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Title: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: George Reiswig on September 07, 2016, 11:13:57 pm
So I recently sat in with a band that was using the newer, largest Bose stick system, with all the sticks behind the band.  I was at least a little impressed with them, especially the lack of feedback and lack of need for monitors.

So I started looking for similar speakers that didn't cost as much, and tried out a Turbosound ip2000 "Inspire."  It sounds okay, but I noticed that the spectral balance changes with distance.  I expected that a little bit, because it basically has one tweeter at the very top of the stick, then 17 2" drivers below that.  But what surprised me was that it sounds to me like the 2" drivers are actually being run differently: the ones near the bottom of the stick seem to have a lower HPF on them, the ones above that cut off higher. 

So my question is whether that is bad design, or intentional?  Is it better to...
- have 17 drivers all trying to run as full-range as they can so the spectral pattern is consistent no matter how close you are, or

- have fewer drivers trying to cover the high frequencies because of the shorter wavelength at those frequencies?

Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: Scott Holtzman on September 08, 2016, 03:37:44 am
So I recently sat in with a band that was using the newer, largest Bose stick system, with all the sticks behind the band.  I was at least a little impressed with them, especially the lack of feedback and lack of need for monitors.

So I started looking for similar speakers that didn't cost as much, and tried out a Turbosound ip2000 "Inspire."  It sounds okay, but I noticed that the spectral balance changes with distance.  I expected that a little bit, because it basically has one tweeter at the very top of the stick, then 17 2" drivers below that.  But what surprised me was that it sounds to me like the 2" drivers are actually being run differently: the ones near the bottom of the stick seem to have a lower HPF on them, the ones above that cut off higher. 

So my question is whether that is bad design, or intentional?  Is it better to...
- have 17 drivers all trying to run as full-range as they can so the spectral pattern is consistent no matter how close you are, or

- have fewer drivers trying to cover the high frequencies because of the shorter wavelength at those frequencies?



I am sure you will get a better answer but it has to do with the spacing.  The drivers have to be a 1/4 wavelength I believe to couple.  At HF a 2" driver is too far apart and will create comb filtering due to the mismatch.

I have seen hi-fi speakers that have a parallel HF array, usually ribbons for the dispersion characteristics next to the "mid" frequency line array.   This works well sitting in the close field but probably not optimum for sound reinforcement hence the classic dull sound of all the column arrays.

In non technical terms even as a kid I always thought the Bose arrays, including the much vaunted 901's sounded like shit.  As a little kid I would argue with my parents friends trying to tell me how good they sounded.  I imagine it was fairly obnoxious, just like the sound of the speakers.
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: Robert Piascik on September 08, 2016, 06:26:27 am

I imagine (I) was fairly obnoxious, just like the sound of the speakers.


At least the speakers had a volume knob they could turn down...

😀😀😀
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: Ivan Beaver on September 08, 2016, 07:46:52 am


- have fewer drivers trying to cover the high frequencies because of the shorter wavelength at those frequencies?
The best and most pure approach is to have a single driver cover the intended bandwidth.

Beyond that, a cabinet that produces a single source (orientation) of sound is better than one that has sound coming from physically different places-resulting in different signal arrivals at your ear.

Once you start to have different signal arrivals, all sorts of other things start to come into play in what you hear and how it behaves.

Everything is a compromise, and most often the compromise is what people "think" they want-without understanding the real factors involved.

The biggest difference is what does it sound like at different places?  As you move around the coverage pattern-is the sound the same?

A fun "trick" to play with "column speakers" is to turn them on their sides and get up around ear height-give or take a foot or so.

No put in pink noise and walk from one end to the other.

Does it sound the same?  If not- you need to ask yourself "Is my audience hearing different things depending on where they are seated?"
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: Scott Helmke on September 08, 2016, 10:01:43 am
Those column/line speakers do have some specific uses, though I think (for the price) the "everybody has a Bose stick" solution isn't that great.

More drivers = more bass, which is generally considered good. With some speakers it's common to have say two same-size drivers for both bass and mids, but filter the mids out of one of the speakers. That's because you don't want the mids coming from two different places at the same time, causing comb filtering.  Because the bass has much longer wavelengths you can have multiple drivers without much comb filtering.

I've seen some column designs that do the same thing over the length of the column.
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: Brian Jojade on September 08, 2016, 11:05:31 am
The iP2000 is a decent cabinet, although, when you get close to it, it sounds a bit 'weird'  Once you get about 10-15 feet away, it sounds great.

It's a decent system for smaller rooms, and due to the speaker design, you can get great GBF when right next to the speaker.  Once you get away from the speaker, the GBF is similar to traditional cabinets.
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: Robert Piascik on September 08, 2016, 11:21:00 am
I'm not a fan of the column stick speakers but a friend (solo singer/guitarist) has the Turbosound unit and I went to see him play and I was surprised that it sounded fine. Then I came onstage and played and sang a couple of tunes and felt like I couldn't hear myself standing right in front of it! It was the weirdest experience. How can that be?
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: George Reiswig on September 08, 2016, 12:03:07 pm
The best and most pure approach is to have a single driver cover the intended bandwidth.

Beyond that, a cabinet that produces a single source (orientation) of sound is better than one that has sound coming from physically different places-resulting in different signal arrivals at your ear.

I am a fan of coincident drivers that are time-aligned.  But I also found that Bose experience pretty compelling: it didn't sound "too dull" to me, and I well remember the "No highs, no lows, must be Bose" experience I've had previously.  Mind you, I've spent too much time on loud stages and don't hear up to 20kHz anymore.  But more compellingly, the lack of dropoff of volume as you moved away from the speakers was really attractive.  I like the idea of being able to get a relatively uniform volume level front-to-back for small venues. 

My very limited understanding of the way the coupling works in these units is that for lower frequencies the dispersion pattern is not hemispherical, but semi-cylindrical, and the pattern itself lends to this lack of volume drop?  At 10kHz, wavelength is around 3.4cm, right?  So the drivers would have to be 1.7cm in diameter to achieve proper coupling at that frequency, or would have to use waveguides or a ribbon or something. 

But I still go back to that experience with the Bose systems: it sounded pretty respectable. 

Does anyone know whether Bose gets all 24 of their drivers reproducing the same frequency range, or whether they do something like what it sounds like Turbosound is doing that I described earlier?
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: George Reiswig on September 08, 2016, 12:14:22 pm
The iP2000 is a decent cabinet, although, when you get close to it, it sounds a bit 'weird'  Once you get about 10-15 feet away, it sounds great.

It's a decent system for smaller rooms, and due to the speaker design, you can get great GBF when right next to the speaker.  Once you get away from the speaker, the GBF is similar to traditional cabinets.

I'm not as impressed with it as I remember being with the Bose setup*, and now I'm very curious as to why that is the case.  It sounds okay, but not great.  I have an opportunity to try it doing SR for my wife's voice student recital this weekend, where I had hoped it would serve as mains and monitor for all vocals and keyboards.  I think I'm going to end up taking a couple of Yamaha DXR10's just in case.

*hardly a fair A/B comparison, memory...
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: Tim McCulloch on September 08, 2016, 02:50:47 pm
George, look at the POLAR patterns for whatever "stick" PA you're considering.  You'll find the LF is almost 360, the HF (above 4kHz) to be much, much narrower.  It tapers as the frequency increases.  Listen very carefully to the off-axis tonality...
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: John Chiara on September 08, 2016, 03:00:40 pm
George, look at the POLAR patterns for whatever "stick" PA you're considering.  You'll find the LF is almost 360, the HF (above 4kHz) to be much, much narrower.  It tapers as the frequency increases.  Listen very carefully to the off-axis tonality...

The older Bose sticks had sliding crossover points as part of some 'dynamic' processing concept. They were never loud enough...and changed tone drastically when pushed hard. For what they cost I could never see the point. A couple DXR 10's and a small sub would kick their butt...IMO. What is the rated output of the new models?
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: George Reiswig on September 08, 2016, 03:45:51 pm
The older Bose sticks had sliding crossover points as part of some 'dynamic' processing concept. They were never loud enough...and changed tone drastically when pushed hard. For what they cost I could never see the point. A couple DXR 10's and a small sub would kick their butt...IMO. What is the rated output of the new models?

For the cost, I agree.  My hope with the Turbosound was that I could get similar performance (not huge SPL's) at less than a third the cost.  This weekend will tell a lot. 

I guess I'd hope for the lack of volume extremes front to rear, decent (but nonlethal) SPL on tap, and good, even frequency response down to the subwoofer point.  Starting to sound like this is a physical impossibility with the current state of drivers, unless you go much bigger...i.e. non-portable for the working band.
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: John Chiara on September 08, 2016, 03:53:55 pm
For the cost, I agree.  My hope with the Turbosound was that I could get similar performance (not huge SPL's) at less than a third the cost.  This weekend will tell a lot. 

I guess I'd hope for the lack of volume extremes front to rear, decent (but nonlethal) SPL on tap, and good, even frequency response down to the subwoofer point.  Starting to sound like this is a physical impossibility with the current state of drivers, unless you go much bigger...i.e. non-portable for the working band.

RCF and other companies are offering similar products.
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: George Reiswig on September 08, 2016, 05:21:05 pm
RCF and other companies are offering similar products.

I've seen some of those.  I may have a misperceptions, but I look at the relatively low number of drivers on the JBL and RCF units and think that they must not have as much of that effect of "volume doesn't drop with distance" as units like the Bose.  Is that just faulty understanding?
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: Don T. Williams on September 08, 2016, 05:45:13 pm
Actually the Turbosound iP2000's do have stepped (different) cross-over frequencies for different parts of the columns if I understand correctly.  I suspect it is an attempt to "improve" the vertical dispersion. 

I have a set of K-Array Red Line KR-200's with 32 - 2.125" drivers in each 2 meter tall "stick" that is powered by a 18" sub box containing two 1K amp channels.  The claimed vertical dispersion is 7 degrees (110 degrees horizontally).  The newer KR 202 has selectable (7 and 35 degree) dispersion.  In venues like a large gym or arena with seating only on the floor, this is my go to system and works better than anything else I have used in those situations. 

I've covered over 1000 people with a pair for moderately loud music and loud voice in normally difficult reverberant spaces.  Because of the narrow vertical dispersion, they don't seem to "excite" the room's reverb.  I add one or two additional single 18" subs per side for " bass heavy" music.  The KR 200's (and KR 202's) are rated at 130 dB continuous (136 dB peak).  These are NOT the Bose Lt1,  those are a Pinto . . . these a Ferrari!  That is reflected in its price also.  It will not work with raked seating - too flat vertically.
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: Ivan Beaver on September 08, 2016, 07:14:31 pm
I've seen some of those.  I may have a misperceptions, but I look at the relatively low number of drivers on the JBL and RCF units and think that they must not have as much of that effect of "volume doesn't drop with distance" as units like the Bose.  Is that just faulty understanding?
The number of drivers has little to nothing to do with the "SPL loss over distance"

In a line array/source, that depends on the physical length of the array (size).

Of course the spacing of the drivers depends on the wavelength of interest.

The ACTUAL SPL loss over distance depends on the freq AND the length of the array.

Short arrays only exhibit the 3dB/doubling loss in the top octave or so.  It takes long lines to control down lower.

It is a common misconception that a "line array" covers an audience better than a "point source" speaker.

In an open field-yes (assuming the line is long enough) and on axis.

But if you were to put a point source in the same physical position (top of the line array)  you will often find that the point source will cover better.

Yes this varies with the particular speakers.

But when people like to try to do the comparisom, they are willing to use the specs of the line array when hung above peoples heads and the point source down at head height.

The very thing that allows for the smoother coverage is the off axis response.

In many cases the SAME SPL can be achieve at the front row as the back row.

So the "loss over distance" is not at all that some people would like to believe it is with a point source.

You MUST use the same conditions for both systems if you actually want to do an accurate comparison.
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: Scott Holtzman on September 08, 2016, 09:44:52 pm
The number of drivers has little to nothing to do with the "SPL loss over distance"

In a line array/source, that depends on the physical length of the array (size).

Of course the spacing of the drivers depends on the wavelength of interest.

The ACTUAL SPL loss over distance depends on the freq AND the length of the array.

Short arrays only exhibit the 3dB/doubling loss in the top octave or so.  It takes long lines to control down lower.

It is a common misconception that a "line array" covers an audience better than a "point source" speaker.

In an open field-yes (assuming the line is long enough) and on axis.

But if you were to put a point source in the same physical position (top of the line array)  you will often find that the point source will cover better.

Yes this varies with the particular speakers.

But when people like to try to do the comparisom, they are willing to use the specs of the line array when hung above peoples heads and the point source down at head height.

The very thing that allows for the smoother coverage is the off axis response.

In many cases the SAME SPL can be achieve at the front row as the back row.

So the "loss over distance" is not at all that some people would like to believe it is with a point source.

You MUST use the same conditions for both systems if you actually want to do an accurate comparison.

I won a box full of really nice 4" drivers on eBay for just about the shipping.  I have over 100lbs of them.   I think enough to make two 6' lines.  Was thinking about cutting PVC pipe and putting in some sort of rail and loading the drivers in.  Just an experiment.

Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: George Reiswig on September 08, 2016, 11:00:37 pm
The number of drivers has little to nothing to do with the "SPL loss over distance"

In a line array/source, that depends on the physical length of the array (size).

(SNIP of much useful info)

I'm grateful t everyone here for the help, but Ivan, I am particularly grateful to you for your detailed, informative replies here.  I have learned a lot.  And by the way, I heard a church trying out a trio of three smallish (220lbs?) full range Danley cabs in an LCR configuration.  I was seriously, seriously impressed. 
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: Mike Pyle on September 08, 2016, 11:01:04 pm
Columns r us.

(http://www.audiopyle.com/supertower2.jpg)
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: Stephen Kirby on September 08, 2016, 11:46:15 pm
I won a box full of really nice 4" drivers on eBay for just about the shipping.  I have over 100lbs of them.   I think enough to make two 6' lines.  Was thinking about cutting PVC pipe and putting in some sort of rail and loading the drivers in.  Just an experiment.
Have you ever heard of "pipe resonance"?   ;D   Basically the same thing the Blue Man Group uses whacking the ends of PVC pipes with paddles.  Any high aspect ratio enclosure will have an issue unless it is internally baffled to break up the waves bouncing end to end.
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: Scott Holtzman on September 08, 2016, 11:48:21 pm
Have you ever heard of "pipe resonance"?   ;D   Basically the same thing the Blue Man Group uses whacking the ends of PVC pipes with paddles.  Any high aspect ratio enclosure will have an issue unless it is internally baffled to break up the waves bouncing end to end.

Should have mentioned the drivers are sealed back
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: Scott Helmke on September 09, 2016, 10:08:40 am
I won a box full of really nice 4" drivers on eBay for just about the shipping.  I have over 100lbs of them.   I think enough to make two 6' lines.  Was thinking about cutting PVC pipe and putting in some sort of rail and loading the drivers in.  Just an experiment.

I built a plywood "line" speaker with a bunch of 4" drivers, about 4' total length with 10 drivers. Packed it full of batting to kill any resonance, though there was absolutely no real plan or design simulation. Basically I needed a voice-only system for a reverberant church space (where I go, and we can't install anything), and had a theory that everybody was just stuffing little drivers into skinny boxes and throwing DSP to try to make something out of it.  I also put together a little mixer/amp with a MiniDSP kit stuffed inside.

Damn thing actually works pretty well - definitely covers the space the way I'd hoped.  My theory was correct.  :o
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: Ivan Beaver on September 09, 2016, 12:32:11 pm
I built a plywood "line" speaker with a bunch of 4" drivers, about 4' total length with 10 drivers. Packed it full of batting to kill any resonance, though there was absolutely no real plan or design simulation. Basically I needed a voice-only system for a reverberant church space (where I go, and we can't install anything), and had a theory that everybody was just stuffing little drivers into skinny boxes and throwing DSP to try to make something out of it.  I also put together a little mixer/amp with a MiniDSP kit stuffed inside.

Damn thing actually works pretty well - definitely covers the space the way I'd hoped.  My theory was correct.  :o
That is basically it,  Just get them close together and series/parallel them to get the impedance where you need it to be.

About the only "weird wiring" you could do would be a Bessel wring, but that is limited to 5 drivers. to get the radiation pattern of a single driver.

I am not sure if you could "Bessel the Bessels" and use 25 drivers to try to get the pattern of a single Bessel wiring, that simulates a single driver.

It might be something interesting to try-if somebody had a bit to much time on their hands----------

Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: Hayden J. Nebus on September 09, 2016, 03:16:03 pm
RCF and other companies are offering similar products.

Danley offers a line of 9"W x 9"D coulmn shaped cabinets with horn loaded coax drivers that really behave like a single coherent source. We have a pair each of the SBH10s and SBH20s. They perform remarkably in a reverberant space.

IMO the SBH line is the smartest buy out there for skinny loudspeakers. I'm not aware of any other columns on the market with broadband directivity that's anywhere near comparable. 
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: Jeffrey Knorr - CobraSound.com on September 12, 2016, 11:11:49 am
Danley offers a line of 9"W x 9"D coulmn shaped cabinets with horn loaded coax drivers that really behave like a single coherent source. We have a pair each of the SBH10s and SBH20s. They perform remarkably in a reverberant space.

IMO the SBH line is the smartest buy out there for skinny loudspeakers. I'm not aware of any other columns on the market with broadband directivity that's anywhere near comparable.

We also use a pair of SBH10's in an extremely challenging acoustic environment with very good results.  I wish they had a little more maximum output and low-frequency extension but they greatly simplified what was necessary to expand coverage in our venue.  I would like to try to FIR process them to see if that opens up their clarity even more.

Jeff
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: Shane Ervin on September 12, 2016, 11:44:36 am
I built a plywood "line" speaker with a bunch of 4" drivers, about 4' total length with 10 drivers. ...<snip>...

Damn thing actually works pretty well - definitely covers the space the way I'd hoped.  My theory was correct.  :o
Hi Scott,
I bought a pair of similar column loudspeakers from Les Structures Unisson of St. Roch de L'Achigan, QC, about 10 years ago.  He called them "I-Stick", and I bought the variant with 8x 4" drivers.  His design also includes a point source tweeter at the top, and a (lower gain) tweeter at the bottom of the line of mids.

Free-standing, they require no tri-pods, and that's an advantage in many situations.

Although I don't use them often, they're great for house concerts, resto-bar, rest-bar patios, and similar venues where 2-way self-powered speakers on try-pods are usually employed.  (... And of course, those problematic acoustic spaces).

Although processing is required to implement a crossover at ~200 Hz, and a woofer for full-range music, that's pretty easy to do these days (e.g., I use a QSC PLD 4.2).

What's always amazing is how well they keep up with one or two 18".
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: Bill Koonce on September 13, 2016, 11:21:47 pm
I am sure you will get a better answer but it has to do with the spacing.  The drivers have to be a 1/4 wavelength I believe to couple.  At HF a 2" driver is too far apart and will create comb filtering due to the mismatch.
Oh boy, does that bring back memories of high school physics class and the dreaded wave tank. That, and the old Infinity speakers with lots of stacked MF and HF elements.  IIRC the use of interference to aid directionality works great at one specific frequency, but tends to fall apart at frequencies away from the one it's tuned to. I suppose that DSP can help ameliorate the unwanted effects somewhat, but still can't break the laws of physics.  The old Bose 901s came with a box full of EQ filters that tried to make up for the deficiencies of using a bunch of 3" drivers, but all of those filters further colored the sound.

I had the mixed blessing of being the FOH mixer for a band that used a Bose stick-type PA with small subwoofer boxes as the base. With no time to do a sound check, and no monitor system (so the PA speakers were behind the band), feedback was a big problem for me!
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: Craig Leerman on September 14, 2016, 05:21:06 am
I just did a Road Test on the Turbo IP2000 rig. From what I understand, it's a 4 way system. The sub provides the lows, the lower column does the low mids, the upper column handles the upper mids and the Tweeter does the highs. It's a good sounding rig.

I like column systems. I mainly use a Renkus Heinz IC Live for corporates and bands. While not a traditional column (it's digitally steered and has both cones and compression drivers) it's got a great form factor, sounds fantastic and my clients love em.

I also have a Carvin column rig (TRX 3903s over TRX 3018a subs) That system uses nine 3" full range cones in each box. The Carvin rig sounds the same at all distances and has a nice wide 120 horizontal dispersion.  I would pick the Carvin rig over the Turbo, but the Carvin system costs way more than the Turbo.

Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: George Reiswig on September 14, 2016, 04:08:23 pm
Well, I tried it out at home and then at a gig, and it is going back.  I think the description of it as a 4-way system is probably apt, but that means that if there is any column effect of having 17 2" speakers, it is minimal.  The thing totally lacks in low midrange, and feedback is just as bad as with any other speaker. 

I am still struggling to understand the coupling, and in particular how that coupling relates to the center-to-center distance.  For example, I don't know which part of a cone reproduces the highest frequencies most: if that is the center, then it makes sense why coupling can't occur in larger drivers.  But if the edge of the cone produces HF (like when you mic a guitar speaker near the edge and hear more highs), couldn't coupling occur at those adjacent edges? 

Above all, I'm really trying to understand why I had such a positive experience with those stupid expensive Bose sticks...sheesh.
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: Bill Koonce on September 14, 2016, 09:57:24 pm
Well, I tried it out at home and then at a gig, and it is going back.  I think the description of it as a 4-way system is probably apt, but that means that if there is any column effect of having 17 2" speakers, it is minimal.  The thing totally lacks in low midrange, and feedback is just as bad as with any other speaker. 

I am still struggling to understand the coupling, and in particular how that coupling relates to the center-to-center distance.  For example, I don't know which part of a cone reproduces the highest frequencies most: if that is the center, then it makes sense why coupling can't occur in larger drivers.  But if the edge of the cone produces HF (like when you mic a guitar speaker near the edge and hear more highs), couldn't coupling occur at those adjacent edges?
With any moving coil driver you're going to see the fastest rise time, and therefore the most accurate HF response for its passband right at the motor, which is the center ring in a cone type speaker. How well that impulse overcomes the inertia in the rest of the cone is a whole 'nuther story, and one reason why most tweeters are no larger than necessary.

If you aim a mic right at the center of a 10" or 12" guitar speaker driver, you're going to get a good deal of bass boost from proximity effect. Moving the mic to the edge of the cone will reduce bass coupling more than it boosts higher frequencies.

The late Dr. Amar Bose was an accomplished electrical engineer, but his mechanical engineering skills didn't quite match. He managed to force more amplitude out of his little cone speakers, but ignored breakup modes and other things that added much distortion to the extended frequency response. There's no cheating the laws of nature.

If you want good midrange and low mid response, you can't beat a 5" to 8" driver that's optimized for that passband IME. You can get smaller drivers to make noise at those frequencies, but not as melodious as a speaker built for music.
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: Scott Mullane on September 16, 2016, 06:37:44 pm
To throw a slightly different point on these column speakers...I always find that they are quite wide in their horizontal pattern and folks stack them left and right at small gigs where they end up only maybe 4-6m apart. The centre image then sounds very strange, as you would expect. I have heard them sound pretty good, but I am always baffled at the expense vs performance. Maybe one stick for a performer would tick the portability box and sound decent, but as soon as you add two...the fun then begins.
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: Ivan Beaver on September 16, 2016, 07:02:28 pm
To throw a slightly different point on these column speakers...I always find that they are quite wide in their horizontal pattern and folks stack them left and right at small gigs where they end up only maybe 4-6m apart. The centre image then sounds very strange, as you would expect. I have heard them sound pretty good, but I am always baffled at the expense vs performance. Maybe one stick for a performer would tick the portability box and sound decent, but as soon as you add two...the fun then begins.
The loss of the center image (phantom center) is due to the phase interaction of loudspeakers that interfere with each other.

This happens with any system that is interfering.  It could be multiple "point sources" or large concert line systems.

In order to maintain the phantom center, the phase needs to be preserved.

You can't do that with multiple arrivals at a location.

Yes you can do some "fancy processing" and get it "right" in one location, but it won't be "right" in other locations, because the arrival times are different.

What you need is a single source on each side to get a true phantom center.

Does this matter?  To some it does-to others, they don't care.

But if you have a center image that you swear there is a center speaker, then that is a good clue that the speaker system is well behaved overall.
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: Tim Padrick on September 16, 2016, 11:48:16 pm
I've mixed on a system comprised of a pair of L1MII a number of times.

Is setup quick and simple? Yes.

Can it sound good? Yes, but not without just as much fiddling as a good standard box (some of which sound MUCH better).

Does the sound level change less with distance than "normal" speakers? No.

Is it better than a similarly priced "normal" system? It's not as good, let alone better. Especially if the musical genre "requires" a lot of kick.

At the price, I can't think of any reason to recommend it for any application.
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: Jeremy Silverthorn on November 18, 2016, 01:01:13 pm
I just did a Road Test on the Turbo IP2000 rig. From what I understand, it's a 4 way system. The sub provides the lows, the lower column does the low mids, the upper column handles the upper mids and the Tweeter does the highs. It's a good sounding rig.

I like column systems. I mainly use a Renkus Heinz IC Live for corporates and bands. While not a traditional column (it's digitally steered and has both cones and compression drivers) it's got a great form factor, sounds fantastic and my clients love em.

I also have a Carvin column rig (TRX 3903s over TRX 3018a subs) That system uses nine 3" full range cones in each box. The Carvin rig sounds the same at all distances and has a nice wide 120 horizontal dispersion.  I would pick the Carvin rig over the Turbo, but the Carvin system costs way more than the Turbo.

Hopefully you guys can give me some pointers & help steer me in the right direction.  We do a large corporate function every year in your typical huge hotel ballroom (mainly speaking, but with video playback, music intros, etc. for 300-400 people)  I'm 1/2 of a 2-man AV team & we pretty much set up & run the whole show by ourselves & since the company is cheap, we will buy our own equipment, instead of renting gear & labor year after year.

We run a couple huge dual 15" cabinets & 4 more regular 15" cabinets & have placed them in different configurations every year, never with any excellent results.  (speakers on front corners of stage, on the side corners of the room, running down the sides of the room (w/ no Delay!)  We've probably set it up every WRONG way possible!  We know enough to get the job done, but definitely not the best way to do it!  We're constantly told to "turn down the reverb" when we are just running a basic analog console & don't even use any FX!!  I have a feeling these speakers are on their last legs too, so I'm always on the lookout for a replacement system as well. 

I have been seeing that Renkus Heinz IC Live system in ads for years (but that's way out of our budget)  then I saw the Carvin setup (looks nice & getting closer to our budget) and now just saw an article about the Turbosound IP2000 (looks promising & cheap!)

These types of systems seem like they will sound much better than our current setup, especially with speech in our hotel ballroom environment.  Any other opinions on these stick & sub systems?  Or any tips on improving our sound with the current system in the meantime?  Thanks guys.
Title: Posting Rules
Post by: Mac Kerr on November 18, 2016, 01:07:57 pm
Hopefully you guys can give me some pointers

Please go to your profile and change the "Name" field to your real first and last name as required by the posting rules displayed in the header at the top of the section, and in the Site Rules and Suggestions (http://forums.prosoundweb.com/index.php/board,36.0.html) in the Forum Announcements section, and on the registration page when you registered.

Mac
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: Bill Koonce on November 18, 2016, 09:57:24 pm
I've mixed on a system comprised of a pair of L1MII a number of times.

Is setup quick and simple? Yes.

Can it sound good? Yes, but not without just as much fiddling as a good standard box (some of which sound MUCH better).

Does the sound level change less with distance than "normal" speakers? No.

Is it better than a similarly priced "normal" system? It's not as good, let alone better. Especially if the musical genre "requires" a lot of kick.

At the price, I can't think of any reason to recommend it for any application.
Some stick speaker systems are more equal than others, but here is literally what I found on the Renkus-Heinz website:

There are no applications for this product.

http://www.renkus-heinz.com/icl-f-dual-rn (http://www.renkus-heinz.com/icl-f-dual-rn) (Applications tab)

When I was living down the road from the Full Compass showroom I got to check out several different stick systems, and saw some potential for PA use when there's some background music and a speaker as the main act.  Most sticks perform well for voice reinforcement, and I had a couple of clients who needed just that 90% of the time.  They do have the advantage of having good sight lines in situations where you can't fly anything.  I've also been told by one-man-band musicians that they're great for a singer and acoustic guitar in a coffee shop.  But try to turn them up for amplified music reinforcement, and the ones that I've tried run out of gas pretty quick.

If there are rentals in your area, might as well invest in a small conventional 2-way system that can be pole mounted for FOH (and rotated 90 degrees for long, narrow rooms), or used as wedge monitors with a more substantial FOH system.  That's what I eventually did.

To confirm my initial fears, I got to mix a band that brought their Bose L1 system, and believed that they could use it as FOH and monitors.  It didn't work.  The kit & amps overpowered the little sticks, and when the band asked for more sound, every attempt to eek out more gain became a losing battle with feedback.  (It didn't help that I wasn't even allowed to ring out the setup before they just started playing, but it was obvious that I had run out of overall loudness by then.)  So my verdict is "ambitious but rubbish", and not in the good Top Gear way.

Jeremy, welcome!
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: Scott Holtzman on November 19, 2016, 10:39:06 am
Some stick speaker systems are more equal than others, but here is literally what I found on the Renkus-Heinz website:

There are no applications for this product.

http://www.renkus-heinz.com/icl-f-dual-rn (http://www.renkus-heinz.com/icl-f-dual-rn) (Applications tab)

When I was living down the road from the Full Compass showroom I got to check out several

Seems RK uses "application" for client white papers notes.  Not sure if you were going for humor or not.

I have not heard the RK units but I think a general condemnation of the species may not need to be in order.

Another production company in town has the RCF Evox and I found them to work quite well. 
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: Ray Aberle on November 19, 2016, 11:24:04 am
Hopefully you guys can give me some pointers & help steer me in the right direction.  We do a large corporate function every year in your typical huge hotel ballroom (mainly speaking, but with video playback, music intros, etc. for 300-400 people)  I'm 1/2 of a 2-man AV team & we pretty much set up & run the whole show by ourselves & since the company is cheap, we will buy our own equipment, instead of renting gear & labor year after year.
Hi Jeremy, and welcome to the Forums! You will find there is a tremendous amount of resources on here to help you with this event, and other aspects of your company.

So, first of all, you have an amazing client. Your rig is admittedly not delivering "excellent results," and sounds like you've even had comments back ("turn down the reverb!") from the client- they don't know what they're talking about regarding reverb, naturally, but they know SOMETHING doesn't sound right. That they have then brought you back, year after year, means you have an awesome client that is down to helping you grow. [However, doing the same thing repeatedly expecting different results is not a good thing...] It's good that you're trying to address the problem.

Now, I totally get your thought process about "being cheap, we will buy our own equipment, instead of renting gear & labor year after year" -- BUT think about it this way: If this is the only show that you need improved quality of sound/increased size of the system on, and let's say your rental charge is 5% of the purchase price... You could go 20 years of rentals before you've paid the same amount as you will when buying this system. And then, someone *else* is taking care of depreciation, storage, repairs and maintenance, PLUS upgrading the system when it's no longer worth the upkeep on. That being said, if this new system will allow for more events of the same nature, or expanding the budget of this client, or even get you up to the next level of clientele, then it might be worth it. I just wanted to throw that business POV out to you. [We subrent in another company for a major parade each year. The amount of flyable speakers they provide versus what they charge us? We'd need to secure at least the next 15 years of this event to come out ahead if we just bought everything... so, the only reason I would do that would be if we found ourselves with the opportunity to do *several* events of a similar size each year- then the investment would be worth it. Buying $100k of new gear for one $8k/year show is not a good choice.]

We run a couple huge dual 15" cabinets & 4 more regular 15" cabinets & have placed them in different configurations every year, never with any excellent results.  (speakers on front corners of stage, on the side corners of the room, running down the sides of the room (w/ no Delay!)  We've probably set it up every WRONG way possible!  We know enough to get the job done, but definitely not the best way to do it!  We're constantly told to "turn down the reverb" when we are just running a basic analog console & don't even use any FX!!  I have a feeling these speakers are on their last legs too, so I'm always on the lookout for a replacement system as well. 

Not knowing your budget... you know what I've found to be a great solution for this type of setup, where you're looking for even coverage throughout a room, but can't be flying things? SOS. Speakers on sticks. Mackie SRM450s were what we started with, and there's a lot of other great options in the sub-$1000 range as well. 4-6 of those, 4 along the front wall, couple delayed down the side, and really, you should be good. You don't need 15" speakers, especially dual-15s. You'll want the ability to add a delay to those side speakers, to make sure that someone sitting in the back hears those speakers at the same time they're hearing the main speakers.

The other nice thing about purchasing half a dozen SOS boxes? Now you have smaller breakout room, rental packages, or whatever available. There's a lot of flexibility in those speakers, and SOS rentals are some of the highest ROI you'll find. A $500-$800 box, and it rents for $50-$100/box/day? 8-12 rentals and it's paid for, and THEN you're making bank every time it goes out the door.

Now, if you think your current speakers are about to die, maybe having a professional repair facility check them out would be beneficial. Knowing the model(s) of your current speakers would also help- they just may be bad speakers, and they're "sounding like they are built to." If you're asking more of them than they are capable of, distorted signal could be that "reverb" complaint.

-Ray
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: Bill Koonce on November 19, 2016, 12:40:13 pm
Seems RK uses "application" for client white papers notes.  Not sure if you were going for humor or not.
I was absolutely going for humor there!  It was a funny coincidence to me.  I'm sure that they hadn't filled in that field yet, and wouldn't give special significance to the missing data.

I have had very good experience with Renkus-Heinz, and would never dismiss their products out of hand.  Their stick speakers are at the higher end of that genre.  I'd sure consider them for fixed installation.  But they're just not rated to put out the SPL that you'd expect at a DJ event or from a rock band.  The right tool for the job.
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: David Sturzenbecher on November 19, 2016, 01:22:21 pm


I have had very good experience with Renkus-Heinz, and would never dismiss their products out of hand.  Their stick speakers are at the higher end of that genre.  I'd sure consider them for fixed installation.  But they're just not rated to put out the SPL that you'd expect at a DJ event or from a rock band.  The right tool for the job.

Apparently you have not used the IC live or IC^2 versions. They are quite impressive, and designed for portable use.



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: Tim McCulloch on November 19, 2016, 01:38:42 pm
LOOK AT THE POLARS.

Column loudspeakers are almost omnidirectional at low freqs and the horizontal narrows as frequency increases (as you'd expect).  The column is useful for vertical coverage (tends to be relative narrow) but again, is frequency dependent.

I asked about this in a product review and the response was "it's all good".  Based on published specifications of the reviewed product (see that forum) I'm very very skeptical about any claims of uniform coverage.

Read Ray Aberle's response carefully, Jeremy.  I think he's correct in his assessment. I understand the urge to own gear but it's not always the best *business* decision.

-- Excess capacity, like something you use only 1 or 2 times a year, tends to almost infinite expense because it doesn't generate enough revenue to pay the taxes, insurance and warehousing costs.

-- The wrong product at the right price is still the wrong product.

Take a good, hard look at the whole situation before you commit to purchasing *anything*.
Title: Re: Question about useless speaker "design"
Post by: Art Welter on November 19, 2016, 02:56:36 pm
I won a box full of really nice 4" drivers on eBay for just about the shipping.  I have over 100lbs of them.   I think enough to make two 6' lines.  Was thinking about cutting PVC pipe and putting in some sort of rail and loading the drivers in.  Just an experiment.
Scott,

I did basically the same thing using Sonotube using 12x 3" NSB (no stinking badges) buyout speakers, a 36" line for about $12 in parts. The NSB drivers had very smooth and extended response, usable from around 100 Hz to 16kHz.
The results were actually quite impressive, the line was about 97 dB sensitivity, so with 400 watt peaks could hit around 117 dB at one meter.

I only used them on one gig, an excellent horn player bought them after hearing them.

Later, with more money and less time on my hands, I bought a pair of  Renkus-Heinz ICX7 mini-line arrays, about the same size, with a bit more low end, and a fancy passive crossover system to "correct" the problems the 7 co-ax drivers would have if run at the same level.

The result of "throwing away" more than 50% of the power away was the system required a ridiculous amount of power, and that power was primarily going to the center three cones and the center tweeter.

With just my god-given set of pipes I could yell considerably louder than the ICX7 could get with 400 watts, the first and only time I used them as delay speakers the center tweeters literally "melted down" and caused the center cones to drag, which was the only sound that was audible over the mains.

As the contract specified delay speakers, I removed the center tweeters and left the useless units in place for the next three weeks.
Renkus-Heinz service department would not sell the tweeter alone, so I simply substituted the bottom speaker for the middle speaker, the difference between no tweeter at the bottom of the line and one that is padded -10 was completely inaudible.

I sold the  speakers for well under dealer's cost, and disclosed the condition to the buyer, who was going to use them for background music and paging in a theater lobby.

At any rate, the $12 NSB speakers with no crossover at all outperformed the ICX7 in every metric other than around 15 Hz LF extension and vertical "beaming", which could be argued that the NSBs performed better in that regard, you could stand below them and carry on a conversation while the same basic level could be heard 60 feet away.

The ICX7 basically was a single tweeter above 4 kHz (or whatever frequency the cross was), you would get nailed by near-180 degree HF response standing near it.
Useless.

Art
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: Jay Barracato on November 19, 2016, 03:15:32 pm
I keep picturing a very large Ruben's tube.

Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: Don T. Williams on November 19, 2016, 05:16:35 pm
+1 for Ray's post on return on investment vs. renting for one event.  Something like the Renkus IC Live or the Karray KR202 or 400 might be available for rent in your area and could work well.  These systems are far beyond the Bose L1's in performance but are still very "low visibility" with their slim design.

I just used my older Karray KR200 system to cover a Thanksgiving Prayer Breakfast with presenters and a moderately loud live 9 piece praise band.  This was held in a very reverberant college gym.  This gym has an installed system that they have used for years for basketball games and their graduation.  This was my first time for this event in that location.  The college president came up to me after the event and said it was the first time he had heard good sound in the gym, that he didn't think that was possible!  I was hired on the spot for graduation!

The trick is the narrow vertical dispersion of the system.  All seating for the event was on the floor. The customer also liked how visually unobtrusive the system was compared to a "stacks" or even speakers on a stick.  A digitally steered system like the IC Live would have worked well also.  It is not the solution for every event nor is it the only solution, but in these environments with flat seating these kinds of systems solve problems.
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: Bill Koonce on November 20, 2016, 07:55:00 am
Apparently you have not used the IC live or IC^2 versions. They are quite impressive, and designed for portable use.
As I said, those systems didn't meet my specifications for SPL, frequency response and pattern control for FOH with rock bands.  I'm not saying that they don't work well for certain applications, just not mine.
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: Ivan Beaver on November 20, 2016, 10:38:06 am
As I said, those systems didn't meet my specifications for SPL, frequency response and pattern control for FOH with rock bands.  I'm not saying that they don't work well for certain applications, just not mine.
Out of curiosity, what ARE your specs for SPL, response and pattern control?

And what do you use?
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: Ivan Beaver on November 20, 2016, 10:42:51 am
LOOK AT THE POLARS.


EXACTLY

This applies to ALL loudspeakers.

A single simple number does not even come close to describing the pattern of a loudspeaker.

In many cases, this "number" is only good for an octave or so.

Sometimes just the top octave, sometimes a middle octave etc.

Very often it is wider-much wider, and in a lot of cases narrower-much narrower.

It does not matter how much people "want to believe" the speaker pattern is the simple number given, the reality is that the pattern is VERY freq dependent and changes quite a lot.
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: Bill Koonce on November 20, 2016, 11:54:47 am
Out of curiosity, what ARE your specs for SPL, response and pattern control?

And what do you use?
The exact specs vary by application, but for rock music the bare minimum is faithful reproduction of everything from an open E string (~40Hz) to top C (~16kHz).  A nominal system for me can reproduce from C1 to C10 +/- 6dB and 120dB SPL.  Ideally I'd have a system that's perfectly linear to beyond the threshold of pain (~150 Pa as a practical limit) because the goal is cleaner sound at high dynamic levels, not just one number.

Pattern control is very much dependent on the venue, as what is beneficial in one situation can be detrimental in another.  Excluding line arrays, I like to use horn loaded systems that give me from 120x90 to 90x90 patterns in the vocal range.  I prefer 3-way systems with horn loaded mids for better pattern control lower into the midrange than your typical 2-way horn tweeter cabinet can give, and superior midrange overall.  The QSC KW153 is an example of this.  Back when Community made a lot of fiberglass horns, I used a lot of them.

Now that I'm living in a place with limited rental options, I keep a couple of the KW153 (w/ matching bass bins) and a few E-V ZLX-12P that I have for a basic wedge monitor and to use for FOH in very small venues where moving around heavier 3-way cabinets isn't practical.  When I need more than that, I rent.

How about you?  What are your specs?  What do you use?
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: Ivan Beaver on November 20, 2016, 12:34:42 pm
The exact specs vary by application, but for rock music the bare minimum is faithful reproduction of everything from an open E string (~40Hz) to top C (~16kHz).  A nominal system for me can reproduce from C1 to C10 +/- 6dB and 120dB SPL. 
How about you?  What are your specs?  What do you use?

When you say "120dB SPL" are you talking A or C weighted-fast or slow or peak response?  You can easily find a 30dB difference in how you measure the same exact signal.

I bet if you measured most systems, they might get down to 40hz, , but most are not going to get anywhere near 16K-at least at any decent (say FOH) distance.

Most "rock systems" will have a hard time getting to C1 at -6dB.   Assuming the -6 is an average response, and not an actual -12dB (using the average response as 0 and then assuming you can add the +/- 6dB to get -12dB)

What I take out for a system depends greatly on "what I am doing".

If I am 800' away- having a system that gets to 8Khz is almost a miracle.

Going flat to 20Hz is not problem-if that is what is needed.

I take out what is needed for freq response and SPL for the job.

Sometimes I need in excess of 150dB @ 1M and flat to 20Hz or lower, other times 110dB@1m  will do the job just fine.

I like to have actual pattern control down below 500Hz, no matter what I am doing.  It just keeps the energy where it needs to be.  Of course that means large horns.
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: Bill Koonce on November 20, 2016, 02:03:00 pm
Ivan, measurement is a whole 'nuther topic.  I think that we agree that it's the situation that drives the decision-making, and those vary widely.  So when you tried to pin me down on specifics that you aren't willing to give, that's not being fair, is it?

To get back to the topic, if you can produce data that shows that your stick system can perform well enough in a given situation, I'm all ears.  But I'm not a fan of using destructive interference to attack a point made in good faith.
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: Ivan Beaver on November 20, 2016, 02:45:00 pm
Ivan, measurement is a whole 'nuther topic.

To get back to the topic, if you can produce data that shows that your stick system can perform well enough in a given situation, I'm all ears.  But I'm not a fan of using destructive interference to attack a point made in good faith.
What sort of data are you looking for? The website gives the basic information.

Generally the best way to determine "suitability" (coverage-SPL-freq response et) is to model the speaker in question.  This is easily done via the free Direct software.

Maybe you are looking for something else.  What would that be?  And do other manufacturers offer this as well that give you more information

The FIRST and most important aspect of "performs well enough in a given situation", is to determine WHAT that situation requires and what sort of performance you are ACTUALLY looking for.

A SIMPLE SPL number (with no weighting or time) is kinda useless.

For example here are some numbers from my show last night.

This was the warm up act-I did not stay the whole time-but am QUITE SURE it got quite a bit louder after I left-there were still 4 hours left in the show.  The full range system still had around 10-15dB headroom (before limiters) in it when I left.  The subs were probably a bit less than 10dB left.

This was measured with a NTI XL2 meter.  It is good to 144dB.

FOH was around 125' from the stage.  The rear wall was around 240' from the stage.  Venue capacity was 5000, but maybe half full when I left.

I measured this during the first 2 acts over a variety of songs and it was pretty consistent.

Here is what I was measuring at FOH.

A slow was around 103dB.  A peak was around 112-114dB.

C slow was around 120dB.  C peak around 130-133dB

The actual freq response was a typical low freq "haystack".

Below 100Hz was typically 40dB higher than above 200hz.

Most of the music was centered around 50Hz, but did get down to 25Hz or so at times.  Which was around the same level as 50Hz.

So what number would you say is a "simple SPL" that describes the system loudness and capability?

It really depends on more specifics.  The level below 100Hz had a ratio of 10,000 times that of the rest of the spectrum.

So it was "carrying" a lot of the weight-so to speak.

I'm sorry-but simple answers result in wrong answers in complex situations.
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: Jeremy Silverthorn on November 21, 2016, 12:19:35 pm
Thank you to Ray & the others for their feedback.  First off, I want to clarify something, the 2-man AV team I am a part of work for the client, we are not a rental house & we don't have any other clients. We are a full time AV staff, that throughout the year produces & edits videos for the company, as well as various AV tasks for smaller meetings & events. Then once a year we have this large convention where we are providing, setting up & running pretty much all of the AV gear (we hire out for staging, pipe & drape, projectors & screens & the lighting) but we own a random collection of gear... speakers, wireless mics, mixers, cameras, computers, video switcher, etc. that we cobble together to setup & run this big show.

We purchased the 4 Carvin SOS's & 2 large Carvin speakers 10-15 years ago so we wouldn't have to take down the speakers & amps we use every week in our office meeting rooms!  Through the years the company has purchased various gear, so they wouldn't be renting it every year (the top brass don't get that by renting we can always have newer/better gear though... they finally figured that out after buying a couple sets of video projectors through the years that were never quite up to the task!) Plus they seem to neglect the fact that the gear we do own has a useful life & needs to be replaced at some point!

The speakers are packed away & only get used once a year and sometimes they take a little coaxing to warm up & come to life, so that's why I'm not sure if they may need repair or replacing sometime soon.  I think this year I may just try the two large speakers up front and another set of the smaller speakers down each side of the room on a delay.  (The room we're in this year is long & narrow)  I think adding in the third set will just add to the mess of sound.

I'm still very curious about the stick/sub type system and how that would work for our application... will have to look into renting one of these systems sometime in the future.  Can anyone recommend a dealer/vendor/rental house in S. Florida?  Thanks again
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: Don T. Williams on November 21, 2016, 05:15:43 pm
If the room is long and narrow, the K Array KR202 type system would not be the best for this room.  If the room was "turned sideways" they would probably kick butt.  Look for a higher Q system and delay speakers properly adjusted.

If your existing speaker requires "a little coaxing to warm up"  there is something wrong!  Don't trust them!
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: Mac Kerr on November 21, 2016, 05:42:50 pm
If the room is long and narrow, the K Array KR202 type system would not be the best for this room.  If the room was "turned sideways" they would probably kick butt.  Look for a higher Q system and delay speakers properly adjusted.

If your existing speaker requires "a little coaxing to warm up"  there is something wrong!  Don't trust them!

Has anyone had a good experience with the KR202s? In fairly extensive listening tests and a tryout at a real show, I found them totally unsuitable for every type of use. They are essentially omnidirectional at all frequencies in the horizontal plane and just sound terrible.

There is a great attraction to a very skinny speaker in small rooms, but I have yet to find it. The best I have used so far is the JBL CBT-70J, which is much bulkier than the K-Array and others of that ilk.

Mac
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: Ray Aberle on November 21, 2016, 06:33:01 pm
First off, I want to clarify something, the 2-man AV team I am a part of work for the client, we are not a rental house & we don't have any other clients. We are a full time AV staff, that throughout the year produces & edits videos for the company, as well as various AV tasks for smaller meetings & events. Then once a year we have this large convention where we are providing, setting up & running pretty much all of the AV gear (we hire out for staging, pipe & drape, projectors & screens & the lighting) but we own a random collection of gear... speakers, wireless mics, mixers, cameras, computers, video switcher, etc. that we cobble together to setup & run this big show.
Great to hear the rest of the story. I'm gonna respond in more detail, when I'm not busy trying to flip gear before I get off work tonight! :)

-Ray
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: Art Welter on November 21, 2016, 07:59:33 pm
[quote author=Jeremy Silverthorn
I'm still very curious about the stick/sub type system and how that would work for our application... will have to look into renting one of these systems sometime in the future.  Can anyone recommend a dealer/vendor/rental house in S. Florida?  Thanks again
[/quote]Jeremy,
I am located in DeLand Florida, between Orlando and Daytona Beach- not South, but not all the way North, and not located in "dizzy world" :^).

I have stick/sub systems and standard cone/HF horn, and multiple driver virtual single point source designs, and subs from small bass reflex to large-ish "tapped horn" designs.

If you are interested in hearing the pros and cons of each, contact me to set up a time- best after December 8 when I will have my own property with adequate space to do some demos without complaining neighbors across the street ;^).

Cheers,

Art
Welter Systems, Inc.
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: Bill Koonce on November 21, 2016, 08:28:20 pm
Has anyone had a good experience with the KR202s? In fairly extensive listening tests and a tryout at a real show, I found them totally unsuitable for every type of use. They are essentially omnidirectional at all frequencies in the horizontal plane and just sound terrible.

There is a great attraction to a very skinny speaker in small rooms, but I have yet to find it. The best I have used so far is the JBL CBT-70J, which is much bulkier than the K-Array and others of that ilk.

Mac
This is what you're going to find with any loudspeaker that doesn't have a baffle, horn or some other mechanism to direct the sound in some way.  Column speakers can at least offer a little baffle, but sticks sacrifice all mechanical advantage for aesthetics.  Whatever directionality they offer on the vertical axis will be centered around one frequency for systems that employ only one type of driver and one spacing interval.  Performance will decrease, and can get downright awful at other frequencies.  This is the kind of thing that we saw in high school physics class with those wave tanks.

The same principles apply to TV and radio broadcast antennas.  The ones that stack simple dipole elements can produce a narrow cone of RF energy that covers a large area, right out to where the curvature of the earth finally blocks the line of sight signal.  But on the horizontal axis, propagation is omnidirectional.  More sophisticated designs can produce a bit of a cardioid pattern, but that's about it. Us old-timers have lots of memories of multipath "ghosting" and "picket fence" interference that is the equivalent of room reverberation in the RF world.

Look at the KR202 spec sheet:

https://www.k-array.com/phocadownload/Products/Portable/KR202/KR202_Datasheet_Ver1_Rev4.pdf (https://www.k-array.com/phocadownload/Products/Portable/KR202/KR202_Datasheet_Ver1_Rev4.pdf)

Edit: whoops! there is a stated coverage for both axes.  It can play loud, but it cannot focus the horizontal.  If you're in an open field, and sight lines are of utmost importance, these would be just the thing to use.
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: Marcus Baeumler on November 22, 2016, 04:07:09 am

...
Look at the KR202 spec sheet:

https://www.k-array.com/phocadownload/Products/Portable/KR202/KR202_Datasheet_Ver1_Rev4.pdf (https://www.k-array.com/phocadownload/Products/Portable/KR202/KR202_Datasheet_Ver1_Rev4.pdf)

Note that the coverage for this so-called "line array" is "Omni" on H and V axes.  It can play loud, but it cannot focus.  Whatever line array effect that they purport to have apparently isn't enough that they want to show the plots of it.  If you're in an open field, and sight lines are of utmost importance, these would be just the thing to use.

I think you are looking at the wrong specs.
The sub is shown as omni, the sticks as 110 x 7-35.

Not trying to judge how realistic these specs are or in which frequency range they can be achieved.
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: Bill Koonce on November 22, 2016, 04:46:28 am
I think you are looking at the wrong specs.
The sub is shown as omni, the sticks as 110 x 7-35.

Not trying to judge how realistic these specs are or in which frequency range they can be achieved.
Thanks for the correction, Marcus!  I did miss that.  Must have moved that column right out of the frame when I made the PDF big enough for my tired eyes to read.  My bad.

So those numbers aren't bad, but don't tell the story of a SPL/angle of incidence plot, or even better, at a range of frequencies.  That's what I was hoping to see.  Best would be having all that measured by an independent lab with no vested interest in the outcome.  Manufacturer-supplied specs require a grain of salt IMO.
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: Don T. Williams on November 22, 2016, 12:05:01 pm
To answer Mac and others wondering about the KR202, I use them extensively and in the right circumstances, they work very well for me.  As I stated earlier on this thread, they worked so well for a Thanksgiving prayer breakfast last week in a college gym, that I have been offered a series of jobs for that university.  As I also stated in that post, they are not the solution for every event and do not work well for many venues.  They are just one of many tools that I use.  I have a DB Tech T12/T8/T4 line array system, JBL 835P/828P's, a lot of QSC K series products, and other brands of gear.  I just received a quote on DLS SM80/TH118's to add to my "tool kit".  They are all just "tools of the trade".

About the KR202 (and in my case the older KR200's in my rental inventory) specifically, I find they work best in large reverberant rooms with flat seating.  We have a 4400 seat arena here with a large floor.  When events are set up only on the floor, especially when they are "turned sideways", I haven't found anything that works better.  It is much better than the "new" (two year old) house line array in both coverage and sound quality.  I am careful to elevate the system so the center of the "columns" is at the listeners head height.  I usually do this by placing added subwoofer(s) under the KR200 sub.  The added subs also help with louder bass heavy events.

I find the 7 degree vertical coverage doesn't excite the room as much as other speaker types.  I have had no luck using them in the 35 degree position.  I have used them for both indoor and outdoor events for every thing from bluegrass to moderate volume rock groups (with the added subs) with event sizes of up to about 2,000 people.  I also carefully adjusted their angle to match the rake of a grand stand that seated 5K for a school graduation, and again they worked very well.

They have a very wide horizontal dispersion and are surprisingly smooth and even.  They need just a little (but not a lot) of eq to sound their best.  They have several internal eq setting, but I have only found one that works for me, so I leave it on that setting.  The fact that they actually get me jobs speaks highly for the system.  This this is not a function of how unobtrusive they look.  I get jobs because of how well they work.  Demos in churches resulted in four sales in the last two years, but I sold a lot more point and shoot systems and a few line arrays in the same period.  Again it is just one tool that in the right setting can work very well.  Just my opinion, but they are worth a look!
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: Ivan Beaver on November 22, 2016, 12:30:50 pm
They are just one of many tools that I use.   They are all just "tools of the trade".


No one tool does every job-NO MATTER how well made it is or how well it works.

You have the best #2 6" phillips in the world, but it does not reach where a stubby or 18" will.

And sometimes you need a flathead or square drive.

Understanding what tool to use where makes you better able to do a proper job better.

BTW, I also refer to different loudspeakers as "different tools for the job".

FIRST you have to figure out what tool works best for the job at hand.

But if you don't understand how each tool works-it makes it a bit harder.  And when asking others, they will often respond with a tool that works in a different situation.

Ask any mechanic-knowing your tools is a big deal.
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: Don T. Williams on November 22, 2016, 03:14:27 pm
+1 again for Ivan!

The internal eq setting that I use for my KR200's is Dark 1 (D1).  The "published curve" on this looks a bit funny, but it works well for me.  I tried some of the other settings and some of them did sounded awful to me!  I know there are even more choices of settings on the KR202's.  I can understand why someone might think the system sounded bad when they tried them if they didn't find an acceptable setting!
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: Mac Kerr on November 22, 2016, 09:23:31 pm
I can understand why someone might think the system sounded bad when they tried them if they didn't find an acceptable setting!

My first exposure, where I first thought they did not sound good, was a demo under controlled circumstances of 3 (100. 200, 300?) versions of the K-Arrays sticks, all with matching subs. A lot of time was spent listening to all the presets (and all of the hinge angles) on all of the systems by about 7-8 experienced mix engineers. This was done with help from the folks from Sennheiser who provided the demo gear. IIRC not one of us found them acceptable. To convince the person who really wanted them to be the solution to the problem we put up a single UPA on a pipe and base. It was only a little more intrusive visually (6' black iron pipe as invisible as K-Arry) and it blew away every speaker being demoed.

Yes it is lightweight, yes it is very skinny, yes it has its own amps (in the sub), but it's not for me.

Mac
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: John Chiara on November 22, 2016, 10:17:24 pm
My first exposure, where I first thought they did not sound good, was a demo under controlled circumstances of 3 (100. 200, 300?) versions of the K-Arrays sticks, all with matching subs. A lot of time was spent listening to all the presets (and all of the hinge angles) on all of the systems by about 7-8 experienced mix engineers. This was done with help from the folks from Sennheiser who provided the demo gear. IIRC not one of us found them acceptable. To convince the person who really wanted them to be the solution to the problem we put up a single UPA on a pipe and base. It was only a little more intrusive visually (6' black iron pipe as invisible as K-Arry) and it blew away every speaker being demoed.

Yes it is lightweight, yes it is very skinny, yes it has its own amps (in the sub), but it's not for me.

Mac

Plus, I have always thought...and my K-Array dealers agree..thevsubsbare very inferior to other companies offerings.
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: Jeremy Silverthorn on January 10, 2017, 02:35:51 pm
Happy to report back about our event... Used the 2 huge Carvin speakers up front (1588A) & 2 of the smaller ones (1540A) like 30 feet back on a delay. The sound was much better & I have no clue why we never got the delay units sooner!  Does look like time to replace the speakers though... Think one of them has a blown woofer, plus had the same issue with the speakers warming up!  They are in storage all year & only get used for this one annual event and when they're first powered on sound muffled... but after pumping up the volume & running it for a minute or two, it's like the crossovers pop open and the speakers sound like they should.  Any ideas on something comparable to replace these speakers with?  Thanks again, for all the tips, suggestions & help.
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: Kevin Maxwell on January 11, 2017, 11:07:27 am
Happy to report back about our event... Used the 2 huge Carvin speakers up front (1588A) & 2 of the smaller ones (1540A) like 30 feet back on a delay. The sound was much better & I have no clue why we never got the delay units sooner!  Does look like time to replace the speakers though... Think one of them has a blown woofer, plus had the same issue with the speakers warming up!  They are in storage all year & only get used for this one annual event and when they're first powered on sound muffled... but after pumping up the volume & running it for a minute or two, it's like the crossovers pop open and the speakers sound like they should.  Any ideas on something comparable to replace these speakers with?  Thanks again, for all the tips, suggestions & help.

That sounds like the symptom of a bad solder joint. If you only use this system once a year it would probably be wiser to rent a system when you need it. But you may have covered why this isn't an option in an earlier post.
Title: Re: Question about column/stick speaker design
Post by: John Ferreira on January 11, 2017, 07:07:57 pm
What sort of data are you looking for? The website gives the basic information.

Generally the best way to determine "suitability" (coverage-SPL-freq response et) is to model the speaker in question.  This is easily done via the free Direct software.

Maybe you are looking for something else.  What would that be?  And do other manufacturers offer this as well that give you more information

The FIRST and most important aspect of "performs well enough in a given situation", is to determine WHAT that situation requires and what sort of performance you are ACTUALLY looking for.

A SIMPLE SPL number (with no weighting or time) is kinda useless.

For example here are some numbers from my show last night.

This was the warm up act-I did not stay the whole time-but am QUITE SURE it got quite a bit louder after I left-there were still 4 hours left in the show.  The full range system still had around 10-15dB headroom (before limiters) in it when I left.  The subs were probably a bit less than 10dB left.

This was measured with a NTI XL2 meter.  It is good to 144dB.

FOH was around 125' from the stage.  The rear wall was around 240' from the stage.  Venue capacity was 5000, but maybe half full when I left.

I measured this during the first 2 acts over a variety of songs and it was pretty consistent.

Here is what I was measuring at FOH.

A slow was around 103dB.  A peak was around 112-114dB.

C slow was around 120dB.  C peak around 130-133dB

The actual freq response was a typical low freq "haystack".

Below 100Hz was typically 40dB higher than above 200hz.

Most of the music was centered around 50Hz, but did get down to 25Hz or so at times.  Which was around the same level as 50Hz.

So what number would you say is a "simple SPL" that describes the system loudness and capability?

It really depends on more specifics.  The level below 100Hz had a ratio of 10,000 times that of the rest of the spectrum.

So it was "carrying" a lot of the weight-so to speak.

I'm sorry-but simple answers result in wrong answers in complex situations.

I find this post excellent, with useful information relative to its function.
Thanks Ivan