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Tech Roundup: Line Arrays 2023

While acoustic modeling has enabled sound designers and AV integrators to reach unprecedented detail in room response analysis, line array systems have become the tool used to implement sound systems based on that detailed analysis and infinitely customize the system to the venue. The latest models allow minute adjustment, easier rigging and sophisticated control. Surveyed here are some great examples of how line array technology has advanced and improved.

The Adamson S10 full-range 2-way line array spreads its dispersion pattern across 110 degrees horizontally and ten degrees vertically with a slightly curved wavefront. Mid-low lobing is reduced through Controlled Summation Technology. Tough marine-grade birch plywood is teamed with aircraft-grade steel and aluminum to build a very road-worthy and durable installation unit. The wide frequency response makes it a versatile solution for a range of venue types. Two ND10-LM Kevlar Neodymium drivers and an NH4TA2 1.5in. exit compression driver provide the reliability for big sound in a small cabinet. Connections are made with dual Speakon NL8 connectors.

The closest thing to a fly on the wall that puts out big sound is the AtlasIED ALA10TAW column line array. This one can be blended into the room environment to become nearly invisible with its ten closely arranged 3in. drivers and four 22mm high frequency tweeters. Small and easy to fit anywhere, the column is housed in lightweight aluminum and available in white or black finish. The wall mount is included and it slides easily into channels in the back of the enclosure. Each unit has a 45-degree vertical and 135-degree horizontal dispersion angle.

Versatility and compact size work together in the Bose Professional ShowMatch DeltaQ SM20 full-range array modules. Each can be modified and customized with field changeable waveguides to provide 70 or 100-degree horizontal coverage while the vertical angle is 20 degrees. There are also optional accessory 120-degree waveguides. Externally powered and with DSP applied, each two-way module can range in response from 59Hz to 18kHz and output up to 145dB SPL. These are perfect for environments in which asymmetrical coverage is required. Three-point “quick pin” rigging and removable side rigging handles make installation fast and secure.

The Clair Brothers C12-i-90 three-way active line array speaker enclosure is recommended for use with the company’s CB-PLM12K44 or CBD120:4L amplifiers, and the module’s maximum output is 147dB SPL. Each unit contains two 12in. LF drivers, two 3.5in. MF drivers and a pair of 1.4in. exit HF drivers. At least two amp channels are required for optimum operation, one for LF and another for mid-high. The vertical dispersion angle is 10 degrees and the horizontal coverage may be custom configured. All Clair Brothers waveguides are made with CNC machined Baltic birch plywood.

Featured as a powerful amp and compact array element combination, the DAS Audio Aero-20A delivers the whole amp/speaker mission in one unit. Covering 90 degrees horizontally (-6dB), the module houses one 12AN4 12in. low-mid driver and an M75N neodymium compression driver. The FEA optimized HF waveguide allows smooth and even coverage. There is plenty of power from the 800W LF + 400W HF Class D amplification. Each cabinet is constructed of birch plywood and finished with an ISO-flex coating for long-time durability. Vertical throw angle can be selected while the assembled array is stacked on the transport dolly, thanks to a new captive rigging mechanism.

For the larger shows and venue installations, the d&b audiotechnik GSL12, driven by two channels of the d&b D80 amplifier, creates a 120-degree constant directivity dispersion pattern. Using two 14in. front LF drivers, two 10in. side LF drivers, one 10in. MF driver and a 1.4in. exit compression driver on a passive crossover network, the GSL12 has rigid metal grills backed by an acoustically transparent and water-repellent fabric. The enclosure’s marine plywood construction is topped with a Polyurea Cabinet Protection finish. Installers love the recessed side handles and once plugged in, the NLT4 F terminal stays connected.

For the mid-size jobs, the EAW KF210 is a versatile 2-way passive line array module fit for a huge range of sound environments and missions. The LF coverage is provided by twin 10in. cones and the highs are projected by a 1.4in. exit, 3in. VC compression driver. These have a horizontal pattern of 90 degrees and vertical coverage of 12 degrees. The unit’s NL4 input and loop-thru make the setup quick and reliable. The integrated IP55-rated weather protection makes the KF210 great for outdoor areas also and it may be run in bi-amp or passive operation.

Perfect for fixed installation line arrays in meetings halls, churches, and nightclubs, the ElectroVoice EVA-2082S 906 is a dual element, 90-degree by 6-degree full range line array module. The dual elements supply two 8in. low-distortion woofers and four 1.25in. titanium diaphragm HF drivers along with advanced Hydra(R) plane wave generators. High efficiency allows a single amp channel to drive up to eight boxes. Full range response extends from 60Hz to 19kHz (-3dB). There is integrated hidden suspension hardware and users have a choice of indoor, PI or fiberglass finish. Enclosure material is sturdy birch plywood.

The JBL CBT 70J-1 uses patented beamwidth technology, a J-shaped curving, and switchable 25 or 45-degree vertical pattern coverage to get more consistent sound levels from the front to the back of a deep room. Frequency response is also customizable to suit music or speech. Dynamic SonicGuard allows the unit to safely operate at maximum sound pressure levels. This is a 2-way coaxial model with 60Hz-20kHz response that is smooth due to its low-diffraction baffle. The 27.5in. column can fit on walls and columns to easily blend with the room.

A consistent favorite in the compact line array field, the KGEAR GF82 8×2 line array can deliver up to 100W RMS power from a tiny package. The signal connects on a 4-pin Phoenix Euroblock to get to the eight 2in. ferrite magnet woofers. The IP56 rating allows it to work quite well in damp and moist environments and it is available in either black or white finish topping its ABS construction. Wall mounting is easy using the GF-Wall adjustable bracket. In musical applications it really shines when combined with a GS6 matched subwoofer.

Uncomplicated setup, big sound and a small footprint are the ace points in the L-Acoustics K3i full range, 2-way active line array system with twin 12in. LF and one HF transducer. Horizontal coverage is selectable between 70, 90 and 110 degrees while the vertical coverage angle is 10 degrees. This enables asymmetric coverage in challenging sound environments. Along with all other current L-Acoustics enclosures, the K3i features L-Vents to minimize turbulence noise. This array element puts out up to 143dB SPL, beyond many other similarly sized models. Acoustically neutral 3D fabric is spread behind the coated steel grille.

The Martin Audio WPS Wavefront Precision passive optimized line array offers a new level of scalable resolution to perfectly suit the room size and shape, budget and tech crew. Sophisticated granular control is possible to meet very complex sound system designs. The enclosures are made of plywood with a painted finish and they are fitted with fabric-backed protective steel grilles. Side pocket grips facilitate handling and installation. The controllability of these array elements keeps sound off the walls and on the audience. Powered by Martin’s iK42 4-channel amplifier or iK81 8-channel amplifier, they reach their full potential.

A compact cabinet with up to 150dB output and available in three coverage patterns, the Meyer Sound Panther large format linear line array loudspeaker performs well in a wide range of active array applications. Its ultralight Class D amplifiers are closely matched to the unit’s drivers to maintain top energy efficiency. The Panther is also ready for the elements with Neutrik TOP sealed connections and an IP55 rated, UV-resistant cabinet. With amps fitted right into the cabinet’s back, there are no long speaker cable runs and the connections include analog and Milan Certified AVB endpoints.

Scalability and punch in a lightweight cabinet is great for acoustically difficult rooms. The Nexo S1230 array module packs a single 12in. speaker and a 3in. 16-ohm HF driver. The 28.5-degree wavefront curvature provides an advanced constant velocity profile output and the internal rigging system allows angles from 22.5 to 30 degrees. The internal elements produce a frequency response from 53Hz to 19kHz (±3dB) and output of 103dB SPL. Baltic birch construction is topped with a black coating and the front features a molded dark grey metal grille. Connections include a NL4MP SPEAKON 4-pole input and a matching passthrough connector.

The PreSonus CDL12 full range constant directivity loudspeaker blends the best points of point source and line array technology. Each unit uses eight 2in. drivers aligned in a segmented circular-arc high-frequency array and these are positioned in front of a 12in. woofer. When flown without a subwoofer, six CDL12s can be arrayed to form a symmetrical 120 x 120-degree coverage area. When used with the CDL18s subwoofer, one or two of the CDL12s can be pole mounted on top. Each CDL12 contains an integrated PDA-1000 500W x 500W Class D power amplifier that features onboard DSP presets. Each enclosure can be connected to a standard LAN network and remotely controlled using Worx Control software.

For a passive array capable of bigger, more heavy duty jobs the QSC WL2102- w dual 10in. 3-way array element provides 140-degree horizontal coverage and it may be operated as a bi-amplified or tri-amplified system. The enclosure combines dual 10in. long-excursion, 400W LF transducers and a single 3in. diaphragm neodymium compression driver. The HF section has 80W continuous power handling capacity while the LF components have 600W in bi-amp mode and 400W in tri-amp mode. There is also an integral, adjustable rigging system with vertical splay adjustable in 1degree increments from 2 to 10 degrees and zero degrees. On the big power, active array side, the RCF HDL 30-A 2-way line array module contains a powerful 2200W class D amplifier and it uses a 4 PATH designed waveguide for 100 degree horizontal by 15-degree vertical coverage. This model is network connected and the operator can use builtin DSP in adjusting level, delay, and EQ along with setting up advanced subwoofer configurations. Through RDNet it is also possible to control multiple RCF devices, such as digital matrixes or amplifiers. Inside the cabinet are twin 10in. Neodymium woofers with 2.5in. voice coils and a 1.4in. Titanium compression driver with a 4in. voice coil.

On the big power, active array side, the RCF HDL 30-A 2-way line array module contains a powerful 2200W class D amplifier and it uses a 4 PATH designed waveguide for 100 degree horizontal by 15-degree vertical coverage. This model is network connected and the operator can use built-in DSP in adjusting level, delay, and EQ along with setting up advanced subwoofer configurations. Through RDNet it is also possible to control multiple RCF devices, such as digital matrixes or amplifiers. Inside the cabinet are twin 10in. Neodymium woofers with 2.5in. voice coils and a 1.4in. Titanium compression driver with a 4in. voice coil.

The Renkus-Heinz ICLive X Series is a versatile concept that can be arranged in any combination of the ICLX, ICLXL, ICLLX steerable array modules and the matching ICLX-118S subwoofer. Even the most strangely shaped performance areas can be custom fitted with one of these combinations using the Acoustic Source Multiplier (ASM) waveguide that lets the HF section be coaxially mounted in front of the LF section. The ICLive X module can be used in combination with the ICLive XL/LX or arranged in an array up to 12 units tall. Standard in the system are RHAON II beam-steering and control via Ethernet with Dante audio-over-Ethernet available as an option

An interesting feature of the TOA Electronics Type C 2-way line array speaker including the SR-C8L, SR-C8LWP, SR-C8S, and SR-C8SWP, is its ability to be converted from single to a bi-amped version by changing one internal connection. Optionally available handling brackets simplify installation and the splash-proof versions, designated with WP, widen the variety of environments in which this product line can perform. The cabinets are bass reflex with power handling capacity of 360W in single-amp mode and LF 360W/HF 180W in bi-amp mode. The unit’s directivity angle is 110 degrees horizontal and 5 degrees vertical. Construction is black painted plywood with a punched steel front grille.

There is one system capable of scaling up or down to fit virtually any venue sound design and that is the VUE Audiotechnik al-8 compact line array system. Each one has four al-8 acoustic elements and a single VUEDrive V6 systems engine. Onboard SystemVUE networking capability enables intricate control while integrated flying hardware allows arrays to be assembled containing up to 16 elements per flybar. The al-8 can also be used along with al-4 and al-12 modules to suit highly customized requirements. The al-8S Stadium Element is a permanent installation version with an alternative HF driver and without the side handles.

Large, high powered array systems can be visually impressive but there are some applications where the arrays need to be less obtrusive, and the Yamaha VXL Series has that covered. Largest in the line, the VXL1-24 is a very slim column containing 24 1.5in. full-range drivers with neodymium magnets. Fewer of these arrays are needed to cover wide areas with their 170-degree horizontal dispersion angle. Vertical coverage of either 20 or 40 degrees can be selected. Available in black or white, the unit can also be painted to perfectly match and disappear into the room décor. TOA has hardware to meet a variety of mounting styles and requirements. The product line includes models with eight and 16 speakers.


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