NSCA Expo 2004

May 1, 2004 12:00 PM, by Mark Frink

Live Sound Products Takes Center Stage


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NSCA's return to the “other city that never sleeps” — Las Vegas — from March 19-21, 2004, kicked off with an unrivaled, Yamaha/Primedia-sponsored West Penn Contractor Caper, which secured the services of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Steve Winwood for the ExpoJam at the Hilton. Reversing a trend of notorious industry concerts, the performance provided an impressive showcase for an SLS RLA/3 compact line array system with ribbon HF drivers.

The Yamaha PM5D (www.yamaha.com) was the big buzz. A 24/96 digital 5k, its 48 mono and four stereo inputs all have connectors on the desk's doghouse side. Outputs include 24 mix (group/aux), two stereo (stereo A and B, or LCR), eight matrix, eight mutes, eight DCAs and eight stereo effects. The standard configuration has manually adjusted mic pre's based on the DM2000, each with balanced TRS inserts and four stereo line inputs. The RH model has digitally recallable mic pre's from the PM5000, with four stereo inputs that accept mic-level signals. All inputs have 4-band parametric EQ, independent compression and gating, and LCR and surround panning. Twelve graphic EQs can each be assigned to any mix bus or inserted to inputs. The control surface has 38 motorized 100mm faders for the two “layers” of 24 mono inputs, plus masters, stereo returns and eight DCA groups. There's just over a millisecond of latency at 96 kHz. Priced slightly lower than a new 4k, only a couple dozen will be available this June.

In related news, Aviom (www.aviom.com) announced its mini-YGDAI — format cart for Yamaha digital consoles allows audio in Aviom's A-Net protocol to be distributed via Cat-5 cable from the console to Aviom A-16 Personal Mixers; no other input device is required.

Cadac (www.cadac-sound.com) showed the prototype of its two-box digital mixer solution. The D16 is a 3U chassis providing a 16×16 matrix of 24/96 digital EQ and dynamics controlled from the company's SAM software and is compatible with all of the company's other consoles. The M16 is the companion 16-channel remote-controllable mic pre.

The LP48 Lake Processor expansion card for Mackie's (www.mackie.com) TT24 Digital Live Desk can be used as a 4×8 speaker processor with eight balanced analog outputs or to provide 12 channels of Lake-designed insert EQ, including Lake Ideal Graphic EQ and Lake Mesa EQ with asymmetrical filters. The card can also be split-configured as six channels of insert EQ and as a 2×4 speaker processor.

Renkus-Heinz's (www.renkus-heinz.com) new three-way LA/9 line array with a self-powered option offers a co-entrant mid-high waveguide with path length equalization technology. It is centered between dual-12s, employing 6.5-inch carbon-fiber cones and neodymium HF drivers with a 2.5-inch voice coil.

Turbosound's (www.turbosound.com) new two-box, four-way Aspect Series speaker system employs multicellular HF and MHF horns, or “polyhorns,” to create a phase-coherent, curved wavefront and eliminates comb-filtering effects by providing sharply defined coverage angles. The system uses dual HF drivers, a high-mid 10 and dual-10 horn-loaded low-mids. The companion low box includes dual horn-loaded 15s.

Bag End's (www.bagend.com) Minima One self-powered option is an internal 5-pound, 1k-watt, high-efficiency switching amplifier that runs on all voltages.

Trantec's (www.trantec.co.uk) S6000 Wireless Microphone System, a high-end RF system in London's East End theater district, is offered in the States by Group One (www.g1limited.com). Each 2U chassis supports eight receivers and operates on three 70MHz splits from 590 to 806. Its extremely compact transmitters provide eight hours from a AA battery and can be configured via IR from a Palm PDA or the receiver.

Peavey (www.peavey.com) introduced the next-generation MediaMatrix called NION (“nee-on”), a 24/96 system in a 2U chassis housing the power of three or six SHARC processors.

DPA's (www.dpamicrophones.com) new Cardioid Headset mic provides additional gain for louder environments.

Clear-Com (www.clearcom.com) unveiled its futuristic 600 Series party-line single- and dual-channel beltpacks that can be used with other manufacturers' intercoms.

SIA Software's (www.siasoft.com) newest SMAART measurement system is the SoftRTA bundle that includes a compact, purpose-designed USB preamp.

StarDraw (www.stardraw.com) showed a Lite version of its A/V software for less than half of the price.

Other software releases of note: Klark Teknik/Midas (www.midasconsoles.com) ELGAR software for the Heritage 1000, BSS (www.bss.co.uk) SoundBench2 for Windows XP, L-Acoustics (www.l-acoustics-us.com) SoundVision array prediction software and TC Electronic (www.tcelectronic.com) Reverb 4000, which has 20 new presets ported from the M5000 and Mac OS X compatibility.

Attendance was up more than 10 percent, at well over 11,000, and there was 25 percent more booths — good news! Logistics dictated a vain attempt to cover 40 rows of booths in just two days; an apology to those I missed at the Expo. See you next March in Orlando, Fla.

Mark Frink is Mix's sound reinforcement editor.

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