in the market for a new PA, and just a few months ago hosted a pretty elaborate “shoot out” BY LARRY HALL

As some of you may know (those of you smart enough to be following SoundProLive) H.A.S. has been in the market for a new PA, and just a few months ago hosted a pretty elaborate “shoot out” 

Well so far the only thing I have come away from that shoot out with is this bit of wisdom…

BUYING SPEAKERS BE HARD! 

With today’s technology you would be hard-pressed to find a crappy system. It is more about finding the right tool for the job than it is sorting out the crap. With that said, we have been doing a lot of research, and a lot of private listening.

  

Enter The VUE Al4 and Al8. These systems where hands down winners at the shoot out from sound quality and coverage stand point, but were a little weak in terms of SPL range for the venue (an 8000 seat arena).  

So lets just talk about the Al-4…….We can save the 8 for later. VUE left us with 8 Al-4 and one VUE amp. (More on the amp later, too. Patience, Grasshopper.)

As we look at this Lil Fella, one cant help but ask WHY WOULD YA? Who needs or wants a 4-inch line array? This takes the word “compact” to a whole other level. I think if wearing the right pants, I can fit one in each pocket. 

So if you can get over the size, you pop a few of these up in the air, or on a stick. I think the first thing that shocks you is how loud and clear these boxes are—even at a distance of 150 ft. At the shoot out we flew 16 in a single cluster and in that 8000 seat arena I sat in the worse “nose bleed” seat there was, and though it wasn’t peeling my face off, it was actually giving an ok amount of 150hz to about 6.3k.

And it was full range. 

Yes, read it again. FULL RANGE. Not that 1k crap you get from a lot of other compact systems at more than 100 ft.

So what gives? A pair of four inch “woofers” and a one-inch compression driver delivering all of that? 

As for the “why would ya”… Maybe it’s not the going out with Big Mick/Metallica as the main PA. But for sure, even in that case, it could be used to fill holes between bigger arrays—delays, basically any fill box.

Or… Skip the big rock show mentality, and put 3-4 on a stick in a breakout room? 

Some stuff we like. 

1) It’s a TRUE line array, not some constant curvature BS that we have to “make” work. 

2) Small ballroom with low ceilings and crappy hang points? No problem! Hang 8 of these guys a side and you’re at less than 4 feet of box and—with array frame and cables—under 160 pounds! Need more? Double it to 16….340 pounds-ish, and 8 ft array. 

3) The system has great options too. Like an array-able pole mount/U Bracket system that can ground support up to four Al4s on a VUE subwoofer. And a case that holds four Al-4s and one array frame.

4) You can fly up to 16 al-4 elements from a single flybar

5) 90° horizontal coverage angle per al-4 element

6) The VUEPoint optimization uses standard software tools to bring some degree of beam steering to a system that you will not have to sell your house, wife and kids in order to buy.

VUE sells the system in blocks of 8. So one amp, 2 array frames and 8 Al-4. Yes. You would run 8 Al-8s in bi-amp mode on one amp. 

Now lets talk about that amp. Of course, in a world where marketing is everything, they can’t just call it an amp. It is the “V4 Systems Engine.” Whatever. It ships with networking and remote management standard And there are front AND rear panel Ethernet ports. Just plug in, and the amp will automatically recognize and connect. It just works. It comes in two versions—an install version with no external controls, and a tour version with knobs and metering right on the front, or you can control via your laptop as with the install version. 

This is the amp VUE sells with ALL of their bi-amped products. So one amp runs your wedges, Al-4s,or any of their other bi-amped loudspeakers. Welcome to easy inventory control. Of course nothing new, The other big manufactures do this as well (D&B,L-Acoustics, et al.)

Two channels @ 1600 WATT Sine Wave, and two channels @ 550 WATT Sine Wave. So a REAL amp with REAL power. The amp also has a 64-bit digital processor that handles EQ, time alignment, crossover and speaker protection. All of this in TWO rack space. Are you a Mac guy or a PC guy? VUE doesn’t care. The DSP goes both ways. (Ed. Note: At this point in his missive, Mr. Hall made some comments about the alleged sexuality of the person he knew would be editing. Yes, Larry, I read this shit. I took it out. Bite me…) (Larry replies: hmmmm, bite you?)

So if you’re a small rental house and need to fit your PA in a mini van, here it is.

If you’re a touring company and have holes between your large arrays or want a REAL compact front-fill box that delivers the goods, again here it is.

Ballroom gig, dude? Yup got it covered. 

Can’t fly? So what?

What else can I tell ya? Buy it. It doesn’t suck.