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Author Topic: RCF NXL23-A  (Read 2164 times)

Bob Faulkner

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RCF NXL23-A
« on: April 29, 2016, 10:28:21 am »

A review of the RCF NX L23-A line array (module) speakers.  I waited a while before posting a review of these speaker cabinets.  Wanted to give them a “good run” in a few shows in order to form a more accurate review/opinion.  Each cabinet  (vented in front) has 1 x 12” woofer, 3 x 1” horns; DSP settings, Class-D 750 watt amplifier; power-con connectors; 100 H x 15 V degree coverage.  Purchased six (6) of these cabinets along with two (2) ground stack frames.  These cabinets can be flown (fly-bar is extra).

We use these cabinets for FOH mid/high and are partnered with two (2) JBL SRX 728 subs (all managed with a DBX 260).  These are setup as three (3) cabinets ground stacked on each side of the stage, with the subs centered.  Most shows were indoor covering about 1000 people, a couple of shows were outdoors.  Events included, rock/roll, bluegrass, blues, and Asian.

The power rating of each cabinet (and as an aggregate) appeared more than adequate for the events.  Plenty of highs and mid-range.  At no point did the cabinets sound as if they were struggling, even during outdoor events mixing 100' out.  The horizontal coverage was great, including across the upper frequency range.  The RCF charts show a sharp drop around the 1K range the wider the coverage; though, this seemed innocuous during our sampling.  This system did very well covering about 1000 people indoors; plenty of power, great clarity and coverage.

The “LF Shape” DSP on each speaker controls the bass response of that speaker in the array.  You select the number of speakers (modules) you have in the array by selecting the correct DSP combination on each module in the array.  Basically, the more modules in the array, the more the bass is rolled off .  During a sound check, we tested the system without assigning the number of cabinets in the array (per side).  Due to coupling, the bass and mid-range response (from ~100hz up) was very prominent.  By not using the DSP functionality, there was an (obvious) increase in power usage.  After setting the DSPs for the number of modules, the sound was well under control.  For the higher frequencies, the “HF Boost” DSP setting (“Linear” or “Array”) bumps the higher frequencies up (on Array) a few db.  With horn coupling in the array, this setting brings out the high-end.  We keep this setting enabled for all events.

First, this is not really a line-array setup we use.  However, the benefits from using this limited number of cabinets (and ground stacked) far exceed any single point-source cabinets we have used in our system, as well as what we have mixed on using others' gear.  When ground stacking, the stage height, for most of our shows, is around 4 ½ – 5 feet, which places the top module around 7 -8 ft high.  To get the full benefit of these modules, they really need to be flown.  The projection of the horns (along with coupling) performs great, however, the high-end becomes attenuated to people that are sitting in the back of a room (more than ~70' away on one our events) due to people sitting in front of them and so on.  The upfront and mid-range seats do very well.

The weight of a single speaker (including the frame) is ~60 lbs.  One side of FOH setup, including the ground stacking frame, is a little over 200 lbs.  This took some muscle (more than one person) to get the stacks on the stages.  For events with very low (or no) stages, we use small scaffolds; which takes 3 people to lift and position one stack (safely) onto a scaffold.

We've been very pleased with the power, coverage, and sound quality of these speakers.  The highs are prominent; the lows/mids seem solid.  If we end up needing more speakers (modules) to accommodate larger shows, we will start flying them.
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john sanders

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Re: RCF NXL23-A
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2016, 09:32:15 am »

Bob,

Thanks for your review of these RCF units. Since purchasing a pair of RCF NXL-24's I'm totally sold on the audio quality and increased throw of these products.
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Corey Scogin

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Re: RCF NXL23-A
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2016, 10:21:36 am »

However, the benefits from using this limited number of cabinets (and ground stacked) far exceed any single point-source cabinets we have used in our system, as well as what we have mixed on using others' gear. 

Care to elaborate on how this setup is more beneficial than a comparable point source system?
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Bob Faulkner

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Re: RCF NXL23-A
« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2016, 10:24:03 pm »

Care to elaborate on how this setup is more beneficial than a comparable point source system?
All things being relative and objective...

The point source cabinets we used were good, but lacked the ability to adequately project (citing inverse square law).  Most notable was the drop off of the high-end at distances.   As well, the high end become more "thin" further out from the cabinets (during indoor/outdoor shows).  The horizontal coverage of the point-source cabinets were ok, but not great.  The point source cabinets sounded great the closer we were to them.

Our current setup provides the benefits of a decent horizontal coverage (without needing to add "side-fill" cabinets).  The high-end projects well and maintains clarity over the frequency range.  If there is a such a thing... the sound is much more "fuller" sounding than the point source cabinets.  When using the RCF cabinets indoors they do not appear to yield much of "heavy" high-freq.  reflections (as compared to the point-source).

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TJ (Tom) Cornish

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Re: RCF NXL23-A
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2016, 11:42:46 am »

The point source cabinets we used were good, but lacked the ability to adequately project (citing inverse square law). 
Your NX-L23A boxes are subject to the same inverse square law.  If you are flat stacking these (which isn't best practice), you are gaining the additive power of multiple HF drivers covering the same area, which can contribute to more level in the coverage area (as well as destructive interference), however this mechanism does not mean you are a "line source" - at least at any reasonable listening distance.  To actually have the level fall off at 3dB/doubling of distance due to true line-source behavior requires lines dozens or hundreds of feet long for typical listening distances.  "Line array" systems as they are commonly deployed can have somewhat more even coverage from front to back, but this is due to destructive interference - wasted energy - close to the array.

The additional HF you are experiencing is due to either more HF power available in the boxes, and/or getting the top of your array higher than you previously did with your other stacked system.   Ground stacking speakers of any model is non-optimal.  Getting your boxes up in the air so the top of the array is at 12' and putting a little angle between boxes - even 2° will significantly improve your coverage and sound quality.

I was a performer at a show recently with a par of dbTech T12s stacked on the sub.  The top of the top box was ~6' from the ground or so.  I was very glad I was behind them performing on stage rather than in front of them in the audience.

BTW, I looked at the NX-L23A fairly seriously a couple years ago and was tempted.  I ended up going with JBL 4886 which have a yoke option that lets me get 3-4 4886 boxes 12'+ in the air on a sturdy tripod stand.  It was more money than the RCF product, but the deployment flexibility was worth it to me.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2016, 01:43:14 pm by TJ (Tom) Cornish »
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Bob Faulkner

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Re: RCF NXL23-A
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2016, 07:30:28 pm »

Your NX-L23A boxes are subject to the same inverse square law.  If you are flat stacking these (which isn't best practice), you are gaining the additive power of multiple HF drivers covering the same area, which can contribute to more level in the coverage area (as well as destructive interference), however this mechanism does not mean you are a "line source" - at least at any reasonable listening distance.  To actually have the level fall off at 3dB/doubling of distance due to true line-source behavior requires lines dozens or hundreds of feet long for typical listening distances.  "Line array" systems as they are commonly deployed can have somewhat more even coverage from front to back, but this is due to destructive interference - wasted energy - close to the array.

The additional HF you are experiencing is due to either more HF power available in the boxes, and/or getting the top of your array higher than you previously did with your other stacked system.   Ground stacking speakers of any model is non-optimal.  Getting your boxes up in the air so the top of the array is at 12' and putting a little angle between boxes - even 2° will significantly improve your coverage and sound quality.

I was a performer at a show recently with a par of dbTech T12s stacked on the sub.  The top of the top box was ~6' from the ground or so.  I was very glad I was behind them performing on stage rather than in front of them in the audience.

BTW, I looked at the NX-L23A fairly seriously a couple years ago and was tempted.  I ended up going with JBL 4886 which have a yoke option that lets me get 3-4 4886 boxes 12'+ in the air on a sturdy tripod stand.  It was more money than the RCF product, but the deployment flexibility was worth it to me.
Thanks for the response.  Sorry for the confusion on the inverse square law comment; yes, the RCF speakers are no different!  The point-source cabinets ran out of gas a lot sooner than the RCF's (across "x" distance").  These speakers need to be flown to get the full benefit of them.  Our current setup of 3/side does well, but getting them up and angled is needed. 

Would be nice if RCF had a yoke for more than 2 boxes on a stand.  Though, at 60 lbs/ea, the stand would need to be very strong.  I looked up the JBL 4886 cabinets... nice.  And at ~30 lbs/ea, that will surely save your back.

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