SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, CA— While line-array loudspeaker technology has found its most prominent following within the live-sound community, the same method of arranging multiple drivers
or enclosures can equally well be applied to places where the audio content is more likely to be an airline departure announcement than a rock guitar solo.
At April’s ProLight+ Sound exhibition in Frankfurt, TOA showed its new Type H line array for commercial buildings. Available in four configurations—all based on the same 7cm full-range drive unit—the array needs no external signal processing, and little in the way of power, to deliver highly intelligible sound.
As TOA’s Brett Downing put it: “The ability of line arrays to resist sound attenuation over distance is well-documented and they are justifiably popular in concert applications. In the field of commercial audio they have traditionally been viewed as an expensive option, but Type H challenges that notion with a compact design that is easy to install and set up, and won’t bust the budget.”
Moving upmarket, the Ateïs Messenger steerable array— distributed in the U.S. by Penton— has now been formally unveiled in its “next generation” G2 design, just as Penton’s Anders Strom promised in SCN March. With improved S/N ratios, higher power handling, and enhanced networking options, the latest Messenger is certainly capable of delivering more than mere announcements.
But these arrays’ great selling point remains their huge onboard processing power, with a softwarevariable acoustical center that allows contractors to compensate for architectural features in any given space, as well as adapting the speaker to a particular application.
The range of different approaches to line-array design for commercial buildings is still not as wide as that for live sound, but the choice is getting wider and, if current trends are anything to go by, can only get wider still.