Lightweight, reliable, powerful and sonically impressive… This is the discerning criteria demanded by every professional for a powered speaker system. While every manufacturer has these goals in mind, achieving these deliverables can prove a difficult task, especially when a realistic price point is also a driving factor.
Lightweight neodymium drivers and high powered digital amplifiers are costly; even top of the line products can exert shortcomings such as digital harshness and a thin sound. It’s this reason that price vs. performance has been the traditional battle in powered systems… Until now.
Quest has broken the moulds of orthodox design yet again with a revolutionary concept in professional audio amplifier design. Quest Hybridtec is an Australian developed digitalanalogue hybrid amplifier module which utilises the best of both worlds.
The design philosophy behind Hybridtec was simple: “use each type of technology according to its strengths as opposed to trying to make less appropriate technology suit just to meet a budget”.
The result, an amplifier with a digital low end component and an analogue high frequency section. Producing the Hybridtec system took over three years of research and development along with substantial trial and error at Quest’s Australian headquarters located in Melbourne Victoria. To correctly design a hybrid amplifier, consistent time alignment between the digital and analogue sections of the module was one of the biggest hurdles overcome during the design of this groundbreaking system.
The choice to create a digital amplifier section for the low frequencies was based on the strengths of existing digital technology. Analogue LF amplifiers have historically suffered from three major drawbacks: their inefficiency, their lack of accuracy and their heavy weight. The digital component of the Hybridtec system has been designed to complement the custom designed LF transducer.
The result is a harmonious pairing of the two ensuring both amplifier and speaker are being utilised in full. Advanced digital filtering has also been employed making the LF response exceptionally full as well as accurate; and all with a much lighter weight than an analogue system.
High frequencies can sound harsh with digital amplification due to the limitations of sampling frequencies as well as the inability to reproduce harmonics in the upper part of the spectrum. This often leads to an unnatural andor thin sound across the top end; particularly at higher volumes. Traditionally, this has been combated in high end digital units by employing sophisticated processors with extremely fast computations coupled with patented output filtering; all costly technology which quickly becomes impractical.
A first look at Quest’s new Hybridtec Analogue/Digital loudspeaker amplifier module which delivers a full 450W RMS of output.
Instead, Quest designed an analogue component to drive the HF. Utilising an analogue amplifier ensures favourable and full harmonics, increased musicality, a more natural sound and better dynamics. The analogue component of the Hybridtec system has been designed to maximise the performance from the proprietary Quest horn driver delivering results never before heard at this segment of the market.
Switch mode Power
Smarter power consumption was also a key criteria of the Hybridtec system. The unique switch mode power supply utilises only as much power as is required whilst being extremely light. High powered output by highly efficient design.
The Loudspeaker to Suit
The first speaker to utilise the Hybridtec system is the all-new QM 450A compact powered speaker system designed and built in Melbourne, Australia. The QM450A delivers a full 450W RMS output and uses the same birch plywood timber chassis as the extremely popular QM-350i. With a chassis designed to deliver optimal linearity in its passive form, it proved the logical foundation for an active system. The QM-450A features a purpose designed high frequency driver coupled to Quest’s custom designed asymmetrical wave-guide. The wave-guide can be rotated through four dispersion plains maximizing the QM-450A’s application potential further.
The 12” horn sports a wide 90-100 degree coverage at the base of the flare and a long throw 40 degrees at the top. This feature means that the HF energy can be directed accurately wherever it is needed without adding unnecessary reverberation. This unique horn geometry design minimizes “hot zones” making instances where microphones are positioned closely to speaker systems a non-issue for monitor and FOH engineers. Simplified Controls on the rear of the QM-450A make operation an absolute breeze.
The QM-450A features an XLR input, XLR link output, Gain control, 100Hz High Pass switch as well as individually coloured PeakClipSignal Power LED indicators providing clear and immediate visual indicators. The result is a complete active loudspeaker system that requires virtually zero EQ correction or tweaking due to clever user focused design alongside the perfect coupling of amplifier technologies to custom components.
Aimed at the AV, production and hire markets, the QM450A has many design features that will appeal to professional users. A lightweight and robust system that features Quest’s unmistakable reliability and of course, exceptional sonic performance; the QM450A with Hybridtec is destined to become a favourite workhorse in the live professional audio market.