Appropriately located between the “Travel &Leather” and the “Electronic House” trade showsin the cavernous Orlando Convention Center, the 21st AnnualNational Systems Contractors Association show had a few surprisesand the fruits of several emerging trends in live sound. From March8 to 10, 2001, a record-breaking crowd of nearly 11,000 peopleattended the show, which also marked the first year that NSCAallowed larger booths, giving the show a more polished,professional appearance. For those who didn't attend, here are afew highlights…
Turbosound co-founder Tony Andrews' decades of designingspeakers have culminated in the new company Funktion-One(www.funktion-one.com) and its Resolution line. Though the firstimpression is the familiar heritage of previous products, thesespeakers are infused with a subtle color and a host of refinements:light-weight, high-efficiency, startlingly clear vocal reproductionand simple, yet elegant flying hardware characterize the Resolutionspeakers. Distributed in America by Carl Taylor's Zag Inc. (sonamed as a humorous allusion to the direction the rest of theindustry has taken).
Radia Pro Systems' (www.radiapro.com) new Z-190 is asix-feet-tall, 5-inch wide ribbon driver with a fidelity similar toStage Accompany's successful Compact Driver and the dispersion of aline source: a stunning combination. The use of Neodymium magnetsand Kaladex™ diaphragms offer a linesource rated at 750 watts with a maximum SPL of 118 dB. Though itreproduces frequencies down to 100 Hz and was demonstrated withfull-range jazz playback, its polar characteristics and themechanics of cylindrical wave-front propagation suggest crossoversabove 500 Hz in combination with LF cone line arrays. Three shortermodels are 50, 40 and 28 inches tall.
L-Acoustics (www.l-acoustics.com) unveiled the dV-SUB,a 27-inch cube with triple 15s in a dual-vented, 2.7-ohm bandpassconfiguration weighing 200 pounds. Designed with the same width asthe company's compact dV-DOSC, they can fly above in a separatecolumn or provide a convenient base for ground-stackedapplications. Equal in height to three dV-DOSCs, a 3:1 ratio isrecommended.
Peak Audio (www.peakaudio.com) released CobraCADsoftware and saw several new products join its growing family ofCobraNet digital audio products that use low-cost 100BASE-TEthernet components for system integration. Up to 64 channels of48kHz, 20-bit audio can be sent in each direction over a CAT-5 orfiber link.
Crown (www.craniata.com) introduced the IQ-PIP-USP2/CNmodule, which, when installed in Crown's Com-Tech 10 Series andMacro-Tech 02 Series amps, creates the industry's firstCobraNet-compatible amplifier. Onboard processing includesalignment delay and eight filters per channel. It also connects theamp to an IQ System for control and monitoring.
Whirlwind (www.whirlwindusa.com) debuted its DCS88(Digital Contracting Series), a small, brick-shaped digital audiotransceiver with eight mic or line analog inputs and eight analogline outputs on Phoenix connectors. A small power supply injectslow voltage from up to 100 meters away on the same CAT-5 networkcable. Whirlwind plans a larger DTS Cobra Snake later thisyear.
SIA Software's Smaart Live Version 4.5 adds cool newfeatures. Available as a downloadable upgrade from www.siasoft.comor a fully operational, 30-day demo CD-ROM, it now includesmagnitude thresholding, coherence blanking, vector averaging andphase smoothing. Recently added remote-control devices include theSymetrix 9022, Biamp's MSP Advantage and Mackie's DX8 mixer, withthe Sony SRP-F300, BSS MiniDrive and dbx DriveRack coming soon.AcousticTools V.4 now features a new interface andinterconnectivity with SmaartLive.
Sabine's (www.sabine.com) new True Mobility 2.4GHzspread spectrum wireless systems operate in a trouble-free RF bandthat is internationally accepted, and up to 50 systems can operateat once. Onboard SHARC-based processing offers mic capsuleSuperModeling, automatic de-essing, compression, 10 FBX feedbackfilters, 10 user presets and an optional network interface with AESdigital output. Available with single- and dual-channel receivers,and a companion-active, antenna-distribution amp supports 12channels.
This was perhaps the last good chance to get into the line arraybusiness, and four exhibitors made it under the wire, with productsjust in time for this year's touring season. Meyer(www.meyersound.com) unveiled its M3D two-way line array with aperformance by Delbert McClinton. The 400-pound, self-poweredenclosure has a pair of 15s on the front, a CQ horn in the centerand another pair of rear-firing 15s. EAW (www.eaw.com)demonstrated its three-way, 200-pound KF 760 line array enclosureswith a concert by the fabulous Monhegan Sun All Stars. At each end,an LF 12 is housed in a tuned, vented enclosure with a tall, wideaperture, and between these are a pair of horn-loaded 10s and apair of 2-inch compression drivers. McCauley(www.mccauley.com) announced a three-way line array system with afew details, and E-V's X-Line has been re-engineered sinceits outing last year with Diana Ross.
JBL (www.jblpro.com) launched its MPro lines of two-wayspeakers with optional passive and active subwoofers — thelatter has internal amps and signal processing built by CrownAudio. The full-range models feature molded front baffles thatintegrate horn, ports and woofer mounting. The MPro Series 200includes the MP215 (with 70°×70° horn, 1-inch HFdriver and 15-inch woofer) and the MPro MP255S dual-15 sub in aninnovative bandpass box. The first MPro Series 400 models are theMPro MP410 10-inch, two-system, and the MPro MP418, a powered,single-18, bass-reflex sub — all with a Duralex finish.
In other speaker news, Klipsch (www.klipsch.com)announced an alliance with the Hard Rock Cafe to place Klipschsystems in HRC hotels, venues and restaurants worldwide. Theagreement may include future co-branded retail products bearing thenames of both companies.
Checkpoint (www.checkpoint3d.com) showed its SoundAlignment Systems line of precision laser tools. The LG-120 laserline generator has a calibrated quartz beam-spreader that adjustsfrom 15° to 120°, aiding in coverage prediction. Amagnetic base allows it to stick it right onto a speaker grille.Another model that speaker manufacturers should inquire about ispermanently installed inside a speaker cabinet and activated with acontact closure.
Next year's NSCA Expo comes to Denver April 25 to 27, 2002. Moreinformation will be available at www.nscaexpo.org later this spring.
Mark Frink is Mix's sound reinforcementeditor.