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Showcase: Enhanced Focus

Inside a range of recent column loudspeaker designs.

By Live Sound Staff March 15, 2017

The characteristics of line source columns – wide horizontal coverage, minimal vertical coverage above and below the enclosure, and coherent sound in the vocal range – are all attractive features in highly reverberant venues.

Even better is that many modern column loudspeakers now deliver exceptional full-range performance, and this can be furthered by companion low-frequency boxes and subwoofers. It makes columns increasingly popular in a broader range of live sound reinforcement applications.

There are two primary types – those that offer the ability to “digitally steer” the vertical beamwidth and those that don’t.

Renkus-Heinz

Digitally steerable models incorporate individual amplification, filtering, delay and equalization for each driver, allowing the column’s vertical coverage to be tilted down (or up) and focused for short or long throws, though horizontal coverage remains fixed. This type of precision in being able to more tightly focus coverage, and therefore enhance intelligibility, is an attractive proposition indeed.

Renkus-Heinz has been a leader in beam steerable loudspeakers for well over a decade since the introduction of the Iconyx Series in 2004. While the line source concept has been around since the 1960s (at least), the company was early to capitalize on advancements in DSP and amplifier technology to further desirable attributes of line source loudspeaker design principles.

Let’s take a look at a host of recent developments from numerous manufacturers, starting with the aforementioned Renkus-Heinz.

Both Iconyx and IC Live Series portable and install systems now utilize the Gen5 update that includes proprietary UniBeam Technology that further enhances the ability to utilize digital beam steering to shape the coverage pattern.

Gen5 also adds master and slave amplifier modules, and it introduces a new hybrid column, the IC16-8-RN, which uses three fixed triple-tweeter full-range devices, coupled with five spaced low- and mid-frequency 4-inch woofers, to extend the length and LF beam control frequency while utilizing just a single 8-channel amplifier.

Further, the v2.1 update of RHAON II (Renkus-Heinz Audio Operations Network) software includes more than 100 software updates and enhancements.

Most recently, Iconyx IC Series and IC Live ICL-F Series models are available in “RD” versions, offering dual-redundant Dante connectivity with audio transport and configurable sample rates up to 96 kHz. IC215S Series subwoofers (dual 15-inch) are companions to Iconyx/IC Live columns.

RCF

The TTL6-A from RCF is a 3-way active line source designed for medium-to-large spaces. It’s equipped with dual 12-inch woofers, four 6.5-inch cones and a 2-inch compression driver on an asymmetrical waveguide that allows cascading of two systems for control of directional characteristics. (Single cabinet directivity is stated as 90 x 30 degrees, +5/-25 degrees).

Onboard class D amplification is individually matched to each transducer, and 32-bit DSP manages crossover and alignment, programmable EQ, input gain reduction, and more.

The rear panel is outfitted with a rotary encoder to control all functions, while a dedicated processing area is available through the integrated RDNet input board to set parameters, including remotely.

There’s a pole mount for integration with the TTS36-A companion subwoofer as well as other subs, along with a variety of flying/rigging options.


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