Intelligibility, control and dynamics are the key attributes of RCF's new VSA 2050 digital vertical steerable array, which has already been installed in four churches in Italy, writes Paul Watson.
Phil Price, RCF's UK director of sales, is the first to admit that there are already a number of established manufacturers in this field, but believes that from a commercial audio perspective, the VSA 2050 offers that little bit extra.
"Even in the most extreme steerable position, the VSA 2050 will meet full RASTI standards for voice alarm applications," says Price. "Furthermore, the system is fully compliant to EN 60849 from a monitoring point of view."
The VSA 2050 is powered by 20 50W Class D amplifiers driven by a high-capacity power supply that assures high intelligibility, dynamics and control. It also features 48kHz 32-bit processing; these powerful DSPs process the audio signal to each of its 20 3.5" full-range speakers allowing full control of its vertical acoustic output. The column has a maximum SPL of 96db (A-weighted at 30m), a 130º horizontal coverage angle and a vertical coverage angle selectable between 10 and 30º.
Price says that setting up the column is a very simple operation; it can be done using an infrared VSA-RC remote control (which in seconds allows you to virtually tilt down and shape the acoustic beam while the column speaker is physically installed in a vertical position) and full software control is available via PC. Much of the R&D was concentrated on the voicing and intelligibility; at just over 2m high, RCF believes that the VSA 2050 is the optimum size to provide the best coverage.
Another key asset according to Price is that because the column is steered electronically, it can be mounted completely vertically to the wall so that in a large project it becomes almost unnoticeable; heard but not seen.
The target market for the VSA 2050 is indoor installations where acoustics are critical; from churches and auditoriums to transportation halls, convention centres and sports centres. Installations have already begun in Europe, as Price revealed: "The VSA 2050 is a major launch for us; it has already been installed in four churches in Italy, including the Santo Volto church in Turin and we are working on a couple of major international airport projects which the VSA 2050 has been specified on. Consultant presentations will take place in June in the UK where we will be making some further announcements."
Price says that over the coming months, RCF hopes to have a fully compliant electronic front end system with amplification for scalable voice alarm systems; four or six zone applications through to large airport, multi-terminal transport systems.