K-Array KTL22 Speaker and Light
Sep 14, 2011 4:00 PM, by John McJunkin
A clever combination provides an all-in-one architectural solution.
Installers and integrators deal primarily with sound and light, and among the principal devices they use are speakers and lamps. There are great speakers, and there are great lamps, and very frequently, they’re used in close proximity to each other, particularly in ceiling applications. Pendant lighting is popular and commonly used in the same kind of public spaces where installers and integrators use in-ceiling or truss-mounted speakers. The folks at K-Array decided to marry the two together and arrived at the KTL22, which is a pendant lamp with a speaker built in (and an in-ceiling version is available, the KTL22C). I recently spent some time with and was impressed by the company’s Redline speaker system, and I was excited to get a look at this unique product. I was sent a system for evaluation that included two KTL22s, a KA7 amplifier/power unit, a KU36 subwoofer, and a KLD-01 light controller.
I unboxed the system and laid it out for connection and setup. Both the sound and lighting components of the system are intended for wiring in a distributed fashion with Phoenix connectors. The KA7 amplifier not only provides amplification for the system’s speakers but also serves as a power supply for the overall system. A locking Speakon power inlet brings AC power into the amp, and an AC power passthrough link facilitates delivery of AC power to other devices. In this particular case, I connected this link to power the KLD-01 lighting controller. If it were necessary to provide AC power to other devices, the KLD-01 has a passthrough link as well, and power can be sent along in a daisy-chain fashion. I wired up the lighting controller’s output to the pair of KTL22s via Phoenix connectors. I also connected the audio amplifier’s output to the subwoofer and the speakers in the KTL22s. The KLD-01 facilitates control of lighting via sound—either with an audio line in or a built-in microphone, and I chose to keep it simple by just using the onboard mic.
The KTL22 pendant lamp/speaker is small, just short of 6in. long, 2.5in. in diameter, and about 3.25in. wide with its mounting bracket. It can indeed be mounted, or suspended as a pendant. It’s very similar to K-Array’s KT20W Tornado suspended speaker, with the addition of LED lighting. I was pleasantly surprised with the output SPL, which is rated at 101dB continuous. Bear in mind that K-Array publishes an operating frequency range of 200Hz-18kHz; indeed, there’s not much low end from the speaker’s 2in. neodymium cone driver, which sports a 3/4in. voice coil, but from the mids up through the highs, there’s enough SPL to do the trick in the kind of applications that K-Array touts it for: distributed systems for paging and music, exhibit audio for museum displays, architectural light and sound installations, and space-sensitive fill for theaters. These aren’t going to part the hair of patrons (particularly in the low-mids on down), but they deliver enough SPL to make announcements clear and make music sound good, and that’s really the point here—quality over quantity. Since the physical shape of the speaker in its enclosure is round in the horizontal plane, the distribution of sound energy is “90 degrees by 90 degrees” per se; it’s actually a round pattern, but it also has limits, so if a clear stereo image is necessary or desired, it can be achieved by spacing the units appropriately.
The lighting component of the KTL22 is comprised of six 2.5W RGB LEDs arrayed in a ring around the speaker’s exit aperture. I learned a strong lesson when I turned on the evaluation pair: They were aimed toward me and I was probably a little too close, and the light was downright blinding. The output of the elements is broken up a bit by a donut-shaped screw-on diffuser. The KLD-01 controls the lights, offering a multitude of colors, including a brilliantly bright white, strobing, and the slow evolution from one color to the next, which could make for a pleasant effect in an artistic environment. Up to four KTL22s can be controlled by a single KLD-01, and the controller units can be synchronized and externally controlled via the DMX protocol.
The KU36 subwoofer comes in a surprisingly small package, a box roughly 20in. in length, 7in. wide, and 4in. deep. I found it quite hefty, primarily due to the weight of the neodymium magnet of its single 6in. LF driver. It also features two 6in. passive radiators, which add a bit to the weight. Its solid, sturdy enclosure is made of steel as well. All in all, it comes in at a little more than 14lbs. It’s rated to deliver from 45Hz to 300Hz at 115dB continuous with peaks of 121dB SPL. These ratings may come across as improbable, but I have to say I was quite impressed with the delivery of this sub. K-Array have made some great strides in terms of loudspeakers, and this system is no exception.
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