British reference loudspeaker manufacturer PMC is bringing the ultimate in main monitoring to the 139th AES Convention in New York, in the shape of a brand new addition to the QB1-A Active Reference Monitor range.
Larger than anything the company has ever manufactured before, the QB1-XBD-A is a statement monitor that has no equal in terms of sheer power and resolution. The impetus for the design coming from specific high-profile PMC clients, the model on show at AES New York can be seen and heard in PMC's Masters of Audio room (room 15) and will go into full production in 2016.
To create the QB1-XBD-A, PMC has re-engineered its flagship QB1-A Active main studio monitor, which was launched last year and has already been installed at Capitol Studios in Los Angeles and the University of Westminster in London. For this new version, PMC has added a further cabinet (the XBD) per channel. This contains four identical piston drivers, each driven by four 1000w independent, class D, power amplifiers, which gives a total of a staggering 8825W of ultra-clean power per channel.
Although power handling is massively increased, the new QB1-XBD-A maintains PMC's internationally acclaimed reputation for accuracy, transparency and clarity. The latest iteration of the company's Advanced Transmission Line (ATL¢) bass-loading technology ensures a faithful low-frequency response down to 20Hz, while cutting-edge on-board DSP provides driver unit optimisation, EQ and sophisticated crossover networks. Alongside its incredible power ratio and damping per channel, the QB1-XBD-A offers ultra-low distortion, a forensic sense of detail and incomparable dynamics and transience throughout the entire bandwidth. The sense of limitless headroom and complete confidence gained when working on these is unparalleled from this twin-stacked cabinet design, and this configuration ensures the smoothest possible in-room bass response with 3dB more headroom than the QB1-A single cabinet version.
PMC's Founder, Peter Thomas says: "With our close relationships with our clients we truly understand their requirements and this is what has guided us to produce the QB1 XBD-A. This monitor is a game changer and there isnt really anything that can compete."
In keeping with the QB1-A, the QB1-XBD-A features wired RJ45 desktop control, which provides user-friendly access to user EQ settings via its backlit display and jog wheel, and the ability to store up to four user setup presets. The speakers can be either soffit-mounted or free-standing, with PMC's ATL¢ design ensuring that free-standing use has no impact on their effortlessly smooth bass response.
PMC's QB1-A range has its roots in the observation by the company's design team that there were no large-scale active studio monitors on the market taking advantage of the latest developments in loudspeaker driver analysis and design and DSP-aided control. This starting point, coupled with PMC's own extensive research into driver performance, using opto-acoustic laser inferometry at the UK's National Physical Laboratory (NPL), aided and honed the design of the QB1-A.
"We saw that there was a gap at the very high end of the market," explains Oliver Thomas, R&D Project Manager at PMC. "In the main, the current products on the market don't offer the flexibility of analogue and digital inputs, and suffer from giving listeners an insufficient sense of resolution, compared to what can now be attained with good Class-D amp design and DSP-aided crossover management."
The QB1-A design makes up this ground, additionally employing recent advances in PMC's transmission line design concept, as used in the company's IB2 midfields and twotwo nearfields, and the aforementioned NPL analyses, to achieve even more efficient, high-performance designs. Extra bracing and damping inside the speaker cabinet prevents noise and reduces resonance to insignificant levels beyond the limits of human audibility, while the newly introduced vertical strakes in the transmission line add further bracing and simultaneously reduce turbulence in the throughput airflow, making it laminar and contributing to a faster, more dynamic sound.
At AES New York, PMC's new QB1-XBD-A monitors will be shown as part of a 9.1 immersive sound surround system for high resolution audio surround presentations. Among the events already scheduled for the Masters of Audio room is an AES presentation on 9.1 surround sound, a presentation by legendary mastering engineer Vlado Meller, a Blu Ray Album launch presentation from Sono Luminus (Dan Shores/Morten Lindberg/Stephan Bock) and a presentation from Ozark Henry (mixed by Ronald Prent/mastered by Darcy Proper for Auro 3D).