In light of the ongoing direction of the professional audio at the present time, we decided to change things up and take a look at loudspeakers designed specifically for the installation market, where there continues to be a steady stream of ongoing projects as we all wait for the live event market to return.
Note that we’re focusing on two-way point source models, some with coaxial driver arrangements, and all specifically engineered to meet the unique circumstances presented by venues and other spaces that usually can’t be reconfigured to accommodate a new sound system. Often, the loudspeakers in these applications have to be located wherever they best fit into their surroundings while delivering the desired sonic result.
The manufacturers of virtually all of the models presented here also offer a range of optional mounting hardware to further help overcome placement challenges. And, aesthetics are often another concern, and most of the models we present are available in white and custom colors as well as the traditional black.
We’re focusing on series of products – the manufacturers do a great job of providing installers with many options from the same loudspeaker family, ranging from larger, more powerful models to smaller units that can still do the job in more diminutive scenarios in addition to fulfilling a host of fill and delay roles. All are designed to share the same sonic characteristics and voicing. Further, most are also accompanied by multiple subwoofer options also optimized to work with the full-range line.
It’s true that many loudspeakers designed for portable applications can also be applied for installations; after all, most have threaded inserts that can come in handy for more permanent flown deployments. Still, there can also be limitations because they’re not purpose-engineered to meet the needs of many of the scenarios that are a regular occurrence in the world of install.
Another upside is that many of these loudspeakers incorporate the same leading-edge transducer technologies and matched power and processing packages (as well as networking and control capabilities) as their portable brethren. They may not look quite as attractive in a visceral sense, but that’s by design (again, aesthetics) – sonically they can most certainly get the job done.
As always with Real World Gear, this roundup of models from around the industry is intended to serve as a starting point for your own more detailed research. Fortunately, the manufacturers also do a fine job of providing a wealth of additional information and data online in that regard. Enjoy this tour of loudspeakers for installation applications.
Adamson brings the performance of the company’s compact S-Series loudspeakers into the networked realm with onboard amplification and DSP plus very flexible connectivity options.
Loudspeakers in the series include the CS7p point-source enclosure; CS7 two-way array enclosure; CS10p point-source point source enclosure; CS10 two-way and CS10n narrow-dispersion array enclosures; and companion CS118 and CS119 subwoofers. A range of mounting options are available to meet the specific needs of fixed installations.
Rounding out the platform are a suite of rack-mounted systems and dedicated CS software. The Gateway contains dual-LAN, Milan-ready AVB, AES/EBU and analog connections. The NDS is a network and analog patch bay to send redundant audio and control to loudspeakers on a single network cable.
Models: CS10p (10-in) & CS7p
(7-in) point source
Dispersion: Available with either 70 x 40 or 100 x 50-degree waveguides, each rotatable by 90 degrees
Power: Accompanying amp/DSP/networking package
Mounting: Rigging discs on cabinet top and sides; horizontal and vertical brackets, H-clamp, adapters and more.
Companion Subs: CS118 (18-in) and CS119 (19-in)
Technology Focus: New CS software enhances the user’s ability to design, deploy, control, and monitor systems with a simplified workflow and easy-to-navigate user interface.
Of Note: CS-Series loudspeakers are available as stand-alone products or as an upgrade to existing S-Series enclosures, with the turnkey CS Upgrade Kit providing the means for conversion.
L-Acoustics A Series
Models: A15i (15-in) & A10i (10-in)
Dispersion: Wide (30 degrees) and Focus (10 degrees); user-adjustable waveguide
directivity (70, 110 or 90 degrees asymmetrical)
Power: LA2Xi and LA4X are the recommended amplified controllers with one enclosure per output channel; three LA12X can be used to power and control up to three enclosures per output channel
Mounting: Threaded inserts for U-bracket and rigging plates; accessories include horizontal bracket, tilt bracket, rigging bar and more
Companion Sub: KS21i (21-in)
d&b audiotechnik xS Series
Overview: Options range from 24S (2 x 12-in) to 4S (4-in coaxial)
Dispersion: Model specific, ranging from 110 x 45 to 75 x 45 degrees and more, all rotatable, as well as 100 degrees conical on smaller models
Power: Numerous D Series amplifiers available for optimized matching
Mounting: M10 and M8 threaded inserts on cabinet; horizontal bracket, pipe & rota clamps, wall mount, flying bracket and more
Companion Subs: 12S-SUB, 18S-SUB, 21S-SUB, 27S-SUB
Of Note: Deep line provides multiple options in both larger and smaller-format packages; recent addition to the line is the 44S compact flush-mountable model
RCF COMPACT M
Overview: Options range from
M 12 (12-in) to M 05 (5-in)
Dispersion: Three largest models are 90 x 70 degrees, two smallest units are 120 x 80 degrees
Power: Numerous amplifier options, including new class D options as well as class H and class AB models
Mounting: M10, M8 and M6 (smaller models) threaded inserts on rear, top and bottom of cabinet; horizontal and vertical brackets; wall-mount bracket
Companion Subs: Numerous options include new S12 and S10 bass-reflex designs ranging up to single and dual 18-in models
Of Note: Designed for optimized performance in both background music and higher-powered foreground applications; includes dynamic active MOSFET protection
Martin Audio CDD Series
Overview: All models have a coaxial design, ranging from CDD15 (15-in) down to CDD5 (5-in); 70/100-volt versions also offered
Dispersion: Varies by model – i.e., CDD15 is 100-60 x 60 degrees, while CDD5 is 120-90 x 80 degrees; note that the coaxial drive units are rotatable
Power: DX4.0 controller and iKON amplifiers provide enhanced DSP and FIR-based presets for maximum performance with limiter protection
Mounting: CCD10, -12 and -15 cabinets equipped with integral inserts for eyebolt suspension; yoke assembly
Companion Subs: SX110 (10-in), SX210 (2 x 10-in), SX12 (12-in)
Of Note: New transformer versions of the 8 and 10-in models as well as more weatherized variants; also new DSP voicing settings across the series for up-to-date sound and consistency among all models
QSC AcousticPerformance Series
Overview: A selection ranging from the AP-5152 (15-in) to the AP-5102 (10-in), as well as some cabinets designed to serve as stage monitors as well
Dispersion: All conical, ranging from 105 to 75 degrees
Power: Can be used in passive (full-range) mode to minimize amplifier channel count or bi-amp mode for added control and performance; tunings using the company’s Intrinsic Correction techniques are available for Q-SYS
Mounting: Cabinets equipped with M10 threaded inserts for deployment via eyebolts as well as mount points for an optional yoke bracket
Companion Subs: AP-212sw (dual 12-in)
Of Note: All models utilize the company’s proprietary Directivity Matched Transition (DMT) design approach that matches the compression driver to the natural coverage angle of the woofer in the crossover region
Renkus-Heinz CX & CA Series
Overview: Selections include the CX/CA151 (15-in) all the way down to the miniscule CX41; most models are available in active (CA) or passive (CX) versions
Dispersion: Model dependent, with options such as 150 x 60, 120 x 60, 90 x 40, 60 x 40 degrees, and more
Power: Active models offer several options, including Dante connectivity, working with the proprietary RHOAN control platform and more; crossover on passive models can be bypassed for bi-amp operation
Mounting: 12-point universal mounting hardware (metric M10 threads); M10 U-bracket attachment points
Companion Subs: CX/CA112S (12-in) and CX/CA118S (18-in)
Of Note: All larger models utilize proprietary Complex Conic waveguide technology; CX models can be field upgraded to self-powered CA using the company’s purpose-designed SA amplifiers
NEXO P+ Series
Overview: Selections range from the new P15 (15-in) to the P8 (8-in), all with custom HF/LF drivers in a coaxial configuration and with a cabinet angle for stage monitoring
Dispersion: Horn flanges with variable directivities can be interchanged from the 60 x 60 degrees provided as standard to 90 x 40 degrees or an asymmetrical 50-100 x 40 degrees
Power: Designed to work with NEXO NXAMP4x2mk2 controller amplifier; a recessed switch on the cabinet allows fast changing from passive to active mode
Mounting: Threaded inserts on the cabinet back and on both sides for connection of mounting accessories, including wall mount, vertical cradle, yoke bracket and more
Companion Subs: L15 (15-in) and the new L18 (18-in)
Of Note: Unique curvilinear enclosure of custom birch and poplar plywood, with the bent wood designed to enhance cabinet robustness; the NXAMP4x2mk2 also has processing algorithms optimized for the L18 sub
Danley Synergy Horn (SH) Series
Overview: A deep line with a range of options, all with the company’s patented Synergy Horn technology, including the flagship SH50 (dual
12-inch with modular array-ability) and numerous others
Dispersion: The SH50 is 50 x 50 degrees; additional choices include 25 x 25 degrees (SH25), 60 x 40 degrees (SH64), 95 x 55 degrees (SH95) and more
Power: Available in both active and passive version; company offers the DNA line of amplifiers and digital processors
Mounting: The FS Fly Kit of mounting accessories is available for several SH models; all models intended to be flown are supplied with 3/8-inch-16 hardware
Companion Subs: Numerous series and models, such as Tapped Horn, BC Horns, Nano Sub and specialty units
Of Note: SH96HO, SH46 and SM80M can be run in bi-amp or passive mode; several models are also available in install or touring versions; proprietary Aqua Tight Coating includes two layer fiberglass finish for maximum moisture resistance