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EXCLUSIVE: Inside Martin Audio’s first constant curvature array and 3D prediction software

Audio Media International has spoken exclusively to Martin Audio managing director Dom Harter (pictured), development manager Phil Anthony and research manager Ambrose Thompson about the company’s ground-breaking new TORUS constant curvature array and DISPLAY 3 3D prediction software.

Today (February 16) sees Martin Audio lift the lid on two significant product firsts. TORUS is the company’s first ever constant curvature array, while DISPLAY 3 marks its first foray into the world of 3D prediction and optimisation software. Both were unveiled during a virtual launch event, which can be viewed here.

For applications that typically require a throw between 15-30m (50-100ft), TORUS has been built to fill the gap between full-size line array and point source solutions. Each TORUS cabinet is designed for a flexible horizontal dispersion pattern, which can be manually adjusted between 90°, 60° or 75° (asymmetrical) via the unique Dynamic Horn Flare. This moves and locks the waveguide, as well as adjusts the horn mouth, including the low diffraction termination into the baffle, to ensure correct geometry and optimal performance in each of those settings. A vertical pattern of either 15° or 30° is achieved via two separate cabinet types: T1215 and T1230, respectively. These can also be combined to fit venue and coverage requirements.

TORUS is also the first product to utilise DISPLAY 3, Martin Audio’s new prediction and optimisation software and the second major product launch.

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DISPLAY 3 can be used in both live and installation projects. It works seamlessly with Sketchup for sophisticated venue modelling, or allows for more simple venue and shape creation. To begin with, DISPLAY 3 will natively support prediction and optimisation of TORUS, with line arrays to be imported from DISPLAY 2. Eventually, DISPLAY 3 will incorporate all Martin Audio line array, point source, ceiling and subwoofer solutions.

TORUS will start shipping worldwide from April and similarly, DISPLAY 3 will have a public release at that time.

Audio Media International spoke exclusively to Harter, Anthony and Thompson to find out more about the development of TORUS and DISPLAY 3 and what they mean for the future of Martin Audio…

These are landmark launches for Martin Audio. How long have they been in development?

Dom Harter: More than three years. TORUS was identified as a product we needed to develop for the range when I first arrived at the company, but work started in earnest in 2018. Similarly, DISPLAY 3 has been a long-standing initiative with intensive resource applied in the last couple of years.

Tell us about TORUS. What does this new range offer the market?

Phil Anthony: TORUS offers two, easily rigged fixed angle cabinets, a cost-effective solution for many short to medium throw applications allowing the construction of vertical and horizontal arrays to cover well-defined areas, intuitively increasing the coverage in the 15° or 30° degree cabinet increments. The horizontal dispersion of the HF horn is also dynamically adjustable in-situ, to cover the desired audience area and reduce spill.

The 12” LF drive unit is phase bung loaded to increase the efficiency and allow a higher crossover frequency into the three 1” exit compression drivers, minimising upper mid-band distortion whilst achieving the required headroom and throw. The three compression drivers are arrayed via acoustic waveguides designed using BEM models to achieve the correct wavefront curvature and phase alignment ensuring consistent coverage. A passive crossover ensures that system deployment is simple and amplifier channel count can be minimised or optimised and scaled for the application as desired. Pins 1 or 2 can be selected per cabinet making channel routing easy.

Versatility is the key for the cabinets. Used horizontally, they can form everything from side fills for a stage system, a horizontal centre cluster in a theatre or can be employed for touring in a medium sized event, scaling the horizontal coverage to fit the room geometry and adjusting the vertical dispersion to minimise spill.

When used vertically they are scalable for everything from single 15° front fills supplementing large touring arrays, vertical arrays for theatres or as multiple arrays for Sports Arenas, utilising the adjustable horizontal dispersion to minimise multiple arrivals and maintain consistent coverage.

What kind of applications is it most suited to?

Dom Harter: All throws up to about 30 meters, and from the point where a single point source struggles to give smooth coverage. We have worked really hard to make sure it is fit for touring and portable use but made sure the grille design is smart covering the horn to ensure it looks suitably discreet for permanent install.

Tell us about DISPLAY 3. When did development begin on this software and what was the philosophy behind it?

Ambrose Thompson: DISPLAY 3 is a desktop application that predicts direct acoustic field output from our loudspeakers. After a period of testing our assumptions regarding the platform and architecture, we began serious work in early 2019. A guiding principle is to prevent information-overload. Logical workflows are mapped via the generation of user stories in close collaboration with our product support team. A series of contexts effectively filter the world, leaving the user unencumbered by visual clutter.

Can it be used across the full portfolio of Martin Audio products?

Ambrose Thompson: That’s certainly the long-term objective. Many of our products benefit from dynamic numerical optimisation, this sets a high bar in terms of the required accuracy since the quality of the final result heavily depends on the simulation fidelity. DISPLAY 3 is more than just generating pretty pictures by conveniently ignoring source characteristics such as phase and diffraction; getting the data right in the right places is difficult. The upcoming public Beta will feature a small number of included speakers and work alongside DISPLAY 2 for optimised systems. Our release strategy is ‘small and often’, as the year progresses the speaker library will grow and DISPLAY 2 features will be incrementally integrated within DISPLAY 3.

Is it particularly suited to certain applications?

Ambrose Thompson: To start with, we focussed on two main user personas. The first being our product support team who needed an improved way of helping customers with design and installation. The second is a typical Project Manager in the installation sector. Being clear about who you are making software for is essential, especially when you start from an entirely blank canvas. An example is our very close integration with SketchUp in the first release. We know installation specialists are comfortable with SketchUp so we prioritised integration via their API and this has provided seamless 3D venue entry. Expect to see the focus shift to touring users in the next few months.

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