The toughest speakers I have yet to encounter have to be the Technomads (Technomad Soho 12, Noho/C WeatherTech Loudspeaker System, PAR, 12/00, p.70). Built into an Army ammo-style transport box fabricated from a resilient, molded-plastic compound, they looked like I could roll a Sherman tank over them without fear. Technomad recently introduced a line of small, two-way speakers aimed at all-weather distributed sound system applications.
The Vernal 15 ($229 each) embodies the company’s trademark rough-and-ready approach in a small package. Available in 70 V or 8-ohm models, they utilize the same space-age polyethylene plastic and molding techniques as their big brothers, and come in 13 optional impregnated colors, including the standard black.
The Vernal 15 incorporates a polypropylene 5-inch woofer with butyl surround and a 1-inch ceramic high-frequency driver. These components are said to withstand harsh environments and, with the ceramic HF driver, project and have better dispersion (120 degrees horizontal) than the typical dome HF driver. The components are protected with a unique three-layer grille, the outer layer of which is composed of a specially treated black stainless steel. Rated power handling is 60 W RMS.
The internal protection circuitry and crossover are designed to withstand a 180 Watt peak program, which is fairly ambitious in a small (6 inch by 6 inch by 9 inch) but hefty 8 pound speaker. The manufacturer claims the frequency response is 100 Hz to 18 kHz. The speakers have an impedance of 8 ohms and a claimed sensitivity of 91 dB SPL from 1 W at 1 meter.
One of the best features of the Vernal 15 is that it can be mounted in a variety of ways. There are eight brass threaded inserts that can be used with Omnimount or APC bracket systems, standard eyebolts and other off-the-shelf hardware. You are not limited to a manufacturer-based mounting system.
Input connections are made via a screw-terminal barrier strip. Being a contractor, I prefer these to the spring terminals found on some other boxes. Terminating the speaker wire with a crimp connector gives one a more positive, longer lasting connection, in my opinion.
I swapped out a pair of popular, small two-way speakers with the Vernal 15s in an outdoor residential setting. The Technomads definitely projected better and were perceived as being louder (perhaps one reason being higher sensitivity). But they did not have a high-fidelity quality to them as did the others; the ceramic tweeter as compared to the dome was a little brash and strident with certain program material. (To address this, Technomad says it recently added a new network design that enhances closefield smoothness while preserving the Vernals ability to cover a large area-Ed.)
On the other hand, the Vernal 15’s low midrange seemed tighter and more controlled, possibly owing to the rigid cabinet construction. The wide dispersion qualities were apparent to me at the outer reaches of the demonstration area.
I was impressed by the durability of the Vernal 15’s 3/8-inch thick plastic cabinet and the lengths Technomad has taken to provide a bulletproof, weather-resistant product. The ceramic HF driver does cut well through ambient noise, is wide dispersion in nature and provides superior coverage – ultimately requiring fewer boxes in a distributed system than the standard small two-way speaker.
The multiple mounting options are big plus. At a list price of $229 each, the Technomad Vernal 15 is a viable option, especially when the environment demands it.
Contact: Technomad at 800-464-7757.