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Product Hits of Prolight+Sound and NAB Expo 2019


by Mike Lawson and the FOH Staff • in
  • Features
  • May 2019
• Created: May 8, 2019

Attendees gathered outside for the ultimate listening test. Photos by Mike Lawson

The tradeshow wars are on, and 2019 was no exception, with dueling pro audio expos happening a week apart, with Frankfurt, Germany’s Prolight+Sound / Musikmesse taking place April 2-5 and NAB exhibits in Las Vegas from April 8-11. At least for next year, jet-setting attendees get a little breathing room with Messe / PL+S happening March 31 to April 3, 2020 and NAB exhibits from Sunday April 19 to April 22, 2020. Next year’s NAB switch to a Sunday exhibit start was especially popular with exhibitors who won’t have to pay Sunday overtime rates to the union crews while setting up booths at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

This year, PL+S seemed much busier than Musikmesse. Yet PL+S is still a mainly European show, with more than 60 percent of showgoers coming from EU countries, roughly 14 percent from the U.S., 13 percent from Asia and the rest coming from Africa and non-EU countries in Europe.

The outdoor demo area.

A popular attraction that returned for this year’s Prolight+Sound were the outdoor shootouts of pro P.A. speakers on several large stages outside the convention halls. This definitely lets attendees hear systems in an open environment that indoor demo rooms can’t match.

One welcome sign at any technology expo is the emergence of new companies. The most talked-about debut at Prolight+Sound was Austrian Audio ((www.austrianaudio.com),  which made its formal intro at PL+S with eight products including microphones, headphones, digital control systems, software and processing. A core of former AKG engineers and executives joined forces to form Austrian Audio with the goal of bringing handmade microphones back to Vienna.

Austrian Audio’s booth

Austrian Audio’s large-diaphragm OC818 and OC18 condenser mics are built around a handmade element that’s a nod to AKG’s CK12 capsule, but employs patent-pending ceramic rings in place of brass ones. The more premium OC818 features 255 discrete polar patterns and a secondary output allows independent capture of the rear-facing capsule or simultaneous use of both. An optional transmitter/receiver adds wireless pattern switching. The single-diaphragm OC18 is a cardioid-only version of the OC818.

Yamaha, whose booth once occupied an entire exhibit hall, took a more subdued approach this year, focusing mainly on its live sound and install business in Hall 8. Meanwhile, the Forum hall it once occupied featured a expo of vintage live sound gear (see report on page 20). It was a fun use of the space, but a definite reminder that the Musikmesse portion of the show has become smaller.

That said, there was still plenty to see — and hear. There were a number of overlapping exhibitors at both shows, so here, we’ll focus on the Frankfurt show and include some NAB-only highlights as well. Here are just a few of the products that caught our attention.

Consoles

Allen & Heath’s dLive Wings

Allen & Heath (www.allen-heath.com) was highlighting its ultra-compact dLive Wings touring systems. These can combine the compact C1500 surface (with 12” touch screen, 19 assignable SoftKeys and 12 faders over six layers) or surfaceless, with two touch screens running dLive Director software controlling the MixRack, or paired with its IP8 and IP6 controllers and/or the MixPad App for more control options.

From left, Cadac’s Rob Hughes, Peter Hearl, Emily Watson and James Godbehear.

Cadac (www.cadac-sound.com) showed new developments for its CDC series digital mixers, including a console “sidecar,” and previewed the console mirroring/bus VCA features of the new v6.0 CDC OS software update.

DiGiCo’s booth drew crowds

DiGiCo (www.digico.biz) came on strong. A new DMI-A3232 card I/O expansion card is now incorporated into its S-Series desks. An SD12 96 upgrade supercharges an SD12 console from 72 to 96 channels and from 36 to 48 aux/sub groups, and an SD10+ expands the already powerful SD10 Core 2 mixer from 132 to 144 input channels. Meanwhile DiGiCo demoed its new control integration for Klang:technologies’ 3D in-ear mixing for its SD-Series consoles. With bidirectional control of mixes and immersive pan positioning, monitor engineers can provide fully immersive IEM feeds as part of their normal workflow.

Lawo mc2-56

Lawo (www.lawo.com) showed a new dual-fader operating surface option for its mc²56 console that can host up to 144 faders within the footprint of a much smaller console, while retaining Lawo’s LiveView thumbnail previews of associated video streams directly in the fader strips. Each of the console’s fader bays can either be equipped with the new dual-fader module or the standard fader module.

Lawo PowerCore

Lawo’s Power Core is a networked audio processor that packs 96 DSP channels, 80 summing buses and a 1,920 by 1,920 routing matrix into a single rackspace chassis. Eight rear slots accept I/O cards for mic, line, AES, MADI and headphone interfaces, alongside with AES67, Ravenna and MADI connectivity. DSP includes dynamics, EQs, one-touch AutoGain and 32 instances of AutoMix. The included VisTool GUI builder allows for routing, mixing, processing and integration of third-party web interfaces or hardware mix panels.

PreSonus StudioLive 64S

PreSonus (www.presonus.com) is now shipping its new, top-of-the-line StudioLive 64S, which brings the power of a large production console to small-format digital mixing, with 76 mixing channels, 43 buses, and 526 simultaneous effects thanks to the all new quad-core Flex DSP engine. The StudioLive 32S, 32SX, and 32SC each offer 40 mixing channels, 26 buses, and 286 processors in three form factors. Street prices are: StudioLive 64S $3,999; StudioLive 32S $2,999; StudioLive 32SX $2,599; and StudioLive 32SC $1,999.

Solid State Logic SiX compact mixer

Solid State Logic (www.solidstatelogic.com) unveiled its first compact mixer at NAB. SiX offers two channels with SuperAnalogue mic pre’s, a one-knob version of the classic SSL Channel Compressor, new two-band Channel EQ, inserts and 100mm faders. A two-knob version of the G-Series Bus Compressor is on the main mix bus, and a Listen Mic Compressor is on the Talkback. In mixdown mode, it can function as a 12-channel summing system. SiX is shipping now at $1,499.

Waves eMotion LV1 Live Mixer

Waves (www.waves.com) showed the V10 version of its eMotion LV1 Live Mixer with updates and new features, including I/O sharing with separate gain control for each engineer and shared preamp control with automatic individual gain compensation. Users can access hundreds of plug-ins, with 64 stereo/mono input channels, 36 bus/return channels, 16 stereo/mono auxes, eight audio groups, L/R/C/Mono, eight stereo/mono matrixes, 16 DCA faders, eight mute groups and more — all with 32-bit/96k Hz clarity. Control is via industry-standard hardware controllers, multi-touch screens and portable devices, from four touch screens to a single laptop or tablet.

Yamaha’s Rivage PM console

Yamaha’s (www.yamahaproaudio.com) firmware V3.0 update for its top-end Rivage PM consoles provides more flexible operations, faster control and a new “DaNSe” plug-in that achieves background noise suppression without complex setup or user programming. Other perks include a cascade connection, making higher input capacities available for large-scale applications.

 

Speakers

Adamson’s S7 ultra-compact line array

Adamson’s (www.adamsonsystems.com) popular S series adds the S7 ultra-compact line array, S118 18” subwoofer and the S7p and S10p point source cabinets. The S7 has two 7” Kevlar neodymium drivers and a 1.4” exit compression driver, producing a slightly curved 100° x 12.5° wavefront. The S7p has a 7” neodymium low-mid driver, and the S10 has a 10” neodymium woofer. Both are paired with a 1.4” exit HF driver on rotatable 70° x 40° waveguides. All are designed to be powered by Adamson’s E-Rack with Lab.gruppen amplification.

Product manager Werner “Vier” Bayer and head of acoustics R&D Matthias Christner with d&b audiotechnik’s “Best Live Sound Product” MIPA award for the SL-Series.

d&b audiotechnik (www.dbaudio.com) took the prestigious PIPA award for “Best Live Sound Product” for its SL-Series directional line arrays, and also launched its ArrayCalc Exchange software that simplifies the import of complex venue geometry data from CAD and EASE into its ArrayCalc simulation software. d&b also unveiled the ultra-compact, 6.7”-tall B8 subwoofer — a low-profile, dual-6.5” woofer design that provides LF extension down to 43 Hz and 122 dB max SPL.

Eastern Acoustic Works KF810P

Eastern Acoustic Works’ (www.eaw.com) KF810P is a 3-way system offering high output and broadband pattern control. Designed for installations, it features invisible wiring and concealed three-point rigging and a weather-rated option is offered. Inside are two 10-inch woofers; four 5-inch cone mids; and two 1.4”-exit HF drivers. Max SPL is rated at 145 dB with 80° or 100° horizontal dispersion.

HK Audio Cosmo C 6

HK Audio (hkaudio.com) showed its new Cosmo C 6 line array, which offers full-range performance, a wide-throw pattern and relatively low profile, which is ideal when the first audience row is close to the stage. Also new, the Linear 7 features the most powerful and functional feature set of any Linear product to date, including Ethernet-controlled DSP technology and user-friendly cardioid options in a Milan-ready design. Meanwhile, HK Audio’s SI series for system integrators offer the P10i and P10j line-source speakers. Each feature ten 3” high-performance drivers and are weather-resistant for indoor or outdoor installs.

JBL PRX800 app

JBL Professional (www.jblpro.com) showed a free PRX-Connect app and V2 firmware for users of its PRX800 1,500-watt powered speakers.. The free upgrade adds two default settings that promise optimal sound, out of the box and the ability to revert back to the previous default settings — either from the enclosure rear panel or via the speaker’s built-in Wi-Fi capability.

KV2 esd Cube

KV2 Audio (www.kv2audio.com) launched the ESD Cube, its most compact loudspeaker. This passive 5-inch loudspeaker can be used as a standalone system with up to eight Cubes powered by a single ESP1000 amplifier or with the ESD1.10 10-inch passive subwoofer for applications requiring more LF reinforcement. Its tough, aluminum enclosure is available in any RAL color.

L-Acoustics ARCS family

L-Acoustics (www.l-acoustics.com) expanded its ARCS family with the A15 Focus, A15 Wide, A10 Focus, A10 Wide and 21” KS21 Sub — designed for audiences from 50 to 5,000. The constant-curvature full-range enclosures can be pole-mounted, stacked or flown in a vertical or horizontal line source array, with a 144 dB max SPL. The A15 and A10 systems scale easily to events large and small: from weddings to the main system for corporate gigs, theater or mid-size festival stage with KS21 extending LF to 30 Hz. At larger events, ARCS becomes a fill or delay solution to complement to K1 and K2 systems.

Martin Audio’s SXC118

Martin Audio’s (www.martin-audio.com) SXC118 is a compact cardioid subwoofer. It with an 18” forward-facing driver and a 14” rear driver, each powered independently by from an iK42 amplifier. It can be used individually, stacked or flown via threaded flying inserts and an optional weather kit is offered for outdoor installs.

Nexo GEO M12

Nexo’s (www.nexo-sa.com) GEO M12 line array was launched together with the MSUB18 companion sub and is aimed at mid-size rental companies, venues and houses of worship. The M12 combines a 12” neodymium LF driver paired with a 1.4” diaphragm HF driver, and is offered the 10° GEO M1210 and the 20° GEO M1220. Horizontal directivity is 80°, but with NEXO’s patented CDD, can be changed to 120°. Weight is 74.8 pounds and max peak SPL is 140 dB.

Outline’s Ki10 and Ki12

Outline’s (www.outline.it) new Ki10 (10” woofer) and Ki12 (12” woofer) are two-way, full-range passive speakers with passive crossovers and 1.5” diaphragm HF compression drivers. A rotatable waveguide (100°x50° or 50°x100°) provides fast, easy re-configurability and both products include 18 M8 mounting points. Max SPL is 126/128 dB.

RCF’ HD 35-A speaker

RCF (www.rcf.it) is shipping its HD 35-A and HD 15-A two-way, lightweight composite speakers, which feature 15” woofers, 1,400W peak power and onboard FIRphase DSP. Both offer 60°x90° dispersion. The HD 35-A has a 3” diaphragm HF driver, and the HD 15-A uses a 1.75” diaphragm HF. A complementary SUB 8003-AS II subwoofer is optional. RCF also debuted Version 3.1 of its RDNet control software, which includes direct control of the onboard high-pass filter, along with GUI enhancements for faster adjustments and intuitive control for touch screen devices, along with Shape Designer (line array set-up) and Bass Shaper (LF tweaking) tools.

Voice-Acoustic Paveosub-115

Voice-Acoustic’s (www.voice-acoustic.de) Ultracompact Paveosub-115 is said to be the world’s smallest 15” subwoofer. Weighing in at 59.4 pounds and measuring 14.2 by 21.3 by 22.5” in size, it’s well-suited for fixed installs where a discreet appearance is a priority. It can also be used flat or upright. The tri-amped powered version can feed a second subwoofer with 2,400W and stereo tops with two 800W feeds, along with DSP and Dante, AES/EBU, AES67 and analog inputs.

Yamaha DXRmkII family

Yamaha (www.yamahaproaudio.com) worked with Nexo on its next-gen DXR15mkII, DXR12mkII, DXR10mkII and DXR8mkII powered loudspeakers, which offer enhanced performance and reduced weight. All can be used as mains or monitors and feature proprietary FIR-X tuning™ linear phase FIR crossover filters and D-CONTOUR dynamic multi-band processing for clear, powerful and consistent sound. Shipping begins this summer.

 

Production Essentials

Avid’s Pro Tools | Ultimate 2019

Avid (www.avid.com) unveiled an all-new version of its flagship Media Composer video editing platform, but many audio users were even more interested in the preview of “Pro Tools | Ultimate 2019,” which will provide up to 384 simultaneous voices/audio tracks (up from 256) with just the software alone. And optional Pro Tools | Ultimate Voice Packs can add 128 more voices per pack — up to 768 total — the same as a 3-card HDX system — to handle the largest productions. Pro Tools 2019 also includes Mac OS Mojave (10.14) support and is slated to ship in Q2 2019.

dBTechnologies rs16000 Touring Rack

dBTechnologies’ (www.dbtechnologies.com) RS16000 Touring Rack is a 24-bit digital, wireless UHF (470 to 870 MHz) system housed in a road case with six RS16000R receivers, broadband antenna, antenna splitter and network hub. An Ethernet port is provided for building and managing multiple systems. Handhelds with interchangeable capsules and bodypacks are sold separately; active omni and directional antennas are optional.

DirectOut globcon

DirectOut (www.directout.eu) was showing a beta version 0.6 of globcon (www.globcon.pro), the global control software platform, which simplifies the management of pro entertainment gear. Preset snapshots include DirectOut’s ANDIAMO series, MADI.SRC, EXBOX.MD, MA2CHBOX.XL and M.1K2, letting the user store/recall all parameters controlled via globcon, with enhancements for existing plug-ins in the ANDIAMO series, MA2CHBOX.XL and M.1K2 and more.

Neutrik mediaCON

Neutrik’s (www.neutrikusa.com) mediaCON is a durable USB connection solution with robust, lockable USB Type-C chassis connectors and cable assemblies in 0.5- and 1.0-meter lengths. Most of the cable connector’s molded casing disappears when it plugs into the mediaCON receptacle, for a reliable connection protected from dirt and mechanical stress.

Powersoft Mover

Powersoft’s (www.powersoft-audio.com) Mover is a small-yet-powerful linear transducer for audio applications and as a linear motor/shaker based on the company’s patented moving magnet linear motor technology. Adaptable to various purposes, including 4-D cinemas, theme parks or venues with vibrating acoustic floors — as well as applications beyond entertainment — Mover uses haptic perception so audiences can feel the sound. It works by vibrating the surrounding environment, felt by audiences via bone conduction, and translates into perceivable frequencies down to 5 Hz.

Whirlwind Catdusa CT-F and CT-M

Whirlwind’s (www.whirlwindusa.com) CT-F and CT-M use Ethernet Cat cable to transmit four channels of analog audio or DMX data. Both have a Neutrik etherCON connector broken out to four XLRs on 18-inch tails. They are wired with 110-ohm cable to maintain AES and DMX performance when using shielded Cat cable. The CT-F has four female XLRs, and the CT-M terminates to four male XLRs. They can be used together to create a simple 4-channel fan-to-fan snake or combined with other Catdusa pieces to create a comprehensive stage sub-snake system.

 

 

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