The future of large-format line arrays has arrived. PANTHER brings big-system technologies to an extraordinarily compact, lightweight footprint. At over 150 dB and only 150 lb (68 kg), it is a breakthrough in power performance.
Following today's significant loudspeaker launch announcement, we are providing a package of PANTHER press content, including the main press release, Q&As with Bob McCarthy and our rental partner Major Tom, and more. Continue scrolling to explore the entire package.
Meyer Sound PANTHER Redefines Large‑Scale Line Array Technology
PANTHER Sets New Industry Benchmark for a Compact, Lightweight, Powerful, and Energy-Efficient Line Array Loudspeaker
Meyer Sound announces PANTHER, a new flagship linear line array loudspeaker engineered to meet rapidly evolving demands for large-scale touring and installed systems.
Complex and visually-focused production scenarios, coupled with tighter safety regulations, often restrict the space and weight allowed for loudspeakers. At the same time, environmental policies require greater energy efficiency and a smaller footprint for transport as more productions shift to a networked signal infrastructure. Responding to these demands, PANTHER’s acoustic output is closer to the significantly larger and heavier LEO® line array loudspeaker and occupies the slender form factor of the existing LYON® line array loudspeaker. Despite stadium levels of performance, PANTHER weighs just 150 lb (68 kg) and offers substantial savings on current draw from the previous generation flagship line array loudspeaker. A dual analog/Milan™ AVB network input module means PANTHER offers flexible signal distribution options and each cabinet comes standard with an IP55 weather protection rating — all at a substantially lower initial cost compared to LEO and LYON.
“This is our most significant loudspeaker introduction in more than a decade,” says John Meyer, President & CEO of Meyer Sound. “PANTHER advances my commitment to making loudspeakers with linear response, predictable coverage, and extended headroom for dynamic, uncompressed music reproduction — transient peaks in particular. Essentially, PANTHER produces nearly the same power and headroom as LEO in the footprint of LYON. I’m proud of how our engineers achieved ambitious performance benchmarks while reducing weight and increasing energy efficiency.”
ENGINEERED FOR PEAK POWER
The electronics module in PANTHER is an all-new, lightweight design incorporating a four-channel Class D amplifier coupled to an innovative power supply. With advanced power factor correction and higher voltage rails, the new amplifier package delivers higher peak current to the loudspeakers while presenting a stable load to the AC line.
PANTHER also features new, longer-excursion 12-inch low-frequency cone drivers and new 3-inch compression drivers. Each incorporates advanced magnet structures using new materials for higher flux density despite substantial weight reduction.
Combined with a new LF port design, PANTHER has a maximum peak output of more than 150 dB SPL. Weighing only 150 lb (68 kg), PANTHER is a significantly lighter box than anything in its class.
LIGHTWEIGHT FOR FLEXIBILITY, SAFETY, AND COST REDUCTION
While never compromising John Meyer’s performance goals, the PANTHER engineering team, led by Engineering Director, Acoustical & Mechanical, Katie Murphy, pursued a unified approach to weight reduction.
“With PANTHER, we excelled with a full system design approach,” says Murphy. “We had the electrical and mechanical engineers working in a coordinated effort, which meant we could leverage reduced amplifier and transducer weight with new cabinet designs and materials to further reduce weight. Everybody was in sync at every step to achieve our goals.”
Reduced weight means more PANTHER loudspeakers can be flown on a single motor, and larger arrays can share the same truss and hang points with extensive video and lighting gear. Also, larger and longer arrays can be flown outdoors while complying with new safety regulations related to wind events. Shipping costs will be substantially reduced, particularly when air transport is required. PANTHER’s significant weight and size reduction also contributes to less CO2 emissions during transportation.
A FAMILY OF THREE FOR PRECISE COVERAGE
The PANTHER family consists of three cabinets with different horizontal coverage patterns. PANTHER-M and PANTHER-W are 95 and 110 degrees, respectively, and will be familiar options for existing Meyer Sound owners. PANTHER-L features an all-new long throw horn with a tightly defined 80-degree horizontal pattern. Three options allow system designers to precisely tailor coverage in any size venue with uniform response from front to back and enable deployment of fewer arrays or shorter arrays in some applications, such as in-the-round configurations.
THE BOTTOM LINE: RETURN ON INVESTMENT
As with all Meyer Sound loudspeakers, PANTHER offers the service longevity that comes with the optimally matched transducers, amplifiers, and processing of self-powered systems. In addition, PANTHER offers new features that assure a greater long-term return on investment.
Certified Milan AVB Input Standard: By incorporating Meyer Sound’s new Avnu Alliance-certified Milan input module, PANTHER becomes the world’s first Milan Certified line array loudspeaker. With this advancement, PANTHER extends Milan-based networked systems all the way to the loudspeaker cabinet, while the always-active parallel analog input assures backward compatibility with existing hardware.
Weather Protection Standard: PANTHER is weather protected to the new IEC IP55 standard with full rain protection when using mating Neutrik TOP series signal and powerCON connectors. No rain hood is required.
With standard weather protection, the same PANTHER cabinets can be used for indoor or outdoor events with no special preparations required. With the compact size and lower weight, the same PANTHER inventory can be assigned to a wide range of applications, from theaters and convention halls up to arenas, stadiums, and festival sites. Expanded flexibility means PANTHER systems spend less time in the warehouse and more time generating revenue. And, when on tour, a tight truck pack with no amplifier racks further reduces expenses for enhanced ROI.
Meyer Sound’s continual investment in materials and design standards means not only is the performance class-leading, but the price is substantially lower than the previous generation and below the most direct competitor models when factoring in comparable amplification and processing. The PANTHER linear line array loudspeaker will go into production and ship in February 2022. United Kingdom-based rental company Major Tom Ltd., one of the initial launch partners, will deploy PANTHER on Ed Sheeran’s 2022 + - = ÷ x (“Mathematics”) Tour.
A NEW DIMENSION
“Everybody on the team really came together and put their hearts and souls into this project,” comments Katie Murphy. “We went all out to create a loudspeaker that would define line array technology for years to come.”
“We see PANTHER as more than just a new product, but as something that adds a new dimension to what we are doing as a company,” adds John Meyer. “It has the potential to change the path we are on in the sound industry. I’m excited to see how industry professionals — and, more importantly, audiences — respond to it.”
Lars Brogaard and Chris Marsh of Major Tom discuss their involvement with PANTHER and its debut on the forthcoming Ed Sheeran tour.
On Collaboration in Final Development
Lars Brogaard: Chris and I discussed the sound design for the new Ed Sheeran tour quite some time ago and came to a quick realization that Major Tom would need to invest in a lot of new speakers to achieve the coverage required. From this discussion we spoke with John and Helen Meyer about whether the investment was to be in any of the current speakers or was it time for a new product.
John Meyer asked me, “Well, what would you like?” I told him I would like LEO coverage in a LYON box. It turned out that wasn’t physically possible as the horn was too deep for the box. Since then, [Engineering Director, Acoustical & Mechanical] Katie Murphy designed a new 80-degree “L” horn that would fit in the box. John was nervous that the 80-degree would not suit our requirements, but all of the team at Major Tom agreed that an 80-degree horn would be perfect for when we need a long throw outdoors. It also works well in a theater or arena where 60 degrees can be a bit too narrow, and 90 degrees is almost too wide for the long throw box. Meyer Sound took all our suggestions seriously and it’s reflected in the final product.
On Being in the Spotlight with a New Product
Chris Marsh: Some might say we’re taking a chance being the first to go out with a brand-new product. After all, the Ed Sheeran tour will be the follow-up to the most successful tour that ever was, so undoubtedly the eyes of the industry will be on us. But looking back at the relationship we have enjoyed with Meyer Sound, we have full confidence in the way this box is going to perform.
Brogaard: Yes, we’re putting ourselves on the line in a sense, but at Major Tom we’ve always been groundbreakers. Whether it was digital mixing consoles, in-ear monitors, or fiber optic snakes, for us it was always about breaking new ground. It’s much more interesting to be out front than to be a follower, and that’s how we expect it to be with PANTHER.
Marsh: This time, for example, we will be breaking new ground as the first to take Milan AVB signals right to the speaker box. We believe that is the way forward, to maintain a digital signal chain all the way to the driver. It’s the way of the future.
On Meeting the Challenges of the Ed Sheeran Tour
Brogaard: Our involvement with PANTHER stems from Chris going out on this Sheeran tour. It’s a massive tour, and it’s in the round so it needs a lot of speakers. We were concerned about the weight issues involved and started looking for new ways to go with it.
Marsh: The reality is, we needed this box for this in-the-round tour. On our main hangs, we would have needed 12 arrays with LEO where with PANTHER we can do the job with eight. For the design it also helped enormously that the PANTHER box weighs in at 150 lb.
Brogaard: From a practical standpoint, fewer hangs makes the whole project less labor-intensive and saves the tour money on truck space required.
On PANTHER as a Long-Term Investment
Brogaard: We always have believed in making sure the sound is as good as it can get, and that’s why we’re pushing the envelope again with PANTHER. We moved forward with the last two generations of Meyer Sound line arrays, and now PANTHER is going to take it a huge leap forward.
Marsh: As Lars said earlier, if we’re going to be leaders, we would prefer to spend money to develop new opportunities. PANTHER certainly presents new opportunities on the Sheeran tour, but it goes beyond that. We are investing in something that is new and exciting in many applications. Yes, the boxes will start in stadiums on the Sheeran tour, but because of its size and weight they could easily end up in theaters or venues supporting smaller acts. PANTHER is finally a box that can really be used in all venues.
On Major Tom’s Relationship with Meyer Sound
Marsh: The personal relationship that Lars has forged over the years with John and Helen is certainly unique among our suppliers. Yes, we often work on product development with other key suppliers, like DiGiCo and Sennheiser, but there’s nothing else like our collaboration with Meyer Sound.
Brogaard: And I’d like to add one thing about working with John Meyer. He’s brilliant and he has his own ideas, but he’s also wide open to listening. There’s no ego involved. There are other innovators that don’t want to listen to anybody, but Meyer Sound is always open to suggestions. Over the years they’ve always taken seriously what we have to say.
PANTHER presents sound with unrivaled clarity, detail, and transparency while outperforming, out-delivering, and outlasting the competition.
IMPRESSIVELY ENERGY EFFICIENT
PANTHER’s high-efficiency amplification package cuts power draw by 20% and reduces wasted energy all around, which will cut both operating expenses and environmental impact.
INTEGRATES SEAMLESSLY WITH EXISTING TOOLS
Use PANTHER with existing Meyer Sound equipment. PANTHER will integrate with our suite of system design, deployment, and management tools, including MAPP 3D™, GALAXY™, Compass®, and Spacemap® Go.
NEXT-GENERATION AUDIO-OVER-IP CONNECTIVITY
A future-proof system starts with the right connections: Analog XLR and Milan AVB endpoint I/Os make it easy to scale up within existing infrastructures while providing a path to tomorrow’s digital platforms.
ROBUST PROTECTION AGAINST THE ELEMENTS
PANTHER’s IP55-rated cabinet resists dust and water, while state-of-the-art Neutrik TOP connections form perfect weather seals, making rain hoods a thing of the past.
A BUILDING BLOCK OF SUSTAINABLE TOURING
Going greener isn’t just better for the planet, it’s better for business: PANTHER’s compact, power-efficient design means you’ll use less energy while using and transporting. A smaller footprint also means lower costs on those rare days PANTHER is not in use.
Meyer Sound Director of System Optimization Bob McCarthy discusses the advantages of basing system designs around PANTHER arrays.
From a system designer’s viewpoint, why is PANTHER such a breakthrough in line array technology?
To begin with, PANTHER is a step into an extremely versatile product line. It is powerful, lightweight and the multiple versions let you spread it wide or focus it deep. And, of course, everybody will be happy about the pricing. I think we will find PANTHER applications in everything from Broadway theaters up to stadiums and festivals.
Why is weight such an important factor in system design?
In many cases, weight will determine the maximum number of boxes we can put in an array. This is often the case on hang points and trusses, particularly when shared with lots of lighting and video gear. Also, following some tragic wind-related incidents, restrictions on weight have clamped down on outdoor applications. With PANTHER we can add more boxes for longer throw and more uniform coverage from the mid to the far field.
We understand you are excited about the new PANTHER-L long throw horn. Why is that?
The PANTHER-L horn is an extraordinary piece of engineering, but that’s not surprising as Meyer Sound has always excelled in horn design. The beauty of it to me is the way it holds a large majority of its angular coverage inside a 3 dB window, then dips out quickly with a well-defined edge at 80 degrees. That gives us a clear place to join with other arrays or fill systems, so we can maintain consistent response across all frequencies.
You had advance access to the PANTHER data for MAPP 3D, and you’ve been using it on design of the system for the upcoming Ed Sheeran tour. How has PANTHER worked into this design?
PANTHER has been a lifesaver on this project, and we worked in collaboration with Major Tom’s Systems Engineer for Ed Sheeran, Charlie Albin, on the system design. The design would have been much more difficult without it, and the system certainly more expensive to transport and rig. The tour is an in-the-round configuration, but in very large venues that require a long throw to the back seats. The system is laid out in two concentric circles, with the PANTHER‑L horn covering the back sections, then we move into the PANTHER-M and finally to the PANTHER-W where we need the spread on the short throw. Everything connects together smoothly. The lighting and scenic designers painted a difficult picture for our team on weight and array profile, but with PANTHER we’re confident it will work out beautifully.
About Meyer Sound
Founded by John and Helen Meyer in 1979, Meyer Sound is a global leader in providing integrated solutions for sound reinforcement, spatial sound, acoustic systems, studio monitoring and high-end residential systems. Recognized as an audio technology pioneer, Meyer Sound was the first to introduce dedicated loudspeaker processors, source independent measurement, large-scale self-powered loudspeakers, and cardioid subwoofers, among other innovations. The premium professional brand maintains rigorous quality control in its design and manufacturing of sustainable solutions for concert touring and festivals, houses of worship, cinema, education, corporate offices and residential. Scientific research and innovative product development have earned more than 100 US and international patents along with numerous industry awards. Headquartered in Berkeley, California with operations globally, Meyer Sound is a company where employees are innovators and diversity, equity and inclusion are embraced in the workplace and the community.