Line array listening impressions?

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CWL

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Line array listening impressions?
« on: 12 May 2018, 11:25 am »
Hi everyone:-)

For my new home theater / lounge room I am considering a custom Line Array.

Listening distance is 18'

Since it is hard to get demos locally where I am I was wondering og anyone would care to share impressions ?

I have listened to a lot of speakers so if referenced to known speakers I might get a better understanding of differences/benefits/downsides?

Proposed design is custom ribbons and SB acoustic woofers.

Any input appreciated:-)

Kind regards

Claus

PDR

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Re: Line array listening impressions?
« Reply #1 on: 12 May 2018, 05:45 pm »
I bought a Symmetrica array kit from Rick years back.
I use it as fronts on my HT system.
Liked it so much I had him design another set of arrays
for the rears....I think he called them 128s, or was it Sedona?.....cant recall.
I also use a Sardonyx center channel.....integrates VERY well with the arrays.
To round it off Rick also designed a couple of dual 12" subs.
Makes my whole HT system by Selah.

The whole HT experience is, in my opinion, enhanced with the big arrays.
I bring people over to listen, and they have the same reaction
I do.......Wow.

Cacophonix

Re: Line array listening impressions?
« Reply #2 on: 12 May 2018, 06:30 pm »
For a room that big, line array will work great. I had Symmetricas a few years back, and they sounded awesome. Unfortunately a little too much of a speaker for my small 14x12 room. But in your room, i think they might work well. Even in that small a room, they were image champions, and had unbelievable scale. Listening to a an orchestra piece through them was quite an experience. Go for it!

JLM

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Re: Line array listening impressions?
« Reply #3 on: 12 May 2018, 09:17 pm »
I've never been able to discern vertical dimensions from line arrays (they tend to produce a "wall of sound").  And at any sane prices the builder has to skimp on driver quality to contain costs (sometimes severely).  To be effective they must span nearly floor to ceiling with close spacing to avoid phase issues, requiring dozens of drivers.  Of course they use 'miles' of speaker cable which I'm not a fan of (again if you're into fancy/expensive speaker cable, why wouldn't you want the same inside the cabinet) so again cost is a consideration.  Plus I've never seen line arrays used in a studio where your music is recorded, mixed, and mastered so what you hear will be different from what the professionals intended.

gab

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Re: Line array listening impressions?
« Reply #4 on: 12 May 2018, 10:03 pm »
I've never been able to discern vertical dimensions from line arrays (they tend to produce a "wall of sound").  And at any sane prices the builder has to skimp on driver quality to contain costs (sometimes severely).  To be effective they must span nearly floor to ceiling with close spacing to avoid phase issues, requiring dozens of drivers.  Of course they use 'miles' of speaker cable which I'm not a fan of (again if you're into fancy/expensive speaker cable, why wouldn't you want the same inside the cabinet) so again cost is a consideration.  Plus I've never seen line arrays used in a studio where your music is recorded, mixed, and mastered so what you hear will be different from what the professionals intended.

Which ones have you actually listened to in forming these opinions?

gab

JLM

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Re: Line array listening impressions?
« Reply #5 on: 12 May 2018, 10:54 pm »
Which ones have you actually listened to in forming these opinions?

gab

Sorry, it's been 3 years since I tried to seriously listen to a curved array, can't recall brands/models (one was a custom partial bipole array belonging to a fellow club member that adding a single plasma tweeter to made all the difference).  But every time I walk into a room with arrays I immediately hear the same thing and don't bother sticking around (partial arrays are worse).

PDR

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Re: Line array listening impressions?
« Reply #6 on: 12 May 2018, 10:59 pm »
I've never been able to discern vertical dimensions from line arrays (they tend to produce a "wall of sound").  And at any sane prices the builder has to skimp on driver quality to contain costs (sometimes severely).  To be effective they must span nearly floor to ceiling with close spacing to avoid phase issues, requiring dozens of drivers.  Of course they use 'miles' of speaker cable which I'm not a fan of (again if you're into fancy/expensive speaker cable, why wouldn't you want the same inside the cabinet) so again cost is a consideration.  Plus I've never seen line arrays used in a studio where your music is recorded, mixed, and mastered so what you hear will be different from what the professionals intended.

Thats unfortunate, preformance bias is a bugger to get rid of.

The Symmetricas image like no other speaker I've heard or owned....no wall of sound.

I'm wondering what speakers you use?......and which recording studio you heard them at?....hey, does that mean you only
listen to music mastered at studios using that particular brand?

gregfisk

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Re: Line array listening impressions?
« Reply #7 on: 12 May 2018, 11:26 pm »
I've never been able to discern vertical dimensions from line arrays (they tend to produce a "wall of sound").  And at any sane prices the builder has to skimp on driver quality to contain costs (sometimes severely).  To be effective they must span nearly floor to ceiling with close spacing to avoid phase issues, requiring dozens of drivers.  Of course they use 'miles' of speaker cable which I'm not a fan of (again if you're into fancy/expensive speaker cable, why wouldn't you want the same inside the cabinet) so again cost is a consideration.  Plus I've never seen line arrays used in a studio where your music is recorded, mixed, and mastered so what you hear will be different from what the professionals intended.

 There are not many of us who use speakers that are used in a recording studio, in fact the typical recording studio speaker would be terrible in my room. The line arrays I heard were amazing and had a very large sound stage. They also imaged extremely well and I could hear the instruments projecting the sound toward me from there position on the stage. Pretty nice if you ask me. I use OB speakers which also produce a large soundstage, I don't think too many studios use those either but I think they are great.

JLM

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Re: Line array listening impressions?
« Reply #8 on: 12 May 2018, 11:31 pm »
Thats unfortunate, preformance bias is a bugger to get rid of.

The Symmetricas image like no other speaker I've heard or owned....no wall of sound.

I'm wondering what speakers you use?......and which recording studio you heard them at?....hey, does that mean you only
listen to music mastered at studios using that particular brand?

Check out my system.  My main speakers are Bob Brines single driver floor-standing transmission line that use the now discontinued Fostex F200A driver supplemented by Late Ceiling Splash (refer to Duke LeJeune) dome tweeter.  My 2nd speakers are Dynaudio BM5 Mk III active monitors (which are the type found in recording studios).  And yes, I'm an old fart with lots of well earned audio biases.

JLM

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Re: Line array listening impressions?
« Reply #9 on: 12 May 2018, 11:37 pm »
There are not many of us who use speakers that are used in a recording studio, in fact the typical recording studio speaker would be terrible in my room. The line arrays I heard were amazing and had a very large sound stage. They also imaged extremely well and I could hear the instruments projecting the sound toward me from there position on the stage. Pretty nice if you ask me. I use OB speakers which also produce a large soundstage, I don't think too many studios use those either but I think they are great.

How do you know a "studio speaker" would be terrible in your room?  BTW most audiophiles like particular colorations and have been conditioned to accept various distortions. 

Early B.

Re: Line array listening impressions?
« Reply #10 on: 13 May 2018, 12:47 am »
I've never been able to discern vertical dimensions from line arrays (they tend to produce a "wall of sound").  And at any sane prices the builder has to skimp on driver quality to contain costs (sometimes severely).  To be effective they must span nearly floor to ceiling with close spacing to avoid phase issues, requiring dozens of drivers.  Of course they use 'miles' of speaker cable which I'm not a fan of (again if you're into fancy/expensive speaker cable, why wouldn't you want the same inside the cabinet) so again cost is a consideration.

Good points.

I've heard two line arrays. Sure, you get the wall of sound, but that's it. Great for home theater, but for 2-channel, I don't know. I'm sure there are well executed line arrays with excellent drivers, but the price/performance is likely to be astronomical (and you still need a pair of subs!). Plus, the size of line arrays overwhelm a room.

I'd love to hear a group of audiophile's impressions of a top quality bookshelf speaker vs. a similarly priced line array.

THROWBACK

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Re: Line array listening impressions?
« Reply #11 on: 13 May 2018, 01:55 am »
I recommend GR Research line arrays. I have the largest one (LS9) supplemented by a set of their servo subs. It is the best system I have ever heard (and I have been a serious audiophile for over sixty years). But they make a number of smaller systems as well, several of which might be suitable for your room. You can save money by buying the kits, even if you have to get a cabinet maker to help you build them. Plus Danny Ritchie is super helpful and easy to work with.
Good luck!

CWL

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Re: Line array listening impressions?
« Reply #12 on: 13 May 2018, 04:42 pm »
Thanks for all the replies so far.

I have a demo opportunity on a pair of McIntosh XRT1K but thats about it on these parts.

The positives described here align very well with my preferences:-)


dB Cooper

Re: Line array listening impressions?
« Reply #13 on: 13 May 2018, 06:45 pm »
Heard the Carver lines at the last Capital Audiofest. they reminded me of the old saying about bagpipes: The further away you get, the better they sound. They were in a BIIIIIG room and I sat down in the back row and liked what I heard. I moved to the front row (about 10-12' from the speakers) and all the sound seemed to be coming from the top of the array. So maybe big rooms are necessary for this type of design?

Bendingwave

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Re: Line array listening impressions?
« Reply #14 on: 13 May 2018, 10:21 pm »
Heard the Carver lines at the last Capital Audiofest. they reminded me of the old saying about bagpipes: The further away you get, the better they sound. They were in a BIIIIIG room and I sat down in the back row and liked what I heard. I moved to the front row (about 10-12' from the speakers) and all the sound seemed to be coming from the top of the array. So maybe big rooms are necessary for this type of design?

Aint there some kind of formula where the total size of the speakers dictates the right listening distance?

If one is too close to very tall speakers most of the sound will be going above or over your ears hence why one will perceive majority of the sound as coming from the top?

The same way why most smaller speakers are used for near field like computer speakers....My computer speakers biggest driver is only 2inches but since they are close to my ear level and I am only about a foot away they sound pretty good.  :lol:   If I move back just 2 more feet then they begin to sound tiny.  8)

My impressions were that bigger rooms equals more distance and for that one would need bigger speakers.

dB Cooper

Re: Line array listening impressions?
« Reply #15 on: 14 May 2018, 12:26 am »
Aint there some kind of formula where the total size of the speakers dictates the right listening distance?

If one is too close to very tall speakers most of the sound will be going above or over your ears hence why one will perceive majority of the sound as coming from the top?


I asked myself the same question because it seemed to me that, if anything, it should have appeared to come from ear level, those being the closest drivers and 'on axis'.. There's a 'supertweeter' at the top of the line, and perhaps that was enough to pull the image up is the only theory I've got. It was quite a pronounced effect in the front row so, in any event, those speakers at least need the proverbial 'room to breathe'. FWIW, TAS gave them a glowing review that made no mention of this phenomenon.

Rick Craig

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Re: Line array listening impressions?
« Reply #16 on: 14 May 2018, 01:41 am »
I've never been able to discern vertical dimensions from line arrays (they tend to produce a "wall of sound").  And at any sane prices the builder has to skimp on driver quality to contain costs (sometimes severely).  To be effective they must span nearly floor to ceiling with close spacing to avoid phase issues, requiring dozens of drivers.  Of course they use 'miles' of speaker cable which I'm not a fan of (again if you're into fancy/expensive speaker cable, why wouldn't you want the same inside the cabinet) so again cost is a consideration.  Plus I've never seen line arrays used in a studio where your music is recorded, mixed, and mastered so what you hear will be different from what the professionals intended.

The vertical dispersion depends on the design and there are many variations commercially. They don't have to be floor to ceiling in order to have a good listening experience. Yes, more wire is involved but IMO worth it. True, not often used in studios but that's also true of dipoles and some of those that are well-designed perform very well in home systems.

Driver cost does have an impact and there is obviously a trade-off at lower price points; however, with a reasonable budget and moderate cost drivers it's possible to have sound better than you might expect. The demands on the system are different with multiple drivers sharing the load.