Any Real Benefit for Line Array in Bass Cabinets?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by 74hc, Nov 30, 2017.

  1. 74hc


    Nov 19, 2015
    Sunny California
    I've been trying to figure out whether there is a real benefit for having a line array of high frequency speakers in a bass cabinet such as Genzler. Genzler's site is not that revealing as they state:

    With the Bass Array™ design, the placement of the line array in front of the 10” woofer provides extremely broad projection, quickness and articulation. As well, the all-important mid and high frequencies have a much wider horizontal dispersion with a more controlled vertical pattern.

    Okay, quickness and articulation is rather subjective view from one player to the next, but broad project can probably be more objectively measured. They they state the all-important mid and high frequencies which have never been all that important to me. Hanging around here, so to for many others.

    Then we get to wider horizontal dispersion. Okay, I can understand this, but a vertical column that does not seem to orient the high-frequency drivers in different horizontal directions that I could tell does not add up. But the backside of the line array structure probably helps to throw out the bass frequencies from the bass driver more horizontally.

    But who needs more horizontal dispertion from their backline when it is much better to use PA support and get that loud sound away from the musicians to protect their ears. Every professional touring act I did stage worked for back in the 1980s were doing this... Greg Kihn, Jefferson Starship, Motels, Blondie, and more. Their backline was small, mic'd or DI'd. The PA cabinets out front and to the side of the stage, and underneath were massively huge and arrived in semi's. Their backline could probably fit into a van.

    I've heard amazing speakers, and some more amazing than Genzler, that did not use linear array tech.

    But is this really a benefit or marketing glossy stuff?
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2017
  2. blubass


    Aug 3, 2007
    Modesto Ca
    Current: Blackstar, DR strings, Nady. Previous endorsements with: GK, Rotosound, Ernie Ball, Cleartone, EMG, Dean, Dava Picks, Rebel Straps, Dickies
    I'll leave the other stuff to other members who know more than myself. This question however, I have a lot of experience with.

    I need more horizontal dispersion, because I choose to NOT be in wedge monitors. This is only for when we aren't using in-ears. It helps my bandmates tremendously to keep the low end out of the wedges. We play a lot of venues with low level sound guys that we don't trust to get our monitors right, and it's usually always muddy or boomy. When I eliminate myself from the wedges, it makes it much easier to hear what's going on. We're very active on stage, moving around constantly, so having reliable monitors is a must and in-ears aren't always feasible.
  3. Rick James

    Rick James Inactive

    Feb 24, 2007
    New Jersey
    It's not a line array in the usual sense, because a line array has to be at least three wavelengths high, so ignore that part. But if you have to use more than one speaker to reach the output you want there's a right way and a wrong way to do it. The right way is to place them vertically, not because it makes for wider dispersion, because the horizontal dispersion of a vertical grouping of speakers is the same as one. It's so you don't get narrower dispersion and comb filtering that result from putting drivers side by side.
    It does add up, if you know how speakers work. They don't work like spotlights. Aiming drivers in different directions can do more harm than good if it's not done correctly, and in most cases it isn't. This is all very basic Acoustics 101 material, the trouble is that almost no one takes Acoustics 101, including a fair percentage of speaker designers, especially musical instrument speakers. This is a good source for broadening your acoustics knowledge. Sounds Amazing | AS A Level Physics Waves Revision | University of Salford
    It shouldn't affect the bass frequencies at all, they would have long enough wavelengths to go around it. That's covered in the principles of diffraction, also an Acoustics 101 topic.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2017
  4. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    IMO and IME it just depends. Same as it ever was. Some of us don't use FOH PAs at all, for bass or kick or even for anything. Many are anchored right in front of their cabs, many are not. Some want the high frequency elements right at their head level, many don't. And most importantly, not all stages and rooms are shaped the same way. But yes, that sort of dispersion pattern is most definitely a benefit for quite a few people in my world, and Jeff's solution also has the added perceived "bonus" of not using a compression driver, if you're one who swings that way. Vive la difference.
  5. MarkA

    MarkA In the doghouse. Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    I haven't heard the Bass Array cabs, but I would expect them to sound good and to have good dispersion.

    I have a MAS 46 cab, made by Mike Arnopol, that uses, I believe, the same 3" Faital mid/high drivers (or are they 4" drivers?) in a vertical line in the center of the cab (there is also a switch-able tweeter, but forget about that for a second). I've played the cab in its normal orientation, with the small drivers vertical, and turned on its side. I hear a definite difference in the dispersion/evenness of the mids and highs between the two orientations, with the vertical orientation providing wider and more even coverage.

    In most cases, this is what I want. Even with a relatively narrow dispersion cab, I don't want bass in my own monitor; the cab usually sounds better than the monitor and I don't want to deal with the two fighting. With a nice, wide dispersion cab, often we can get away with no bass in the monitors at all (and I know my cab sounds better than the stage monitors). Fewer sources of bass from fewer directions on stage = less sonic clutter and more control over my sound (and, no, I am not drowning out everybody else or fighting the PA out in the house -- another topic).

    I realize that's not the only approach and that a narrow dispersion, "me only" monitor/cab can work well in certain settings. In my experience, though, good, even dispersion of the mids and highs (particularly when the lows are going wider, anyway) has only been a benefit -- for me and for the rest of the band being able to tell what notes I'm playing.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2017
  6. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    It makes more sense if you think of it in terms of having more even dispersion, rather than wider. So there isn't one narrow part of the room getting blasted with twice the volume as the rest.