“Hey, mambo! Mambo Italiano!…” Oops, karaoke has finished, but it did sound great. What am I going on about? Well… I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to be the first DJ in the world [probably] to road test the brand new Vertus CS1000 from FBT!
FBT UK’s MD, Mark Parkhouse, invited me up to the company’s HQ, which is just down the road from me since their recent relocation, to pick up the sample CS1000 system back in September. It had been showcased at the BPM | PRO show a few weeks before, so had already attracted a great deal of interest among many mobile DJs. This meant that when I arrived to collect the system I felt both lucky and excited to be the first DJ to have a chance to try out the CS1000s in a real gig environment.
My first impression of the system was that it is very compact and portable. The two sets fit in the boot of my estate car just perfectly. I took them away wrapped in black towels [LOL] as there were no official covers made just yet, but I am informed that these are on their way along with a few other accessory options for transportation.
For anyone who doesn’t already know, the CS1000 is a very well thought out and designed compact 2-way speaker system squarely aimed at professional mobile DJs. It comprises a custom-designed 12” subwoofer with a 2.5” voice coil in one enclosure, alongside an array cabinet loaded with six full-range 3” neodymium high efficiency custom drivers with 0.75” voice coils.
The whole system has clearly been carefully designed to be both compact and manageable for regular transport and setup. The top array part packs down to be stored inside the rear of the subwoofer cabinet along with the pole mount and cables. The pole comes in three parts, which slot together, the top one of which is telescopic allowing for variable height adjustment.
The build quality of the system, both satellite and sub, is quite impressive with solid birch plywood construction.
A sleek design and choice of either black or white finishes mean the system is also very pleasing to the eye. With an impressive maximum SPL of 129dB, the CS1000 also packs a significant punch! It is an active system powered by a Class-D, bi-amplified, two-channel amp located in the sub enclosure.
The amplifier has a light-weight switch mode power supply and delivers an output of 1000 Watts RMS, which is split to provide 600W for the sub and 400W for the satellite. The top array is passive and connects to the subwoofer via a speakON cable. The weight of the CS1000 is quite astonishing for what it comprises – around 28kg all in – so it is very easy to transport.
The subwoofer has two handles, one on either side, which are perfectly balanced and completed by a rubber insert for a most comfortable grip. You can carry the subwoofer on its side using both handles or, if you are strong enough and of a bigger build, you could manage two of them at once with one in each hand! The CS1000 also fit perfectly on my Rock-N-Roller R12 Cart for even easier transportation. Setting up the CS1000 is a breeze and it takes less than a minute or so to complete from the moment you place the unit in position.
There is a quick-release on top of the subwoofer which frees the satellite from its storage compartment in the rear of the unit, where you will also find a custom bag containing the satellite poles and, underneath that, the speakON lead. It’s then just a case of fitting together the poles and setting the telescopic section to your desired height and then clipping into place the satellite array. This can be tilted to a choice of different angles, for correct coverage of the room/dancefloor, and locked into place using a quick-release pin system. Finally, all that’s left to do is connect up the IEC power supply to the subwoofer, link the sub and satellite with the speakON cable, connect the audio signal with an XLR lead, and you’re good to go!
On the rear of the subwoofer there is a recessed panel for the controls and connections. There are two rotary controls, one for the overall level and one dedicated to the sub (allowing for custom bass and mid/high balancing). A further rotary selection control allows easy access to the unit’s eight built-in DSP presets, which are Original, Live, Vocal, DJ, Loudness, DJ Boost, Monitor and Wall. Three LED status lights show when power is connected, when a Peak signal is being received and when the unit’s inbuilt Limiter has been triggered. Finally, there are two push button switches. One switches the input between Line and Mic level, while the other activates the Array mode (for use when two systems are linked, covered below).
Another great thing about this system is that it is modular in design, in that two systems can be used in a dual configuration giving you even more power for larger events. For this you simply stack the subwoofers on top of each other, use the XLR Link socket to connect the audio signal, and then lock the two satellites together end-to-end [via optional hardware] on top of a single pole. This means that not only is the output increased, but the vertical dispersion is extended from 30 degrees (+10 degrees / -20 degrees) to 40 degrees (+20 degrees / -20 degrees).
Regardless of whether you go for a single or double configuration, the array pro- vides a wide horizontal dispersion of 110 degrees, perfect for filling a function venue with evenly spread sound.
The Road Test
Now then, let’s get down to the nitty gritty… the road test! I took the CS1000 out over a weekend to three very different events, which really put the system through its paces, and, I have to say, the results were quite impressive! On the Friday evening I used the system at a local Smokehouse BBQ restaurant for a country-themed karaoke night. The load-in went very smoothly and I had the system up and running in no time at all. I use high quality karaoke media and I must say that the sound quality produced through the CS1000 was amazing and truly crystal clear. You could hear the music and vocals very clearly at the back of the restaurant and I received many compliments during the evening, including from the management (as a result, I have now been booked for two more events!). So I’d say that this system is ideal for karaoke and vocal use.
Moving onto the second event, for the Saturday evening I was booked to perform at one of my larger local public houses for a staff member’s leaving party. This venue is quite large and designed in an L-shaped layout. The dancefloor was packed all night and again guests specifically commented on the sound and were quite impressed with the quality and output of the system, especially considering its size!
During the evening I walked around the venue and, even with the L- shaped design, and I could still hear the sound very clearly throughout. The bass was very responsive and not at all ‘boomy’, just how I like it.
On the dancefloor, the sound was very clear and pleasing on the ear, unlike some other systems that I find can hurt my ears when the volume is high. The CS1000 handled dance music superbly and, despite filling the venue completely, it still had plenty of headroom to go further.
Unfortunately, my final booking of the weekend fell through, so I contacted one of my local DJ friends, Jack, to see if he wanted to use the system at a wedding party that he was booked to play at the Turkey Mill in Maidstone. In the end two of our other DJ friends decided to join us, Andy and Ryan, so we had the wedding disco setup in no time at all! The other DJs were quite impressed with how quickly and easily the CS1000 can be setup, so much so that we decided to record a short video which can be found on my YouTube page along with a few other videos about the CS1000 (www.youtube.com/geniediscs).
The function suite at the Turkey Mill is a fair size and this wedding event was catering for around 200 guests, so it was a good test of the CS1000’s ability. While Jack was the DJ, Ryan controlled the lighting and Andy and myself offered our services providing candid photography for the event. Walking around the room as I took photos, I got to hear the system in full swing as a punter out the front, and I must say that the dispersion into the room was quite impressive and the sound could be heard clearly absolutely everywhere. There was no distortion or clipping and the dancefloor was rammed all night long, with music covering all genres, but particularly bass-heavy R&B and House/Dance music.
I can honestly say that, overall, I was very impressed with the CS1000 and the sound quality offered by this new more-compact alternative. I will definitely be looking to invest in a white system in the New Year! Would I recommend the system? Damn straight I would… Especially for those looking for a compact line array setup capable of delivering a high fidelity sound at an affordable price catering easily for 150 / 200 people.