Focus on Martin Audio: Making DISPLAY 3 and the TORUS Constant Curvature Array

With the launch of its TORUS Constant Curvature Array and DISPLAY 3 3D prediction software. Martin Audio is making quite the noise amongst sound professionals right now. But while this co-ordinated launch initiative seems like a perfect strategy, that wasn’t always the plan.

“Both projects started as independent initiatives,” Ambrose Thompson, Research Director, told Audio Media International, “but as development of TORUS began to reach a conclusion it was clear that it would benefit from DISPLAY 3, so we prioritised a development cycle of D3 to ensure this and so the two announcements naturally coincided.”  

To learn more, Audio Media International joined the team behind this seismic confluence (virtually), for an in-depth look at both product launches. The audio biz may still be emerging from lockdown, but the mood is upbeat.

“The on-line TORUS launch event was a massive success,” reports Phil Anthony, Associate Director of Design. Industry reaction to the brand’s ground-breaking constant curvature array has been outstanding, he says.

“We think this places Martin Audio front and centre into the constant curvature segment, as customers have seen TORUS provide an efficient and cost effective solution for medium throw applications. We even got a few complimentary nods from competitors!”

Martin Audio

“I’d point to the ease of deployment and deceptively simple adjustment of HF coverage due to the innovative mechanical design by the Mechanical Design Manager and Lead Mechanical Designer on the project, Peter Lawrence,” he says. ”This, coupled with the Martin Audio sound and the integration with D3 make TORUS easy to specify and deploy.”

TORUS effectively sits between full-size line array and point source solutions, offering a 15-30m throw. Enhancing versatility, every TORUS cabinet has a manually adjustable horizontal dispersion pattern; two separate cabinet types, T1215 and T1230, can be combined to fit a wide variety of venue and coverage requirements.

Performance is hardly an afterthought either. TORUS uses multiple, small diaphragm 1-inch exit HF drivers crossed over as high as possible – “to avoid the more aggressive sound often associated with a large format compression driver and a low crossover point.” 

Due to the small compression drivers size, they are closely packed and the wavefronts are combined in the BEM optimised horns, radiating with a suitably curved wavefront at the horn mouth, explains Anthony. “From a practical perspective, all-neodymium motors ensure that the product weight is kept down. The 12-inch / 3-inch voice-coil LF ensures the perfect balance of power handling and smooth extended frequency response. It has a demodulation ring for constant inductance versus voice-coil position, resulting in lower distortion and is partnered with the phase bung to further increase upper mid-band sensitivity maximising headroom and reducing thermal compression.”

TORUS is also the first product to utilise the brand’s DISPLAY 3 prediction and optimisation software. Designed for live and installation projects, DISPLAY 3 can be combined with Sketchup for venue modelling, or used solo for venue and shape creation. 

Ambrose Thompson, Research Director, told Audio Media International that the long term aim is to integrate all current Martin Audio products: “There’s a prioritisation list maintained by the Product Support Group in each development cycle, so a monthly increase in the speaker library is a reasonable expectation.” 

Will we see the entire Martin Audio portfolio – line array, point source, ceiling and subwoofer solutions – in the library before the end of the year?

“That’s a reasonable assumption,” Thompson tells us. “The aim is to get at least the basic functionality implemented across the widest range of products as soon as possible. That may mean we may prioritise work on adding electroacoustic properties, rather than a large complement of mechanical accessories some systems have available. That said, our development processes are flexible enough to respond to user demand in specific cases.”

We’re told the D3 roadmap also includes widening support for touring users: “We’ve worked hard to form a pretty good vision of what an ideal future will look like. Our software process captured many user stories from touring users, and they form the framework from which we can make detailed implementation plans. Providing a way for users on the move, without SketchUp, to create venue surfaces is the first touring priority – a simple step in that direction will be available early on and refined within the next 2-3 Beta cycles.”

Feedback from user trials under Beta has been enthusiastic, says Thompson.

“Ben Tucker from Martin Audio’s Product Support Group has been plugged into the development process from the very beginning. He and his colleagues have provided stories and tested the hundreds of builds before the Beta stage. Thanks in large part to their work there have been no major surprises from the wider Beta testing group, but we’ve received some excellent feedback to add to our user story profiles, and likely requirements as we move forward.” 

Thompson cites this commentary from Bryan Davidson, Consultant Liaison at Technical Audio Group, Australia, as typical:

“Wow, very impressive! Finally, some loudspeaker prediction software that has a simple, yet logical workflow coupled with accurate results! I believe consultants and production companies alike are going to enjoy using DISPLAY 3 with its modern interface and up to date graphics. I and many of my industry colleagues have enjoyed using DISPLAY 2 over the years and are extremely pleased to see DISPLAY 3 has built on such a solid and accurate platform and taken it to all new heights. I’ve used most other manufacturer’s prediction software over the years, some good, some not so good however DISPLAY 3, in my opinion, is right up there with the best. It’s refreshing to find a manufacturer who listens to users and values their input when designing such software, and it’s those manufacturers who end up with the best result.”

Beta user Davidson hits the nail on the head with his comments about usability.

“For those that are already Martin Audio supporters, the relief of not having to battle with a clunky, and at times frustrating slow, collection of CAD, 3rd party acoustic prediction tools and DISPLAY 2 will be keenly felt!” says Thompson.  For new users, perhaps those who have experienced our speakers and are therefore impressed by the hardware, I hope it signposts our serious intent to properly support our speakers with modern software – the complete package.”

We asked Thompson what surprised and delighted during the D3 development and Beta phase?

“Being able to compile both D3 speaker data and GLL data from the multiple sources at a touch of a button so they remain exactly perfectly in sync,” he confides.

“We’re starting from scratch, so the ‘table stakes’ for a 3D electroacoustic prediction program that isn’t awkward to use are very high. That said, I think our integration of SketchUp is the best out there and users have found context dependent views of the 3D world easy to understand. Once we are through the foundations of D3, I expect that we will be able to both innovate and further the experience and value for users to be world leading.” 

Learn More about Torus and D3