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Author Topic: Line-arrayitis  (Read 29952 times)

Joe Pieternella

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Line-arrayitis
« on: May 05, 2016, 10:49:32 am »

Before I begin.
Long time lurker around here. Never really felt the need to post since there are lots of People far more knowledgable than me around here.

Anyway. I saw something today on a morning stroll that kinda surprised me. Now I believe the owner of the sound company that did this might be on here too. So I hope he will chip in and maybe elaborate. I didn't take pictures however because i was in a bit of a hurry.

But here in Curaçao there will be a festival called the Blues seas festival. The thing that surprised me was to see a Line-array in use here. This is kinda what you expect these days at any festival (I can't remember the last one I attended without one). However this was a little different ; imagine a one way street with houses either side and every now and then there is a house "missing" inbetween. And at the back of where the house would be there is a stage. now this house is about 10 meters wide and deep. I saw dual hangs of 6-8 FBT boxes there. To me this situation has point-source written all over it or Point and shoot like someone here would like to say. Preferably center Hung. Now the stage height didn't really seem to permit this (point-source or "Line-array"). So it would seem to be compromised from the getgo.

Anyway the question is how would you deal with such a location. I would go with the point-source solution probably with a center clustered sub sys.

To be clear I am in no way saying this is a easy gig. The sea is maybe 5-10 meters behind the stage. We've got riders to deal with. And (the way I see it) the location forces you to comprimise (audio duh).
I will see if I can go back and take pictures later today
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TJ (Tom) Cornish

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Re: Line-arrayitis
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2016, 11:28:13 am »

Before I begin.
Long time lurker around here. Never really felt the need to post since there are lots of People far more knowledgable than me around here.

Anyway. I saw something today on a morning stroll that kinda surprised me. Now I believe the owner of the sound company that did this might be on here too. So I hope he will chip in and maybe elaborate. I didn't take pictures however because i was in a bit of a hurry.

But here in Curaçao there will be a festival called the Blues seas festival. The thing that surprised me was to see a Line-array in use here. This is kinda what you expect these days at any festival (I can't remember the last one I attended without one). However this was a little different ; imagine a one way street with houses either side and every now and then there is a house "missing" inbetween. And at the back of where the house would be there is a stage. now this house is about 10 meters wide and deep. I saw dual hangs of 6-8 FBT boxes there. To me this situation has point-source written all over it or Point and shoot like someone here would like to say. Preferably center Hung. Now the stage height didn't really seem to permit this (point-source or "Line-array"). So it would seem to be compromised from the getgo.

Anyway the question is how would you deal with such a location. I would go with the point-source solution probably with a center clustered sub sys.

To be clear I am in no way saying this is a easy gig. The sea is maybe 5-10 meters behind the stage. We've got riders to deal with. And (the way I see it) the location forces you to comprimise (audio duh).
I will see if I can go back and take pictures later today
Most likely reason is that was the gear the vendor owned.  Some of the loudest anti-line array folks on the board primarily work in the install world where you can pick the perfect box for the situation out of a catalog.  For the pro sound journeyman where every day is a new venue, a flexible "Lego" system that can be adapted for the situation du jour is often more attractive than owning many different point-source systems.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Line-arrayitis
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2016, 11:34:19 am »

Most likely reason is that was the gear the vendor owned.  Some of the loudest anti-line array folks on the board primarily work in the install world where you can pick the perfect box for the situation out of a catalog.  For the pro sound journeyman where every day is a new venue, a flexible "Lego" system that can be adapted for the situation du jour is often more attractive than owning many different point-source systems.

Yeah, it's cheaper to own ONE rig that is wrong for the gig than it is to own TWO wrong rigs... ;)
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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

TJ (Tom) Cornish

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Re: Line-arrayitis
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2016, 11:49:27 am »

Yeah, it's cheaper to own ONE rig that is wrong for the gig than it is to own TWO wrong rigs... ;)
Even with cursory observation of the pro sound business it's clear to see that it's a logistics business, and not a sound quality business.  A company that has figured out how to quickly slam up one flexible (but non-optimal) system day after day with acceptable sound quality will make money and survive.  A company with 10 choices of boxes that theoretically fit some venues better but doesn't use them often enough to have efficient logistics for each system won't.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Line-arrayitis
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2016, 12:25:11 pm »

Even with cursory observation of the pro sound business it's clear to see that it's a logistics business, and not a sound quality business.  A company that has figured out how to quickly slam up one flexible (but non-optimal) system day after day with acceptable sound quality will make money and survive.  A company with 10 choices of boxes that theoretically fit some venues better but doesn't use them often enough to have efficient logistics for each system won't.

Believe me, Tom, I know.  One of the things I've accomplished as a manager is to reduce the number of speaker system "flavors" we routinely use.  It makes for more consistent deployment and training staff is easier.

Sometimes a product that is "wrong" might be "right" for reasons that aren't sonic.  There is another thread about a mini line array that will probably be too short in most deployments.  For what the buyer is going to spend there are likely better sounding products but will not meet his weight limit.  If sounding less than stunning is acceptable but it gets the rig up in the air for better coverage it's probably a good trade off.

I've got a PA/lights/truss/lifts package that "works" because the DBTech T4 size/weight performs well enough and the clients like the look of the package.  I think if we put up equivalent conventional PA boxes the clients would not like it as much.  They're accustomed to seeing vertical speaker systems.
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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

Joe Pieternella

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Re: Line-arrayitis
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2016, 12:29:36 pm »

TJ, I agree with your observation that sound quality is often the second third or last priority often.

Thats why I said we always have compromises. But having 60 boxes of any brand or type doesn't mean you should use all 60 right!? 

I have had venues so narrow and reflective (other story) that the best solution was working with a single top over sub solution slightly toed in. i could have (just) done a LR deployment like everybody else did there but that sounded like....
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Chrysander 'C.R.' Young

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Re: Line-arrayitis
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2016, 12:44:40 pm »

And, to add to the fun, the home hi-fi audiophool folks are now making 'line arrays' all over the place.  My last Parts Express catalog had an article on a home-brew line array cab replete with something like 32 dome tweeters.

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Doug Fowler

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Re: Line-arrayitis
« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2016, 12:45:52 pm »

Believe me, Tom, I know.  One of the things I've accomplished as a manager is to reduce the number of speaker system "flavors" we routinely use.  It makes for more consistent deployment and training staff is easier.

Sometimes a product that is "wrong" might be "right" for reasons that aren't sonic.  There is another thread about a mini line array that will probably be too short in most deployments.  For what the buyer is going to spend there are likely better sounding products but will not meet his weight limit.  If sounding less than stunning is acceptable but it gets the rig up in the air for better coverage it's probably a good trade off.

I've got a PA/lights/truss/lifts package that "works" because the DBTech T4 size/weight performs well enough and the clients like the look of the package.  I think if we put up equivalent conventional PA boxes the clients would not like it as much.  They're accustomed to seeing vertical speaker systems.

Products like db Tech T4 are a very good fit for companies in "move up" mode.  There are a lot of options out there today.  This, plus the low cost digital consoles make this a completely different market than even ten years ago.

I got some good advice 20 years from someone in a position to know.  It doesn't work today ;-)

Here is what he said:

Regional sound company, here's the recipe.

1. A pair of 4Ks.
2. Some KF850s
3. Equal number of subs, SB850s most likely or SB1000 a very few years later.
4. Heavy monitors, 2" exit preferable.
5. Outboard package of "the usual suspects".
6. A Clair or Showco guy looking to get off the road and give him the reins.


That was when you only had a handful of viable choices.  Look how far we have come.....
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Brian Jojade

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Re: Line-arrayitis
« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2016, 12:48:37 pm »

+1 on all of the other comments.  If a provider only has line arrays, then line arrays get used even when point source would be the ideal choice.  Additionally, line array is the buzz term that everyone loves these days, so you will see them deployed many times when they are not needed.  They don't have to sound better, but they have to look better.

I've lost plenty a job because I don't run line array systems for the events I do. The jobs I am doing don't need them in any way, and my simple point source solution sounds as good, if not better than the tiny line arrays that get deployed, but I don't have a line array, so I'm not as good.  Does it make sense?  In the customer's eyes, it does, and that's who writes the check.
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Brian Jojade

Art Welter

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Re: Line-arrayitis
« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2016, 12:48:51 pm »

But having 60 boxes of any brand or type doesn't mean you should use all 60 right!? 
Joe,

If you are being paid to provide 60 boxes, you should provide 60 boxes.
If you are being paid for doing a good sound, use what you deem best in your inventory for the job.

Art
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ProSoundWeb Community

Re: Line-arrayitis
« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2016, 12:48:51 pm »


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