Stupid question: Line Array Sound vs. Normal Loudspeaker

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standub

I'm heavily leaning towards some line arrays for my home theater once it's build due to the high sensitivity.  However searching through the web i've seen posts from people complaining about "line array sound".  Since this is the only forum I know of where there seem to be quite a few people who have line arrays, i've got to ask; do you notice any difference between your line arrays and normal speakers (not counting the sensitivity aspect)?

AK

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Re: Stupid question: Line Array Sound vs. Normal Loudspeaker
« Reply #1 on: 15 Dec 2010, 05:34 am »
I have 3" full range drivers array. If you are sitting still while listening, there is not much of a difference from a 2 way stereo, besides typical problems all FR drivers have. if you walk around the room, there is interesting effect of non- changing sound, like if you are wearing headphones.

JLM

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Re: Stupid question: Line Array Sound vs. Normal Loudspeaker
« Reply #2 on: 15 Dec 2010, 11:28 am »
Vertical arrays can't image vertically (how could they?).  Since the main point of having two or more channels is to recreate better imaging, I'm lost as to why arrays show up anywhere (especially in HT). 

Unless funds are unlimited, best to put the money into a much better single driver or mid/tweet if you're considering extended range drivers (quality over quantity).  To be effective the array must have 10 to 20 drivers, so why not spend 10 to 20 times more on a better driver?  If you research the cost of drivers in nearly any really high end speakers you'd be shocked.

If you're primarily after high sound pressure levels, shop for a speaker that is efficient or can handle lots of power and mate it to a big amp (watts are cheap nowadays).

S Clark

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Re: Stupid question: Line Array Sound vs. Normal Loudspeaker
« Reply #3 on: 15 Dec 2010, 11:57 am »
...do you notice any difference between your line arrays and normal speakers (not counting the sensitivity aspect)?
Yes, but in a good way.  My line arrays have a fullness of sound that works especially well on orchestral music.  Their dynamics and extreme lack of distortion also increase realism and detail.  As far as vertical imaging and soundstage, I have found them to be better than a good pair of monitors w/ subwoofers.  Although I haven't heard Rick's line arrays, I have heard some of his custom design that have been very good.

Scott

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Re: Stupid question: Line Array Sound vs. Normal Loudspeaker
« Reply #4 on: 15 Dec 2010, 02:18 pm »
Couldn't be happier with Rick's work. I went from an Ascend to a Selah monitor, and for me, it was a big difference. So don't think of Selah just for line line arrays if you end up feeling line arrays are not for you. The Accuton mid in the Tempestas would be sweeeeet. But if I had to do it (hoping this summer btw), I would go for Dayton nd-140's or SB acoustics woofers with the Fountek ribbons. Alas don't think I could step up to the RAALs.

opusthepenguin

Re: Stupid question: Line Array Sound vs. Normal Loudspeaker
« Reply #5 on: 15 Dec 2010, 03:42 pm »
I'm happy with the imaging here too. The efficiency can be a huge plus, my lil 50 watt tube amps have no problem with anything from pink floyd to ac/dc cranked up loud enough to sound like a concert and the bass smacks you in the chest. Opens up a lot of amp choices when you don't need 300 watts to rock. We've got sb / fountek

studiotech

Re: Stupid question: Line Array Sound vs. Normal Loudspeaker
« Reply #6 on: 15 Dec 2010, 04:04 pm »
Vertical arrays can't image vertically (how could they?).  Since the main point of having two or more channels is to recreate better imaging, I'm lost as to why arrays show up anywhere (especially in HT). 


Huh?  Not even sure what you mean here......what does two or more channels have to do with vertical imaging?

Greg

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Re: Stupid question: Line Array Sound vs. Normal Loudspeaker
« Reply #7 on: 15 Dec 2010, 04:07 pm »
I think the primary reason I like line-arrays is they provide a huge sonic landscape over a wider listening area than do point source speakers and that makes them a delight to listen to.  My friend a couple blocks away bought the Selah Audio line array XT8s that were reviewed at Stereotimes: http://www.stereotimes.com/.  These were the first time I really listened to a pair of line arrays and once I heard them I knew a pair of line arrays is in my future.  His XT8 system is outstanding even when using modestly priced source equipment.  BTW, he uses his XT8s in a dedicated home theater/2-channel setup and they are excellent.  The one most noticeable problem with line arrays is the loss of sound stage above mid-way past the top driver.  So with most 6' tall or so line arrays if you are above an average 5' 9" height or so you will have to slightly bend the knees or sit for the full soundstage.  For my friends home theater he bought some custom stands to raise his XT8s about another 10 inches or so to avoid sound stage drop off particularly for people in the back row of his theater.  Most line arrays also need a subwoofer for low end duty. 

So far I have listened to Selah's XT8s and Symmetricas and also the AV123's LS-6 and LS-9 speakers.  I have to say I prefer line arrays with the larger woofers for greater dynamic range.  Yes, imaging is slightly smeared, however line arrays give you that high-end sound (imaging, clarity, sound stage, dynamics) with less tweaking.

Since I don't have $8k to drop on Rick's nice arrays and since I recently finished a pair of Rick's RC-5G speakers I'm completing a set of GR Research LS-6 speakers.  I was one of the fortunate people to get a finished LS-6 cabinets for $300 bucks after AV123 went out-of-business and couldn't pass it up and should get the drivers and crossovers soon.  It will be interesting what my impressions will be in side-by-side comparisons of the LS-6 (array) with my RC-5Gs (full range point source).

kingdeezie

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Re: Stupid question: Line Array Sound vs. Normal Loudspeaker
« Reply #8 on: 15 Dec 2010, 04:09 pm »
Vertical arrays can't image vertically (how could they?).  Since the main point of having two or more channels is to recreate better imaging, I'm lost as to why arrays show up anywhere (especially in HT). 

Unless funds are unlimited, best to put the money into a much better single driver or mid/tweet if you're considering extended range drivers (quality over quantity).  To be effective the array must have 10 to 20 drivers, so why not spend 10 to 20 times more on a better driver?  If you research the cost of drivers in nearly any really high end speakers you'd be shocked.

If you're primarily after high sound pressure levels, shop for a speaker that is efficient or can handle lots of power and mate it to a big amp (watts are cheap nowadays).

Completely disagree with most everything here.

While it is true that there can be inherit diffusion in Line Arrays, it can be limited by a capable and thought out design.

Saying that you don't see a place for "line arrays," comes off as a little short sighted as well.

Line Arrays can provide better dynamics and peak output, with very little coloration(depending on the driver selection); then a point source speaker that is utilizing a few drivers mated to a woofer. Perfect for HT; and depending on how well the design extracts detail and resolution, excellent for music as well.

Also, while imaging might not be as pinpoint as your typical speaker, soundstaging can be greatly enhanced.

My GR Research Line Arrays extend to the walls and ceilings, with great depth.

Also, I'd disagree that watts are cheap as well.

Better designs cost more money period. Getting a lot of watts out of companies like Pass, Mcintosh, Manley, Vac, etc, etc, etc, costs money.


Rick Craig

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Re: Stupid question: Line Array Sound vs. Normal Loudspeaker
« Reply #9 on: 15 Dec 2010, 05:20 pm »
I'm heavily leaning towards some line arrays for my home theater once it's build due to the high sensitivity.  However searching through the web i've seen posts from people complaining about "line array sound".  Since this is the only forum I know of where there seem to be quite a few people who have line arrays, i've got to ask; do you notice any difference between your line arrays and normal speakers (not counting the sensitivity aspect)?

Not all arrays are alike and there are differences in how they perform. With a standard straight 2-way array the vertical coverage will be more narrow. Most of our designs have been optimized for seated listening which allows a shorter array and more practical cabinet size. For standing listening some companies simply make them taller, in some cases extending all the way to to the ceiling. The latest array technology, the CBT, is one you might want to consider.

FullRangeMan

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Re: Stupid question: Line Array Sound vs. Normal Loudspeaker
« Reply #10 on: 15 Dec 2010, 05:26 pm »
I'm heavily leaning towards some line arrays for my home theater once it's build due to the high sensitivity.  However searching through the web i've seen posts from people complaining about "line array sound".  Since this is the only forum I know of where there seem to be quite a few people who have line arrays, i've got to ask; do you notice any difference between your line arrays and normal speakers (not counting the sensitivity aspect)?
Hi,
All LA I listen had a huge soundstage and dynamics, I prefer LAs crossoverless, no tweeter, with a good small fullrange driver(4'' to 6'').
Unfortunately, the only prob is the price, usually hi. I think LAs best quality are a better soundstage, due the redundancy of drivers.
Regards, Gustavo

>Never go to a psychiatrist, adopt a cat or dog from the street. On the streets pets live only two years average.

Rick Craig

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Re: Stupid question: Line Array Sound vs. Normal Loudspeaker
« Reply #11 on: 15 Dec 2010, 05:45 pm »
Hi,
All LA I listen had a huge soundstage and dynamics, I prefer LAs crossoverless, no tweeter, with a good small fullrange driver(4'' to 6'').
Unfortunately, the only prob is the price, usually hi. I think LAs best quality are a better soundstage, due the redundancy of drivers.
Regards, Gustavo

>Never go to a psychiatrist, adopt a cat or dog from the street. On the streets pets live only two years average.
The problem is that with a full-range array design the top octaves really suffer from driver response issues (cone breakup) and dispersion (vertical comb filtering and narrow horizontal coverage). A CBT is best if you want to go with single drivers; however the cone diameter is still limited to around 2" for best performance.

rollo

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Re: Stupid question: Line Array Sound vs. Normal Loudspeaker
« Reply #12 on: 15 Dec 2010, 06:23 pm »
  As an owner of Nearfield Acoustic Pipedreams I'm puzzled as to the comments. When properly executed line arrays produce a 3D soundstage, superb dynamics, clarity and everything a conventional speaker can do.
 It is not east to design a speaker with numerous drivers. Using 24 tweeters and 9 mid bass drivers I have no smearing, no unusual soundstage effects and a seamless transition to the subs.
   Make the plunge if you a large enough room.


charles 

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Re: Stupid question: Line Array Sound vs. Normal Loudspeaker
« Reply #13 on: 15 Dec 2010, 07:17 pm »
The problem is that with a full-range array design the top octaves really suffer from driver response issues (cone breakup) and dispersion (vertical comb filtering and narrow horizontal coverage). A CBT is best if you want to go with single drivers; however the cone diameter is still limited to around 2" for best performance.
Iam forced to agree with Charles, as in my experience the sound stage were great, and the Pipedreams was speaker of the year on TAS magazine.
As Iam no thech guy in speakers, I rely only in my ears. Iam sure there is a secret in made a good sound LA.
Regards, Gustavo

>Never go to a psychiatrist, adopt a cat or dog from the street. On the streets pets live only two years average.

geezer

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Re: Stupid question: Line Array Sound vs. Normal Loudspeaker
« Reply #14 on: 15 Dec 2010, 07:59 pm »
Vertical arrays can't image vertically (how could they?).  Since the main point of having two or more channels is to recreate better imaging, I'm lost as to why arrays show up anywhere (especially in HT). 



I agree that line arrays can't image vertically, but neither can any other system that I've ever seen. We get horizontal imaging because we have two channels horizontally arrayed, and they carry different information. To get vertical as well as horizontal imaging, it seems to me you'd need, for example, four speakers arrayed at the corners of a vertical square facing you, with different information coming from the top and bottom ones, as well as from the left and right ones.

For normal music listening, vertical imaging is not important in any case because all the sources are on the same level, which our brains implicitly expect.

HT, on the other hand, could benefit from two sets of speakers on two (or more) levels because sounds in movies are truly 3-D, often arising above or below the horizontal. That would start to get expensive, of course.

standub

Re: Stupid question: Line Array Sound vs. Normal Loudspeaker
« Reply #15 on: 16 Dec 2010, 01:13 am »
Thanks for the replies every one.  So it sounds like as long as i'm not above or below them due the vertical spread of LAs, they sound like every other loudspeaker.

We've got sb / fountek

These were the ones I was looking at, although I think I might go for the 6" woofer instead.  I would like revelators......but they cost a little bit more  :o

face

Re: Stupid question: Line Array Sound vs. Normal Loudspeaker
« Reply #16 on: 17 Dec 2010, 01:11 am »
Hi,
All LA I listen had a huge soundstage and dynamics, I prefer LAs crossoverless, no tweeter, with a good small fullrange driver(4'' to 6'').
Unfortunately, the only prob is the price, usually hi. I think LAs best quality are a better soundstage, due the redundancy of drivers.
Yes, but the narrow sweet spot and high distortion aren't for everyone.

satfrat

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Re: Stupid question: Line Array Sound vs. Normal Loudspeaker
« Reply #17 on: 17 Dec 2010, 01:50 am »
Yes, but the narrow sweet spot and high distortion aren't for everyone.

Line Arrays have high distortion?  :scratch:  I didn't know that, at least with the few times I've actually listened to Array's when I walked away very much impressed with them. I heard a set of Rick's Array's  a few years ago and in a small room even. In that scenario, the sound field completely filled that room and distortion as the last thing on this listeners mind. Those babies even sounded great while standing against the back wall.  :lol:
 
I've also heard a set of Pipedreams that didn't fit either of your descriptions but Rollo was spot-on with what I heard that day.  :thumb:
 
Cheers,
Robin

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Re: Stupid question: Line Array Sound vs. Normal Loudspeaker
« Reply #18 on: 17 Dec 2010, 02:12 am »
I should have been more specific, when using full range drivers as mentioned above opposed to 2 or 3 way arrays.

PDR

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Re: Stupid question: Line Array Sound vs. Normal Loudspeaker
« Reply #19 on: 17 Dec 2010, 02:36 am »
wow......

I have line arrays designed by rick for my fronts and rears on my HT ....

My Symmetricas image like no other speaker i have heard......its what they do.

As far as  vertically.....you would have to hear them to believe it.
If there are nay sayers.....they havnt heard these.

Absolutely arrays are HT friendly.
Rick has some of the best budget arrays.......they bring it.

I own spectacular 3-ways.....I'll stick to my arrays for HT.