Paris-based developer Nexo is planning to reveal a radical yet simple progression in large-format PA design at Prolight + Sound, PSNE can exclusively report.
The STM Series steers away from the conventional line array arrangement and presents users with a modular, “Swiss army knife” approach, according to technical director François Deffarges (pictured).
Significantly, Nexo has invested heavily in a rigging mechanism which will enable one engineer working alone to build a complete PA.
STM (“Scale Through Modularity”) is Nexo’s response to the emergence of so-called “second generation” line array systems. It also taps into the Nexo “DNA” of supplying users with versatile and powerful but compact cabinets.
STM comprises four different types of enclosure of proportional dimensions: Main, Bass, Sub and Fill. The Main cab contains has four 6.5” drivers for the mid-range and four high-frequency drivers with a Kepton polymer membrane, to give a smooth response from 10 to 20kHz.
"We've gone for a horn-loaded 12" speaker in the Bass cab for 63-200Hz coverage,” notes Deffarges. “That allows a splaying angle of 0 to 10 degrees. When you give users the ability to couple from 0-10 degrees, it is much more versatile and useful to them than one that couples 0-5 degrees.”
The Fill speaker, which can be splayed to 15 degrees, will cater for side and downfill needs, while the Sub is designed to “project the LF and give even coverage”.
“Using the system is going to be very simple,“ continues Deffarges.
“You build what you need, like putting together Lego. The recommended set-up ratio is simple too: one Bass, one Main, one Sub. A ground stack? Two Bass, two Subs, two Main - ready to play.
“The 12in horn-loaded Bass cabinet will surprise people with the concentration of power it produces.”
Versatile in the air, STM can be flown one wide, two wide or three wide on a single bumper. Critically, says Deffarges: “Our Main and Bass units, flown side-by-side, are smaller and more powerful than any competitive line array. A Main and Bass cabinet together are competitive with any existing high-end system. However, STM allows you to add a second Bass cabinet, creating by far the most powerful system available to date.”
Several factors led to the STM design, the most important being the changing nature of the touring business. Research undertaken by Nexo revealed that customer requirements were being defined by the economics of the business, not the physics of the boxes. “Large-scale touring houses are now very rare, with the exception of some North American companies,” states Deffarges.
Two or three years ago, the movement for a second-generation line array was triggered,” he continues. “Basically these did not offer, in our opinion, much more than the previous generation. Same kind of format, same kind of components, but nothing really new for users.”
“At Nexo we wanted to take a radically different approach,” he says. “For today’s rental providers, we aimed to design a system that can work 365 days a year.”
Hence, rather than presenting an updated small line array, a medium size one, a larger one and so on, Deffarges says Nexo looked to the “core values that create our company’s DNA” – namely a product that will allow a PA company to cover, within reasonable constraints, the widest range of applications. He cites the PS Series, Alpha and GEO S12 lines as examples.
“Another NEXO core value is in the design of small and extremely powerful loudspeakers; the GEO S8 is a good example. Once you put these values together, you create profitable potential for the system and those that buy it.”
While exploring rigging possibilities, Nexo discovered that the biggest request from engineers was a system that could be flown more easily. The STM system - not revealed to PSNE ahead of its introduction - represents a “significant part of the cost and Nexo’s investment in technology”.