Prolight & Sound 2016 Reports – Sound Reinforcement

As for the news of greatest interest in the specific field of sound reinforcement, we do not have much more to share that hasn’t already been said and reported in our live news from the fair. It was certainly not an exciting edition of Prolight & Sound from this point of view and, for yet another year in a row, the show was swamped with “column” systems, more or less the same with a difference only in price and the number of “gadgets” included. There is one for every taste and for every budget, each to his own…

Dealing with “large format systems”, the new Sub from L-Acoustics, the KS-28, made its debut on the market at the show. This should definitely be considered as good news for all L-Acoustics users, becasue the KS-28 promises to further increase the performance of the renowned SB28, whilst still remaining at a low weights. The fixture is a classic double 18” system with the French company’s L-Vent cooling system, and is driven by the new LA12X processed power amp. We will see and hear it soon for sure.

We were happy to see that APIA Audio launched the RMS-FORCE Sub based on the revolutionary Powersoft M-Force, a technology we have welcomed with huge enthusiasm since its entry into the market. Here it has been implemented on a “big kid”, with a double 22 ”, which we are most keen on having a listen to.

Sure to make headlines was the launch of the new VERO Line Array from Funktion One. Tony Andrews told us that the industry should certainly be enthusiastic of his new system, proposed as a complete package, from the cabinet, to the power amp, from cables up to cases and water proof covers. “It took us six years to come out with this new system because we have drawn, with skill, many components …” confessed Tony, whilst showing us some details of the rigging, which we found to be very well made and extremely well functioning. The cabinets are of different types according to the horizontal dispersion, and are all driven by Lab.gruppenPLM 20K44 amplifiers, including the subs.


Sound is always something that is best experienced rather than described, and this is something that the zone of the show dedicated to listening tests came into its own. Here, we had the chance to listen to the CODA Audio AiRAY. With mid/low modules situated behind the array, many were impressed by the quality of the system. This line array can count on two proprietary technologies; COSA as the DDP-Driver (Dual Diaphragm Planar-wave-driver), and the AiCOUPLER control sensor dedicated to the subwoofer. This comes from a company that in recent years has shown the courage to experiment, and now seems to have come out on top. The rigging, amplifier units and controls all seem to be of the highest level of quality. This combined with versatility, ease of use and of course, price of the system, makes this setup very attractive indeed.


From dBTechnologies we witnessed the world premiere of VIO,  a new line array series that marks a new path for the company from Bologna, Italy. In fact it is the first system made of wood, strongly pointing to the high-end market. The VIO L210 Line Array module is a symmetrical cabinet equipped with two 10″ speakers and drivers with 1.4″ wave guide, while the active subwoofer VIO S318 has a unique architecture that includes three 18″ loudspeakers. We were very impressed by the low-end produced by the S318 triple subwoofer, which consists of three 18″ drivers at 2700W RMS, capable of producing max SPL of 143dB. As for the array elements, the system has a distinctive Phase-Plug, specially designed to also work as the horn section. The amplifier section is entrusted to the brand new and powerful DigiPro 3 model, with the RdNet control software already planned. Another interesting release from dBTechnologies was the return of their bestselling Opera Series, which is back with three new versions. All of the company’s new products feature a new company logo, with a more modern, attractive and simplistic black design.

In the following video, Emanuele Morlini shows us the new proposals from RCF at PL + S 2016. Of great interest in the “Large Format” line array area is the new HDL 50-A, that complements – to the top – the HDL family. It’s an active three-way line array module designed for large events, with two 12″ woofers,  four 6.5″ symmetrical midrange speakers and two 2″ drivers. It features a powerful built-in digital 4400 W amplifier, and thanks to the advanced neodymium magnets and an innovative new plywood housing, combined with lightweight polypropylene, weighs only 56 kg. To know more see the video below!

No new audio system from yet another very followed brand, but instead from d&b audiotechnik comes a new software release. NoizCalc is designed to predict the far field noise immission of open air events. With providers required to supply an official statement with a prediction of the noise impact on the surrounding areas if they wish to stage an event frequently, this release from d&b is a tool that will be useful for system planners for outdoor events. The PC-based software package models the sound propagation of complex sources such as line arrays and subwoofer arrays, outside of the audience listening area, and applies the results onto a 3D terrain map. It can calculate the far field impact of a d&b loudspeaker setup in the open air, by applying ISO 9613-2 and Nord 2000 standards.

From Pioneer Pro Audio, the new Dual 18″ Horn-Loaded Subwoofer XY-218HS seems to have all its credentials in order and, as confirmation of this, has become the resident sub for one of the most famous clubs in history. It’s equipped with two 18″ LF drivers with 4-inch voice coils, that “face” to the two sides of the chassis, and features a specially designed horn. On paper, the unit outputs 139dB continuous, or 145dB peak.

The subwoofer has a fast attacking bass response from 33Hz to 150Hz, and is advised by Pioneer Pro Audio to be the complement to the XY-122 and ZY-152 two-way speakers.
The unit also has other customisable options making it perfectly suited to club installation purposes, such as the option of installing a metal grill over the entirety of the front of the speaker, protecting it from  “undisciplined” clubbers. As well as for fixed purposes, it is also been specially designed to give maximum ease of transport, with handles installed on all sides of the enclosure to make the loading in and out of vehicles easier.

 Clair Bros released a successor to their world-renowned stage monitor, the 12AM. The new 1AM gains a coaxial driver, with a single source emission giving the increased ability to focus the sound from the unit. This is definitely one we are looking forward to listening to, to see if it retains the same beautiful “slap” of its predecessor. But Clair Bros didn’t stop there, and have gone on to release their very first active monitor, the 1AM+. Featuring a 15” woofer, with a coaxial driver of 4”, we expect to see this unit utilised in environments where more sound pressure is essential, like for drum fills, bass wedges etc. And finally, keeping on the theme of coaxial speakers, we also have the new 8” coaxial point source speaker, 8CX, and 5” coaxial 5CX, which may be suitable for front-fill, monitoring or sound reinforcement in general.

reach_primary_image_250deg3Stepping aside from the larger systems, we have the Mackie Reach, a compact system designed for delivering ultra-wide coverage both for the audience and musicians, working as a built-in personal monitoring. Simple as brilliant, but obviously the quality needs to be verified in the field. Mackie’s ARC (Amplified Radial Curve) high frequency array technology uses three horizontally angled high-frequency drivers, which are paired with dual vertically spaced high-output low-frequency drivers. These provide 150 degrees of coverage, and when combined with the EarShot personal monitoring system, you get a total of 250 degrees of coverage. The unit also features inbuilt wireless streaming over Bluetooth, meaning users are able to connect their bluetooth enabled iOS or Android playback devices, without the need for additional cables. Reach will have a U.S. MSRP of $ 1,249.99, which we’re sure will make it very attractive for many performers who require a compact yet efficient system, able to spread sound in the room and on stage.

At the stand of Italian manufacturer FBT we found the Ventis Series, consisting of the Ventis 115, 112, 110, and 206. All models are bi-amplified, with 700W RMS Class D amps driving the LF department, and a 200W RMS amplifier in class H/AB for HF. All are equipped with digital signal processing with graphic display, and compression drivers specifically designed by B&C. They certainly look ver well made and solid… with everything one could need, without unnecessary frills. See an official statement in the video below.

Keeping with compact system, also of note is the KUBIX system from NEXT-Proaudio. We were lucky enough to visit NEXT-proaudio’s headquarters last year in Portugal, where we got an exclusive first look at the company’s new KUBIX product. The system is designed as a high-output installation solution for venues and clubs, and it’s great to see the KUBIX receiving a great response here at Prolight & Sound. The family currently consists on 6 models of two-way coaxial loudspeakers: K5 (5”, extended LF, passive), K5+ (5”, High sensitivity, passive), K8 (8”, passive) K8A (8”, active 2-way with DSP), K12 (12”, passive) and K12A (12”, active 2-way with DSP).


These full-range models are complemented by high-performance subwoofers: K10s (10”, passive), K10sA (10”, active with DSP), K12s (12”, passive) and K12sA (12”, active with DSP). Both models are capable to power external passive “Satellites” such as K5, K8 and K12 as well as other units from the NEXT-proaudio range.

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