Bose Professional ShowMatch DeltaQ Line Array

by George Petersen
in Technology Spotlight
Bose ShowMatch 70, fitted with plates for 70-degree horizontal dispersion.
Bose ShowMatch 70, fitted with plates for 70-degree horizontal dispersion.

For more than four decades, Bose Professional loudspeakers have advanced the integration of new technologies for performing arts centers, auditoriums, houses of worship, sports facilities and live music venues. A major breakthrough was unveiled in 2011. Known as the RoomMatch™ series of array module loudspeakers, the system offered versatile scalability and configurability for venues of any size, shape or acoustical signature.

The dual-10-inch RoomMatch modules were designed to overcome the limitations of installed conventional line-array and point-source speakers. These were originally offered in 15 different coverage patterns, with more released later.

Seven-box ShowMatch array hung from the optional T-Bar Array Frame

The ShowMatch Solution

Despite its success in prestigious venues worldwide, RoomMatch was not intended for touring or portable applications. The answer to this came in late 2016 with Bose Professional’s new, more compact, high-power ShowMatch™ DeltaQ™ array speakers.

These compact, high-SPL (up to 145 dB) systems utilize DeltaQ array technology, allowing users to create both traditional J-Array, Constant Curvature and DeltaQ array configurations, bringing selectable coverage control to the portable/rental and installed markets.

As its name implies, DeltaQ brings the ability to change directivity (“Q”) for each array module. When combined in an array, acoustic energy is highly focused and can be matched to audience areas more accurately. This is an advancement from traditional line arrays, which typically have significantly less pattern control.

The ShowMatch array modules are offered in three versions with 5/10/20-degree vertical dispersion. All are compact Baltic birch ply enclosures. Weight ranges from 64 to 67.5 pounds (depending on model), including the integrated 3-point quick-pin rigging and endcaps — the latter removable for installations.

Like its RoomMatch cousins, the ShowMatch speakers are unpowered, requiring DSP and external amplification (Bose’s PowerMatch line is recommended). All are two-way designs, and with no midrange-specific driver, the crossover point is 1,500 Hz, sidestepping the critical vocal range.

Under the protective steel grill, two Bose dual long-excursion 8-inch neodymium woofers flank a CADS (Continuous-Arc Diffraction-Slot) manifold. The latter is a Bose innovation that provides interference-free acoustic summation of the four Bose EMB2S compression drivers.

“What CADS describes is the exit of the compression drivers into the waveguide through a series of a series of coherent acoustic sources. The equal [horizontal] spacing between each of those diffraction slots — not only within a single module, but with that same equal spacing maintained between multiple modules,” explains Bose Professional’s David Prince. “That approach allows building arrays made up of multiple modules, creating a smooth, coherent wavefront from the top to the bottom of the array. The CADS manifold also lets us bend the vertical, to create differing verticals, while maintaining that acoustic spacing for coherent summation.”

The system is based around different waveguides — with horizontal dispersion from 50 to 120 degrees — that attach to the CADS manifold, to provide variation in the horizontal planes. Each speaker includes two sets of field-replaceable 70-degree and 100-degree horizontal waveguides. Optional are 55- and 120-degree waveguides and all can be mixed/matched singly or in pairs to form systems with symmetric or asymmetrical dispersion. With the array modules offered in models having 5-, 10- and 20-degree vertical dispersion, ShowMatch offers coverage to fit almost any situation. Its interchangeable horizontal waveguide plates can easily be swapped on site to suit any venue on the tour schedule, ranging from small clubs to performing arts centers and amphitheaters. Of course, ShowMatch is equally well suited for permanent installs and portable/rental applications.

Each ShowMatch array module has a rated frequency response 
of 69 Hz to 17 kHz (±3 dB). To go a little lower, a companion ShowMatch SMS118 high-output, single-18-inch woofer can extend response down to 29 Hz — either flown or ground stacked. The SMS118’s footprint easily integrates with ShowMatch array boxes via optional array frames and the units have front-mount NL4 connectors for creating cardioid arrays. Alternatively, a ground-stack-only SMS218 double-18 sub is in the works.

Sound check for Switchfoot at Dallas’ House of Blues, with a 14-box/side ShowMarch hang.

Hearing is Believing

Theory is one thing, but “there ain’t nothing like the real thing.” With that in mind, I checked out the system first-hand last month at the House of Blues in Dallas, where the club management worked with Switchfoot and FOH engineer Ryan Nichols in replacing the regular house system with a 28-box (14/side) ShowMatch rig for the show with 1,000 paid fans at the sold-out event. Additionally, I had the chance to hear the rig during sound check as well as the next morning, before load-out.

The result? If, when walking into a dark theater beforehand, I was to guess the system, I never would have guessed it was Bose. But the ShowMatch system was impressive, from the thundering bass to the clear mids and sparkling highs. Switchfoot plays high-energy alt rock (great show, too) so you expect a lot of slam-to-the-wall stuff, but they intersperse that with some clean acoustic tunes, with clear guitar detail and nicely intelligible vocals. Additionally, Nichols serves up a balanced mix with plenty of dynamics that retain all the power without ever becoming fatiguing, and the ShowMatch rig had no issues translating the nuances of that FOH sound.

More to Come

ShowMatch systems began shipping this month, and Bose Professional will release Modeler® sound system software version 6.9 in the near future to support the ShowMatch array speakers. Additionally, in Q1 2017, Bose will be releasing the Bose Array Tool (BAT), a new interactive design aid to support swift customer designs that optimize DeltaQ array loudspeakers for multiple applications and the Array Design Tool, a simpler, more basic version of Modeler for quick on-site array configurations.

At a Glance

Versatile Line Array System

With ShowMatch, Bose unveils a compact, high-power line array system with flexible directivity control intended for touring, portable sound and installation applications.

Bose Professional ShowMatch DeltaQ

  • LF Drivers: (2) 8" neodymium
  • MF/HF Driver: (4) neodymium EMB2S
  • Crossover Point: 1,500 Hz
  • Vertical Dispersion: 5/10/20-degrees
  • Horizontal Dispersion: 55/70/100/120-degrees
  • Dimensions: 10.4 x 31.2 x 18.4" (HxWxD)
  • Construction: Baltic birch ply
  • Weight: 64 to 67.5 pounds
  • Frequency Response: 69 Hz to 17 kHz (±3 dB)
  • Manufacturer: Bose Professional
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