The most recent Live Sound International Loudspeaker Demo, held in March at the Marriott Downtown in Louisville in conjunction with the annual United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT), attracted more than 300 audio professionals as well as theatre and church sound personnel over the course of its 2-day run.
The demo, which launched almost a decade ago and has been featured at USITT, at the Worship Facilities Expo (WFX) numerous times and now Winter NAMM, delivers unique side-by-side listening opportunities to evaluate top line array and loudspeaker systems in a round-robin format.
Six dedicated demo sessions focused on portable (smaller, ground-based) loudspeaker systems followed by the popular compact (larger, flown) systems. All participating manufacturers also hosted individual demo sessions to spotlight the performance and unique technologies of their own products.
Seven premium loudspeaker makers participated in this year’s event, with the full demo sessions each presenting more than a dozen systems based at booths on two side sides of the expansive ballroom.
Participating manufacturers and the diverse set of systems included:
— Alcons Audio with the LR7 micro line array and VR8 2-way multipurpose loudspeaker.
— DAS Audio with the Aero 20A compact line array and Vantec 20A active curved source array.
— Innovox with the HLA-2035P hybrid line array and CLA-1620 curvilinear array.
— Music Tribe with the QFLEX 48 digitally steerable column array and Turbosound TBV123-AN constant curvature, arrayable loudspeaker.
— RCF USA with the HDL 28-A bi-amped active touring system and EVOX J8/JMIX8 (the latter with a mixer) portable PA.
— Renkus-Heinz with the ICLive X Series, offering two freely combinable, steerable-array modules, the ICLX and ICLXL.
— TW Audio with the T24N, a compact full-range loudspeaker and the M8 compact loudspeaker with rotatable horn.
At the front of house position, mix/control engineer Michael Lawrence (technical editor for PSW/LSI) utilized a Midas Pro2 digital console to manage and deliver audio to each system. The console fed the nearside systems directly and also sent a feed to a DL231 I/O unit posted on the other side of the room to drive those systems.
Demo host/emcee Phil Garfinkel (contributing features editor for PSW/LSI) was outfitted with a Lectrosonics Digital Hybrid Wireless system. Prior to each session, all systems were fed pink noise, with the designated sound pressure level set and confirmed.
This process, managed by Lawrence and a team from Rational Acoustics (big thanks to Jamie Anderson, John Aldrich and Gavin Canaan), utilized the 10EaZy measurement platform, receiving input from the centrally located measurement mic and supplying constant SPL readings to attendees via a large video monitor during all full demo sessions. In addition, two large-format video screens flanking the stages provided attendees with key information about the systems.
Following standard practice established at the initial demo, systems were fed identical music tracks during each full demo session. Listeners could evaluate what they hear and also observe each system’s scale, components and other important details, in addition to getting further technical details and pricing information from qualified representatives of each company.
The playlist offered a diverse selection of styles, with each session featuring tracks spotlighting female and male vocals, as well as dynamic large-ensemble selections. Many of these tracks are utilized by manufacturers in their own system demonstrations in the field.
Lucky attendees were awarded prizes via drawings following each demo session, including Audio-Technica ATH-E40 in-ear monitors, Audix VX5 vocal mics, DAS Audio Arco 4 loudspeakers, Electro-Voice ND86 vocal mics, Link USA Eurocable microphone cables, Rational Acoustics Smaart v8, and an F6X 6-channel mixer from RCF.
The next LSI Loudspeaker Demo is slated for the WFX show in Orlando this September (17-19) at the Orange County Convention Center. Plans are already underway for the demo, so keep an eye on ProSoundWeb as well as livesound-demo.com for further updates in the near future.