Tag Archives: Loudspeaker

German Physiks Borderland MK IV Loudspeaker

Ah, Germany. Home of Bavarian pretzels, Pilsner beer, finely crafted watches, and some of the best stereo equipment to grace an eardrum. Based in Maintal, in the State of Hesse, German Physiks approaches speaker design by rejecting the accepted solutions. GP’s chief designer Holger Mueller’s goal was to recreate live music by utilizing a driver resembling a point source, with the goal of conveying as much of the signal as possible while avoiding multi-driver incoherence, phase and time misalignment, and crossover issues. In other words, to create a wonderfully complex solution by Keeping It Simple, Stupid! 

A little history is in order. In 1978, purely as an academic exercise as he was not involved in the audio industry at the time, a German engineer named Peter Dicks decided to investigate the Walsh speaker (then being manufactured by Ohm Acoustics). He produced a computer model of the Walsh driver, which enabled him to see how it could be improved. After spending several years refining his model, he produced a series of working prototypes, which  he showed to a number of European loudspeaker makers. None of them displayed any interest. 

In the early 1990s, Peter showed the design to Holger Mueller, who was running a company in Frankfurt, Germany, called Mainhattan Acustik, making loudspeaker systems and also drivers for OEM use. Customers for his drivers included one very well-known U.S. high-end loudspeaker manufacturer and also one of the big German car manufacturers. Mueller had been a fan of the Ohm F and its Walsh driver and saw potential in the design that Peter presented. He then spent two years working together with Peter to produce a commercial product, and this became the Dicks Dipole Driver. The DDD used a cone made from 0.001″ (0.025mm) thick titanium foil. Mueller started a new company to produce loudspeakers using this driver, and in 1992 the firm launched its first product, the German Physiks Borderland Mk I. 

The DDD, used in all German Physiks designs, has been considerably refined over the years, and now uses a cone made from carbon fiber. Sonically the titanium DDD driver was extremely good, but the cone was also extremely fragile and difficult to manufacture. The current carbon-fiber DDD will resist a large amount of physical abuse and offers a wider frequency response than the titanium version.

Interestingly, Maintal is only a 13-minute drive from Hanau, Germany, the birthplace of Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm, creators of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales. I’m not sure what they have in the water in this region, but it has clearly resulted in some serious out-of-the-box thinking! 

The DDD resembles a very long pistonic driver mounted vertically. Although it operates pistonically at low frequencies, the majority of its nearly seven-octave range is generated through bending-wave and modal radiation. This is facilitated by the driver’s very low moving mass (less than three grams) and the extreme flexibility of its carbon-fiber cone. The outside of the driver cone is exposed and radiates in 360 degrees, with the magnet (generating around 1.2 Tesla of magnetic induction) housed at the apex, and the cone’s throat playing into a fixed-volume sealed enclosure. This design results in an incredibly wide frequency response of 190Hz to 24kHz from a stunningly small area of radiation, which stays phase-linear throughout its entire operating range. Its engineering complexity belies its simple appearance; the single DDD essentially functions acoustically as a four-driver system. 

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Original Resource is Articles – The Absolute Sound

Ashly Audio Expands AW Series On-Wall Speaker Line

AW Series On-Wall speaker lineWebster, NY (June 23, 2021)—Ashly Audio has expanded its AW Series On-Wall speaker line with a new Plus model, sporting a higher power transformer for integrations in larger spaces.

With the Plus model, Ashly Audio has increased the output power of its 70 and 100 volt transformers in a move to enable more integration options. All AW speakers are designed to coexist within the Ashly Audio ecosystem and make use of its Protēa and AquaControl DSP.

Ashly Audio Updates AquaControl Software

The new Plus model, which will be stylized as AWT+, offers a power upgrade to make the speakers more accessible for larger rooms, such as retail spaces, transportation centers or noisy sports bars. The AW-5.2T+ is now available at 30, 15, 7.5, and 3.75W at 70V, and at 60, 30, 15, and 7.5W at 100V. The AW-8.2T+ is available at 60, 30, 15, and 7.5W at 70V, and at 60, 30, and 15W at 100V.

A Directivity Optimized Crossover in the AW design reportedly reduces the off-axis deviation in sound pressure levels to <9 db, aiming to provide a wider “sweet spot” for audio. The AW-5.2T+ & AW-8.2T+ are also IP54 rated, so they are applicable for use in outdoor situations, like patios and public spaces, as well as for indoors.

Ashly Audio • www.ashly.com

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

JBL Tour Audio Software Suite Updates Released

JBL Professional Tour Audio Software Updates
JBL Professional Tour Audio Software Updates

Northridge, CA (June 11, 2021)—JBL Professional has released a series of updates for its JBL Tour Audio Software Suite, adding new features and addressing bugs as well. The update includes Performance Manager v2.8.0; ArrayLink v1.4.0 for Android and iOS; and LAC v3.6.0.

New features in Performance Manager 2.8.0 include added preset support for AE Compact speakers; updated speaker presets for VTX S25 with the aim to provide improved reliability; and general improvements and bug fixes.

The AE Compact Series models have been added to Performance Manager, and the new speaker presets were developed for all models to match the sonic and phase signature of VTX products. Meanwhile, the new presets developed for the VTX S25 dual 15-inch subwoofer address “a rare problem,” says JBL, where under specific conditions, woofer damage could occur. The new presets include optimized LevelMax parameters to ensure safe operation under any conditions, and the sound characteristics of the product, including MAX SPL, remain unchanged.

JBL Launches IRX115S Subwoofer

The new features for ArrayLink v.1.4.0 include compatibility support for LAC-3.6.0; an added new “Light Mode” UI theme for better visibility in daylight; support for Ground-Stacked Configurations (this requires LAC-3.6.0 or higher); the addition of a Cable Weight field to the Array Statistics page; and general improvements and bug fixes.

Users who download the updated Line Array Calculator III v3.6.0 will find a number of added features, including a new SPL Over Distance Graph in Mapping mode; Added Electronic Delay Steering for Suspended Subwoofer Arrays; the ability for LAC-3 to generate QR codes for Ground-Stacked Arrays; improved center-of-gravity calculations based on selected cable weight; and more.

JBL Professional • www.jblpro.com

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

DALI Rubicon 6 C Wireless Integrated System

The next time that audiophile catalog lands in your mailbox—you know, the one that’s been coming every month or so ever since you bought a gallon of record cleaning fluid sometime during the second Clinton administration—take a close look at the photos used to show off the equipment to its best advantage. A Spartan turntable sits on a tastefully distressed wood-plank table with three potted cacti looking on admiringly. A top-quality surround-sound system is displayed in a living room on a well-maintained oak floor with glimpses of an expensive-looking Persian rug and a contemporary Italian glass coffee table in the frame. A sleek equipment rack holding thousands of dollars worth of gear sits beneath an abstract watercolor. The presentation is intended to communicate that owning good audio gear demonstrates an appreciation for the finer things in life. But do the hypothetical inhabitants of these refined spaces only look and not listen? I ask because there’s not a cable in sight.

The idea of a wireless audio system has a lot of appeal, and not just because of aesthetic considerations. There’s the chance for a designer to optimally match amplification to a loudspeaker’s drivers and enclosure. There’s all the assets and angst spared by not having to deal with interconnects and speaker cables. Although most active loudspeakers are smaller models intended for desktop or studio use, the product class has been burgeoning lately, and there have been some recent high-profile successes with full-range models aimed at the audiophile market. Bruno Putzeys’ Kii Three, the Gayle Sanders’ Eikon, and several others have joined offerings from trailblazer Meridian Audio. In the loudspeaker game since 1983, Denmark’s Dali—that’s Danish Audiophile Loudspeaker Industries—has decided to commit resources to this approach, as well.

Dali introduced two powered loudspeakers in 2017, the Callisto 2 and Callisto 6. The bookshelf Rubicon 2 C and the Rubicon 6 C floorstander considered here are the first instances of DALI taking an existing product (the Rubicon 6, at $5499 per pair, debuted in 2014) and building in the wireless technology of the Callistos. The Rubicon 6 C, with the DALI Sound Hub that serves as a streaming preamplifier connecting wirelessly to the loudspeakers, retails for a smidge under $8800.

The DALI Rubicon 6 C loudspeakers are handsome, if conventional-appearing rectangular boxes measuring 7.9″ (W) x 39.1″ (H) x 15.0″ (D). Each speaker weighs in at 45.8 pounds. The 6 C is a 2½-way bass-reflex system, with both its hybrid tweeter and two 6.5″ mid/bass drivers built by DALI in Denmark using European-manufactured parts. The high-frequency unit combines a 1″ soft dome, featuring a copper-clad aluminum voice coil, and a wide-dispersion magnetostatic ribbon. The complete tweeter assembly functions from about 2500Hz to beyond 30kHz. The mid/woofer has a wood-fiber diaphragm that’s both light and rigid, possessing an uneven surface that assures more ideal pistonic movement of the membrane. Perhaps the driver’s most significant design element is the Soft Magnetic Compound (SMC) used to replace a key iron part of the magnet structure. As explained to me by DALI CEO Lars Worre, SMC is “a pulverized material consisting of very small iron particles, which are individually coated so that when you press them together into a form, none of the particles will—electrically—be in contact. Consequentially, there will be no electrical conductivity: SMC is around ten thousand times less electrically conductive than iron but has the same excellent abilities to conduct magnetism.” DALI manufactures its mid/bass driver’s pole piece entirely from SMC, enclosing it in a slitted copper cap. A measurable consequence of this design is the virtual elimination of hysteresis, a phenomenon resulting from the asymmetry of the magnetization/demagnetization process that introduces distortion-causing resistance to the voice coil. Despite that, by necessity the SMC pole piece is located close to the magnet gap. Worre said, “We don’t lose energy to the surrounding iron materials, and the result is a dramatic reduction in distortion, particularly with odd-order harmonics.”

The Rubicon’s enclosure is fabricated from MDF, with the drivers attached directly to a one-inch-thick front baffle. Strategic internal bracing is used to reduce standing waves and resonances. There are three available finishes, all priced the same—black and white gloss lacquer and walnut veneer. The mid/bass drivers are situated in two equal-sized internal compartments, each with its own rear-firing port tuned to 36.5Hz. The 6 C employs two identical, 250W, self-oscillating, “Eigentakt” Class D amplifiers; one powers the tweeter unit and the other the two mid/bass drivers. The crossover is a hybrid of active DSP filtering and passive analog topology with hand-off frequencies of 800Hz (bottom to top midrange/bass driver), 2.6kHz (top mid/bass to dome tweeter) and 14kHz (dome to ribbon.) The system’s DAC lives in the loudspeaker, a Burr-Brown 1796 chipset. This is a PCM-only device, so those devoted to native DSD may be disappointed. Lars Worre wasn’t exactly sympathetic. “From a radio transmission point of view, we could have quite easily decided to transfer a DSD stream with oversampling corresponding to the commonly used 2.8MHz version,” he told me. “But it would have called for another platform for D-to-A conversion in the speaker. We decided to stay with the rather good-sounding 24-bit/96kHz basic format, as the use of true DSD sources is so commercially marginalized that we believe it will never, in reality, be an issue for actual customers.”

On the rear of each Rubicon 6 C, where you’d expect to find the binding posts, are an AC connector for the supplied power cord, a rocker-type power switch, a USB service port, and an RCA input to allow the loudspeaker to get line-level input from an external preamp or processor instead of DALI’s wireless Sound Hub. Above these connections is a small screen that illuminates to guide the wireless pairing process, and above that is the critical Link/Connect button. Each 6 C is provided with two metal bars that fit neatly into recesses on the speaker’s bottom to create a stabilizing outrigger structure. Four supplied spikes can be threaded into the bars; rubber bumpers are an alternative. A single grille attaches with plastic pins to cover all the drivers. Like most loudspeaker grilles, it’s not completely transparent sonically, and should be removed for critical listening—though the same party who OK’d the speakers’ admission to a shared living space because of the absence of cables may balk at the prospect of exposed drivers. So, it goes.

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GoldenEar BRX

The BRX sits at the top rung of the ladder in GoldenEar’s Bookshelf Series—a lineup that includes the well-regarded Aon Models 2 and 3. This two-way compact employs a driver complement similar to that of the Aons, but the similarities stop there. The BRX goes a step further by tapping into the high-end technologies of the Triton Series Reference tower speakers. Barely topping a foot in height and finished in a deep, hand-rubbed black lacquer, the BRX cabinets look elegant. Edges are softly rounded, side panels flare outward slightly from front-to-back, where discrete grilles cover the passive planar radiators beneath. 

Taking a look under the hood, there’s a lot going on inside the BRX’s well-braced enclosure. There are four drivers in total—two active ones, including a ribbon tweeter, otherwise known as Golden- Ear’s Reference High-Gauss High-Velocity Folded Ribbon (this is the same Air-Motion Transformer [AMT] type used in both the Triton Reference and Triton One.R.), and a 6″ polypropylene-cone mid/bass transducer, cradled in a cast-basket with GoldenEar’s focused-field magnet structure. The mid/bass cone has a proprietary curve for superior internal damping and speed. It’s also the same basic driver used in GoldenEar’s Triton Reference tower.  

Positioned at either side of the cabinet are a pair of inertially balanced, 6.5″ passive planar radiators. They acoustically load the active mid/bass driver, as well as couple bass energy to the room. While passive radiators are less commonly used than ports, they tend to achieve the same goals, while avoiding the turbulence and resonances often found in some (not all) ported bass-reflex configuration. GE’s “balanced crossover” uses a floating configuration and sports high-quality film capacitors. Even the internal speaker wire has been sourced from the Triton Reference. The BRX’s sensitivity is rated at 90dB, with a nominal impedance of 8 ohms, which makes for an easy drive. But don’t scrimp on amp quality since the mid/bass driver likes power, and you’ll want to get the most sugar you can out of the sweet ribbon tweeter.

In sonic performance, the BRX is a natural, in the sense that it just seems born to play chamber and jazz classics. It reproduces the timbral and harmonic complexities and spatial qualities of real acoustic settings as if they are etched into its DNA. Tonally, the BRX has a neutral-to-warmish signature. Midrange octaves are rich and textured, with a more romantic timbral character that reproduces music in a mellower light, as if it has a softer rose complexion. There are no discernable audio suckouts in response. In this regard, the BRX has an especially deft touch with winds and layered strings, which it transmits with a buoyancy that lifts them within the orchestra. The BRX even stands up to the challenge of reproducing the blat of a trombone or the thick reedy airflow of a tenor sax, recreating both with recognizable heft and impact and only minor compression.

The BRX floats a compellingly dimensional soundstage in the listening room—a feature consistent with a speaker that seems to avoid the more confrontational, forward-leaning (okay, aggressive) signature of many small monitors. Imaging is very good and well-focused, but always rooted within the musical whole of the performance rather than standing outside it. In painterly terms, the BRX is more of a landscape artist than a portraitist. Rather than zeroing in on a closeup to the exclusion of the overall atmosphere of the performance, the BRX creates a canvas that takes in the larger picture. I’d describe its perspective as slightly relaxed, as if you were seated just a row or two farther back from the stage. BRX successfully walks the fine line between parts and wholes like few compacts I’ve heard in my listening room.

Its treble range is well-nigh effortless—agile, airily transparent, and non-fatiguing in the way ribbon tweeters tend to be. The critical sibilance range is smooth and natural. An excellent voice speaker, the BRX expertly registers a singer’s subtle shifts of emotion by means of dynamic and timbral modulations. 

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Original Resource is Articles – The Absolute Sound

Adamson Launches IS-Series Weatherized Line, Updated Tools

Adamson IS-Series Weatherized Line
Adamson IS-Series Weatherized Line

Port Perry, Canada (May 10, 2021) — Adamson Systems Engineering has released a slew of new products, including its new line of IS-Series Weatherized installation loudspeakers and updated design tools.

The new IS-Series Weatherized line is intended for use in marine and coastal venues, outdoor stadiums, open-air performance spaces, and other permanent outdoor installations. As such, they offer an IP55 rating, and all structural steel elements of the IS-Series Weatherized cabinets are made of a high yield strength stainless alloy that reportedly offers 100% corrosion resistance. The new models also feature an interior and exterior coating for a water-resistant seal, aiding the cleaning and removal of dirt and grime.

Additionally, Adamson is also releasing an update to its suite of design tools for integrators, including new Autodesk Revit and SketchUp libraries for the IS-Series, and updated EASE and CAD files for the complete Adamson loudspeaker line. The design tools are available now for download on the Adamson website at.

House of Worship ‘The House Modesto’ Adds Adamson PA

“Working closely with our customers means we have a chance to hear exactly what they need to make it easier to design solutions that win them business,” said Jochen Sommer, Adamson’s Director of Operations, EMEA. “When we looked at expanding our toolkit for architects, integrators and sound designers, we spoke directly to our partners in the field to make sure that we built a best-in-class offering.”

“We’re excited about what our partners will be able accomplish with these new products and tools,” said Adamson’s CEO, Marc Bertrand. “And there’s plenty more to come.”

Adamson Systems Engineering • www.adamsonsystems.com

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

EAW Brings MKD Speaker Production Back to U.S.

Eastern Acoustic Works has brought the assembly of its MKD installation speaker line in-house to its Whitinsville, Massachusetts headquarters.
Eastern Acoustic Works has brought the assembly of its MKD installation speaker line in-house to its Whitinsville, Massachusetts headquarters.

Whitinsville, MA (May 7, 2021)—While many pro-audio brands have shifted much of their manufacturing overseas to Asia, Eastern Acoustic Works quietly brought the assembly of its MKD installation speaker line in-house to its Whitinsville, Massachusetts headquarters last November.

The move necessitated a new dedicated assembly space for production of the new MKD1200 Series and customization of existing products, such as the QX and MK lines. With two stations for assembly, the 2,400 square-foot space is in full operation. The new space also serves as a QC and testing area as well.

60 Seconds with Michael Palmer of Eastern Acoustic Works

The shift towards in-house assembly for the line has reportedly enabled the company to build on-demand to better meet integrator and client requirements and project timelines. TJ Smith, president of EAW, noted, “Many of EAW’s products are offered with configurable options, such as multiple horn patterns, rotatable horns and/or transformers all in black, white and weather protected cabinets. Conducting final assembly of these products in Whitinsville allows us to respond to customer demand faster and carry less inventory. Assembly in Massachusetts also saves a significant shipping cost.

“The production floor is immediately in front of the engineering team, which allows any potential problems to be identified and improvements to be made in real time,” adds Smith. “This results in near-term quality improvements, faster time to market for new products and design for manufacturability in future products. The space provides a platform for future production expansion as the organization learns, grows and new products are added to the portfolio.”

Eastern Acoustic Works • www.eaw.com

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

PreSonus Unveils MicroStation Bluetooth Monitor Controller

PreSonus MicroStation Bluetooth Monitor Controller
PreSonus MicroStation Bluetooth Monitor Controller

Baton Rouge, LA (May 5, 2021)—PreSonus is now shipping its new MicroStation BT Bluetooth 5.0 stereo monitor controller, which can receive audio from a phone, tablet or other Bluetooth source and feed it to powered speakers. The MicroStation BT also can be hardwired to a powered subwoofer to create a 2.1 listening environment.

While the unit can pair with a Bluetooth-enabled device with the press of a button, a stereo ⅛-inch input is also provided, allowing users to still connect via a wired input. Accordingly, the unit also sports a Bluetooth On/Off button that can toggle between Bluetooth and analog sources.

PreSonus Studio One V5.2 Debuts

Other onboard inputs include balanced left and right ¼-inch TRS inputs, which can route audio from pro-audio hardware to speakers, while the balanced ¼-inch TRS or unbalanced RCA Subwoofer outputs can send audio to a sub. An ⅛-inch stereo headphone/aux output lets users connect headphones or send stereo audio for streaming, recording and more.

Front and center, the main control is a large, ergonomic Volume knob that controls the overall level of connected speakers and subwoofer. A Sub Bypass button mutes the subwoofer feed, allowing users to toggle between a 2.1 system and just full-range speakers. A main Mute button with an LED status indicator let users silence your speakers or headphones as needed.

The PreSonus MicroStation BT is available now with a street price of $129.95.

PreSonus • www.presonus.com

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

Sonus faber Lumina

I associate Sonus faber with luxurious floorstanders in windswept shapes with finely grained and glossy wood finishes. Even the lowercase “f” in faber somehow makes them sound fancier. So when I was told that Sf had a new “entry-level” bookshelf for review, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The Lumina ($899) took me off guard and flipped a lot of my preconceived notions about what a bookshelf speaker in this price range sounds, looks, and feels like. In many ways, this review is about expectations: how marketing sets them, how product categories reinforce them, and how some products occasionally redefine them.

 The Lumina is a vented-box, two-way bookshelf speaker that measures a miniscule 5.8″ x 11″ x 8.4″ and weighs less than 10 pounds. I don’t normally lead with a product’s measurements, but these things are really small—borderline desktop size. They’re much slimmer than the Wharfedale bookshelves I compared them with, and are the smallest non-desktop speakers I’ve had in my listening space to date. It is only natural for people to wonder whether a set of speakers so tiny can play loud enough to fill a large room and dig down deep enough to create a sense of appreciable bass. While I don’t want to spoil the review, I’ll go ahead and spoil it anyway: Yes and yes, they most certainly do.

The tweeter is Sonux faber’s 29mm Damped Apex Dome featured in the Sonetto series, and the mid/woofer is a 120mm custom-designed driver with a diaphragm made from a blend of cellulose pulp and other natural fibers. The speaker’s nominal impedance is 4 ohms, and its sensitivity is 84dB, which means the Lumina is going to be a bit harder to drive. From my own experience, I would stick with Sf’s suggested power guideline of 30–100Wpc, though I’d aim for the upper end of that range.

 My review pair came in a wenge wood finish, but the Luminas are also available in piano black and walnut. The wenge versions include sleek silver accents around the tweeters and mid/woofers, which lend the Luminas an exquisite sense of gravitas that is strange considering their size. Best of all, the main body is wrapped in a soft, dark leather that feels great to touch and looks fantastic. Overall, I’d say these speakers are high among the most visually appealing pieces of gear I’ve ever had in my listening room. I would have gladly placed them in my living room if I didn’t have a toddler who would immediately destroy them.

 Of course, speakers are only as good as they sound, and physical attributes don’t always reveal a product’s inner worth. I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, even though everyone’s always judging based on covers, but in this instance, I’d say the form factor of the Lumina does suggest something about the way it’s going to sound, just not in the way you might expect.

 First up on my turntable was a new record from Nat Birchall, a UK multi-instrumentalist and jazz musician. His spiritual, Sun Ra-inspired Mysticism of Sound felt a lot like a pandemic album: self-produced with Birchall playing every instrument. Which is actually a great thing, because Mysticism of Sound reveals a wide and arcing breadth of music. While Birchall’s playing is melodic and multifarious, I couldn’t help but notice the low end first and foremost. Bookshelf speakers don’t typically create powerful bass, and while that was certainly true to some extent in this case, I was still absolutely astounded by the big sounds coming from the Luminas. Considering their tiny dimensions, they shouldn’t have given me a very palpable sense of the low end, and yet never once did I feel the need to turn them up to compensate for their size.

The track “Inner Pathway” is a meandering musical journey with a simple cymbal tap keeping precise time, while Birchall’s sax plays atop a mix of bass and synth. Sax mids were liquid smooth, and the nice sax tone shined through. The synth and bass combination made for a big, deep sonic landscape, and I was impressed with the Luminas’ ability to reproduce a clear and crisp midrange, while still digging deep for the rhythmic bass. It was a comforting and intriguing sound, not at all what I expected from these tiny boxes.

I switched over to the Speaker’s Corner reissue of the 1956 album The Jazz Messengers. Art Blakey plays the only way he knows how: big, bold, and in control. The Luminas kept his fast-paced snare rolls on “Infra-Rae” in tight focus, while his call-and-response solo toward the end of the track was booming and had just enough depth for the kicks to resonate. There’s nothing like a Blakey fill smashing me in the teeth; I always ask for more when he’s through. I want and need a pair of speakers to recreate Blakey’s impact in an almost painful way, and while I can’t say I was left with a gaping chest wound from the Luminas’ low end, I was very impressed by the overall sound. For me, that tactile response, where the bass isn’t just heard but also felt, is the hallmark of perfect bottom octaves. The Luminas simply can’t push enough air to make a kick drum feel like a kick drum. But they certainly do sound like a kick drum, which is a feat in itself.

The live album East/West by Ill Considered features meandering and repetitive, looping, free-jazz freak-outs. The energy of this live show remained solidly grounded through the Luminas, and the mingling of the dual saxophones with Emre Ramazanoglu’s drums and Leon Brichard’s bass created a blanket of twisting sounds. The saxophones were front and center, and the Luminas, once again, built a nice, deep soundstage while reproducing just enough ambient crowd noise to make the space feel like it was alive. Finesse and speed are particularly important when it comes to a live album like East/West, and the Luminas remained on beat and engaging. Drums had enough heft and cymbals had enough sparkle, and the distorted bass rumbled just right below it all. During my listen to these sparkling LPs, I was never tempted to swap in my bigger main speakers for more powerful impact, which I think says a lot for the Luminas.

Speaking of sheer size and scope, I recently received VMP’s reissue of one of my all-time Top Five albums, Spiritualized’s Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space. It’s an emotional, maximalist slog through a breakup, and a great way to test speakers. It’s the sort of album where more is never enough, and the end result is an enormous, gorgeous sonic landscape. The third track “I Think I’m In Love” starts out with spacey synth over a simple intermittent bass line. Through less than ideal speakers, it can sound a little hollow and the soundstage doesn’t feel deep enough. But the Lumina did it justice, especially as the song progressed and more and more instruments, noises, and voices were added to the mix. 

Finally, I turned to my latest obsession: The Tone Poets series from Blue Note Records. Herbie Hancock’s My Point of View was his second release as a leader and features a fantastic septet. Anthony Williams’s drumming was tight and on point. His cymbals shimmered with just enough sparkle, and his frequent, interesting flourishes and fills sound tight and solid. Tone Poet records are some of the best sounding in my collection and a great test of any system. The Luminas had superior soundstage separation and depth, with Hancock’s piano dead center and the drums shoved off in the right channel. The opening track on Side B, “King Cobra,” begins with a trumpet solo from Donald Byrd, which sounded smooth and tight, never venturing into the harsh and grating, despite getting fairly loud. 

I’ll admit to having some preconceived ideas about how smallish bookshelf speakers were going to sound. Just because of their size, I assumed they wouldn’t have deep bass heft, and they probably wouldn’t have the tightest sense of rhythm and dynamics. However, the Luminas proved me very, very wrong. No, they aren’t going to give you heart palpitations with their sub-bass rumbles. (Again, physics is a thing.) But the Luminas certainly changed my mind about how small bookshelf speakers are supposed to sound—or can sound. As far as I’m concerned, these are the new sub-$1k bookshelf speakers to beat. Just keep in mind those power amp requirements. Highly recommended to anyone looking for fantastic sound and beautiful style in a surprisingly compact package. 

Specs & Pricing

Driver complement: 29mm Damped Apex Dome tweeter, 120mm paper-cone mid/woofer
Frequency response: 65Hz–24kHz
Impedance: 4 ohms
Sensitivity: 84dB SPL (2.83V/1m)
Crossover: 2kHz
Loading: Bass-reflex
Finish: Wenge, black, walnut
Dimensions: 5.8″ x 11″ x 8.4″
Weight: 9.7 lbs. each
Price: $899/pr.

36057 Arcugnano (VI)
[email protected]

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Austin Stone Church Updates with d&b

Austin Stone Church updated its newest campus with a d&b audiotechnik Y series line array system
Austin Stone Church updated its newest campus with a d&b audiotechnik Y series line array system

Austin, TX (April 30, 2021)—The Austin Stone Church (ASC) serves a community of nearly 8,000 weekly attendees throughout its six locations, and it’s most recent campus was added last year during the pandemic. Getting it up to speed meant that the ASC team and Brown Note Productions (BNP) did a number of AV updates over the course of 2020, including the installation of a d&b audiotechnik Y series line array system; in fact, all of the church’s locations sport d&b systems.

The extensive updating of the new 832-seat contemporary worship campus is necessary, as the church is aiming for it to become its primary broadcast campus along with offering regular Sunday services that feature seven musicians/vocalists (drums, keys, guitar, bass, and playback, as well as three lead vocalists). There are two services per week at the new campus.

Creating Spellbinding Live Sound for Harry Potter

“The main challenge with this install was the raked, fan shape of the space and trying to deliver a similar experience to every seat,” states Ryan Robertson, production audio manager, Austin Stone Church. “The previous system was an old clustered point source system that really did a poor job of that; you could move what felt like five feet in any direction and have a very different experience. One of our main objectives with any of our new venues is to give each person that attends the same experience, whether in the front row or way back in the corner. No other manufacturer does as good of a job of that than d&b in my opinion. Every system really does follow the ‘more art, less noise’ motto by putting sound only where it needs to go, especially when ArrayProcessing is deployed. I always feel confident when mixing on a well deployed d&b system that what I’m mixing at front of house is being heard and felt in essentially every seat in the venue. This install is no exception.  On top of that, there is a clarity and sonic signature of d&b that fits perfectly with the style of music we are mixing and is highly preferred.”

System highlights include eight Y8 and eight Y12 loudspeakers, a trio of J-SUBs ground subwoofers, a pair of d&b J-INFRAs on the outside of the sub array, eight E6 loudspeakers for front fills, a Y10P loudspeaker, two Y7P loudspeakers for out fills, eight 30D amplifiers, a 10D amplifier and a DS10 Dante bridge.

The front of house is outfitted with a DiGiCo S31console with Dante I/O and Focusrite AES interface, and a Q-SYS Control system utilizing a d&b plug-in for complete AV system control and automation allowing for “self-serve” AV modes for a wide variety of uses. An Avid Pro Tools Dante-enabled broadcast package is provided for livestream and post-production use.

“The new d&b system sounds fantastic,” adds Robertson. “The power and clarity of the system really draws you in as a listener. It was fun to see the reactions and smiles on the face of our leadership team as they listened to it for the first time. Their main reaction was how intelligible everything was. They felt like they could actually hear distinctly everything that was happening in the mix, not just a wall of sound. The band has said they have a new level of confidence in what they play and sing and that it is accurately being conveyed into the room. It makes them that much more excited to get up early on a Sunday and lead our people.”

Brown Note Productions • www.brownnote.com

d&b audiotechnik • www.dbaudio.com

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com