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PA speakers

miha

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Do we know if @amirm is interested in reviewing PA speakers?

.gll files (EASE) are more common for PA speakers, however a ranking system like the one on ASR would be awesome.
 

Matthias McCready

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A few thoughts:

1) PA speakers are larger, so shipping could be cost prohibitive, especially for inexpensive speakers; for medium to high-end passive products this would also mean shipping an amp along with the speaker.
2) This equipment can be extremely heavy (shipped on rack or pallet), and moving them around can be difficult, my back hurts just thinking about this. Many products can weigh hundreds of pounds.
3) I am not sure how large Amirm's Klippel System is; it is possible his setup is too small to do large speakers without upgrading it to be larger, which I am sure costs a leg, an arm, and a tentacle or two. That may not be doable for him.

----

For PA speakers I am also going to say... as much as I HATE to say this, that sound quality is not always a primary determining factor, in fact sometimes it is 10th down the list for many rental houses and integrators, some factors which determine purchase would be:

1) Affordability: Somebody is paying for it, so it has to make fiscal sense; this can unfortunately be highly dependent on whether or not the shop is a "dealer" for the brand. This is why many shops only have 1 or 2 brands. Is that actually the best brand or product for the install or is that product they have the most margin on?

2) ROI: Does the speaker make enough money to justify the cost? In an ideal world a speaker pays for itself over 10-40 rentals. Obviously this is not a factor for an install. For rental companies there are some cheap bad sounding speakers that have paid for themselves many times over (looking at you JBL VRX).

3) Crossrentable: Do other shops in the area carry this make/model? Ie can I be making money off of this speaker even when I don't have a show planned by having it go out with another shop? If I have a larger show than I have capacity for can I rent more of the model of subs/or more array boxes that mate well?

4) Coverage Pattern: Does it cover the venue as needed, array characteristics matter here. Is the coverage pattern consistent? Some brands are great at this and others aren't. Two of the most popular PA brands for install will never win a sound quality contest, but they do have a VERY consistent pattern. And as much as I hate it, I will take consistent coverage and deployment over sound quality any day. As a FOH engineer if it sounds great for me, but like crap for the rest of the audience, that is not fair to me or them. Keep in mind that has a lot to do with deployment; the right product for the room can still be hung, arrayed, or processed wrong.

5) Brand/Model Compatibility: Does the brand have other products that can be used together? Does the model have a family tree of products that work together. The best sound reinforcement brands often have a certain amount of product parity, both in sound quality and coverage pattern. Ie you can mate the crossover settings and voicing so that overlap between mains and fills have a similar phase and frequency relationship.

6) Product Support: What does support look like? Can the brand overnight drivers or parts? Can I send the product in to get it taken back to spec? Or I am totally on my own, and once a driver is gone there are no proper replacements? Does the brand make deployment software that is usable, and that gives reliable prediction results (Array Calc, MAPP 3D, Sound Vision etc). I am willing to pay more for support. "Buy Once, Cry Once."

7) Reliability: Is the product weather rated? How durable is the coating? What kind of driver protection does it have? How often do driver or amplifier failures occur?

8) Deployment: How easy is it to deploy? Is it quick or is it cumbersome? Does the software accurately give me hang weight information and weight distribution info?

9) SPL Capability: Does the rig go loud enough for gig?

10) Sound Quality: It sure is on the list, but for many companies, installers, and end users it is not the main deciding factor, nor should it be.


----

Now I am guessing you are not a rental shop or integrator, so I would assume you probably care about coverage pattern, frequency response, and sound quality above all else.

So this list may not be useful for you, other than to know what the thinking process is for the commercial side of the business.

I often prefer commercial products/brands over hi-fi brands as the cost is usually closely tied to functionality; they are selling to people with ROI in mind.

For PA speakers there are few I have heard that I could say are good enough to "go in a living room," however most brands and products do not sound that good. Personally most home products can go louder than I care for in a residential settings, so I value sound quality over SPL capability. Putting a PA speaker in your home may be a quick path to significant hearing loss; ie something capable of 120-150 real world dBA continuous (not peak) at 1 meter, is probably not something anyone needs in their living room.

However many commercial brands do make monitors or smaller professional products where sound quality is the goal, rather than SPL. Danley, Genelec, JBL, and Meyer Sound would be examples of some of those brands.
 
Last edited:

Frgirard

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A few thoughts:

1) PA speakers are larger, so shipping could be cost prohibitive, especially for inexpensive speakers; for medium to high-end passive products this would also mean shipping an amp along with the speaker.
2) This equipment can be extremely heavy (shipped on rack or pallet), and moving them around can be difficult, my back hurts just thinking about this. Many products can weigh hundreds of pounds.
3) I am not sure how large Amirm's Klippel System is; it is possible his setup is too small to do large speakers without upgrading it to be larger, which I am sure costs a leg, an arm, and a tentacle or two. That may not be doable for him.

----

For PA speakers I am also going to say... as much as I HATE to say this, that sound quality is not always a primary determining factor, in fact sometimes it is 10th down the list for many rental houses and integrators, some factors which determine purchase would be:

1) Affordability: Somebody is paying for it, so it has to make fiscal sense; this can unfortunately be highly dependent on whether or not the shop is a "dealer" for the brand. This is why many shops only have 1 or 2 brands. Is that actually the best brand or product for the install or is that product they have the most margin on?

2) ROI: Does the speaker make enough money to justify the cost? In an ideal world a speaker pays for itself over 10-40 rentals. Obviously this is not a factor for an install. For rental companies there are some cheap bad sounding speakers that have paid for themselves many times over (looking at you JBL VRX).

3) Crossrentable: Do other shops in the area carry this make/model? Ie can I be making money off of this speaker even when I don't have a show planned by having it go out with another shop? If I have a larger show than I have capacity for can I rent more of the model of subs/or more array boxes that mate well?

4) Coverage Pattern: Does it cover the venue as needed, array characteristics matter here. Is the coverage pattern consistent? Some brands are great at this and others aren't. Two of the most popular PA brands for install will never win a sound quality contest, but they do have a VERY consistent pattern. And as much as I hate it, I will take consistent coverage and deployment over sound quality any day. As a FOH engineer if it sounds great for me, but like crap for the rest of the audience, that is not fair to me or them. Keep in mind that has a lot to do with deployment; the right product for the room can still be hung, arrayed, or processed wrong.

5) Brand/Model Compatibility: Does the brand have other products that can be used together? Does the model have a family tree of products that work together. The best sound reinforcement brands often have a certain amount of product parity, both in sound quality and coverage pattern. Ie you can mate the crossover settings and voicing so that overlap between mains and fills have a similar phase and frequency relationship.

6) Product Support: What does support look like? Can the brand overnight drivers or parts? Can I send the product in to get it taken back to spec? Or I am totally on my own, and once a driver is gone there are no proper replacements? Does the brand make deployment software that is usable, and that gives reliable prediction results (Array Calc, MAPP 3D, Sound Vision etc). I am willing to pay more for support. "Buy Once, Cry Once."

7) Reliability: Is the product weather rated? How durable is the coating? What kind of driver protection does it have? How often do driver or amplifier failures occur?

8) Deployment: How easy is it to deploy? Is it quick or is it cumbersome? Does the software accurately give me hang weight information and weight distribution info?

9) SPL Capability: Does the rig go loud enough for gig?

10) Sound Quality: It sure is on the list, but for many companies, installers, and end users it is not the main deciding factor, nor should it be.


----

Now I am guessing you are not a rental shop or integrator, so I would assume you probably care about coverage pattern, frequency response, and sound quality above all else.

So this list may not be useful for you, other than to know what the thinking process is for the commercial side of the business.

I often prefer commercial products/brands over hi-fi brands as the cost is usually closely tied to functionality; they are selling to people with ROI in mind.

For PA speakers there are few I have heard that I could say are good enough to "go in a living room," however most brands and products do not sound that good. Personally most home products can go louder than I care for in a residential settings, so I value sound quality over SPL capability. Putting a PA speaker in your home may be a quick path to significant hearing loss; ie something capable of 120-150 real world dBA continuous (not peak) at 1 meter, is probably not something anyone needs in their living room.

However many commercial brands do make monitors or smaller professional products where sound quality is the goal, rather than SPL. Danley, Genelec, JBL, and Meyer Sound would be examples of some of those brands.
Woaw

I love this

 

fpitas

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Do we know if @amirm is interested in reviewing PA speakers?

.gll files (EASE) are more common for PA speakers, however a ranking system like the one on ASR would be awesome.
As Matthias noted, PA speakers are a world of their own, very distinct from home use. The object is to make money professionally. Are you interested in SQ primarily?
 

JEarle

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A few thoughts:

1) PA speakers are larger, so shipping could be cost prohibitive, especially for inexpensive speakers; for medium to high-end passive products this would also mean shipping an amp along with the speaker.
2) This equipment can be extremely heavy (shipped on rack or pallet), and moving them around can be difficult, my back hurts just thinking about this. Many products can weigh hundreds of pounds.
3) I am not sure how large Amirm's Klippel System is; it is possible his setup is too small to do large speakers without upgrading it to be larger, which I am sure costs a leg, an arm, and a tentacle or two. That may not be doable for him.

----

For PA speakers I am also going to say... as much as I HATE to say this, that sound quality is not always a primary determining factor, in fact sometimes it is 10th down the list for many rental houses and integrators, some factors which determine purchase would be:

1) Affordability: Somebody is paying for it, so it has to make fiscal sense; this can unfortunately be highly dependent on whether or not the shop is a "dealer" for the brand. This is why many shops only have 1 or 2 brands. Is that actually the best brand or product for the install or is that product they have the most margin on?

2) ROI: Does the speaker make enough money to justify the cost? In an ideal world a speaker pays for itself over 10-40 rentals. Obviously this is not a factor for an install. For rental companies there are some cheap bad sounding speakers that have paid for themselves many times over (looking at you JBL VRX).

3) Crossrentable: Do other shops in the area carry this make/model? Ie can I be making money off of this speaker even when I don't have a show planned by having it go out with another shop? If I have a larger show than I have capacity for can I rent more of the model of subs/or more array boxes that mate well?

4) Coverage Pattern: Does it cover the venue as needed, array characteristics matter here. Is the coverage pattern consistent? Some brands are great at this and others aren't. Two of the most popular PA brands for install will never win a sound quality contest, but they do have a VERY consistent pattern. And as much as I hate it, I will take consistent coverage and deployment over sound quality any day. As a FOH engineer if it sounds great for me, but like crap for the rest of the audience, that is not fair to me or them. Keep in mind that has a lot to do with deployment; the right product for the room can still be hung, arrayed, or processed wrong.

5) Brand/Model Compatibility: Does the brand have other products that can be used together? Does the model have a family tree of products that work together. The best sound reinforcement brands often have a certain amount of product parity, both in sound quality and coverage pattern. Ie you can mate the crossover settings and voicing so that overlap between mains and fills have a similar phase and frequency relationship.

6) Product Support: What does support look like? Can the brand overnight drivers or parts? Can I send the product in to get it taken back to spec? Or I am totally on my own, and once a driver is gone there are no proper replacements? Does the brand make deployment software that is usable, and that gives reliable prediction results (Array Calc, MAPP 3D, Sound Vision etc). I am willing to pay more for support. "Buy Once, Cry Once."

7) Reliability: Is the product weather rated? How durable is the coating? What kind of driver protection does it have? How often do driver or amplifier failures occur?

8) Deployment: How easy is it to deploy? Is it quick or is it cumbersome? Does the software accurately give me hang weight information and weight distribution info?

9) SPL Capability: Does the rig go loud enough for gig?

10) Sound Quality: It sure is on the list, but for many companies, installers, and end users it is not the main deciding factor, nor should it be.


----

Now I am guessing you are not a rental shop or integrator, so I would assume you probably care about coverage pattern, frequency response, and sound quality above all else.

So this list may not be useful for you, other than to know what the thinking process is for the commercial side of the business.

I often prefer commercial products/brands over hi-fi brands as the cost is usually closely tied to functionality; they are selling to people with ROI in mind.

For PA speakers there are few I have heard that I could say are good enough to "go in a living room," however most brands and products do not sound that good. Personally most home products can go louder than I care for in a residential settings, so I value sound quality over SPL capability. Putting a PA speaker in your home may be a quick path to significant hearing loss; ie something capable of 120-150 real world dBA continuous (not peak) at 1 meter, is probably not something anyone needs in their living room.

However many commercial brands do make monitors or smaller professional products where sound quality is the goal, rather than SPL. Danley, Genelec, JBL, and Meyer Sound would be examples of some of those brands.
Excellent post!
 

hege

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Do we know if @amirm is interested in reviewing PA speakers?

Yes.

 

hege

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For PA speakers there are few I have heard that I could say are good enough to "go in a living room," however most brands and products do not sound that good. Personally most home products can go louder than I care for in a residential settings, so I value sound quality over SPL capability. Putting a PA speaker in your home may be a quick path to significant hearing loss; ie something capable of 120-150 real world dBA continuous (not peak) at 1 meter, is probably not something anyone needs in their living room.

However many commercial brands do make monitors or smaller professional products where sound quality is the goal, rather than SPL. Danley, Genelec, JBL, and Meyer Sound would be examples of some of those brands.

Agreed that PA might generally not be a good choice for homes, due to quality/dispersion/hiss etc. But there should be some rough gems our there that can be made to work. I know someone here switched from 8361A to Yamaha DZR315 and is happy. It would be nice to see more good candidates like that measured and discussed here, as it could be way to get nice big sound with smaller budget.

No need to duplicate all the "is bigger better" threads here, but there's just something special about big clean dynamic sound from big mains. Some don't care about big or loud, or don't have the space or the budget for it, but that's just all personal circumstances which has no relevance to others.

PS. The hearing loss comment is quite unwarranted, as you can easily get that even with headphones. Does that mean headphones aren't probably something that anyone needs? ;)
 
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miha

miha

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Yes.

Thanks!
 

Matthias McCready

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Agreed that PA might generally not be a good choice for homes, due to quality/dispersion/hiss etc. But there should be some rough gems our there that can be made to work. I know someone here switched from 8361A to Yamaha DZR315 and is happy. It would be nice to see more good candidates like that measured and discussed here, as it could be way to get nice big sound with smaller budget.

No need to duplicate all the "is bigger better" threads here, but there's just something special about big clean dynamic sound from big mains. Some don't care about big or loud, or don't have the space or the budget for it, but that's just all personal circumstances which has no relevance to others.

PS. The hearing loss comment is quite unwarranted, as you can easily get that even with headphones. Does that mean headphones aren't probably something that anyone needs? ;)

Agreed I have certainly heard PA speakers that are good enough for the living room, most Meyer Sound products I have used I would place in that category; I would be quite happy with a pair of X40's or MM-4XP Slims; however at their price I am sure Amie would come in cheaper and probably sound better for the intended application.

Danley also makes some PA stuff that is good enough for the home, but again I would think their studio and home products come in at being a better value.

Some of these studio monitor products are quite capable of 110-120dB in their own right at 1M. As a FOH engineer I can say that is MUCH louder than I would run at any concert; in my mind having that much power is the "something special big clean dynamic sound." Meyer Amie, Meyer Bluehorn, or Danley Hyperion would both be capable of that.

My Danley Studio 2's are only capable of 108dB however in the near-field this gives me more than enough headroom for my small mixing space.

----

I should probably explain my "hearing loss" comment: :)

I am fine with big, but I do like to put the disclaimer out there, of "hey this is a lot of power, proceed with caution," and to nicely ask, "are you sure you need that?" While many on this forum, such as yourself, are quite aware of how SPL and exposure time work, there are probably some following along who may not. I would rather over-emphasize this caution, to point of annoyance for those who are aware, than to have someone not be aware. I believe the conversation of "PA in the home" is a reasonable place to put in a plug for what sound pressure levels are or are not safe. :)

As an example I once encountered a gent who was dead-set on attempting to to build his own DIY setup at home, with "headroom." More specifically he wanted a rig capable of 140dB at 1M for his living room, he had no concept of how loud that was!

When I spec a PA system to have "headroom" that means it will have 6dB, or maybe even 12dB, more than I am going to run it at.

I have no problem with big rigs, I run them weekly, this last Saturday night I was running 8x L'Acoustics KS28's in an 1100 seat indoor venue! :eek: That is not just enough "rig for the gig" that is serious overkill. Big is fun, and so is loud, but keeping it safe for everyone involved is also great.

Personally the plugs go in at about 94-98dBA (depending on continuous vs peak slow); there are certainly those who enjoy louder than I do, that is fine, but caution is also good; I know too many who no longer have great hearing.

For those of you who may not be aware, sound is logarithmic, rather than linear, and every additional 6dB is twice as loud. So respectively:

86dB
(we will use this as a completely arbitrary starting place)
92dB (2x louder)
98dB (4x louder
104dB (8x louder)
110dB (16x louder)
116dB (32x louder)
122dB (64x louder)
128dB (128x louder)
134dB (256x louder)
140dB (512x louder

With each increase in volume, the exposure time you are allowed before hearing loss starts to occur dramatically diminishes. Off the top of my head (super rough numbers) at 86dBA that is about 8 hours (keep in mind this is considering continious level, not peak), at 105dBA that is about 20 minutes, at 115dBA that is about 30 seconds, and louder than this damage will start to become almost instant.

If you are someone who would like to learn more and some legit data rather than my back of the napkin stuff, this document from the WHO, is quite educational, and is well written.

----

PS: I don't want to be the volume police ;)
 
Last edited:

hege

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I should probably explain my "hearing loss" comment: :)
Not really, I get it, thus the wink. Have to appreciate your well thought posts, which sound very engineery (pun intended :)).

By no means I advocate anyone losing hearing, I myself have some tinnitus from early rave days, doesn't bother me though and I can still hear flies farting. Have had custom molded earplugs for almost two decades now when going to any clubs, suggest the same to anyone.

Decend subbass is easy to achieve with subs, but unfortunately getting that real wall of sound and midbass whack requires a lot of volume and driver area. I don't like much over 90dBA without plugs either.
 
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miha

miha

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Does anyone know if DDP, DDC & RDC drivers are being used in (studio) monitors. Any experience with drivers with annular ring diaphragms in general? @amirm @Matthias McCready @hege

More info drivers:
 

Matthias McCready

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Does anyone know if DDP, DDC & RDC drivers are being used in (studio) monitors. Any experience with drivers with annular ring diaphragms in general? @amirm @Matthias McCready @hege

More info drivers:
Admittedly I am not familiar with this brand, but a few thoughts/impressions:

1) A lot of the technology in these drivers looks oriented towards line-array products. Line-arrays are REALLY great when you need a one or two types of boxes to do a tour with, they can be arrayed to work in many different venues. You drop the venue in the plotting software and it will help you to determine splay angles to get the coverage you need. If you had point source boxes, you would need a prohibitive amount of models, depending on the venue shape and size (outside vs shed vs arena vs auditorium vs convention center); with line-arrays you can deploy based on each room type, while having a reasonable semi-truck pack. Line-arrays are also great, if you are processing the boxes with 1:1 resolution (1 box = 1 or more amp channels), you can compensate for high-frequency loss over distance, mid-beam steering, and even some crazy processing to compensate for missing certain parts of the room (such as missing a boundary, such as a theatre balcony). In audio everything is a compromise, to quote Bob McCarthy (who is quoting Heinlein), "there is no free lunch." The bad side of line-arrays is time smear, since you are often never listen to one driver. These types of products are rarely useful or suited for small environments.

2) Everything in audio is a compromise; so while the link you showed touts the benefits, I would wonder what the drawbacks are? For example in the link you gave it keeps mentioning lower distortion and better dynamics for "high-output." So perhaps that is an improvement for a speaker that is capable of 145dB, but would it be an improvement in driver design for something more moderate? Maybe not. Most PA speaker designs have lots of compromises to get loud. Specifically as the saying goes you can have loud, inexpensive, or quality sound; pick two. Perhaps there is an engineer poking around here who could give us a fair-shake on the products and technology that you linked! :)

3) Just about every single manufacturer has patents and proprietary technologies.

  • Sometimes it legitimately is something that is industry changing that every-single other brand will adopt once the patent(s) expire. For example L'acoustics with their V-Dosc was the first company to introduce the line-array, obviously this is a widely accepted box type for the touring industry. The "subwoofer" is another type of device that has been widely accepted and adopted. Another example would be Tom Danley's Synergy Horn, notice that EV is taking a stab at it, time will tell if this becomes a more wide-spread product type, if not it would remain in the next category.

  • Other times it is a specialty niche or design approach for that brand. Most brands have something they are good at. For example: L'Acoustics focuses on making really good sounding, pleasing musical boxes; they don't care too much for DSP, from their philosophical vantage point, DSP can sometimes be trying to overcome the deficiencies of a poorly built box, so you should "just build a better box." Their speakers sound quite nice, but their DSP is limited. As another example Meyer Sound is fanatical about drivers; in the past they bought JBL drivers and sent most of them back, only taking the ones that measured within their rigid specs. They sent so many back that they eventually started making their own in-house. They buy the raw materials to make drivers for decades, so that there is absolute consistency year-to-year; this consistency shows up in their rigs. Those are two examples I know of, but most brands have cool little niches that they are passionate about, that set them apart, this is why different boxes or brands excel in different situations. Great brands have many of these elements, and that is why they make great products.

  • Finally, sometimes it is just marketing jargon or hype. The sales team needs something to push product. While I won't name drop what Pro-Audio manufacturer (hint hint they are out of Canada) I sat through a long sales pitch, where they talked about how their drivers were "hand-made" out of Kevlar, and how that made their speakers sound superior. They also spent a lot of time talking about how they used non-traditional driver sizes, "custom-made by them, to be the best" and how this set-them apart, unlike all of those other brands that use "traditional sizes." When it came time to demo and mix on them, their products sounded BAD, and they did not perform well, especially compared to other brands in that same space (they were not the most inexpensive present either). At the end of the day you can have lot of cool technology or designs, but those don't inherently mean an incredible product; sometimes those patents are nothing more than marketing fluff.
4) I don't know anything about this driver technology, and to be frank other than hearing the name once or twice in passing over the years, I haven't really heard of Coda Audio, I know literally nothing about them. Looking at their website they appear to be touring/line-array focused company, ie making their own speakers, so I would doubt their drivers are being used by other companies, as they are probably not good enough, many brands for example use B&C drivers. I would especially think that no one is using Coda Audio drivers in studio monitors, as that is an entirely different product type than what their focus is (Studio Monitors tend to focus on different compromises than PA speakers). Also since I haven't really heard their name, atleast in North America, I wouldn't think they are not much of a player, and so while it is not impossible, it is unlikely that they are making a driver that is game-changing; I would guess the driver technologies you linked would either be in the category of a "a brand niche that is a legitamate selling point," or "marketing jargon." To me their website and products make them appear like many other C-level Pro Audio Manufacturers. I could be totally wrong here though, again I have ZERO experience with them.
 
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Chrispy

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Depends what you define as PA speaker somewhat, but don't think it'd bother the Klippel particularly and we do now have a pro audio section if they're more of that direction vs simply a voice speaker for crowds....
 
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