Today, we explore a product that promises to provide a close fight with all competitors in the column array market. CURV500 revolutionises the approach to this type of speaker, making a truly modular type of system out of elements that until now have actually been seen only in a single part. All this with a superb sound quality at a very attractive price point.
LD CURVE 500 SERIES is to be considered a set of components that can be assembled in various configurations, in order to tailor the audio system to very different requirements. It aims to do this whilst maintaining a great level of simplicity and intuitive use.
We had the CURVE 500PS (Power Set) in testing, which already includes a variety of options. Among these, the “coolest” and most useful surely must be the internal 4-channel mixer and Bluetooth connectivity (available on specially equipped models).
The true “gem” is found in the mid-high part of the system, which consists of two elements: the speaker bar; the “CURV 500 Array Satellite” and the adapter module; the “CURV 500 SmartLink® adapter.” The form of the speakers features a trapezoidal section in the vertical plane, and is made of solid aluminum, weighing only 1.73 kg. The amplified signal is conveyed via the contact probes which are placed inside the guides, allowing the user to stack, quickly and robustly, up to 4 modules in a single array. The interior layout is refined and with efficient transducers, including a 4-inch woofer for mid-low frequencies, and three 1-inch compression drivers, with optimised and innovative WaveAhead Technology, for the emission of high frequencies. The stated dispersion is 110 ° horizontally and 10 ° vertically for each Satellite unit.
The adapter module serves as the basis for the construction of the column, and contains two holes to tailor the overall angle of the array in relation to the pole support. It can be hung with standard M6 and M3 fixings through a special accessory adapter, and features Speakon connectors and a “terminal blocks” for the connection of the power cables. This is also made of alluminum and has a weight of just 0.54 kg. Finally, it also features rubber feet optimised to ensure the stability of the system. Thanks to these pieces, it is possible to build various types of system, ranging from single column composed of one to four modules which are configurable in either suspension or support.
Switching to lower-middle section, LD Systems have provided two types of cabinet, optimised for fixed installation or touring applications. CURV 500S is the sub designed for mobile applications. It features a 10-inch speaker and contains all the electronics on board for the processing and amplification of mid-high modules. It is made in two variants, 500S and 500SE. In Version 500S, the sub is equipped with a mixer with 2 microphone inputs, two line inputs with dedicated preset effects, Bluetooth, separate volume control for the sub and satellites, and a switch between Mono or Stereo processing. The output has two amplifier channels for medium-high systems, a control switch for setting the DSP settings based on the installed components, a line output in XLR format, and a “System Out” output on XLR 5-pin, to drive an additional sub if required.
The sub 500SE is, a simplified version of the previous, containing only the amplifier section in two channels, one of which is dedicated to the sub itself and the other for a column composed of satellites (up to a maximum of 4 elements). This module is used if you decide to buy a “classical” composition of two or more columns driven in mono or stereo. Via the 5-pin connector, the DSP settings of the main sub are transmitted with the signal to the secondary sub, thus optimising the management of cables and signals to simplify the installation. Both divers are equipped with the adapter for installation and a top sub-spacer, described in the catalog LD System along with many other accessories for installation and transportation of the various components.
CURV 500 ISUB is instead the subwoofer dedicated to fixed installations. Containing a 10-inch speaker, it is made of 15mm MDF and has a stated RMS power of 300w. Made with a low-profile shape to decrease it’s required space, it really does facilitate placement in tight places. In this instance, the sub does not contain the amplifier section, and is provided with two Speakon connectors, a “terminal block” connector and, and a connector for being mounted in suspension on a wall.
Finally, the CURV system is completed by the 500 CURV IAMP amplifier, composed of 4 digital channels of amplification with DSP, and optimised for those environments in which the system is inserted in a fixed position. It can drive both the sub CURV 500 ISUB, and both the middle and upper modules of the CURV 500 SAT system.
Given the vastness of the system, here are the specifications of the most important products within the CURV 500 line:
LDCURV 500 SAT:
Dimensions: 12.2 x 12.2 x 12.2 cm
Aluminium construction, available with a black or white finish
Weight: 1.73 kg
Dispersion: 110 ° x 10 ° (H x V)
Impedance: 16 ohms
Metal Front Grille
SmartLink System for more connection types
Integrated M3 suspension points for quick attachment guides to more systems
1 4-inch speaker for mid-bass frequencies
3 compression drivers for hi-mid frequencies
Dimensions: 32.5 x 38.3 x 49.1 cm (W x H x D
Weight: 16 kg
Power amplifier channels: 300 W RMS (1200 W peak)
DSP internal switch
Overload protection, multi-band limiter, thermal protection
Adaptive Power Switching
Internal mixer with effects and output volumes separated for bass drivers and satellites
Link System for the management of the sub 500
Support for top/sub spacer
Three solid carrying handles
The first time we heard the CURVE 500 was at the Adam Hall stand of Prolight & Sound some two years ago and, honestly, all of us ZioGiorgio we were pleasantly surprised. The system gave us the general impression of being one of those naturally simple, functional and at times revolutionary products, with a really great sound. From this, we enthusiastically welcomed the arrival in the test system even if, unfortunately, we could only test one system in a mono situation. The presence of only one sub certainly detracted from performance in absolute terms, although CURVES 500 responds quickly to transients spreading a really full-bodied sound in the low frequencies. It is also very convincing in both the upper parts of the frequency spectrum, down to the architecture of the individual “cubes”. Here, the 4” drivers exclusively serve the mid frequencies, and the three compression drivers the high frequencies .
There seems to be no interference between the various speakers. We found that the algorithms of the internal effects are not only “usable” but also of good quality, which is not so common in this type of product. Another neat trick is something as simple and trivial as the possibility of having two different volume settings between the low and top units, a sign that the system’s designers had clear ideas. We cannot fail to mention the installation and system settings. The SmartLink® system is such a bright idea, although in our opinion not the main feature which makes CURVES 500 so attractive and interesting. It allows the possibility to avoid hooking 3 or 4 links together whilst assembling, and certainly offers a substantial advantage in terms of cleanliness and reliability. This once again shows the quality and care that has been put into the project, the design of the various parts, the hooks, the rigging, and in short, a perception of overall quality.
The CURVE 500 system is a very versatile tool that can quickly and simply be adapted to many different types of use, whether it be DJ sets or live music. It can be installed quickly and discreetly in many situations, with the design playing a key role. All this seasoned with a build quality of the finest level, and at a very aggressive price point that makes it very affordable to a wide base of users.
The power and the sound of this system, always clear and well-focused, has objectively surprised many of our colleagues and friends who have heard it. This especially true when you remember that it was only a mono sound system that we tested. Consider the overall dimensions and weights of the system, it’s something quite remarkable. Of course, we would like, in a constructive perspective as per usual, to suggest a few improvements and some new features to the manufacturer. However, at this time, we have nothing to add!