K-Array GS6 subwoofer.

The L-Acoustics A10 Focus passive 10in. line array system is designed for medium throw applications and it provides a vertical coverage pattern of 10 degrees. There is adjustable horizontal directivity of 70, 90 or 120 degrees along with a range of accessories for vertical or horizontal installation. Performance can be further enhanced with Soundvision’s sophisticated optimization tools. The KS21 subwoofer can be ground stacked or flown with A10 units to extend LF down to 31Hz. The 49lb. unit can handle max SPL or 140dB with its single 10in. LF driver and 2.5in. diaphragm HF compression driver. The A10 wide model generates an enclosure directivity pattern of 30 degrees.

Designed to serve in sound environments between large, deep throw venues and very shallow audience seating, the Martin Audio TORUS T1230 has a vertical pattern of 30 degrees and an adjustable horizontal dispersion of 90, 60 or 75 degrees. The passive unit uses manually adjustable Dynamic Horn Flare and it can optimize its coverage when powered by iKON amplifiers and used with DISPLAY 3 software. Each plywood enclosure includes a single 12in. LF driver and three 1.4in. HF drivers. They can be arranged in several configurations and can be supplemented with SX subwoofers. The finish is available in standard black or in custom white.

A prime combination for line arrays is structural strength, lightweight and powerful sound output. The perfect blend of these parameters is reached with the Meyer Sound LEOPARD, the best-selling member of the LEO family. Available in two coverage patterns, 110-degree horizontal and 80-degree horizontal LEOPARD-M80 variant, the types may be combined for asymmetrical coverage where needed. These self-powered units simplify setup and rigging. The 900-LFC LowFrequency Control Element can be used to extend the LF response down to 30Hz and the Galileo GALAXY processor provides corrective equalization and creative fine-tuning.

In September, the MSE Audio SoundTube LA880i-II and LA808i-II line array speakers debuted an updated aluminum casing. While there are no acoustic changes to the sound quality of the speakers, they now come with aluminum cabinets for a contemporary look and cleaner aesthetic. SoundTube LA880i-II’s LAPS (Line Array-Point Source) 3-way design provides a very short near-field extent as well as far-field performance. Measuring only 7.91” x 40.87” x 11.99”, the LA880i-II features eight 4.5-inch woofers, eight 2-inch midrange drivers and one 2.5-inch planar magnetics (ribbon) high-frequency driver for a highly smooth high-frequency response. Recommended in spaces that have a large reverberation time, the SoundTube LA808i is designed to increase the directivity of low frequencies in SoundTube’s Line Array system. With identical dimensions to those of the LA880i, it can be used only in conjunction with the LA880i 3-way line array and placed directly above or below the LA880i (or both). When a single unit is added to the LA880i, the directivity of low frequencies is increased by up to an octave lower than with the LA880i alone.

The NEXO GEO M12 has made its mark in the installation and touring markets with its integral rigging hardware, choice of two vertical dispersions 10 and 20 degrees) as well as adjustable 80 to 120 degree horizontal directivity. Each 75lb. cabinet houses a 12in. neodymium LF driver and a 1.4in. titanium diaphragm HF driver. These produce a frequency response of 50Hz-20kHz and peak SPL of 140dB. This model can be easily flown along with the MSUB18 sub bass cabinet to extend bass response down to 32Hz. The NEXO NS-1 software can be used to predict the coverage and best angle between boxes, including stack applications.

The Presonus WorxAudio TrueLine V5 line array provides high output in a very compact form for small churches and other sound environments using two 5in. cone LF drivers and a medium format 1in. exit compression driver coupled to a stabilized proprietary FlatWave Former wave shaping device. These are mounted in a multi-ply plywood enclosure with a multi-layered catalyzed Polyurea finish available in black or white. The unit’s frequency response is 65 Hz to 18 kHz (+/-3dB) and it can output a maximum SPL of 125dB. The LF section has 250W power handling capacity and the HF component is 75W. The grille is 16-gauge perforated steel with a black powder-coated finish.

Combining the power to reach deep into rear seating areas with very easy rigging, the QSC KLA12 active line-array system features a highly efficient 500W x 500W power amp module in its lightweight ABS enclosure. QSC’s unique SOLO (Single-Operator Logistics) rigging system allows multiple configurations to suit the desired coverage area. The 12in. LF driver extends frequency response down to 44Hz while the 1.75in. diaphragm compression driver pushes the highs out to the back of the house. The KLA12 has a 90×18- degree nominal coverage pattern and five boxes can achieve 90×90-degree coverage. GuardRail circuitry protection prevents the amplifier module from clipping.

For large venue installations and high profile events, the RCF HDL 50-A 4K 3-way line array module can work indoors and outdoors pushing 143 dB SPL from a 4000W RMS Class-D four-channel amplifier. Two 12in. neodymium woofers handle the lows and the mid frequencies are filled by four 2in. voice coil 6in. water resistant fiber doped cones. Crisp highs are produced by two ND 840 large format compression drivers. All of these are mounted in a rigid plywood cabinet featuring polypropylene side panels with integrated handles to lower the total weight. Integrated rigging hardware allows J-shaped and spiral arrays starting with 0.5-degree splay angles. Up to 20 HDL 50-A 4K modules can be fastened on a single flybar.

Internationally known for their modular designed versatility, the Renkus Heinz VA/ VX101-22 array elements are solidly based in the Varia Series that includes three full-range array modules and a 15in. subwoofer. The most versatile of these is the VA/VX101-22 with 22.5 degrees of vertical coverage and it can be used horizontally or vertically. All three Varia modules have a standard 90-degree waveguide but 60 and 120-degree units are also available along with revolutionary 60 to 90-degree and 120 to 90-degree transitional waveguides. The transitional waveguides produce a trapezoidal coverage pattern. Used with the powerful VA/ VAX15Si sub, the Varia units allow a fullrange sound experience.

The TOA Electronics HX-7 is a two-way indoor line array element with wave front control technology for medium sized rooms, gymnasiums and sports venues. Several of them can be stacked vertically. Also available as the HX-7B-WP and HX-7W-W weather proof models in black and white finish, this speaker unit is designed to also work with the matching FB-150 subwoofer for extended bass response. The bass reflex system operates on 8 ohms with a 75 Hz – 20 kHz frequency response in a Polypropylene enclosure and it exhibits a 100-degree horizontal directivity pattern. It connects with two Speakon NL4MP terminals or with screw terminals. Two speaker systems can be operated in parallel by connecting them in a cascade configuration.

The natural follow-on for the smaller al-4 and al-8 systems, the VUE al-12 uses new transducers and system designs to extend their precision control to large indoor venues and stadiums. Capabilities are also enhanced by onboard SystemVUE networking by 3in. beryllium compression drivers, Kevlar/Neo transducers, precision amplification and DSP. The system includes the al-12 Acoustic Elements and rack-mount V3 Systems Engines. The system is available in standard blocks, with sixteen al-12 Acoustic Elements and an eight VUEDrive V3 Systems Engines comprising each block. For even more powerful bass response down below 40Hz, the al-12 can be used along with the al-12SB subwoofer system and its two 18in. neodymium woofers.

The Yamaha VXL1B-24 and VXL1W-24 are black and white slim line array loudspeaker units with 24 1.5in. drivers and a frequency response of 77 Hz to 20 kHz (+/-10dB). Perfect for tight spaces and wide rooms, these models have 170-degree horizontal dispersion and selectable 20 or 40-degree vertical coverage. Wall mount brackets are provided and there is hardware available for multiple installation scenarios. There are also the VXL1-8 and VXL1-16 with eight and sixteen speakers each. The 2.1in. columns with curved grille surfaces fit just about anywhere and installation is very simple and easy. They can be stacked and mounted horizontally or vertically. The low saturation ST-L1 transformer can be used for high-impedance (70V/100V) applications.


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