Line Array Speakers
Line Array Speakers
When & where should they be used?
Line array speaker systems are highly effective in specific settings, yet they may present challenges in environments that are not well-suited to their design. While they are often chosen for their visual appeal and the prestige associated with their use in high-end concerts, the true measure of a line array system's excellence lies in its capacity to deliver clear, smooth, and phase-coherent sound. This capacity is significantly influenced by the acoustic characteristics of the venue and various other key factors.
The primary advantage of line array systems is their ability to minimize vertical sound dispersion, thereby achieving extensive coverage across wide and large spaces. However, this benefit comes with a trade-off: the technique of leveraging time and phase adjustments to extend sound projection can sometimes lead to inconsistencies in frequency response and phase alignment throughout the audible spectrum (20Hz-20kHz). This phenomenon may be noticeable when moving towards or away from the speaker arrays.
In settings such as large arenas or outdoor venues, line arrays are virtually indispensable. Their efficiency in power consumption and their ability to cover substantial areas with minimal amplifier use—attributable to the higher impedance of each unit—make them a preferred choice. While the aesthetic appeal of line arrays is undoubtedly an added advantage, their application in smaller venues demands a more nuanced approach, involving intricate calculations and a deep understanding of numerous factors, including box quantity, dispersion angles, impedance levels, amplifier compatibility, and array configuration.
The selection of a line array system provider should be based on their deep knowledge and experience in tailoring systems to match specific environmental needs. The decision to incorporate a line array into any space should be informed by a comprehensive evaluation to ensure that it contributes positively to the venue's sound quality. Educating clients on both the benefits and limitations of line array systems is a critical responsibility of Design-Build contractors. With less than fifty contractors across the United States possessing the required expertise to optimize line array systems effectively, the choice of contractor is paramount.
Our discussion aims to present a balanced view of line array systems, acknowledging both their potential advantages and the complexities involved in their deployment. In the right setting, line arrays have successfully addressed acoustic challenges that traditional point-source speakers could not overcome. Our goal is to ensure that clients' preferences for aesthetics or sound quality are met with the highest standards, guided by a fundamental understanding of line array technology and a commitment to achieving the best possible acoustic outcomes.