Readers’ Choice: Top Products of 2015

Readers’ Choice: Top Products of 2015

Over the course of the year, we’ve received a lot of feedback from our readers about the new products that have made their integration and consultation lives easier and more efficient than ever before. Here is a selection of the most popular products of the year, with commentary from the people who know them best.

Kramer VIA

“Meeting spaces suffer from complicated wired connectivity, lack of collaboration options, as well as securing content being displayed. VIA solves this by allowing wireless connectivity to any display/projector eliminating cumbersome, confusing, and ugly cables. VIA also enables mobile devices to connect, present, and collaborate the same way laptops do. VIA integrates collaboration with 60 FPS HD video playback, and iOS mirroring, allowing multiple people make changes to a single document and much more into a single platform. Arguably the biggest problem it solves is that VIA allows collaboration in a secure environment, as it implements 1024-bit encryption on all shared content.”
—Michael DiBella, director of collaborative solutions, Kramer U.S.

Bose RoomMatch

“Bose RoomMatch Progressive Directivity array loudspeakers represent the next evolution of the line-array concept for installed systems. The large-format waveguide in each module provides for a matrix of five vertical and four horizontal coverage patterns (including asymmetrical horizontal patterns), which allows the designer to direct sound precisely to desired listening areas, improving audio quality by reducing unwanted acoustic reflections. This modular design approach allows RoomMatch arrays to be optimized for almost any room size or shape, acoustic requirement or budget. RoomMatch arrays deliver concert-quality sound for live music, with outstanding vocal projection and speech clarity.”
—David M. Prince, manager, field engineering, Bose Professional

Symetrix SymNet Radius

“Using a popular 12-input-by-eight-output format, the SymNet Radius 12x8 EX includes an expansion slot supporting all available SymNet audio I/O cards, including analog, digital, AEC, VoIP, and analog telephony. This allows the installer to tailor the I/O or functionality to a particular installation without the cost and complexity of a fully configurable unit. The I/O formats of 16x8 and 12x12—which are rapidly gaining in popularity across install applications—can both be accommodated by this single SKU, in a single rack space.”
—Trent Wagner, senior product manager, Symetrix

Crestron DGE-100

“Support for high-performance H.264 streaming video, HDMI connectivity, custom on-screen graphics and messaging, and flexibility for display control via IR, serial, and CEC are all key capabilities required of today’s intelligent meeting rooms. The Crestron Digital Graphics Engine 100 (DGE-100) was designed to make them all possible. This new low-cost, multi-format video processor takes classrooms and meeting spaces to the next level, providing an easy-to-deploy solution for delivering graphically rich and engaging meeting room experiences. All this power is contained in a small package that installs neatly behind the room display.”
—Jeffrey Singer, global marketing director, Crestron

Meyer Sound MM-4XP

“The MM-4XP is a unique problem solver whenever you need to squeeze exceptionally high-quality sound reproduction in a tight space while keeping an incredibly low profile. It’s a self-powered loudspeaker less than six inches long with a four-inch square face, yet it produces more than 100 dB continuous linear peaks at 3 meters, with a 120 Hz-to-18 kHz operating range and the extremely low distortion Meyer Sound is known for. Exclusive IntelligentDC technology allows for the use of single composite multiconductor cables (such as Belden 1502 or equivalent) to carry both DC power and balanced audio to the MM-4XP. Also, because each MM-4XP is individually addressable, you always have total flexibility in distributed systems.”
—Luke Jenks, director of product management, Meyer Sound

Vaddio AV Bridge Matrix Pro

“Our best ideas come from our integrators who are out in the field, experiencing the frustrations of integrating complex technology. This resulted in the AV Bridge MATRIX PRO, which simplifies USB systems by providing plug-and-play and cloud-connection capabilities for many different applications, such as UC and videoconferencing, audio conferencing, lecture capture, local AV, presentations and more—all from a single device.”
—Darrin Thurston, vice president of engineering, Vaddio

Audix MicroBoom

“The MicroBoom solves several problems when it comes to miking a choir: First, it eliminates the need for permanent installation by having to hang the mics overhead. Before the MicroBoom, there was no effective way to get the mics high enough to mic a choir correctly without hanging them. Between the 50-inch and 84-inch models, the MicroBoom can easily extend up to 12 feet, which is more than enough to cover the back row of a standard choir. Second, it also allows for flexibility as needs may change from miking a choir one week to miking a play the next. Third, it is designed to handle contemporary services where music is integrated with the vocals. A variety of capsules, polar patterns, and sensitivities are available to compensate for instruments like drums or organs that tend to drown out the voices. Lastly, the MicroBoom system is simple to use and they disappear from sight, allowing the choir to be both seen and heard clearly.
—Cliff Castle, vice president of sales, Audix

Planar UltraRes Touch

“Users appreciate how the high pixel density of the Planar UltraRes Touch improves close-up interaction, both in image quality and accuracy of details. With up to 32 points of touch, the Planar Ultra- Res Touch in 75, 84, and 98 inches delivers a multi-touch experience that appeals to a wide range of multi-user collaboration and public display applications. All Planar UltraRes Touch displays incorporate Planar ERO (Extended Ruggedness and Optics) optically bonded glass technology, which provides the enhanced durability required in public spaces. We are pleased to announce that the newly introduced next-generation models deliver a host of enhancements including even better 4K accuracy, plug-and-play HID compliance, and resistance to sunlight interference.”
—Becky Connors, product marketing manager, Planar Systems

Renkus-Heinz Iconyx

“Iconyx Gen5 is the newest generation of digitally steered arrays from the world leader in steered sound. Iconyx steered arrays are designed to provide exceptional pattern control, to direct sound toward the listener and away from walls, windows, and other reflective surfaces. The result is dramatically reduced reflected sound and unparalleled intelligibility.”
—Rick Kirby, vice president, sales and marketing, Renkus-Heinz

Barco ClickShare

“In today’s work environment, presenters and attendees are looking toward technology to easily share ideas and information in the most effective and user-friendly way possible. Known as the ‘One Click Wonder,’ ClickShare enables users to wirelessly share content from their computers or mobile devices such as laptops, smartphones, and tablets, empowering them to have a more collaborative discussion.”
—David Fitzgerald, vice president, channel sales, Barco

Extron SMP 351

“The Extron SMP 351 is a streaming media processor for capturing and distributing live AV sources and presentations. The SMP 351 creates high-impact presentations by combining two high-resolution signals, a background image, and metadata into dynamic layouts that enhance presentation’s message. The SMP 351 can stream at two different resolutions and bitrates concurrently using a range of transport protocols and session management options. This provides the flexibility to stream from the SMP 351 to a variety of devices in different system configurations and network conditions. Developed specifically for integration into AV systems, its comprehensive control and configuration features make the SMP 351 integration friendly, and easy to control and operate. Requiring no licensing fees, the SMP 351 has a low cost of ownership, making it a cost-effective solution.”
—Joe da Silva, director of product marketing, Extron

Biamp Tesira

“With the Tesira family of products, complete audio systems—whether within a single room or across multiple campuses—run on an AVB/TSN network while being easily managed from an on-site or remote location. The Tesira platform is loaded with technologies for processing audio and controlling integrated third-party equipment. The fixed I/O TesiraFORTÉ DSP features direct USB connectivity to external soft codecs, while Tesira amplifiers allow for more complete solutions within the same software and hardware ecosystem. By using AVB/TSN as its networking protocol, the Tesira platform is the next evolution in large-scale audio design.”
—Justin O’Connor, audio products manager, Biamp Systems

LG webOS for Signage

“Optimized for commercial applications, LG’s webOS for Signage is an all-in-one hardware and software platform. The award-winning webOS approach is widely considered the most intuitive smart TV platform on the market due to its flexibility, ease-of-use, and powerful capabilities that can ultimately reduce overall cost of ownership. System integrators and business owners using LG’s Smart Platform Signage solutions running webOS allows them to download useful content and develop customized applications to manage digital signage campaigns. Select 2014 and 2015 LG digital signage displays, available in a variety of sizes, from 10-inch to 98-inch class sizes are equipped with webOS for Signage.”
—Gary Wicka, senior director of marketing, LG Electronics USA


“The AM-1 Steerable Array microphone is designed to address several problems associated with podium mics. The AM-1’s highly directional pattern steers to the sound source and stays focused on that source, alleviating potential background noise and sensitivity to feedback. Also, its low profile keeps the sightlines free of obstacles that might obscure the presenter’s face. This is especially important for on-camera presentations. Additionally, its intelligent ‘follow-the-source’ technology means never having to readjust a gooseneck or stand-mount mic for different speakers, and also virtually eliminates level fluctuations due to inconsistent mic technique.”
—Bob Tamburri, product and marketing manager, TOA

QSC Core 110

“When customer needs change with traditional DSP solutions—whether it’s reconfiguring I/O counts, adding acoustic echo cancelation for audio players, or change from VoIP to POTS solutions— it usually will result in sizable labor and equipment costs. The Q-SYS Core 110f DSP appliance solves this problem with the combination of its software-based DSP, which runs on a powerful Intel processor, as well as its smart built-in features. Adding AEC or reconfiguring the built-in Flex I/O Channel happens at the software level, and Q-SYS Core 110f comes with digital VoIP and analog POTS connections in the same box. No hardware changes are needed, and the customer investment is protected.”
—TJ Adams, director of installed systems, product management, QSC

Lab.gruppen D Series

“Lab.gruppen D Series solves the amplification and integration requirements faced by high-performance installations. Capable of delivering up to 6000 watts per channel (through flexible allocation of total amplifier power) using Rational Power Management, D Series is the integration superpower no matter what digital audio transport is chosen. Straightforward integration is supported with Dante, ethernet, AVB, or AES, as well as failover and redundancy. It solves all system integration requirements on control and monitoring through its open communication protocols. The Load Monitoring feature ensures D Series complies with mass notification regulations and when used in combination with CAFE software, optimization of mains distribution, and cooling requirements can be achieved in the total solution.”
—Hakan Gustafsson, product engineering manager, Lab.gruppen

Yamaha PM10

“The Yamaha RIVAGE PM10 Digital Audio Consoles will ignite the market for a new era of extraordinary sound, operation, and reliability. It significantly increases the quality and versatility necessary in a live sound environment, and inherits features from the renowned PM Series Consoles. Evolved features and performance define yet another milestone for Yamaha sound reinforcement consoles. The PM10 system is comprised of the CS-R10 control surface, DSP-R10 DSP engine, RPio622 I/O rack, three types of RY cards, and two types of HY cards to provide the flexibility to configure and ideally match the scale and functional requirements of any application.”
—Marc Lopez, marketing manager, Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems

Ashly ne24.24M

“For those who may have not used, or are familiar with the Ashly ne24.24M Matrix Processor, it has three main functions. The ne24.24M is a terrific front-end mixer with standard mic/line inputs, EQ, delay, gating, ducking, and an outstanding AGC. It is also a true matrix mixer, allowing any input to route to any output with the ability to reroute 31 times. Lastly, it is a speaker processor with all the important functions expected in a top-of-the-line processor. Base unit is 4x4, expandable to 24 channels of combined I/O. It is a true ‘Swiss Army Knife’ processor.”
—Michael Updaw, Eastern regional sales manager, Ashly Audio

Shure ULX-D

“Targeted for use where UHF ‘TV band’ spectrum is limited or congested, ULX-D 900 MHz features components and accessories optimized for use within regional variations of the 902-928 MHz spectrum (generally known as the ISM band). ULX-D 900 MHz allows customers to experience high-quality digital wireless audio in an alternative band, free of the regulatory issues wireless microphone users currently face, or may eventually face, in the heavily saturated UHF TV band. The system offers uncompromising 24-bit audio clarity and extremely efficient RF performance with single-, dual-, and quad-channel receivers for any size professional sound reinforcement application.”
—Nick Wood, category director, wireless products, Shure

Christie Boxer

“Weighing approximately 150 pounds and with a compact, rugged design, the Christie Boxer 4K30 doesn’t pull any punches. It is a 30,000-lumens, high-resolution, 3DLP projector that delivers unrivaled brightness for its size and weight, making it the ideal projector for high-impact rental staging and large-venue events. Designed from the inside out, it is the most profit-focused professional projector in the market. A smaller, lighter projector reduces shipping and handling costs. Shipping with lamps installed, it requires no lamp alignment in the field. Its single-phase power reduces setup cost and complexity, while being omnidirectional improves design options for flexibility of installation.”
—Mike Garrido, senior product manager, Christie

Jensen ISO-MAX

“AV installers often find themselves needing another stereo line-level output on a multi-channel amplifier, but the only unused outputs left are speaker-level connections. Jensen has solved this problem by creating the ISO-MAX SP-2SX, which takes speaker-level signals and converts them to line level.”
—Dave Hill, general manager, Jensen Transformers

L-Acoustics ARCS

“Offering scalable coverage from 15 or 30 degrees to a full 360, ARCS Wide and ARCS Focus are truly ‘plug-and-play’ systems suitable as mains or fills for most events, and can be deployed in ‘WiFo’ hybrid arrays for complex audience geometries. For installations, the systems’ coverage can be tailored to fit optimized installation budgets, and the dual-directivity pattern can provide effective solutions for challenging room acoustics. With tightly packed arrays, the system tidily preserves sightlines and is architecturally friendly, offering an IP-45 protection rating for outdoor installations.”
—Stéphane Ecalle, marketing director, L-Acoustics

SVSi N2000

“The AMX SVSi solution allows for any number of inputs to connect to any number of outputs, creating a video matrix of unlimited size and expandability. Plug-n-play, auto-detect technology reduces installation and programming time and all SVSi encoders and decoders include built-in control capability. Because the HD N2000 series utilizes JPEG2000 compression, deployment can be accomplished over an existing IT infrastructure using standard switches and routers. Users can control video quality and bandwidth usage with a simple slider control provided in the web-based user interface, allowing each installation to be customized for maximum performance. Because the SVSi system is IP-based, the system is future-proof, and the flexibility of the system’s architecture allows the imagination to be the only limitation.”
—Kevin Deasy, vice president, marketing, SVSi

Matt Pruznick

Matt Pruznick is the former editor of AV Technology, and senior editor for Systems Contractor News and Residential Systems. He is based in New York.