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New Gear? Beyond The Hype It’s Up To You

Save your hammer for when you’ve got something to nail, and reach into your toolbox when you don’t...

By Gary Zandstra December 22, 2016

It’s Johnny LineArray to the rescue! (Or maybe not...)

The Other Side
Now, in contrast with the marketing rules, try these test questions:

—Would you want to be sitting in the seats at the “transition point” between these two arrays?

—Can the product last more than three years? (If so, how and how long?)

—If I don’t have this product, will I die?

—Has the industry reached a tipping point caused by monetary gain?

—Can the cost of this new gadget add to your bottom line?

—Is this something the band is more likely to carry?

For the past decade or so, the hype machine has been working overtime on Jah’s great gift to audio: The Line Array. This technology has many admirers. However, it IS NOT a save-all/do-everything device or approach. It’s vital to keep one’s wits and understand what applications any piece of gear is best suited for.

Is the line array the hammer of the 21st century? And does this tool of our trade get spec’d in situations where a saw or screwdriver might instead be the correct tool? You’ve all read the voluminous editorials extolling the virtues of said technology, but maybe there are situations where current (or even past) technology might be just the ticket.

In The Real World
A matter of selecting the right tool for the right job. Ever tried to sink a screw with a hammer?

I recall mixing a corporate show outdoors in Hawaii at a large resort hotel. The client was jazzed about using “Brand A” line arrays (no names to protect the innocent) and the local sound company had just bought a shiny new rig. We put two ground-based stacks stage left and right on a medium-sized stage facing a grassy knoll covered with “10 tops” (round tables for 10 diners), surrounded by food stations serving local gourmet fare. We observed all rules of engagement: exceed minimum cabinet configuration, don’t mess with my processor, all Speakons locked and loaded, etc.

The sound for all styles of speech and music (R & B, Sinatra impersonator, Jimmy Buffet pop, and disco with heavy bass) was clear and clean. Granted, I would have achieved this with any medium-to-high-quality rig. That’s why I get the big bucks. At about 9 pm, hotel management came by to ask us to turn down the system.

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About Gary

Gary Zandstra
Gary Zandstra

Consultant, Dan Vos Construction, Writer for Worship Facilities and ProSoundWeb
Gary Zandstra has worked in church production and as an AV systems integrator for more than 35 years. He’s also contributed numerous articles to ProSoundWeb over the past decade.


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