The Italian loudspeaker manufacturer K-Array has always made unique and interesting speakers. Super slim subwoofers and thin column array loudspeakers seem to be the company's niche and when that need arises, K-Array has mastered the unusual.
K-Array has announced upgrades to two of its lines, the Redline self-powered portable series and the Kobra passive series; and two completely new lines, the Python series and the KMT multi-task subwoofer series. While that sounds like a lot, there’s actually a fair bit of overlap with the different products.
The Kobra series includes two passive "mid-high" array boxes. The KK102 is the bigger of the two passive mid-high arrays, with the KK52 being the smaller option. Notice that they’re sold as part of the Redline series as a powered system (discussed below) but on their own, they’re actually passive; that’s because the Redline Series includes an amplifier in the subwoofer unit, not included when you’re shopping in the Kobra zone.
Both the KK102 and the KK52 feature vertical dispersion coverage control, a switch that allows you to set the vertical dispersion of the array. "Spot" coverage sets it to a tight (7-degree on the KK102 and 10-degree on the KK52) vertical dispersion. "Flood" goes a great deal in the other direction and sets it to 35-degrees on the KK102 and a very wide 60-degrees on the KK52. Both boxes have a non-adjustable 110-degrees of horizontal coverage.
They also feature 2" drivers housed in an improved stainless steel chassis. The KK102 has 16 drivers and the KK52 has eight. While they can be powered by any appropriate amplifier, K-Array recommends using either the KMT subwoofers (below) or the KA series amplifiers. They can handle 200W (KK52) or 400W (KK102) continuous, and 400W or 800W maximum power--twice the number of drivers, twice the power handling.
The Kobra series also includes improved rigging accessories that work with either of the two speakers. They have joints for rigging two speakers in a line, wall plates, stand bases, small bumper bars for the top of an array, and a cluster option for rigging multiple speakers next to each other in a cluster pattern.
The Python series is a step up from the Kobra units. Comprising the KP52 and the KP102 (do you see a trend here?), the Python series manages to pack a lot of power into a small, sleek package. With better vocal reproduction and more power, K-Array is hoping these speakers will find homes in theatres, clubs, and churches.
Both of the KP speakers feature 3" neodymium magnet transducers and the same variable beam vertical coverage control as found in the Kobra Series. On these KP units, the horizontal dispersion is 90-degrees. Similar to the KK series, the KP52 has eight drivers and the KP102 has 16. The closely spaced cone drivers work to provide phase coherence at close and distant throws.
Again, these are passive speakers, and K-Array hopes you’ll power them with either of two power options. The KP52 and the KP102 feature higher power handling than their Kobra counterparts, with the continuous power coming in at 360W (KP52) or 720W (KP102), and maximum handling at 600W or 1,200W.
The same line of rigging components can be used between the Kobra and Python series.
KMT Subwoofer Series
The K stands for "K-Array." The M and T stand for "multi-task." Wherever you need some bump, these will do the job. These subwoofers pack a punch of power into a relatively small cabinet and are designed to work either on their own or in conjunction with the Kobra and Python arrays. Out of the whole line-up, these are the only units that are self-powered, and as you’ll see in the next Redline Series section, that’s not by accident.
The built-in amplifier unit has two channels of class D amplification of varying power (depending on the model). Impressive onboard DSP has a touchscreen interface that allows you to either recall one of the 40 factory presets or make your own preset and save it. These new models feature a new user-friendly DSP interface and an increased number of presets. The DSP functions can also be controlled with remote (Windows only) software over USB or RS485. The rear panel on the subwoofer has balanced line level XLR inputs and DSP outputs, a balanced microphone input (with phantom power), and an AES/EBU input.
There are three models in the series: The KMT12, KMT18 and KMT21. With each, the size of the cone increases from 12” to 21”. The KMT12 and KMT18 have a two-channel 1000w amplifier. The KMT21 has a two-channel 2,000W amplifier--nice.
You put it all together and what do you get? The Redline Series. This series is meant to be your all-in-one portable powered line array solution, and that’s not something you hear very often: "portable" and "
Building off of the successful KR100s, 200s, and 400s models, K-array has now added an upgrade to each, coming out with the KR102, KR202, and KR402. If you haven’t broken the code yet, the "KR" is the K-Array Redline, and the number corresponds loosely to the numbering in the Kobra and Python Series. It’s not perfectly logical, but close.
In all respects, the basic idea is the same: you get a subwoofer with a matched mid-high line array unit that can sit on top of the sub. The entire series is quite slick and works the same way. The powered subwoofer houses the amplifier and the amplifier powers the subwoofer and the mid-high arrays on top. It makes it quite easy to put together.
Each Redline model is a combination of a subwoofer from the KMT Series and then a mid-hi array speaker from either the Kobra Series or the Python Series. All of the individual components function as described above and have the same specifications. Don’t be confused. You can buy the passive mid-high arrays a la cart via their series, or you can buy them as part of a powered system and subwoofer via the Redline Series--one-stop shopping in the Redline lane.
The KR102 model includes a pair of the KMT12 subwoofers, each with a single matched KK102 mid-hi speaker. The KR202 has two KMT18 subwoofers and a matched pair of two KK102 mid-hi arrays. Finally, going all out, the KR402 has two 21” subs (KMT21), each with more powerful amplifiers that are matched to two KP102 mid-hi arrays. For this beefy portable system, you get the Python series KP102 instead of the Kobra series KK102. That’s a lot of power in a small, portable system.
It all looks great and the specs are pretty impressive. I don't necessarily find the model and series numbers easy to grasp, but once you work through that, you’ll find a unique and impressive line up of portable, sleek subwoofers and arrays.