Manuals & Resources

Audio Artistry CBT36K Line Array Speaker Pair Kit

Brand:|Model: CBT36K
Employing breakthrough technology developed by the legendary Don B. Keele, Audio Artistry's CBT36K line array loudspeaker kit is defined by its incredibly consistent, broad, and deep coverage—as well as stunning dynamic range, flat frequency response, and low distortion!
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Part # 301-980
  • Astonishing imaging and accuracy
  • Extremely flat and consistent on- and off-axis response
  • Advanced line array design controls soundstage with unerring focus
  • Vastly reduces floor, ceiling, and wall reflections
  • Use of multiple low-distortion drivers provides superior dynamic range
  • Uniform coverage maximizes optimum listening area—no sweet spot!
  • Defies inverse square law—no difference in level, from inches to ten feet away!

Product Details

Audio Artistry CBT36K Line Array Speaker Pair Kit

The Audio Artistry CBT36 is a floor-standing 5 ft.-tall 2-way curved line array that provides sonic accuracy and soundfield coverage control surpassing even the finest high-end loudspeakers.

Based upon declassified military research on Constant-Beamwidth underwater sound Transducers (CBT) originated by the US Navy, the system was designed and implemented by Marshall Kay and Don Keele of Audio Artistry, Inc.

Each CBT36K kit array features 18 Dayton Audio 3-1/2" ND Series aluminum cone drivers along with 72 specially designed 3/4" aluminum dome tweeters. The CBT36K will redefine your expectations of audio reproduction system performance!

Specifications: • Recommended amplifier power: LF: 50 to 500 watts RMS, HF: 50 to 150 watts RMS • Power handling: LF:  45 volts RMS (500 watts @ 4 ohms), HF: 25 volts RMS (150 watts @ 4 ohms) • Impedance (LF, HF): 4 ohms • Frequency response: 45 – 20,000 Hz • Requires four channels of amplification and a digital loudspeaker controller • Dimensions: 61" H x 7" W x 25" D (at base).

A revolutionary new system based on CBT theory:  

Marshall Kay and Don Keele of Audio Artistry brought their concept to reality in conjunction with electronics supplier Parts Express and its Dayton Audio brand of loudspeaker components to create the CBT36, the world's first broadband constant directivity (CD) loudspeaker system for the home. The CBT36 system provides extremely even coverage and flat frequency response at all locations in the listening room.

CBT theory:

CBT, which stands for Constant Beamwidth Transducer, is a loudspeaker line array technology pioneered by Don Keele in six Audio Engineering Society technical papers, and is based on unclassified military underwater sound research. For more in-depth information around the theory of CBT theory as it applies to loudspeakers, check out the CBT Resource Page.

System description:

Each CBT36 contains 18 each 3-1/2" full-range drivers, used as mid woofers, and 72 each 3/4" diameter wide-band tweeters, that are crossed over by your outboard digital controller at 1 kHz. The drivers are mounted on a front panel that has a 36° circular-arc with the system standing about five ft. tall, a width of about 7", and a depth at the base of about 25".


The 3-1/2" drivers are Dayton Audio's ND91, which were designed specifically for the CBT36 system. The ND91 utilizes a Neo-Balanced 1" underhung motor that is capable of over 10 mm of peak excursion and features a shorting ring to help keep distortion under control. The 3/4" diameter tweeters are also made by Dayton Audio, and are mounted on PC boards in groups of four to ease assembly and optimize center-to-center spacing.

Designed specifically to eliminate the detrimental effects of floor reflections:

The CBT36 is intended to operate over a reflective ground plane and does not suffer from destructive floor-bounce effects. The curved line array of 72 tweeters extends all the way down to the floor to take advantage of the ground-plane acoustic reflection. Effectively, the floor provides a reflective surface that acoustically extends the array below floor level and thus creates an array that is over 10 ft. tall and controls vertical coverage and directivity down to below 160 Hz!

The vertical and horizontal coverage of the CBT36 greatly reduces ceiling and wall reflections:

Above-the-floor vertical coverage of the CBT36 is a narrow 28º that is extremely stable with frequency. This greatly reduces ceiling reflections as compared to a typical box-style system. In addition, the horizontal coverage, which is very broad, narrows as you go around the side of the system, which also significantly minimizes side wall reflections.

Extremely even coverage, with no sweet-spot listening axis:

The CBT36 has extremely well-behaved and smooth coverage from locations well above the array to points even down at floor level, and at distances from directly in front of the speaker to points in the rear of the listening room. The horizontal coverage is extremely broad and uniform even out to plus or minus 90º. The CBT36's variation of loudness with distance is also very unique. At standing height, the system's volume level hardly changes over a range from directly in front of the system to points 10 ft. away!

Maximum SPL and minimum distortion:

The system can be played extremely loudly and remains very clean and effortless at all levels. The large number of drivers minimizes distortion, and driven with powerful amplifiers the system can generate very high instantaneous peaks.

System requirements:

Each CBT36 loudspeaker array must be bi-amped and requires a DSP-based speaker processor along with two stereo power amplifiers. For extended bass response below 45 Hz, one or two powerful subwoofers are required.

What's Included:

QtyPart NumberDescription
36290-226Dayton Audio ND91-8 3-1/2" Aluminum Cone Driver 8 Ohm
36N/AFour-Element 3/4" Tweeter Module Assembly
1N/ALine Array Cabinet Left
1N/ALine Array Cabinet Right
2260-317Acousta-Stuf Polyfill 1 lb. Bag
1260-400Speaker Sealing Caulk
2092-052Neutrik NL4MP Speakon 4-Pole Panel Mount Connector
2005-1Mills 1 Ohm 12W Non-Inductive Resistor
10005-1.5Mills 1.5 Ohm 12W Non-Inductive Resistor
4005-2Mills 2 Ohm 12W Non-Inductive Resistor
2005-2.5Mills 2.5 Ohm 12W Non-Inductive Resistor
4005-3Mills 3 Ohm 12W Non-Inductive Resistor
4005-5Mills 5 Ohm 12W Non-Inductive Resistor
1101-804NTE Stranded 18 AWG Hook-Up Wire Red 25 ft.
1101-800NTE Stranded 18 AWG Hook-Up Wire Black 25 ft.
1101-816NTE Stranded 18 AWG Hook-Up Wire Gray 25 ft.
1101-808NTE Stranded 18 AWG Hook-Up Wire Yellow 25 ft.
1101-860NTE Stranded 24 AWG Hook-Up Wire Black 25 ft.
1101-864NTE Stranded 24 AWG Hook-Up Wire Red 25 ft.
1101-868NTE Stranded 24 AWG Hook-Up Wire Yellow 25 ft.
1370-050Kester Pocket Pack Solder 60/40 0.031" 0.50 oz. Tube
1N/AMiscellaneous Hardware
1N/AAssembly Manual

Audio Artistry CBT36K Line Array Speaker Pair Kit includes the following items:
Qty Part # Item
1999-279CBT36 Line Array Cabinet Right
1999-276CBT36 Line Array Cabinet Left
1999-277CBT36 Line Array Components
No substitutions allowed. The above may include some items that are not available for purchase separately.

Product Specifications
  • Cabinet OptionsUnfinished/Unassembled
  • Speaker TypeLine Array
  • Woofer Diameter3-1/2"
  • Input Rating8 ohm
  • ConfigurationFull-range
  • ColorUnfinished
  • Cabinet Dimensions (H x W x D)61" x 7" x 25" (at base)
Audio Artistry CBT36K Line Array Speaker Pair Kit
  • BrandAudio Artistry Inc.
  • ModelCBT36K
  • Part Number301-980
  • UPC844632094125
  • Product CategorySpeaker Kits
  • Unit of MeasureEA
  • Product Rating
    (3 Reviews)
  • Weight80 lbs.
  • California Prop 65

    Warning: California residents only. Please note per Proposition 65 that this product may contain chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.

View similar products to the Audio Artistry CBT36K Line Array Speaker Pair Kit
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Audio Artistry CBT36K Line Array Speaker Pair Kit

Product Q&A

Get your questions answered from other customers
who own this product or have experience with it.
If your question requires design or troubleshooting information,
please email tech@parts-expresss.com  for a prompt reply.
Audio Artistry CBT36K Line Array Speaker Pair Kit

How would the Crown XLS Drive Core Line of amps work with these speakers

I'm thinking of the XLS 1500.
Asked by: SteveC
I see no reason why those would not work with this setup.
Answered by: MattP
Date published: 2015-07-02

Woofer interaction

In looking at the pictures it appears that the entire space behind the mid-woofers is open. This would indicate to me that the drivers would interact with each other, such that if a signal was sent to one driver it would cause a similar motion in all of the other drivers. I am not sure if distance from the energized driver would cause delay in the echo effect in the other drivers, but that isn't my main question.My main question is that if different mid-woofers are to be driven at different levels, wouldn't the interaction from all of the other drivers being energized simultaneously reduce the control of the output the individual banks of drivers?Or better stated would it be beneficial to isolate each bank of drivers, so that interaction does not occur?
Asked by: aceinc
The system is bi-amplified so that the HF drivers are getting their signal from their own amplifier that uses active crossover. The same for the LF drivers so that all them get the same signal from their own amp. using active crossover. This is the best type of a system for any sound system, but also the most expensive as each range have their own amplifier so stereo need two stereo amplifiers. What comes to interaction the drivers work together the same way as you see in concerts those columns. The woofers do not have any baffle they just provide the extra sound volume and lower frequency as the area of air the cones are moving. Same here, if you would use one speaker of this size you wouldn't get any base that you could really hear. It is the combined volume of the box and speakers that allows here the high power low frequency output. The drivers work synchronized together. Can't do that if individually boxed. Will loose all rear balance. Now in theory that would work, but that would drive the price up with no benefits for the sound quality.
Answered by: PasiPT
Date published: 2015-07-18

Want to Prewire - what is necessary

Hello, interested in using these in a Home Theater as the FrontL and FrontR channels. Is this possible? If so, I would like to remote locate the DEQX Crossover and the amps. What type of cable do I have to run from the amps to the speakers? I would like to bury them in the walls.Finally, if I located the DEQX with the rest of my equipment, but located the amps closer to the speakers, what type of cable would I use to run from the DEQX to the speakers? Could I use Coax and terminate at an RCA?Thanks
Asked by: rlominski
You will only need two cables to each speaker, one for high and one for low. Thise can be pretty much anything, I would recommend 14 gauge. The connection between the amp and processer are dependant on the amps used. This will likely be balanced XLR cables.
Answered by: MattP
Date published: 2015-07-02

Can a minidsp be used as the dsp unit?

Asked by: palmito
MiniDSP should work fine for this application.
Answered by: MattP
Date published: 2015-07-02

HT speakers?

I am interested in using these as front speakers in my HT. I would like to know if they can be taken off their bases and hung on the wall. Would this upset the ground-plane acoustic reflection that is employed in their design?
Asked by: Guacho
These are only intended as floor standing speakers, we cannot recommend a different fashion for mounting because this is not the original intent for the design.
Answered by: MattP
Date published: 2015-07-02


I see a lot of talk about amplifier power and area coverage etc, but nothing refering to the actual sensitivity of the array. Is there a reason for this? Is the sensitivity difficult to measure for such an array? The claim is that the percieved playback level stays fairly consistent up to ten feet away; it would be nice to know what that level is per watt of input (or per 2.83V, however it's tested).Part of the appeal of an array is its sensitivity, making normal listening levels possible with just a few watts of power. This information would be helpful for those considering use with lower power amplifiers like tube or small chip based units (using four amplified channels and DSP, of course).I would also appreciate an answer from someone who is qualified to answer the question (i.e. someone who has measured it or someone who has access to the creator's specification), not just an "Answering Team Member" who assumes they know what they're talking about. THANKS.
Asked by: Superspeeder
Having heard and used the CBT-36 with different amplifiers I can off some help. Because of the way it operates the sensitivity comparison to a point source is more valid at say 2-4M than 1M. That said, the sensitivity is a little on the low side and not really suited to amps with limited output capability. If I were using the speaker an amp in the 100-200 watt/channel range would be ideal.
Answered by: Selah Audio
Date published: 2015-07-02

Which DSP functions are critical for this speaker?

My listening room has exstensive treatments and plays smooth with my current speakers. Without EQ I am getting a nicely flat response with just one bump that is typical of my current speaker. I have a custom built duel mono DAC that produces signals absolutely in phase. It has has four desecrate balanced outs. Would I still need a DSP for the CBT36K?
Asked by: M Briggs
Typically, the speaker you are using has nothing to do with a DAC - it is a high end method of managing digital inputs and converting them to analog. There are other types of DACs that feature advanced digital internal crossovers - that's an entirely different story. So without knowing - I'm assuming you have a normal DAC, and if so, it would be valuable regardless of the speakers you use in your room.
Answered by: markajh
Date published: 2015-07-02

What is the recommend crossover frequency and filter response?

Why do you recomend a DSP?
Asked by: centerchannel
The files for the Behringer DSP crossover are provided with the kit. The DSP units offer more flexibility in tailoring the response than a standard active unit would provide. This makes it easier to tailor the voicing for your room and personal preferences.
Answered by: Selah Audio
Date published: 2015-07-02

I would like to use an exotic wood for the faceplate.

Would the authors be willing (for price) to prepare 2 faceplates out of an exotic hardwood, if I arranged for the raw stock for the faceplates be shipped to them?
Asked by: TomE
With the bending involved a solid hardwood baffle isn't possible.
Answered by: Selah Audio
Date published: 2015-07-02

Are the CBT36 cabinets with blank front baffles available?

I love the cabinets, but would like to select my own drivers. Can the cabinets with blank baffles be purchased separately?
Asked by: JoLynn
Ahem...this is a custom project (and a very exotic one at that). However, the plans for the cabinets are no doubt available, if you are (or are very friendly with) a very ambitious woodworking ninja.
Answered by: Doc Jones
Date published: 2015-07-18

What are the options for a grill? Behringer X-Over & EQ?

What are the options for a grill? We smoke at home and my Wife get's drunk and vacuum's while I work plus we have grand kids. (good thing and not so good in no specific order LOL) I can run some fine stock through my band saw but looking at the pics there is not enough space to place a traditional grill. So far the only thing I can think of is a lightly weighted throw of grill cloth that is pulled of when using these beasts. Also would the Behringer EQ adversely some of attributes of this design.Can't wait to here for some reviews of this project because it has definitely peaked my interest.
Asked by: Ez Rider
The best option for a grille would be a custom wire frame type suspended about an inch above the cabinet, curved to match. Grille cloth would be wrapped around it. A speaker of this caliber should most likely have its' own room. High end audio and electronics don't like being banged, smoked out, and dome and cones won't survive the prodding hands of toddlers - congrats on them by the way! Bi-amping is always beneficial with EQ used to balance the speaker to the room - not over EQ trying to get the speaker to do something it was not designed for. This will put a high load on your amp, overdrive your speakers and cause failure somewhere in the chain.
Answered by: markajh
Date published: 2015-05-14

Can I purchase the components only without the cabinets? In a package deal.

Asked by: Brtthomp
According to what you see in the details about the kit, everything else except the tweeters and enclosure parts are available separate. There is reason for that and usually it relates to design of the enclosures. I have no doubt that somebody with sufficient skills can built the cabinets from the raw material or design a close copy, but most don't and I believe that the designer have a copyright or patent for his work and wants to also guarantee his/hers reputations against inferior copies. The high frequency drivers are the most directional and most critical for musical harmonics and thus, not giving the information about them or not selling them separate guarantees that nobody could claim that their home made system doesn't work as advertized. The fact that the system requires active X-over and thus two amps is clear indication of the quality and if somebody would use passive X-over on the system and then complain the requirement for active X-over is clearly mentioned and not included with the kit. After saying that, there are many designs that can be used with these mid range drivers and the tweeters that have good reputation. Because tweeters are generally sealed, there is not much about option how to mount them except their location. What information you are given by the pictures and other data there are all the possibilities to get set done that you wouldn't know the difference.
Answered by: PasiPT
Date published: 2015-07-02

Can you suggest the right amplifers to drive these beauties?

Asked by: Zig11
The designer suggests something in the 50 - 500 watt power range, which covers quite a wide swath of our amplifier inventory, indeed. Just as one suggestion, Crown's XTi series of amplifiers are gaining popularity among those seeking a more theater-like experience in their homes. I'll link one below for your convenience, with the caveat that in the end, the "right" amp for you is something that only you can decide.
Answered by: RussR
Date published: 2015-07-02

What DSP processor?

The requirements list a DSP speaker processor, but no particular unit is mentioned. Is the DEQ2496 suitable?
Asked by: rmarkn
No, the DEQ2496 is onlyfor equalization. The DCX2496 is the one you'll need. There are also other units such as the DEQX and DBX DriveRack.
Answered by: Selah Audio
Date published: 2015-07-02

How large an area would you say these would cover?

We are building a small, intimate preforming area that will accommodate about 250 people on the back of the radio station . . Thinking about using these for the sound system which will be for acoustic acts only, covering 1500 to 2000 square feet. Your thoughts on feasibility of these working for such an application . . . Thanks
Asked by: Hackomatic
I'm just a home user but I couldn't resist piping up here. There are many interrelated questions here about the room accoustics and stuff... A venue such as the Mormon Tabernakle(sp?) doesn't even require reenforcement as your voice will carry across the entire room due to the excellent acoustics. A venue such as a gothic cathedral has extremely-poor accoustics and will require sophisticated DSP noise canceling with speakers placed all over to dampen echoes so that you can be heard at all... Other questions include what kind of sound levels you need, how high the ceiling is, etc... Line arrays are generally awesome for high output listening because they divide the workload among many drivers. With a high-quality, high-power amplifier, these speakers are rated at up to 140db, which should be more than enough for just about anything. Whether they're the right solution for your room is another matter. Expect to spend time tweaking placement and crossover settings.
Answered by: AlonzoTG
Date published: 2015-07-02

How much are the 72 x 3/4 in. speakers? How much for the cabinets?

These appear to be the only part numbers missing from the item list. It would be nice to know the price for these, especially should they be used for other projects.Schematics for the cabinets would also be nice, and this is an important touch. I know you want to sell these as a kit, but many of us get the most joy out of our projects, and Speaker Express, by completing them start to finish.Thanks!
Asked by: md2b78
I agree.there should be no "secrets" when investing in a project like this. The manual can be downloaded to the right of the product page under the price box. I do not have Adobe Reader on my old laptop due to HD space, so I cannot open it to see what it says.You can call PE tech-service.
Answered by: Fanden
Date published: 2015-07-02

How did you finish the cabinets?

How did you guys get that glossy finish on the cabinets? any special methods i should know about? I plan on purchasing this kit but want to make sure i can make them look at good as possible.
Asked by: speakerdude12
From the designer: "The CBT prototype was treated with multiple coats of high-build primer, sanded progressively with 220 grit sandpaper graduating to 400 grit, sprayed with two coats of metal flake acrylic automotive finish, and then finished with two coats of high-gloss clear acrylic. The front panels are treated separately with a low luster black pre-catalyzed lacquer."
Answered by: JoeW
Date published: 2015-07-02
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