Hot Products - Eight Great Audio Values
Extremely reliable, multifunctional, or nearly indestructible, these products have been selected by AV pros as the "best value" audio products in the industry.
by Roger Maycock
In certain AV applications, you expect to pay a lot for a product, such as when you're in the market for a large mixing console or outdoor LED signage. In fact, the more you pay, the more you convince yourself you've bought the very best, right? On the opposite end of the spectrum, however, there are those times when "you get what you pay for" holds true and you realize that some products only last about as long as the RT60 in a large church. Because expensive isn't always more, and cheap doesn't always mean less, it's often hard for end users to identify true AV "values". But somewhere in between the two extremes lie those rare products that achieve a competitive price point while differentiating themselves from other makes and models with superior quality. Once you find them, they quickly become staples in your AV arsenal. the trick is: How do you identify these treasures?
For answers in the audio space, we sought the advice of some large systems integrators and AV consultants, industry professionals with a proven track record who work in the trenches. The products highlighted here have passed the acid test of real world installations. some products are new; others are not. some are expensive; others are affordable. Despite their differences, all of these products have at least one thing in common, they all harness cutting edge technology to delivery a price/performance balance that translates into real audio value.
The PX-0288 audio matrix mixer enables users to route up to eight local audio sources in any combination to eight zones using either local or remote control. Built for multi-zone systems like those found in hotels, airports, casinos, hospitals, conference centers and restaurants, the device receives ancillary support from a pair of dedicated remote controls and a remote microphone station. the PX-0288 supports RS422 protocol for remote operation, provides remote mic station and paging mic level control, has auto fire alarm broadcasting capability, and includes a front panel monitor speaker for monitoring any of its eight inputs.
Roly Jan, sales manager and engineer for Silver Spring, MD based Total Audio Visual Systems, has deployed the PX-0288 regularly during the past year. A systems integration company that services the government, Fortune 1000 companies and educational institutions, Total Audio Visual Systems provides AV systems provides AV systems for boardrooms, conference facilities, plus command & control centers.
According to Jan, the PX-0288 is great choice for projects where audio needs to be routed to different destinations because it's so easy to configure. "With balanced I/O, local and remote paging capabilities with priority override, and built-in phantom power for the paging mic, this mixer is a compelling product for the AV professional, " he says. "We've used it in government command and control centers as well as public information centers, auditoriums, restaurants, and hotels."
For all the features and functionality this unit offers, Jan cites price as one of its most attractive qualities. "We're using this product quite regularly because our installers are very comfortable with the piece, " he says. "This mixer is easy to set up and install. It's rugged and well built, and it has proven itself to be very reliable. In my book, that represents real value."
BSS Soundweb by Albert Leccese, vice president of engineering for Colorado Springs, CO based Audio Analysts
dbx DriveRack 260 by Mike Evans, vice president and systems consultant for Alpha Sound & Lighting Co's Alabama Facility
JBL JRX115i by Jerry Lamp, sales manager for Olympia, WA based CCI Solutions
Polycom Vortex EF2280 by Vito Randazzo, president and CEO of JVN Systems, Deer Park, NY
Shure DFR22 Audio Processor by Jim Mueller, president of Detroit based Sound Planning Communications
TOA 900 Series by Ed Logsdon, vice president of engineering for D.L. Adams Associates, Denver, CO
Yamaha PM5D by R. Gwin Edwards, president of Ruston, LA based American Audio