ROAD TEST

19 Jun 2023

MEYER SOUND ULTRA-X40

by Matt Zalewski

Matt Zalewski is a Senior Technician at the Adelaide branch of national AV company Scene Change. Matt started his audio career recording at school, before moving onto mixing bands in pubs, studying at TAFE, then freelancing for multiple companies around Adelaide. He’s been with Scene Change full-time since 2016.

USE CASE

At Scene Change Adelaide, most of our clientele are corporates, which means a lot of people speaking at lecterns, conferences, and dinners with a band. We also do a lot of outdoor gigs.

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We installed a permanent Meyer Sound CAL 64 system in one of our regular venues, Adelaide Town Hall, eight years ago, and the system is great for 90% of the events that happen there. When we need extra volume for speech reinforcement or need more low end and volume for playback, we will bring in a pair of ULTRA-X40s and pole mount them around 25 metres apart. Like most town halls built in the 19th century, it’s a large, reverberant, acoustically difficult hall. A pair of ULTRA-X40s can absolutely cover the entire space, and we can push them extremely hard when we need to without breakup or distortion.

ULTRA-X40

We’re typically driving the ULTRA-X40s straight from an Allen & Heath SQ-5 digital desk on smaller gigs, or via a Yamaha QL5 on larger shows. When we need system processing for using the ULTRA-X40s as fill in distributed systems, or we’re using the ULTRA-X40s with subs, we use a Meyer Sound Galileo 616 processor, which I monitor through Meyer Sound’s Compass software. I like the Compass interface and find it completely intuitive.

COMPARISON

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Meyer Sound describe the ULTRA-X40 as the successor to their UPA-1P. I’ve used UPA-1Ps extensively, both as part of Scene Change’s inventory and with other companies. The UPA-1P is a 12” woofer and a 3” compression driver, with 100° x 40° coverage and a 1000W amplifier, weighing 34kg. This is quite different to the ULTRA-X40s two concentric 8” drivers and 3” compression driver all going through a rotatable waveguide with 110° x 50° coverage, powered by a 1950W amp, and the whole weighing 23 kg. I’m happy to say that the ULTRA-X40 outperforms the UPA-1P in every way.

SOUND

While the ULTRA-X40s represent a sonic improvement over their predecessor, they still have what I’d call the Meyer Sound ‘signature sound’. It’s something I’ve gotten used to, as every company I’ve worked with has Meyer Sound loudspeakers in their inventory.

Meyer Sound loudspeakers have better phase coherence than their competitors, and that’s where I believe their signature sound comes from. Their horns and waveguides are extremely accurate and tight, which is why they have such excellent side and rear rejection, which I’m always struck by when I’m working with them.

Having great rear and side rejection is extremely important when working with lecterns and lectern mics, which is our bread and butter. When you have a presenter who hasn’t got great mic technique, the gain before feedback you can get because of the rejection really helps.

The other thing I’d say about Meyer Sound and the ULTRA-X40s is that ‘you get out what you put in.’ Meyer Sound use the term ‘honest sound’ in their marketing, and that’s exactly what it is. Because the ULTRA-X40s phase is so accurate, the timing so perfect, and you’ve got all the signal coming through the acoustic centre that is the waveguide, they faithfully reproduce your signal. It’s not just that their frequency response is flat (which it is), they are tight, there’s lots of headroom and gain before feedback, and they will absolutely go for days in terms of level.

PHYSICAL

While they are 11 kg lighter than a UPA-1P, I have to say I did find the lack of handles on the sides annoying initially: there’s just the one on top. However, I do understand why they’ve done this, which is in part for the sleek corporate look which we benefit from. To be honest, I’m quite short and even I find it quite easy to get them on a speaker stand. Once you figure out your technique to get them onto the poles, it’s not hard.

The M20 top hat mount that speaker stands go into is just 35mm deep, which I found a little surprising when I first pole-mounted one. It does feel quite different from other manufacturer’s top hats, but obviously it’s fine.

CONCLUSION

The ULTRA-X40 is a more-than-worthy successor to the industry-standard UPA-1P. We’re also using the smaller ULTRA-X20 dual 5” for smaller gigs with great results. Having deployed the ULTRA-X40s across all our regular venues, and on multiple outdoor events, I have never had an issue, and can always rely on their superior sonic performance.


Product Information: meyersound.com

Distributor Australia and New Zealand: meyersound.com


THE SPECS

ACOUSTICAL

  • Operating Frequency Range: 55 Hz – 19.5 kHz
  • Frequency Response: 56 Hz – 19 kHz ± 4 dB
  • Phase Response: 90 Hz – 19.5 kHz ±45° Maximum SPL: 138 dB
  • Linear Peak SPL: 132.5 dB with 18 dB crest factor (M-noise), 130 dB (Pink Noise), 131 dB (B-noise)

COVERAGE

  • Rotatable horn: 110° x 50°

TRANSDUCERS

  • Low Frequency: Two 8-inch cone drivers; 4 Ω nominal impedance
  • High Frequency: One 3-inch diaphragm compression driver connected to a rotatable horn; 8 Ω nominal impedance

AUDIO INPUT

  • Connectors: XLR 3-pin female input with male loop output; optional XLR 5-pin connector to accommodate both balanced audio and RMS signals.

AMPLIFIER

  • Type: three-channel, Class-D Total Output Power: 1950 W peak THD, IM, TIM: <0.02%
  • Cooling: Convection

AC POWER

  • Connector: powerCON 20 input with loop output
  • Automatic Voltage Selection: 90–265 V AC, 50–60 Hz

PHYSICAL

  • Dimensions: W 318 mm x H 567 mm x D 356 mm Weight: 23.6 kg
  • Enclosure: Premium multi-ply birch with slightly textured black finish
  • Protective Grille: Powder-coated, round- perforated steel
  • Rigging: 11 integrated M8 threaded points; 35 mm Pole Mount with M20 thread; optional accessories for various rigging options

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