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FBT Creates First 18” Flyable Cardioid Subwoofers

Customer Feedback Spurs Innovative New Product

When Jim Martin, Owner of Texas Systems Integration, created a sound engineering plan for Steamboat Rock Baptist Church, he knew he needed 18” flyable subwoofers in a cardioid configuration to complete the job. There was just one problem: nobody made them.  Confident that others would benefit from his idea, he approached Roberto Mataloni, Export Manager, and Mauro Tanoni, Sales Director, of FBT for help. In response, the FBT team created a highly effective new product that not only met, but also surpassed Martin’s expectations. Best of all, MUSE and MITUS 118FSA/FSCA subs are now available to the general public. As attractive as they are functional, the products promise to revolutionize sound design in a variety of applications.

Martin, whose Dallas/Fort Worth-based company specializes in audio, video, lighting and acoustics for houses of worship, approached Mataloni and Tanoni during the Winter NAMM show, 2015, and explained his need for a flyable system.

“The meeting with Jim provided us with a greater understanding of the audio requirements that are typical to church installations,” said Mataloni. There are the needs of the minister/preacher, the size of the venues and the need to direct low frequencies toward the audience without wasting them on the stage or backstage. They also want their stages as clean as possible with no ground stack subs; They want them flown in either separate arrays from the main FOH system, or in integration with the line array. The cardioid mode is the perfect setup for such needs, but the challenge and input that Jim Martin shared with us was quite interesting…  An easy solution would require that we simply rotate the sub back to front, set the parameters and go, we’d be done. But what about the aesthetics?”

Cardioid configurations aren’t anything new but, until now, they’ve seemed to come with their own set of challenges. Between dangling cables that connect front and rear-facing speakers, stacking them on the ground and the unattractive necessity of staring at the back of the center box, cardioid subwoofer setups have certainly solved the challenge of low frequency distribution, but they don’t typically look attractive doing it.

For Mataloni and his associates, creating a visually appealing product was just as important as its functionality. Over the following months, the FBT team created a product that turned out to be much more than Martin had asked for. Among the features are a removable grill that can be placed on the rear of the center box when reversed, virtually camouflaging the system; a rotatable amp module that eliminates dangling wires in the front of the system; a vertically balanced enclosure that allows the system to be hung forwards or backwards; and symmetrical hanging hardware that requires no additional kits or purchase for hanging. The result is a clean, visually appealing system with all of the technological expertise that FBT is known for.

Martin was more than satisfied with the finished product.

“The guys at FBT were amazing,” he said. “They listened to our needs and challenges and created the system exactly the way we asked for it to be done. But then they customized the entire thing. The best part is, they put the time in to do it right. It’s not just a thrown together, modified box. It’s a brand new product, designed to look as good as it works. They gave us control over the focusing of low frequency energy out into the audience as opposed to throwing it all over the place, and they diminish the low frequencies to the rear of the boxes, making the stage perform better. They’re slick. They turned out to be an amazing product.”

Mataloni says that a variety of clients around the world have now expressed an interest in the MUSE and MITUS 118FSA/FSCA subs, for everything from installations to live music applications. Their first shipment to the U.S., scheduled for September, is already accounted for.  

As a company that claims to pride itself on quality and a desire to address the diverse demands of a dynamic pro-audio community, FBT has certainly proven itself in this regard.  In a world where customer service often falls short, it’s refreshing to witness a company that collaborates with its customers.

“FBT always appreciates feedback and new ideas to explore and develop,” said Mataloni. “We’re thankful to Jim Martin and Texas Systems Integration for sharing their thoughts with us and collaborating with us. We care about our customers’ needs, and take great honor and pride in constructive work that leads to benefits for the audio market.”  

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