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Author Topic: Active Line Array for Working Band  (Read 49224 times)

Pat Cognitore

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Re: Active Line Array for Working Band
« Reply #20 on: February 20, 2010, 09:19:41 pm »

steve cook wrote on Sat, 20 February 2010 14:45

Thanks everyone for the input.  First, as far as directivity, isn't like 1 QRX box going to get me about 75 degrees coverage?  Obviously, then, 2 boxes would be required.  With size and cost, that's where the array idea came into play.  Forgive me for my lack of knowledge.


You're right on there, most of the QRX boxes are specified as 75* nominal coverage.  It's not immediately obvious whether you need two because that's a question that's answered by looking at the specific gig requirements.

The dispersion that's specified is not accurate at every frequency: the lows generally have poorer directivity and the very highest freqencies may actually be narrower than stated.  The polar graphs would tell the better story here.  And despite that some frequencies will drop off outside that coverage area they will not disappear completely, usually (hopefully?) providing a lower volume but still fairly intelligible mix to those on the fringes.  

Typically in a club, or even a street fair situation, directing the sound more onto the main audience and less onto the fringes is a good thing.  If you absolutely need to have wide coverage then you will either need a second top per side and splay them properly, or add an outfill of some kind.  I'd go out on a limb and say the 75* coverage is better more often than not.

Quote:

Second, and this is to the best of my knowledge as I don't handle set ups, but we've got 4 Bose sticks scattered around the stage.  The powered ones, with the bose subs.  We also run 2 single 18's, powered by a Crest CA9.  If we need more guitar or bass, I just toss another cab on the opposite side of the stage.  For mixing, I think it's just whatever little hand held thing you get with bose.  We don't run floor wedges, which kinda bums me out because the mix I like to hear is different from what a FOH mix would be----IE---LOTS of guitar!---

The guys are happy with the Bose system, I'm okay with it.

I haven't heard this type of Bose system in person so feel free to ignore the next two paragraphs.  Confused   My only comment then would be to say it sounds like a less than ideal way to try to reinforce a live ensemble.  Those in professional audio spend a lot of time engineering (designing, manufacturing), aligning, processing and adjusting PA systems to define directivity, improve intelligibility and maximize the impact of the performance.  The only areas of audio (that I've heard of) that utilize low directivity approaches are home theater audio and these Bose Stick products, and I'm pretty sure there are good reasons for this.

I know you probably spent a small fortune on the collection of stick you've got, but my guess (admittedly an uneducated guess since I haven't heard the stick) is that it doesn't sound as good, or project as well, or have the intelligibility of a standard top/sub system of equal cost.

Despite my (and other's) negativity toward Bose I'm not actually totally down on them.  I have done side by side listening tests compared several Bose models to (much less expensive) standard woofer plus horn enclosures and the Bose lost out on frequency response, intelligibility and output, so my perspective is tainted by that experience.  But while I haven't heard the Sticks I heard some of the other Bose models sound good to decent in club/pub situations and even outside.  Were they the best tool for the job?  IMO, no...but they were adequate for the circumstances - which didn't involve high volume coverage for several hundred people.  

Regarding your use of the Sticks and their subs, plus other subs - unless you've done some detailed measurements and have either aligned the phase response of both sets of subs, or are running a crossover and a low/sub-low set-up (or both) - I doubt you're getting optimal response and performance out of this set-up.

A couple of other questions:

What musical style are you performing?

What is your budget for a potential PA upgrade?

What is your group's ability to transport a PA system?
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Bennett Prescott

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Re: Active Line Array for Working Band
« Reply #21 on: February 21, 2010, 12:20:04 am »

Steve,

I wrote this article to explain why you don't need a line array.
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steve cook

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Re: Active Line Array for Working Band
« Reply #22 on: February 21, 2010, 12:31:06 pm »

Folks, thanks SO much for all the ultra helpful information.  

We had a show last night in one of the 'bigger' rooms that we play, and really, the bose system was not quite enough.  

I think we're going to keep running the bose for the smaller shows, some of the rooms we play are pretty tiny.

Now for the 'facts' about the band.  It's a 'rock' cover band, songs ranging from Neil Young to Kid Rock, and we toss in some country, too, but we rock it up a little bit.

We're fortunate enough to have a 22 ft box truck, and I think someone also has a trailer too.  As it sits, we have plenty of room in the box truck, so I have no concerns over transporting gear.

As far as budget, I'm not sure.  I'm not the financial guy, so I'd have to guess, but I tend to think I'd like to keep this rig under 15k, or so.  The guys know that we've got to roll with a lot of nickel and dime stuff like snake, some wedge monitors, and a distro, so it won't be hard having everything fall into place.

I think we can have our light guy run sound as well, I don't see that as any problem.  I would rather have someone at FOH for our 'bigger' shows, like last night, but again management decisions aren't mine to be made.

The point source system makes so much sense.  I think just the sexiness of an array was what excited me.  

Of top priority with this rig, tho, is quick set up and tear down.  We have 2 techs that help for every gig, plus all of us in the band, but....well, like last night....after I got my gear packed up and set by the door, I kinda got mingling and flirting.  

Again, thanks so much.  The information I've gotten in here would have taken me hours up hours of reading various corners of the web to attain.

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Steve Payne

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Re: Active Line Array for Working Band
« Reply #23 on: February 21, 2010, 12:53:25 pm »

steve cook wrote on Sun, 21 February 2010 12:31


The point source system makes so much sense.  I think just the sexiness of an array was what excited me.



Don't feel bad.  It happens every day.
It's a common pitfall that sucks in lot's of pros that should know better.
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steve

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"Too much power is just right", - Carroll Shelby

Tim McCulloch

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Re: Active Line Array for Working Band
« Reply #24 on: February 21, 2010, 01:08:36 pm »

Steve Payne wrote on Sun, 21 February 2010 11:53

steve cook wrote on Sun, 21 February 2010 12:31


The point source system makes so much sense.  I think just the sexiness of an array was what excited me.



Don't feel bad.  It happens every day.
It's a common pitfall that sucks in lot's of pros that should know better.



It's also a pitfall that sucks in a lot of clients that refuse to listen to the pros that know better.

We've used our VerTec rig in places our S-4Clone would have been more appropriate, but the client insists on paying more for the wrong solution.  Oh well.

Have fun, good luck.

Tim Mc
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Steve Payne

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Re: Active Line Array for Working Band
« Reply #25 on: February 21, 2010, 01:25:10 pm »

Absolutely.
It's sometimes painful to give the client what they want.

Sad  
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steve

"My favorite things turn money into noise"

"Too much power is just right", - Carroll Shelby

Pat Cognitore

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Re: Active Line Array for Working Band
« Reply #26 on: February 21, 2010, 11:59:40 pm »

steve cook wrote on Sun, 21 February 2010 12:31

We had a show last night in one of the 'bigger' rooms that we play, and really, the bose system was not quite enough.  

I think we're going to keep running the bose for the smaller shows, some of the rooms we play are pretty tiny...

We're fortunate enough to have a 22 ft box truck...

...I tend to think I'd like to keep this rig under 15k, or so.  The guys know that we've got to roll with a lot of nickel and dime stuff like snake, some wedge monitors, and a distro, so it won't be hard having everything fall into place.

I think we can have our light guy run sound as well, I don't see that as any problem.

The point source system makes so much sense.  I think just the sexiness of an array was what excited me.  

Of top priority with this rig, tho, is quick set up and tear down.  We have 2 techs that help for every gig, plus all of us in the band, but...

OK, I kept the key points above.

Part of the reason the Bose will not work as well in larger crowds is because unless those sticks are elevated in the air much of the mid/high frequencies are going to be absorbed by the crowd.  A standard trap box/point-source system that has its mids and highs over the crowd's head and aimed properly will likely be tremendous improvement.  

You've got transport, and maybe a guy to run it.  And you've got a probable budget of under $15,000 for a system.  That's enough to put together something decent and workable, without bells and whistles.  If you're looking for specifics on what to look at we can get into that.  But first, I'll say what most of the other guys in this forum will tell you...

Spending that amount of money on a PA system is usually a bad business investment for a band.

If you are playing shows that require significant PA support is it possible for you to hire a sound company and negotiate that rate into your show contracts?  That would be the easiest, most convenient way to obtain superior sound at your larger shows.  And your group doesn't have to deal with storage, transport, set-up/breakdown and operation.

The reason I mention that option is because of the lengthy amount of time it will take to recoup that PA investment.  Not to mention equipment depreciation, ongoing maintenance costs, cost of transport, etc.  It could take years to break even on a purchase like that.

Years ago I was in a band that had upward of 10K into a system that covered us for venues sans PA for maybe a couple hundred people.  I never did the math on it - at the time I hadn't a clue what I was doing - and I'm afraid to look back on it now to see how bad we lost our shirts on purchasing that system.  Don't get me wrong - it kept us working regularly, we did a lot of shows on it and we charged the venues extra to bring the PA along (and we charged less than hiring an outside vendor would've cost) - but we definitely lost money overall.

Now, maybe that loss is necessary in order to actually keep the gigging calendar full, or maybe your band is not as concerned about the profit side of things and it's really just a hobby and you're willing to spend the money to put on good shows.  Well then, you're still better off hiring a competent audio provider than doing it yourself.  If you've got the money to purchase a system (and/or the venue can afford to pay you to bring one) then you probably can afford to pay an expert to come in to handle it for you.  A lot less hassle, and most likely much better sound.

Do some investigating into providers in your area and see what services they offer for what price.  I'll admit, some local/regional providers leave a lot to be desired in terms of either service or gear...but it's worth at least investigating.  There seem to be quite a few reputable owner-operators on these forums, there may even be someone in your neck of the woods.  At least consider this option before you jump into purchasing another PA system.

If your group decides that they absolutely must have their own big PA, then I'm sure everyone here can oblige with some specific product ideas.
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Tim A Perry

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Re: Active Line Array for Working Band
« Reply #27 on: February 22, 2010, 08:24:10 pm »

steve cook wrote on Sun, 21 February 2010 12:31


I think we can have our light guy run sound as well, I don't see that as any problem.  




This is one of the scarier ideas I have heard this month.

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steve cook

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Re: Active Line Array for Working Band
« Reply #28 on: March 01, 2010, 11:27:34 am »

On the investment side of things, possibly it 'makes no sense' but from our end of things, knowing we have quality gear every time we talk onto stage it worth the security in regards to the investment.

I feel comfortable enough setting up the system, and then monitoring it throughout the shows since I'm going wireless, and have a degree of faith in the light guy to do the job.  The objective is to set up the system so it's as simple as possible.

Currently, we're looking at about 20 shows a year where we'd need better sound reinforcement than the bose offer.  Those shows being mid sized clubs, and outdoor shows.

So, since we're going against medical advice, ha ha....

Here's the rigs that are up for consideration.

EV QRx 153's or 212sx
Radian RPX 115b
EAW LA 325's
JTR's

I figure if we roll with 4 tops, 4 subs, then we'll be able to cover about any show we have.  My personal preference is the 153s, but we can get into the Radians pretty cheap.  Singer didn't like the 'look' of the Radians, tho.  

I'm trying to contact Jeff at JTR to see if we can work something out, he's less than 3 hours from me.

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steve cook

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Re: Active Line Array for Working Band
« Reply #29 on: March 02, 2010, 01:32:03 am »

Hm.  thread has died.

So before I do a PSW search, anyone using a Cobra 2 system care to chime in?  
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