- by Frank Hammel
in New Gear
BARCELONA, Spain — Master Audio has upgraded the point source cabinets in its flagship Xcellence range with new high-end amplifier and DSP modules featuring Ethernet connectivity, bringing them up to speed with the advanced line array units in the series.
More details from Master Audio (www.master-audio.com):
The new selection of enhanced loudspeakers includes the X12CE and X15CE coaxial active cabinets, the X15LTE two-way active cabinet – for full-range FOH or monitor applications – and the X18WE subwoofer. These units were previously known as the X12C, X15C, X15LT and X18W, so the upgraded version of each can be identified by the 'E' (for Ethernet), which has been added to the end of the model numbers.
Ethernet connectivity was first implemented by Master Audio with the launch of the Xcellence line array cabinets and proved very popular with users, however, it meant the point source cabinets were overshadowed slightly, due to the advanced nature of the line array models. This has now been addressed, with the point source boxes offering the same high-end electronics as their line array counterparts, unifying the series and making it possible for all models to be used together in any application. With Ethernet capability rolled out across the complete range, every Xcellence series cabinet can be deployed as part of a flown system, including the X18WE subwoofer, which is now able to fly alongside the X208 line array element.
Full remote control and monitoring of the new Xcellence point source cabinets is now possible from any spot in the venue, just as it is with the line array units. The bespoke control protocol supports connection over Wi-Fi, allowing users to address the system via wireless access points using a notebook PC running Master Audio's DSP Studio software. Parameters such as gain (per way), limiter, polarity, delay and five custom parametric EQs can all be adjusted in fine detail, with several elements controlled at the same time using grouping functions. The software also gives comprehensive information about the amplifier status: input and output levels, heat-sink temperature, clip and protection indications. An iPad version of the software is due to be released early in 2013.
While the output power of the upgraded Xcellence cabinets remains the same as the original models, their sonic performance has been enhanced with the help of new third-generation Class-D amplifier modules boasting the best measurable specifications in the market. As the only Class-D technology available that does not employ HF damping networks, these modules provide full power bandwidth all the way up to 20kHz and extremely high efficiency for masses of headroom. The amplifiers are perfectly matched to cutting edge DSP modules featuring 48bit/96kHz internal architecture for high performance AD/DA conversion, precision crossover filters and advanced signal processing.
Master Audio's R&D Manager Joan Amate commented: “The new Xcellence series point source cabinets represent a lot of hard work by Master Audio to bring every model in the range up to the very high standard set by the line array units. The entire series is now flyable and completely scalable, and the performance of every loudspeaker in the range is simply exceptional.”
More details about the Xcellence range can be found in a new 2013 catalogue, available to download now from the Master Audio website at master-audio.com.