V-DOSC RETIRES; K2 TAKES THE MANTLE
Best kept, or worst kept secret in live sound? Depends on how much you know. But one thing’s for sure, there hasn’t been a lot of official detail on L-Acoustics new line source PA. But AudioTechnology has just seen some more official detail, now that the world K2 ‘pilot phase’ is coming to an end and there’s a green light for market introduction. A production phase will now ramp up and the worldwide launch of K2 will happen in Frankfurt at Prolight & Sound early next year. Here’s what we now know:
K2 is positioned in a very similar application range to V-DOSC — typically for productions with audiences of anything up to 20,000 — with K2 delivering ‘exactly the same maximum SPL and bandwidth as V-DOSC’. Yes, that means K2 will replace the V-DOSC, which after all has been around 22 years. Of course, L-Acoustics assures its customers of after-sales service for the V-DOSC over the coming years. K2 maybe replacing V-DOSC, but its DNA owes more to the flagship K1, albeit transplanted into a 12-inch format enclosure — offering similar performance to K1 with increased operational flexibility.
Design-wise, the acoustic performance of K2 had to be absolutely in line with K1 with a maximum SPL positioned 3dB below its sibling and a bandwidth equivalent to K1. This determined the 12-inch format and the choice of drivers which are of the “same league as K1,” according to Stéphane Ecalle, L-Acoustics’ Director of Marketing. Secondly, the vertical coverage had to be stretched to accommodate shorter throws and audiences with high tiers or balconies. The K2 system is lightweight for medium-sized events or installations, and more adaptable to venues with rigging limitations. At the same time, the K2 package had to offer full mechanical compatibility with existing K1 and K1-SB elements.
The bottom line here is that K2 can seamlessly supplement a K1 system and be used as downfill and sidefill, or even be a deliberate FOH combination when, for example, those tricky rigging situations determine K2 is a better option for a main PA, but the performance requires the bottom end of the K1-SB grunt. Both systems run on the existing LA-RAK platform.
Reducing the weight of K2 enclosures has been achieved through an interesting solution that took L-Acoustics several years of research on materials and industrial processes. Baltic birch plywood has been L-Acoustics’ material of choice and the designers first trimmed the excess fat by milling the K2 panels in an intricate pattern that creates the maximum stiffness/weight ratio. For the side panels, the Baltic birch has been replaced with aluminium and this offered three advantages: reinforcing the mechanical rigidity of the box; acting inside as a progressive vent for laminar airflow, plus the aluminium supports the suspension hardware with the best mechanical accuracy. The results, you have to agree, speak for themselves. The K2 weighs 56kg, which is half that of V-DOSC for the same maximum SPL and bandwidth and with no compromise on structural and acoustic performance.
K2 is aimed at both the fixed installation and rental markets and while K2 is expected to reach a wider customer base than K1, L-Acoustics designates K2 as a premium system that must be supplied with a certain level of training and guaranteed expertise on the part of the purchaser. Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean L-Acoustics won’t sell you a K2 rig, it simply means you’ll be invited to become involved in L-Acoustics networks and user-education programs. Interestingly, L-Acoustics rather precisely estimates the market potential for K2 as 300 companies worldwide — it’s been doing some homework.
The worldwide introduction of K2 is scheduled for Prolight & Sound 2014. However, L-Acoustics has dropped the heavy hint that the system will be “seen and heard in the opening and closing ceremonies of a major winter sporting event in Russia” — with Aussie Scott Willsallen as Audio Director of the ceremonies, we’ll hopefully hear more on that soon.
JPJ (née Jands Production Services) has always been a big proponent of L-Acoustics in this part of the world, but there’s no official word regarding the Australian rental giant taking on K2 inventory… just yet.
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