In an introduction that dramatically resets expectations of what a professional-grade touring amplifier should deliver in terms of performance, processing, integration and ease of use, amplifier pioneer Crown Audio today introduced the new I-Tech HD Series amplifiers that have been meticulously engineered to advance every criteria by which an amplifier is judged.
At its core, I-Tech HD features a new user-inspired DSP engine co-developed with BSS and Linear Phase FIR filters that offer unrivaled performance. Together with Crown's Class-I amplifier technology; new software that makes I-Tech HD robust and very easy to configure; an industry-leading choice of input options including CobraNet and the all-new LevelMax™ limiters (Peak, Thermal and RMS), I-Tech HD is a stunning product of engineering R&D, more than 60 years of amplifier heritage and systematic user input from tour sound leaders in all markets.
“I-Tech HD, our new flagship amplifier, advances the state-of-the-art on no less than seven fronts,” said Mark Graham, President of Crown Audio. “A remarkable achievement in engineering, I-Tech HD Series is a destructive technology in the sense that it obsoletes all that came before it. It's a worthy testament to Crown's engineering team and the tour sound professionals around the world who helped with the development.”
Developed in conjunction with sister company BSS, the next generation OmniDriveHD DSP Engine at the heart of I-Tech HD is built on a new architecture specifically optimized for fast and efficient audio processing to provide tour and contracting professionals with a new platform for signal processing. The new FIREWALL™ FIR filter technology provides significantly improved midrange clarity and dramatically improved off-axis response. The OmniDrive HD reduces latency, safeguards sonic integrity and advances system reliability. AudioCore features 24- bit, 192 kHz A/D and D/A converters.
In yet another industry first, Crown Audio links the limiters in its new family of amplifiers: Crown's innovative LevelMax™ limiter technology links the previously independent Peak, Thermal and RMS Limiters, enabling more effective, elegant protection of connected speakers while advancing system performance. LevelMax limiter actions are better informed for more effective, efficient results and minimal sonic degradation.
Crown I-Tech HD benefits from the software R&D firepower of Harman Professional's System Development & Integration Group (SDIG) and is easily configured via HiQnet™ System Architect™ Software. The user interface has been completely redesigned. Managing large networks of amplifiers on the road has never been easier. System Architect mirrors the typical browser navigation interface to provide tour sound and contracting professionals with a familiar interface to access a host of power configuration and control functions. System Architect includes context-sensitive, alphanumeric keypads, which pop up automatically with relevant parameter units when a value or text entry box is selected with the stylus.
Further simplifying ease of use, Crown I-Tech HD Series features a road-warrior-inspired front panel USB slot for load and recall of amplifier settings. Chief engineers can simply hand pre-loaded USB keys to entry-level staff who can now quickly, cost-efficiently and accurately configure entire racks by inserting the correct key and pressing the load button. A patent-pending intuitive front panel work surface with LCD display provides fast and easy menu-based system setup and full amplifier diagnostics.
Crown Audio's commitment to networking and interoperability goes beyond the USB slot. I-Tech HD boasts a category-leading arsenal of standard input options including CobraNet, AES/EBU and analog XLR inputs, allowing distribution of many channels of real-time, high quality digital audio for a vast array of touring and contracting applications.
I-Tech HD builds upon Crown Audio's remarkable 60-year heritage of amplifier design and the category-defining legacy of the original I-Tech amplifiers. Patented Class-I Amplifier Technology featured in the new I-Tech HD delivers the highest output voltage in the industry, which provides clean transient peaks.
“Today, great power comes with great functionality,” Graham continued. “With I-Tech HD, Crown Audio has achieved the enviable balance of matching functionality with ease of integration, network scalability, intuitive operation and power performance. Just as I-Tech set the benchmark for integrated DSP and amplification - topping many millions of watts on the tour sound circuit and in fixed installation - I-Tech HD provides members of our user community with distinct audio and commercial advantages that make them better, faster, more competitive and lighter than their competition!”
Protected by a rugged 2U chassis, the I-Tech HD weighs in at a lightweight 30 lbs. (13 kg.) but its proven, Class-I output design packs a heavyweight punch to deliver massive amounts of power while generating minimal heat. Crown Audio's patented Power Factor Correction (PFC) techniques allow I-Tech HD to draw current from the mains more efficiently, which in concert with the Class-I output enables I-Tech HD to provide the highest output voltage available and a clearly audible difference driving high-performance loudspeakers. Minimum guaranteed power ratings are as follows:
Power per channel with both channels driven:
I-T5000 HD: 2,000W at 2 Ohms; 2,500W at 4 Ohms; 1,250W at 8 Ohms
I-T9000 HD: 2,800W at 2 Ohms; 3,500W at 4 Ohms; 1,500W at 8 Ohms
I-T12000 HD: 3,750W at 2 Ohms; 4,500W at 4 Ohms; 2,100W at 8 Ohms