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Countdown to the AV Tech Awards: the Audio nominees

Installation begins its countdown to the 2020 AV Technology Awards by introducing the shortlisted nominees in the Audio Product of the Year category

The countdown to the 2020 AV Technology Awards begins in earnest today. While Installation’s judging panel is feverishly poring over all of the shortlisted entries, we begin to profile the nominees in each category. 

This year’s awards programme has taken on a new and exciting digital form due to our collective inability to congregate, and is held in association with Awards Partners Crestron, Integrated Systems Europe, and the Technological Innovations Group (TIG), and Association Partners AV User Group and Women in AV (WAVE).

We start with the Product awards, and the nominations for Audio Product of the Year.  

Bose Videobar VB1Bose VB1

The Bose Videobar VB1 is an all-in-one USB conferencing device that “brings premium audio and video to meeting areas — from huddle spaces to medium-sized rooms — and allows users to be clearly seen and fully understood on video conference calls.” 

It has six beam-steering microphones that actively focus on voices in the room and filter out background noise. Its 4K ultra-HD camera with auto-framing allows remote participants to see presenters, whiteboards and other in-room objects.

Genelec Smart IPGenelec

Smart IP is a scalable open IP networking technology platform delivering power, audio and loudspeaker management – with configuration, supervision and calibration features – all via a single standard CAT cable. 

Genelec says that the platform saves professional audio system designers, integrators and installers valuable time – without sacrificing Genelec’s renowned audio quality. “Smart IP technology offers installers the clear and intelligible Genelec sound that audio professionals have trusted for decades, coupled with a time-saving efficiency that reduces installation man-hours.”  

AFM-20DSP, from KramerKramer

According to Kramer, the AFM-20DSP audio matrix is “every integrator’s dream”. It is part of Kramer’s XSPerience family of DSP products, and provides configuration flexibility and eliminates I/O limitations with its 20 interchangeable analogue audio ports. Features include auto feedback suppression; Dante support; built-in Hi-Z and Lo-Z 120W power amplification; complete DSP functionality; and HDMI embedding and de-embedding at 4K60 4:2:0. 

The AFM-20DSP “can be easily integrated in existing AV installations but is ideal for the most demanding boardrooms, multipurpose spaces, auditoriums, sports bars, houses of worship, live events, broadcast facilities, and recording studios.” 

WPS, from Martin AudioMartin Audio

Martin Audio’s WPS has been designed “to set a new benchmark for 8” line arrays”. The company describes it as a “versatile, state-of-the-art line array with a peak SPL of 133dB that has been designed for small- to-medium scale touring and install applications that require a high output array with reduced weight and footprint.”

WPS is a passive 3-way system which integrates a high density of drive units in a compact enclosure. The company points to the “ground-up product development” in overcoming the typical deficiencies and compromises of other 8” line arrays available on the market today. “That’s why it has more drivers in WPS than anything else we believe is in its class, with spacing, waveguide and crossover point engineered to deliver in particular optimum HF performance with exemplary mid and high frequency pattern control, even at higher SPL.” 

ULTRA-X40 wide coverage loudspeaker, from Meyer SoundMeyer Sound

At ISE 2019 Meyer Sound introduced what it calls “the most innovative redesign of its point source loudspeakers since the introduction of self-powered systems more than two decades ago”. The new ULTRA-X40 loudspeaker series features a concentric driver configuration, new amplifier and processor technologies drawn from the LEO® Family of line array loudspeakers, a rotatable horn, an “extraordinary power-to-size/weight ratio”, and a wide selection of versatile rigging options.

“We are confident it the ULTRA-X40 will redefine the category of compact loudspeakers much as the UPA-1P did when it was first introduced back in the late-nineties. The ULTRA-X40 offers significant advantages across an exceptionally broad range of portable and installed applications,” explained Meyer Sound’s VP of sales and marketing, John McMahon.

HDL200 audio conferencing system, by Nurevanureva

Nureva’s HDL200 audio conferencing system is the newest product in the company’s “award-winning line of advanced audio solutions”. It is an all-in-one microphone and speaker bar for small rooms; from huddle to meeting and flex spaces up to 18′ x 18′ (5.5 x 5.5 m). 

The HDL200 system “integrates seamlessly with all leading UC&C platforms including Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business, Cisco Spark, Cisco WebEx, GoToMeeting, Pexip Infinity Connect and more so clients can be up and running quickly.”

AD-P.HALO pendant loudspeaker system, from QSCQSC

AD-P.HALO is the latest loudspeaker offering from QSC and part of the AcousticDesign Series launched at this year’s ISE. It is an integrated SUB/SAT pendant loudspeaker system featuring one 6.5” subwoofer and four 2.75” satellite transducers in a single enclosure. According to QSC, it is “the perfect choice for any high-profile installation where music drives the atmosphere, including premium retail stores, restaurants or high-end hospitality.”

By way of testimonial, Craig Abrahams, technical estimating manager at ProAV Limited, added, “The AD-P.HALO speakers are awe-inspiring. A single speaker solution to cater for full range background audio in an easy to deploy chassis certainly is appealing to both end users and architects alike.” 

Intellimix Room, from ShureShure

With Intellimix Room, Shure has developed what it terms “groundbreaking innovation in digital signal processing (DSP) for AV conferencing”. Indeed, the company says that IntelliMix Room is the first audio processing software for Windows 10 PCs that is fully optimised for use with Shure networked system microphones. It has been developed to “affordably meet global enterprises’ requirements for consistent high-quality audio throughout their diverse variety of meeting and training rooms.” 

“Intellimix Room is a game changer. Shure has come up with a solution that takes hardware away, enables rapid and mass deployment of rooms and finally brings high quality audio into those smaller rooms that have always been neglected,” according to proAV’s Damien Massarella. 

The countdown continues… 

Good luck to all of the nominees in the hunt for the Audio Product of the Year award. In our next profile, we will focus on the nominees shortlisted for AV Accessory of the Year.