Pro audio equipment is highly sensitive gear that is very susceptible to the ravages of hostile weather conditions. High fidelity loudspeaker systems have never been items that one would leave out in the rain, fog or humidity, let alone rain, fog or humidity that is very high in salt content.
Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, one of the leading cruise lines in the world, was recently operating with a revolving door policy when it came to their on-deck, mobile high fidelity loudspeakers. “R.C.C.L was getting about a year of use from our loudspeakers”, notes Mr. Craig Chamberlain, Senior Buyer for Casino and Cruise Programs. “The salt water, rain, sprays and wash downs took their toll on the wood, electronics and especially the speaker cones to the point the loudspeakers would need to be replaced frequently.” The expense of replacing many pairs of professional high powered loudspeakers per year was prohibitive.
The Caribbean weather can go from sunny with temperatures of 110 degrees to driving rain and temperatures of 60degrees, and then back again within fifteen minutes. The lifespan of professional audio equipment and loudspeaker systems in this type of environment is greatly reduced due to the extreme sun, heat, water, wind and salt conditions. Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines had used several different brands of cloth covered, pressboard and plywood cabinet loudspeaker systems for their on-deck audio applications. Continues Mr. Chamberlain, “Even though R.C.C.L takes great pride in taking care of all of our equipment, the wood loudspeakers were not holding up to the environment.”
Mr. Chamberlain was told about Technomad WeatherTech(tm) loudspeakers by Brian Leeser of Miami Audio Video Company, of Miami, Florida. Imagine a high-powered, high fidelity loudspeaker system that could be operated outdoors, in the rain, fog, salt spray, humidity, blazing sun and intense heat. This intrigued Mr. Chamberlain.
Mr. Leeser informed Mr. Chamberlain that Technomad loudspeakers are impervious to salt water, sand, condensation, UV light, corrosion, insects, and other damage. A Technomad loudspeaker’s four layer, acoustically transparent grill system breaks up wind driven rain, sprayed water and liquids. Any water that does get onto the chemically treated drivers (speaker cones) is merely shed away. For very extreme weather conditions, Technomad WeatherTech(tm) loudspeakers also feature a watertight lid. With the lid attached, Technomad loudspeakers meet Military-Specification 810E, have an ATA III rating, are splinter-proof and resistant to impact, chemical cleaners and even fire. Like-size Technomad cabinets lock together when stacked, and interlocking ribs allow for secure transport and storage in rough seas.
Mr. Leeser learned out about Technomad at the 1995 INFOCOMM Expo in Dallas, Texas. Miami Audio Video Company (MAVCO) is recognized as one of the leading audio, video and multimedia design and installation firms in the world for the cruise ship industry. MAVCO, never a company to rest on its laurels and only sell the standard fare of “black cabinets” recognized the potential of the Technomad WeatherTech(tm) loudspeaker line. Always looking to make inroads into new markets with new products, Mr. Leeser suggested R.C.C.L. evaluate a pair of the Technomad WeatherTech(tm) full range Berlin model loudspeakers on a two week evaluation cruise. Mr. Leeser states, “When I received a check for the first pair of Technomad loudspeakers after only one week into the evaluation, I knew I was onto something special.”
Since acquiring the first pair of Technomad WeatherTech Berlin model loudspeakers for The Sovereign of the Seas, Technomads have been acquired for several other R.C.C.L. ships, including Song of America, Majesty of the Seas and Nordic Empress. Mr. Chamberlain notes, “Since changing to the Technomad WeatherTech(tm) Berlin model loudspeakers in September 1995, we have been very pleased with their durability.” The Technomads are primarily used poolside for the entire day by a Calypso band. In the evening the Technomads are used for parties and other functions, such as ‘Theme Night’ festivities. It is not unusual for the Technomads to be in use eight or more hours per day.
Ease of use and electronic reliability were other reasons to replace Royal Caribbean’s older loudspeakers with the Technomads. States Mr. Chamberlain, “Many members of the on-board entertainment staff, who will eventually handle the Technomad loudspeakers, are not audio professionals. In many cases an audio technician will set-up the entire PA system and walk away from it, leaving the audio system to be operated by the band.”
Technomad’s electronics are designed to withstand a significant amount of use. High quality, custom made crossover networks ensure superior audio performance and ultimate reliability. Technomad’s crossovers feature premium 400-volt metalized polypropylene Solen capacitors and unusually large inductors for low insertion-loss and DC-tolerant performance, and all internal wiring is 12-gauge multi-braided copper cable.
Aside from the rapidly changing weather conditions at sea, “Royal Caribbean needs to watch what we buy for many reasons. The extended warranty on the Technomad loudspeakers is another reason why we use the product,” notes Mr. Chamberlain referring to Technomad’s 10/5/2 year comprehensive warranty against manufacturers defects. The 10/5/2 warranty covers the Technomad loudspeaker cabinet for ten years, the external hardware for five years and all of the electronics for two years.
Mr. Chamberlain concludes, “We cannot be monitoring the audio equipment 100% of the time, so it’s good to know that we can walk away from the Technomads in 99% of our ‘at-sea’ situations and they will come through just fine.”