Partnership and system connectivity were arguably the abiding themes of this year's Las Vegas gathering, writes David Davies. Avid, Audinate, EAW, Electro-Voice, Midas/Klark Teknik, Riedel and Roland were among the companies turning the spotlight on new or recent product innovations during InfoComm 2010.
Among several companies to make announcements relating to MADI connectivity, Avid introduced the VENUE MADI option card, which is designed to make it easier to integrate VENUE into any existing MADI environment. With the card installed, VENUE users can send and receive up to 64 channels of audio between their VENUE system and a wide variety of MADI-compatible devices. In addition, Avid drew attention to a new VENUE D-Show 2.8.5 software update, which provides many system improvements and is available as a free download for all D-Show 2.8.x software users.
Staying on a MADI 'tip', Roland Systems Group's S-MADI REAC Bridge enables 40-channels of bi-directional conversion between any MADI-equipped digital audio mixer/system and any of Roland's REAC products. As a result, V-Mixing Consoles can be used as sub-mixers with many large-format digital mixing desks, while it is also possible to undertake easy distribution and splitting of audio from V-Mixing Systems or digital snake systems to OB trucks and other MADI-equipped locations.
Elsewhere on the showfloor, EAW introduced no fewer than 20 new products at InfoComm, including the five-model QX loudspeaker series. Optimised for installed system applications requiring precise directivity in a low-profile form, the QX Series is suitable for a wide range of venues, including sports arenas, stadia, houses of worship and performing arts centres. The dual-trapezoidal enclosures are passive, wired for bi-amplification and available in five versions: the QX596 (dispersion pattern: 90 degrees x 60 degrees), QX594 (90 degrees x 45 degrees), QX566 (60 degrees x 60 degrees), QX564 (60 degrees x 45 degrees) and QX544 (45 degrees x 45 degrees).
In another significant development, EAW announced a strategic partnership with Lake, Lab.gruppen and Powersoft in which all manufacturers will integrate EAW DSP algorithms into a portion of their product lines. Later in the year, Lake, Lab.gruppen and Powersoft will reveal details of separate agreements expanding this partnership, which will enable EAW to sell a selection of their product lines as components in EAW system sales.
"At the onset, the integration of EAW's lauded DSP, most notably Focusing, will ensure seamless integration and optimum performance of EAW loudspeaker systems matched with Lake Processors, Lab.gruppen Powered Loudspeaker Management (PLM) systems, and Powersoft amplifiers," said Jeffrey Cox, LOUD Technologies' Pro Audio Group v-p. "And once the sales component of the partnership is implemented, EAW will proudly offer a range of amplifier solutions from the best in the business."
Also making a joint announcement were Electro-Voice and Audinate, who disclosed details of the DM-1 Dante audio network card for the NetMax hardware facility. The DM-1 may be installed in the N8000 or N8000-1500 chassis to provide high-resolution, low latency audio transmission over IP networks. The card is also fully compatible with Audinate's Date Virtual Soundcard, which can turn a PC or Mac into a Dante-enabled device.
Ethan Wetzell, Electro-Voice's global DSP product manager, commented: "Audinate's Dante and NetMax are a perfect fit. Whereas NetMax provides highly sophisticated, custom DSP solutions for a variety of applications, we have always strived to provide a higher level of ease of use and quality. Dante has really raised the bar in audio networking with their extensive, truly IP-based technology and [it] fully aligns with what we and our customers are looking for."
As previously reported on PSN-e, Midas and Klark Teknik promised their "biggest multi-product launch ever" for InfoComm 2010, and so it came to pass with two additions to the PRO Series (the PRO3 and PRO9), the XL8i, a new range of Midas digital snakes, and new digital audio format and sample rate converters from Klark Teknik.
The PRO9 provides an 88-channel input count and 35 buses, while the budget-sensitive Midas PRO3 is intended to allow more touring riders and professional installations to take advantage of Midas's digital features. Meanwhile, the XL8i is aimed at the install, theatre and HoW markets.
"More people than ever will be able to use our products, with new consoles offering on the one hand more power and on the other lower cost entry to Midas mixing. They will also discover the versatility of our audio networking systems and how easy they are to set up and use," said Midas/KT MD John Oakley.
Outline exhibited the latest versions of the DVS 8 SP and DVS 10 SP enclosures (pictured). Suitable for a variety of applications, the new editions - available in both powered and non-powered versions - feature a number of upgrades. For example, the DVS 8 SP is equipped with a new 8-inch mid-woofer combined with a compression driver featuring a 1-inch diaphragm, ensuring a sound pressure level of 123 dB (peak at 1 metre). The DVS 10 SP sports a 10-inch woofer combined with a compressive driver featuring a 1.75-inch diaphragm, yielding a sound pressure level of 127.5dB.
Technomad turned the spotlight on the latest addition to the PowerChiton weatherproof amplifier module range. Able to produce 1,600W for 8 ohm systems and 1,800W for 4 ohm systems, the PowerChiton 4 offers more than three times the power of the current highest-power model (500W) in the same compact, NEMA-enclosed package. Sporting IP66 protection classification, the new model - like its colleagues in the PowerChiton range - is available with three networking options: Ethernet/IP,RF and twisted-pair.
Rodger von Kries, v-p of Technomad, commented: "We developed the PowerChiton4 in response to requests to offer a weatherproof amplifier solution for high-power applications, especially those covering large areas. This could include anything from large stadiums to campus-wide public address and emergency announcement systems. The Ethernet/Audio-over-IP-networking capabilities of the PowerChiton4 add benefits for large-area installations that are establishing zone control and tying multiple audio points to a centralized infrastructure."
Finally for this round-up, Riedel Communications announced a host of new developments, including the RockNet 100 RN.102.IO module, which offers 16 line outputs and eight microphone/line inputs. The new module easily integrates analogue mixing consoles into the audio network or can be set up for a simple redundant multicore connection. Elsewhere, the company unveiled the new RockNet RN.343.VI expansion card for Soundcraft Studer digital mixing consoles and presented the Artist 1100 Series OLED control panel, which is the new premium control key panel for Artist digital matrix. Riedel also introduced what is billed as the world's first native integration of VoIP telephone technology into a matrix intercom infrastructure.