All In One
There are also numerous options available as “all-in-one” systems, incorporating loudspeakers, amplification, all required cabling, and often mixers, microphones and/or wireless systems.
Typically, they’re quite compact and are a good choice for more limited applications such as small stages.
RCF just introduced EVOX, a self-contained, highly portable system with the mid-high loudspeaker cabinet fitting into the back of the subwoofer, which also protects the electronics and system connections. A pole mount is included, with the 3-piece pole allowing the loudspeaker to be positioned at different heights. Cable clips secure connections.
Two EVOX versions are available – the larger EVOX 8 is powered by a 700-watt (RMS) amplifier, with a 12-inch subwoofer and a loudspeaker with eight 2-inch compression drivers rated as capable of achieving 128 dB max SPL. A progressive array shape optimizes directivity while minimizing HF beaming. Total package size is 11.6 x 13.6 x 19.3 inches (h x q x d), and weight is 51 pounds.
Another example is the Yamaha Pro Audio STAGEPAS line, also with two models. Both include two loudspeakers and a detachable powered mixer, along with a pair of loudspeaker cables and power cord.
The mixer, which fits into one of the loudspeaker enclosures for an even smaller footprint, includes four mic/line inputs and six line inputs (the 400i includes four line inputs). Channels 3 and 4 feature a combo jack that can accommodate XLR and 1/4-inch cables.
In addition, both models offer RCA jacks, a 1/8-inch stereo mini jack, an iPod/iPhone USB input, switchable Hi-Z inputs, and phantom power. The mixer includes different high-resolution SPX reverbs as well as Yamaha’s 1-knob Master EQ offering optimized settings.
An onboard feedback suppressor lets users remove unwanted squeals. A flexible new feature, switchable stereo/mono inputs, can transform each stereo channel into two independent mono channels if an application requires more input capability. The larger STAGEPAS 600i model weighs just 56 pounds.
Another growing segment of the market, column loudspeakers, can also fulfill portable PA duties quite well. With IC Live, Renkus-Heinz provides a very flexible package that can meet smaller applications to concerts for thousands. The basic IC Live module can be used alone or combined with IC215S (dual 15-inch) subwoofers for added LF impact, and the subs can act as tall or wide bases for the mains with interlocking hardware.
IC Live output can be focused more full on the audience, and off of surrounding surfaces, via digital beam steering. Software allows users to define coverage. Multi-channel class D amplifiers with integral DSP control every array element. Proprietary RHAON provides remote control and supervision functions, along with the ability to store up to 10 preset configurations in memory. The thin profile of the modules and weight of just 61 pounds makes them easy to transport.
The Carvin Audio TRx3903 vertical column has nine 3-inch FaitalPRO cone drivers in an enclosure that measures 31.5 x 5.25 x 5.5 inches (h x w x d) and weighs just 21 pounds. It’s driven by outboard power or can be accompanied by the TRx3018A self-powered sub that can also be ordered with an additional amplifier channel with DSP for the TRx3903.
The cabinets have a pole-mount cup located on both top and bottom, and by using the SS7 short pole adapter (included), the units can be safely stacked atop one another as well as on the subwoofer. Eight flypoints (four on top and four on the bottom) are included for 3/8-16 eyebolts, and the optional U-bracket can be utilized for additional mounting options. Connections include two 4-pin Speakon connectors on the rear of the enclosure, one near the top and the other near the bottom. They’re positioned so that a short jumper can link two cabinets together.
Smaller-scaled systems include the HK Audio SOUNDCADDY, which comes as a single unit (with built-in wheels). The active system’s mid-high section is housed within the slim LF cabinet, and with a press of the hand, it “telescopes” out via an integrated pole that can be aimed as needed.
Three 6-inch woofers cover the LF and six 3.5-inch cones yield mids and highs, driven by a 600-watt amp. There’s also an integral 4-channel mixer.
What’s been presented here is really just the tip of the portable loudspeaker iceberg. Manufacturers are bringing technology developed for pro touring and install applications into the compact (and affordable) range, and systems are simpler than ever to set up and start playing. After building my early-90s vintage system three times in the past couple of weeks for gigs, the thought of a 5-minute load-in and setup is very tempting…
Gary Parks is a pro audio writer who has worked in the industry for more than 25 years, holding marketing and management positions with several leading manufacturers.