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Mini line arrays: New users, new applications

Leading manufacturers are adding ever more compact systems to their line array ranges. But what are the practical and economic benefits of the miniaturisation trend?

Continued from part one.

It stands to reason that these systems have also proven to be dependable bankers for manufacturers attempting to ride the changes. But their ability to accommodate a variety of applications – not all of which have been completely foreseen – has also had more subtle repercussions in terms of general brand profile. There is the suggestion, too, that compact systems can fulfil a ‘gateway’ function to broader product ranges, including larger-format arrays.

JBL is an old hand at compact line arrays, having introduced such milestones as the single 8” full-range, two-way VRX928LA in 2007 and the dual 6.5” full-range, three-way VT4886 in 2010. “Once JBL introduced more compact line array systems, we found there were potentially many new users due to size and the more cost-effective price point,” says JBL Professional’s SR manager market development – installed sound, Jon Sager. “There are a number of facilities around the world that do not require high sound pressure performance levels; the systems are only used for speech and background music. In those facilities, there is often a desire to utilise line array technology to balance front to back SPL, and to achieve wide coverage from a single source.” (Pictured below right are the JBL line arrays at the historic Palestra arena at the University of Pennsylvania, US.)

For Martin Audio, the MLA Mini has provided another way for rental companies and install customers to experience the benefits of its MLA (Multi-Cellular Loudspeaker Array) technology, which has won any number of plaudits since debuting in its large-format version at InfoComm in 2010. Compact systems like MLA Mini “open the opportunity for rental companies to buy into the multi-cellular revolution at a significantly reduced cost, or are suited to venues for permanent install that either due to size or cost could not consider its bigger brothers,” says King.

Meanwhile, Meyer Sound’s LYON – which incorporates the technology of the LEO family in a lighter and more compact package – is bringing the US loudspeaker to new audiences, including those currently revelling in what we might label the ‘second wave of rave’.

“LYON is having an extremely busy festival season,” confirms Jenks, “and together with the potent 1100-LFC [Low Frequency Control element] it’s raising the profile of Meyer Sound across all live music applications, particularly European electronic dance music [at events such as the] Soenda EDM Festival in the Netherlands and Mayday in Germany.”

DAS Audio has also experienced a general broadening of its reach thanks to a four-strong compact line array offer that includes Aero 8A, Aero 12A, Event 208A and Event 210A. “These new products have led to [us] being able to address different sectors of the product and provide solutions for our clients and, therefore, increased sales. Products like our Aero 12A, the Aero 8A’s bigger sibling, have sold over 10,000 units worldwide,” reveals marketing director Roberto Giner. (DAS Audio’s Aero is pictured right at the Provident Bank Park stadium in New York.)

Read part three on Monday!

Main picture: Elton John with Coda ViRAY at Resenlund Parken, Skive, Denmark