In the 40 years that I have been in the event industry, I have always tried to keep an eye out for new products as they are introduced. I also tend to look at equipment with a very technical eye because of my technical electronics background. This year I discovered a gem in Atlantic City. Dawn Pro Audio! At first look, it was sleek with obvious eye appeal, and a very affordable price point, but how would it sound? Sometimes it is difficult on the floor of a convention to get a good idea of the capabilities of speakers and other audio equipment due to the large amount of background noise. I asked for a demonstration, and one of the design engineers happened to be in the booth and not only provided a listening demo, but an in-depth technical description of the product from concept to reality. As for the sound, one word describes it, impressive!
Let’s start with the business side of things. Who is Dawn Pro Audio? While the Dawn brand has been around for many years, it has been dormant for a while. It is now owned by Kustom Musical Amplification in Hebron, Kentucky. Yes, the guitar guys! With a deep history of high quality audio equipment manufacturing and an application of the latest technology, this is a marriage that will thrive with a line of economical, high quality equipment.
The technical side: The T100 and T50 speakers are what is known as a “line array”. A line array is a loudspeaker system that is made up of a number of usually identical speakerelements mounted in a line and fed in phase, to create a near-line source of sound. The distance between adjacent drivers is close enough that they constructively interfere with each other to send sound waves farther than traditional horn loaded loudspeakers and with a more evenly distributed sound output pattern. The line array concept is not new; it is commonly used in large outdoor concerts and festivals due to the better distribution of sound. In smaller applications, companies like Bose, HK, and a few others have serviced the vocal reinforcement markets for a long time. The way that a line array distributes sound makes it ideal for weddings, mitzvahs and other parties with audiences of 200 or less. Many DJs have adapted these systems for mobile use with great success.
The DJ perception of power requirements for great sound may affect how well the Dawn products are received by a vast majority of DJ users. The published power of the system is 100 watts for the T100 and 200 watts RMS for the Sub 200RMS. It seems that a lot of DJs think that thousands of “watts” means good sound, that is not true. There is also a lot of difference between RMS and Peak Power ratings. (Far too much difference to detail here.) Here is the nitty gritty specifications that are relevant. For the T100, +70 dB gain for direct microphone input and +56 dB gain for line level inputs. -48 dB residual noise, Frequency response from 20 to 20kHz, XLR system sync outputs, Phantom power provided, active crossover with ¼” subwoofer output, four 4 ½ drivers with 1” Compression driver and weighs just under 25 lbs. For the SUB200, +40 dB gain, Frequency response, 35 to 150 Hz, line level ¼” unbalanced input, -58 dB system noise at 100% volume, 12” Driver, weight just under 53 lbs. These specifications are comparable with other leading small line array manufacturers.
Ultimately, where everything matters is the actual use of the equipment in real world performance situations. How do they sound, and how do the clients and guests like them? I have used this system with 175 guest weddings, 150 guest parties, a single system for wedding ceremonies and for karaoke. At all events, there was plenty of headroom, great clear sound, very good sound distribution around the room and excellent lows from the subwoofers for well-balanced sound. The system is attractive, lightweight, easy to set up and very attractive looking for a clean setup. In early 2014 the Bluetooth versions of the T50 and T100 will be available for distribution making remote speaker locations a very easy to accommodate option. The high power Bluetooth system can be chained to extend the range to even the largest venues. Overall, I rate the Dawn Pro Audio System an excellent investment. The current delivered price is under $1600.00 for two T100 systems including the subs. They are only available factory direct and at industry convention show floors. www.DawnProAudio.com