Danish startup launches modular wireless PA system for roving players
Denmark's Kombo Audio has combined a battery-powered amplifier, PA system, mixer, effects and wireless connectivity for a sound system specifically designed for musicians, allowing for live performances in the back yard, at the beach or out at sea.
The Danes seem to like their powerful portable audio if Enkl Sound and Soundboks are anything to go by. The speakers from those guys focus on bringing the party to life with streamed music though, the Kombo Sound System is designed for those who make music and want to play it live.
The system is made up of three main parts, and its makers say that it's quick and easy to set up. A player simply snaps a module onto the speaker unit, selects effects and settings, wirelessly connects to an instrument hosting a transmitter, and then rocks out.
The road-ready 13-kg (28.6-lb) speaker unit is fashioned from plywood with a protective rubber frame and an aluminum grille out front. Inside, a 160-W Class-D amp drives an 8-inch co-axial driver and tweeters for the promise of 110 dB of top notch acoustics with a single unit, or up to 118 dB for six stacked together.
There are carry handles on the ends, and magnetic connection points top and bottom to accommodate stacking, with a proprietary wireless technology auto calibrating speaker stack for installation ease. These connection points – and two others around back – can also receive effects/amp modules.
There's a master volume knob to the rear, along with analog inputs, and Bluetooth 5.0 support caters for streaming backing tracks from a smartphone. The 95-Wh removable battery is reckoned good for up to 40 hours of per-charge playing.
The module and transmitters come in use-specific packages. For the system's Kickstarter funding campaign, the startup has a microphone package and an instrument package for electric stringed instruments.
The module is the system's effects hub, and comes in vocal and instrument flavors – each featuring a built-in ARM processor and proprietary signal processing. It magnetically connects to, and is powered by, the speaker cab, and parameters are selected using buttons on the face and then tweaked by rotating the outer ring. Onboard memory will save user presets for subsequent easy recall.
The vocal transmitter sports a XLR connector to plug into a microphone, and comes with 48-V phantom power for condenser mics. The string transmitter comes ready to plug into an instrument jack, and includes a phase switch for full-bodied tone when using electroacoustic guitars. Either way, you get 24-bit/48-kHz signal processing and the promise of up to 15 meters (50 ft) of wireless range.
Kombo says that the 5.2/5.8-GHz radio system can support the simultaneous connection of up to eight instrument/mics, each transmitting on its own channel at low latency.
If all works as promised, this looks like a pretty powerful portable PA that includes wireless freedom, modularity and potential for expansion down the line with the addition of new modules.
Kombo Audio is currently raising production funds on Kickstarter, where early birds can grab a speaker, transmitter and module for DKK 5,999 (about US$900). If all goes to plan, shipping is estimated to start in June 2022. The video below has more.
Source: Kombo Audio