Tannoy has introduced two new additions to the QFlex range of digitally steerable, multi-channel, column array loudspeakers, specifically engineered to offer fully optimized solutions for life safety applications.
Tannoy has developed the new QFlex Life Safety (LS) models as a cost effective solution for critical, life safety applications, a solution that balances complex power consumption needs with the high performance and intelligibility that is the core of the proven QFlex range.
Based on Tannoy’s superior knowledge and heritage of speech intelligibility in critical listening in difficult acoustic environments, the new models have an optimized driver placement and improved current draw, making them perfect for applications where emergency voice alarms or communications may be required.
The new QFlex 16LS and QFlex 32LS column loudspeakers are designed primarily for large transportation hubs as part of a PA/VA system where speech is the main audio source, either from live announcements or via pre-recorded message. These new QFlex life safety models are specifically intended to optimize voice reinforcement and intelligibility, and as a result make them more affordable, and therefore applicable, to a wider range of projects.
Tannoy’s QFlex beam steering technology gives the system designer a unique set of tools for controlling sound in large, acoustically challenging, highly reverberant spaces – which typically might involve large expanses of reflective surfaces such as glass, metal, concrete or stone – by directing audio from the loudspeakers to a specific location in the listening area using sophisticated DSP combined with onboard digital amplification.
The QFlex 16LS makes use of a fewer number of wider bandwidth 4-inch low frequency drivers than the equivalently sized QFlex 40 model to achieve an emphasis on the speech band only, over an effective distance of up to 70 meters. Each of the 16 drivers is controlled by its own discrete channel of 100 Watt (RMS) Class D amplification and cutting edge DSP, the reduced driver count and wider spacing enabling a 50% reduction in power consumption.
The QFlex 16LS provides a beam steering range of ±40 degrees with effective low frequency control down to 230 Hz. Dispersion is nominally 120 degrees horizontal and a vertical range of between 5 degrees and 100 degrees, either symmetrical or asymmetrical.
The larger QFlex 32LS contains a combination of 4-inch and 3-inch low frequency drivers, distributed over the equivalent length of the QFlex 48, and an eight-way tweeter array of 1-inch drivers. Each driver is individually powered by one of 32 discrete channels of integrated 100 Watt (RMS) Class D amplification and DSP.
The QFlex 32LS offers a horizontal dispersion pattern of 120 degrees and a vertical range of between 5 and 100 degrees, along with a beam steering range of ±45 degrees. Low frequency control is effective down to 200 Hz even with the fewer number and increased spread of drivers that are required for the power saving essential in the life safety environment.
Stuart Archibald, product manager for Tannoy, explains, “We determined that full-range beam-steering would be a prerequisite from the outset rather than placing emphasis only on vocal regions as with other solutions. Life safety, however, is governed by a different set of rules and requires a different approach to the design of the loudspeaker system.
“In these critical applications power consumption is a key concern and therefore uninterruptible power supplies must operate effectively as part of the evacuation systems.”
Both new QFlex Life Safety models are housed in white (or optional RAL color) extruded aluminum enclosures for minimal visual impact with a sleek architectural format.The two models also offer IP54 weather and ingress protection against dust and sprayed water as standard, consisting of gasket sealed enclosures, solid aluminum rear panels, grade 304 stainless steel mounting hardware and sealed cable gland on the input and power connector.
QFlex life safety loudspeakers interface with virtually any type of audio system, offering balanced analog inputs and links on Euroblock connectors as well as AES3 inputs, plus network and control connections. The removable cable connection panels can be fitted with kopex glands for convenient connection to the installations cable containment system. Network isolators are included as standard to prevent power surges from damaging the network under fault conditions.
Further adding to life safety credentials are Tannoy’s proprietary Pilot Tone Detection capability, and Sentinel SM1 System Monitor. Pilot Tone Detection uses an external pilot tone to constantly check the integrity of the cabling and audio signal path between the source and each QFlex loudspeaker, meeting BS5839 requirements. Presence of the pilot tone can be checked in software or hardware, while input switching is also available should the primary input fail, giving full system redundancy.
For large networks, Sentinel System Monitor provides a complete system-wide fault monitoring and reporting solution for mission critical applications. Sentinel keeps a watchful eye on the audio system, and if required, any controlling PCs. Problems are reported both via relay contacts to the main monitoring panel in the system as well as being shown on Sentinel’s front panel display. Multiple Sentinels can even monitor each other and the same network simultaneously for systems that require dual-redundant monitoring.
The new QFlex life safety models are fully compatible with Tannoy’s VNET monitoring and control protocol, enabling them to share the same network as other VNET-compatible Tannoy loudspeakers.