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LAS VEGAS — Some 37,048 professional audiovisual buyers and sellers worldwide from more than 114 countries made the annual pilgrimage to the InfoComm (infocomm.org) conference and exhibition. Established in 1939, the organizers marked the event’s 75th anniversary this year. Held at the cavernous Las Vegas Convention Center from June 14-20, this year’s event represented a 5.5 percent increase in attendance over InfoComm 2013.
“The marketplace strongly supports the InfoComm show, and we are grateful for the attendee support and for the innovative exhibitors who are committed to making InfoComm a can’t-miss event on the industry calendar,” said InfoComm International CEO David Labuskes. “InfoComm is the ideal place to make AV purchasing decisions, connect with contacts and learn principles that will boost your effectiveness.”
Evidently a lot of industry pros agree with Labuskes. In addition to the tens of thousands of attendees, were 947 exhibitors participating at InfoComm this year, occupying more than 490,000 net square feet of exhibit and special events space. To be perfectly honest, at least three-quarters of the expo space was devoted to digital signage and video display technologies, yet on the audio side there were hundreds of exhibitors on the show floor and several dozen large audio demo rooms where attendees could experience products first-hand.
On the business side, the mood was optimistic as reflected by positive comments from exhibitors and the steady turnout of sound companies looking new methods, gear and technologies to employ in their installations and rental systems.
All in all, there was plenty to see and hear — and from a new product standpoint, this year’s InfoComm was a success on every level. Here are just a few of the products that caught our attention.
SPEAKERS REIGN SUPREME
Adamson (adamsonsystems.com) completes its Energia loudspeaker line with the E219 subwoofer, which is loaded with two lightweight, long-excursion 19-inch Kevlar neodymium drivers. The E219’s output and efficiency is said to rival its predecessor, Adamson’s renowned T21, and at $249 pounds, the new sub is flyable or can be used ground stacked. The birch ply 23.5 x 56 x 35-inch enclosure is designed to fit comfortably in 93-inch wide European trailers or 96/102-inch American trucks and shipping is slated to begin this month.
Alcons Audio (alconsaudio.com) enters the large format line array market with its LR24, a 3-way dual-12 line-source sound system features Alcons’ pro-ribbon MF/HF technology. The isophasic cylindrical wavefront of the ribbon HF transducer enables precise pattern control. Cabinets can be stacked or flown in a vertical configuration for large venues. Response is 51 Hz to 20 kHz, and LF can be extended by the optional LB24 double-12 bass array-extension and/or the BC543 triple-18 cardioid sub.
Alto Professional (altoproaudio.com) was showing its top-end Black Series, but also launched its Trusonic Express series, a new line of compact 2-way molded enclosure models designed by Bernard Werner priced from $129 to $249 MAP and available with 8/10/12/15-inch woofers and an optional $399 600W TS12 subwoofer. Shipping begins in September.
Bose Professional (pro.Bose.com) continues to astound with its “have you driven a Bose lately”-style campaign, gaining fans who’d never actually heard its medium-large scale RoomMatch system. Bose unveiled RoomMatch RMU208, a complementary utility small-format design that shares the sonic character of its cousins, but is intended for high-quality foreground music, under-balcony, zone fill and floor monitor use.
Carvin (carvinaudio.com) was displaying the flagship its TRx 3000 series — the TRx3903 column line array and TRx3018A powered sub, with systems of up 10,000 watts of DSP power. Hang points and brackets are offered for fixed installations.
Making an initial foray into the North American market, Hannover-based Coda Audio (codaaudio.com) launched its TiRAY ultra-compact line array module. Intended for theatres, music venues, houses of worship and corporate AV, the TiRAY module features two 5-inch LF drivers paired with a 5-inch neodymium planar wave driver, with a built-in passive crossover and integrated rigging system. Handling the low-frequency end, was a matching TiLOW subwoofer. The TiRAY/TiLOW system takes many of its features from the company’s ViRAY system and delivers them in an even smaller package.
Community’s I-Series (communitypro.com) family of high-power/high-output loudspeakers includes point-source, high-directivity, compact and floor-monitor models in multiple performance levels, providing modular scalability for any install or application. Two-way models have large-format compression drivers, a choice of six rotatable horns and single or biamp operation. Three-way models offer a choice of three rotatable horn patterns and biamp/triamp operation. The lightweight 15mm Baltic Birch cabinets are finished in black or white low-gloss textured paint, with wrap-around fabric-backed powder-coated steel grilles and no forward-facing logos. A full suite of matching-height subwoofers are offered.
The new CPS Series from Crest Audio (crestaudio.com) includes three compact two-way full-range speakers (CPS10, CPS12 and CPS15) all with flying points and pole sockets. Each full-range design has a one-inch driver in a rotatable horn and symmetrical design suitable for use as a monitor or in FOH applications. Onboard 1,200W Class-D powering is standard as built-in 40-bit, 96kHz DSP with four presets. Optional single-15/18 subwoofers feature 2,000W of Crest powering.
Dawn Pro Audio‘s (dawnproaudio.com) new AW speaker line employs original acoustic waveguide technology to achieve notably even, ultra-wide dispersion over a 180-degree listening area. All models feature upward-firing mid and high range drivers, with each driver directed toward a different waveguide. The AW4 has four drivers in a 3-way configuration and 1,000-watt Class-D amps; the Dawn AW3 is a smaller, battery-powered three-driver/3-way version with 40W linear amp. A companion 1,000W 12-inch powered sub is also offered.
Watch the Dawn video demo at FOH-TV.
D.A.S. Audio (dasaudio.com) demoed its Event Series line arrays, which include three models, with two 3-way line arrays — the double-8 Event 208A and the double-10 Event 210A — and a matching dual-18 sub. Both line arrays are powered by a three-channel Class-D amplifier with 360 peak Watts per channel; the sub has 3,600W on onboard power and can be used in cardioid mode, if desired.
With its new USA operation headed by industry veteran Jeffrey Cox, European raw driver specialists Eighteen Sound (18sound.it) made its first stateside tradeshow appearance, debuting 10 products including high-power 15- and 18-inch woofers, a new 5NCX750 15-inch coaxial driver and HF compression drivers — in neodymium and ferrite versions.
Eastern Acoustics Works (eaw.com) kicked off the show with the launch of its innovative OTTO powered, DSP-driven Adaptive™ subwoofer. The compact, double-18 design can be used in a variety of applications, but is ideal for pairing with its Anya line arrays. Omni, cardioid and hypercardioid LF patterns are possible with just a single module and highly complex directivity patterns can be created with multiple cabinet arrays — flown or groundstacked.
Watch the EAW OTTO video demo at FOH-TV.
E-V (electrovoice.com) previewed its next-gen X-Line series of 12-inch line arrays, with the X1 intended for local and regional sound companies and the X2 designed for larger venues, sports and touring. Both are unpowered, biampable, and will ship later this year. Matching dual-15/dual 18 subs will be offered.
Now celebrating its 50th anniversary, news at FBT (fbt.it) is that the USA operation will now focus on spotlighting the company’s higher-performance pro products, with less emphasis on the crowded M.I. market. One such example is the new Mitus 206LA, a precision coverage compact line array that pairs dual 6.5-inch neodymium woofers with a 1.4-inch exit HF driver on a 100×10-degree horn. DSP and 900 watts of biamplification are onboard; a variety of subwoofers are offered.
JBL Professional (jblpro.com) continues updating its hugely successful EON600 line of portable speakers with the 10-inch EON610 and the 12-inch EON612. Like the EON615 launched in January, all are powered 2-way designs with advanced waveguide technology for smooth on- or off-axis response. JBL also announced an iOS/Android supported, Bluetooth Smart-ready 4.0 app for wireless control of the master volume, onboard five-way parametric EQ, and saving/recalling user presets.
The new DD12 speaker from Martin Audio (martin-audio.com) combines onboard networking, DSP and Class-D amplification with a 12-inch two-way design for pole-mount or flying applications. The DD12’s can be used stand-alone DD12 system or part of a larger MLA/MLA Compact system. Individual DD12’s can be controlled and monitored via a laptop or wireless tablet. One interesting (and hopefully future) trend was that Martin featured guitarist Frank Portalatin and vocalist Layla DaVias performing live in its demo room throughout the show. This truly spotlighted the audio performance of both the DD12’s and the MLA Compacts during InfoComm and on exiting the demo room, comments from attendees were overwhelmingly positive about hearing live sound speakers in a “live” setting.
Making its InfoComm debut was the NEXO GEO M6 compact loudspeaker series (yamahaca.com). A full-range unit for stand-alone, curved array or line array applications, the under 22-pound GEO M620 combines a 6.5 woofer and 1-inch exit HF driver on an 80- or 120-degree horizontal dispersion HR Wavesource waveguide for 80 Hz to 19k Hz response with 127 dB peaks. The optional GEO M6B sub extends LF response.
TCS Audio (tcsaudio.com) was showing the TCK System, a modular, and compact column line array system that can be expanded to cover very large events with up to four powered 2,500-watt 18-inch sub modules, and four TC4300 column arrays — each with 12 3-inch MF/HF drivers. Horizontal dispersion is 120-degrees and the entire rigs set up in minutes, thanks to a slick TC interconnect/rigging system.
PreSonus (presonus.com) was showing a Dante interface card for its StudioLive AI speaker line which are now shipping. However, the big news at InfoComm was the company’s acquisition of loudspeaker manufacturer WorxAudio Technologies (worxaudio.com), founded in 1979 by CEO/director of engineering Hugh Sarvis. It seems like a win-win deal on both sides. PreSonus can focus on the mid-market with its StudioLive speakers, and WorxAudio can supply design expertise, while catering to larger venue systems with access to the existing networking and DSP of the new parent company.
RCF (rcf.it) expanded its D-Series with the compact HDL 10-A line array with 1,400 Watt (peak) amplification, new-generation DSP, dual 10-inch woofers and a 2-inch compression driver. Rounding it out is the HDL15-AS single-15 flyable powered 2,000W subwoofer, designed to integrate seemlessly into a HDL 10-A flown array.
QSC (qsc.com) announced new surface-mount installation speakers that thankfully, don’t look like the usual SM systems. Part of the successful AcousticDesign line, the new AD-S6T is a 6-inch, two-way surface-mount design capable of 70/100V and direct drive operation, while the new AD-S112sw surface-mount subwoofer employs an 8-ohm long-throw 12-inch driver. Both are shipping now.
SLS Audio (slsaudio.com) demoed its new high-output column speakers that feature 5-inch CoPlanar ribbon tweeters and onboard PowerSoft amplification with DSP control. The CPC1212P has 12 6.5-inch woofers and 12 CoPlanars; the CPC 1210P has 12 5-inch woofers and 10 CoPlanars. Free LASS coverage prediction software lets users calculate coverage angles and determine the number of units required for any application.
Tectonic Audio Labs (tectonicaudiolabs.com) was celebrating a first year of delivering its revolutionary flat-panel Tectonic Plate speakers with continuous off-campus demos of the systems at UNLV’s Black Box Theater. The company also debuted an VESA-mount-compatible upright PL-12V Vertical Plate version as well as a new PL-11 Half Plate featuring one DML all-mid transducer and the high-frequency large-format ribbon package in a more compact configuration that’s ideal for smaller venues.
Founded 80 years ago, in Kobe, Japan, TOA (toaelectronics.com) was also celebrating the 40th anniversary of its USA operations. At InfoComm, TOA showed its SR-D8 Active Line Array Speaker System, a column that’s steerable in one-degree increments from -45 to +45 degrees, all powered via DSP and eight built-in digital amplifiers. Also in the spotlight was TOA’s new TSR-C Series line arrays — compact 2-way enclosures with an 8-inch neodymium woofer and two 1-inch exit neo HF drivers, available in 5- or 15-degree vertical variants; a 15-inch matching sub is optional.
The latest addition to the al-Class family from VUE Audiotechnik (vueaudio.com) is the al-4-sb, a flyable double-15 isobaric subwoofer that’s ideal for use with the company’s al-4 subcompact line array system. The al-4-sb can be rigged for suspension above or behind al-4 line arrays in a variety of configurations, while an optional grid allows quick assembly of end-fire arrays for improved directionality and reduced LF energy on stage. Alternatively it can be ground-stacked, either alone or supporting a U-bracket with up to four al-4 elements on a pole.
CONSOLES AT INFOCOMM
As always, there’s plenty of industry-wide interest in new console technologies and this InfoComm did not disappoint.
Allen & Heath (allen-heath.com) debuted the new Qu-Series flagship Qu-32, a 32-fader, 38-in/28-out digital mixer that shares the Qu series key features, such as total recall of settings (including motorized faders and digitally controlled preamps), integrated multi-track record/playback, multi-channel USB streaming, Qu-Pad wireless control app, and the onboard iLive FX Library. A dSNAKE audio connection allows 120-meter Cat-5 digital snaking to remote audio racks, such as the AR84, AR2412, or the new $1,299 16×8 AB168 stagebox. The Qu-32 is also compatible with the A&H’s ME personal mixing system. shipping begins this month.
Watch the Allen & Heath Qu-32 video demo at FOH-TV.
Avid (avid.com) was showing the free VENUE 4.1.3 software update for its SC48 and S3L digital mix system, which adds support for the latest qualified AAX plug-ins. The S3L drives AAX plug-ins directly on its HDX-powered processing engine, without the need for outboard solutions. Avid S3L users can now choose from a wide range of plug-ins from Avid as well as third-party developers such as Crane Song, McDSP and Sonnox.
Behringer (behringer.com) is shipping Dante, MADI and ADAT expansion cards for the X32 digital console. The X-Dante card brings 32-channel, 48 kHz bi-directional audio interfacing for integration with Dante-enabled IP networks. The X-MADI card integrates the X32 with MADI networks, providing 32-channels of bidirectional AES10 audio via optical duplex SC-plugs to connect with fiber optic MADI devices. The X-ADAT Card provides 32-channels of 24-bit, 44.1/48 kHz I/O on eight optical ports.
The V2.1 update for Cadac CDC Eight mixers (cadac-sound.com) adds fingertip VCA group deployment and switching between input-driven and mix-driven Fader Follow at a touch of the screen. Due later this year is the integration of Waves MultiRack SoundGrid integration, via an optional interface card.
In one of the best upgrade deals ever, DiGiCo (digico.biz) combined the power of its FPGA-based Stealth Digital Processing™ with new V685 software for its range of digital mixing consoles offering an impressive increase in power and flexibility. Among these is an increased bus count for the SD9 from 16 to 24 Flexi Buses; eight additional Flexi Channels from 32 to 40 on the SD11i/B; full audio I/O support for Optocore DD4MR, DD2FR, X6R and DD32R devices; and any SD5, SD8, SD9, SD10 or SD11 running Waves 9.5 will now have 32 stereo Waves racks; plus access to aux sends on groups in the live and theater versions; and more.
Via an upcoming firmware upgrade, PreSonus (presonus.com) will add cascading capability for all StudioLive AI-series Active Integration digital mixers. Users will be able to start with 16, 24 or 32 channels, then cascade a second mixer of any frame size to create custom-sized mixing consoles up to 64 channels simply by adding a single FireWire 800 cable between the two.
Making its first-ever InfoComm appearance, Solid State Logic (solidstatelogic.com) was displaying its Live console with the new free V2 software upgrade, offering enhanced effects, routing, control surface functions and additional output matrix processing.
The most compact Si Performer console to date, the new Si Performer 1 from Soundcraft (soundcraft.com) can now control BSS Soundweb London preamps. Other features include two option card slots available for ViSi Connect expansion and network cards, 80 inputs to mix, FaderGlow™ and illuminated channel displays for instant mix status, plus the DMX interface and control (which allows simultaneous control of light and sound all from the console’s control surface) — all available in a single 19-inch rackmount console.
On the software side, Waves (waves.com) was showing its Dugan Automixer plug-in, a virtual version of the popular Dugan Speech System Automatic Mixing Controllers. Available for every console, the Dugan Automixer is MultiRack SoundGrid- and MultiRack Native-compatible and works on 32 or 64 channels. Using Dugan’s proprietary voice-activated process, the Waves Dugan Automatic Mixing Controller plug-in automatically controls the gains of multiple live microphones in real time while preventing feedback and excessive noise pickup. Shipping now, it has an MSRP of Native $500 or SoundGrid $750.
AMPS AND CONTROL
Besides celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, Ashly Audio (ashly.com) is now shipping Dante digital media networking solution with all its nXe, nXp, Pema and NE Series networkable amplifiers. NE Series rack-mount system processors (4400, 4800, 8800) are also available for purchase with Dante. Ashly was also previewing an in-the-works iPad app for remotely controlling its nX series amplifiers. The free app will ship later this year.
Dante Via — a software application from Audinate (audinate.com) — transforms Macs and PCs into networked I/O devices. With Dante Via, users can build a complete, standalone audio system of networked PCs without the need for any dedicated Dante-enabled hardware to be present on the network. Any computer instantly becomes a networked audio I/O device. Legacy USB, FireWire and Thunderbolt audio interfaces can become networked devices, without the need for additional hardware. Dante Via transmits/receives pro-quality audio via your Ethernet port to and from such endpoints, including the ability to distribute or loopback audio via the network from any application such as Cubase, Pro Tools, Nuendo, Logic, Reaper or even Skype. Shipping is slated for Q4 2014.
Crown (crownaudio.com) launched its XLC Series, two cost-effective 2-channel amplifiers. The XLC2800 and XLC2500 can operate into impedances from 8 ohms to 2 ohms using stereo, parallel or bridged mono outputs. Although providing 775W and 500W per channel respectively (at 4 ohms; 2,400W and 1,550W into 4 ohms in bridged mode), both amplifiers are lightweight and are two rackspaces high.
Lab.gruppen (labgruppen.com) launched its D Series, a new flagship install-dedicated 4-channel DSP amplifier platform, which ships this summer. D Series is offered in two variants, with Lake processing with Dante or Biamp’s Tesira DSP with AVB audio and control, and three power configurations (8,000/12,000/20,000 total watts) in either variant. The amps are based around Lab.gruppen’s Rational Power Management™ (RPM) technology, which allows flexible power allocation across all channels to ensure the most efficient and rational use of total amplifier inventory.
MediaMatrix (mm.peavey.com) announced F-DCM, a 2-in/2-out networked audio and control input/output node supporting both Dante and CobraNet audio transport protocols for efficient and convenient extension of audio and control inputs and outputs in networked systems. The F-DCM automatically determines which audio transport protocol is in use and negotiates its connection to the network accordingly via the same network connection and RJ-45 jack. The compact unit features two mic/line inputs with 48V phantom power, and two line level outputs. The first output is amplified by a dedicated 35-watt power amplifier for driving local near-field monitors though a pair of 1/4-inch connectors.
Powersoft (powersoft.it) showed the most versatile amplifier within its K Series, the K10 DSP + AESOP. Intended for driving subwoofers as well as high-power, full-range systems, the amp provides 12,000 Watts per two output channels and is stable with, 2-ohm loads, further reducing the number of amps required to power a specific system. And it’s only one rackspace high.
XTA (xta.co.uk) debuted the APA (Adaptive Processing Amplification) series of new power and DSP platforms designed to interact intelligently and adapt to prevailing conditions, protecting drivers and significantly enhancing performance from all speaker systems. The first model – the APA-4E8 – has four channels of power totaling 20,000 Watts peak output into four ohms, and 3,400W per channel continuous power available into four ohms. Four audio inputs allow all four amplifier channels to be individually utilized (if required), with a full suite of XTA’s world-renowned DSP, including dynamic EQ, FIR (and phase linearization) and classic IIR filtering, mix matrix and sonically transparent limiters and soft knee compressors.
Hear Technologies (heartechnologies.com) was demoing its new platform for individualized monitor mixes — the Hear Back PRO. The system is compromised of a rack mount audio I/O hub and up to 32 mixers, each with local mic and intercom input as well as 16 rotary controls for channel volume and pan and headphone/stereo line outs to drive your phones, wedges or wired/wireless IEM’s. All cabling is via standard Cat-5e carrying all audio signals and powering over Ethernet to drive each mixer.
Watch the Hear Technologies video demo at FOH-TV.
Merging Technologies (merging.com) was showing its Ovation media server and event sequencer, offering up to 384 track playback, for theater, theme park, concert and AV installations. Selection can be sequenced or randomly triggered and powerful sync capability, custom cue lists, a versatile onboard mix engine and optimized show control are but a few of its features.
Watch the Merging Technologies Ovation video demo at FOH-TV.
Movek (mymixaudio.com) is now offering package solutions of its myMix personal monitor mixer and recording systems. These affordably priced 4/5/8-packs include all required hardware to provide individual stereo mixes and multi-track recording for a group of musicians, in a variety of applications. Just add your audio inputs, some Cat-5 cables and start playing.
Whirlwind Audio (whirlwindusa.com) — always a source of indispensible tools — was showing its pcUSB, a pocket sized unit that takes the USB audio out of any digital source and converts it to two balanced XLR line outputs. Also new is the AES-PS1X2, a one-in/two-out box that splits an AES digital audio feed into two identical streams. Whirlwind was also previewing a 220 VAC to 110 VAC (and vice-versa) electrical power transformer in a indestructible road-worthy housing. It’s just the thing for tours where people want to use their vintage Euro-classic Davoli or Selmer guitar amps stateside — or take that 1966 Fender Deluxe Reverb overseas.
MICS TO GO
AKG (akg.com) unveiled its DMSTetrad digital wireless microphone system, which features uncompressed audio transmission, 128-bit encryption, an integrated 4-channel mixer and 24-bit/ 48k Hz audio coding. It’s offered with a choice of AKG handheld transmitters or a bodypack with C111 L earhook mic and an instrument cable.
Audio-Technica (audio-technica.com) announced its ATND971 Network Microphone —essentially a plug-and-play boundary mic that transmits audio and control data together the Dante protocol. A user-programmable switch allows triggering devices over the network. I don’t really do a lot of boardroom and conferencing stuff and when I use a boundary mic, it’s usually going into a kick drum, or perhaps employed as a podium or footlight mic on stage, so I didn’t initially think much about this. Then it hit me — what we’re seeing here is a new paradigm. Perhaps we’ll look back at InfoComm 2014 as the ATND971’s launch of a new era when all mics may be networked devices. We’ll see, but meanwhile this PoE powered, cardioid condenser mic ships in September at a list of $748.
The new TG 100 wireless from beyerdynamic (beyerdynamic.com) takes a new turn, avoiding the uncertain UHF range and operating in the VHF spectra. Offered in supercardioid handheld or TG H34c headset versions, the half-rack receiver features a preset equalizer switch that optimizes the audio output for speech or for musical applications.
DPA Microphones (dpamicrophones.com) was showing its d:fine 66 and d:fine 88 miniature headset microphones. The d:fine 66 and d:fine 88 combines the 4066 omni and 4088 cardioid mic capsules with an advanced mount and flexible ear hooks. Offering a total of four capsules – two omnis and two cardioids – and three headset mounts – single-ear, dual-ear and personalized mount, the d:fine Headset Microphones Series address a variety of sound handling and size requirements.
Shure‘s (shure,com) new QLX-D digital wireless system features: 24-bit digital audio; networked control (via Shure’s Wireless Workbench 6, the ShurePlus Channels mobile app or via third party controllers such as AMX or Crestron); AES-256 encryption; and intelligent rechargeable battery technology. shipping begins in August with numerous bodypack and handheld configurations offered. MAP prices start at $999 for a handheld system.
AND THE WINNER IS…
At every show, people often ask me what was the big hit of the event. At InfoComm 2014, there were lots of upgrades, updates and new launches but no single “OMG, you have to see this” product. But maybe this time around, the big hit wasn’t so big after all, but something much smaller and less flashy. At that was found in the Pivitec (pivitec.com) booth, where the staff spent the entire show demoing its network audio interfaces. And in that small 10×10-foot space was atiny miracle, as three digital consoles — Avid S3L (AVB), Yamaha CL5 (Dante) and a DiGiCo SD11 (MADI) all seamlessly sharing audio, thanks to a few Pivitec boxes. So maybe the format protocol wars are finally over — good news for everyone, I’d say.
MORE TO COME!
There was more at InfoComm and we’ll continue to spotlight other products in our upcoming new product columns and on the web at fohonline.com. Meanwhile, InfoComm returns to Orlando next year from June 13 to 19, 2015. For more info, visit infocomm.org.
The original article can be found here: http://www.fohonline.com/news/10819-product-hoits-of-infocomm-2014.html
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