Touring Line Arrays
If you want to listen to the latest in speaker array designs, there's always this month's InfoComm trade show in Las Vegas, where 20 brands, from Electro-Voice to Martin Audio, will fill out the show's Audio Demo and Sound Rooms. Or you can wait until the line arrays come to you.
IF YOU WANT TO LISTEN TO THE LATEST IN speaker array designs, there's always this month's InfoComm trade show in Las Vegas, where 20 brands, from Electro-Voice to Martin Audio, will fill out the show's Audio Demo and Sound Rooms, to say nothing about the rest of the sprawling show floor. Or you can wait until the line arrays come to you.
AV experts speculate that the rising cost of travel and shipping could lead to renewed interest in portable and compact line arrays for rental, staging, and other AV applications. Now some loudspeaker manufacturers know firsthand what it takes to move their products around.
In recent months, Yamaha Commercial Audio has taken the Nexo Geo S1210/1230 series compact loudspeaker array on the road, while QSC has been touring with its WideLine 10, WideLine 8, and ILA line arrays. The goal of each company is to get the technology in front of AV pros considering line arrays for a wide variety of venues.
Yamaha (www.yamahaca.com) is the U.S. distributor of the Nexo products (Nexo is based in France). The Geo S1210/1230 debuted about a year ago for fixed and portable installations where good, cost-efficient foreground reinforcement is needed. The company calls them "building blocks." The Geo S1230 can be used as a stand-alone cabinet, is arrayable horizontally or vertically, and can be flown, using crossbow flying hardware, and ground-stacked with subwoofers. Vertical MF/HF pattern control is array-dependent, while horizontal MF/HF coverage is configurable at 80 or 120 degrees.
The QSC WideLine-8 (www.qscaudio.com), which came out last summer, belongs to the recent breed of compact line arrays [see Spec to Spec]. At just 20 inches wide, 9 inches high, and 38 pounds, it comprises a full-range WL3082 and WL212-sw subwoofer. The array offers 140-degree horizontal coverage and an integrated rigging system that handles arrays of up to 12 boxes.COMING TO A VENUE NEAR YOU
Meanwhile, other manufacturers have been busy ushering out new products of their own, and some of the newest technology will debut at InfoComm. Martin Audio (www.martin-audio.com) plans to roll out its new OmniLine, which makes the WideLine-8 seem big. At 4.5 inches high and 9.7 inches wide, the OmniLine was designed for foreground applications and sound reinforcement in various architectural environments, according to the company.
Each OmniLine array consists of multiple array modules. Up to 32 modules can be connected where both high output and vertical focusing down to LF/MF are required. Conversely, you can uses as few as four modules for short-throw applications where vertical focusing of LF/MF is less critical.
According to Martin Audio officials, the OmniLine achieves vertical beam forming by "physically articulating individual array modules using patent-pending optimization software to curve the array rather than applying DSP to a traditional column." The result should be focused sound energy where the AV pro intends it, and away from reflective surfaces and ceilings.
The new OmniLine has a horizontal coverage angle of 100 degree at the -6 dB points, and full frequency performance down to 85 Hz.
And since you last attended InfoComm (or NSCA Expo, for that matter), Eastern Acoustic Works has rolled out its new EAW NTL720 self-powered, compact line array (www.eaw.com). At 9.4 inches high, 24 inches wide, and under 50 pounds, the NTL720 comprises six 1-inch dome tweeters in two vertical columns and dual 6-inch cones for the midfrequency range. At low frequency, the NTL720 uses EAW's proprietary Phase Aligned approach, in which both 6-inch LF drivers are positioned in a side-mounted figure eight configuration. The unit delivers 110 degrees of horizontal and 12 degrees of vertical dispersion.
Finally, just prior to this year's NAB Show, WorxAudio released the latest in its line of installer- and contractor-focused line arrays, the compact M80X5i-P, which is part of the company's TrueLine family (www.worxaudio.com). It will be on display at InfoComm.
The two-way M80X5i-P line array is geared toward speech and music in house of worship, theater, meeting, and presentation applications. Each M80X5i-P system has a total of five high-frequency drivers and 10 bass drivers, housed in a rugged enclosure. It includes five modules, each with a medium-format, 1-inch exit compression driver coupled to a stabilized proprietary FlatWave Former (wave-shaping device). The drivers are paired with dual 8-inch cone transducers coupled to the Acoustic Intergrading Module. The company says the module helps minimize cone filtering throughout the operating spectrum and delivers sound with a frequency range from 45 Hz to 20 kHz (-10 dB).NOW FOR SOMETHING A LITTLE DIFFERENT
For more specialized applications, Innovox Audio (www.innovoxaudio.com) now offers a line array that's even smaller than the rest. The new MicroLine-1, ultra-compact variable-length array was created for digital signage, museums, or other installations that require a very low profile. The 2-inch square array can be as short as 12 inches or as long as 96 inches (it's priced by the foot?$165 per).
The company says a 6-foot MicroLine can project clean speech out to 100 feet at 90 dB, making it well suited to conferencing situations as well. It has a frequency range of 200 Hz to 12 kHz (+/- 3 dB). It may not fill a venue, but it can deliver where it's needed.