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Best of Show: InfoComm 2018

Future’s Best of Show Awards are judged by a panel of engineers and industry experts from submitted nominations. Criteria include ease of installation and use/maintenance, performance, relevance, value/ROI, network friendliness, versatility, and reliability.

The following is a rundown (in alphabetical order by manufacturer) of the Pro Audio Group’s winning products, with promotional text provided by the manufacturers themselves.

Allen & Heath SQ-7 Digital Mixer

SQ-7 is the 33-fader flagship console in the SQ series, powered by Allen & Heath’s 96kHz XCVI FPGA engine. Created for AV, corporate events, live productions and houses of worship, SQ-7 offers high-resolution audio quality and a latency of <0.7 ms. The console features 32 exceptional onboard mic preamps, plus 8 stereo FX engines with dedicated stereo return channels and access to the RackExtra FX library. SQ is designed for in-ear monitor setups, providing 12 stereo mixes (configurable as groups or auxes), and also sports Automatic Mic Mixing.

Audio-Technica 3000 Series UHF Wireless Systems

The 3000 Series system offers the RF audio performance as previous generations, along with improvements. The true diversity 3000 Series systems have an operating range of 300 feet (100 meters) and are available in two frequency bands—DE2 (470–530 MHz) and EE1 (530–590 MHz)—that provide a 60 MHz tuning range—more than twice that offered by the previous 3000 Series models. Frequencies can be scanned and selected on the receiver and then synced with transmitters via IR sync functionality. In addition, the transmitters have a multifunction button that can be set to switch to a backup frequency in the event of unexpected interference.

Avid VENUE | S6L

Avid VENUE | S6L is a fully modular family of live sound mixing systems intended for front-of-house, monitor, broadcast, and theater. Avid recently expanded the Avid VENUE | S6L family with three new control surfaces, a new engine, and two new I/O racks, all on a unified platform and with 100% software, hardware, and show file compatibility across all system components. A choice of five surfaces—including the new S6L-48D, S6L-24C, and S6L-16C—offer from 16 to 48 faders and can be paired with a choice of three engines, including the new E6L-112, and can additionally be connected to any combination of S6L’s four I/O rack options, including the new Stage 32 and Local 16.

Clair Brothers 10SPOT loudspeaker

Clair Brothers 10SPOT loudspeaker has been designed as a hybrid speaker that combines Clair Curved Array Technology together with the One Series coaxial horn technology, resulting in a unique form factor loudspeaker that occupies little visual space while covering listening areas. Typical applications include distributed systems, under balcony and delay fill and particularly with live entertainment sources. The frequency response is 90Hz – 20,000 Hz, allowing for use for speech and music reproduction.

Clear-Com FreeSpeak II IP Transceiver

The FreeSpeak II IP Transceiver (IPT) allows FreeSpeak II wireless intercom beltpack users to leverage existing AES67-compatible IP networks to distribute their wireless intercom. Two or more 1.9 GHz FreeSpeak II IP Transceivers can form a wireless communication network that is only limited by the user’s LAN. Within the LAN, one or more zones of wireless connections can be created with strategically-placed IPTs. FreeSpeak II wireless beltpacks are then handed off from IPT to IPT. Each IPT can support up to 10 FSII 1.9GHz beltpacks; when used in an Eclipse HX matrix system via the integrated E-IPA-HX interface card, as many as 50 1.9GHz beltpacks can be used at the same time, and up to 64 transceivers can be supported on the one E-IPA-HX card.

CloviTek CloviFi Wi-Fi HD Audio Transmitter

CloviFi is a Wi-Fi audio transmitter for private listening, and transmits audio from any audio source (e.g. TV) to any mobile device (Smartphone, tablet, etc.) using Wi-Fi technology. CloviFi offers you multiple ways to connect to audio sources through various inputs—Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connection through an existing network, and Direct Access Point Wireless connection. CloviFi is intended not only for home consumers, but also government agencies, private and public companies within the food industry and sports segment and, to a lesser degree, adjacent market segments such as healthcare, industrial, legal court systems, translation, A/V integration, and in-group living settings such as assisted or senior living companies.

Crestron Avia 12×8 Digital Signal Processor w/Dante

The Avia 12×8 Digital Signal Processor with Dante, USB Audio, AEC, & Audio Conferencing (DSP-1283) is intended for use providing sound in any meeting space, performance venue, courtroom, sports facility, or house of worship. It integrates with other studio devices through using Dante audio networking, which in turn provides an additional 32 mono inputs and 32 mono outputs. Multiple DSP-1283 units can be linked via Dante to expand the number of inputs and outputs in the system. Dante also provides a digital multichannel audio bridge to a Crestron DigitalMedia system via Dante-enabled DM switcher I/O blades. Additionally, Dante networking enables plug and play integration with other Dante-enabled mixers, switchers, sources, amplifiers and computers. The DSP-1283 includes a USB Audio port, which can be connected to a computer, codec, or other USB Audio host.

Fulcrum Acoustic FW15 Cardioid Stage Monitor

The FW15 15-inch Coaxial Stage Monitor incorporates Fulcrum Acoustic’s patented Passive Cardioid Technology, which enables tour-grade, low-profile FW15 stage monitors to attenuate rear low frequency radiation which interferes with the audience, stage microphones and front fills. The stage monitor sports a coaxial transducer and 75° x 75° horn to provide coverage for monitoring applications, and its large-format 3” compression driver and 3.5” voice coil 15” woofer ensure headroom. The enclosure includes 40° and 55° angles for downstage and upstage distances respectively, as well as double-grille construction and four input options positioned close to the stage to reduce the visual impact of connected cables.

Kramer KN-DSP100 Network Powered Server With DSP

According to Kramer, the KN-DSP100 is the industry’s first DSP over IP solution, enabling both routing and processing of audio signals. The KN-DSP100 is based on a Kramer Network server powered by a sixth generation Intel Xeon processor; is fully compatible with any Dante audio signal; and offers Waves Audio processing capabilities. As an IT-oriented solution, KN-DSP100 integrates with standard IT infrastructures and enables simultaneous processing of 64 input channels and distribution of over 1,000 outputs; provides auto-detection of all Kramer devices and their functionality; and can be integrated into existing Dante networks.

Optocore GmbH Festival Box

Optocore Festival Box is intended for music festivals when different bands are requiring different consoles. Up until now, all cables between Stage and FOH had to run separately because each console used a different protocol, resulting in the use of a huge amount of cabling. With Festival Box, there needs to be only one single fiber cable between the Stage and Front of House. Festival Box is available in two different versions: Petit and Grand; the former features 6 SFP (Small Form Pluggable) slots, one main duplex fiber connection and one auxiliary fiber port, while the latter features 12 SFP slots, two main duplex fiber connections and two auxiliary fiber ports. Each SFP slot can be fitted to any standard SFP transceiver, which allows different cables and different protocols to be connected, such as fiber Optocore, fiber or coax MADI, fiber or RJ45 1G Ethernet and fiber third-party proprietary protocols.

Shure Designer 3.1 Software

Last year, Shure introduced the Designer System Configuration Software, which enables integrators, designers and sales teams to create projects with multiple “virtual” microphones positioned over an imported room layout diagram. Now Designer 3.1 provides system integrators, designers and sales staff with improved workflow efficiency to configure multiple Shure products both online and offline. The new edition offers users a single software tool to design and commission system installations, enhance performance and usability of Shure Networked Systems products, and supports Shure’s expanded product portfolio, including Microflex Advance MXA910 Ceiling Array and MXA310 Table Array Microphones, P300 IntelliMix Audio Conferencing Processor and the ANIUSB-Matrix USB Audio Network Interface.

Yamaha DZR/DXS-XLF Series powered loudspeakers and subwoofers

Yamaha has added next-generation lines of powered loudspeakers and subwoofers to its pro audio lineup. The DZR line of powered speakers, along with the DXS-XLF powered subwoofers, use high-performance components and the latest DSP. The digital processing in all powered models, both speakers and subwoofers, is all done at 96 kHz; this, combined with newly developed Advanced FIR-X tuning technology, is said to minimize latency and phase distortion. These “D” models incorporate smart system integration with Yamaha Consoles and other Dante devices via a 2in/2out I/O configuration.