Adamson's Project Energia
Following years of research into sound reinforcement, Adamson devised the concept of Energia - a three-phase project that would include a series of loudspeaker systems. Founder, Brock Adamson, talks to TPi’s Zoe Mutter about Energia’s first product, the E15, and how the platform will impact touring sound.
What were the motivations behind launching Project Energia?
More than a new product, we needed a different product, an entirely new line array platform to support what we have yet to do in array processing. Of course we achieved huge performance and handling improvements, but our vision went well beyond that. We foresaw a platform that would provide space for all conceivable onboard electronics and power as well as the means to distribute signal, communications and mains power to the array. Just to complete the package, we have several failover options backed up with a UPS.
Did Project Energia receive a positive response from the attendees at this year’s Prolight + Sound trade show?
Well, we expected a great response from showing the development work in Beta II and we definitely got what we came for. It was great to see this kind of feedback after all of the time and energy invested.
When the Adamson team was designing the system, what were the key priorities and how did you hope it would change the industry?
Our goal was to integrate a lot of technology that had never been applied to loudspeaker arrays and yet simplify the entire physical interface as the user sees it. We wanted a platform that would adapt to any new software and processing that may evolve, but of course, there was never a question of whether the loudspeaker needed to be smaller, lighter and offer more horsepower. I think this combination of technology is what sets Energia apart.
How do you see the E15 fitting in with Adamson’s other products and developing the company as a whole?
It has to be said that Energia is not about the E15 alone. It’s a much bigger picture than this. The future of Adamson’s technology is wrapped up in this project. We have two additional loudspeakers scheduled for release this year and this is only the beginning.
What are the system’s main strengths?
We have definitely brought forward improvements in packaging and performance. The rigging system is very sophisticated yet simple enough that a single technician can manage it. Acoustically, we did our homework as well. There is around 6dB more vocal headroom than the other 15-inch line source cabinets that we evaluated during the development. And the single cable solution combined with monitoring, control and backup of the entire system, is the first in the industry.
Can you run through the field testing that has taken place in Phase 1 of Project Energia and the types of shows / other applications it has been trialled on?
Throughout Beta 1 our clients have put the system out on arena tours, theatre runs and even into stadiums. This is the only way to debug the system thoroughly. It’s helped us to implement a few small mechanical improvements but the primary improvements will be found in our new preset library due forrelease in May.
With the product coming to the end of the first phase of mechanical beta testing, how is it going to be developed further in Phase 2 and 3 and what are the plans for the future of the system?
In Beta 2, a class D amplifier module is shock mounted to the inside of the e-Capsule which then acts as a heat sink. The system is then energised with a single cable capable of carrying AC power and analogue signals. In Phase 3 the cable will also carry AVB data. The E15 requires one cable from the ground, to drive four cabinets. The master ground control system with a built in UPS, will slave multiple distributionpanels. Advanced diagnostics features allow for energy metering and angular data of every enclosure, while giving systems engineers access to individual bands in each E15 enclosure. A new subwoofer and additional full range cabinets will be introduced in Phase 2 as well.
Which partners have you been working alongside so far and how integral havethey been to the E15’s development and success?
We have beta partners spread out around the world and they all provide valuable feedback. Our technicians work in the field on these systems as well. This combination of end user and factory support is the best way to bringaccurate and reliable information back to our R&D team.
What feedback have you had on the system so far in terms of build, sound and ease of rigging?
Quite a few engineers that have mixed on the E15 so far have commented on the punch and low mid definition as well as the clarity throughout the vocal range. The acoustic feedback has been primarily very positive. On the mechanical side, people love the rigging. Even people who have never used it love it!