Portable P.A. Systems

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



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photo of QSC KW153


Onboard processing has become the de-facto standard for portable P.A., including crossover, compression, system EQ and feedback correction. At the same time, certain traditional audio specs, or measures, are used less and less for comparison.

“When dealing with a powered speaker you have a closed system architecture, Ruse says. “Wattage ratings become irrelevant because you are tying amps, input modules and onboard DSP to the sensitivity of the drivers you’re using. Power rating is only one feature of a system where the whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts.”

photo of Turbosound NuQ-10

Turbosound NuQ-10

According to van Straten, “The questions asked by today’s customers are no longer, ‘How much power does this thing deliver?’ but simply, ‘Does it do what I need it to do?’ and, ‘Is it reliable?’ Looking at it from a performance standpoint, we are experiencing a sort of polarization in the market, where there is a lot of price-driven product at the bottom, and pro-level, performance-driven gear at the top. The gear that is price-driven typically offers one or two measures of performance that the manufacturer can hang their hat on from a marketing perspective, like total SPL. We don’t have a purely entry-point product in any of the categories that we serve because that’s not who we are as a company. Our goal is to provide high performance and overall value to the professional customer at a small premium.

“For example, when QSC brought the K Series to market against the existing competitors in the space, we were $100 to $200 more expensive per cabinet,” he explains. “Why would you do that? Because the professional customer who values the inherent advantages in our products recognizes what they are getting for their money and is willing to pay for it.”

photo of Line 6 StageSource L3t

Line 6 StageSource L3t

In spite of the popularity of powered speakers, demand for passive models is alive and well. Peavey cites the PR Series of loudspeakers as one of its most popular product lines. Mackie recently introduced its S500 Series, and JBL has rolled out its PRX400 Series. But aren’t passive speakers dead?

“There are still large markets around the world where passive speakers and dedicated amplifiers are the preferred system topology,” Young says. “Our customers in these markets have consistently requested these solutions, so we are very pleased to offer the new S500 Series speakers and FRS Series power amplifiers to fill this demand.”

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