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Author Topic: Amount of sound - is it better to use more weaker speakers or stronger one??  (Read 1426 times)

Helge A Bentsen

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Fortunately, these days you can have your cake and eat it too.
It's called EAW Adaptive. Multiple drivers, great sound quality, easy rigging & deployment, flexible, huge SPL.
Best thing in audio since we replaced big frame analog desks and iron power amps with modern alternatives.
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John Roberts {JR}

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Teaching on my topic "Why is active speakers underpowered???"
https://forums.prosoundweb.com/index.php/topic,175199.0.html
Many things is now more understandable to me. Thanks ;)
Good..
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Now, I want to discuss about some other sound "definition", amount off sound. Maybe is amount wrong word, this is in my head but I cant find some better word. Be free to correct this.
This is a much more difficult topic.
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Example from two events.
One time I find myself in front of line array. Around 8 box per side, something like KF760, with some subs bellow. Sound volume is not to high BUT amount of sound is fantastic. BIG BIG. Much more space have same coverage, everywhere is enough sound. More crowd is around me, no drop in amount of sound. Like PA can produce enough sound per listener ::) Great experience.
In contra, I find myself in front of one powerful speaker, same volume, same distance...But experience is nowhere as sound from bigger line array. Sound is poor, thin, lack coverage in space with no enough sound.

We can buy PA system with more speakers/drivers, with less but more SPL capable speakers/drivers, with bigger or smaller drivers. Example, one 18" horn loaded subwoofer or 2x18"x2 box subwoofers. Four horn loaded 1kW tops with single 12" inside or 16x 250W tops with 10"x1"...etc...I don't know how horn can "expand" amount of created sound from installed driver?!

From above event examples "more" drivers move much larger air in space, producing "more amount of sound" with same SPL. Do I think in wrong direction or my ears is cheat in some way??? Can more speakers cover more people or I think in wrong direction???

Analogy. Dozer with big blade and with smaller one. Dozer speed is sound volume, land moved is "amount" of sound. With big blade attached dozer can move 5m3 land and smaller one can move 2m3 per second.
Not a great analogy.. and a bit of an oversimplification. As has already been noted when multiple drivers play sound into the same space we get constructive and destructive interference (aka comb filtering).

Your line array example is a special case where the driver to driver interference is used to preferentially steer higher SPL into a finite sector of the entire room. This is a good thing but there is no free lunch in physics so some aspects of fidelity get traded off, and if you are outside the target beam, the SPL suffers too.

There are different philosophies about the best solution for different sound spaces/audiences. You will probably hear about all or most of them here.

JR 



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Cancel the "cancel culture". Do not participate in mob hatred.

Don T. Williams

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If you have attended a few multi-act events, you may have noticed some acts just sound a lot better than others.  I have heard really major acts that I though sounded fabulous and others that I though sounded awful all through the same system, so I know it wasn't the system!  Bad engineer, bad band, bad day, who knows.  I have also had crew that put their favorite group's CD on to demo a very good system and was horified at how it sounded.  The CD was just a bad mix or copy or something, so I've become very picky about what can be played for demos and even "break" music.  I cringe when someone brings me a CD (or their phone or whatever) that I am required to play as part of an event.  I had a person once bring me a CD transfered from a cassette tape.  You could hear someone walk over to a turntable and drop the needle on a horible scratchy record played on some kind of "stereo" across the room into the cassette recorder's internal mic!  Did my system sound good?  Could any system playing that?  The point is that everything can affect how different systems sound.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2021, 05:26:15 pm by Don T. Williams »
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Luke Geis

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I left a concert after three songs ( from the headliner of all acts ) the sound was so bad. The PA was of a standard LA variety ( JBL Vertec if I recall correctly ) and on its own with canned music it sounded ok, but nothing to write home about. The main act came up and it sounded so bad I couldn't stand to listen to it. Not sure what was up, I was late to the party and only caught the last couple of songs of the supporting act, so yeah.... not a great experience. When you get a good mix, it is a good mix regardless of the type of PA in the sky. The same goes for when it's bad...
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I don't understand how you can't hear yourself

Scott Holtzman

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If you have attended a few multi-act events, you may have noticed some acts just sound a lot better than others.  I have heard really major acts that I though sounded fabulous and others that I though sounded awful all through the same system, so I know it wasn't the system!  Bad engineer, bad band, bad day, who knows.  I have also had crew that put their favorite group's CD on to demo a very good system and was horified at how it sounded.  The CD was just a bad mix or copy or something, so I've become very picky about what can be played for demos and even "break" music.  I cringe when someone brings me a CD (or their phone or whatever) that I am required to play as part of an event.  I had a person once bring me a CD transfered from a cassette tape.  You could hear someone walk over to a turntable and drop the needle on a horible scratchy record played on some kind of "stereo" across the room into the cassette recorder's internal mic!  Did my system sound good?  Could any system playing that?  The point is that everything can affect how different systems sound.


The first time I met our own Jim Yakabuski I had endured days of terrible audio, in a cruise ship showroom with a ground stack Kara rig set up competently by a great production team.  These were all heritage acts, America, Little River Band and then we were in port, the big night and Peter Frampton was playing two shows while we were in port.  What was nice is his crew stayed on to pack up but Peter and most of the band left.  Back to the story, the sins of the other BE's were stuff I would expect a club tech to know how to handle, the flat stacked Kara was brutal about 1.6 and 4k, needed huge cuts to tame yet nobody seemed to be able to handle it, vocal mics taking off left and run I am not sure what was worse the way insufficiently high passed monitors run silly loud for the deaf musicians or the low mid around 500hz that would takeoff as soon as a song was over,  one time the drummer called out on the house system as the ringing was audible to the whole audience asking if someone would "please take care of this".


I made my way to mainstage to hear Peter with my expectations running low and what do you know, it was incredible, the system was tamed it sounded unreal.  Other than the dude from "The Orchestra" some of the original ELO members who was butt hurt because Peter wouldn't sign his guitar (that got taken care of very graciously after the show) it was an awesome show.  Peter's playing was exceptional, his stage level restrained and live the tunes I have heard thousands of times were arranged fresh enough to be very enjoyable.  I went and introduced myself to Jim, who was kind, humble and all awww shucks.  Kong, the production company A1 summed it up, he had mad skills.  He said he spent about 10 minutes tuning the rig and thanked the crew.  Knowing what you are doing can make a bad system good while not knowing what you are doing can't be helped by purchasing more gear.  I think that some techs possess the equivalent of perfect pitch, they have trained their ears and can translate it to the tech needed to translate their sonic vision.  They don't hack at EQ, they know every noise coming off the stage and their fader moves are sublime yet always ahead of the musician.  It is a joy to watch these people work.  When you combine it with the humility and kindness of a person like Jim people of his ilk are the bar for me, not just as a tech but as an ever growing human concern.



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Scott AKA "Skyking" Holtzman

Ghost Audio Visual Solutions, LLC
Cleveland OH
www.ghostav.rocks

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