Portable P.A. Systems

Jul 1, 2012 9:00 AM, By Steve La Cerra



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photo of Meyer Sound UM-1P

Meyer Sound UM-1P

While the market may be booming, it’s not necessarily because of any recent revolutionary breakthroughs. “Innovation in this category does not come along quite as frequently as it did before,” says Ray van Straten, director of marketing communications at QSC Audio Products. “How many ways can you skin a P.A.? It used to be that you’d go to a trade show every year and say, ‘Holy cow, did you see that?’ When you don’t have these frequent, gigantic leaps in technology, it allows companies to quickly catch up with the state of the art. It’s great for the customer because it creates competition and keeps everyone on their toes. Because of that, high levels of product performance are now accessible to a very broad range of users.”

photo of Peavey SP 4BX

Peavey SP 4BX

Peavey agrees, stating, “Technologies progress fairly rapidly until they reach a certain point where the progression slows down. Right now it’s like automobile racing. One race car is not three laps ahead—maybe 20 feet, but not three laps. The speaker is still a cone, a coil of wire and a magnet. With all of the problems inherent in that design, it’s still the best means of moving air in a linear way.

“That being said, we’re always trying to find better ways of doing things like using a ribbon for the high-frequency driver in our Impulse 12D powered speaker,” Peavey adds. “The ribbon generates a planar wavefront for increased intelligibility without need for a phase plug, which creates distortion and increases listening fatigue. Once you hear that compared to a conventional HF compression driver, you’ll never go back.”

photo of Mackie HD1531

Mackie HD1531

Advances in technology do drive product quality up while keeping prices competitive. Recently, Mackie introduced its HD Series of powered loudspeakers. According to Greg Young, Mackie’s director of product management, “The demands of our customers for a powered loudspeaker were simple—in theory. They want huge power, amazing sound quality, a high portability factor, installability and, of course, a good price. In short, the market wanted an affordable, truly pro option. Our HD Series delivers this for users who need more output than our SRM or Thump Series to fill larger venues, achieve wider coverage and create higher output. This leads to a wide variety of customers including DJs, sound reinforcement companies, rental houses and festivals. The HD Series is also great for our install customers who need a variety of rigging options.”

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