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Joe Sofo, Director of Melbourne’s Concert Audio Visual, started out from his garage as a teenager, on the back of his other life as a DJ and drummer. In 2005 he went full time, initially with hire and production departments, moving into sales in 2009, fast becoming a full service company with hire, production, sales and installation arms.
I’ve been a long time RCF user. In 2009 RCF was part of our inventory in our hire department but quickly became part of our sales offering. Back then we had a lot of other brands and some were giving us a lot of grief around warranties and delays in getting parts, particularly from about 2013 to 2015. Yet RCF excelled throughout that period for us and simply negated all issues. We all know electronics are electronics and they do fail, and RCF recognised that. There was never a problem with repairs and there were always spare parts. Quite simply, we found the product reliable and the service behind the product to be wonderful so we ended up dropping the other brands and just going with RCF and we haven’t looked back since.
They’ve been excellent to date and they are just getting better and better, as you can see from the ART 9 Series. You see RCF equipment out everywhere. I was DJing in a nightclub the other day and there was a booth monitor from the old ART 3 series, and the test and tag label was dated 2003. That box has been sitting there since 2003 getting an absolute hammering four nights a week, and the DJs don’t go easy on those boxes. It’s 20 years later and it’s still kicking.
The ART 9 Series
The ninth generation of the ART series launched mid 2021. It is a bigger, juicier, meatier version of the previous HD series and consists of six new models, ranging from 10″ to 15″ woofers. They all share the same 2100 Watt power amplifier and two-channel Class-D amplifier with advanced DSP processing. The 912-A features a new 1.75″ compression driver and the 932-A a beefier 3″ titanium/ neodymium driver.
We always do a comparison before we stock anything, and we lined the new range up, including the 912-A and the 932-A, against four or five of the closest competitor equivalents. Some of the competitors even use RCF drivers so are a very close comparison in terms of components.
We found that as soon as you get into a larger room, or you’ve got big vocals, or especially anything outdoors, the 932-A comes into a world of its own. When you are listening to them in a showroom at relatively low levels, the 912-A does sound better in my opinion. It is a sweeter sounding box, a bit more subtle, a little nicer on the ears but it runs out of volume before a 932-A does when you start putting bands through it. Don’t get me wrong, the 932-A sounds great out of the box too, but in a small room, where you don’t need that much mid-top end, it can become a bit too in your face. We figure it is better to use the 932-A and reduce for smaller spaces than carry the 912-A because you can’t get more. We used to carry the RCF HD series and we had both the HD-12s and the HD-32s and we found that the HD-32s were going out a lot more than the HD-12s. People were hiring them with a set of subs and utilising all the extra volume.
So, we’ve put sixteen 932-As into the hire department. They hit the sweet spot for us in terms of size, output and sound quality and they just do everything. All of the ART series sound great but the 932-As are a really nice midpoint and not too big at 12”. When you compare the 932-A to a lot of other boxes with the same components, it is far superior.
Weight and handling
They are slightly heavier than the HD-32s (18.8kgs versus 18kgs) but you don’t feel it as the handles are really good. It is inevitably going to be heavier than your lower power boxes, but for how they look, what they are, and for the output especially, they are still relatively lightweight. Everyone wants to get the sound and output of a 15” box but they don’t want to carry it around, and this is where the 932-A comes in. You get a lot of output for a very reasonable weight.
The 932-A comes with 132dB max SPL and I know some of these manufacturer ratings come from a speaker reaching that for one second before they explode! I believe RCF’s ability to run continuous power at extremely high volumes without issues is better than their competitors. The 932-A is definitely the most impressive box in its price range for maintaining sustained high-level output without issues. Whatever RCF are doing in terms of cooling their drivers and whatever the tech is in terms of driver production and amplifier production, they are doing their job.
The 932-A comes with three presets. Linear (flat), boost (extra bass) and stage for wedge and foldback. If you are running the box without the sub, you just have to be a bit careful when you are using the boost features. Like anything, if you are cranking up the bottom end in a 12” box, the 12” driver only has so much that it can give. It does sound a little bit sweeter when you do that because of the big 3” horn and extra bottom end in the 932-A, but you do inevitably lose a little volume. We run all of ours flat and I think the flat setting is more than enough, and more than what most of the other boxes are producing. If you need more, put a sub underneath it and that will do the job.
We stock the 910 through to the 945 and every range between that for sale – the 912, 915, 932 and 935. For hire, we find it works for us to have more of one box, and the 932-As are working for us. Saying that, we have just put up for sale a single pair of ex-hire HD10s and we will replace them with a 910 as our premium corporate box.
Our customers are predominantly DJs and bands. Your five piece pub band are our main clientele. They are typically touring around, lugging the boxes in and out of the car and up and down staircases, needing to do three hundred plus people out of a pair of boxes and a single sub. With the wedding scene these days, there’s five hundred at a wedding with three hundred on the dance floor, so they need a high output. We also have a lot of larger ethnic bands and that’s where the 3” horn comes into play. We’ve even had a pub from Daylesford, an hour and a half away, who used to hire HD32s from us, come and grab a pair as an artist had spec’d them and they were looking to buy some. They came back and said they really liked them.
Return on Investment
We have had no issues and they’ve certainly done some work, out every weekend. We’ve had great feedback from clients, and we have used them on some decent sized jobs. Over New Year’s, where the warehouse was almost empty, we had a NEXO STM line array system out and we ran out of everything we’d normally use as DJ foldback, so we used the 932-As with a sub and the DJs were wrapped. I think we used them for all our DJ foldback over New Year’s and they performed well. It’s been over six months now since we started stocking them and it’s been all positive.
Concert Audio Visual: www.concertav.com.au
Product Info: www.rcf.it
Distributor AU: grouptechnologies.com.au
Distributor NZ: directimports.co.nz
- Frequency Response: 50Hz – 20000Hz Max SPL @ 1m: 132 dB
- Horizontal coverage angle: 100° Vertical coverage angle: 60°
- Compression Driver: 1 x 1.4’’ neo, 3.0’’ v.c
- Woofer: 12’’, 2.5’’ v.c
- Total Power: 2100W Peak High frequencies: 700W Peak Low frequencies: 1400W Peak Height: 642 mm
- Width: 370 mm
- Depth: 363 mm
- Weight: 18.8 kg
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