The contractor/installer sound business typically conjures up images of narrow bandwidth and re-entrant, tan horns that sound terrible. That mentality has changed thanks to several leaders in the contractor field, Community Loudspeakers being one of those leaders. They now offer full range outdoor/indoor speakers called the R-Series. The model sent to us was the Community R.25-94X.
Installation, live sound
Two-way; 8-inch woofer with coaxially-mounted compression driver; 70V/100V-compatible; weather-resistant cabinet; stainless steel mounting yoke; stand mount.
$375 (with transformer – $392)
Community Loudspeakers | 610-876-3400 | www.loudspeakers.net
The Community R.25-94X is classed as an outdoor/indoor speaker with the components housed in a textured UV-resistant/weatherproof enclosure constructed of polyethylene. The enclosure is light gray with a 12-foot SJOW cable exiting the rear bottom of the box via a waterproof seal. The cabinet is an exceedingly rugged box, rounded on the rear side, but appears square from the front. It has a matching stainless steel expanded grille. The dimensions are 11 inches square on the front surface and 13 inches deep, and weighs in at 20 pounds. A stainless steel yoke is supplied with the R.25-94X, as well as a stand receiver slot at the rear of the box to allow for placement and aiming at any location.
The actual speaker components are a coaxial pair, consisting of an 8-inch cone mounted to a 3/4-inch exit compression driver. The crossover is at 2 kHz. The pair is rated at a full range spectrum of 100 Hz to 16 kHz and a combined impedance of 8 ohms. The R.25 is rated to function in either 70V or 100V distributed operation or conventional mixer/power amplifier mode. In either case, the unit is rated at 200 watts continuous capability and a sensitivity of 95 dB at 1 watt/1 meter of speech spectrum energy.
My company does concert audio, lighting, stage and roof, so we have little to no installation opportunities, but we thought that this review would be more aimed at the sound quality of the R.25, while also highlighting its hardware capabilities. My initial thought of reviewing an outdoor/indoor installation-intended speaker system was one of narrow banded, thin-sounding paging horns. We all know that sound.
When I opened the shipping boxes, my opinion was that they actually look like little concert speaker boxes that can be yoke-mounted to a wall.
We opted to employ them as center fill speakers (I know, this sounds ridiculous, but hang in here), thus testing the fidelity and range of these speakers. We were doing full concert production (sound, lights, stage, roof and power) for country music star Craig Morgan. We had to jump the two speaker box leads together into an NL4 connecter, which was a tight fit.
The speakers were placed on top of our cardioid subwoofer array, such that the R.25s were at a 90-degree angle to each other and 45 degrees to the downstage edge. They were placed on a small patch of stage carpet to keep them from walking or vibrating off the subs. They were wired to a single amplifier channel, driving them in passive mode directly off a matrix master of our Soundcraft Series Five, inserting a Klark-Teknik Square One EQ and BSS MiniDrive to act as a high-pass, pre inserted EQ filter.
I know what you are thinking – these won’t sound very good in a concert application. You know what? I thought the same thing.
Well, we were both wrong. These little gems sounded quite good. They required a little EQ, as do all speakers, but they truly held their own in keeping up with a concert speaker system. In fact, they sounded very good. The angle at which we placed the R.25s was perfect, as their own dispersion is about 90 degrees horizontally.
Now, I am not saying that this is the perfect application for these speakers, but I was pretty impressed with the full range sound quality from speakers that are intended for the installation market. We hit the R.25s pretty hard with vocals, guitars, keys and drums, and they sounded damn good. The bandwidth was surprisingly wide, enunciation was perfectly clear and the dispersion was perfect for this occasion.
I believe that a concert application is a real workout for any speaker system, but also a truly good test of what something like the R.25 is capable. We found the R.25 to be of superb construction quality and excellent audio quality. The R25 would be right at home in a stadium, theme park, zoo, or anywhere you are considering full range, installed, outdoor sound. If they can survive a rock ’n roll show, they’ll work great in a skating rink.
Will James, owner and chief engineer of Atlantis Audio and Lighting, is a contributor to Pro Audio Review.
Soundcraft Series Five console (48-channel); A-Line Acoustics AL10 powered line array and LS218 powered subs; QSC Powerlight 1.4 power amplifier.