Funktion-One finds 'the next level of tour sound' with Vero
Tony Andrews and John Newsham on why it was important to get the new system – launched at Prolight + Sound – "exactly right"
Following six years of development, Funktion-One has launched Vero, a new large-format touring sound system that promises to redefine audio and operational performance expectations while delivering the next level of tour sound.
The system began life when Tony Andrews started considering the possibility of designing a sound system that configures in a linear array. Having spoken of his concerns about the intrinsic sound issues of line array systems for many years, this may have appeared to some as an unusual step, but while Andrews recognised the time and manpower benefits of rigging a vertical array, he wasn’t prepared to compromise the audio standards that he and John Newsham have lived and breathed for over 40 years.
Vero is a complete system, with each element specified or designed for the highest possible performance, the company says. The system includes speakers, amplifiers, cabling, rigging, transport dollies, weatherproof covers and software.
“One of the reasons it’s taken six years to develop is the amount of design work and detail that goes into originating a complete system,” explains Andrews. “Not just loudspeakers, but the flying system which is patent pending, the cabling, the amplifiers and the shock mounted racks. We’ve developed Projection – Vero’s propriety predictive software, which is very intuitive and easy to use. What you see in the software is what you get in the field. Every element of the system has to be exactly right.”
Vero has been in beta testing for the last three years, during which time every part of the system was thoroughly refined. To give one example of the attention to detail: three types of dolly wheel were tried, tested and rejected before the fourth qualified as being the correct option for the challenges of tour, festival and big arena gigs. According to Funktion-One, extremely high design standards run throughout, meaning the system is very easy to use, and while this is of imperative importance, it is Vero’s sound that truly sets it apart.
“When you’re listening to it, the presentation of the sound stage is absolutely phenomenal," Andrews says. "You can actually go outside the typical two hang arrangement and you’re still aware of the stereo image.”
“We’ve always tried to make a speaker work correctly without the need for electronics and one of the reasons the development has been as long as it has is because we’ve been chasing that ideal,” adds Newsham.
Andrews continues: “We’ve had to answer the challenge of getting very different componentry to work within the same box.“
This determination for a natural sound, free of quality-diminishing processing, led Vero’s designers to something called Geometric Energy Summation (GES). In short, this is the natural geometry of the waveguides and their relationship with each other within the array, combining for a coherent addition of sound. Its purpose is to enable sound density to be easily and accurately tailored whilst preserving a uniquely detailed sonic picture.
Vero’s designers claim to have achieved amazingly coherent summation of audio energy from finely angled adjacent enclosures for high intensity projection to the far field. Enclosures can also be arrayed at greater angles to extend vertical coverage for the near field, and this enables accurate physical control of sound density from a Vero array.
The Vero speaker range features six highly efficient, low distortion horn-loaded loudspeakers – the V60 mid-high, V90 mid-high and V315 mid-bass with a choice of V221, V124 or V132 bass enclosures. The V60s, V90s and V315s all have identical dimensions, enabling them to be flown in the same vertical array. The ground-stacked V221, V124 or V132 offer a choice of size and low frequency extension.
Vero is powered by Lab.gruppen PLM 20K44 amplifiers, while its patent pending Lambda flying system is designed for speed, safety and ease of use, allowing arrays to be deployed accurately and efficiently. All rigging settings can be calculated using Vero’s Projection software. Unlike many other flown arrays, Vero's inter-cabinet splay angles can be adjusted with the system in suspension. Lambda allows for angle adjustment under load, meaning arrays are transported and flown in a straight line before being tensioned to exact angle settings.
Vero’s Projection design and prediction software allows Vero users to optimise array designs for smooth audience coverage in any venue, and provides venue plan, cross-section and 3D screens. Features include a user-friendly interface, a measurement tool calibrated in distance and time at the speed of sound, and colour coding to differentiate between the different types of enclosure.
Tony Andrews concludes: “Good audio is an art. It isn’t plant hire. The part it plays in people’s enjoyment of music is severely underestimated. The overall result with Vero is industry leading coherence and accuracy, resulting in a big sound of dimension and intimacy. Vero presents a very spacious and realistic sound stage, meaning that artists, engineers and concertgoers can enjoy unprecedented dynamic range and fidelity, which is how audio should be.”
Picture: Tony Andrews introducing Vero at Prolight + Sound, where the manufacturer also unveiled the Evo 7T Touring loudspeaker and F132 bass enclosure.