If you look on my rig page, you’ll see that for my solo gigs, I use the very wonderful Fishman SoloAmp. This is a great, integrated PA that I’ve been using to great success for the past year or so. Very easy to set up, and it has a nice on-board mixer with decent reverb effects (which I never use, since I always use my vocalizer’s reverb). But the other day, I demoed the HK Audio Elements system while I was browsing “The Music Tree” in Morgan Hill, CA. This is an audio system that is similar to the Bose L1, but unlike the Bose L1, the Elements system allows you to expand by adding more “elements” as your audience size grows. Super-cool!!!
Sound-wise, I plugged an acoustic guitar directly into the system, and was absolutely blown away by the sound! While I love my Fishman, and it has served me well, compared to something like the Elements system, a subwoofer really makes a difference, despite the fact that the SoloAmp’s speakers have good bass response.
But honestly, this entry isn’t about the Elements system. While trying to get more information online about the Elements system, I ran across another, just-released, integrated PA system from HK Audio called the Sound Caddy One, that is based upon the same audio technology as the Elements system. But with the Sound Caddy One, there are NO parts to put together! The line array is housed within the PA’s body (which also serves as the housing for the subwoofers), and to set up the system, you release the line array, that pops up out of the housing, secure it, plug in, turn on and you’re ready to go! Damn!
Check out this demo video from Musikmesse 2011:
Here are the Sound Caddy’s technical features:
|Max SPL calculated||125 dB|
|Max SPL peak||125 dB|
|Max SPL||120 dB @10% THD|
|Output power system||600W Class D|
|Frequency response +/- 3 dB||49 Hz – 18 kHz|
|Frequency response -10 dB||42 Hz – 18 kHz|
|LF Speaker||3x 6″|
|Mid/High Speaker||6x 3,5″|
|Directivity||70° x 15°|
|Crossover frequency||150 Hz, 12 dB/oct.|
|Enclosure||15 mm (5/8“), 13-ply (plywood)|
|Dimensions (WxHxD)||27 x 102 x 34 cm 10-5/8“ x 40-5/32 x 13-25/64|
|Weight||29 kg / 63,9lbs|
Delivering a max 125dB at 600 Watts, this unit can move some air. Some people have said it isn’t powerful enough for their uses, but for a solo musician, this is more than enough power! Also, I have to question the negative feedback because systems like this are all about sound dispersal, getting an even volume anywhere within the sound dispersal cone which, for this system, is 70 degrees. When I first started using a line array system, it took me awhile to get used to the volume seemingly not being as loud. But it’s deceptive with a line array because the sound actually reaches fairly extreme angles, and what you’re trying to do is get your sound dispersed, and not necessarily through volume.
I dig that unlike the Elements system which is pure sound reinforcement, this has an integrated 4-channel mixer, which is an absolute MUST for me. But the only thing that I’d be wary of is the stability of the system. The base seems rather narrow, and I’m wondering how it would fair in windy conditions. In any case, here’s another demo video that demonstrates the sound. The singer aside, even through the camcorder’s microphone, it’s clear that the Sound Caddy One provides some very clear, clean sound.
As for cost, the video above mentioned a price of “2000.” If that’s in German deutsche marks, then the price would be around $1450 USD. That’s not bad, even as an MSRP, which would make the street price even lower. I’ll have to find out more information.
In any case, for more information on HK Audio products, go to: http://www.hkaudio.com.