Acoustic Technologies SS30A
by Ray Eberle.
Ray Eberle is the owner of Fat Sound, located in the Shoalhaven region of NSW. Fat Sound specialises in high-performance sound and lighting and has provided professional production to the Australian music industry for over 25 years. Fat Sound has become a reputable fixture in the Shoalhaven event scene, providing premium quality sound reinforcement and lighting for corporate meetings, special events, private functions, school productions, and outdoor or indoor concerts. Fat Sound has toured with most major bands around Australia and overseas, as well as with local artists.
The Acoustic Technologies SS30 is a 12” and horn cabinet available in a passive or powered model, the SS30A being the powered model and the subject of this review. There are two horizontal dispersion options available; 70 degrees or 100 degrees, and I have invested in the 100 degree option, which has a vertical dispersion of 30 degrees.
Application-wise, I use the SS30As as FOH and delays, indoors and outdoors, with and without subs.
I’ve mixed on quite a lot of powered mid-highs, and most don’t come anywhere near the quality of the SS30As. They are a dream to mix on. Their response is flat, and there’s very, very little EQing to be done. The response is incredible – when you push up the faders, there’s just so much headroom.
I’ve used some really nice top-end European loudspeakers, and I’d say the SS30As sound similar, but less processed and more natural.
I’ve found the SS30As particularly impressive for speech. Interestingly, using the SS30As, I’ve come to the conclusion that what really works on a lectern gooseneck is an SM57! All of my condensers are now sitting on the shelf.
I’ve just done a huge outdoor gig for ANZAC Day with 3000 people using four SS30As with two SM57s on the lectern, and the frequency response was absolutely dead flat with no EQ needed. I’ve now started using the same rig indoors for major political speeches.
The SS30As use a Powersoft amplifier module, which comes with their Armonia DSP platform. If you really want to alter the factory settings, you can connect your computer and make changes within Armonia. But the way AT have tuned this box, there’s no way you’d want to go and play with it.
It is one of the warmest boxes I’ve ever heard without changing any settings – it’s tuned perfectly. On a more practical level, there’s a four position switch on the back which you can use to switch between full range and ‘with sub’ settings.
Switch position one is full range, position two is high-passed for use with subs, and positions three and four duplicate positions one and two respectively, allowing for future–proofing if AT decide to add two more presets one day.
Construction and Finish
The fact the SS30As are a wooden cabinet was a big factor in my decision to purchase them. There is a huge difference in sound quality between wood and plastic. Also, the product looks good; I do a lot of corporate gigs, and you don’t roll up with plastic boxes to a corporate gig.
The SS30As come with a road case, and we look after them. Even after a few year’s use, I still get people asking if my SS30As are new. It’s the combination of the birch plywood and AT’s Acousti-Coat elastomer finish.
At 29kg per box, it’s good that there’s a handle on either side, with an indent in the top to cup the groove of your fingers. I’m about five seven and 64 kilos, and I can lift an SS30A onto my shoulder and onto a speaker stand. I wouldn’t say it is with ease, but I can do it, and do most days without problems.
Being an Australian-made product, we don’t tend to see AT products on overseas riders and lists of requested equipment, because they’re just all about what everybody’s using in Europe and America. If you’re going to compare premium European brands to Acoustic Technologies, there’s a big difference in price, but in hearing the results, there’s not much in it at all.
We’ve found that once engineers have operated and mixed on the SS30As or other AT products as a guest engineer, they’re very impressed.
Price-wise, in a busy market, the SS30As sit extremely well. We have a very good relationship with Acoustic Technologies and have always found their pricing extremely competitive. High-end imported products have to sell at a price that covers their importation, which is understandable, but you’re paying top dollar because they’ve come from overseas.
I’m proud to support an Australian-made product. I’ve been in business for over 25 years and it annoys me no end that almost everything we buy in pro audio comes from overseas, from componentry to finished products. Acoustic Technologies are manufacturing and assembling in Australia for Australian audio professionals.
If you can’t support that, then you’re not seeing the big picture. So I support Australian Made, not just because of that, but because it’s also a damn good product.
Acoustic Technologies SS30A – The Specs
90 Hz – 18 kHz @ 3 dB 60 Hz – 22 kHz -10 dB
High Frequency Dispersion (Degrees):
70(H) x 40(v) or 100(H) x 40(v)
Height 556mm (inc Feet)
Front Width 331mm
Rear Width 232mm
Passive Mode Specifications:
100 dB @ 1 watt, 1 metre Max Input Continuous:
530 watts RMS Max SPL Continuous:
127 dB @ 1 metre
Active Crossover Frequency:
1.2 kHz or higher at 24 dB / Octave
CX Magazine – June 2019 Entertainment technology news and issues for Australia and New Zealand – in print and free online www.cxnetwork.com.au
© CX Media
Published monthly since 1991, our famous AV industry magazine is free for download or pay for print. Subscribers also receive CX News, our free weekly email with the latest industry news and jobs.