COMPANIES: Nexo and Yamaha
BACKGROUND: Yamaha Corporation and Nexo formed their strategic alliance in June 2005, and have just unveiled a new line of TDcontrollers that are powered by NXAMP, a combined amplifier, DSP, and loudspeaker control package.
LOCATION: The unveiling of NXAMP conicides with Nexo's move into a new manufacturing facility just outside Paris, France (pictured), which has given the company much-needed extra production capacity.
Ever since Yamaha Corporation and Nexo formed their strategic alliance in June 2005, the contractor community has been waiting for the first products of the two companies' R&D partnership. Nowhere has this been more true than in the U.S., where Yamaha distributes Nexo products to professional audio dealers working in both live sound and installation.
On paper it certainly seemed the perfect match. Yamaha's expertise in power amplification and DSP technology (with its DME series products) looked to have been given the ideal R&D stablemate in the form of Nexo's progress in the field of high-SPL loudspeaker systems-notably the PS series and the Geo line-array range. Add a common network technology platform in the form of EtherSound-of which both companies are licensees-and it's no wonder that anticipation levels were running high.
Well, the wait is over. At last month's PLASA exhibition in London, Nexo unveiled a new line of TDcontrollers that are powered by NXAMP, a combined amplifier, DSP, and loudspeaker control package developed in conjunction with Yamaha's Commercial Audio division in Japan. Far more than just a power amp bundled with a loudspeaker controller, the NXAMP concept has been designed to provide the cost-effective integration of command, control, protection, and amplification-in other words, exactly what the top brass of the two companies promised they would deliver when they first announced their alliance.
"We think NXAMP is a real breakthrough product," said Anthony McLean, Nexo's marketing manager. "It's the result of the first collaboration between the two companies and, more than that, it's a reflection of the direction that both we and Yamaha are heading in."
So what was it like to work on such a groundbreaking project? Ken Iwayama of Yamaha's Commercial Audio Product Group couldn't stop himself from smiling when he said: "We started working on this project a year ago, and it really stimulated our engineers. We believe we have come up with a combination of technologies that is really unique, and we're very happy with our new baby."
NXAMP probably won't stay a 'baby' for long. Initially it will be available in two configurations: 4x1 (delivering a maxmimum of 4 x 600w into 8 ohms) and 4x4 (4 x 1,900w). As the contracting world demands ever greater numbers of amp channels, it seems certain that the range will widen.
Joseph Carcopino, one of the Nexo R&D engineers closest to the NXAMP project, discussed the technical aspects of its design at last month's PLASA exhibition in London.
It is also likely that Iwayama's baby will grow in other ways. Joseph Carcopino, one of the Nexo R&D engineers closest to the project, is as happy discussing the rear panel as anything else, pointing out the expansion slot that allows the easy addition of an ES100 EtherSound board, the RS-232 connection for future firmware upgrades, and a GPIO port which allows for interfacing with security systems-further, and very significant, nod to the role that NXAMP technology may play in wider, integrated sound systems.
The unveiling of NXAMP conicides with Nexo's move into a new manufacturing facility just outside Paris, France, which has given the company much-needed extra production capacity. The new headquarters has been designed so that it can be expanded in three different directions, either simultaneously or sequentially. A bit like NXAMP and the forces that have shaped it, one might add.