Throughout the years, I have heard just about every speaker design in every application possible. In the world of installations, the resources are limited with few options and even fewer good-sounding speakers.
There is a lot of junk out there; you'll regularly see it in small theaters and even large retail stores. The old adage of "no highs, no lows" is heard every time you have dinner underneath an overhead install system that is overdriven and not appropriate for the application, or even in your local small theater that went on the cheap due to America's general lack of interest in the local arts. Let's hope the world will change a little with the introduction of Community's VERIS Series of varying-format installation speakers.
VERIS stands for VERsatile Installation Systems, and with a range of sizes for all applications, this series is definitely versatile. All of the company's smaller-sized cabinets (VERIS 6 through VERIS 28) can be ordered with an internal 70V/100V auto-former for use in large distributed systems, and the larger cabinets of the series (VERIS 12, 15, 32, and 35) offer varying horn dispersion patterns (60 X 40 or 90 X 60-degree options). The series goes from the smallest VERIS 6, 8, 26, and 28 to the larger VERIS 12, 15, 32, and 35 along with Community's dual subwoofer cabinets, the VERIS 210S and 212S.
The set of cabinets that Community delivered for this review are the VERIS 32s with the 90 x 40-degree horns. The VERIS 32 is a full-range, three-way trapezoid box. It is equipped with a single 12-inch low driver, a 6.5-inch horn-loaded mid driver and a 1-inch horn-loaded highend compression driver. The frequency response is rated at 80 Hz to 13 kHz (±3.5 dB). The internal crossover is set at 800 Hz from low to mid and 3 kHz from mid to high with a recommended highpass filter set at 60 Hz. Power handling is rated at 200W RMS, 500W program with a 990W peak and impedance is rated at 8 ohms. Maximum SPL is rated at 121 dB at one meter. The weight per cabinet is 52.5 lbs.
It is clear that Community has thought ahead as they offer multiple options for VERIS Series installation; these include everything from brackets and tilting brackets to eyebolts, stand kits, vertical flying kits (for forming clusters in an array), ceiling mounts and their very-versatile flying yokes. Input connectors are either barrier strip or NL4 standard. The cabinet is made from 18mm, 11-ply laminated birch wood. Community offers the VERIS Series in black or white paint finishes—the latter of which is very useful for the house-of-worship installation market.
I had the pleasure of using two VERIS 32 cabinets over the last few months on a large variety of shows. I have always been wary of reviewing install speakers since I don't perform installs. However, I figure if they can hold up to the abuse I put them through from gig to gig, they will perform well in any permanent installation.
When the boxes arrived, I was happy to see they had NL4 connectors wired for full range on pair one. This was helpful since I would not need to make special cables for them; I could use them right out of the box, and so I did. In the shop they sounded adequate, and I thought I might fit them in nicely with an upcoming corporate show; I needed to provide a set of speakers in a lobby of a ballroom to play next to plasma screens running the company's promo video. They sounded great with plenty of throw to fill the lobby.
Next on the show list was to use the VERIS 32 pair as front fill on a "talking heads" gig with a lot of video playback. The 32s were not as good as my usual Meyer Sound or D&B speakers, but they filled the show out nicely. I can see how these would make a theater, church, or large retail store sound great and stand out among the mess of junk that is out there. Although I did not have a chance to use them with their matched Community subwoofers, I did use them with a set of D&B QSubs; they matched fairly well with some adjustments.
After all of the shows, I ended up putting them in our shop as the best shop speakers we have ever had. Our shop manager was not pleased to hear I had to send them back.
I was amazed by these Community VERIS speakers. I truly think that if system designers do their jobs, this series of speakers can find its way into more applications. Community has obviously thought through the varying aspects of installs by offering not only a well-rounded speaker, but also a variety of rigging and install options. I predict that we will see more of the VERIS Series in all the public places we frequent.
Dave Rittenhouse is an engineer and salesman for MHA Audio in Hagerstown, Maryland.