The 20th annual National Systems Contractors Association's annual Conference and Expo, held April 26 to May 1 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, attracted a record-breaking 10,000-plus attendees. With more than 500 exhibitors showing products for the contracting and live sound industries, there was plenty to see and hear. Here are some highlights from the show:
Level Control Systems (www.lcsaudio.com) unveiled CueConsole, a modular digital mix control surface that acts as a programming and control front-end to LCS's new Matrix3 LX-300 automated system. Each LX-300 accepts as many as 400 audio inputs and offers up to 512 outputs; 32 systems can be networked. I/O modules include CobraNet, ADAT and analog I/Os; AES/EBU digital I/O is promised. After initially programming the LX-300, the CueConsole modules can be removed, leaving only as many modules as necessary to run the show. Theater producers should appreciate the savings on "seat kills" and the unique ability to place mixing and editing surfaces in multiple locations; Matrix3 has already been spec'd by sound designer Jonathan Deans for the new production of Seussical.
Peak Audio (www.peakaudio.com) previewed a new graphic user interface (GUI) for CobraNet. Peak's CobraNet system for distributing multichannel audio and control data over Ethernet is already licensed by Biamp, Crest, Crown, EAW, LCS, Peavey, QSC, Rane and Whirlwind, and is becoming the de facto standard for long-distance distribution of digital audio in multivendor installations. Peak showed the CobraCAD GUI for designing and modifying complex CobraNet networks and the CM-1, a floppy disk-sized circuit board providing one-stop CobraNet connectivity for licensees' products.
ANALOG CONSOLESSoundcraft (www.soundcraft.com) is now shipping its Series TWO compact live console. Available in 24/32/40-input formats (all with two stereo line inputs and four stereo FX returns), the Series TWO has eight group buses routable to LCR main output buses, eight mono aux sends, an 11x2 output matrix and MIDI muting (both manual or via 128 MIDI-controllable snapshots). Inputs feature 4-band EQ and direct outs for live recording. Prices range from $6,395 to $9,395.
Midas (www.midasconsoles.com) showed the Heritage 1000 console, a cost-effective derivative of the Heritage 3000 and 2000. Features include a preamp design from the Midas XL4 and an EQ section from the XL3. The Heritage 1000 is available in 24- to 56-input frame sizes, priced from around $45,000.
SIGNAL PROCESSINGKlark Teknik's (www.klarkteknik.com) DN9848 loudspeaker management system is a 4-in/8-out, single-rackspace unit configurable for any speaker system. Based around a digital processor, the DN9848 offers precise filter operation, extensive EQ and delay options on inputs and outputs, routing flexibility and full metering. The unit may be programmed either from the front panel or via RS-232/485 ports.
TOA's (www.toa.com) DACsys 2000 digital signal processor series includes the DP-2026, a 2-in/6-out rackmount unit offering crossover, multiband filtering, compressor/limiter, gate and delay functions in a software-controlled package. Expandable to 2-in/8-out, 2-in/10-out, 4-in/6-out or 6-in/6-out with optional modules, the DP-0206 features 24-bit DACs with 110dB-plus dynamic range.
ANALYSIS SYSTEMSGold Line's (www.gold-line.com) new portable sound level meter features an interface for PC-based sound monitoring software. Fitted with an XLR mic input and an integrated measurement mic, the meter provides sound level readings from 24 dB to 132 dB via a numeric display with 0.1dB resolution, in flat, A or C weightings.
The latest iteration of the Smaart sound system analysis software from SIA Software (www.eaw.com), SmaartLive offers a new interface and improved performance. In related news, Furman Sound and Ultra Sound have formed a new venture called Interfacing Technologies (www.furmansound.com); the new company's first products include the compact AIS-10 2-channel line level router and signal preamp for use with computer-based analysis systems such as Smaart ($179).
LOUDSPEAKERSMeyer Sound (www.meyersound.com) showed the self-powered USM-1P and USM-100P wedge monitors, each featuring a 12-inch driver and a 3-inch diaphragm compression driver on a constant-Q horn. The UM-100P offers a 100Dx40D (HxV) pattern; the UM-1P has a 45Dx45D dispersion conical horn. Max SPL is rated at 133 dB (1m); response is 30 to 20k Hz.
The dV-DOSC speaker from L-Acoustics (www.coxaudio.com) is an active two-way arrayable enclosure with two 8-inch cone drivers and a single 1.4-inch compression driver mounted on a proprietary DOSC waveguide. With a frequency response of 100 to 18k Hz (+/-3 dB) and weighing 73 pounds, the dV-DOSC is designed to be stacked or hung in a vertical column with an adjustable vertical splay; horizontal coverage is 120D.
NEXO (www.nexo-sa.com) debuted the compact PS-8, a two-way passive system delivering a 63 to 21k Hz response from an 8-inch woofer and a 1-inch tweeter. Turbosound (www.turbosound.com) showed its TCS-35 small-format speaker, a trapezoidal, passive two-way loudspeaker with an 8-inch woofer and 1-inch titanium HF tweeter. The TCS-35 has 120Dx120D dispersion, 55 to 18k Hz (+/-4dB) response and 400/500-watt program/peak handling.
In its first foray into pro loudspeakers, Crest Audio (www.crestaudio.com) introduced its CT Series. The CT Series can be driven passively or bi-amplified and includes three full-range systems, a subwoofer and two wedge monitor models. All CT models include B&C transducers and Speakon inputs; additional features include 31/44-inch poplar plywood construction, cast aluminum horns and a trapezoidal full-range boxes.
The SPL-td1 from ServoDrive (www.servodrive.com) is a trapezoidal cabinet housing two 12-inch low-frequency drivers, four 5.25-inch compression loaded mids and a 1-inch HF horn. The SPL-td1 combines outputs from the seven different drivers in a single horn. The SPL-td1 is configurable for two- or three-way active or for passive (800W max) use. Response is 80 to 20k Hz (+/-2 dB) in passive mode; sensitivity is 103dB SPL (1W/1m). Price: $3,295.
ALSO NOTEDWireworks (www.wirelux.com) showed its new Wirelux cables, including MusiLux microphone cable that uses a drain wire embedded in a continuous molded insulator to shield the two conductors, rather than traditional braided wire shielding.
Available from Tools For Stagecraft (www.toolsforstagecraft.com), Blinkits are colored LEDs (green, amber, red; flashing or nonflashing) that mount directly to a 9-volt battery. At $10 each, Blinkits offer a low-cost, simple way to mark obstacles or other points of interest in the backstage darkness.
NSCA Expo 2001 will be in Orlando, Florida, next year (March 8-10). Bring the kids!