On the flight from BNA to DFW on Tuesday my seatmate asked if I was going to InfoComm. I was and assumed he was too since he knew of the show. Actually, no, the fellow, who specializes in HOW AV installs told me, he wasnâ€™t going this year because for the last two shows he said that the number and nature of new products was pretty slim. He wished me a good show. After day one, I wish he would have gone to the show.
InfoComm 2010 is awash in new products; the R&D levees have broken wide open after two years of recession. Where to begin. One trend was smaller, more powerful PAs.
How about EAWâ€™s new QX Series loudspeakers, optimized for installed system applications that require precise directivity in a powerful low-profile form. The QX combines elements of EAWâ€™s MQ and AX Series enclosures and, EAWâ€™s Katie Naish told me, essentially formalizes regular requests to EAWâ€™s Built To Order (BTO) custom shop, from clients looking for high power in a small cabinet with a more highly controlled dispersion pattern. Key products within the QX, as well as the JF and KF Series are now also fitted for EAWâ€™s NF digital audio network. NF has been around since 2002 but Naish said the company is going to start promoting it more actively this year.
Meyer Sound also had a new entry. The CAL is a new series of high- control/low-profile self-powered steerable column array loudspeakers. The vertical beam can be angled up or down 30 degrees and can be configured with vertical beam widths from five to 60 degrees. Multiple or split beams can be used as needed to fit the application. Using a range of vertical control presets programmed for the steerable column array loudspeakers, system integrators can choose the angle and dispersion to accurately project sound where needed while avoiding surfaces that interfere with speech signal transmissions.
Harmanâ€™s press conference was loaded with new offerings. Soundcraft and Studer debuted two new mix consoles, one for each end of its spectrum. The new Vi1 console puts 32 channels of analogue inputs, 27 analog outputs, plus 6 digital inputs, 4 stereo FX returns and 6 digital outputs in one compact chassis. But the smaller, lower-priced desk also incorporates Soundcraftâ€™s Vistonics user interface. As does the new Studer Vista 9, which adds new metering for mono through 7.1. Especially cool is the History feature that lets users record the location of problem events like distorions and overloadsup to 30 seconds after the event has occurred. JBL Professional introduced its new Commercial Series ceiling speakers, affordable ceiling speaker solution that are designed to meet the requirements of UL1480 and UL2043 for use in plenum ceiling spaces.
Audio-Technicaâ€™s new ES963 Three-Element Multidirectional Boundary Microphone is designed for surface-mount applications such as conferencing, Three cardioid condenser elements mounted in the microphone housing are factory set with an angle of 120 degrees between them to provide complete 360-degree coverage. Two positioning levers on the microphone base allow two of the three elements to be reoriented to offer angles of 90/90/180 degrees between elements â€“ ideal for positioning at the end of long conference tables, for example. A-Tâ€™s Steve Savanyu said conference clients need to get more done, more cost-effectively. â€œMeetings and conferences are getting bigger and integrators are asking us for solutions for that,â€œ he said. The new RCU104 Receiver Coordinator Unit expands A-Tâ€™s SpectraPulse coverage area and robustness of the UWB signal through the use of multiple DRM141 Digital Receiver modules. It also allows a single SpectraPulse system to be shared between two closely-located or adjacent rooms, expanding the coverage area of the system.
Finally, weâ€™ve seen the big names in commercial system automation become major players in the residential space. At InfoComm, Control4 announced it was moving into the commercial space. Control4 Commercial Systems came out with a full line of controllers, touch screens, lighting, software, mobile applications, and energy management solutions, all conforming to its standards-based open platform. â€œBringing Control4 solutions to the Pro AV market is a natural move for us,â€? said Jim Gist, VP of Control4 Commercial Systems, â€œOur dealers have successfully implemented existing Control4 solutions into commercial projects, and we already have a thriving business in the hospitality market.â€? Apropos of this yearâ€™s show, Control4 touted its â€œdoor-to-drapesâ€? implementation in over 4,000 rooms at ARIA Resort & Casino, and over 400 rooms in the Mandarin Oriental, both at Las Vegasâ€™ new CityCenter.