Eight Great Audio Values
Extremely reliable, multifunctional, or nearly indestructible, these products have been selected by AV pros as the ?best value? audio products in the industry.
MSRP: $409 each
Polycom Vortex EF2280
The Vortex EF2280 is a multichannel acoustic echo and noise canceller with an integral automatic microphone/matrix mixer. Typically installed at each location in a multi-site network, the product is used in applications such as boardrooms, courtrooms, distance learning, sound reinforcement, and room combining. It connects easily to other equipment such as codecs, VCRs, and other AV products, and can be programmed from the front panel or through the included Conference Composer software.
Vito Randazzo, president and CEO of JVN Systems, Deer Park, NY, considers the Vortex EF2280 a unique value because of its comprehensive set of features, high-quality A/D converters, and its noise and echo cancellation capabilities. JVN Systems is a design/build firm with installations across North America, including corporate boardrooms, training facilities, lecture halls, display walls, and high-end residential projects. “This is a well-designed piece of equipment that is extremely useful to us in audio-and videoconferencing applications, and it's an excellent tool for shaping the sound of a room in audio matrixing tasks,” Randazzo says. “The unit's software design is comprehensive.”
Randazzo says he uses the Vortex line of products extensively because the audio mixing capabilities combined with the ability to scale the product allow his team's system designs to be flexible while mixing the levels between remote and local sources. “In rooms with HVAC and other ambient noise, the Vortex is essential in providing a clean sounding room,” he says. “For system integration, it's controllable via Crestron and AMX. I would say the unit's most attractive feature is its DSP capabilities. In particular, I consider its noise cancellation to be exceptional. The Polycom Vortex offers first-rate audio processing, easy interfacing, and reliability at a reasonable price. For all that it does, I believe it represents excellent value.”
MSRP: $5,845Shure DFR22 Audio Processor
The DFR22 is a full-featured 2x2 audio processor featuring Shure's patented automatic feedback reduction, along with equalization, dynamics processing, delay, matrix mixing, and a two-way crossover. It's configurable using Shure's drag-and-drop software interface for Windows and its processing blocks can be applied to any input or output in any order. The DFR22 provides control input pins facilitating connection of potentiometers, contact closures, and Shure's DRS10 for remote control operation.
Jim Mueller, president of Detroit-based Sound Planning Communications, says the DFR22's performance capabilities and reliability are the key aspects behind its exceptional value. His company has been in business for more than 25 years, and its primary customer base includes churches, performing arts centers, and auditoriums. “We've been using Shure DFR Series products for six or seven years, and in that timeframe — during which we've sold and installed hundreds of units — we've experienced only one failure,” he says. “The unit's automatic feedback reduction is literally the benchmark by which we evaluate competing products. The DFR22 is the most discriminating and the least destructive to sound quality in its mode of operation. Further, its time alignment, compression/limiting, and crossover functions all add up to make the DFR22 a phenomenal buy for its price point.”
Mueller says he's used the DFR22 on a variety of projects, mostly in houses of worship and performance audio systems, such as performing arts centers and auditoriums. “We've used it as a small crossover for a two-way system, to equalize wireless microphones, as well as a main and monitor EQ,” he says. “The DFR22 integrates easily into a sound system. I would say the DFR22's most appealing quality is its ability to handle so many different audio tasks. The unit's software is easy to work with, its price is very reasonable, and its reliability is absolutely outstanding.”