L-Acoustics Demos KARA, Sharpens Focus On Install Market

  • by Mary Bakija

L -Acoustics is well known in the rental market for durable, innovative sound systems. Though there has been some crossover into permanent installations since the company’s inception in 1984, the past few years have seen a greater push to that segment.To better serve everyone, L-Acoustics has developed three distinct networks: the Rental Network, the Systems Integrator Network, and the Dealer Network. There are currently 24 certified providers in the U.S., and the company expects that number to grow. To reach out to its various users, L-Acoustics recently held a demo at New York City’s New World Stages. The event, which featured two sessions per day over two days, largely drew people from the East Coast, though some braved icy conditions to attend all the way from the Midwest.

Paul Shiner explains some specifics of the new products.The purpose of the event was to show the significant improvements the KARA represents over dV-DOSC, the line source system that has been enjoyed in the field for more than a decade. Also demonstrated was the new SB18 subwoofer extension enclosure, which steps in for the dV-SUB. Rest assured, the popular dV-DOSC and dV-SUB will continue to be produced and maintained. “They do not go away,” said L-Acoustics regional sales manager Paul Shiner. “There are a lot of those still on the market.”

Scott Sugden, head of U.S. touring support for L-Acoustics, shows how easy it is to rig the SB18s.The KARA and the SB18 are versatile, and will satisfy a number of touring and rental applications. “When hung with the KARA, the SB18 is probably best for most applications,” said Shiner, except in some outdoor venues, where the SB28 could be better as it goes a bit lower.

L-Acoustics' KARA and SB18

Because L-Acoustics has seen permanent installations on the rise, they’ve also designed install versions. The SB18i and the KARAi have a different rigging and are lighter, and less expensive, than the rental versions. The install versions will be available in the next few months.

The KARAi modular line source element has an operating frequency bandwidth from 55 Hz to 20 kHz. This response can be lowered down to 32 Hz with the addition of the SB18i low frequency extension. KARAi features a 2-way, bi-amplified design and is equipped with 2 8-inch neodymium LF speakers in a bassreflex tuned enclosure. The HF section features a 3-inch neodymium diaphragm driver coupled to a DOSC waveguide. The K-shaped coplanar transducer configuration generates a symmetric horizontal coverage of 110 degrees without secondary lobes over the entire frequency range. The combination of coplanar symmetry and DOSC waveguide allows the system to fulfil the 5 WST criteria. Any KARAi line source can be curved up to a maximum of 10 degrees for each element without breaking the inter-element acoustic coupling. The 4-point rigging system allows suspending up to 12 KARAi in a single array.

The SB18i is the fixed installation subwoofer designed for WST line sources and coaxial systems, lowering the combined system operating range down to 32 Hz. Its compact size and streamlined rigging make it well suited for flown coupled configurations with KARAi. The association of a specifically designed 18-inch transducer with a dual bass-reflex tuned enclosure provides exceptional impact and high sensitivity, low thermal compression and reduced distortion. The vents feature a progressive profile allowing laminar airflow and reduced turbulence noise even at the very highest operating levels. These combined properties contribute to the sonic qualities of the SB18i in terms of precision and musicality.

Andrew Nagel Finally, more recent news of L-Acoustics’ focus on the installation market includes the new appointment of Andrew Nagel as installation support manager. Based in New York City, Nagel will serve as the primary technical contact for systems integrators across the Eastern U.S. His new duties include offering sound design assistance and solutions, providing on-site support for challenging projects, creating potential system models using L-Acoustics’ Soundvision software, and conducting technical trainings and product demos, among other related tasks. Prior to joining L-Acoustics, Nagel spent the past four years as a theater consultant with Auerbach Pollock Friedlander in New York City.