Whether you install audio systems in commercial facilities or in homes, the SF-16M has the features and capabilities to handle just about any application you may encounter. Its flexibility and musical power give end users so much more than traditional audio systems, while giving installers a streamlined installation process (see video).
The SonaFlex SF-16M is a unique blend of premium, two-channel amplification, matrix distribution, flexible input options, signal processing and open control capability. Designed and assembled in the U.S. with the custom installer in mind, the SF-16M brings a new approach to common residential and commercial distributed audio applications - one multi-purpose matrix amplifier that can be used in a variety of installations.
Commercial Solutions Restaurants, sports bars, hotels, conference rooms and worship facilities are all great installation opportunities for the SF-16M. Using FlexPort inputs, override triggers and sound scenes, the SF‑16M is great solution for facility-wide paging, conference room combining/segmenting, live audio override for restaurants, nightclubs and more. See more application examples.
Key Benefits for the End User
Local Source Selection Popular consumer audio sources such as iPods, AppleTVs and BluRay players can be located near the listener and connected via Cat 5 to the FlexPort audio inputs. With the push of a button, the user switches to the local audio source and then switches back to the default audio at will. This feature is also ideal for restaurants and clubs with live music where a user needs to override background music with audio from a mixer.
Sound Scenes A Sound Scene is a system-wide snap-shot of all volume and source settings (check out the video). Scenes allow the end-user to easily recall previously captured system settings. It is a perfect way to set the mood for parties, restaurant ambience and other commonly used system settings that need to be recalled with a single button press. Up to 10 Sound Scenes can be stored and recalled per SF-16M. For installations with multiple SF-16M’s linked together, additional system-wide Sound Scenes can be stored and recalled across all units.
Output Grouping Allows multiple outputs to be grouped together to share volume ramping, muting, source selection and more. Groups are ideal for making large areas a single audio zone or for grouping outputs with hi-pass and low-pass filters (sub/sat combinations) so that they respond together as one zone. Up to 10 groups can be stored per SF-16M.
Get a sneak peek at the new menu structure coming with the next Fimware Update. We streamlined the SonaFlex menu for easy setup from the front panel. The new menu also makes it practical to use the front panel for day-to-day control, if you don't plan to use a third party control system.
Using Mono and Stereo in a SonaFlex Audio System
Most consumer devices have stereo outputs, but in reality, mono is often more desirable for audio distribution. With SonaFlex, you can have both. It's easy to set up inputs and outputs for mono and stereo using the SF-16M front panel or your PC. Download the free PC utility and take it for a test drive!
Video Tutorial: How to Set Up SonaFlex Overrides and Sound Scenes
Overrides and sound scenes are unique features of the SF-16M that offer advanced functionality with a minimum of installation and programming time. Ideal for homes and light commercial applications such as restaurants, classrooms, and nightclubs. This video covers how to set up ten overrides and ten sound scene presets, plus FlexPort overrides. Download the free PC utility and take it for a test drive!
Video Tutorial: Overview for the SonaFlex PC Configuration Utility
The SonaFlex SF-16M Matrix Amplifier has features that can make your job as an integrator a lot easier. This video shows highlights of each tab, including using the setup utility to apply DSP filters to outputs, create output groups, set up override contacts and FlexPort Transmitters.
Input switching, signal processing, and amplification in one unified system
16 analog RCA inputs combined with four Cat 5 “FlexPort” input channels allow for a total 20 mono/10 stereo matrixed inputs
Optional Cat 5e/6 FlexPort modules accept balanced line/mic, XLR, digital coax/optical and analog RCA audio sources
Up to four SF-16M units can be linked together to form a powerful 16 input x 64 output audio matrix, plus FlexPort inputs
Class-D amplification provides a conservatively rated 45 watts per channel (all channels driven) or 60 watts (8 channels driven)
Linear power supply delivers the warmth and musicality of an analog amplifier, combined with the responsiveness and headroom required for dynamic music content
Signal processing tools include hi- and low-shelf filters (Bass/Treble), hi- and low-pass filters, and up to seven bands of parametric equalization per output
10 audio overrides (triggered by contact closure, IR, and RS-232, commands) provide a convenient method to switch to alternate audio inputs for appplications such as paging, local source selection, and room combining
10 preset sound scenes (a system-wide snap-shot of all volume and source settings) can be saved and recalled using IR, RS-232 or IP commands
10 audio groups allow multiple outputs to be grouped to share volume ramping, muting, and source selection
Compatible with virtually any control system available using RS-232, Ethernet or IR commands - NEW Control4 Driver for SF-16M (110.55 KiB)
FPM-U aaccepts two RCA inputs, either one stereo or two mono sources
FPM-D accepts one digital audio source, converting it to analog for transmission to the SF-16M via Cat 5, plus simlutaneous output on RCA jacks
FPM-X accepts mic or line audio, via XLR or 1/4 inch jack, from microphone or mixer outputs
FPM-B accepts balanced audio from mixers, microphones, or balanced audio sources includes override connection for push to talk microphones
Front panel IR sensor
Rear panel IR input (3.5 mm jack)
Front panel capacitive touch buttons and knob with LCD screen
The SF-16M PC Configuration Utility is an easy way to set up source and output names, audio settings, groups, sound scenes, override actions, and all other features of the SF-16M.
Flexible Input Options Most pro and consumer audio sources can be used with the SF-16M via its unique FlexPort™ audio inputs. Up to four FlexPort audio modules can be connected, via Cat-5, to each SF-16M. Module options include balanced line/mic, XLR, digital coax/optical, and analog RCA inputs, accommodating anything from pro audio mixers to Apple TV media players. FlexPort modules include an illuminated button that may be used to trigger audio override at all pre-selected SF-16M outputs.
Scalable Outputs Any amplified output of the SF-16M can be assigned as mono or stereo (see video), allowing for 16 mono, 8 stereo, or a mixture of both mono and stereo speaker locations per chassis. The SF-16M can split mono inputs to stereo outputs and combine stereo inputs to mono outputs. Up to four SF-16M units can be linked together to form a powerful 64 output system, with shared source signals and optionally shared FlexPort signals. Pure, Stable and Reliable Power Using Class-D digital amplification, the SF-16M produces a conservatively rated 50 watts per channel (all channels driven) 8 Ohms and is stable to 4 Ohms. (See the next paragraph to learn about SonaFlex Power and musicality.) The SF-16M is so rock-solid that even a dead short to the outputs is not harmful – the SF-16M simply shuts off the amplifier stage until the short is corrected and then comes back on without a power cycle.
Innovative Linear Power Supply Quite possibly the most impressive benefit of the SF-16M is its dynamic audio quality. The SF-16M hybrid linear supply has the headroom to respond to musical dynamics with reserve power, because its analog design allows its floating voltage rail to accommodate quick transient peaks in the music. Learn more.
Quality Front-End Components The SF-16M features 24-Bit, 96-kHz Burr-Brown A/D conversion with 64-times oversampling, resulting in natural, acurate sound reproduction of the input source material.
Signal Processing Tools The SF-16M provides a rich palette of Digital Signal Processing (DSP) tools that allow the installer to custom-tune every sonic environment. For basic installations, use DSP such as bass, treble, balance and loudness. For more advanced home or commercial applications, use hi/low pass filters and up to 7-bands of parametric equalization per output. View an introductory video.
Pass-Thru Mode When you need a great sounding amp to use with an existing audio matrix, the SF-16M excels, providing 16 RCA inputs and DB-25 source audio loop outputs for system expansion. In addition, the SF-16M’s DB-25 input allows for quick connection to Audio Authority audio matrix switchers such as HLX and ADX. The built-in FlexPort audio inputs can still be used in pass-thru mode to override any on-board RCA audio input, allowing for features such as local source selection, paging override, doorbell override, and room combining.
Open Control Architecture The SF-16M is compatible with virtually any control system available today using RS-232, Ethernet or IR commands. 2-way drivers for many of the top control systems are available for download from our website. More information on using Control4, RTI, URC and others.
Easy Setup Advanced setup tasks (input/output naming, group assignments, sound scene setup) are easy to perform using the SF-16M PC Utility (1.42 MiB) . The beta version is now available. The SF-16M’s front panel VFD display allows for access to basic settings required in a typical install (see an introductory video). For added security, the front panel can be locked out, preventing tampering of system settings.
Power Per Channel (All Channels Driven):
50W @ 8 Ohms
20Hz to 20kHz, +/- 0.55 dB
Full Power Bandwidth:
20Hz to 20kHz
70dB (channel to channel @1kHz)
<0.3% @ full power output
<0.5% @ full power output
Audio Clock Frequency:
Output Clock Frequency:
Short Circuit, Over-Temperature, Overload
Line Voltage & Frequency:
1125W continuous, 1280W for 2 minutes
Maximum Current Draw:
Dimensions without rack ears and feet (H x W x D):
3U, 5.22” x 16.60” x 14”
Three years, parts and labor
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I save my setup work using thePC configuration utility? A: You can Export a copy of the configuration file to your hard drive, or better yet, export a copy to a USB drive and leave it in the SF-16M USB port. By doing this, you can save yourself a service visit - just tell the customer how to import their configuration if the settings get corrupted in some way. Remember that you must change to File Mode before you Export your backup, and you need to save your backup to the same directory where the PC utility is located.
Q: Can I use mono and stereo sources in the same system? A: Yes. Source signals can be split or combined for any output or combination of outputs. For instance, a stereo source can be combined into a mono signal and routed to multiple speaker outputs, and a mono source can be played on both speakers of a stereo output. See this 2 min. presentation for more info.
Q: Can I use a serial or telnet command to override a FlexPort input? A: Yes, but make sure the FlexPort module's override type is set to "TOGGLE." If it is set to "MOMENTARY" the override will be instantly shut off by the FlexPort module.
Q: Can I use FlexPort inputs from one SF-16M on a second SF-16M? A: Yes, FlexPort inputs in an expanded SonaFlex system may either be used separately, or across SF-16M chassis. The FlexPort output bus jacks must be manually linked to connect from one chassis to the next, so multiple configurations are possible.
Q: Why doesn't the SF-16M include a remote control? A: The SF-16M is a professional grade matrix amplifier, designed for integrated systems that use comprehensive control system such as Control 4, RTI, Crestron, or URC. If you are not comfortable with this level of programming, check the CEDIA website for a custom integrator in your area.
Q: Could I use the SF-16M PC configuration utility as my main control interface? A: The PC utility is not designed as a day-to-day control interface. Use a comprehensive control system such as Control 4, RTI, Crestron, or URC with the SF-16M serial commands for daily operation.
Q. What's the difference between Low Pass and Low Shelf filter?
A1. Low pass and high pass filters are used with a 2.1 setup (subwoofer and satellite speakers), completely removing the upper or lower frequencies from the signal.
A2. Low shelf and high shelf filters are really just bass and treble controls, boosting or trimming the upper or lower frequencies. One thing bass and treble don’t let you do is specify the frequency as well as the dB gain or trim.
Q. What's the difference between an Override and a Scene Preset?
1. An override temporarily switches one or more outputs to a single input.
2. A sound scene preset permanently switches multiple outputs to multiple inputs. (A sound scene can't be cancelled or released like an override, returning to the previous system state.)
Q. How can you trigger an Override or Sound Scene Preset? A1. You can trigger either one by sending a serial command, a telnet command, (Ethernet) or using one of the contact closures on the rear panel. A2. A FlexPort override can be triggered by the override button on the FlexPort transmitter. You can't trigger a sound scene using an override.
Q: Can you use the 7-Band EQ at the same time as a Low Pass Filter?
A: Not quite. You could use a 6-band EQ with a Low Pass filter, because there are seven possible filters available. You can use some of them for parametric EQ, and others for other types of filters.
Q: Does the SonaFlex have any green energy features?
A1: Yes, the SonaFlex has an audio-sense feature that powers down when no audio signals are present. The amp is divided into two "banks" of outputs; if no signals are detected for either bank or both banks, it goes into standby mode to save power.
A2: You can use an external device to trigger standby mode using trigger terminals on the SF-16M rear panel. That feature must be turned on in software.
Q: What is "Loudness"? A: Your ear perceives the "loudness" of a sound differently depending on pitch. High pitches and low pitches do not sound as loud as midrange pitches, when played at low volume. The human ear's response to different frequencies is described by "Fletcher-Munson curves," first researched in 1933. "Loudness" compensates for the low and high pitch ranges which sound softer than the midrange. Another way to say it is that Loudness simulates the sound of loud music when you are listening at lower volume.
Q: What does the SonaFlex "Loudness" filter do?
A: In the SonaFlex, Loudness is a DSP preset that applies +5 dB gain to bass and treble. Essentially, it applies low shelf and high shelf filters to an output (Frequencies are 200Hz Low shelf, 3000Hz High shelf).
Q: Does the SF-16M have the same number of inputs and outputs as the ADX-1616?
A: No, the ADX-1616 has twice as many channels, but it is a strictly stereo device, whereas the SF-16M is mono by default. If you use the SF-16M in stereo mode, it is essentially an 8x8 device.
Q: Can I use a stereo source with mono SonaFlex outputs?
A: Yes, the SF-16M digitally sums the left and right input signals for mono outputs. This method is far superior to simply combining the left and right signals electrically (essentially like using a Y cable) which can distort the signal. Of course, stereo outputs still receive the original left and right channels.
Q: Control4 systems do not allow mono end points. How do I use SonaFlex outputs in stereo pairs?
A: SonaFlex outputs are mono by default, but you can use the front panel menu or the SF-16M utility to pair up the outputs for stereo behavior. Then in Composer, you simply use the odd numbered outputs to designate stereo endpoint 1 to SF-16M output 1, and stereo endpoint 2 to SF-16M output 3, etc.
Q: Control4 systems do not allow mono end points. Do I have to use SonaFlex outputs in stereo pairs?
A: No, but if you designate C4 endpoint 1 as mono SonaFlex output 1, make sure C4 endpoint 2 is mono SonaFlex output 2. If you want output 1 to be a stereo output, remember to designate output 1 and 2 as a stereo pair (see SF-16M Utility). Endpoint 2 would then be SonaFlex outputs 3 and 4, etc.
Q: Can I raise and lower volume levels for multiple outputs simultaneously?
A: Yes, there are two devices that can do this via Ethernet or serial connection. You can use a PC to send a group volume command, or you can program an automation controller to send that command. You must first set up at least one group of outputs using the PC utility.
Q: Is the SonaFlex compatible with Control4?
A: Yes, in fact it now has SDDP for seamless integration with Control4 systems. We have had a two-way driver for Control4 available since 2011.
Q: What is SDDP?
A: SDDP allows the SF-16M to "talk" to a Control4 system on the same Ethernet network. The Control4 system can then automatically download and install the correct driver.
Q: Can I control SonaFlex volume, bass, treble, and balance using Control4?
A: Yes, these controls have been added with version 1.4 of the SF-16M Control4 driver.
Q: Does SDDP work if you have two or more SF-16M amps on one network?
A: Yes, since they identify themselves using their MAC address, each one is unique, and can be programmed through Control4 software individually.
Q: Can I use SDDP if my Control4 system connects to the SonaFlex via serial?
A: Only if both units are also connected to an Ethernet network, at least for initial setup.
Q: How do I set up an override?
A: Overrides can only be set up using the PC Utility. Download the utility to your PC and connect it to the SF-16M via serial or Ethernet. You can also use a USB drive with the PC Utility. Learn more: www.audioauthority.com/sonaflex_tips.
Q: I exported my configuration to a USB drive from the PC Utility, why won't it load in the SF-16M?
A: Make sure the configuration file is on the root level of the USB drive, not in a folder. Make sure the USB drive is formatted FAT 32, and is compatible (try a different drive).
Q: I am having trouble exporting from the PC Utility to the SF-16M. What is causing it to fail?
A: While using Ethernet, disconnect the serial cable during programming, and vice-versa. Only use one connection at a time. Disable other Ethernet devices that may be talking to the SF-16M while you are exporting from the PC Utility. The SF-16M allows only two telnet sessions at a time.
FlexPort Modules are one of the features that make the SF-16M unique. They allow a variety of sources to become inputs for the SF-16M via a single Cat 5 cable, up to 500 feet away.
Four models are in development; the FPM-X and FPM-B will be the first available, useful for pro-audio sources like microphones and mixers. FPM-X, pictured here, accepts mic or line audio, via XLR or 1/4 inch jack, from microphone or mixer balanced audio outputs.
FlexPort Modules are designed to be mounted in standard Decora style work boxes, or on a wall, under a counter, or onto any flat surface.