Building With Legos
NEXO was also keen to get as much “grass-roots” input as possible at design stage, to see if there was anything in particular that people would like to see incorporated into a new system.
close interaction with three leading sound rental companies, as well as numerous system engineers and riggers.
“We went directly to the guys that rig the kit and asked them what they’d like to see in a new line array,” Deffarges says, “and one of the main points was: ‘make a system I can fly on my own.’ That, we realized, was where the true value could lie.”
In reality, this translated to the proprietary PistonRig system built into each cabinet, delivering streamlined compression-mode rigging. Specifically, PistonRig allows pre-setting of inter-cabinet angle values, while newly developed REDLock handle locks front rigging points from rear of cabinet.
All rigging adjustments are made from one position at the rear of an array. Further benefit comes from the 1-1-1 ratio (main, bass, sub) of the STM cabinets.
The back side of the STM modules – the dial on the back of each is the PistonRig for pre-setting of intercabinet angles, with a REDLock handle lock below each. (click to enlarge)
“One person can fly it, via its motor suspension and two rigging points,” Deffarges states. “The system also includes 1-ton rigging parts, and we’ve designed self-correcting modular dollies that make it very easy to organize and move systems of any size, anywhere. This, we feel, is pretty unique.
“It’s like building a system with Legos, in a way,” he continues. “The main enclosures can be flown as a single column only, or you can combine bass and main enclosures on the same column. Or, you can ground stack it, putting a main and a bass enclosure on top of a couple of subs, for example, so it becomes a plug-and-play stand-alone system too, if you want it to be.”
Racks For Stacks
STM cabinets are paired with the NEXO Universal Amp Rack (NUAR), which contains plug-and-play digital patches, real-time system monitoring and control network functionality in addition to two NXAMP4x4s, which together can power up to 12 STM loudspeakers, in groups of three.
“The NUAR is also compatible with any other NEXO products, of course, but it works particularly well with the STM modules,” Deffarges insists. “STM dovetails with the rest of our kit seamlessly; for example, you could use it in conjunction with RS18 subs – we just wanted to keep everything as flexible and simple as possible.”
NUAR includes a new dual-voltage version of the NXAMP and works in conjunction with the new Digital Meter Unit (DMU), an intelligent input patch panel providing digital communication with the NXAMP, and the new Digital Patch Unit (DPU), an intelligent output patch panel.
NEXO Universal Amp Rack (NUAR) with digital patches, system monitoring, control network functionality, processing and audio power. (click to enlarge)
A choice of network cards is provided. Along with the company’s established NXES104 EtherSound network control, there’s also an NXDT104 Audinate Dante audio plug-in card for AVB-ready digital networking.
NEXO product strategy director Ken Iwayama says the NUAR adds an extra dimension due to its new Dante capability: “For many years, we’ve been an EtherSound partner, but that platform is primarily suitable for live use, whereas Dante is more flexible, and primarily suited to installs. It’s easier to match it with existing IT infrastructure in the project for example, and it’s a very good option which allows us to cater for a wider range of applications.”
One more caveat – in the near future, users will be able to download from iTunes the first release of NeMo, an app for the iPad and iPhone that provides remote control over a NXAMP network from anywhere in the venue.
Deffarges concludes by stating his satisfaction with the outcome of the two-plus-years project. “The production of the STM has only been possible due to the exceptional hard work from everyone in all of our departments, working together as one unit. It’s been about the technicians, the support guys, the R&D guys, the training – everyone. Modularity has become a philosophy at NEXO, and we believe it can re-define touring sound.”
Yamaha Commercial Audio
Paul Watson is editor for Europe for ProSoundWeb and Live Sound International.