Ever gone to a concert where it’s so loud you think you’re ears will start bleeding, and in spite of the volume level you can’t understand the lyrics?
Bose’s approach to solving this problem is pretty radical, and at the same time surprisingly simple. It involves nothing less than, as they put it, “changing the fundamental properties of loudspeakers,” and yet the idea, once it’s explained, seems obvious.
The company’s new product is called the Cylindrical Radiator Loudspeaker. Two dozen or so (we weren’t allowed to peek inside the units) small drivers are arranged vertically in a flagpole-like structure about 3.5 inches in diameter and seven feet high, which is set into a floor stand. The arrangement of the drivers is designed to eliminate all vertical dispersion: The sound is projected forward and in a 180° arc horizontally, but there’s nothing projecting above the top of the column and nothing bouncing off the floor.
The most obvious effect is that, in theory at least, the sound is transferred to the room much more efficiently than with a standard spherical-front speaker. In fact, we were invited to walk directly toward the speaker from across a large room while a guitarist played, and observed that the difference in sound level as we approached was remarkably small, even when we put our ears right up to the speaker. Therefore, musicians can play at lower levels and still fill a space. Vocals sent through the system can be loud enough to project, but the potential for feedback is greatly reduced.
(quoted from a MixOnline article)
The Cylindrical Radiator speaker is placed behind the performer on the stage, providing sound for both the performer and the audience. This is a total departure from the traditional amplified sound system, which requires separate amplifiers and speakers for the audience and the performers, a mixing console, miles of cabling, and a sound technician to make it all work, and even then it often works poorly.
The PAS returns simplicity to the idea of amplified music performances, and makes for a much more natural sound coming from the stage, with the amplified sound from each performer coming from where that performer is on the stage. According to many posters on Bose’s online forum, the system is also ideal for DJ’s and playback of recorded music.
This is an answer to many prayers from frustrated performers and sound techs alike, tired of overly complicated systems for small to medium-sized rooms, not to mention concert-goers who feel the need to bring ear plugs along.
Look for the PAS to show up on stage at a nightclub or church near you.