Unica demonstrates the power of consistency

A new amplifier platform is being called the most advanced in Powersoft’s history. Paul Milligan went to Italy to speak with the team behind Unica.

Inavate editor Paul Milligan sat down with Giorgio Carminati (GC), Luigi Chelli (LC), Davide Quarto (DQ) and Claudio Lastrucci (CL) from Powersoft, to discuss the launch of a brand new product called Unica. Launched officially at ISE 2023 in Barcelona, the Italian pro-audio manufacturer has called Unica its most advanced amplifier platform in the company’s 28-year history. With an eye firmly on future requirements, Unica promises users simple integration, straightforward configuration and low maintenance costs well into the future, all in one upgradable and futureproof package.

What is Unica?
GC The name Unica captures the philosophy behind the product, with a dual meaning - “unique” and “single” - in Italian. It offers an array of features designed to simplify integration, configuration, and maintenance, making Unica a unique solution for a wide range of fixed install applications. The Unica range consists of three 4-channel models (9K4, 12K4 and 16K4, providing 9,000W, 12,000W and 16,000W total power, respectively) and three 8-channel models (2K8, 4K8 and 8K8, providing 2,000W, 4,000W and 8,000W total power, respectively), all in one rack unit, providing consistency across the range. Unica is the third generation of Powersoft amplifier platforms, featuring five new patents and four existing ones, providing users with a reliable, efficient, and consistent product that can deliver quality audio for years to come.

Unica is powered in a unique way, can you explain how?
GC At first glance, Unica looks like any other power amplifier: it draws power from the mains to amplify audio signals and drive loudspeakers. However, it has a unique set of features that set it apart. On the back of the amplifier is the PoE (Power over Ethernet) input, which gives integrators the ability to use PoE++ to test loudspeakers without needing mains power. This is especially useful for installations where the mains electrical system is not ready when the system integrator arrives, but the IT infrastructure is already in place. This allows integrators to power on, configure, and test the system right away, even without mains. Additionally, PoE input allows for 24/7 monitoring of the system when necessary, while also saving energy by keeping the amplifier’s power supply off and extending the life of the power circuitry. This is achieved by keeping the amplifier brains on via PoE+ and switching off the mains, resulting in lower energy consumption.

What do you mean when you say Unica is cloud native?
LC Up until today, our customers had difficulties monitoring installations and had to resort to workarounds such as setting up on-site computers and running Powersoft's Armonía design software continuously, which was expensive and time-consuming. With the introduction of Universo, this process is now a breeze. After designing the project, a simple button press makes everything immediately accessible on the cloud. This enables monitoring and first-level debugging, anywhere you are, sitting at a desk or on the go with your smartphone. In addition, Universo facilitates regular maintenance thanks to remote firmware updates and can be integrated seamlessly into third-party systems thanks to its APIs.

Where do you see the Unica platform expanding in the future?
LC We started with a big focus on Unica amplifiers, but we are consulting with our clients to identify their needs and desires for future developments. Our current plans include integrating additional debugging functions and controlling critical parameters while maintaining the experience as simple and user-friendly as it is right now. We are also thrilled to expand the Universo platform further by integrating more products, hopefully in the near future.

What are the main applications for Unica?
DQ Unica is built to offer exceptional versatility, making it a perfect fit for medium to large-scale applications like stadiums, places of worship, and performance venues. Its four-channel models offer impressive power capabilities for high-power loudspeakers, while eight-channel models are ideal for medium-sized loudspeakers and distributed audio lines. Thanks to its power-sharing capability, Unica is well-suited for a multitude of system requirements, particularly those that demand high power and audio performance. It stands out particularly in large-scale or high-channel count applications, showcasing its superior value.

Why is power sharing such an important aspect of the Unica platform?
DQ Power sharing is essential in amplifiers to ensure power is distributed to each of the channels in line with the connected loudspeakers’ desired power levels and the project’s exacting requirements. We tested this feature for the first time in our Mezzo amplifier range and the response from the market was overwhelmingly positive due to the additional flexibility it provided. With Unica, our ambition was to create an amplifier capable of doubling the nominal power per channel when asymmetrically loaded, thus taking the versatility of Unica amplifiers to new heights and allowing them to be employed for a broad range of applications - from low impedance loudspeakers requiring high SPL to distributed lines - all with the purpose of optimising amplifier-to-loudspeaker matching and squeezing the most out of the amplifiers without wasting power (or money) to unused . Our amplifiers make all this possible on a single platform, making life much simpler for our customers.

How will Unica make the lives of system integrators easier?
CL It enables install professionals and system integrators to cover multiple applications, in any size installation, with a single amplifier platform family. This will support the creation of solid value and consistency among different applications during the whole project lifecycle – for a futureproof and more effective job. As a single, versatile platform with broad power range options, functionalities and networking capabilities, suitable for a myriad of applications from high-quality background music to performance venues, Unica unlocks the power of consistency for busy, hard-working AV integrators and fixed-installation professionals. Specifying amplifiers from a single product family that can cover a wide range of SPL requirements translates into tidier racks and a new level of user experience, while user-friendly features such as a straightforward third-party communication protocol and simple amplifier replacement with Easy Swap help eliminate any support headaches.

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