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A Real World Gear Look At The Latest Compact Line Arrays

An ever-expanding selection of line array tools can only serve to enhance the craft. The challenge is knowing what's available and being able to quickly differentiate them

In this Real World Gear installment, we look at compact line arrays, which we’ve defined as those with 8-inch (and smaller) LF drivers.

Generally speaking, products in this genre offer a relatively small footprint in terms of size, weight and cost. They’re conveniently portable due to the size/weight factor, but are suitable for fixed installations as well.

For dynamic full-range music presentation, compact arrays are usually accompanied by at least one subwoofer. In addition, the vast majority of full-range models are joined by companion subwoofers, many of them designed to fit seamlessly within a flown array structure.

Further, compact arrays present a scalable solution – a single unit will provide main coverage to a relatively small space, but with the addition of more loudspeakers, coverage capabilities are easily expanded, and at an affordable level.

Some manufacturers also engineer array modules of various sizes to work together. Most commonly, we see compact modules at the bottom of larger arrays, providing commensurate front fill coverage at concerts, festivals and other large-scale events.

An ever-expanding selection of line array tools can only serve to enhance the craft. The challenge is knowing what’s available and being able to quickly differentiate them, at least from a specification standpoint.

And that’s the point of Real World Gear – enjoy our Photo Gallery tour of a wide range of options from around the industry. In addition to our tour, note the following additional information on several models.


NEXO GEO S8 line array loudspeakers are at the center of a multi-million dollar renovation of the 3,100-seat Township Auditorium in Columbia, SC. Sid Gattis of Gattis Pro Audio, also in Columbia, designed and installed the audio system centered around GEO S8 and CD12 subwoofers.

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“The GEO S8s are insane,” Gattis notes. The loudspeakers are processed with three NX242 processors and hung on custom steel mounts. Designed and built by Gattis Pro Audio crew chief Scott Shealy, the mounts come through the wall to stage left and right.

“Once we checked aiming with GeoSoft, we fired up the system, and I can tell you there’s not a bad seat anywhere, not even in the first or second balconies,” states Gattis. “The top seat in the house is as clear as the 10th row. Everyone is amazed that these little boxes can do so much.

“The NEXO system is one of the most advanced products in the world, and the sound quality is absolutely phenomenal.”

Go here for more about the GEO S8.

QSC Audio WideLine-8 WL3082, WL3082-wx

Throughout the summer months in Jackson, MO, the Jackson Municipal Band plays free concerts every Thursday evening.

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To insure that the band sounded better than ever for its 92nd season, local systems integrator Unity Pro Audio and Video upgraded the Jackson Municipal Bandshell in City Park with a six-cabinet QSC Audio WL3082-wx Weatherized WideLine-8 line array powered by three QSC PowerLight 3 Series amplifiers and optimized with an SC28 System Controller.

Matt Schwartz of Unity Pro AV determined that the optimum solution for the bandshell, which is approximately 50 feet wide, was a center array with a wide dispersion pattern, and then selected WideLine-8, citing its ample coverage and affordable price point.

“When I compared other weatherized speakers, in terms of price and power, everything pointed to QSC. I’d heard the WideLine System before and I knew it packed a punch. It’s a great system,” says Schwartz. (The coverage area and array are shown in the photos.)

Read More
Real World Gear: Large-Format Line Arrays

Go here for more about the WideLine-8.

Adamson Systems Metrix

Metrix is equally well-suited for installation and touring applications, complete with two rigging system options, and it also excels as an under hang, side, front and balcony fill cabinet.

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Metrix delivers clean and even coverage, with a surprisingly high SPL. The lighting-fast rigging can be performed by a single person. Metrix is designed for use in arrays of six or more elements; each enclosure has a 120-degree (h) by 5-degree (v) coverage pattern.

A system recently implemented at the 600-capacity sanctuary of Campbellsville (Kentucky) Baptist Church features coverage provided by two arrays, each comprised of eight Metrix enclosures and two Metrix W (15-degree trapezoidal) cabinets. One Metrix Sub is positioned on each side of the floor, joined by a single flown Metrix Sub.

“The sound results far exceeded already high expectations,” says Ryan Jackson JCA Media, which provided the design and install.

Go here for more about Metrix.

JBL Professional VerTec VT4886

Featuring two 6.5-inch Differential Drive low-frequency transducers, four 2.5-inch midrange transducers and two 1-inch-exit compression drivers, the JBL Professional VerTec VT4886 is a true 3-way design that is unique to the subcompact line array category and has the highest component power density and SPL output in its class.

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A proprietary mid/high frequency waveguide assembly seamlessly integrates MF and HF section output in a next-generation implementation of JBL’s patented R.B.I. (Radiation Boundary Integrator) technology, providing precise wavefront control and allowing for proper vertical coupling from 0 to 15 degrees.

The waveguide/RBI developed for JBL’s recently-released VTX V25 enclosure shares similar design attributes as the device employed in VT4886.

The LF transducers are matched to a low-frequency diffraction absorber with a tuned resonant-chamber that reduces cavity resonance and cabinet edge diffraction effects.

Go here for more about the VerTec VT4886.

D.A.S. Audio AERO 8A

Earlier this year, BamaJam 2012 fired up the area just north of Enterprise with lights, video displays, and music. Located on the 1,600 acre grounds of BamaJam Farms, 35,000-plus music enthusiasts from all over the southeastern United States converged and reveled to the sounds of Tim McGraw, Zac Brown Band, Sheryl Crow, Kid Rock, and a long list of additional artists.

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Smyrna, TN-based Allstar Audio Systems was contracted to handle all staging, sound, lighting and backline for this year’s festival.

“From an audio perspective, this year’s BamaJam festival was huge,” notes Mike Borne, president and founder of Allstar Audio. “We had two-plus semi-trucks loaded with audio gear just for the main stage.

“D.A.S. Audio loudspeaker systems served as the house mains for each of the three stages, and 12 D.A.S. Aero 8A powered, ultra-compact line array speakers were used for out fills.”

Go here for more about the AERO 8A.

Martin Audio W8LM

Commissioned to provide sound and technical production for the unveiling of the Cutty Sark in London’s Greenwich, following an extensive restoration, SXS equipped the stage in Cutty Sark Gardens with its new Martin Audio W8LM line array system, comprising 12 enclosures in two hangs, with two W8LMD Downfills at the base of each hang.

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Attended by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, the event included a 90-strong symphony orchestra and a 400-strong choir.

Read More
Real World Gear: In-Ear Monitoring (IEM) Earpieces & Systems

“I was delighted to use the W8LM for this event,” said Johnny Palmer, Production Manager, SXS Events. “It was time we invested in a system that allowed for accurate and even coverage. The W8LM is great for shows such as this because of its clarity, simple rigging and aesthetics — and it will be our system of choice when entrusted with highly demanding, high quality production.”

The 143-year-old clipper, which had been damaged by fire, is now displayed 11 feet above its dry berth on the Thames and the space underneath is home to an interactive museum where visitors can learn about its history.

Go here for more about the W8LM.

L-Acoustics KIVA

KIVA allows even coverage of large environments where the number of elements constitutes the main factor for system throw and coverage of any audience geometry.

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Utilizing the WST unrivalled characteristics, KIVA delivers clarity, precision, and a unique near field effect. Packaged in a lightweight and compact enclosure and with a virtually invisible captive rigging system, KIVA combines quick set up and complies with architectural limitations.

The amplified controller preset library delivers a wide range of configurations. Features include L-DRIVE transducer protection and Array Morphing EQ interface to adjust system tonal balance. An LA4 can drive 8 KIVA in full range.

Bandwidth can be extended by combining 6 KIVA and 2 KILO on an LA4 or as a 3-way system with SB18.KIVA can be modeled in 3D with SOUNDVISION software. LA NETWORK MANAGER offers RC and monitoring of amplified controllers.

Go here for more about KIVA.

WorxAudio TrueLine V8

The Great Auditorium, a 6,000-seat worship facility in Ocean Grove, NJ that dates back to the 1890s, poses a tough sound reinforcement challenge due to numerous reflective surfaces and a coverage area almost as wide as it is deep.

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ACIR Professional overcame these challenges by deploying two WorxAudio TrueLive V8 line arrays – one for mains and the other for delay. Each incorporates seven V8T-P powered line array elements with a TrueLine 215ST-P powered subwoofer, while two more V8s provide side fill.

“The Great Auditorium is a cultural icon in our area, and I genuinely feel we assembled a terrific sound system using some of the best equipment in the industry,” states Ed DiBona of ACIR Professional.

“Being self-powered, the WorxAudio loudspeaker systems eliminated unsightly amp racks, simplified cabling and, ultimately, provided a visually clean and unencumbered appearance that, aesthetically, blended really well with the environment.”

Go here for more about the TrueLine V8.

dBTechnologies DVA T4

A 3-way active system, the DVA T4 brings the benefits of real line array technology to a much wider range of users. Active DSP controlled amplification provides benefits such as phase and line alignment, and also affords the advantage of optimizing each array element due to its position in the system, as well as the total number of combined line array units.

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Eight different setups offer convenient optimization of low-mid and high-frequency performance according to the application (near-field/mid-field/far-field).

The DVA T4 comes with precisely engineered flying hardware that, combined with the low weight and small footprint of the cabinets, makes for fast, easy setup of arrays.

The adjustable DRK-10 flying frame holds up to 16 T4s, and it also facilitates groundstack applications as well.

Go here for more about the DVA T4.


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