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Advice on Line Array Speakers

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Advice on Line Array Speakers

Postby Brian M Rose » Fri Sep 08, 2017 2:39 pm

We are a Hospital/Community Radio Station. We often work on the PA for other charities. These are nearly always exterior events, in fields, etc with 100 - 200 people attending. We would like to move on to line array (column) speakers as these seem to have wider dispersal, and are lighter. Obviously, as a charity we have a tight budget £1K max. Usage is fairly light, perhaps one 'gig' a month. Our job is to play out music as a general background rather than a concert.
Any specific advice would be welcome. For example, do we need two speakers - we are not really interested in stereo but they can be quite large venues such as open air museums.
Many thanks!
Brian Rose - Events Manager - Radio Harrow
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Re: Advice on Line Array Speakers

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Sep 08, 2017 10:37 pm

For £1000 you'll only be able to afford a very low budget mini LA system like the LD systems Maui11 or the Fender Expo. They both max out at around 124db and weigh around 26kg for the full system. A Yamaha DXR10 is lighter (14.6kg) and the same price, the trade off is that it has narrower coverage but it is also a lot louder at 131dB. Depending on what you are using at present that may be a more versatile and cost effective upgrade?
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Re: Advice on Line Array Speakers

Postby ef37a » Sun Sep 10, 2017 6:36 am

Those Yamahas are tubs Sam not line source speakers.

These, https://www.canford.co.uk/TANNOY-INSTAL ... VLS-Series should be good.

I assume Brian that you have a suitable power amp? I am surprised that the Tannoys are low impedance? A 100V line amp/ speaker system makes for an easy setup with modest cable size.

Ooops! Did not read on. 100V line versions are available.

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Re: Advice on Line Array Speakers

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun Sep 10, 2017 9:58 am

Yes Dave, I know that but maybe I didn't express myself clearly :)

The point I was trying to make is that a mini LA system may well not be the best solution for this application.........
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Re: Advice on Line Array Speakers

Postby Paul White » Sun Sep 10, 2017 10:14 am

Hi,

I'd have to agree that the smaller line array systems used singly may not be the best choice of outdoor use, even though they do have some directivity benefits. Their relatively low max SPL is fine for playing in pubs and coffee bars but the great outdoors really soaks up sound unless you have something with a bit of push behind it. Conventional speakers with a max SPL of around 130dB or above might be a safer option.
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Re: Advice on Line Array Speakers

Postby resistorman » Sun Sep 10, 2017 11:31 am

The benefit of the columns for background music and announcements is that they ARE more diffuse, yet wider dispersion and far reaching. It’s true that they don’t rock, but I think in this situation that that might be a benefit :)
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Re: Advice on Line Array Speakers

Postby ef37a » Sun Sep 10, 2017 11:55 am

Sam Spoons wrote:Yes Dave, I know that but maybe I didn't express myself clearly :)

The point I was trying to make is that a mini LA system may well not be the best solution for this application.........

Ok Sam, probably me being 'skippy'"

Paul: 130dB? Ouch, if you have to generate that SPL to cover an area you would be very limited as to where you put the speakers?

I used to rig an 8' (stacked 4foots) column at our air rifle ranges at country fairs and hit them with about 30watts. You could hear me drumming up trade all over a very large field. You don't need to be nerve shatteringly loud to be heard in a relatively quiet environment. Your SPLs would frighten the horses! Obviously I was not trying to compete with the Guards brass band!

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Re: Advice on Line Array Speakers

Postby Brian M Rose » Sun Sep 10, 2017 12:49 pm

Thanks all
Yes it is very much fir background music and announcements. We do the occasional stage events, but for these, the stage generally comes with a more powerful PA system. We're hoping to audition the Evox 8 soon. We may just have to swallow hard and find the rest of the money for a pair, and perhaps see one one does meanwhile.
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Re: Advice on Line Array Speakers

Postby Driller » Sat Apr 21, 2018 10:48 am

Hi Brian, did you get an Evox 8 in the end? I'm looking at getting a couple of line arrays columns for my kid's school singing events and these look pretty good.

I'd looked at the ES503 which can be used in stereo by splitting the 2 mid range speakers and putting them on separate poles but I'm not sure it's powerful enough.
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Re: Advice on Line Array Speakers

Postby AlecSp » Sat Apr 21, 2018 2:28 pm

I'd be intrigued by the performance, and would also tend to a pair of conventional actives.

My RCF ART 710s are small and light. I've used them to provide plentiful background music and announcement covering more than a football pitch. Both speakers in the same position, angled to provide the coverage. Absolutely plentiful, and good quality output - a world away from many event systems.

I'd be very surprised if the modest end of column speakers could compete. Also, by the time you've included the sub, then the weight is comparable with more conventional actives.
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Re: Advice on Line Array Speakers

Postby Driller » Sat Apr 21, 2018 5:03 pm

Well those RCFs are pretty much identical to my JBL EON615s so very interesting to know!

The use ( for me) is for children's choirs with no or little/light backing music so no need for massive sound pressure levels or deep bass.

In fact it would be handy to find just some active midrange tops without the subwoofer but there doesn't seem to be much demand for them.
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Re: Advice on Line Array Speakers

Postby Driller » Sun Apr 22, 2018 1:42 pm

Just found this http://www.fbt.it/en/products/vertus-cla/vertus-604a looks very handy.

Don't know if someone can confirm but apparently a line array column is less susceptible to feedback which is great for the condenser mics.
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Re: Advice on Line Array Speakers

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun Apr 22, 2018 3:59 pm

AFAIK there is no reason why capacitor mics should be more feedback prone than dynamics (though many people say they are) and no reason why line array speakers (talking about so called 'mini line arrays' here) should be any less feedback prone than point source boxes.

If anybody can correct me please do.

Regarding the FBT Vertus, they have a frequency range of 120Hz to 20kHz, max SPL of 125dB and, at £788 are are not that far short of twice the price of a Yamaha DXR10 (56Hz-20kHZ, 131dB SPL and £420). Even the usual advantage of MLA speakers, the coverage, is only slightly better at 100x30º (the DXR is 90x60º) granted the tight vertical coverage will help reduce drop off further down the room but I would need to be very impressed before I would consider swapping my DXRs.
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Re: Advice on Line Array Speakers

Postby Driller » Sun Apr 22, 2018 6:48 pm

I thought the feedback thing was because condensers are more sensitive than dynamics, more sound picked up ans amplified by the condenser for every additional unit of gain?

In all of the marketing garb for mostvMLAs they say you can sit them behind the band and use them as monitors as well as FOH since they don't feedback much. I assumed this to be the truth although I'm definitely NOT a fan of marketing.

Another couple of reasons I didn't mention for being interested in MLAs was that as this is kids singing there's no need for bass which means they can be smaller and hence the Vertus 604A is only 13 cm wide and deep. As a result the performers won't be masked from some audience members nearly so much.

I've never heard DXRs in the flesh but the Vertuses have incredible clarity apparently. =they are also made from extruded aluminium which kind excites me.

Fair enough on the price difference!

Whilst waiting for the OP to return, I did also wonder about sitting loads of speakers on the floor around the seated audience and doing it that way. Along with the 2 EON615s, I have 4 Laney CRX floor monitors which could be arranged in rows from front to back.

Dammit SamSpoons, I just looked at those DXR10s and even the DXR8s look really nice and wouldn't block out much of the view for the audience. This has not simplified the choice :headbang: :bouncy:
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Re: Advice on Line Array Speakers

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun Apr 22, 2018 7:21 pm

Tried and tested is the expression that springs to mind ;)

The sensitivity of the mic is a red herring, if your gain structure is correct you'll just have turned the gain on the desk up less for a capacitor.

The extra coverage of an MLA should increase susceptibility to feedback (the return signal path between the speaker and mic is the key here). Many have sophisticated electronics to control feedback (the Bose L1 Compact is the one I have demoed) and to produce decent frequency response for a stack of 3 or 4 inch drivers.

Having multiple speakers firing into the same area is a bad idea, all the time differences will screw with clarity big style (think railway platform announcements)......

Soundwise DXR10's are pretty good and go pretty loud for the money. The DXR8s have an even wider coverage than the DXR10s. Remember, whatever the speakers the coverage is very much frequency dependent.
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Re: Advice on Line Array Speakers

Postby Brian M Rose » Mon Apr 23, 2018 9:36 am

Hi Brian, did you get an Evox 8 in the end? I'm looking at getting a couple of line arrays columns for my kid's school singing events and these look pretty good.

We eventually went for a pair of MAUI 11 G2 column speaker. Funnily enough they had a good down yesterday at the St George's Day Event in Pinner High Street. They go nothing but praise from everyone, the crew (who are NOT sound engineers) Pinner Rotary Club (who hosted the Event) the public, and even the Mayor.
Easy to put together, versatile (you can plug just about anything into the amp) and they sound pretty good as well. As for feedback, once I had explained to everyone not to stand directly in front of the speaker, everything was fine. We were mainly using a very cheap radio mike and it all worked well. This BTW was our most ambitious job to date. The day culminates in the Pinner Wheelbarrow Race which involved 3 commentators on mobile phones plus the location mixer all going back the the studio and then return from the studio to the PA. It worked remarkably well. So yes, the MAUI's are pretty good.
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Re: Advice on Line Array Speakers

Postby Driller » Mon Apr 23, 2018 11:25 am

Thanks for the update Brian, glad you are happy with the speakers and that the event went well!
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Re: Advice on Line Array Speakers

Postby Driller » Mon Apr 23, 2018 11:46 am

Sam Spoons wrote:Tried and tested is the expression that springs to mind ;)

The sensitivity of the mic is a red herring, if your gain structure is correct you'll just have turned the gain on the desk up less for a capacitor.

The extra coverage of an MLA should increase susceptibility to feedback (the return signal path between the speaker and mic is the key here). Many have sophisticated electronics to control feedback (the Bose L1 Compact is the one I have demoed) and to produce decent frequency response for a stack of 3 or 4 inch drivers.

Having multiple speakers firing into the same area is a bad idea, all the time differences will screw with clarity big style (think railway platform announcements)......

Soundwise DXR10's are pretty good and go pretty loud for the money. The DXR8s have an even wider coverage than the DXR10s. Remember, whatever the speakers the coverage is very much frequency dependent.

Understood for the mic sensitivity and thanks for the explanation. Thanks also for all the other great advice which avoids me making silly mistakes and wasting time!

Ideally I'd get a few speakers and do an AB test but your "tried and tested" expression has a compelling logic.
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Re: Advice on Line Array Speakers

Postby Driller » Tue Apr 24, 2018 4:07 pm

After looking about, any point in saving a few quid over a pair of DXR8s (want the speakers to be as small as possible for discretion) and getting some Alto TS208s?
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Re: Advice on Line Array Speakers

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue Apr 24, 2018 4:26 pm

I have Yamaha DXR10s and Alto TS110As. The Yamahas are well worth the money but the Alto's are very good for the price (though I have heard of reliability issues and one of mine died recently). If the budget is there buy the Yamahas, you won't be disappointed.......
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