I recently had the opportunity to hear the latest offering from the Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems Division with the introduction of the Installation series, the first complete line of sound reinforcement speaker products at the recent NSCA show in Orlando, FL. The speakers were previewed in a demo room with a well-done PowerPoint presentation that included pre-recorded material to highlight the various speaker models.
With availability beginning in June, 2005 and MSRPs ranging from $700 to $2,900, a total of 19 speaker enclosures, hardware, components and passive or active crossover networks have been engineered to meet the requirements of the medium-to-large scale touring and installation markets.
The Yamaha Installation Series was conceived and developed through a unique collaboration between two companies and names in the fields of sound reinforcement and cabinet design. Audio Composite Engineering (ACE) and its highly respected acoustic engineer Michael Adams were retained by Yamaha to realize the product concepts of Yamaha’s legendary speaker engineer, Akira Nakamura.
Since 1965, Mr. Nakamura has helped to develop a wide variety of innovative musical instrument products, hi-fi and commercial audio speakers, the most famous being the industry standard Yamaha NS-10M studio reference monitor. Adams is currently vice president at ACE, and has more than three decades of experience as a speaker designer and mixing engineer. He has designed all the touring systems for international sound reinforcement company Sound Image, including the proprietary G-5 composite systems.
Installation Series models include 12-inch and 15-inch full range two and three-way loudspeakers; horn loaded mid/high loudspeakers; single and dual eight-inch two-way loudspeakers; a dual five-inch full range speaker; plus a single 15-inch, a single 18-inch, dual 15-inch and dual 18-inch subwoofers. Cabinets can be stacked, arrayed or hung, and multi-angled cabinets can also be used as floor monitors – a nice, flexible feature.
Uniform phase response throughout the entire series enables users to mix and match any number or type of speakers without hot spots and dead areas due to interference and cancellation. High frequency horns can be rotated to enhance high frequency dispersion and response, particularly where space consideration dictates speaker orientation. The series includes a selection of horn coverage patterns (60 x 40 degree, 90 x 50 degree, 90 x 90 degree) designed for ideal long-range, short-range and long/short-range throw applications.
Connections include a barrier strip and dual Neutrik NL4 connectors (three-way models include Neutrik NL8 connectors). A mode selector switch offers a choice of biamp, (passive) single-amp, triamp, parallel or discrete operation, depending upon cabinet type.
Constructed of high-density Finnish birch, cabinet exteriors feature textured black or white (designated with the prefix W) finishes, and may be painted to incorporate into any environment. Full dado joint construction minimizes cabinet vibration, while foam-backed, 14-gauge perforated steel grilles offer additional component protection. The Installation Series is built at Yamaha’s Thomaston, Ga. factory, where Yamaha builds its pianos and several other lines of speaker systems.
Installation Series cabinets include multiple rigging points for flexible hanging with Yamaha or third-party hardware. All enclosures are pre-fitted with M10 threaded inserts and include a kit containing four forged eyebolts. Standard U-bracket and array-frame hardware is also available for maximum convenience.
Although it is hard to completely evaluate a speaker line at a trade show inside a demo room, one of the series’ selling aspects is the consistency in sound between each model type so when integrated in a design, the sound is, in theory, seamless. In my opinion, I couldn’t quite hear that from the various playback material offered during the demonstration. There appeared to be noticeable differences between speaker models, however all sounded fairly well with the two-way 12-inch full range sounding the best. Yamaha’s introduction of this speaker line enables the company to offer a full package of sound reinforcement products, from the console and amplifiers to the DME (Digital Mixing Engine) and speakers. I look forward to evaluating this line in a real live sound reinforcement application with some of my favorite Yamaha consoles.
For more information contact Yamaha at 714-522-9011, www.yamaha.com/ca.