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.
Previously we applied this designation to “small and mini” models; however, the market is evolving so quickly and dynamically that attempts to put together “like” groups of line array modules under a precisely defined criteria is fast becoming a thing of the past.
The fact is that one company’s “small” is another’s “mini” is another’s “compact” – and then that’s further modified by terms like “extremely” and “ultra” (as in “ultracompact”).
The same goes with users – what you might qualify as compact might be tagged as “medium” by the next person, and so on.
Product names and marketing jargon aside, what we’re talking about is a group of products of a certain scale that meet and exceed the demands of a wide range of applications.
As a result, we might – more generally but more accurately – define a “compact” line array as having a relatively small footprint in terms of size, weight and cost. They likely are conveniently portable due to the size/weight factor, but are suitable for installations as well.
For dynamic full-range music presentation, they are usually accompanied by a subwoofer, and further, they present a scalable solution – a few units will provide main coverage to a relatively small space, but with the addition of more boxes and arrays, their coverage capabilities and output can be easily expanded, and at an affordable level.
The great news is that the marketplace – more specifically the audio professional – is the winner. Regardless of what you call them, 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.
And that’s the real point of Real World Gear – enjoy this look at a wide range of options from around the industry.