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PoE Loudspeakers: Wherefore Art Thou?

Designing and installing audio systems every day in different locations we asked the question: “Wouldn’t it be great if there was a good solid PoE loudspeaker that could accept Dante, Q-LAN, Cobranet, ‘what-have-you-audio-net,’ or AES67-ish?” 

 

Here’s why we like PoE speakers:

 

  • We’re seeing mics that are straight to the network via Dante/AES67;
  • We’re seeing DSPs being used with no analog IO cards;
  • We’re seeing DSPs being offered with no analog IO;
  • We’re seeing audio input devices with no analog audio outs on them; 
  • We’re seeing amplifiers with no analog audio inputs on them;
  • We’re seeing video encoders and decoders that   video here and there using standard networking protocols;
  • We’re seeing control systems be fully networked or cloud-based needing only power and data;
  • We’re seeing control interfaces that are simply 

 

We’re seeing a lot of stuff propagate in our industry that is designed from the ground up to be powered and to operate in the standards-based network realm. They offer telemetry, remote reboot by default, and all the things that come with a truly networked device.  If we connect our devices to managed switches, which are the IT industry norm, we should use devices that can be managed as well. 

 

Now, we get it, there are a lot of purists out there who want that powerful, dynamic audio… We are one of them—but I think there’s a time and a place. If we are doing a basic conference room, huddle room, or classroom, we think a PoE-based loudspeaker should get the job done. 

 

Not that we are big electronic circuit-designing guru or anything, but we’ve ran a test on an amplifier playing pink noise at 50 percent volume and found that it was about 50 percent efficient. The Wiki page for PoE tells us that we can get at least 15.4 watts of power with a minimum of 44V DC, and PoE+ will do 25.5 watts of power at the same voltage. Reasoning that most amps are still 50 percent efficient (although we are sure things have evolved some since then by the super smart amp people in this industry) we *feel* like that should leave enough power for a basic ceiling speak’ with some “what-have-you-audio-net” baked in. 

 

We hope this idea gets the right people thinking about maybe, hopefully, possibly bringing a PoE speaker to market.