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Real World Gear: Recent 2-Way Loudspeaker Designs

For decades, compact 2-way loudspeakers have been a pillar of professional audio, capable of serving as mains, monitors, side fills, center fills, near fills, front fills and delays. In many cases they can be carried by a single person via convenient handles and quickly ground stacked, flown, or placed on a stand, where they’re capable of handling reinforcement all by themselves or joined by subwoofers in applications requiring additional low-end reinforcement.

Many of the enclosures are trapezoidal in shape, with some able to be put into tightly packed horizontal arrays and others better suited for “exploded” clusters. Still others can be stacked or flown into line and/or column arrays. Several offer a modified cabinet shape that also allows them to be placed on their side and used as floor monitors. And speaking of cabinets, they’re constructed of ABS/polymers/plastics as well as wood.
Increasingly, compact 2-way loudspeakers are offered in self-powered versions (usually class D amplification) joined by digital signal processing.

Many are also outfitted with facilities for further tailoring output to specific applications. Additional EQ control may be present, while others provide at least rudimentary mixing capability, with level controls, mic/line switches, and EQ on XLR or combo (XLR, 1/4-inch) inputs. More models will accept (Audinate) Dante digital audio input along with analog audio signal.

This genre of loudspeakers has also benefitted from advances in driver technology, signal processing, and amplification. Transducer innovations have in many cases trickled down from touring products. Many have lightweight magnetic structures using neodymium magnets, rugged cone and spider materials, and robust voice coil designs.

High-frequency horns are frequently rotatable and offer improved directivity. Larger format compression drivers deliver greater power handling capacity. Several designs are coaxial, another trend in this genre, along with incorporating 8- or 10-inch woofers as well as the traditional 12- and 15-inch models.

Our tour of recent models that follows is intended, by design, to present the “state of the market” in terms of options. But for each type of model presented here, understand that there are several similar models from the same and other sources, so further homework is strongly recommended.


Electro-Voice MFX

New Electro-Voice MFX multi-function monitors — MFX-12MC and MFX-15MC — are passive 12-inch and 15-inch two-way coaxial monitors with a performance level engineered to complement the X-Line Advance line array models X1, X2, X12-128 and X12-125F, and corresponding installation versions.

MFX multi-function monitors utilize coaxially aligned HF and LF transducers matched with a new Electro-Voice-engineered constant-directivity waveguide and a new crossover design. Coverage in monitor orientation is 40 x 60 degrees (h x v). The dimensions and location of the waveguide interact with the woofer to effectively create a bipole output, enhancing coverage control through the midrange frequencies.

In addition to providing a stable sound image as the performer moves off-axis, the compact coaxial design presents a lower-profile footprint on stage, helping to maintain audience sight lines and reducing stage clutter. A new cabinet concept with dual monitor angles (35 and 55 degrees) allows the output to be precisely focused towards the performer.

TECHNOLOGY FOCUS: MFX monitors are optimized for use with TGX10 or IPX10:4 amplifiers from EV’s sibling brand Dynacord. Both models can be deployed in passive or bi-amp configuration, and can be optimized for different uses via DSP settings in the amps. Power handling for the MFX-12MC is 450 watts (continuous) and 3,000 watts (peak); for the MFX-15MC it is 500 watts (continuous) and 3,500 watts (peak). The two models have a maximum SPL rating of 135 dB and 136 dB, respectively.

OF NOTE: Both models have an integrated pole cup (neatly located in one of the two side handle recesses), so they can serve as short-throw main/full-range sound reinforcement for portable applications using tripods or subwoofer poles. Coverage in this orientation is 60 x 40 degrees (h x v). They also have four M10 suspension points, with U brackets, yokes, a tilt adapter, truss clamps, stand-mount adapters and a rigging bar available.

Dispersion (h x v): 40 x 60 degrees (monitor), 60 x 40 degrees (FOH)
Components: HF driver on a constant directivity waveguide coaxially mounted with 12-in LF driver
Frequency Response: 50 Hz — 19 kHz
Maximum SPL (peak): 135 dB
Amplification: 450 watts continuous, 3,000 watts peak, Dynacord TGX or IPX amplifiers recommendeed
Connectors: Neutrik NL4 input with NL4 pass through
Positioning/Rigging: Pole mount, M10 suspension points
Dimensions (h x w x d): 19.7 x 16.5 x 11.7 in
Weight: 41.9 lbs
Notes: 15-in version (MFX-15MC) also available

Adamson IS10P
Dispersion (h x v): 70 x 40 degrees, rotatable
Components: 3-in diaphragm compression driver,
2 x 10-in cone drivers
Frequency Response: 60 Hz – 18 kHz (+/-3 dB)
Maximum SPL (peak): 139 dB
Power Handling: LF: 700 watts; HF: 110 watts (AES)
Connectors: Dual Neutrik Speakon or barrier strips
Positioning/Rigging: Integrated rigging system
Dimensions (h x w x d): 29 x 12.9 x 17.4 inches
Weight: 46.3 lbs
Notes: Supports Lake processing; 7-inch version also available; range of mount accessories available

Dispersion: 90 x 60 degrees (h x v)
Components: 1.4-in (4-in voice coil) neodymium compression driver, 15-in neodymium cone driver
Frequency Response: 45 Hz – 20 kHz
Maximum SPL (peak): 133 dB
Power Handling: Onboard class D amplifier provides 1,600 watts LF, 600 watts HF (both peak)
Connectors: PowerCon I/O
Positioning/Rigging: 4 M10 threaded inserts, pole mount
Dimensions (h x w x d): 28.1 x 17.4 x 15.6 in
Weight: 48.5 lbs

Dispersion (h x v): 60 x 60, 90 x 40, 120 x 40, and 120 x 60 degrees (all rotatable)
Components: 1-in voice coil compression driver, 2 x 4-in cone drivers
Frequency Response: 95 Hz — 20 kHz
Maximum SPL (peak): 126 dB
Power Handling: 200 to 500 watts recommended
Connectors: Neutrik Speakon
Positioning/Rigging: Pole-mount, rigging points
Dimensions (h x w x d): 12.2 x 5.2 x 9.2 in
Weight: 13 lbs
Notes: Install version also offered; horn can be rotated without need for tools via “screw head” on rear panel

L-Acoustics 112P
Dispersion: 90 degrees axisymmetric
Components: 1.3-in-diaphragm compression driver, 12-in cone driver (coaxial)
Frequency Response: 50 Hz – 20 kHz
Maximum SPL (peak): 133 dB
Power Handling: Self-powered – 1,000 watts at 8 ohms
Connectors: Dual XLR in parallel
Positioning/Rigging: Pole mount, optional mounting accessories available
Dimensions (h x w x d): 21.3 x 16.1 x 15.4 in
Weight: 70.5 lbs

d&b audiotechnik E Series
Dispersion: 80 or 110 x 50 degrees (h x v), rotatable
Components: 1.3-in neodymium compression driver, 12-in neodymium cone driver
Frequency Response: 50 Hz – 18 kHz
Maximum SPL (peak): 134 dB
Power Handling: 300/1,600 watts (RMS/peak); several d&b amplifiers available/recommended
Connectors: Dual NLT4; optional 2 x EP5 or 2 x NL4
Positioning/Rigging: Pole mount, M10 threaded inserts, wide range of mounting accessories availble
Dimensions (h x w x d): 22.8 x 13.8 x 13.2 in
Weight: 35 lbs

Renkus-Heinz T82
Dispersion (h x v): 120 x 60 and 90 x 60 degrees (both rotatable)
Components: 1-in compression driver, 2 x 8-in cone drivers
Frequency Response: 90 Hz — 20 kHz
Maximum SPL (peak): 134 dB
Amplification: Onboard (SA625 amplifier)
Connectors: Neutrik Speakon and other options offered
Positioning/Rigging: M6 and M10 suspension points, U-bracket attachment points
Dimensions (h x w x d): 28.2 x 10.5 x 10.5 in
Weight: 34 lbs
Notes: Incorporates proprietary Complex Conic Horn design; passive version available; single/dual 6.5-in, single 8-in, 12-in and 15-in models also offered

Clair Brothers kiT12+
Dispersion: 90 x 40 and 60 x 40 degrees, both rotatable
Components: 3-in voice coil compression driver, 12-in cone driver
Frequency Response: 63 Hz — 20 kHz
Maximum SPL (peak): 129 dB
Amplification: Onboard 2-channel amp, 3,200 watts (maximum), biamped
Connectors: Dual XLR (input and thru)
Positioning/Rigging: kiT rigging slots on corners, pole-mount
Dimensions (h x v x d): 28.1 x 14.8 x 15.2 in
Weight: 62 lbs
Notes: 15-in version also available plus two 18-in subs; passive models available

dBTechnologies VIO X12
Dispersion: 60 x 40 degrees, rotatable
Components: 1.4-in (2.5-in voice coil) neodymium compression driver, 12-in neodymium cone driver
Frequency Response: 62 Hz – 22 kHz
Maximum SPL (peak): 132 dB
Power Handling: Self-powered – 900 watts (RMS) class-D Digipro G3 amplifier
Connectors: Dual XLR, USB data service
Positioning/Rigging: Pole mount, 12 x M10 inserts, 4 x fast lock pins
Dimensions (h x d x w): 25.5 x 13.4 x 17.5 in
Weight: 45.6 lbs

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