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Author Topic: rcf hdl20a  (Read 7663 times)

duy_luu

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rcf hdl20a
« on: July 02, 2014, 09:18:59 pm »

I need some inputs from rcf hdl20a experienced user before deciding to buy the rig. Some one told me they heard it distorted when push hard. Or could be operator error with x32 board.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: rcf hdl20a
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2014, 10:16:02 am »

I need some inputs from rcf hdl20a experienced user before deciding to buy the rig. Some one told me they heard it distorted when push hard. Or could be operator error with x32 board.

Disclaimer - I work for an RCF/DB Technologies dealer.

Yes, they will distort if you push them over the edge.  ANY system will, it's not limited to RCF or self-powered speakers or point source/vertical array.

I will say that if any system is consistently distorting the most likely source is the operator, and he is either an inexperienced whack-job or he's trying to get more sound out of the rig than it is capable of producing.  I call this "Not Enough Rig for the Gig«".

When I started out in audio (back in the Ye Olde Dayz, in a century far far away), Not Enough Rig was pretty much guaranteed; we simply didn't realize how much PA it took to get over the Lugwig OctaPlus, pair of SVT 810 bass rig speakers, 2 full stacks of Marshalls and a keyboard playing using a Twin.  Once we realized how much PA it would take, we realized that we couldn't afford that much PA, had no practical way to move or store it and that in 90% of venues would have no space for it all.  Oh, and bands couldn't to hire us then.  We tried all kinds of tricks to get more out of a rig, but mostly we tried to get vocals on top and add some bottom end to the drum kit.  One of the tricks was to double-bus vocals (or even assign them to every group/submaster).  What most beginning (and some experienced) mixerpersons didn't realize is that "gain is gain is gain" and for practical purposes it doesn't matter where you get it, the result is the same.  All of the mult-busing was the equal to simply running the fader up 12dB (or whatever).  We'd get more vocal in the mix but then downstream devices (EQ, usually) would have input clipping, the amps would clip "early" (was it turns out they weren't early, they were just clipping).  These are the kinds of things that sound bad before the signal ever gets to the speakers.

So Duy, my guess is the person driving the HDL20a system wanted the program material to be louder and he ran out.  Either there weren't enough speakers in the rig; the rig was not deployed properly (happens a lot), or the HLD20a was the wrong system - it wouldn't be loud enough no matter what.  The other possibility was that the operator was clipping the mixer because he couldn't see meters (outdoors?) and the distortion was from the desk.  My limited experience with the HDL20a (we've sold some but don't use them ourselves) has been that you have to hit the limiters pretty hard to "hear" the red light, but you'll hear the rig get crunchy sounding when you get there.  It's a warning, if you will, that you're going to do damage if you keep turning things up.

I strongly suggest that you download the most recent aiming/prediction software from RCF and see how much line length you need to cover the venues you typically work, and to predict the spectral and SPL coverage.  An 8 box/side hang of HDL20a is pretty much the minimum if you want any pattern control below 500Hz.  Really - spend a few hours with the software, read the manual and see if there are any Youtube vids.  Also there has been discussion on the PSW forums about the conflict between 2 deployment goal:  even *tonal* coverage from front to back, and the least average SPL deviation from front to back.  These are mutually exclusive goals in most situations, so you have to pick.  If you go for the least SPL deviation you'll have less low-mid and LF in the back half of the coverage area; if you go for most even tonality you will have less SPL in the back half (or so) of the coverage area.
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"Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."  - Kurt Vonnegut

duy_luu

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Re: rcf hdl20a
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2014, 10:42:11 am »

I was at a local music store to see how it sound like. One hdl20a is hanging 10' on a truss so I couldn't see the processing of it while I was there. It got pretty loud and clear with some music feeding by dj mixer. One thing I noticed there is a volume knob on the back, just don't know if the sale man had it turn up full volume or by half. What is your best suggestion on volume knob of the hdl20a?   Btw, it must has been the operator faults made it sound bad when it got distorted. My goal is doing something small for live band up to 1500 attendees max indoor & outdoor. How many boxes I need per side to cover 200' of the throw?  If you are working with rcf dealer, please shoot me the price of hdl20a's - luuduy64@yahoo.com

Thanks for your input Tim!


Disclaimer - I work for an RCF/DB Technologies dealer.

Yes, they will distort if you push them over the edge.  ANY system will, it's not limited to RCF or self-powered speakers or point source/vertical array.

I will say that if any system is consistently distorting the most likely source is the operator, and he is either an inexperienced whack-job or he's trying to get more sound out of the rig than it is capable of producing.  I call this "Not Enough Rig for the Gig«".

When I started out in audio (back in the Ye Olde Dayz, in a century far far away), Not Enough Rig was pretty much guaranteed; we simply didn't realize how much PA it took to get over the Lugwig OctaPlus, pair of SVT 810 bass rig speakers, 2 full stacks of Marshalls and a keyboard playing using a Twin.  Once we realized how much PA it would take, we realized that we couldn't afford that much PA, had no practical way to move or store it and that in 90% of venues would have no space for it all.  Oh, and bands couldn't to hire us then.  We tried all kinds of tricks to get more out of a rig, but mostly we tried to get vocals on top and add some bottom end to the drum kit.  One of the tricks was to double-bus vocals (or even assign them to every group/submaster).  What most beginning (and some experienced) mixerpersons didn't realize is that "gain is gain is gain" and for practical purposes it doesn't matter where you get it, the result is the same.  All of the mult-busing was the equal to simply running the fader up 12dB (or whatever).  We'd get more vocal in the mix but then downstream devices (EQ, usually) would have input clipping, the amps would clip "early" (was it turns out they weren't early, they were just clipping).  These are the kinds of things that sound bad before the signal ever gets to the speakers.

So Duy, my guess is the person driving the HDL20a system wanted the program material to be louder and he ran out.  Either there weren't enough speakers in the rig; the rig was not deployed properly (happens a lot), or the HLD20a was the wrong system - it wouldn't be loud enough no matter what.  The other possibility was that the operator was clipping the mixer because he couldn't see meters (outdoors?) and the distortion was from the desk.  My limited experience with the HDL20a (we've sold some but don't use them ourselves) has been that you have to hit the limiters pretty hard to "hear" the red light, but you'll hear the rig get crunchy sounding when you get there.  It's a warning, if you will, that you're going to do damage if you keep turning things up.

I strongly suggest that you download the most recent aiming/prediction software from RCF and see how much line length you need to cover the venues you typically work, and to predict the spectral and SPL coverage.  An 8 box/side hang of HDL20a is pretty much the minimum if you want any pattern control below 500Hz.  Really - spend a few hours with the software, read the manual and see if there are any Youtube vids.  Also there has been discussion on the PSW forums about the conflict between 2 deployment goal:  even *tonal* coverage from front to back, and the least average SPL deviation from front to back.  These are mutually exclusive goals in most situations, so you have to pick.  If you go for the least SPL deviation you'll have less low-mid and LF in the back half of the coverage area; if you go for most even tonality you will have less SPL in the back half (or so) of the coverage area.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2014, 10:46:39 am by duy_luu »
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: rcf hdl20a
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2014, 12:28:11 pm »

I was at a local music store to see how it sound like. One hdl20a is hanging 10' on a truss so I couldn't see the processing of it while I was there. It got pretty loud and clear with some music feeding by dj mixer. One thing I noticed there is a volume knob on the back, just don't know if the sale man had it turn up full volume or by half. What is your best suggestion on volume knob of the hdl20a?   Btw, it must has been the operator faults made it sound bad when it got distorted. My goal is doing something small for live band up to 1500 attendees max indoor & outdoor. How many boxes I need per side to cover 200' of the throw?  If you are working with rcf dealer, please shoot me the price of hdl20a's - luuduy64@yahoo.com

Thanks for your input Tim!

Hi Duy-

I think you need to read the manual and work through the coverage prediction software.  Really.  It's part of your "due diligence"; where YOU do the research, YOU do predictions (because you'll have to no matter what vertical array you buy), and YOU decide if a product seems up to your task sufficiently to request a full demo.  Doing the predictions will help you decide if the tonality of the system will meet your needs at 200'.  Here's my hint (without doing predictions) - it takes a significant amount of rig (and higher priced rig at that) to give reasonable fidelity at 200'.  With our 'big boy' JBL VerTec 4889, 200' is where we usually put the delay ring, and that's with a 12-16 box hang per side. Will you hear a 8 box hang of HDL20a at 200'?  Yes, you will, the question is whether or not you'll like what you hear and if your clients agree with you.

One box in a dealer show room is not a demo.  I played with a single HDL20a in our shop, then a block of 4.  Even with 4 it sounded "short" to me when I got 60' away.

There are a number of EQ-manipulating controls on the HDL20a, they vary the amount of HF boost and LF shelving required to accommodate both array curvature and array length.  They cannot be set arbitrarily.  Along with the input level control, these external switches and knob make it easy to accidentally change a box's configuration, and that WILL affect the array sounds.  As for where to set the input level, I'd start with the 12:00 position where the arrow is.

If you're serious about buying an RCF array I suggest you talk to a dealer close to where you live.  If you're new to vertical arrays (which I think is the case) you're going to need some dealer support before you're happy with the rig or determine you bought the wrong product.  We don't want the latter to happen, so I suggest that you begin a relationship with a local dealer, suss out some of the details and then have your dealer arrange for a demo, site visits to events using the rig, or referrals to other system owners/users.

I don't have a problem selling a rig to you, but I'm not prepared to do dealer support and training needed via long distance relationship.  You'll be better off buying locally even if you pay a wee bit more.  This is about having a successful product for your company/entertainers, not saving a few more dollars.
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"Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."  - Kurt Vonnegut

duy_luu

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Re: rcf hdl20a
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2014, 12:27:26 am »

Hi Duy-

I think you need to read the manual and work through the coverage prediction software.  Really.  It's part of your "due diligence"; where YOU do the research, YOU do predictions (because you'll have to no matter what vertical array you buy), and YOU decide if a product seems up to your task sufficiently to request a full demo.  Doing the predictions will help you decide if the tonality of the system will meet your needs at 200'.  Here's my hint (without doing predictions) - it takes a significant amount of rig (and higher priced rig at that) to give reasonable fidelity at 200'.  With our 'big boy' JBL VerTec 4889, 200' is where we usually put the delay ring, and that's with a 12-16 box hang per side. Will you hear a 8 box hang of HDL20a at 200'?  Yes, you will, the question is whether or not you'll like what you hear and if your clients agree with you.

One box in a dealer show room is not a demo.  I played with a single HDL20a in our shop, then a block of 4.  Even with 4 it sounded "short" to me when I got 60' away.

There are a number of EQ-manipulating controls on the HDL20a, they vary the amount of HF boost and LF shelving required to accommodate both array curvature and array length.  They cannot be set arbitrarily.  Along with the input level control, these external switches and knob make it easy to accidentally change a box's configuration, and that WILL affect the array sounds.  As for where to set the input level, I'd start with the 12:00 position where the arrow is.

If you're serious about buying an RCF array I suggest you talk to a dealer close to where you live.  If you're new to vertical arrays (which I think is the case) you're going to need some dealer support before you're happy with the rig or determine you bought the wrong product.  We don't want the latter to happen, so I suggest that you begin a relationship with a local dealer, suss out some of the details and then have your dealer arrange for a demo, site visits to events using the rig, or referrals to other system owners/users.

I don't have a problem selling a rig to you, but I'm not prepared to do dealer support and training needed via long distance relationship.  You'll be better off buying locally even if you pay a wee bit more.  This is about having a successful product for your company/entertainers, not saving a few more dollars.

I will ask for a full demo from a local dealer.

By the way,  Happy 4th of July to Tim & everyone here on psw!
« Last Edit: July 05, 2014, 12:33:10 am by duy_luu »
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Teddy Murphy

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Re: rcf hdl20a
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2014, 10:50:11 pm »

I own an hdl20 rig, and while it does take a big hang to get the pattern control, I have had plenty or shows where the promoter wouldn't spring for the whole rig, or we had to ground stack a small stack.  I can honestly say that it takes a LOT to make it sound "distorted."  There is a lot of gas in the tank of the rig.  I have 14 boxes and haven't had the chance to hang them all.  Did a 12 box hang of 6/side in a 3500 seat arena and it sounded great. 
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duy_luu

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Re: rcf hdl20a
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2014, 12:08:21 am »

I own an hdl20 rig, and while it does take a big hang to get the pattern control, I have had plenty or shows where the promoter wouldn't spring for the whole rig, or we had to ground stack a small stack.  I can honestly say that it takes a LOT to make it sound "distorted."  There is a lot of gas in the tank of the rig.  I have 14 boxes and haven't had the chance to hang them all.  Did a 12 box hang of 6/side in a 3500 seat arena and it sounded great.

Hi Teddy,

That sound awesome! How far the sound throw with your 6 per side hang  setup? Did you adjust the volume to max or 12 o'clock?

A sound company in San Francisco will demo them for me in two weeks.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2014, 02:02:58 am by duy_luu »
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Teddy Murphy

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Re: rcf hdl20a
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2014, 09:36:25 am »

Honestly, it "threw" even to the back of the arena.  I used the software, and even though it's not perfect, it was close.  I adjust the volume according to gain structure on the system I have.  Sometimes it's around 2:00, some it's at 3:00, rarely all the way max.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: rcf hdl20a
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2014, 03:55:16 pm »

Hi Teddy,

That sound awesome! How far the sound throw with your 6 per side hang  setup? Did you adjust the volume to max or 12 o'clock?

A sound company in San Francisco will demo them for me in two weeks.

The input level control DOES NOT AFFECT the output level capability of the speaker system.
 
It only controls how much drive signal is needed to make it go to full volume.


Does this make sense?  The input level control does not increase or decrease the size of the amplifier ;)
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"Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."  - Kurt Vonnegut

duy_luu

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Re: rcf hdl20a
« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2014, 12:41:28 pm »

The input level control DOES NOT AFFECT the output level capability of the speaker system.
 
It only controls how much drive signal is needed to make it go to full volume.


Does this make sense?  The input level control does not increase or decrease the size of the amplifier ;)

Tim,

Yes, it do make sense. I'm just curious to see how soon the hdl20a limiter lights up at different volume control. 
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Re: rcf hdl20a
┬ź Reply #9 on: July 09, 2014, 12:41:28 pm ┬╗


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