KAN200 ANAKONDA – Truly Revolutionary

September 24, 2013

image New audio products are launched all the time, but rarely is one introduced that is as creative and revolutionary as the KAN200 (Anakonda). Made by Italian speaker manufacturer K-Array, the KAN200 is a 6.6 ft long (2M) flexible array speaker. It was designed to meet the needs of challenging environments where a traditional box speaker can’t be used, but also where outstanding audio performance and sleek design are still required. The KAN200 is so pliant it can be wrapped around poles, installed on curved and arced surfaces and be literally twisted into a knot. And the crisp, clean sound is stunning; very impressive that something so novel sounds so good.

Each KAN200 has eight full range 1-inch neodymium cone drivers with a 0.75-inch voice coil, providing 300 watts RMS output. Max SPL is 96 dB continuous and 102 dB peak, coverage is 160 degrees horizontal and 10 degrees vertical, and it has a frequency range of 150 Hz down to 18KHz (+/- 6 dB). For additional low end extension the KAN200 can be mated with the KMT12 or KMT18 powered subwoofers. An added advantage to using the sub is that the amplifier in it can drive up to 8 modules. While one Anakonda is a lean 6 and half feet (and only 3.09 lbs), up to 32 modules can be daisy-chained together by way of an integrated NL4 connector, creating an elegant and seamless line of audio over 200 ft long!

Two fabric socks, one black and one white, are included with each KAN200. These can be used to protect the speaker from dust and dirt, and also to conveniently change the system’s color to suit the application. Wall brackets are also included for quick and easy installation.

The application possibilities are endless.. the question is not where can you put the Anakonda but where CAN’T you put it? Front fills, houses of worship, theme parks, interactive museum exhibits.. it’s uses are limitless. And with an IP55 rating combined with it’s stellar audio performance, the Anakonda is a great option for outdoor applications as well.

From their state of the art design and production facility near Florence Italy, K-Array excels in innovative audio creations. If you’ve ever seen the television show The Voice, the judges chairs are fitted with K-Array’s 0.5-inch KZ10, an ultra miniature line array element. From that tiny half inch speaker they also offer the high performance portable Redline series, all they way up to the self powered large format KH4 Concert Series line array system.

K-Array is truly an innovative professional audio manufacturer, combining incredibly creative designs with clean and powerful sonic performance. The Anakonda is their latest creation and more than meets both of those standards.


The Art and Science of Soldering

April 5, 2013

Soldering was one of the first things that I learned to do with electronics and oddly enough, it has been one of the most valuable skills I have ever acquired. I use it on a weekly if not daily basis and I have for probably the past 14 years.  Most of the time it’s cables and connectors but sometimes it’s circuit boards or my daughter’s earrings. (Don’t worry, I use lead-free solder for those)

Soldering can be frustrating, but here are a few tips and tricks that I have learned along the way that hopefully will make your soldering experience a little easier.

  • Clean Iron Tips – a clean iron tip is very important to not frustrating you when you are soldering. Keep a wet sponge or paper towel handy. (some soldering stations have a handy place to put one) Every joint or two, wipe the tip of the iron on the sponge to clean off any dirt that has built up. This will cool the tip a tiny bit, so wait a second or two before working on the next joint. When you are finished working, before the iron cools, put a nice big glob os folder on the end of the tip to protect it from corrosion.
  • Tinning – If you don’t tin every piece that you join together, you are soldering wrong. Stop it right now and do it this way.  Regardless of if it’s a cable, pcb, connector, whatever… Both pieces MUST BE TINNED before they are joined. If you don’t, you will have a weak solder joint that will break later on down the road.  If you aren’t sure what tinning is, it’s simple. You heat and apply solder to both pieces before you join them. This allows the solder to flow into the micro texture of the metal and wick in between the strands of a stranded cable.  After the tinning, joining the two pieces is as simple as touching the two pieces together and heating them up quickly.
  • Melting – Melty is great when we are talking cheese and solder. Not so great when you are talking wire insulation or connector parts. Now, this tip is going to sound silly, but I did not make a typo. THE KEY TO NOT MELTING EVERYTHING AROUND YOUR SOLDER JOINT IS TO TURN THE HEAT UP ON YOUR IRON.  Settle down… Let me finish. I have found, in my experience that using a higher heat but applying it to the parts for a shorter period of time results in both a better solder joint AND less collateral damage. When the insulation or connector parts melt, it’s because the heat from the joint area is conducting through the metal piece and reaching the other parts that it is touching. Using higher heat allows you to make a very concentrated heat area to melt your solder BUT since you don’t have to apply the heat for as long, it does not move as far up the work piece to melt the adjacent plastics.  Try it, it works.
  • Use only what you need – When it comes to making a joint, be conservative in the amount of solder you use, the amount of wire that you expose, etc… The smaller and cleaner the joint, the easier it is to cover with heat shrink, the less likely you are to have a short and your work will look more professional.
  • Work Jigs – Sometimes soldering requires holding two pieces and the solder. Those of you with 3 hands are at a clear advantage here. The rest of us have a tougher time. Some sort of work jig to hold your work is a HUGE help. A popular way to do this is with a pair of weighted alligator clips. These are an alligator clip or two on an articulated arm that you can bend to get the piece exactly where you need it. These can be helpful, however I find that if I have to apply the clip to the actual conductor that I am soldering, the clip tends to draw heat away from the workpiece and this can cause problems. I use a wood jig for my A/V connectors. It’s pictured below. It was simple to make with 2 pieces of 3/4″ stock and a few various sized drill bits.
My very un-refined connector "jog"

My very un-refined connector “jog”

Tinned Connector

Tinned Connector

Bare stripped cable

Bare stripped cable

after tinning the conductors

after tinning the conductors

2 of 3 completed joints

2 of 3 completed joints

Comparing Earbuds – Pt.1 The FIT

April 30, 2010

It seems like everyone and their brother is in the earphone business these days. You can get them with designer names attached, jewels, multiple drivers, custom ear molds, with mics for your phone, you name it! if we had 6 ears, I am sure there would be a 5.1 earphone available. I’ve noticed that I have had several discussions over the last few weeks about comparing earbuds, so I felt that this topic might be relevant to a lot of you. When it comes to earbuds, whether you are comparing or just using, the FIT of the earbud is numero Uno!

Ear buds are tricky beasts to compare. The problem is that each of our ears is unique, every earbud is different and the frequency response of the earbud is largely dependent on its fit in your ear canal. When I say largely dependent, I mean it. Try this… Put your earbuds in, get a good seal, pick a track with some low end, then pull on your earlobe to break the seal. It will go from nice full response to sounding like a telephone.

Because this fit is so important to the performance of the earbud, most manufacturers include a dozen or so little ear pieces with their earbuds. Despite popular belief, this is not because there is too much rubber in the world and they want to get rid of it. Most people take them, look for the one that they think looks most comfortable and throw the rest away… Or, they just use the ones that come already attached and never realize that there are more in the package. This practice is doing yourself and your earbuds a great injustice!

So, how do you know you are using the right earpiece? Here are some tips.

1.) Pick the Right Foamy
Get your earbuds and all of the little rubber and foamy pieces. Pick an earpiece to start with. First, if it doesn’t isolate the ambient sound around you very well, they are too small. If they push themselves out of your ear, they are too big. If there is no in between size, go for the larger or try a different style. ( Be careful though! If it is too big, the earpiece will pinch closed and you don’t want that either.)

2.) Get a Good Seal
When you place the earbuds in your ears, open your mouth. The top part of your jawbone moves forward and it will open your ear canal. Next, once you have them in your ear, do the old “pull your earlobe” trick mentioned earlier. You should be able to hear the seal break. Now listen to some some familiar material. Is the low end energy to your satisfaction? Is there definition in the bass notes? If not, try a different size or style.

Wash, Rinse, Repeat.

Lastly, if you have some extra cash burning a hole in your pocket, have a mold taken of your ear canal and have a custom earpiece made for your earbuds. Most of the folks who make these can make them for any pro earbud and even bluetooth phone earpieces. They are well worth it!

Good luck and happy listening!

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