Coda Audio began an ambitious campaign to become one of the “top five” pro-audio loudspeaker brands in the world with the launch of the ViRAY medium-sized line array last month.
Distributors from Europe and the Middle East gathered at the Coda HQ in Hannover, Germany, to see and hear the new system.
ViRAY, says Coda managing director and founder Svetly Alexandrov (pictured, left), represents the culmination of Coda’s most accomplished sound reinforcement technologies in a compact three-way system that can service audiences of around 4,000-6,000.
Mick Anderson (pictured, right), whose AWC consultancy has been working with Coda for the past four years, revealed at the October gathering that three major rental houses had not only beta-tested ViRAY: they had proceeded to make significant purchases of the system. Synthpop veterans Ultravox are currently on the road with the first ViRAY touring system, supplied by Adlib Audio of Liverpool.
ViRAY has been over two and a half years in development, says Anderson, but the key technology in the loudspeaker, the DDP Dual Diaphragm Planar-wave-driver technology, is a patented evolution of the annular ring diaphragm driver first created by Alexandrov in 1996.
Weighing 25.5kg, one ViRAY cabinet combines the DDP with two 8” neodymium low-distortion cone drivers to handle the LF. Coda’s ‘ViCOUPLER’ phase-plug/waveguide hybrid then manages and steers the energy produced:
Anderson describes it as “a flat screen device that takes all the frequencies from all the components and gives them a platform to gather on and move forward as a coherency.”
At the Hannover demos, ViRAY hangs of eight boxes per side (frequency response 55Hz-22kHz; 24 boxes maximum per hang) were complemented by flown SCV-F bass response boxes, which feature a single 18” driver governed by Coda’s unique Sensor Control technology. (Sensor Control ensures that the driver reacts to the incoming signal and nothing more, producing, in short, a more accurate bass and eliminating ‘woofing’.)
ViRAY output can be further strengthened by Coda Audio SCP twin-18” sub-bass units, which also feature Sensor Control, as well as being fully integrated with Coda Audio’s RC Power/DSP management racks.
Coda’s operational HQ is in Germany and the company develops and manufactures the majority of its components its own factory, including its own drivers. (Amplifiers and DSP control are courtesy of OEM suppliers.) Cabinets are made of Baltic birch, and Coda has just brought a Polyurea coating process on-board for added durability.
ViRAY sits between Coda’s AIRLINE LA12 and LA8 systems, both of which have raised the profile of the company over the past couple of years – though ViRAY represents a more aggressive approach to the marketplace.
Beta-testing on ViRAY was carried out before early summer, with three existing Coda users directly involved in assessing the system. “That’s Adlib in the UK, AMBION in Germany and DPA in Denmark,” says Anderson. “As existing Coda users they were ideal to use as field testers. But what you don’t expect is for them to do anything from that point. And they did – without being pushed: AMBION has taken 100 cabinets; Adlib is heading towards that; DPA has taken 24, then increased by 12, then another 12.”
Adlib took its system (based around 32 ViRAY) on the UK leg of the recent Ultravox Renion tour. Adlib’s Dave Jones told PSNEurope: “The Coda ViRay seemed the perfect option for this tour due to the diversity of venues and the flexibility of the system. The ability to fly with limited weight and ground stack in the same venue was a key factor in the tour’s success. I have to applaud FOH engineer Berenice Hardman for being open to the idea of a new system.”
Anderson’s philosophy on how the ViRAY launch will aid Coda’s growth makes perfect sense. “If you look at where it started in 1996, and the historical patent of the ring angular diaphragm, that is something we’re still using today, but it’s been incorporated into different designs for a given end result.
“All along the line, with each evolution, there’s been a level of technology that can be developed into something more. If you project five years into the future, there is a view here at Coda Audio that those companies that will take the top positions in the loudspeaker market are those that can produce that integrated approach in house. Those that can’t will only be able to develop at the speed determined by their suppliers.”
Building its own drivers, using its own evolving knowledge base and resources to build turnkey sound reinforcement systems: this is how Coda will succeed as a brand, he predicts.
“Our efforts have already created a significant buzz in global markets – we’ve undertaken several shoot-outs and all the time we see ourselves up against the top five – and we come out very well. Our hookline message is hearing is believe.”