Originally Posted by Mfusick
Doesn't a proper line array lose power over distance at a reduced rate compared to a normal loudspeaker or single driver ?
I built a 6 foot tall 3-way vertical line array for my garage speakers (with subs) and my ears and SPL meter found the results. Basically, at a distance of 1 to 12 feet, the output was within "/- 2dB at that distance. At around 20 to 24 feet or so, the output only fell 3dB. At 45 feet the output was down another 6dB so it became a "point source". My MLP is around 11 feet from the things. I used pink noise which varied more than 1KHz test tones because frequency changes with distance also due to line length.
Be aware the woofers are 5", the mids are 3" and the tweeters are 10mm (0.4") Every driver is packed as tight as possible and the line length is 6 feet. 12 woofers, 20 mids, 48 tweeters crossing at 350Hz and 6KHz. The subs are crossed at 100Hz.
The reason I built the things was to learn how they worked (I learned) be aware of what problems they have (I REALLY learned) get even volume from my bench and in my work area (success!) be very efficient for high volumes without damage at BBQs (success) and to have something that when placed on 20" tall subwoofers, it would no give a lot of cement floor/smooth ceiling bounce in the garage (works)
In my BIASED opinion, they work as I designed them to as long as you have the ability to EQ the final results. The things by design have issues over 10KHz and need a boost in EQ to get it smooth. I learned that 48 tweeters that push 90dB or higher to 20KHz get blown away by 20 three inch midranges rated for 85dB. However, they are garage/party speakers and meet that need very well.
Would I want line arrays in my house for home theater? No, they do have that BIG sound but surround sound has many more channels and point source accuracy works better. It would be interesting to hear what happens when mixing a tall line array with Atmos--I don't think it would work well.
My home theater speakers are point source (surrounds are dipole since my room is not optimal) I compared my HT speakers in stereo against my line arrays in a room and prefer the HT speakers for imaging. I feel the larger than life sound stage of the line arrays (not curved) would create chaos with the center channel and the extra processing required would strain an AVR. Since they act different from point sources with SPL, it would create a chaotic sound field for HT in your house. Stereo in a garage is where they shine, not recommended for HT systems in a house.
Be aware the marketing folks are created a new line array religion--it does everything, for everyone, everywhere and is the future. The advertising claims they can be scaled with one box to 24 boxes so fit every need, every venue and every requirement. I figure they are good for poor acoustical environments with highly reflective floors/ceilings but are not your only option.
So in summation, they do have lower near field SPL drop off than point source but that depends on the line length (height) The major downside for HT use is I suspect imaging problems in smaller rooms--but, I could be (and usually) can be wrong.