Here we are with our usual reports from the ProLight+Sound tradeshow. As usual, ZioGiorgio offers you an overview of the new technologies and products that caught our attention, in terms of innovation, quality and being user-friendly, with specific articles dedicated to the audio and the lighting sectors.
Let’s get started with audio.
PA Systems & Components
The main focus of the Alcons Audio stand was the LR24 mid-sized pro-ribbon line array system: Alcons’ response to the market demand for linear sound systems, but with a true 1:1, undistorted and non-compressed sound reproduction.
Another focus point was the preview of two micro-sized additions to the S-series and B-series, making Alcons’ famous pro-ribbon sound experience available for a smaller, portable and having installed applications.
At the Audio Factory booth, we had a nice chat with Francesco Passarelli about the situation of the Italian market. Francesco and the company think that the only way to remain visible in this difficult moment is to work on a no-compromise quality. That is why, for the third year in a row, Audio Factory decided to come to Frankfurt and present its products.
Speaking about products, the Design Series has grown with the introduction of D04, D06, D08, DS10 and DS10R; the company also launched the new M12A and M12XA active stage monitors. These monitors are characterized by a somewhat “atypical” dispersion, slightly wider than the one offered by competitors, aimed at covering the stage areas far from the monitor, to facilitate the singers’ listening when moving off center stage. These monitors boast a low profile that, together with a consistent feedback rejection can make them a good stage cabinet.
The Spanish company bets on ceramics, probably because of the extremely variable costs of neodymium, which is not always cheap.
The new 12MC500 is a 12” ceramic woofer with 2,5” voice coil, with patented Maltcross technology cooling system by Beyma, that allows the unit to handle powers up to 1000 Watt while keeping the compression effect to the minimum. The unit weighs only 5,8 Kg which makes it ideal for the use in line arrays, or in smaller and portable systems.
The compact, neodymium DE980TN features a robust titanium diaphragm that incorporates next generation surround geometry, and a brand new, optimized phase plug. It offers improved high frequency linearity and reduced distortion. As the first member in a complete range of 3″ and 4″ voice coil high frequency drivers, the DE980TN is an excellent 1.4” exit solution for two way point source enclosures, or for use on a wave guide, for multi-driver line array systems.
The new, compact FHX Series coaxial speakers feature a single ferrite magnet structure. The resulting high sensitivity package is significantly smaller and lighter than similar multi-driver, ferrite designs. The FHX series integrate a 3″ coil compression driver with a wide bandwidth, 3″ coil woofer for superior power handling in a high performance point source.
The new 18TBW100 subwoofer is a 18” ferrite Subwoofer offering a unique 100mm, split voice coil that provides more output, improved linearity, superior Xmax, better long term reliability and a higher continuous power rating.
CDX1-1010 is a lightweight, ferrite magnet HF device that has been introduced at a very cost-competitive price point; it has a 25mm/1.0-inch voice coil and throat exit. The compression driver provides 15-watt power handling (AES Standard, RMS) and delivers 105dB sensitivity over a frequency range of 1500-20,000Hz.
The new CDX20-3075 compression driver delivers 75Wrms power handling and 107 dB sensitivity, and incorporates a number of advanced features to minimize distortion and enhance overall performance. Principal among these is the Maximised Modal Suppression (MMS), consisting of a patented phase plug and diaphragm design, intended to greatly reduce levels of high frequency distortion.
The TF0615 is suited for use with either two-way or three-way sound reinforcement applications and is designed to achieve optimal performance in compact enclosures. With a nominal diameter of 6-inch, this mid/bass loudspeaker features a 1.5-inch/34mm round copper voice coil and delivers 100-watt (RMS, AES Standard) power handling and 95dB sensitivity over a frequency range of 85Hz to 6000Hz.
CF18VJD is an 18-inch ferrite magnet, cast aluminum chassis low frequency driver, offering 1600Wrms (AES Standard) power handling and delivering 97dB sensitivity. Particularly suited to subwoofer applications, the loudspeaker features a 5-inch/125mm, dual-layer copper voice coil, wet-wound on a glass fiber former.
The Cerwin Vega P-Series is a powerful, portable speaker system that combines rugged construction, extreme clarity and unmatched bass performance in an easy to use and versatile package. The P-Series family includes two active speaker products: the P1500X full-range speaker and the P1800SX subwoofer. Both are suited for any sound reinforcement application, from live performances to DJ gigs.
Tradeshow are the best place to know people and new realities. In a very engaging presentation, Mick Anderson told us how Coda Audio, a company with 180 employees and ISO9001-2000 certification, today is one of the largest European audio companies, with the goal to start a new life in the top-level touring market. This is a very ambitious goal, but we think that it is within their reach. Mick explained that the whole Coda team, including the owners and managers, believe in the importance of communicated passion and of direct contact with the customers. The seriousness of their intent can be also induced by analyzing their AIRLINE LA12 line array, characterized by a particular patented 3×4” waveguide. The listening test was positive, the products are there. We just need to keep an eye on how they will manage to advance in the tough touring sector.
d&b was showcasing its appreciated V Series, in particular the new Vi version in all its possible variations: Vi8, Vi12 and Vi-SUB. The company also brought to Frankfurt the Black and White Series, together with the D6 and D12 amplifiers and its Remote network.
AERO 40A is the latest addition to the AERO family of line array systems. It offers a unique configuration, which incorporates a rear-loaded 12″ transducer in a bass horn configuration for low-end reproduction; the mid-range is handled by a new 8″ transducer/horn assembly developed specifically for the AERO 40A. High frequency reproduction relies on two D.A.S. M-75N compression drivers, which are attached to a new BPS-2912 waveguide.
D.A.S. also presented the new Artec Series, both in powered and passive configurations. The most notable difference with these second generation Artec Series loudspeakers consists in the addition of five self-powered models: Artec 506A, 526A, 508A, 510A and S15A subwoofer, featuring Class D, 720W peak / 360W continuous power amplifiers in all models except the S15A subwoofer, which has a Class D, 2000W peak / 1000W continuous amplifier.
The Crespellano Italian company showed a new member of the T line of line array systems, the new T8, which places halfway between the T4 and the larger T12. The company states that T8 is not an evolution of T4, but a new system that follows the company’s philosophy, based on the concept of mechanical and acoustical integration between its systems. T8 is an active system, with digipro G2 Class-D amplifiers with 175 W/RMS for high and midrange frequencies and 350 W/RMS for bass frequencies. The low range is reproduced via a 8” speaker, the midrange via a 6,5” and the high range via two 1” speakers with 1,4” voice coils. The dispersion angles are 100° (horizontal) and 15° (vertical). The back panel is similar to the other systems, with simple preset controls.
But the real interest at the dB booth was generated by the motorized line array that, as explained by Claudio Ottani (R&D department), was born more as a laboratory exercise than a real product, but proved to be functional and useful. In the video below, you can find a description of the project, including the motorized fly-bar, called DRKM-20.
The EV brand has always “produced huge numbers” in the small PA sector (and in other ones, ndr), and today the ZLX is born. Two passive and two active versions are available, both boasting a two-way, 12” and 15”; these loudspeakers feature high quality components to guarantee the classic ElectroVoice sound.
The two active models, ZLX-12P and ZLX-15P, include a 1000W Class-D amplifier, an LCD display and an innovative DSP control with a single selector and presets.
In particular, we found it interesting to observe the implementation of the controls via a single selector and the LCD display, which is a plus where “plug and play” operability is needed.
These loudspeakers can be also used as stage monitors.
At the FBT booth we met an old friend of ours, Remo Orsoni, who made his collaboration with FBT just a few days before the PL+S. Good luck Remo!
Remo showed us some of the new products, in particular some featuring an innovative 14” speaker developed “ad hoc” by B&C Speaker; it is characterized by measures that allow to design more compact and lighter cabinets than a traditional 15”, but featuring the same power and SPL. Currently this woofer can be found on MITUS114, SHADOW142L and PROMAXX14A. As far as line arrays are concerned, the new Qube QSA 112.0A active is a constant curvature module, with “0 degrees” vertical dispersion, the first in the world according to Remo.
The Optima B210 is a compact 2 x 10″ bass enclosure that incorporates a fully integrated fly system, 800 w power handling and 55–200 Hz pass band. Sharing a common width with the Optima 5 enclosure, the cabinet can be flown above or ground stacked below Optima 5 arrays. Acoustically the cabinet is intended as the bass element of an Optima 5 array system within the Audio Visual market, enabling compact and discreet flown drops to cover the needs of the conference market. The addition of floor-mounted subs, such as the Reflex SB118, would extend the functionality of the system to cover the evening entertainment.
We have already written about it, as it captured the attention of many people. To be honest, we had already seen it at ISE in Amsterdam, but the PL+S was its world debut. Anakonda is the first flexible loudspeaker in the world; it can be considered an articulated line of sound, that can be curved in serpent-like shapes. Aimed at various applications, it is particularly fit for situations where the loudspeakers have to be “hidden”. This is definitely another K-Array product destined to stimulate the market, and we are sure that many other manufacturers will follow this path. A final “folklore” consideration, specifying that the K-Array team is made of people with a good sense of humour: it was funny to see the “boss” and designer Alessandro Tatini use the vacuum cleaner at the end of the day! These guys are keeping “their feet on the ground”, in spite of their success. Maybe the Red Chianti was an accomplish? Who knows… Steady as tehy go!
The new SEQUENZA 5 is a compact line array system that can be considered the “little sister” of the well-known SEQUENZA 10. SEQUENZA 5 has also been acoustically designed for interaction with SEQUENZA 10. The downfill adapter allows for positioning up to 3 units under the SEQUENZA 10. The system is equipped with 4 x 5“ and 3 x 1“ Neodym drivers and it is controlled by a passive 1-way control, showing surprising “full range” properties. Up to 4 elements may be operated on one channel of the K&F SystemRack (for installations on one TOPAS channel). The SEQUENZA 5 B fly bass has been designed in compliance with the 100° x 15° coverage SEQUENZA 5 W. This 1 x 12“ subwoofer is the perfect complement, completing the required low frequency performance within the sound system for live and high level applications.
The MCX 15 is a coaxial high performance monitor with low profile casing design. The design enables two set up options – the first with a flat angle of 35° for a monitoring from near to short distances and a steep angle of 55° for longer distances. With its elegant optic, it fits harmoniously into all surroundings. With its solid construction and the high protective front grid it can deal with the hard stage requirements perfectly. The dispersion of 65° vertical and 45° horizontal has been adapted to the monitor angle and can be rotated 90°. Each, left and right side includes a connection panel with each two Neutrik NL 4 Speakon sockets for an efficient cabling and linking of the stage signals.
The direct-radiating high efficient subwoofer QLB 118 X is equipped with a new developed 18” subwoofer with tetra coil & dual voice coil. The tunnel design of the bass reflex casing had been optimized to minimize air flow noise. These innovations distinctly increase the sound and reproduction quality, so the QLB 118 X sounds tight and with a proper impulse response without losing the deep bass reproduction of an 18” subwoofer. It is recommended as a universal subwoofer for creating powerful bass arrays in combination wit the line array and hybrid elements of the PANO series.
The VL 2i is a professional, ultra-compact small speaker system with extremely brilliant and clear sound quality. It is designed for music and speech reproduction as well as background and fill applications with excellent localization features as top unit, in combination with a VERSIO subwoofer or as full range speaker. The passive installation speaker with 2 x 4” + 1” with multifunctional design is a pleasantly tuned system with minimal sound coloration and distortion. The light- weight but stable glued framework is covered with polyurethane coating in black or white. For vertical and horizontal installations, extensive installation accessories are available.
At the Meyer booth we could find some pieces of news about the newborn LEO. As we were told by Scott Gledhill, the company decided not to show LEO at the tradeshow, and this situation will probably continue in the future. “We want people to listen to it…” is more or less what Scott told us.
That’s a pity because, to be honest, we were interested in seeing the rigging and design characteristics. Anyways, we learned that every component of LEO is totally made by Meyer Sound in California and that the system is, incredibly, a two-way system. The direct question about this particular choice was answered with the following words: “John has always been convinced that the less crossings in a loudspeaker, the easier it is working on phase coherence, avoiding all the possible disturbances due to interactions in the crossover zones…”. Clear and simple, who can say the contrary.
All the features of the system can be found on the website dedicated to LEO.
Meyer Sound also showed its latest loudspeaker manager Galileo Calisto. The video below gives some info about it…
The French company showcased the new LS18 subwoofer, compatible with both the GEO S12 line array system and the PS Series. It includes a single 18” woofer and is characterized by a relative light weight. LS18 can be flown or ground mounted, and boasts a frequency response of (+/ 3 dB) 30 Hz-120 Hz, a nominal sensitivity of 107 dB (1 W/1 m) with a maximum SPL of 137 dB.
Also on show is the STMi series, dedicated to the installation sector. It includes three models (main, bass and sub) that can be installed in any combinations to achieve the desired results and coverage.
GTO C-12 is the latest addition to the GTO family. With its technology derived completely from the large format dual 15″ GTO (first introduced in 2011) the new GTO C-12 produces output power surpassed only by its ‘big brother’ – but from an enclosure that is physically smaller and 30% lighter. Incorporating the V-Power Concept and the patented DPRWG Wave Guide, and using the most advanced transducer technology available, the GTO C-12 carries the familiar high-resolution signature sound synonymous with the Outline brand and family of world-renowned line array products. This remarkable new loudspeaker will form the centerpiece of our stand at Frankfurt.
Also at the Outline booth, the DVS powered range has been re-engineered to include iMode remote monitoring and control, with the DVS 12P and DVS 15P now fully bi-amped via twin internal amplifiers.
HDL10-A was born from the success of the “big brother” HDL20-A.
It is a smaller system, but being part of the RCF D-Line it is aimed at professional touring, in particular to those situations where dimensions and costs can be an issue.
HDL10-A includes a 2×8” for mid-high frequencies and a 2,5” compression driver.
We had a nice chat with Alessandro Manini, product specialist and designer, about networking and the proprietary control and management system, shared with dB-Techonologies, RDNet which is a great plus of RCF systems.
All the new products come as RDNet ready (smaller systems) or already including the network onboard (larger systems). RDNet, in a few words, reformulates the concept of processing, control and monitoring, because having a DSP board on every cabinet, the engineers can address each single speaker or create groups and change their parameters (such as gain, eq or delay). Among the many other features we have the auto-ID of connected loudspeakers and the management and monitoring of almost all the functions, including cooling fans.
The next step will be the implementation of the transport of audio signals on the network cable, which is already connected to each loudspeaker. An option that, according to what Alessandro hinted to us, is not so far away…
Building on the experience of the GLD iLive Series, Allen&Heath introduced the new Qu-16, a digital mixer characterized by an interesting price that can be used both table- or rack-mounted. The desk offers 16 mic/line inputs, 3 stereo inputso, 4 stereo FX with dedicated returns, 14 mixes (including LR, 10 with mixes, and two buss dedicated to FXs), 12 processing channels, an AES digital output, talkback microphone, 2-Track output and other connection options.
Five high-speed dual core DSPs provide the power needed for channel processing and FXs, with a wide “reserve margin” for future updates.
Qu-16 includes a high resolution touchscreen color monitor (800×480) with a very intuitive interface. Following the iLive user interface, the Superstrip provides for physical controls of the most important parameters of the selected channel, such as gain, HPF, parametric EQ, Gate and Compressor threshold and pan.
A&H dSNAKE, based on a proprietary low latency protocol, allows the connection of the mixer to a remote stage rack, such as AR84 or AR2412, via single Cat5 cable, and is compatible with the ME personal mixing system, another interesting product that can accept almost any digital protocol on the market… easy and useful!
The new CDC EIGHT 16 Faders is the sibling of the larger CDC EIGHT 32 Faders console. It is a 16 fader desk that can be customized with different I/O modules via CADAC Comms protocol, for a total of 144 inputs. The control surface is well designed, and the LCD screen offers a particular scrolling display that facilitates the viewing of data. The Cadac staff guarantees the quality of the sound of this desk but, to be honest, we hope that this new mixer will be aimed at a more focused market area, because it’s seems that its larger sister has not reached the success of its direct competitors.
The real big news at DIGiCo was the absence, for the first time in many years, of a new console! Nevertheless, DiGiCo renews its SD9 with two models, SD9B dedicated to the broadcast market and SD9T, for theatre applications.
SD9T offers all the functions of the SD7T in a more compact frame.
The new SD9T software builds on an already impressive array of features onboard the SD9 Supercharged, which has a significant expansion in channel count, dynamic EQs, multiband compressors and matrix, plus the addition of DiGiTuBes, Reorder of Busses and Multichannel inputs (formerly only available on SD7). Other new features include an expanded aux panel, increased dynamic functions such as a Duck option and an expander for the Gate, a De-esser and three types of Knee for the Compressor. There are also new FX types with multi-tap, and a ping-pong stereo delay. A warmth button is provided on each channel for analogue emulation and two types of EQ have been added (Classic and Precision).
We welcome the introduction of the SD Convert software that, as the name says, can convert a Session between DiGiCo desks. At the end of the press conference, a hint was made at the new DIGIgrid brand, that will have our attention in the near future…
MIDAS previewed Generation 2.1 software for its digital consoles, which adds a rack-full of new latency-compensated FX plug-ins and dynamics processing options to every console in the PRO series, plus the flagship XL8. New FX plug-ins include a dual-channel KLARK TEKNIK DN60 Real Time Analyser, a KLARK TEKNIK tape saturation effect, sub-harmonic generator, multi-channel input phase adjustment insert, a fifth input compressor option, ducker mode for noise gates, plus a new “transient accent” gate option and a variable presence control for all input channel compressors.
Solid State Logic
Quite a few “Buzz” were caused by SSL’s launch of its first live sound desk, called Live. Based on SSL’s new Tempest processing platform, Live offers 976 inputs & outputs and 192 full processing audio ‘paths’ at 96kHz. How those ‘paths’ are configured is extremely flexible with power allocated to Channels, Auxes, Stem Groups and Masters configured to suit the needs of each show. All processing is built into the console surface and it has a collection of I/O connectivity built into the frame. A full range of Stagebox I/O connects to the console via MADI with the potential for larger systems to make use of SSL’s own Blacklight technology that carries up to 256 channels of bi-directional audio and control via a single fibre connection.
The control surface combines multiple tablet style multi-gesture touch screens with elegant hardware ergonomics, excellent visual feedback and a collection of innovative new features. It enables engineers to work exactly how they work today, whether they prefer touch screens or classic hardware technology, or to combine them both.
Impeccable audio quality is a primary design feature all the way through from studio grade SuperAnalogue mic preamps, 24bit/96kHz A/D D/A conversion, to 64bit internal processing and 96khz operation throughout. Live features an impressive collection of 30 new Effects and audio analysis tools, which take SSL’s acclaimed studio grade processing and re-craft it for live and they have their own dedicated processing power.
The brand is a big player of the audio sector, the design seems interesting but the delay on the competitors, who can boast reliable and high-quality products, is large. Simple enough, this console will have to prove its abilities “on the road”, gaining a place in the riders of the most important productions. Let’s meet again at least in a year or so…
Soundcraft launched Si Expression 1, 2 and 3 offering 16, 24 and 32 fader and mic inputs respectively; all three are capable of up to a staggering 66 inputs to mix by connecting any Soundcraft stagebox including the two new Mini Stagebox 16 and 32 (16 x 8 and 32 x 16) models also launched today at the show (separate release) or by connecting additional inputs over MADI or AES/EBU.
The mixer is loaded with industry standard processing from HARMAN siblings BSS, dbx, Lexicon and Studer and many top-end professional features like a colour touchscreen, iPad ViSi Remote control and Soundcraft FaderGlow, adopted from Soundcraft’s Vi Series large format flagship consoles.
Amplifiers, DSPs & Controllers
Taking stage in their final production guise are the Sentinel amplified loudspeaker controllers: with 4-in/4-out, 192kHz AES/EBU inputs, Linux-based processor control, 10kW. audiophile-grade amp.stages, full color touch screen control, this amplified processor platform raises the bar in speaker drive engines.
Who is this German company? Much talk was made during the tradeshow of another networking system, named Ravenna, which has been around for some years in a more or less experimental phase. With a pun in a somewhat doubtful taste, the ALC team named its protocol after the city where Dante Alighieri, the most important poet of Italian (and probably the world’s) history is buried. So… Dante’s tomb, a clear hint to its direct competitor…
Apart from that, in spite of my on-going questions for more info at their booth, all that I could know is written on their internet site and can be considered nothing special: Ravenna is a new protocol for real-time audio data transmission, based on IP technology, that can operate on a similar or higher level than layer 3, it guarantees extremely low latencies, total sound transparency and it can be used on normal IP-based networks.
In any case, the Ravenna banner, probably the real news, waved in the booth of the renowned German manufacturer of broadcast consoles, LAWO. This fact and the various rumours suggest that Ravenna is to be seriously taken into account, and we will definitely investigate the matter.
The Orion32 interface, the world’s first 32-channel AD/DA converter and audio master clock in a 1U rack, is the company’s flagship. The mixer, elegantly integrated within the control panel, provides extremely low latency mix and monitoring that can be distributed using the control panel, allowing it to be routed from any output of the Orion32.
For example one can drag all 32 USB play channels to the “mix channels” and then the MIX L/R inputs to DAC 1 and 2, providing a stereo bus mix to DAC channels 1 and 2. The Zero Latency Mixer provides the basic functions of a real mixer such as : Solo, Mute, Pan, Volume Level controlled by faders and a Master Fader, so one can easily make a stereo mix.
The new Intelli-series consists of two system management devices, Intelli-X² 26 (2 in, 6 out) and Intelli-X² 48 (4in, 8 out), providing all the system management tools necessary for comprehensive system alignment and EQ, through to the provision of IIR and FIR based crossovers.
The new Intelli-series comprises a no-compromise design resulting in unmatched audio performance, even when using lower sample rates. The internal processing is selectable from 44.1 kHz to 192 kHz, providing full compatibility with both standard and high-end sample rate formats. Sample rate convertors are provided on the inputs as standard and may be switched in and out of circuit as required, enabling digital equipment operating at different rates to be connected.
Hera now will not only log the average and peak RMS sound level pressure over a time period, but will also detect and log the attempts of system tampering (for example disconnection of the microphone). The logs can be easily consulted by any user directly from the front panel or retrieved on a computer and printed out. Hera also offers two logic outputs that may be used to control external devices or mains cut-off if a certain threshold is being exceeded. This threshold value may be scheduled to allow for different sound levels at set times.
Ashly, a historial American brand, introduced two new signal processors. 3.6SP (3-in x 6-out) and 4.8SP (4-in x 8 out) can be used both in live and installed applications. The SP Series offers simple controls on the front panel, for a direct access to settings. The USB ports on the front and back panels allows to program the DSP on the Ashly Protea platform, and to protect the system with a password. With delays up to 682ms on both inputs and outputs, the SP-Series can be used as a front-end processor to drive delay lines. The three inputs of the 3.6SP offer an interesting plus, because most competitors are limited to only two inputs .
Bose Professional updated the PowerMatch amplifier technology platform with three additional models of configurable professional power amplifiers. PM8500 (8 channels, 4000 watts total rated power), PM8250 (8 channels, 2000 watts total rated power), PM4500 (4 channels, 2000 watts total rated power) and PM4250 (4 channels, 1000 watts total rated power).
Bose engineers optimized audio performance with a robust Class-D amplifier and power supply design that together are uniquely capable of maintaining top performance even with unexpected variations in AC line voltage, rack temperature, and output load conditions. Configurable through the use of QuadBridge technology, each amplifier is capable of combining 2 or 4 output channels, creating flexible options to drive different power levels and loudspeaker impedances.
BSS Audio introduced AVB functionality to its acclaimed Soundweb London family of digital signal processors with the addition of two Soundweb London devices. The new Soundweb London BLU-805 and BLU-325 devices are AVB versions of the BLU-800 and BLU-320 CobraNet siblings from which they are derived.
Each device offers up to 16 inputs and outputs, configurable in banks of four. Card options include analog mic/line inputs with Phantom Power, analog outputs, digital inputs (AES/EBU and S/PDIF), digital outputs, the Soundweb London AEC Input Card and the Soundweb London Telephone Hybrid Card. The BLU-805 and BLU-325 devices allow 64 incoming AVB channels and 64 outgoing AVB channels at 48kHz, or 32 incoming AVB channels and 32 outgoing AVB channels at 96kHz. Configuration, control and monitoring are provided by HiQnet London Architect.
The new iD4 includes a Class-H stereo amplifier that can provide 1900W per channel at 4 Ohm and 1500W per channel at 2 Ohm, or 3800W in Bridge Mono mode. The on board DSP offers 100 presets, 10 parametric filters on inputs/outputs, delay, limiter, phase flip, input gain from -48 to +12 dB and a totally configurable routing system for inputs and outputs.
Clear-Com enhanced its Tempest Digital Wireless Intercoms, with a Remote Line Extender, which further increases the Tempest systems’ ability to provide ultra-portable wireless
communications capabilities in RF-rich environments.
The Tempest 2400 is a 2.4-GHz, feature-rich wireless intercom with either a two- or four-channel offering that delivers cutting-edge RF technologies to ensure interference-free
communications for tours and performance facilities. The Tempest 2400 offers a Seamless Roaming feature, which provides users with continuous wireless coverage across an expanded production space. The new Tempest Remote Transceiver Line Extender increases the system’s cable run distance of a remote antenna by 3,000 feet (914 meters), with one Line Extender or 2,000 feet (609 meters) per Line Extender if using more than one Line Extender. A total of three Line Extenders can be connected.
Audinate the inventor of Dante, the award winning digital media networking solution, and OEM partner Four Audio, developers of high-end loudspeaker measurement and management solutions for professional audio, launched two new products.
DBS1 is a 2 channel breakout box built on Audinate’s new Dante Ultimo solution. It’s metal housing is smaller than a 9.5″ and features 2 balanced symmetrical analog inputs with programmable sensitivity (-46 to +14 dBu), switchable 48V phantom power, a low cut filter and has 118 dB dynamic range. The 2 balanced analog outputs deliver 14 dBu maximum output.
DBO1 is a Dante enabled breakout box providing 8 analog output channels and optional 4 AES outputs. The new configuration will offer 4 balanced symmetrical analog inputs from -46 to +14 dBu and either 48V phantom power or ICP constant current supply. The DBO1 with ICP supply is ideally suited for industrial measurement applications with many widely distributed sensors. It enables to connect measurement microphones, piezo transducers, accelerometers, to a sensor network over Ethernet, allowing remote measurements over large distances with no trouble.
Lab.gruppen introduced the new IPD (Intelligent Power Drive) Series, which marks a breakthrough in networked and DSP-enabled power amplifiers. In a sleek and ultra-compact package, IPD Series amplifiers unite – for the first time – renowned Lab.gruppen performance and reliability with cutting-edge DSP features including and surprising affordability.
The Frenc company showcased a long awaited amplifier, a 4×4 that offers 4 ins and 4 outs in a single unit. One of the most interesting features of the LA4X is its ability to work with a voltage range of 90-265 V, which makes it fit for various applications. The video below shows the exclusive presentation of this unit. A detail not mentioned in the video: the “heart” of the LA4X (Class-D) is Italian…
The S Series “Signature Series” utilizes the best complimentary AB bipolar output stages, combined with the unique MC2 current driven floating drive stage along with analogue level controls for minimal signal degradation. Sophisticated “side-chain” limiters prevent distortion and speaker damage, but are out-of-circuit until the onset of clipping so do not compromise the signal path under normal working conditions.
A bespoke high fidelity shielded toroidal power supply combined with intelligently controlled low noise fans provide optimum conditions for the output stages, ensuring the only thing you will ever hear is your sound.
Another brand that we knew very little of captured our attention because they came at Frankfurt with CAMCO; that’s our fault, because we should always go and visit the smaller booths, but this is not always possible at PL&S, considering its dimensions…
Their new product is called S-PRO2; they say it’s the smallest 1000 Watt Class-D amplifier in the market. It’s difficult to judge a Class-D just by seeing it in the hands of the company spokesman Nikolaj Pihl, but from what we heard and read, we think that this brand will make itself heard.
The real “bomb” at Powersoft’s booth was the prototype of M Force subwoofer, powered by the dedicated M Drive amplifier. The info is almost “classified” at the moment, nevertheless the project attracted many people, among whom a lot of “known faces” in the sector; everybody is waiting for some company to launch a product based on this technology, because at Powersoft, that historically has never produced loudspeakers, they say that they don’t want to enter such territories.
Powersoft announced the licensing of Audinate’s Dante media networking into its amplifier products. The first compatible products integrating Dante will be the new Ottocanali series. Recently launched in its basic version, it will be available in a networkable version this autumn. Powersoft relies on the new developments planned by Audinate for integrating an AVB stack to have a Dante/AVB solution in the medium term.
Riedel widened its AVB-compatible line of products with the launch of the Connect AVB (Audio Video Bridging) line, that consists of interfaces that allow the real-time transport of analogic or digital AES3/EBU signals or AVB-compatible networks. The two products are named Connect A8 and Connect C8 respectively.
The Japanese company introduced AFC3 Active Field Control System, which transparently adjusts and enhances the acoustic characteristics of a space while preserving its natural features.
Cables and Connectors
At the booth of the Rome, Italy based company, we had an interesting chat on the situation of the audio market with Marco Piromalli, who confirmed our impressions. In this specific case, Link has been collaborating with prestigious international brands for years, providing reliable technical solutions, finding its place in the international markets…
Coming to the products, Marco showed us some new connectors for which Link made a great work on ergonomics and finishing; we found the black chromium plating one very nice and strong.
As far as the “audio world” is concerned, Link has recently introduced a new digital system, compatible with the reknown DG-Link, with 16 ins and 16 outs, based on the DANTE protocol, in order to meet the requests of a market that seems to believe in this transmission system. Other interesting pieces of news are relating to the DG-Link system, that now boasts dedicated rack switches based on Cisco technology. Some new cables were also presented, especially in the fibre optics sector.
Tasker introduced a new way of showcasing cables, which seems trivial but it’s extremely important when you have to test the quality of a cable in such a context as a tradeshow. Fabrizio Milano showed us some new cables dedicated to the audio sector, telling us about the constant research activity that Tasker makes to produce all the new cable typologies needed by the market. In particular, we are talking about Ether-Sound and the USB2 and USB3 cables.
The shielded USB 2 and USB 3 Higth Speed cables boast similar characteristics, and are flexible and durable, for fixed or mobile installation, and for assembled cables with USB2 standard A – B type or High Speed connectors. These cables can be used for Audio, Video, Tablets, Smart-Phone, PC etc. The same considerations can be appplied to the USB3 cables.
We find it very scenographic the cable plunged into a tank filled with water, but nothing can be known about that cable, apart from the fact that it is water resistant!
Microphones, Recorders & Accessories
The new TG D50d is a compact and very versatile dynamic microphone, with cardioid polar pattern, that includes an anti-shock support that facilitates the elimination of annoying mechanical noises.
The DPA d:facto II vocal microphone made its European debut. This microphone offers a true studio sound for the live stage, and provides singers and engineers with the added benefit of a state-of-the-art adapter system that allows for seamless integration with many professional wireless systems – with no loss in the sound quality. Its supercardioid pattern and superb definition gives high separation and true sound color on stage, equally suitable for PA amplification and recording. A robust three-stage pop protection grid built into the microphone removes unwanted noise.
BlackBox App allows the user to remotely control and monitor the BlackBox recorders and players. Designed for use on Apple’s iPad, the BlackBox App provides high-resolution metering on all channels and a range of transport controls for remote operation. It also enables the BlackBox menu and set-up options to be remotely controlled.
Lewitt introduced two new MTP Live Series flagship models: the MTP 940 CM condenser microphone and the dynamic MTP 840 DM. In particular, the MTP 940 CM boasts comprehensive features and settings typically found only in today’s finer reference studio condenser microphones.
Three switchable polar patterns – wide cardioid, cardioid and super cardioid – allow for maximum flexibility when dealing with a diverse range of sources and environments. A three-position high-pass filter makes it possible to directly influence the proximity effect, adapting it in the best-possible way to the sound source. Additionally, the three-position pre-attenuation pad guarantees clip-free results even in extremely high SPL environments.
The Lyra family of interfaces is aimed at musicians, composers, project studio owners, DJs, re-mixers and other audio content producers such as radio and podcasting. Based on the award-winning and critically acclaimed Orpheus interface, Lyra allows music recording professionals to access the power and sophistication of the Orpheus audio path and clock circuitry, but in a smaller package and at a much improved price point.
Prism Sound plans to launch a number of different variants of Lyra and has started the ball rolling with Lyra 1 and Lyra 2. Both incorporate new ARM Cortex-based ‘Xcore’ processor design offering class-compliant USB interfacing, plus DSP and a low latency ‘console-quality’ digital mixer for foldback monitoring. Both products also have optical SPDIF capability and Lyra 2 also supports ADAT.
R.M.E. introduced two interfaces: Octamix XTC and MADIface XT. OctaMix XTC is the swiss army knife among RME’s interfaces. An advanced eight channel microphone/line/instrument preamplifier with 192 kHz / 24 bit A/D conversion, AutoSet, four channel D/A conversion for analog or digital input monitoring, and full MIDI remote control via USB, DIN and MADI were not enough to stop RME’s engineers. ADAT, AES and MADI optical operate as outputs as well as full-channel inputs, easily patched and routed with the comfortable TFT display – turning the XTC into a full blown digital format converter.
The MADIface XT, the world’s first USB 3.0 audio interface, not only has 3 MADI I/Os with 64 channels each, but also 2 mic/line inputs, 2 XLR line and one stereo phones output, plus one AES/EBU I/O – a total of 196 audio inputs and 198 audio outputs. Plus several MIDI ports via USB, MADI and DIN. It also features TotalMix FX, and can be used completely as a stand-alone unit with MIDI remote control.
The Swiss manufacturer introduced Magnetico, a revolutionary new magnetic pickup series for fretted instruments. Based on a completely different concept from standard single coil or humbucker pickups, Magnetico uniquely combines high-end Schertler electronics with active multiple coil technology. The result is a pickup with fast transient behaviour, incredibly flat frequency response and a transparent rich sound across the full range of the instrument.
The Magnetico range includes the A-Series models for use with acoustic guitars/banjos/mandolins and the E-Series models for electric guitars and basses. The R-Series is designed for replacing existing standard single coil or humbucker systems on specified guitar brands including Fender and Gibson. The S-Series is a custom pickup for built-in applications.
Sennheiser announced the release of version 4.0 of the Wireless Systems Manager software. The updated facilitates in the installation of a wireless system and coordinates the frequencies of microphones and personal monitors, showing the most important parameters in a single page. The software also reports a detailed description of the spectrum, of blocked signals, of the devices to be included into the system and the reliability of the selected frequencies.
Users can import their own list of authorized frequencies, that the software will use to plan the set-up; it is also possible to import full spectrum scans. The spectrum layout can be changed to comply with the LTE bands and the TV channels of the Country where you are working.
Making its debut at ProLight+Sound was the analogue-to-digital option card for the new DS8000 Audio Distribution System. The micro-controlled card provides 8 channels of 24-bit XTA grade analogue to digital conversion with selectable sample rate up to 192kHz. Sample rate is adjusted via links on the board and indicated using a tri-colour LED next to the innocuous looking 25 pin D-type on the rear panel.
This socket (wired to accept any Tascam format AES breakout cable) actually has another trick up its sleeve – each AES stream (of a pair of channels) is also split and offered on ‘A’ and ‘B’ positions, transformer isolated from each other, so each input now can split to 2 x transformer balanced analogue outputs, 2 x electronically balanced outputs and 2 x AES outputs. The card includes also a BNC socket for word clock sync. This can be used as an input, syncing from 32kHz up to 192k automatically, with an associated LED showing when the card has successfully locked to the incoming word clock signal.
Yamaha launched a series of expansion cards offering Dante connectivity for their CL console range. The CL5, CL3, CL1 consoles will be on display with the expanding range of i/o options, including the Rio3224-D, Rio1608-D, Ri8-D and Ro8-D. Yamaha M7CLs and LS9s will be included on the network, showing the seamless integration provided by the DANTE-MY16-AUD interface card.
On show was also the new platform dedicated to audio post production, NUAGE. As usual, our friend Sandro Chinellato made an exclusive presentation for us, as you can see in the video below.
That’s all folks! As we said in the introduction, in spite of the article being large and exhaustive, it does not include all the new products introduced at PL&S 2013, but we decided to include only the ones that caught our attention. Remember to follow us, to be updated on other products that could not find a place in this report.
Aldo “Hucchio” Chiappini
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