LD Systems CURV 500 – Portable Line Array – Review by Event Rookie
In recent years, the range of small portable PA systems on the market has grown. The classic combination of two basses and two top sections has been obsolete for quite some time, now replaced by cutting-edge speakers. Not only the design but also the built-in technology gives you the feeling that a quantum leap has been made in this area over the last few years. For large sound installations line array technology has become indispensable.
What’s more, this technology distributes an almost perfect sound. So it was really only a matter of time before this technology would also be used for smaller PA systems. In a previous test report we told you about how it works. The last Prolight + Sound show saw LD Systems, an Adam Hall Group brand, also introduce a new small sound system. This not only works on the principle of a line array but also looks like one. The CURV 500 series is now finally available and we were one of the first magazines to put the system to the test.
The high quality of the individual components is evident from the moment you see the design of the CURV 500. The user gets their chosen system in a well-protected box, and it’s ready to plug and play. Before ordering though you need to have a clear idea of what combination you need. You can get the CURV 500 in a host of different variants: as a small PA, consisting of two subwoofers and eight satellite speakers, for entertainers with a sub and four satellites, the same variant with two satellites, or for installation where delivery of a tripod is not chosen.
For our test, we took a subwoofer with four satellites, the distance rod and matching SmartLink adapter. The satellites are attached to the adapter: during setting up you need to know whether you want two or four of these satellites. This is especially important for the angulation, although this is prespecified in the SmartLink adapter. After setting up, the typical line array form is immediately recognizable from the curved arrangement of the assembled satellites. The resulting design goes down as one of the highlights of the CURV 500. Large, bulky speakers are a thing of the past and a slim line array for smaller sound requirements slots neatly into the room.
The cabling system is sorted very rapidly as all connections are ideally labelled. On the back of the subwoofer, the user has four jack/XLR inputs which can be worked directly in the integrated four-channel mixer. You can also choose some pre-selected effects directly on the subwoofer. A matching SpeakOn output can also be found on the back and from there you connect the satellites.
At this point we would have liked to be able to subtly lay the SpeakOn cable along somewhere. But unfortunately there is no provision for this and so it’s a case of sticking the cable on the stand. What did really impress us though was the integrated Bluetooth receiver. This enables you to receive sound data directly from your smartphone, computer or tablet.
Rich and clear sound
Having set the system up we were naturally keen to find out how it sounds. We had chosen very different styles of music to test this—from classical to electro to hip hop. No matter what we hit the PA with and no matter how loud we turned it up, the sound was always absolutely clear yet really punchy. We had definitely not expected such an impressive performance, and this proves that great sound is not always reliant on price.
Thanks to the line array arrangement you also get the option of assembling the satellites very high up. And you still reach people sitting directly in front of the PA and can thus achieve a really professional sound. The only thing we have to criticize is the unmistakable underlying noise. But this only amounted to a small minus in an otherwise extremely positive overall impression.
LD Systems presented the new CURV 500 at the Prolight + Sound show in 2015 and it was at last made available at the end of the year. The wait was definitely worth it as both design and sound quality are unparalleled in this price range. Thanks to the line array structure, the sound can be ideally distributed and the subwoofer ensures the right pressure in the bass range. Discounting the underlying noise, the CURV 500 gets absolute top marks.
Mobile array system
Frequency range: 47 – 20,000Hz
Max SPL: 128 dB (CURV 500 PS)
Dimensions + weights
Sub: 32.5 x 38.3 x 49.1 cm, 16.5 kg;
Satellite: 12.2 x 12.2 x 12.2 cm; 1.7kg
Price incl. VAT):
From EUR 849.00 (RRP), CURV 500 AV Set
Source: Event-Rookie Magazine, Germany:
Click here to find out more about the LD Systems CURV 500® series: