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Real World Gear: The Latest Large-Format Line Arrays

They're powerhouses, and in many cases, are now much more than simply loudspeakers...

As their name implies, large-format line arrays are designed for bigger concert and event applications. They’re powerhouses, and in many cases, are now much more than simply loudspeakers, better described as integrated systems.

Many of the models we’re presenting here incorporate dedicated power and DSP packages (onboard or rack-mounted), as well as being outfitted with increasingly sophisticated control, networking, and optimization packages. Integral rigging is usually user-friendly and marked by precision.

Driver configuration and enclosure design remain a defining factor. Some employ dual woofers with a center high-frequency section to provide horizontal symmetry. The “simplest” systems may just have a single cone and high-frequency driver. Quasi 3-way solutions use dual woofers, but low-pass one woofer at a lower frequency than the other, thereby eliminating cancellations at higher frequencies where their acoustic centers are farther apart than the wavelengths being reproduced.

True 3-way designs operate separate low-, mid- and high-frequency drivers, each in their own band. There are several approaches to horn-loading, which can provide higher sensitivity for additional power. And now, we’re seeing 4-way systems, with the mid-frequencies subdivided into two sections.

Many manufacturers also have complementary array elements with wider angles of coverage that perform better as the lowest near-throw enclosure in a vertical array. And, most of these full-range systems also have companion subwoofers to provide enhanced low-frequency coverage, pattern control and extension.

Have a look at the numerous offerings in the category of large-format line arrays in our PSW Photo Gallery Tour.

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