Steer It Up

Steer It Up

Audio engineers have long sought different methods of dispersing sound in a room more evenly, and one way to maximize that sweet spot in a commercial venue is with steerable loudspeakers. While the list of manufacturers with steerable offerings is a bit shorter than that of other categories, current steerable offerings are more specifically focused with such features as improved speech intelligibility for use in large conference rooms or lecture halls; software to aid configuration and other elements of installation; and hybrid concepts for versatility. Steerable speakers are especially good solutions in situations where aesthetics are a concern—such as houses of worship—since they tend to be the least obtrusive speakers with a variety of coverage pattern options. Here is a breakdown of some of the latest steerable loudspeakers.

Penton Messenger

The Messenger DSP steerable line arrays from Penton/ATEIS offers an alternative to regular speaker arrays in locations with difficult acoustics. Virtually side-lobe free, the Messenger series can cover a large area with highly intelligible audio in demanding environments. The Messenger series have been successfully implemented in U.S. airports, churches, school gymnasiums, and many other projects for the last 15 years, and offer a competitive price versus performance ratio.

Community S4

Community’s S4 (subwoofer steering simulation software) allows users to input basic information on the system specifications (number and spacing of subwoofers, desired cutoff frequency) and quickly configure the optimal arrangement for any situation. Community’s S4 calculator’s graphical interface provides a twodimensional polar prediction for an array of LF point sources at any given frequency, and predicts the frequency and phase response in front and behind the array, delivering an accurate prediction of the system. S4 also provides box spacing and DSP settings for low frequency arrays of Community VLF208 or VLF212 woofers, and advanced settings provide the ability to calculate average bandwidth, polar degree and amplitude resolutions, listener position, and several other parameters.

Tannoy QFlex

QFlex defines a new set of performance benchmarks, including class-leading steering capability and control over the widest possible bandwidth. QFlex uses multiple channels of advanced amplification and DSP to produce beams of acoustic energy, which are directed on user defined target areas. With this ability to focus acoustical output in target areas where needed, comes better speech intelligibility in highly reverberant spaces—effectively increasing the ‘hall radius’ beyond which reverberant sound becomes dominant. The multi-beam capability allows for multiple audience areas to be targeted from a single QFlex column. QFlex has been weatherized for outdoor or harsh environments.

Renkus-Heinz IC Squared

The IC Squared is a high-powered, medium format, digitally steerable loudspeaker system. Designed for theatre and club installations, and integrating digital beam steering with high power output, built in amplification, and RHAON network control, the IC Squared opens up a new product sector in pro audio for venues seeking the ultimate in quality and control. IC Squared combines the control and flexibility of Iconyx digitally steerable technology with the power and focus of a point source loudspeaker, creating a hybrid array with the full benefits of both technologies. Each IC Squared two-way eightinch module delivers articulate musicality and powerful punch, with a versatile design that can be used as a stand-alone high-performance loudspeaker, a small ground stack, or a flown array of up to 20 cabinets.

Lindsey M. Adler

Lindsey M. Adler is an audiovisual storyteller based in New York.