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Amplifiers: eight of the best

Manufacturers are catering to a wider range of applications with added features such as remote monitoring and wireless control.

Crown provides compact functionality

The four highest-powered amplifiers in the DriveCore Install (DCi) Series are designed for larger applications such as stadiums, amusement parks and casinos, replacing Crown’s CTs Series.

The models, both two and four channel power amps, include the DCi4|1250, DCi2|1250, DCi4|1250N and DCi2|1250N and are available in DCi Analog and DCi Network Ethernet-linkable configurations. Each model delivers 1,250W per channel into 2, 4, or 8 ohms and 70Vrms and 100Vrms without the need for a step-up transformer.

The features, efficiency and compact size (2RU) of the four amplifiers is as a result of Harman’s DriveCore amplifier IC chip, which combines the amplifiers driver stage into the power output stage along with additional audio-signal functions.

The DCi4|1250N and DCi2|1250N offer networked monitoring and control via Harman HiQnet Audio Architect system software. The network capable DCi Series amps offer digital audio connectivity using the company’s proprietary BLU link as well as analogue inputs.

Bosch includes multi-zone wireless control

The PLM-4Px2x PLENA matrix amplifier aims to deliver high quality audio and flexible control in a wide range of applications, from shopping centres and restaurants to nightclubs and bars.

The built in DSP processor has a number of features, however the amplifier has also been designed with reliability and cost-effectiveness a priority.

Its loudspeaker library enables tuning of all Bosch/EV/Dynacord loudspeaker products, and ‘Amp Link’ means the PLM-4Px2x amplifiers can be easily combined with the PLM-8M8 8 Channel DSP matrix mixer to transport up to four channels of audio.

The PLM-4Px2x provides wireless control across up to eight output zones. The PLENA matrix system enables users to control the audio settings and adjust volume levels wirelessly via an iPad or iPhone app.

Other control options include a wall mounted PLM-WCP controller for basic functions such as volume and source selection. For more advanced usage, there is a GUI for Windows or the iOS app.

d&b improves reproduction accuracy

The D80 is d&b audiotechnik’s flagship amplifier and features advanced control capabilities and the power to efficiently drive d&b loudspeakers.

The four-channel, 2RU amp incorporates DSP to provide configurations for all d&b loudspeakers. Each of the four channels feature a signal delay of up to 10 seconds and two 16-band equalisers, providing parametric, notch, shelving and asymmetric filters.

Both analogue and digital inputs and links are provided as well as specific functions for d&b loudspeakers such as Cut mode, Coupling and High Frequency Compensation.

All four outputs can deliver up to 4,000W into 4 ohms and are distributed through the single NL8 connector, or the individual loudspeaker outputs. The LoadMatch function electronically compensates for loudspeaker cable properties, without the need for an extra conductor. This results in increased accuracy of audio reproduction over a bandwidth of up to 20kHz, preserving the tonal balance when using cable lengths of up to 70m.

Alcons Audio promotes efficient signal distribution

The Sentinel’s sample-rate conversion allows it to accept any signal between 44.1 up to 192kHz digital AES3 format.

The 4-input/4-output amp includes ALControl proprietary control software, which can monitor the complete system from anywhere within the network on Mac, PC and mobile devices, through a VNC app.

The DSP engine is upgradeable and ensures minimal latency during processing of even the most complex (IIR, FIR) algorithms. Additionally, the Sentinel’s modular construction allows for hardware upgrades if, for example, more powerful processors were needed.

The four independent Class D amplifier stages and two redundant switch-mode power supplies all feature a microcontroller. This allows all parameters to be monitored and guided via the internal communication network and enables maximum operating efficiency.

Signal Integrity Sensing (SIS) cable compensation enables the use of long speaker cables without sacrificing sound quality, matching the response of the pro-ribbon mid-high frequency reproduction.

Biamp delivers remote monitoring

The Tesira line includes four amplifiers, both in four-channel and eight-channel options.

Tesira amps can receive a signal from anywhere on the audio network, so offer greater flexibility in sound reinforcement and distribution.

This range of amplifiers allows system designers to create a more complete audio system from a single software platform using drag and drop functionality.

All models support optional expander cards, which enables customisations such as an analogue failover option, whereby if there is a loss of network connection, the analogue inputs can route to specific output channels of the amplifier to continue operation.

Tesira software can remotely monitor the entire system throughout the installation and during routine maintenance for the life of the system. This also provides information on the condition of the loudspeakers connected to each amplifier as well.

QSC offers high-fidelity power

The CXD-Q Series of amplifiers combine the new amp technology found in the CXD platform with the Q-SYS network processing and control system for a product range suited to installed applications.

The CXD-Q line includes three models the CXD4.2Q, CXD4.3Q and CXD4.5Q, all capable of high-fidelity power to drive a number of loudspeaker configurations, such as 70V and 100V systems.

Connecting the amplifiers via standard Layer 3 Ethernet, the Q-SYS Core can route audio to and from the amps, and provide total control and monitoring of all amplifier functions.

Flexible Amplifier Summing Technology (FAST) actively distributes total amplifier power across between one and four outputs, enabling amp channels to be paralleled or bridged for maximum current and voltage output.

Powersoft brings DSP capability to eight channels

The Ottocanali 1204 DSP+ETH features DSP functionality on each of its eight amplifier channels, each selectable for lo-/hi Z or constant voltage operation, supporting up to 55 output configurations.

This model generates up to 1,200W output power and includes Ethernet connectivity, managed via Armonía Pro Audio Suite PC software. This connectivity allows users to manage system setup, monitoring and control directly from Crestron, AMX and other control systems.

Universal switch mode power supply with Power Factor Correction (PFC) and the fixed-frequency Class D output stages improve reliability and sound quality as well as reducing power consumption and heat dissipation.

A DSP controller and amplifier in 1RU, the Ottocanali 1204 DSP+ETH is suited to boardroom, retail and home cinema applications. Additionally, IEC 60849 compliance means it can be used for voice evacuation systems.

Distribution flexibility from Lab.gruppen

The D Series integrates into a wide range of high performance installation environments delivering 6,000W per channel.

This range supports Dante, as well as AVB, AES and analogue audio distribution, also providing failover and redundancy. Its open interoperability meets system integration requirements on control and monitoring, and can integrate into any major DSP matrix on the market.

The D Series’ ESP design tool helps the designer pick the optimal solution of amplifiers and placement of channels, also predicting mains service and cooling requirements. Rational Power Management (RPM) enables the D Series to share available power over its channels.

With power factor correction and internal energy storage, the power supply minimises mains draw while not affecting performance.